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Using UK 240V equipment on USA 110V?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by cocksy, Oct 19, 2012.

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  1. cocksy


    Oct 19, 2012
    Hi there,

    I've just moved to the USA from the UK and am wondering whether I need to use a transformer for all my UK electronics (I'm not talking about plug & socket adaptors!).

    Some of my stuff say 110V - 240V, 50~60Hz and works fine. However some of it just says 240V 50Hz.

    So my question is, will plugging it directly into the US mains cause them any damage, or will they just not work??! I think the lower voltage wont be an issue, but I'm not sure about the frequency. My gut instinct is that it will be fine, but I'm not 100% sure!

    The kind of things I am thinking about trying include:
    • My flat screen LED TV
    • My PS3
    • Power pack for my wireless keyboard and mouse
    • Power pack for my computer speakers

    Obviously some of those things are fairly expensive so I don't want to break them! Any help appreciated.
  2. Rleo6965


    Jan 22, 2012
    It's ok to use 50hz with correct stepdown adaptor. As long that appliance does not have 50hz ac motor.
  3. duke37


    Jan 9, 2011
    Except that you will need to step up the voltage not step it down.

    Running on a low voltage may be all right in some cases but, in others, the supply will try its hardest to correct things and may be overrun. Some supplies as you have seen can do a wide range of voltages.

    The logical thing to do is to replace cheap power packs.
  4. cocksy


    Oct 19, 2012
    I'm trying to work out if it is safe to plug my kit into the US mains without a transformer!

    I've bought this transformer for my wife's Kenwood mixer, so hopefully that will be OK.

    I can replace the power packs on a couple of things, but not on my TV or PS3 - do you think its likely I'll cause damage to either of those by plugging them into the US mains without a transformer?!

    Also, for the things with external power packs, if I was to use them in the US sockets, and they were overrun, would they cause damage to the equipment, or would they just burn out the power packs?

    Thanks for your help!
  5. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    Jan 21, 2010
    Check the voltage specifications on the power packs.

    If they say something like 90 to 265V, then you're OK. If they specify only a single voltage, or a range that doesn't include 120V, no.
  6. duke37


    Jan 9, 2011
    I would not attempt to use your TV or PS3 or anything else without the correct input.

    Use the transformer and eat porridge!
  7. CocaCola


    Apr 7, 2012
    I would personally get cheap 110V wall warts to replace the devices that use them like your speakers and keyboard... For the TV and PS3 if it was me and I wanted to keep them and not swap them out for US models I would simply run a 220V line to their location and plug them in... Even the cost to pay an pro electrician to do this is likely on level with what it will cost to get them working properly by other means like step up transformer or power board swap out... Running the 220V should be a clean install without any issues since most devices are fully tolerant of the frequency difference between the US and UK... Since it's a low amp 220V line you don't need the heavy wires generally associated with US 220V outlets (we generally only use them for high loads) this smaller gauge wire will keep the cost down two fold, out of pocket for the wire and simply less trouble and work to route and hookup... You might even luck out if the house has conduit and just be able to pull the new wires right up and switch out an existing outlet...

    But, that is just me, doing this might very well be impractical for others...
  8. cocksy


    Oct 19, 2012
    Thanks for the feedback guys - sounds like trying to use the existing power packs etc isn't a good idea, so I'll invest in some 110V power packs then!
  9. JMW


    Jan 30, 2012
    The items listed as 110 240 may have to rewired to work on 110VAC. There is usually a plate on the unit (more than likely inside) that will describe the process. Stuff with motors (washing machines, dryers etc) will have a problem with 60Hz. They will run faster. Too bad you shipped the stuff.
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