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is it safe to use old power converter?

Discussion in 'Power Electronics' started by blueagent, Feb 23, 2019.

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  1. blueagent


    Feb 23, 2019
    i have an old power converter which is around 20 years old. it allows 110v electronics from japan to be used here with 220v voltage. it has no moving parts and is about the size of a fist, it was meant for use with my japanese playstation console.

    since this power converter is so old, i'm wondering if its safe for use at home?
    i'm concerned that using high voltage vintage electronics will catch fire in my living room and burn my home down.
    so generally do people need to buy a new power converter if its over 20 years old?
  2. Harald Kapp

    Harald Kapp Moderator Moderator

    Nov 17, 2011
    Age alone is not an indicator. A 20 year old transformer is likely to be good another 20 years or more if it was well built in the first place.
    A simple check you can do without any tools is connecting an appliance to the output of the transformer (observe the max. ratings!) and connect the primary side to your mains. Check the transformer for an increase in temperature. It should not get hot, just warm (maybe very warm) to the touch.

    If you have a multimeter you can also check for isolation between primary side and secondary side. Although a multimeter can give only a crude indication for a true short circuit. You'd require high voltage to make a thorough check on the isolation. I guess if you had access to such a source you wouldn't be here asking ;).
    With a multimeter you can also check the current on the primary side of the transformer. It should be well below the rated primary current of the transformer.

    Make sure you always use the transformer on a properly fused mains outlet to minimize any risk.
  3. blueagent


    Feb 23, 2019
    Thank you so much for the concise and detailed response! i plugged the transformer in and after awhile, it's not too hot when i touch it, so i think it should be ok for now.

    i'll see if i can get a multimeter and check again just to be sure.

    thank you so much again for the help!
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