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Thread: 220v to 110v converters

  1. #1
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    Default 220v to 110v converters

    I just purchased some Microbee stuff and they are 220v. So I was wondering what I should be looking for in terms of wattage and quality for a 110v to 220v converter.. stuff to look out for? Is one of those $69.00 specials from China good enough? Are there risks with these things to be wary of?

    Basically I'd want enough power to drive a small monochrome monitor and computer, maybe a disk drive.. mostly 12vdc stuff.

  2. #2
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    Are you certain that the Microbee power supply can't be re-jumpered for 120V? Assuming that there aren't any 50Hz dependent parts in the thing, one approach is to use an isolation transformer. Alternatively, you can use a big transformer with a split primary (120/240V) and use it as an autotransformer--but be careful with your grounding.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by falter View Post
    I just purchased some Microbee stuff and they are 220v. So I was wondering what I should be looking for in terms of wattage and quality for a 110v to 220v converter.. stuff to look out for? Is one of those $69.00 specials from China good enough? Are there risks with these things to be wary of?

    Basically I'd want enough power to drive a small monochrome monitor and computer, maybe a disk drive.. mostly 12vdc stuff.
    If its 12v DC stuff then does it use "wall warts" or "power bricks". Personally I would replace the PSU units making sure the voltage is well stabilised and they can supply sufficient current.

    If you want to go with an inexpensive 110v to 220v converter there shouldn't be a problem so long as nothing, e.g. the disk drive motors, are locked to the mains frequency and the converter is rated with sufficient power.

    US/Canadian mains are 60Hz, 220v is usually only 50Hz. Transformers in PSUs are less efficient at 50Hz so running US stuff on dropped UK mains can be an issue with transformers overheating, but running 220v stuff on stepped up 120v @ 50hz is fine.

    You may also have 220v available in your house. Many US and Canadian houses have some 220v for kitchen appliances.
    Dave
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    Looking for Analog Computers, Drum Plotters, and Graphics Terminals

  4. #4

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    All North American houses have 240 volts available. We have center tapped transformers that feed our breaker panel, so half comes from one side of the transformer secondary and one half comes from the other. They just use a special double breaker that grabs both sides, and you’re back up to the 240 volts.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by jafir View Post
    All North American houses have 240 volts available. We have center tapped transformers that feed our breaker panel, so half comes from one side of the transformer secondary and one half comes from the other. They just use a special double breaker that grabs both sides, and you’re back up to the 240 volts.
    Alternatively, you can convert your kitchen into an office and use that outlet.

    /s
    IBM PS/2 Model 25, NEC V30 8MHz, 640KB RAM, ATI VGA Wonder XL, 2GB SSD, Ethernet, DR DOS 6/GeOS, Xircom PE3 Ethernet

  6. #6

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    I know that was sarcasm, but Iíve thought about rolling a rack of enterprise class storage into my kitchen for testing purposes. I still havenít actually done that

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jafir View Post
    All North American houses have 240 volts available. We have center tapped transformers that feed our breaker panel, so half comes from one side of the transformer secondary and one half comes from the other. They just use a special double breaker that grabs both sides, and youíre back up to the 240 volts.
    My shop has outlets for 240V; 240V or 208V is common in commercial buildings; standard NEMA 6-15 15A receptacles look like the illustration below. My table saw and planer run from 240V for example. My welder uses a 3-pin NEMA 10-30 plug that resembles the one used for an electric clothes dryer (in size).

    However, be aware that North American 240V in residential cases is 120-0-120v -- that is, both legs are "hot" with respect to ground. This differs from European/UK convention of 0-220 where one leg is neutral. For safety, you're best advised to use an isolation transformer.


  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by falter View Post
    I just purchased some Microbee stuff and they are 220v. So I was wondering what I should be looking for in terms of wattage and quality for a 110v to 220v converter.. stuff to look out for? Is one of those $69.00 specials from China good enough? Are there risks with these things to be wary of?

    Basically I'd want enough power to drive a small monochrome monitor and computer, maybe a disk drive.. mostly 12vdc stuff.
    I would strongly advise against anything cheap. I spent time in Europe with a bunch of other Americans and I can say that I personally witnessed at least 1/2 dozen of those cheap little converters produce magic smoke in just a few months time, and they all took the varied devices attached to them to the electronics afterlife with them.

  9. #9
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    I would agree.

    Been looking for a 240V to 110V for a while but steered away from any Chinese product because of the poor safety standards on mains electrical equipment when not sold by a reputable supplier.

    Found myself an old Sturdy electric co 240V to 110V transformer - been around since the war and its built like a tank. All for £20. Loop and IR tested and is fine.
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  10. #10
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    It would seem to me that the UKans have things a bit easier--portable power tool transformers can be readily had that translate 220V to 55-0-55V, no? Of course, the center-tap ground can also be an issue; but I'm assuming that it can be defeated.

    In North America, the reverse is not really the case.

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