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Using ths build overseas???? Should I change something?

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August 14, 2011 1:35:39 AM

2 Hi there.  I hope it's ok to post this here. Someone pleeease move it if it belongs somewhere else.   I've tired asking a few other places but people are foreign workers like myself and not necessarily savvy about electricity or computers.

I just moved to Japan where 99.9% of electrical outlets are two prong non polarized sockets.  I brought my computer with me from the US because I just built it a few months ago for editing and brining was much cheaper than buying new.  Of course, being from the US my power supply is three prong like most powerful appliances.

People here strongly advocate for the adaptors that leave the ground exposed and ungrounded.  I known these aren't the safest things and I'd rather not be electrocuted... or you know... set fire to my apartment and be deported or something haha.

So anyway, what do I do???  I can't afford another computer right now and I refuse to get a laptop.  If I got a new power supply probably double insulated for my pc intended for Japanese sockets would I be better off?  Would it matter if I didn't replace all the rest of my components? Or would I really need to replace everything to avoid dying?  My case is metal too...

My build is
i7
Asus p6x58d premium mobo
Coolermaster heatsink
Corsiar ram and corsair hx 750w psu
Gtx460 (1)
hdd is samsung I think

For reference this is the kind of adaptor here which leaves the ground exposed:


It's unsafe, right?
a b B Homebuilt system
August 14, 2011 3:20:12 AM

No, these are not unsafe. They are certainly less that "ideal" because in most cases they mean the device (your computer here) plugged into them has NO connection to a true Ground. They are intended to be used by having you connect the green pigtail wire with the hook end to the screw that holds the outlet cover in place. BUT most electrical systems with only 2 prongs on the plug (2 slots in the outlet) actually do NOT have the metal mounting box in the wall connected to a true Ground. So even if the pigtail is hooked up as intended, it may not do the job.

NOTE that the green pigtail lead should NEVER have any voltage on it, so the fact it is bare and exposed does NOT create a danger.

In your case, if the system you're using in Japan has only Hot and Neutral lines in the outlet (2 prongs), it is unlikely that any Ground connection is available. This is a case where using this adapter makes perfect sense - you are not depriving your system of a connection that does not exist anyway.

The only improvement I can suggest, if you want to pursue it, is to find / arrange a true Ground connection somewhere. In North America the most common one used is the metal water supply pipe just where it enters the house. (Elsewhere in the house the piping may not be all metal, so you're not guaranteed a Ground on all pipes.) If you can get access to a true Ground, you could run a single wire from it to the green pigtail lead.

Again, this will not cause a safety hazard. The ONLY time a Ground lead like this should have any voltage on it is when there is a failure in the load (computer) that connects a hot wire to the chassis. When that occurs, two thing normally happen. First, the Ground wire carries current to Ground and, as a result, has a very small voltage on it because of its own resistance. But this voltage normally is small enough not to be hazardous. Secondly - and this should be VERY fast - that sudden excess current being fed through the Ground lead is coming from the Hot supply line through the circuit breaker or fuse that supplies the wall outlet, and it should overload and trip out quickly. That completely stops all sources of power to the unit, and the exposed Ground lead is now back to no voltage.
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a c 136 B Homebuilt system
August 14, 2011 3:45:23 AM

Ask your self how many reports you see of fried Japanese people .....
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August 14, 2011 6:20:58 AM

Paperdoc- thanks for the input. So it's more likely things would just fry themselves and cut out before having a chance to fry me? I noticed one more outlet with the earth hole for an adaptor so it may be that my building does have a ground connection somewhere. I'm going to bum off someone's more technical Japanese skills and ask later this week to make sure it's for real

Outlander_04- Most Japanese people will either be using Japanese products or products built specifically to function in Japan. Some of the more 'hazardous' appliances are eiher grounded or have some sort of interrupter
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a c 122 B Homebuilt system
August 14, 2011 4:31:59 PM

The power socket in a PSU is standard. You just need to find a power cable that fits between your computer and the local wall outlet (local electronics store). Then, if your PSU is an older model with a voltage selector switch, change it to the 230 VAC position.

Check the monitor also. Most monitors and printer power bricks now use the type of power supply as the computers. They auto switch between 115 and 230 VAC.

Head down to the local computer store and tell them what you have. They will be able to fix you right up, probably for no more than the cost of some power cords..
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