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Author Topic: First time working in UK - anything I should know about power?  (Read 6272 times)

Wren Curtis

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Hi everyone - first-time poster, long-time lurker.

I'm going to be working in Scotland for a few weeks in early August, and it'll be my first time working outside the US.  I'm fairly knowledgeable about power (troubleshooting, testing, rewiring/fixing outlets and switches if necessary, etc.), but all my experience is with US power.  Is there anything peculiar or special or unusual that I should know about the power in the UK as compared to what I'm used to, or are the principles pretty much easily transferable to the different voltage and type(s) of outlets?

All the equipment we'll be using is rented from a local company and the venue I'll be primarily in is old but (I'm told) well-kept and in good shape, so I'm not specifically worried about having to make equipment intended to work in the US play nice with UK power.  (Life is unpredictable, though, as we all know...)

Thanks!
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Steve M Smith

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Re: First time working in UK - anything I should know about power?
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2014, 03:13:11 pm »

UK power is much simpler than the multiple voltages and range of outlets you have in the US.  Our supply is three phase 415 volts. Domestic properties get one phase and neutral (240 volts) and larger buildings (venues/factories/businesses) get all three phases plus neutral.

There are a small number of industrial connectors for both single and three phase at various current ratings.

       

If they are red, they are 415v 3 phase. Blue indicates 240v single phase. You probably won't find a yellow one.  They are for building site use and are transformer isolated 110 volts with a central earth so in a fault condition there can only be 55 volts above ground potential.

For domestic connections - which will include guitar amps, mixers, etc, there is only one connector.  The 13 amp plug.  Despite its name. it is fitted with a fuse to suit the appliance attached. These can be 2A, 3A, 5A, 10A up to the maximum of 13A.



Most equipment which isn't powered by a 'wall wart' power supply will be connected with the European IEC connector at the equipment end.



We don't have the bewildering (to me) assortment of different but similar looking plugs and sockets which you have in the US.


Steve.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2014, 04:53:34 pm by Steve M Smith »
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Mark Cadwallader

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Re: First time working in UK - anything I should know about power?
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2014, 10:32:03 pm »

UK power is much simpler than the multiple voltages and range of outlets you have in the US.

(Snip)

We don't have the bewildering (to me) assortment of different but similar looking plugs and sockets which you have in the US.

Steve.

Yeah, but you guys are smart enough to have converted to the metric system years ago, despite having invented the "Imperial"'or "English" measurement system. Over here, not so much....  Mark C.
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Steve M Smith

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Re: First time working in UK - anything I should know about power?
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2014, 01:52:33 am »

Yeah, but you guys are smart enough to have converted to the metric system years ago, despite having invented the "Imperial"'or "English" measurement system. Over here, not so much....  Mark C.

Not fully.  Our cars read in miles per hour, road signs are in miles and yards with width and height restrictions in feet and inches.

People of my age (approaching 50) tend to use both.  If I am doing engineering design, I use metric. If I am doing some building work on a house, it is in imperial.


Steve.
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Jonathan Johnson

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Re: First time working in UK - anything I should know about power?
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2014, 04:22:26 pm »

Not fully.  Our cars read in miles per hour, road signs are in miles and yards with width and height restrictions in feet and inches.

A friend in the construction industry went to Finland to visit. He asked a builder over there what they call a wall stud -- the answer was "two by four" (or the literal Finnish translation thereof).
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Steve M Smith

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Re: First time working in UK - anything I should know about power?
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2014, 04:57:03 pm »

He asked a builder over there what they call a wall stud -- the answer was "two by four"

In the 1980s and 1990s when the timber industry was converting from imperial to metric, 2x4 (or 50x100) was sold by the 'metric foot' which was 300mm - a real foot being 304.8mm.


Steve.
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Lyle Williams

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Re: First time working in UK - anything I should know about power?
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2014, 05:58:07 am »

Is there anything peculiar or special or unusual that I should know about the power in the UK as compared to what I'm used to

It seems crazy to me, but I hear that they don't use electricity to chill their beer.  That sounds like a dangerous practice you need to be aware of.
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Steve M Smith

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Re: First time working in UK - anything I should know about power?
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2014, 06:12:09 am »

We don't use anything to chill beer... It should be served at room temperature.  And we have proper beer!


Steve.
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Wren Curtis

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Re: First time working in UK - anything I should know about power?
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2014, 11:15:18 am »

I dunno Steve, I'm pretty picky about my beer but I do think it's much, much better cold.  Good to know Lyle, thanks!  :o

And Steve: thanks for that first post - that's exactly the kind of info I was looking for.
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Jonathan Johnson

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Re: First time working in UK - anything I should know about power?
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2014, 01:45:21 pm »

50 Hz in UK versus 60 Hz in USA. Of course, most electronic equipment doesn't care about that. What does care are AC motors, which may run slower (~17%ish slower) and many digital clock radios which are regulated by the line frequency rather than a quartz oscillator. So your classic cat clock is not going to wag its tail as vigorously and you'll be late for church.
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: First time working in UK - anything I should know about power?
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2014, 01:45:21 pm »


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