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Getting wired for the U.S. and Italy!!!

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by [email protected], Feb 9, 2005.

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  1. Guest


    I am looking to buy an inkjet printer, DVD recorder with hard disk, and
    home theater system. The problem is that I am living in Italy
    (220V/50Hz) and may move to the U.S. (110V/60Hz) in the future. I
    would the option to use these electronics in both countries.

    I have the option of buying the products in the U.S., but would prefer
    to buy them here in Italy. From a technical standpoint, is it better
    to step down from 220/50 to 110/60 or step up?

    I would like to avoid purchasing a voltage transformer/converter. Is
    it feasible to have these products rewired by an electrician to handle
    both voltages and frequencies?

    I assume there is some form of a motor in all of these products. Is
    this a problem as far as the frequency is concerned?

    Thanks in advance for the help!
  2. jakdedert

    jakdedert Guest

    If you buy a unit from one of the major brand printers which has an external
    power supply (Hp has--or used to have--some), you can simply replace the
    supply with a U.S. spec one when/if you come over here. It's not an
    inexpensive option, however...costing roughly half the printer price.

    Both inkjets and DVD's are so cheap here, I'd suggest just selling both and
    buying new/used ones here.....

  3. Jerry G.

    Jerry G. Guest

    As for computer equipment, some types will work in both countries. As
    long as the power supply can work in 120 VAC / 60 Hz for North America
    you will be okay.

    As for audio and video equipment, as for stereo recievers, VCR's, DVD
    players, and TV sets, this is where you will have a lot of problems.
    The broadcast system here in North America is NOT compatable, and your
    TV hardware will not be very usefull over here, if you plan to use it
    for watching local programing, or using localy recorded materials.

    Before coming over to North America, have all your archives copied over
    to the NTSC standard that is used over here. When you come here, you
    can then buy NTSC type television equipment, and you will be okay.

    Your sound system for audio will be okay, except for the tuner section.
    The frequency alocations are different in North America.

    For the TV system, it is not only the frequency alocations that are
    different, but so are the methods of decoding the video, and audio.


    As for any appliances that you bring over to North America, make sure
    that they can work on 120 VAC / 60 Hz.

    If your equipment is 220 VAC, and can work on 60 Hz, it is possible for
    an electrical contractor to install some 220 VAC outlets in your home
    for you. Our major cooking appliances, and heating systems usually work
    on 220 VAC / 60 Hz over here.

    Jerry G.
  4. NSM

    NSM Guest

    You are somewhat better off with 50 Hz stuff. I doubt it will make a
    difference, but it's the best way to go.
    Many items run on both anyway. No, if they aren't set up for it there is no
    way to fix that and an electrician is the wrong person. HOWEVER, you can get
    a 220 line in any US house, in fact most kitchen outlets have 220 volts
    already. Bring two or three power bars with you so you can plug it all into
    one outlet.
    Almost never.

    HOWEVER, the DVD recorder with hard disk, and home theater system almost
    certainly will not work in the USA. Italy is PAL, the USA is NTSC. Also, the
    DVDs from there are the wrong zone.
  5. James Sweet

    James Sweet Guest

    In the kitchen? If the house has an electric stove, then yes there'll be
    240v behind the stove, but nowhere else. While technically you could easily
    install a 240v outlet in any room, you'd want to check first to see if code
    permits this.
    Most any computer DVD drive will let you change regions 3 or 4 times, just
    buy one that supports this feature and change it if you move. For a DVD
    player you could just pick up one of the easily hackable Apex players or
    something similar, or just buy the cheapest one you can find now, and give
    it to a friend and buy another one in the US if you move.
  6. Guest

    The short answer is: don't bother.
    As others in the thread have pointed out, the dvd recorder will be
    totally incompatible, the home theatre system would need its power
    supply modifying as would the printer. That is, assuming you could
    find anyone who'd be bothered to undertake that work. If you had to pay
    a tech, the costs of doing it, and then transporting it thousands of
    miles, would easily equal the cost of a new machine in the US.

    Inkjet printers and home theatre systems can be easily found new and
    used these days without spending much. Just get 'em when you return

    While in Italy, consider second hand stuff for now, look around. I'm
    sure, for instance, university students will be selling off what they
    can't take back to their home area or country. In the Uk and also here
    in Spain, there is a chain called cash converters, selling used gear
    with 1 year warrenty by law. Major supermarket chains have special
    deals on that kind of stuff also.

    good luck, Ben
  7. Tim Schwartz

    Tim Schwartz Guest


    There are some surround receivers that can be changed from 230V to 115V
    with the flick of a switch. I'm most familiar with the Arcam units
    ( but I'm sure there are other brands out there too.
    Basic ink jet printers are so inexpensive in the US ($75-$150) that it
    is probably not worth shipping one over. Give the old one a way to a
    friend, and buy a new one when you get here.

    The DVD recorder is the big problem. In Europe, the commercial discs
    are region 2, and the US is region 1. It is not legal for a repair shop
    to 'deregionalize' a machine, though it may be possible, and many can be
    set for one region or another. Discs you record yourself probably have
    no regional code and will play anywhere. Video turners will be
    incompatible between PAL and NTSC. You might be able to find a
    multistandard unit that will work everywhere.

    Tim Schwartz
    Bristol Electronics
  8. GG

    GG Guest

    Thanks for all the replies. It seems like it is more trouble that it
    is worth. The problem is that some of the products that I want are
    somewhat high end. A couple more questions before a final decision...

    Some UPSs have inputs/outputs at both voltages and frequencies. Is
    this a viable option? Do UPSs make a lot of noise (e.g. fan)?

    On the internet that there are companies that claim to supply region
    free products (e.g. Are these
    companies for legitimate? Do you know if they modify the products?

    Thanks again!
  9. NSM

    NSM Guest

    Are you unaware that in kichens now, all outlets are split 220? This is a
    regulation. Try a voltmeter - measure hot to hot.
  10. NSM

    NSM Guest

    No a good option. Still won't fix the TV problems. No fans.
    Usually WAAY expensive. A DVD player can be as low as $30 in the US.
  11. James Sweet

    James Sweet Guest

    A bigger problem might be that the home theater system will likely be PAL in
    Italy correct? For it to be useful in North America it would have to be
    As I said earlier, the DVD recorder won't be an issue if it's a drive for a
    PC, they can almost always have their region changed a few times.
  12. James Sweet

    James Sweet Guest

    No I wasn't aware, but they're not in my house (built in '79) nor are they
    in any other house in which I've done electrical work. Changes in regulation
    don't automatically change every house on the continent. If he was buying a
    brand new house perhaps this would be something he could count on, but
    certainly not in an older one. I have to wonder though, what would be the
    point of splitting the circuit making 240v present between two sections of
    an outlet? Sounds dangerous more than anything.
  13. NSM

    NSM Guest

    It's not 240 it's split 220. The top and bottom hot lines are on two
    separate breakers off two sides of the split 220. It helps to spread the
    kitchen load over the two hot lines. In apartment buildings with a 3 phase
    supply it's usually 208 between the two hot lines.
  14. James Sweet

    James Sweet Guest

    Line voltage here in the US is 120/240, and yeah I understand what you
    meant, I've just never encountered a house that was wired like that, nor
    have I seen an apartment building with 3 phase power, always had 120/240
    just like houses.
  15. NSM

    NSM Guest

    It was 208 in my old apartment and I've got 220 in my condo.
  16. Guest

    They claim that some of their DVD recorders with harddisk play and
    output both NTSC and PAL (e.g. The cost is about $100 more
    than what it goes for without the modifications. Of course, the
    shipping overseas is another story.

    Jerrt G mentioned that the tuner frequency alocations are different in
    North America. Are you sure about this? They seem that same to me.
    Perhaps only on the AM side?
  17. Guest

    They claim that some of their DVD recorders with harddisk play and
    output both NTSC and PAL (e.g. The cost is about $100 more
    than what it goes for without the modifications. Of course, the
    shipping overseas is another story.

    Jerrt G mentioned that the tuner frequency alocations are different in
    North America. Are you sure about this? They seem that same to me.
    Perhaps only on the AM side?
  18. Guest

    I use an American radio in Italy and it picks up all of the radio
  19. NSM

    NSM Guest

    TV tuner frequencies are quite different. I'm sure there are lists on the
  20. Tim Schwartz

    Tim Schwartz Guest

    Hello again,

    I'd like to clarify the tuner situation:

    For the AUDIO FM tuner, Europe uses 50uS de-emphasis, while the USA
    uses 75uS. A european tuner in the US will sound bright, or a US tuner
    will sound dull in Europe. In Europe AM has 9KHz steps, and the USA
    uses 10KHz steps. Some A/V receivers will have either software
    switches, rear panel switches or internal methods of changing these.
    So, if you look carefully before you buy, you should be able to buy a
    115/230V receiver that is easy for the owner to change. I'd also try to
    make sure that the model is sold in both countries so you can get it
    serviced if you ever need to. These receivers should also be able to
    have their video displays switched between PAL and NTSC.

    For the VIDEO tuner a european PAL tuner will do you no good in the
    USA, and an American NTSC will be useless in Europe, so a
    'multistandard' machine is the only way to go.

    As to buying a DVD player in the USA, I've seen them advertised on sale
    for as low as $19.95US. HOWEVER these are going to be region 1
    machines, and will refuse to play region 2 discs that you bring over
    from Europe. It is possible to find a multi region machine, where the
    coding has been 'hacked' so that they will play any disc, but I don't
    get involved with those.

    Tim Schwartz
    Bristol Electronics
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