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charge an american device in Europe

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by [email protected], Jan 15, 2005.

  1. keith

    keith Guest

    Bullshit! That's the wonderful thing about standards... There are *SO*
    many to choose from! ;-)
     
  2. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    50/60 inductive reactance issue.
    To the OP - have you ever clarified if your "charger" is merely a wall
    wart, or a stand with a cord and plug, or just exactly what? It makes a
    significant difference, you know. If you have a stand with a wall wart
    jack, just get a 240V wall wart with the same output. If it's a base with
    just a cord and plug, you need either a step-down transformer or a new
    base that accepts 240V.

    I seriously doubt if running a 120V/60Hz charger at 120/50 will burn the
    house down - just check it periodically for a few minutes, and if it gets
    too hot, then go to plan B.

    Good Luck!
    Rich
     
  3. Ken Taylor

    Ken Taylor Guest

    I wouldn't have thought that would be fatal - they use 240V mains there.

    Ken
     
  4. Interesting article in todays Wall Street Journal. It seems that
    manufacturers are shipping equipment with region-specific power supplies
    lately. It seems that want to prevent folks in Europe (and other places)
    from taking advantage of the cheap US dollar and buying here instead of
    at home.

    They pointed out that although it is cheaper to build one version of a
    product with a multi-voltage power supply (particularly if its an SMPS),
    that lets too many people buy products on the gray market.

    There was a sad example of a guy in Fiji who plugged in a brand new iMac
    G5, only to discover that Apple no longer provided multi-voltage power
    input.
     
  5. Joel Kolstad

    Joel Kolstad Guest

    I figured that, while the quantities are higher if you're just building a
    universal input switcher, the US/Japanese market alone is big enough that
    the savings you get on saving a few pennies by needing lower voltage rated
    transformers and other components still made it cheaper to build 110-125V
    only versions of power supplies...
    It'd be surprising if he blew more than just the power supply.
    Disappointing, yes, but not _too_ spendy to fix.

    If the manufacturers really are trying to use this tactic to reduce gray
    market sales, while it probably will be somewhat effective, hard core users
    will just buy inexpensive voltage conversion transformers. Additionally,
    manufacturers will to some degree be shooting themselves in the foot, since
    it's primarily the 'first tier' manufacturers who have such sophisticated
    marketing plans in place anyway, and many consumers will start looking at
    'second tier' alternatives that will then have universal input power
    supplies anyway. (I.e., sure, Apple could be successful at this since
    they're the only company making Macs, but not PC companies...)

    It would be really evil if the electronics started sensing the line
    frequency and refused to operate on, e.g., 50Hz if the product were destined
    for a 60Hz country.

    ---Joel Kolstad
     
  6. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    It's fatal for a 120V-only power supply. =:-O

    Cheers!
    Rich
     
  7. Hi all

    ISTR reading that one (US-based) high-end audio manufacturer had done
    just that - and designed a 60hz sensing circuit into their hi-fi amp.

    This was then causing considerable grief and righteous indignation
    amongst people where 50hz was used - said manufacturer was charging
    many pennies for a 'service kit' that allowed the box to run on 50Hz
    mains.....

    Strange that any designer shoud go to such trouble to limit their
    market....?

    Adrian
    Suffolk UK

    ======return email munged=================
    take out the papers and the trash to reply
     
  8. Jerry G.

    Jerry G. Guest

    I myself have had this experience. I have also had clients have the same
    experience. This is if you take an American device using a power
    transformer, and use it on 50 Hz, when it was designed for 60 Hz only. At 50
    Hz the unit will run hotter. If the transformer is working at near to its
    capacity at 60 Hz, when working at 50 Hz, it will run very hot. The lower
    the mains frequency, the hotter it will run.

    If you have a transformer that is designed to work at 50 Hz, and it is run
    on 60 Hz, it will not heat up as much. In fact, it may run more efficiently
    at a higher mains frequency. I will certainly run a bit cooler, and may have
    a longer life span.

    Some types of switching power supplies are also critical to the mains
    frequency. These are the ones that are using an input voltage multiplier
    circuit in them. If the mains frequency is lowered, its efficiency will be
    effected.

    --

    Jerry G.
    =====

    From experience...you're just wrong. There may be some devices which will
    smoke from 60 vs. 50 Hz, but I would guess they are in the distinct
    minority.

    Do you have some direct experience which supports you contention?

    jak
     
  9. NSM

    NSM Guest

    | From experience...you're just wrong. There may be some devices which will
    | smoke from 60 vs. 50 Hz, but I would guess they are in the distinct
    | minority.
    |
    | Do you have some direct experience which supports you contention?

    I can mail you some if you will pay for S&H. I first became aware of this
    when we started importing Radio Shack Model I's into NZ which has nominally
    230 VAC 50 Hz. Their little power supplies all died, which we tracked down
    to running them at 115 VAC 50 Hz. Running them on 100 VAC led to a long life
    and no tedious rewinding.

    Unless it says 50/60 don't try it. You will regret it.

    N
     
  10. jakdedert

    jakdedert Guest

    Not IME. Sure they run a little hotter, that's just physics, but I've yet
    to see one melt down...and it's nowhere near as inevitable as NSM seems to
    intimate.
    It may have at that. But to state emphatically that it absolutely *will*
    melt down and burn if run on 50 Hz, simply because it was sold for the U.S.
    market is just wrong. I've had too many devices run for too many hours in
    exactly that situation to believe that. *None of them* melted down, or even
    got uncomfortably hot.
    Most of my European experience was in the 80's when most wall warts were
    simply transformers with rectifiers....

    jak
     
  11. NSM

    NSM Guest

    | Not IME. Sure they run a little hotter, that's just physics, but I've yet
    | to see one melt down...and it's nowhere near as inevitable as NSM seems to
    | intimate.
    ....
    | It may have at that. But to state emphatically that it absolutely *will*
    | melt down and burn if run on 50 Hz, simply because it was sold for the
    U.S.
    | market is just wrong. I've had too many devices run for too many hours in
    | exactly that situation to believe that. *None of them* melted down, or
    even
    | got uncomfortably hot.
    ....

    What is your line voltage? BTW, as far as "absolutely *will*", remember
    Murphy?

    N
     
  12. jakdedert

    jakdedert Guest

    I understand Murphy...he's a permanent resident here. My line voltage
    varies from 101v (my house) to just under 125v (my shop/office). That's
    immaterial. The issue is the line voltage where I've run these
    devices...sometimes up to 240v in England--on a cheap transformer--not a
    single meltdown. The stepup transformer, OTOH got a little warm.....

    jak
     
  13. James Sweet

    James Sweet Guest

    Yikes, I'd be worried about such a large variation, I'd be calling the power
    company if my line voltage was under 110 or over 125, but in practice it's
    always been within a volt or two of 120v.
     
  14. NSM

    NSM Guest

    | I understand Murphy...he's a permanent resident here. My line voltage
    | varies from 101v (my house) to just under 125v (my shop/office). That's
    | immaterial. The issue is the line voltage where I've run these
    | devices...sometimes up to 240v in England--on a cheap transformer--not a
    | single meltdown. The stepup transformer, OTOH got a little warm.....

    If you get away with it, great, but I have seen way too many of the little
    buggers go tits up. Of course if you wanted them to burn out they never
    would.

    N
     
  15. I read in sci.electronics.design that jakdedert <>
    US transformers are presumably designed to accommodate some over-voltage
    at 60 Hz, e.g. 130 V. If you run such a transformer on half of European
    230 V, which may actually be either 110 V or 120 V, depending on
    country, you are not hitting it very hard. 130 x 50/60 = 108 V.
     
  16. gwhite

    gwhite Guest

    Often the transformer works for either 120 or 240; it is simply a matter of how
    the wires/terminals are connected. (Then the manufacturer only has to stock one
    type of transformer for both the US and Europe.) So you might want to look at
    it. You may be able to simply rewire and replace the plug. I've done the
    reverse--taken euro stuff and rewire the transformer for the US and re-plugged
    it. No problems.

    What is your time worth?
     
  17. Feeding it with 3V may harm the trimmer. Feeding it with 1.5V might not
    work. Many of those dirt cheap variable adapters are unregulated; when
    set to 1.5V the output voltage may be much higher than that, depending
    on the load. The is no way of telling how well it will work with out
    knowing technical constuction details of the trimmer and the adapter. In
    other words: your milleage may vary.
    You are not feeding it 1000mA. The trimmer draws 1100mA which is more
    than the adapter can provide (1000mA). This in turn may overheat and/or
    damage the adapter.
    If you go for option a the line frequency does not matter since the
    adapter will rectify the current before it gets to the trimmer.
    If you go for option b the original transformer could get saturated due
    to the lower frequency, though probably it will work.
    Buy a trimmer in Europe, it is probably the cheapest and best solution.
     
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