Electricity in Spain
Posted by The Expatriator
Information on your electronics, electrical appliances and setting up electicity for your flat or house.
Endesa is the national electricity company.
There are two different prong sizes for the electrical plug-ins. Apparently, this is done for safety: The fat-pronged plugs include a ground; the thin ones don’t. However, you can buy a converter, and break off the little plastic piece which sticks out so that you don’t use it as a converter (but is meant to be broken off).
For an 120 Volt appliance to work, you need to buy a hulking transformer (available at El Corte Ingles). Transformers have to be capable of handling the wattage of the appliance or else it will overheat and you might ruin the appliance. I think you multiply the ampere rating of the device by 240 (volts) to determine the minimum size of the transformer you need, but don’t blame me if I’m wrong. For my 1.6 Amp monitor, for instance, I bought a transformer rated 500 V.A. Most new computers are rated for 110V - 240V so they can be plugged right in once you buy a Spanish cable. My American-bought Dell monitor is also rated at 110V - 240V, but it only worked at 640 x 480 pixels until I bought a transformer for it. Strange, but true.
Speaking of modern electronics, most new electronics like digital cameras (or their chargers rather), external harddrives, printers, mp3 players, and of course laptops/computers are of the 110V - 240V variety. One indication is that they will have a little (but heavy) box on the cord that you’ll have found gets pretty hot sometimes (and it should say 110V - 240V on it somewhere). That’s the transformer, so if your device has this, then you should be able to plug it in with only a little adapter that you get at the hardware store (ferreteria). It’s about an inch wide, is usually white, and should be able to accommodate North American 110V electrical plugs with a bit of effort (I don’t think they were designed for this originally so you may have to play with it). They run about 1.50€.