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wall warts in China?

Discussion in 'Electronic Components' started by Walter Harley, Aug 26, 2005.

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  1. I sell a device that uses a wall-wart transformer for power. The
    transformer supplies 12VAC (that's AC, not DC) at 500mA, through a 2.1mm x
    5.5mm coaxial plug. Since my company and most of my customers are
    USA-based, I supply transformers with a 120V primary.

    I have been contacted by a customer in China who would like to buy one, but
    he needs it to run on 220VAC, with whatever plug style they use in China.
    (I don't know whether we're talking mainland China, Taiwan, or Hong Kong, by
    the way.)

    He could always just use a 220V-120V stepdown transformer, along with the
    120V wall wart. But I'd rather just advise him to shop for an appropriate
    wall wart locally. However, I have no idea where one goes in China to buy
    things like that.

    Are there mail order suppliers, like Mouser or Digikey here in the states,
    that efficiently supply China?

    Are there local stores that would have something like that? ("Radio Shack

    Any advice I can pass on to him would be welcome. It would be ironic if
    something like this were unavailable in China given that's where they all
    seem to come from in the first place!
  2. Hi, Walter:-

    Tell me the city and I'll try to give you some useful advice. It's not
    Taiwan if its 220VAC.

    Not shipping the (useless) wall wart could significantly reduce the
    shipping charges as well.

    Best regards,
    Spehro Pefhany

  3. Thanks, Spehro. Let me find out from my distributor and I'll get back to

  4. If anybody in the States has an answer to your question, Jameco
    ( will be able to answer you.

  5. Old external modems used to use a 9VAC 830mA to 1A transformer wall
    wart. The 9VAC was closer to 12VAC when unloaded, and would probably
    work, if you could dig up an old external modem from somewhere in China,
    where the primary was the right V. The Practical peripherals ones come
    to mind.
  6. John G

    John G Guest

    I did just this, buy locally, for a US 110volt device imported to
    Australia some years ago.

    The best thing is for the customer to take the requirements to a
    supplier in China, afterall most wallwarts I see in Australia these days
    are made in China.

    Letting him purchase locally has several advantages, shipping weight of
    course, correct wall plug and importantly (maybe not in China) the
    device he buys locally will conform to code requirements in that
    country. Even if your 110volt wall wart could be supplied from a
    transformer it may not conform and if anything ever went wrong Well!!
  7. eehinjor

    eehinjor Guest

    hi, Walter.

    I am in Shanghai,China.But I am confused about your question.

    What help do you want really?

  8. I want to know where I could refer a customer (a musician, not an engineer)
    in order to purchase a wall-wart AC transformer with a 220V primary and a
    12VAC 500mA secondary with 2.1mm x 5.5mm coaxial plug.

    If the customer were in the USA, for instance, I would tell them that they
    could order the equivalent (with 120V primary) from,
    or they might find it at Radio Shack, which is a retail chain with many
    local stores. In Europe I would refer them to Farnell, I guess.

    But I don't know what retail or mail-order stores there are in China.

    I have not yet found out where in China this customer lives - the question
    is coming to me through my distributor.

  9. eehinjor

    eehinjor Guest


    On my opinion,there are a lot of factories in China who sale such
    transformer,at least in Shanghai city.

    But the price depends on the amount.

    You had better find where the customer lives.Of course if you let a
    musician buy transformers,that seems difficult.

    best regards.
  10. John G

    John G Guest

    Call YOUR distributor, get the facts. He is on the spot and should know
    how to proceed.

    We have given you a few clues about what to ask.

    If you pay I will talk to him.

    Send air ticket and I will go and help him!!

  11. I think you guys have a slight misconception of the picture...

    I make a little consumer electronic item (a headphone amplifier, used by
    electric bass players) - street price $169. My distributor (in the USA) has
    a potential customer in China who wants to buy *one* of these. The customer
    needs to buy an AC adapter that will work for his local mains voltage.
    Again: quantity *one*. I was just wondering whether there are retail
    electronic component stores in China, the equivalent of Radio Shack or Fry's
    in the USA; or mail order, the equivalent of Jameco, Mouser, etc; or some
    other sales channel I don't know about.

    There will not be anybody flying to China on the basis of this sale, I think

    In any event, I still haven't been able to find out where in China the
    customer lives, so the question is probably moot.
  12. John G

    John G Guest

    It was a good try but really I was only joking.

    There are certainly such places in Honkong where I lived for a while
    some years ago but in China I don't know.
  13. Prepair Ltd

    Prepair Ltd Guest


    Can you not get a multi-input voltage unit with leads in and out?

    I know we can get this sort of thing commercially in the UK, sold by
    Friemann & Wolf, but made in Germany. They are universal input
    switching PSU's, their distributors in the USA might be able to

    or in the US:

    FRIWO USA, Inc.
    1340 Newport Road, Suite 130
    Colorado Springs, CO 80916
    Tel: +1 719 597-1620
    Fax: +1 719 597-1628

  14. Go to
    This is a web site for magazines listing asian manufacturers for all
    these sort of things. The customer can look for a manufacturer in
    his/her city, phone them and either buy direct from them, or get a
    local agent for their goods.
    It is unbelievable how many manufacturers of these products are
    in asia.

    Anton Erasmus

  15. The customer lives in Suzhou, Jiangsu. 60miles west of Shanghai.

    What he'll need is a wall wart adapter with 220V primary, 12VAC 500mA
    secondary, and 2.1mm x 5.5mm coaxial plug. Quantity one.

    Thanks for any advice you can send my way!

  16. Hi, Walter:-

    If he can get to Shanghai, he could go to an electronics 'market' (at
    Xujiahui, I think) and most likely get such an adapter over the
    counter in quantity 1, probably for less than 20 yuan.

    I don't know about the availability in Suzhou, but it's a fair sized
    city (5-6 million) with some electronics manufacturing industry, so it
    might have a similar place downtown, but Shanghai is only 45 minutes
    away by inexpensive train.

    Things like adapters are sold at such markets (similar to the tiny
    shops in the Akihabara section of Tokyo) by many different merchants,
    analogous to an Asian 'wet market' for produce, fish and meats.

    He'll need the specifications (english is fine for those) and
    something like a picture of a typical adapter (preferably without the
    prongs showing so as to not confuse, and the coax plug showing) maybe
    out of the Mouser or Digikey catalogs). I assume your design isn't
    terribly fussy on the voltage so that regulation should not be an

    A bit of trouble for a $169 sale, maybe, but you should only have to
    prepare a specification sheet once.

    Best regards,
    Spehro Pefhany

  17. Thanks a bunch! Visiting an "electronics market" sounds like it would be an
    interesting experience.

    It won't be hard for me to put together a spec sheet like what you describe.
    And it would be useful to European customers as well.

  18. Mouser, Jameco, Digikey ... all routinely ship overseas. I think you are
    making a mountain out of a warthill.

  19. Warthill!? Wazza warthill??

    Is that like Hogwarts? Just a figurative expression..
  20. I know they ship overseas, but at least their US and online catalogs don't
    list any 220V-primary adapters. Not that I found, anyhow.

    Plus, I think these places will only ship overseas via private carriers like
    UPS or FedEx. That can put the shipping cost for even small packages into
    the > US$50 range, in my limited experience with sending things to Asia. I
    can't tell a customer to buy a US$169 product and pay another US$60 for the
    wall wart, especially when the wall wart came from China in the first place
    and cost US$3 there!
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