Brazil : Why make it easier if we can make it harder?

I’m Brazilian and have been living in the US for the last 6 years. Once you remove yourself from a certain environment and experience new things, you start to realize how screwed up some things are where you came from. We all know and are frustrated everyday with the “jeitinhu brasileiro” (“brazilian way”) to do things and 9 out of 10 times it is NOT the easier way.

I’ve been working for a company in the U.S that specializes in 220 volts (2 phase) overseas appliances. Being in this field got me interested in researching why Brazil has 110V in some places and 220V in others, and I realized that the reason makes no sense whatsoever.

According to my research, in the 1920’s when the first electricity provider companies were starting to establish themselves in Brazil, there were no guidelines in what type of electricity the country should use, so each company did whatever they wanted. That is why if you go to some of the states in the north east or to the country side you might find the power outlets to be 220 volts. But if you go to a major city they will probably be 110 volts, but this is definitely not a rule. The rule is that there is no rule when talking about Brazilian electricity.

Something else I thought it was interesting, is that Brazil is one of the very few countries that uses 220 volts 60 hz when the majority of the countries that operate in 220 volts use 50 hz, the latter is a much more efficient way of using electricity. But of course Brazil has to be different. So a good advice for my fellow Brazilian friends is that, if you live in America and you are trying to take any motorized equipment overseas, make sure to check the hertz on your equipment. American 220 volts appliances are 3 phase 220 volts 60 hz. Models made to operate overseas are 2 phase 220 volts 50hz . Be aware because these 2 types of electricity are completely different from each other, and in this case there is no voltage converter that will do the job.

To make things even better, I found out that in 2010 Inmetro, the company that regulates electricity in Brazil, required the “Standardizing” of all power plugs and outlets in the country, but not to one of the ones that we already had which was the type C (European 2 round pin plug) or B American style plug. They decided to go “wild” and change to a Switzerland style plug type J.

Globalization? No! let’s be unique!


Traveling to Brazil

Brazil is a large country in South America largely occupied by rain-forest. Did you know that if you travel there, you will find three different types of electrical outlets, all shaped differently? In North America and most of South America, we are used to seeing only one type of outlet. All our electronics and appliances are designed for these outlets, but some countries in South America use many different kinds of outlets. If you’re planning on taking a trip to one of these places, you’ll need to bring a few different types of plug adapters. Otherwise, you won’t be able to use any of the appliances you’ve brought from North America.
Another item you might need to bring is a voltage converter . In addition to different plugs and wall outlets, foreign countries also use a different voltage. The electricity coming out of the wall is 220v in most foreign countries, and the appliances purchased there are designed for that voltage. However in North America and a few other places, like Brazil , the voltage is both 110v and 220v. This means that if you’re traveling to a place that uses 220v, and you want to bring some electronics with you, you’ll probably need a voltage converter just in case you cannot find an area that uses 110v. To find out if you need a voltage converter , simply seek out the voltage of your appliances. It should be listed directly on the devices. If it lists 110v-220v, it is dual-voltage, and you do not need a voltage converter for it.
If it only says 110v, you need a voltage converter , but you should be sure to buy one that has at least a 25% higher wattage than the given appliance. The wattage is a number that is usually listed on the device itself, along with the voltage and amp. However, if it is not listed, simply multiply the voltage by the amp. The product is the wattage. Now you are ready to buy a voltage converter .

Brazil plug adapter
Brazil voltage converter