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I am going to be traveling overseas and bringing my Nintendo 3DS which the adapter outputs DC 4.6V 900mA.

I found an unofficial USB cable to charge it and I was curious if the minor variance in the voltage would cause any issue. Say if I use an iPad 5.2V charger or the iPhone 5V one, being I have them and they support 240V input.

Thank you!

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marked as duplicate by Andy aka, Passerby, placeholder, Chetan Bhargava, PeterJ Jul 27 '14 at 0:59

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

Revised, as I am more curious about the minor variance in voltage. – gokujou Jul 26 '14 at 17:25
I don't think there is a definitive answer unless someone has investigated this exactly and concluded that no-issues will be found - realistically you want a proper answer from an intelligent EE but, an intelligent EE will likely have acquired the correct apparatus for the overseas journey before embarking thus preventing them from gaining this knowledge. Someone who has gone overseas and in desperation tried a 5V charger may have been lucky and got away with it and, if they answer "no problemo" and you repeat what they did and you get smoke, who is to blame? – Andy aka Jul 26 '14 at 17:30
up vote 3 down vote accepted

The real question is where you are going. I'll start with a simple answer on the voltages then come back to this.

When designing a circuit, the inputs to the processor must allow the voltage. In addition, the circuit is designed to take a certain amount of power from the power circuit. The rest of the circuit for a consumer product is generally designed to be durable and contains things such as clamping diodes to prevent current surges and over-voltages.

The simple answer to this is therefore we can not know exactly unless we have the specs for the parts or a general datasheet was released, which I did not look for. It is safe to assume Nintendo has some really good circuit designers however, and the device therefore probably has at least a 10% tolerance from what you usually charge at. I wouldn't worry so much about stuff like this, as you can tell pretty fast by whether the power regulation circuit on the device side is heating up. Worry more about the country standard.

Your true concern is that when traveling overseas, the AC mains voltage changes. Here in the US it is 110, and likewise, our products are made to deal with that. In Japan it is 100, so if a product is designed for Japanese market (note that the DS has an American compatible version which is different than the Japanese one), then it will have problems over here. If you took an American product there, then it won't charge as fast. Then we have the European standard at 220V. If you plug in your device over there without a power converter, say goodbye to your device. Be weary of this and if you have to buy an adapter anyway (which I suggest), then you may want to just wait until you are there and get a brand spanking new charger.


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Thank you for your answer. I am going to South Korea, which runs at 220V from what I read. The USB charging plugs I have can take that and will make a 5V output. I have used them in Europe for my phones, but never on my 3DS. That said, I will probably check the shops for a real charger there. I bet I can get a good deal on one. – gokujou Jul 26 '14 at 19:15
Also makes me wonder if Nintendo is trying to make the charger proprietary at 4.6V, or why they would do it otherwise. In Japan I just rolled with my US adapter in their outlets, but wouldn't dare double the voltage on it in South Korea. – gokujou Jul 26 '14 at 19:21

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