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gimme5

join:2002-12-23
Kissimmee, FL

220V european appliance in the US

Hi!

This is probably a dumb question, and since I know very little about these things I'm sure I must be overlooking something, so I apologize in advance.

I have a european kitchen appliance, when I plug it in any regular 110V outlet, it works, but I only get about 50% of the power I need(makes sense).

Apparently, I need a step up transformer if I want to be able to use it. However, a step up transformer would cost more than the appliance itself, so I was thinking, could I just make an extension cord with a male dryer type plug in the end and plug the appliance in my 220V dryer outlet?

Would I risk damaging the electrical system in my house by doing that?


whizkid3
Premium,MVM
join:2002-02-21
Queens, NY
kudos:9

2 edits
First off, what kink of appliance is it?

I assume it has a motor?

If so, its never going to work right, and may even go up in flames. Europe uses 50 Hz (Hertz or cycles per second) frequency of AC power, whereas, we use 60 Hz. Even a step-up transformer, is not going to meet the frequency requirements.

FYI - your dryer outlet is 240 Volts, not 220. You can try a 240 Volt circuit; but then again, why risk burning down your house or electrocuting yourself?


MrFixitCT
pay it forward
Premium,VIP,ExMod 2001-06
join:2000-12-01
Charleston, SC
reply to gimme5
better to get a converter if the appliance is important to you.
»www.voltage-converter-transforme···mer.html


Ken
Premium,MVM
join:2003-06-16
Markle, IN
reply to gimme5
Where did you get this appliance at? What is the manufacturer? The only reason I ask is some appliances are called European style, and I just wanted to make sure that you didn't confuse that with an actual appliance that was meant for Europe.
--
my websites: Merritt Construction LLC | KenMerritt.com

antbhill2
Premium,MVM
join:2001-02-28
Northern VA

1 edit
reply to gimme5
Depending on what your appliance is, frequency may not matter. Things like a toaster or (non-electronic control) coffee pot should be fine (at the correct voltage). You might check the name plate to see if the appliance is rated for 50-60 Hz.

Couple of other issues with the proposed configuration:

> Some European circuits are rated at 13 or 10 amps (or less). Plugging into your dryer outlet (30A) would not provide adequate overcurrent protection for the appliance. If something happens, there is a greater chance of burning up your appliance and/or your adapter cord.

> You would be running off two hots instead of a neutral and hot. This may or may not matter depending on the appliance.

As others have said, if you really want to use the appliance, you should get a step-up transformer. There is still risk in this type of solution (grounding is often lacking in the "universal" outlets used on transformers- especially if using shuko plugs). If a transformer isn't economical, just get a US version of the appliance.


sdgthy

@optonline.net
said by antbhill2:

Some European circuits are rated at 13 or 10 amps (or less). Plugging into your dryer outlet (30A) would not provide adequate overcurrent protection for the appliance. If something happens, there is a greater chance of burning up your appliance and/or your adapter cord.
With that logic, plugging in a clock radio would be dangerous...

Circuits are rated, and have circuit breakers, to protect the wires to the outlet. In no way is that intended to protect the device plugged into the outlet. Each device is required to have it's own overload protection.


gimme5

join:2002-12-23
Kissimmee, FL
reply to gimme5
Thanks everyone for your replies!

whizkid3: I don't want to burn down my house, which is why I'm asking . I'm not trying to go for a Darwin award here.

I thought the regular outlets were 110/120V and the one for the dryer was 220/240V.

MrFixitCT: The appliance is not that important to me and I've looked at those step up transformers, a bit too expensive and bulky (I need 1500W)

Ken: I bought the appliance in France a few years back.

antbhill2: The appliance I'm trying to use is a crepe maker, 1250W, 50Hz, I don't need to use it that bad, but I thought if I can make it work right for a few bucks, it might be worth it.


sdgthy

@optonline.net
110/120V and 220/240V are nominal voltages, in practice they can be between those ranges, or even be outside them. A crepe maker is probably only heaters, in which case it won't care about the frequency. There shouldn't be any issues using such plugged into a 220/240 outlet, so long as it doesn't have any fancy timers or such electronics.


whizkid3
Premium,MVM
join:2002-02-21
Queens, NY
kudos:9

2 edits

2 recommendations

reply to sdgthy
Yeah, a crepe maker will be fine; but you run the risk of not protecting the appliance properly for the reasons I will state below.

said by sdgthy :

said by antbhill2:

Some European circuits are rated at 13 or 10 amps (or less). Plugging into your dryer outlet (30A) would not provide adequate overcurrent protection for the appliance. If something happens, there is a greater chance of burning up your appliance and/or your adapter cord.
With that logic, plugging in a clock radio would be dangerous...

Circuits are rated, and have circuit breakers, to protect the wires to the outlet. In no way is that intended to protect the device plugged into the outlet. Each device is required to have it's own overload protection.
Sorry, but sdgthy, you are only partly right. Unfortunately, you are partly wrong. In reality, the breakers are not sized to protect the wires; it is the other way around. The breakers are sized to protect the equipment; and then the wires are sized to handle the maximum current load that will flow before tripping the breaker. The wires are always sized after the breaker or fuse is sized. I know - I design circuits every day.

Using your logic, I could hang a 15Amp receptacle off of a 1000 Amp circuit breaker, as long as my wires were big enough.

A 20A, 120V gerneral receptacle circuit can deliver a maximum of 2400W. It limits the wattage, and in turn the current, to protect against fires in the cords of cord and plug deviced like appliances. These appliances have much smaller gauge cords. The likelyhood of a fault in an appliance drawing a larger current than its cord can handle, but less than enough to trip the circuit breaker is very small.

In europe, the same appliance runs on 240V, but draws half as much current. Its cord is generally two to four gauges smaller. Likewise, the circuits have much smaller breakers. A typical receptacle circuit at 240V, has a 10Amp breaker, and will only provide up to 2400W before tripping. (Notice the simularity to the US.)

A US 30Amp, 240V dryer circuit, on the other hand, can supply up to 7200 Watts before tripping. This is a very large step up, with a very large corresponding margin between what the crepe maker cord can handle, and what the breaker will trip at. It is much more likely, that a fault in the small appliance, will ignite the cord prior to the breaker tripping. There is where it becomes unsafe.

There is still a chance however, that the cord & plug device can cause a fire. That is why the UK goes the extra mile, and requires fused in the plugs themselves (typically 3A, 5A). We do have fuses in our Christmas light cords for the very same reasons.

Of course, there is no reason that the OP can't change his breaker, or even provide a new circuit, that puts out only 10 Amps at 240V, and be safe, and happily crepe away.


fcisler
Premium
join:2004-06-14
Riverhead, NY
whizkid3 has given you some good advice, listen to him....

There's only one thing your off on, kid.....

In the US, we are 60Hz at 110/115/120 volts. At 220/230/240 etc, we are also 50Hz.


ArthurS
Watch Those Blinking Lights
Premium
join:2000-10-28
Hamilton, ON
said by fcisler:

In the US, we are 60Hz at 110/115/120 volts. At 220/230/240 etc, we are also 50Hz.
Huh? Can you explain yourself more, or is that a typo?


Ken
Premium,MVM
join:2003-06-16
Markle, IN
reply to fcisler
said by fcisler:

In the US, we are 60Hz at 110/115/120 volts. At 220/230/240 etc, we are also 50Hz.
220 is the combination of two 110 lines that are 180 degrees out of phase. How could that possibly change the frequency involved from 60Hz to 50Hz
--
my websites: Merritt Construction LLC | KenMerritt.com


RevMortis
I Hear Dead Silicon
Premium
join:2005-05-10
Saint Paul, MN
reply to gimme5
I'll agree with Ken. THere isn't any change in the phase cycles between normal (single) and utility (double hot) circuits in the US. Next time you are at the hardware store look at an empty breaker box and the circuit breakers. Every other "slot" uses the alternate power rail.

That's why 240v circuit breakers are twice the height.

Now, back to the OP's question, if the Crepe Maker truly doesn't care about the Hz and is rated to handle 240v, then why not make a FUSED adapting extension cord that uses a 240v plug and wire that is rated for whatever circuit to which that outlet is connected run that into an electrical box to a set of fuses and from the fuses to a EUROPEAN electrical socket. After all, don't their sockets look different anyway?


ilikeme
I live in a van down by the river.
Premium
join:2002-08-27
Sugar Land, TX
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Vonage
reply to fcisler
said by fcisler:

whizkid3 has given you some good advice, listen to him....

There's only one thing your off on, kid.....

In the US, we are 60Hz at 110/115/120 volts. At 220/230/240 etc, we are also 50Hz.
Thats wrong. In North America the 220/230/240 circuits are also at 60Hz, not 50.
--

Fiber Optics is the future of high-speed internet access. Stop by the BBR Fiber Optic Forum


whizkid3
Premium,MVM
join:2002-02-21
Queens, NY
kudos:9

2 edits
reply to fcisler
said by fcisler:

There's only one thing your off on, kid.....

In the US, we are 60Hz at 110/115/120 volts. At 220/230/240 etc, we are also 50Hz.
Thanks for the kind words, fcisler. (Of course you know I am no kid.)

Regarding the second part of your post however...

There is no 50Hz in the USA. (With the exception of development labs, making products for Europe; which use motor-generators to create the 50Hz.) There can be no arguing this point; its just wrong.

The nominal voltages in the USA are:

120 V (single phase & three phase 'Y')
208 V (single and three phase delta)
240 V (usually single phase & rarely three phase delta)
277 V (single & three phase 'Y')
480 V (three phase delta)

There is no 110 Volts, nor is there 220 Volts. These were the nominal residential voltages a long time ago; and have stuck in people's minds and been passed down through generations. Its 120, and 240. There are other possibilities, like 208V delta with 240V 'high' leg, but they are much rarer than the above voltages.

The only place your going to find 110 or 220 is either if there is a distribution problem, or a brown-out condition (voltage sag). Electrical utilities could deliver less if they felt like it. Generally they don't because of the myriad of problems it would cause for their customers, and the possibility of overloading their feeders. The only time they are going to lower the voltage from these levels is if they are exceeding their capacity (brown-out).

One can simply turn to a transformer catalog of any major manufacturer (Square-D, Cutler-Hammer, GE, etc.), and see that there aren't any transformer's made to deliver these voltages.

Synchronous motors, on the other hand, are built to run at 115, 230 and 460 Volts. There is an important reason for this. Although there is no 115 or 230 nominal voltages, the NEC does allow designers to build building electrical distributions with up to a total of 5% voltage drop. Because synchronous motors can have a real difficult time starting under load at lower than rated voltages, they are purposefully built to avoid this situation. Summing things up:

- no 50 Hz in the USA.

- 120 Volts & 240 Volts.


sdgthy

@optonline.net
reply to whizkid3
OK... 240-4, right idea, wrong wire. Although if the cord is 16 ga or larger, it'd meet exception 1.


davidg
Good Bye My Friend
Premium,MVM
join:2002-06-15
none

1 edit
reply to gimme5
another point to bring up is that in europe the 220 is 220 from the single hot wire to ground. in the US, 240 is BETWEEN the 2 hots since they are out of phase. each hot wire has only 120 volts to ground.

buy the transformer, or sell the crepe maker.
--
Lack of Preparation on YOUR Part does NOT Constitute an Emergency on Mine!


ArthurS
Watch Those Blinking Lights
Premium
join:2000-10-28
Hamilton, ON
said by davidg:

another point to bring up is that in europe the 220 is 220 from the single hot wire to ground. in the US, 240 is BETWEEN the 2 hots since they are out of phase. each hot wire has only 120 volts to ground.

buy the transformer, or sell the crepe maker.
I don't know how that's going to make a difference. For the crepe maker, it still sees a potential difference of 240 volts between the two legs, it shouldn't be a problem whatsoever. Ground is only there for safety, tied to the chassis should failure happen within the device, however it's not used like a neutral, and thus is not relied upon to carry current for the regular operation of the device.

Some of my associates swear by balanced power interfaces, where high end recording studio equipment gets fed by two 60 volt AC legs, that together add up to a 120 volt potential difference, and never have a problem, and BTW, permitted by NEC. While they claim an improvement in noise floor, I remain unconvinced, but that is another thread and debate in itself!


davidg
Good Bye My Friend
Premium,MVM
join:2002-06-15
none
reply to gimme5
if the device's neutral is tied to teh chassis, as many devices are even though they should not be, then it IS a big safety issue due to the "neutral" now being hot.

short answer is without KNOWING the internal wiring of the device, it should NEVER be hooked to US commercial power without the proper transformer.
--
Lack of Preparation on YOUR Part does NOT Constitute an Emergency on Mine!


ArthurS
Watch Those Blinking Lights
Premium
join:2000-10-28
Hamilton, ON
said by davidg:

if the device's neutral is tied to teh chassis, as many devices are even though they should not be, then it IS a big safety issue due to the "neutral" now being hot.

short answer is without KNOWING the internal wiring of the device, it should NEVER be hooked to US commercial power without the proper transformer.
I'm not sure that you can say that "many" devices here in North America have the neutral and ground shorted together, especially if such device was to receive UL or CSA rating here in North America, or for that matter the more "strict" CE rating in Europe. That doesn't mean that older or foreign equipment may transgress such safety requirements.

However it is good advice to check to make sure that foreign equipment meets safety standards here in North America. I know that my public utility provides a service to check foreign electrically powered equipment that doesn't have a UL/CSA safety inspection label on it. This is commonly done for equipment that has been imported, yet only in few enough quantities that CSA or UL testing costs cannot be justified (such as a $500K audio console I recently had a contractor import from the UK).


TODarling
U.S. Army Retired
Premium
join:2004-11-27
Fort Smith, AR
Throw it away and go buy a US model. Will cost more for an electrican than what you could but one for. Here one.

»www.comforthouse.com/wesbenbreadm.html


whizkid3
Premium,MVM
join:2002-02-21
Queens, NY
kudos:9
reply to davidg
said by davidg:

another point to bring up is that in europe the 220 is 220 from the single hot wire to ground. in the US, 240 is BETWEEN the 2 hots since they are out of phase. each hot wire has only 120 volts to ground.
Firstly, in Europe or the US, the current is not supplied between a hot and ground. In the US, it is between two hots; that is correct (it has nothing to do with their phase). In Europe, it is between hot & neutral. Note, however, in both the US and Europe, the neutral is connected to on side (or the center) of the transformer. It is no different than a hot, except that this leg is connected to ground, resulting in this leg becoming a grounded conductor, referenced to ground and zero volts. The whole point is to prevent you from being shocked, should you touch it. It is also to ensure that secondary of the transformer is not floating with repect to ground. If these voltages floated, even though the difference between them is 220 or 240V, the difference beteen them and ground could be hundreds of volts, resulting in a lethal situation.

Basically, it doesn't make any difference in this case.


whizkid3
Premium,MVM
join:2002-02-21
Queens, NY
kudos:9

1 edit
reply to davidg
said by davidg:

if the device's neutral is tied to teh chassis, as many devices are even though they should not be, then it IS a big safety issue due to the "neutral" now being hot.
Connecting the neutral (or any of the hot legs) to the chassis is illegal in both the USA and Europe. It would prevent the device from being listed.(This was not always the case. Older kitchen ranges are an example.)

Appliances must either have a ground pin, connected to the chassis, or be double-insulated, in which case they do not need a ground connection.

Again, not a factor. Fuse your 240V circuit properly, and have a ball.


fcisler
Premium
join:2004-06-14
Riverhead, NY
reply to whizkid3
whizkid3,

I stand corrected! Every 240v appliance i have seen (well, with specs - these mostly being motors like compressors, etc) are spec'd at 220/240v 50hz. I just called my dad and had him check his compressor - and sure enough it's 50Hz. The damn things gotta be 20 years old, and from sears. I had just assumed that thats what we were.

»en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_co···quencies

Interesting....


fcisler
Premium
join:2004-06-14
Riverhead, NY
reply to gimme5
On a side note, anyone got a good link as to WHY we (US) use 120v and some country's use 240? Whats the advantage? Why 50hz vs 60hz? etc...if appropriate, move to new topic, mods.


chucky5150
Divers do it Deeper

join:2001-11-03
New Iberia, LA
said by fcisler:

Why 50hz vs 60hz?
I believe that has to do with the power plants.

Has to do with the speed that the generator spin. How fast the AC power goes from + to - and back.

But I can be off on this, it's been awhile since I had that class / watched it on Modern Marvels.
--
Member of the US Air Force since May 7th, 2002 To March 29th, 2005

"You sneak up behind yourself and remove your pants before you realize what's going on." KOL

antbhill2
Premium,MVM
join:2001-02-28
Northern VA
reply to fcisler
said by fcisler:

On a side note, anyone got a good link as to WHY we (US) use 120v and some country's use 240? Whats the advantage? Why 50hz vs 60hz? etc...if appropriate, move to new topic, mods.
I was curious about this myself. Couple things I googgled:

»en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mains_electricity
»www.physicsforums.com/archive/in···692.html