ProSoundWeb Community

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

Pages: [1]   Go Down

Author Topic: Operating UK equipment on US power  (Read 791 times)

David Allred

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1904
Operating UK equipment on US power
« on: March 22, 2024, 10:07:36 AM »

From an electronics forum:

"To talk of "European" equipment here is not useful, since Europe has many different electrical standards, varying from country to country.

However, if the equipment concerned operates on a compatible voltage, and if the equipment concerned is not sensitive to the different AC frequency, then you could connect a European device to an American supply.

To take one example, the main difference between an American domestic 240 V supply and a UK 240 V domestic supply is the grounding/earthing arrangement. In the US outlet both legs of the 240 V supply are hot and are 120 V from ground. In the UK 240 V supply one leg is live and one leg is neutral (close to earth potential). In other European countries the supply voltage and grounding arrangements may be different.

As mentioned by other posters, European devices are designed to operate safely in a variety of different supply situations with both supply legs fully isolated and insulated from exposed parts. So a European nominal 230 V device can be plugged into a US 240 V socket without problems."


Can anyone confirm or refute this? Pic attached.
Thanks.

PS - I also saw that tying the outputs of a 2 pole breaker gives 240v (using neutral).  But does that not make every 120v breaker output 240v also by tying the 120v buses together through that breaker?
Logged

John Roberts {JR}

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 17182
  • Hickory, Mississippi, USA
    • Resotune
Re: Operating UK equipment on US power
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2024, 10:43:13 AM »

You should be ok with modern gear... I would be nervous about plugging an old EU guitar amp into US 240VAC outlet as any stinger cap could be energized in both switch positions.

JR
Logged
Cancel the "cancel culture". Do not participate in mob hatred.

David Allred

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1904
Re: Operating UK equipment on US power
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2024, 11:08:56 AM »

You should be ok with modern gear... I would be nervous about plugging an old EU guitar amp into US 240VAC outlet as any stinger cap could be energized in both switch positions.

JR
The gear is a koi pond air pump.  :)
Logged

Mac Kerr

  • Old enough to know better
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 7561
  • Audio Plumber
Re: Operating UK equipment on US power
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2024, 01:40:56 PM »


PS - I also saw that tying the outputs of a 2 pole breaker gives 240v (using neutral).  But does that not make every 120v breaker output 240v also by tying the 120v buses together through that breaker?

This part sounds scary. You do not tie 2 120v legs together to get 240v. This is done with 240v breaker that keeps the legs separate. The 2 legs, which are each 120v but of opposite polarity are isolated from each other till they reach the load.

Mac
Logged

Erik Jerde

  • Classic LAB
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1398
Re: Operating UK equipment on US power
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2024, 09:25:48 AM »

This part sounds scary. You do not tie 2 120v legs together to get 240v. This is done with 240v breaker that keeps the legs separate. The 2 legs, which are each 120v but of opposite polarity are isolated from each other till they reach the load.

Mac

Yeah, tying the two legs of a US 120V 1PH directly together will make sparks and trip the breaker.

For this issue it’s probably important to have a little understanding of how power works.  In order for power to flow you need a difference in voltage.  For a standard 120V outlet you have a 120V hot leg and a (nominally) 0 volt neutral.  That gives a voltage potential of 120V when connected across a load.  For 240V UK power it’s the same except the hot leg is 240v.

Now in the US 1PH (single phase) power you usually get two 120V legs that are 180 degrees out of phase from each other.  Remember that AC power is a sine wave.  Without drawing a picture what this means in practice is that when one hot is 120V the other is effectively -120v.  When you connect a load across these two legs you get a voltage potential of 240v.  Think of it as one side is pushing 120V when the other is pulling 120v.  The load doesn’t care how the voltage differential is achieved it just operates when it’s present.

Going back to the idea of tying the two phases directly together you can hopefully see how that creates a short circuit which trips the breaker and how even if it didn’t if you attached those to one side of a load and neutral to the other you wouldn’t get a voltage potential across the load of 240V.
Logged

Russell Ault

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2505
  • Edmonton, AB
Re: Operating UK equipment on US power
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2024, 03:33:18 PM »

{...} European devices are designed to operate safely in a variety of different supply situations with both supply legs fully isolated and insulated from exposed parts. So a European nominal 230 V device can be plugged into a US 240 V socket without problems." {...}

I'm not sure I'd take this as gospel, personally. For example, while this should be correct for any devices with "Schuko" plugs (which aren't polarized), I wouldn't want to assume that it's true of all devices being sold in the (many) European countries where the plugs are polarized (e.g. the discussion here about L-Acoustics amps ostensibly requiring a neutral despite being "European devices").

The gear is a koi pond air pump.  :)

Given that you're talking about a device with a motor, I'd suggest triple-checking that it will run happily on 60 Hz power (i.e. some motors—depending on design—are frequency-agnostic or use frequency-agnostic controllers, some motors are perfectly content to run 20% faster than originally intended and will do so indefinitely, and some motors would let the magic smoke out in fairly short order).

-Russ
Logged

David Allred

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1904
Re: Operating UK equipment on US power
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2024, 08:10:23 AM »

Pretty sure that the motor is just a solenoid type.  And is rated for 50/60 hz.  Getting a cheap Amazon step-up transformer.  The pump only makes 37w.
Logged

Kevin Graf

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 344
Re: Operating UK equipment on US power
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2024, 09:11:37 AM »

Many older British components were designed for 230 Volts. Now days it's common for US supplies to be above 240 Volts. A 230 Volt transformer  might not be happy at 245 Volts.
Logged
Speedskater

Daniel Levi

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 656
Re: Operating UK equipment on US power
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2024, 02:18:11 PM »

Many older British components were designed for 230 Volts. Now days it's common for US supplies to be above 240 Volts. A 230 Volt transformer  might not be happy at 245 Volts.

Newer stuff will be designed for 230V as that's the harmonised European/EU standard, power in the UK used to be rated at 240V nominal and a lot of it still is or can be higher.
The EU/European standard allows for the older 220V and 240V standards as part of the tolerance allowed. For old valve based stuff making sure it was set to the correct voltage was very important as you would risk damaging the valve filaments if the voltage feeding them was too high, and naturally on a transformer based supply the output voltage followed the input voltage.
Logged

David Allred

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1904
Re: Operating UK equipment on US power
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2024, 12:30:00 PM »

The 100w transformer didn't even last an hour before getting so hot it blistered the case.  The transformer manufacturer recommends load + 50% for continuous use... which would be under 55w.
Huh.  I thought all Chinese specs and ratings were spot on.  ::) ::) ::)
Maybe it is actually (load + 50%)x2. ;)
Logged

ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Operating UK equipment on US power
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2024, 12:30:00 PM »


Pages: [1]   Go Up
 



Site Hosted By Ashdown Technologies, Inc.

Page created in 0.033 seconds with 22 queries.