Electricity

Many people ask about the electricity on Bonaire. Although the standard voltage on Bonaire is supposed to be 127, it can vary higher or lower. The cycles pretty much remain at 50 HZ. Voltage can be changed easily but cycles are a different story.

At the Carib Inn, we have installed large transformers at all the mains, reducing the voltage to about 110 at all outlets making it, generally speaking, safe to plug things in. The cycles though, are still at 50 hz. What this means is that anything running on 60 hz (standard US) will run at 5/6 the speed. If you bring a clock which is set up for 60 hz it will lose 10 minutes every hour. So don’t bring a clock unless battery powered.

Anything with a motor will also run slower unless set up for 50 hz. Slower can also mean hotter and if the voltage remains at 127v, plus running slower, it can burn up motors. As an example, hair dryers would run hotter on both counts but since we have reduced the voltage, some of this problem is alleviated. Also, all outlets at the Carib Inn are for standard US type plugs.

People also ask about charging batteries for strobes or video cameras. Once again. if the voltage remained high (127v), it could over heat the little transformer that plugs into the wall. I have even seen these melt! But since the Carib Inn’s voltage is reduced, it keeps things within reason. Same thing goes for running lap top computers from the power transformer instead of on-board batteries.

Another question which is asked is if a converter is needed to change the voltage and cycles. First of all, a converter is usually described as a device used to change European style round plugs into US style flat plugs. These can also be called adapters. Converter can also can mean a device to change cycles from 50 to 60 or vice versa. Please understand if you buy a “converter” from some luggage/travel store it is not the type which will change cycles. Cycle changers are really expensive. A transformer is what changes voltage—up or down—depending on the type. An inverter changes DC current (battery) into AC current (that which comes from a household outlet) or vice versa.

So what does all that mean? At the Carib Inn you do not need adapters, converters, or transformers when using US style equipment.

Many places on Bonaire do not transform (lower) the voltage, so ask first before plugging US appliances into the wall. Many of the dive shops have an area or supply a transformer for charging batteries, etc.

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