R.I.O.–Stavol

Disclaimer: This post might get a little nerdy about electricity and such.  Also, I am not an electrical engineer so I make no claims as to the accuracy of any statement in this post!

If you were reading our blog about 2 years ago when we first got to Indonesia, I did a short series of posts that I called RIOs – Random Indonesian Objects.  Now that we’ve been here a while longer it seems like there’s many more items I could add to the list, so we’ll start with this one:

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The Stavol is the white box on the bottom; the blue thing on top is our WiFi router.  I don’t know where the name “stavol” came from, but it probably is a shortened version of “voltage stabilizer” in reverse.  And that’s exactly what it does – stabilize the voltage.  In the US, this really isn’t an issue at all.  The outlets in our homes always put out 120V, and we don’t really ever have to think about it.  Here in Indonesia, there’s 2 reasons to use one of these things:

1. It converts between 120V and 240V.  Any of you who have ever travelled outside the US have probably run into the 120/240 issue, and have maybe had to bring along not just plug adapters, but also a little transformer box so you could charge your phone, run your hairdryer, etc. because it only ran on 120V.  The Stavol lets me run any of our American gadgets that won’t run on 240V, which is what we have in Indonesia.

2. This one is more important: our house never actually gets 240V like it’s supposed to.  I’m looking at my voltage gauge right now and it says 170V:

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That’s pretty bad, and although most appliances here will run fine on low voltage, that’s pushing it a bit.  So, I use these Stavols to raise the voltage back up to 240V on anything we care about to make sure that it doesn’t break.

I’m not an electrician so I don’t want to try to explain how it raises the voltage like that, so I’ll let one of you electrical engineers explain it in the comments if you care to.  The Stavol pictured at the top is in my office, where it runs the laptop, printer, monitor, WiFi router, and some external hard disks.

This one is running our TV and entertainment stuff:

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So that’s what a Stavol is!  This probably isn’t the most exciting blog post you ever read, but hopefully it gives you a bit more insight into our lives here.

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