Electrical Outlet and Voltage Information for Liberia
Liberia is a country located in West Africa and is surrounded by Sierra Leone on the west, Ivory Coast on the east, and Guinea on the north. For tourists who want to spend time in Liberia, it is recommended that they are aware of the standard voltage, electrical outlet, and plug commonly use in Liberia. This will enable them to use their electronic gadget and appliances in Liberia without problems. Being prepared with adapters and voltage converters might also help.
In Liberia, the standard voltage used by the electronic gadgets and appliances is 110-120 volts with a frequency of 60Hz. For the electrical outlet and plug, the primary types are Type A NEMA 1-15 / JIS C 8303 and Type B NEMA 5-15.
Type A NEMA 1-15 / JIS C 8303 (North American Non-grounded, Non-polarized)Plug, Adapter, and Electrical Outlet
The NEMA 1-15 is also known as the Type A North American/Japanese 2-blade electrical adapter plug and electrical outlet. It also has the technical name North American 15 A/125 V ungrounded. The NEMA 1-15 is a flat blade attachment plug that uses two flat parallel pins or blades. Older designs allow the blades to be inserted either way; however, contemporary NEMA 1-15 plugs in Liberia are designed with the neutral blade wider than the live blade allowing just one way of plugging and ensuring that the polarized plug is inserted appropriately into the electrical outlet in Liberia.
The new design of NEMA 1-15 changed so much that it will not fit in the old type of NEMA 1-15 electrical outlet in Liberia. The NEMA 1-15 is mostly found in North America and in the east coast of South America like Liberia. This is used used for smaller devices that do not really need a ground connection. There is also another socket that is commonly used in Japan, the JIS X 8303 Class II (Japanese 15 A/100 V ungrounded) which is similar to the NEMA 1-15, the only difference from Liberia is the stricter dimensional requirements for the plug housing, marking, and mandatory testing and approval.
With the NEMA 1-15 adapter, the receptacle end will accept any standard household plug in Liberia, aside from the Type M South African SABS1661 plug, which is also known as the Old British BS-546 Large plug. Although the NEMA 1-15 looks similar to the plugs of the U.S. and Canada and the appliance and electronic gadgets might be manufactured in the said countries, an adapter might still be needed because of the grounding and polarization requirements in Liberia. In the NEMA 1-15 plug and electrical outlet, grounding is done by the third, round pin located beneath the two vertical blades on the plug.
On the other hand, polarization is done by the left vertical blade being taller than the right one. If the plug does have grounding or polarization and the electrical socket does not have one, it would be physically impossible to insert the plug into the electrical socket. If this happens to a tourist in Liberia and there is also no adapter present, that person might not be able to use his or her electronic gadgets and appliances. The blades of this adapter that is usually needed by tourists when they are spending some time in Liberia are 6.4mm long, 1.5mm thick, and are spaced 12.7mm apart. The NEMA 1-15 plug is also non-polarized and non-grounded which is very important.
Type B NEMA 5-15 (North American Grounded)
The Type B NEMA 5-15 is often used in North and Central America as well as Japan, and it is also what is used in Liberia. It is a class I plug that has two flat parallel prongs and a grounding pin, rated at 15 amps.
In Japan, this kind of plug and electrical outlet is the standard. Similar to Type A NEMA 1-15 plugs, the NEMA 5-15 in Liberia is also one of the most dangerous plugs in the world because the prongs are not insulated. The black covering that is supposed to cover the plug body is lacking hence if the plug is pulled halfway and the prongs are still inserted in the electrical outlet, there might be some accidents like electrocution. The Type B NEMA 5-15 is also compatible with any standard household plug in Liberia, except the Type M South African SABS1661 (Old British BS-546 Large) plug.
For the specifications, the Type B NEMA 5-15 has blade contacts 6.4mm tall, 15mm thick, and are spaced 12.7mm apart. The grounding pin, on the other hand, is 4.8mm in diameter. Although the Type B NEMA 5-15 is grounded, it is not polarized and must be used with care in Liberia. Additional features of the NEMA 5-15 is that its ground pin is longer than the live and neutral blades so the electronic gadget or appliance connected to the NEMA 5-15 is grounded before the power is connected. Both blades also carry current are are narrow allowing the ground pin to enforce polarity. In countries like Liberia, Canada, United States, and Mexico, the NEMA 5-15 is standard, as well as the areas of northern South America with countries including Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and Brazil). Some Asian countries like Taiwan and Japan uses the NEMA 5-15 too.
Voltage Converters and Adapters
Most appliances and electronic gadgets made in Europe have a voltage of 220-240 and using it directly on a 110-120 electrical outlet in Liberia would cause damage to the appliance or electronic gadget, to the extent that it might be totally fried out or might even cause a fire. If a tourist wants to use his or her gadget in Liberia, the best way is by using voltage converters such as resistor-network converters, transformers, and in some cases the combination of both.
The resistor-network converters to be used in Liberia are usually advertised to support as much as 50-1600 Watts and are just ideal to use for short periods of time. The resistor-network converter is also not recommended for digital devices like laptop computers however it is great for lightweight electronics like hair dryers and irons.
If a tourist would want to use a laptop computer or charge batteries for camera, mp3 players, camcorders, and radios in Liberia, the ideal voltage converter is a transformer which lowers maximum watt rating. It could be used for long periods of time but is a little bit heavy because of the large iron rods and copper wires. The last kind of voltage converter in order to use electronics in Liberia that are not compatible with the electrical outlet present in Liberia is the combination of resistor-network converters and transformer.
Additional things that might be handy for a tourist in Liberia are the adapters and voltage converters. Adapters are used when the shape of the plug is not compatible with the shape of electrical outlet present in Liberia while the voltage converters are used to make different voltages between electronic gadgets and appliances work together with the electrical outlet present in Liberia.