Electrical Outlet and Voltage Information for Nicaragua
A person who wants to visit Nicaragua must know the standard voltage, electrical outlet and plug type, and adapters used in the said country. When a tourist in Nicaragua comes prepared for these things and more, he or she would be able to experience less problems and hassles, especially in the use of electronic gadgets or appliances. In Nicaragua, the voltage used is 110-120 volts while the types of the electrical outlet and plug commonly used are the Type A NEMA 1-15 / JIS C 8303 North American, Non-grounded, and Non-polarized and the Type B NEMA 5-15 North American, Grounded, and Non-polarized.
In using electronic gadgets and appliances in Nicaragua, there are two things a tourist must consider. First is the shape of the plug of the electronic gadget or appliance and its compatibility with the shape of the electrical outlet in Nicaragua and second is the voltage of the electronic gadget or appliance and the voltage of the electrical outlet. In cases that the shape of the plug is not compatible with the electrical outlet in Nicaragua, there are adapters that could be used. These adapters will alter the shape of the plug so that it could be used together with the electrical outlet and would enable the tourist to make the most of his electronic gadget or appliance in Nicaragua. Another consideration is the voltage converter. This is used to convert the 110-120 volts used by some electronic gadgets or appliances so that it could be compatible with the 220-240 volts used in Nicaragua. Examples of voltage converters are the network-resistor converter, step-up and step-down transformer, and the combination voltage converter. These will be very handy in one’s trip to Nicaragua as well as other countries. Also, there are universal adapters and travel voltage converters ideal for frequent travellers.
Type A NEMA 1-15 / JIS C 8303 North American (Non-grounded and Non-polarized) Plug, Electrical Outlet, and Adapter
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 Nicaragua 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. The NEMA 1-15 is mostly found in North America and in the east coast of South America as well as in other countries like Nicaragua. This is used used for smaller devices that do not really need a ground connection. The NEMA 1-15 is also known as the Type A North American/Japanese 2-blade Eletrical adapter plug and electrical outlet. It also has the technical name North American 15 A/125 V ungrounded. 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 Nicaragua. With the NEMA 1-15 adapter, the receptacle end will accept any standard household plug in Nicaragua, aside from the Type M South African SABS1661 plug, which is also known as the Old British BS-546 Large plug. The blades of this adapter that is usually needed by tourists when they are spending some time in Nicaragua 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.
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 Nicaragua. 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 Nicaragua and there is also no adapter present, that person might not be able to use his or her electronic gadgets and appliances. There is also another electrical outlet 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 Nicaragua is the stricter dimensional requirements for the plug housing, marking, and mandatory testing and approval.
Type B NEMA 5-15 (North American Grounded) Plug, Electrical Outlet, and Adapter
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 Nicaragua. Also, the Type B NEMA 5-15 is a class I plug that has two flat parallel prongs and a grounding pin, rated at 15 amps. 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.like electrocution or a minor electrical shock. The Type B NEMA 5-15 is also compatible with any standard household plug, except the Type M South African SABS1661 (Old British BS-546 Large) plug.
Similar to Type A NEMA 1-15 plugs, the NEMA 5-15 is also one of the most dangerous plugs in Nicaragua and even 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. Although the Type B NEMA 5-15 is grounded, it is not polarized. In Japan, this kind of plug and electrical outlet is the standard.
If a tourist from the USA (or any other country that uses 110-120 volts) wants to use his or her gadget in the Nicaragua, the best way would be 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 the Nicaragua 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 Nicaragua, the ideal voltage converter would be 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 foreign-made electronic gadgets in the Nicaragua that are not compatible with the electrical outlet present in the Nicaragua is the combination of resistor-network converters and transformer. Most appliances and electronic gadgets made in the United States of America (USA) have a voltage of 110-120 and using it directly on a 220-240 electrical outlet in the Nicaragua 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.