Saturday, December 24, 2011

Watt a SECAM

I am learning all about electricity.  Thailand, like much of the world, lives with 220 wiring throughout their homes.  We only use 220 for electric stoves, dryers and hot tubs.  Everything else runs on 110.  If I were to plug my radio or toaster into one of Nee's outlets in her Thai home, I would see sparks and be the proud owner of a melted electronic device.  I was at AAA yesterday to get some more passport photos and saw they had a section with all kinds of different plugs and converters.  What do I need?  A transformer or solid state?  Grounded or polarized?  The list goes on.

Things like this laptop and my monitor have autoswitching converters.  It is the big fat thing on the wire between the computer and the outlet.  On the side I see that it can take voltage up to 240 so I will be safe even if I run over to Africa.  Other things like my toaster and waffle iron and that really nice $1200 washer/dryer set we had to buy to live here are worthless.  The refrigerator has to stay, too.  Shipping would have been too expensive anyway which is why I get a bit panicky whenever I start thinking about this move.  Better to not think, just do.

I found out that TVs are different, too, of course.  Life would be too simple with interchangable parts.  North American TVs run on the NTSC broadcast system whereas the rest of the world uses PAL and SECAM, whatever that is.  SECAM sounds more like SCAM.  Thailand will love me when I start shopping to replace everything. 

The cell phones will be useless as they are on a different signal from everyone else, too.  I wonder if Gene Roddenberry's world took care of this sort of thing?  Probably not.

Driving will be another issue.  Thais drive like the British, on the left side of the road.  I found it a bit disconcerting the first time I was flying through Bangkok in one of their taxis, so I chose to close my eyes whenever we had to make a right turn.  I imagined myself starting on the right path and then heading to the wrong side of the road.  We also may have to buy a stick shift because we want a pickup truck and they all come with standard transmission.  The pedals are the same as here, but I have to shift with my left hand instead of my right.  All this should keep my heart rate up, though, and that can help with cholesterol.  Maybe it isn't such a bad idea.

1 comment:

  1. I read this again, now with more insight, coming from Africa I am used to having to use power-surge extension plugs. So far I've only had one panic moment with my laptop but it was due to programs running and wouldn't charge.
    What really alarms me is the blue sparks emitting from the wall socket every time I plug in the kettle. I have learned to only switch on the kettle after plugging it I just have to watch the extremely hot lid and steam.