Hendie

220V AC Appliances In Canada

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Hendie

This was such a good and useful warning message that appeared on two other forums that I felt it good to post it here as well:

Posted by Jim on January 14, 2003, 13:03:44, in reply to "Re: Voltage adaptors"

24.69.255.203

I was a qualified electrician with a wireman's license in SA and am a ticketed electrician in Canada now. Canada's high voltage domestic supply is meant to be 240V/60Hz, and it is NOT the same as SA's 240V/50Hz. It is obtained from the low voltage side of a transformer with a centre-tapped winding, that means that it is 2 phases of 120V above ground potential that are phased at 180 degrees apart, that is why the measured voltage between them is 240V.

Most houses (If not all) in North America will have a 240V/60Hz supply that is to be used for appliances such as washers/dryers etc that draw high currents at 120V, and are therefore supplied with 240V to reduce current and heat in the wiring. If you were to wire something like a stove from SA to it, the elements will work...BUT, instead of safely having one 240V leg and a neutral, the body of the appliance now has the potential to be 120V above ground in the right circumstances. If you have a double-insulated appliance it might be a little safer. Any monkey business with wiring here is NOT recommended, the domestic wiring systems are not as robust as those in SA, most houses are built of wood, and there is very little in the way of earth leakage protection.

It is illegal (strictly speaking) to connect ANY appliance that does not bear the CE approval label to the Canadian grid. The SABS mark is not valid here. I am not sure how this would effect insurance or liability claims.

The bottom line is simple: If an appliance has a little (normally black slider type) dual-voltage selector switch on the back then bring it to Canada. If you can't find one then leave it in SA. It is more risk/trouble/danger and expense than it is worth.

I have received emails and seen BB postings of people GIVING away SA appliances for free after they have had them transported all the way here.

This posting was lifted from our friends over at Calgary Immigrant Network.

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Galpil

Diegene wat al ondervinding het van die "transformers" om SA elektriese toerusting te laat werk hier in Kanada - gee raad asb en deel jul ervarings Ek wil so graag my Bernina laat werk!!!!!

Dankie, by voorbaat.

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thelategans

Here`s some useful info for S A`s going to Canada, that want to take some of there electrical goods with them.

We wanted to keep certain things like sewing machine,overlocker,food processor and a few other items. I was then advised to see Mike at Eloff transformers in Paarden Eiland Cape Town. What a nice guy.He made a special transformer to step up 110v to 220v for the princely sum of R 450.00. This means that we do not have to get rid of our very functional small appliances,as they will still be functional for many years. A great saving during this expensive trans location.

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Ex-Durbs

Howzit to all,

Again I start with the questions.

We have electrical equipment that makes use of 220V. I have been looking on the Internet for Step Down Transformers 220V to 110V, and there are a number available. Has anybody used these transformers and are they ok to use????

My hubby has a huge amount if Power tools and he does not want to sell them (something about sentimental value, you know what guys are like, the love their power tools).

If there is anybody that can answer this question, it would be greatly appreciated.

Judy

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Daléne

Hey Judy,

Well, spoke to hubby about the power thing....he said something along the lines of : Adaptors are safe to use on regular things like HI-Fi's and stuff that are electronic, and have no motors. But once you have something with a motor the RPM's are different and could cause problems with the motor. You can change voltage but not frequncy???

Okay if that made sense to you, then you are a genius!! I think Hubby can explain it better, so email me if you want him to explain it properly :lol:

Edited by Dah_Looney

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thelategans

Judy, we brought lots of elecdtrical things like food processors,snackwich,TV(make sure yours can operate on the ntcs system),VCR,computer, printer, sewing machine and overlocker. Everything works well, provided you have a step up transformer. However it is a nuisance lugging this transformer around all the time. If you get a few, eg one each in the kitchen,garage, tv room etc it should make life a lot easier. But let me also say that the price on all electrical goodies is very cheap (relatvely speaking) in Canada. EG , a very good 12v output cordless drill with 10 torque settings cost me $39. A cordless screw driver 7v cost $19. The same goes for appliances (large and small ) ,eg 10 cup coffee maker $18,snackwich $22,two slice toaster $19(I just bougt a brand new snackwicher at a garage sale for $5.Then of course if you buy at garage sales you can pick up second hand tools for ridiculously low prices.

A good step up transformer will cost you at least R 500 or $80. So your hubby must do his homework in terms of overall cost to get transformers and container space. The other future problem is of course that you do not get spares and servicing.

Thus from a practical and cost point of view (if you are limited for container space) it makes sense to purchase electrical goods in Canada

Regards Stuart

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Eugene

I have also heard of canadian electricians, that if you ask them, they will install a 220v outlet in your home :lol:

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Guest Gord

There is 220volts at your panel (DB) in ever house circuits can be taken from there, if you are talking about bringing power tools over to use at home bring eveything you have.

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Ex-Durbs

Gord/Eugene, you guys have just made my hubby a very happy man.

I was just chatting to Dah_Looney on the phone yesterday about the power tool thing. My hubby would have been devastated if he had to leave his 'POWER TOOLS' here. 'You can mess with my lawnmower but dont mess with my POWER TOOLS' he would say. :lol:

Judy

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plvogel

I am using most of my "expensive" SA powertools in Canada with the step-up transformer, and up to so far no problems. On paper some of the powertools could give problems with the different amps, but I haven't experienced any. My advice- if you have expensive tools, bring them with. If you have the lower end powertools, leave them in SA.

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Merv

While we were still fairly new here (before all the stuff we brought with like coffeemakers and things wore out) I rigged up a very simple 220 volt power supply. Don't try this at home, but I tapped 2 live circuits from a wall plug into one plug and instant 220 volts! Worked like a charm

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Johan

Houses in Canada are wired for both 110 and 220 V. Driers all work from 220V, all you have to do is connect an outlet to the drier circuit breaker on your distribution panel and you have 220 V. All regular wall outlets are 110 V however. Its really simple, don't leave washing machines or power tools in SA.

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Ex-Durbs

To everybody that gave all there great advice (and also to everybody else we will know by then), this is a invitation to you. Once we get settled in Canada, a braai at our house. Even if its snowing! Braaiing in the snow is nothing new to us SA'kans. We used to braai on a regular basis in Hungary in temperature of -21 degrees celsius with my Dad. Although he was from Hungarian origin, he spent almost 40 years in South Africa and of course could not do without his piece of rump steak, mielie pap and tomato/onion gravy at least once a month. The rest of the neighbours being Hungarian could not get over these bloody fools making a braai in winter in at least 1 metre of snow all around.

Judy

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Guest Nelia

Hi,

I brought my two sewing machines (Pfaff & Bernina) with me out of SA, but don't know where to look for a transformer and what should I ask/ look out for etc. A friend of mine bought one but it is only suitable for things out of the UK. I don't know whether I will be able to use it and just get a plug adapter. I received my goods today and it feels like a belated Christmas.

Please let me know.

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jack

Ons het dit gedoen, my vrou het 'n "omkap masjien" saamgebring. Dis amper 4 jaar terug, ek kan ongelukkig nie detail onthou van die plek in Vancouver waar ons die adapter gekoop het nie, maar dit is moontlik en dit werk.

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Harry

Look at Radio Shack

If the link fails, it is product 273-1411 or (for higher power) :273-1414

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Nelia

Harry,

This may sound a bit stupid, but just to confirm that if the one machine requires 90W and the other 105W, I will have to get the more expensive transformer?

Thanks

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Harry

Nelia,

yes, I am afraid you need the 273-1414 unit at $160. It may be cheaper to get an equivalent at a neighbourhood electrical shop, but these things are really hard to find for regular folks. I have never found anything at Radio Shack that was not cheaper elsewhere.

This is usually the calculation that proves it is cheaper to buy a new machine here that works off 110V. However, DO CHECK whether the Pfaff and Bernina do not have a switch that switches from 220/230/240 V ro 110/120V before you send money. We have an Elna and it has no ability to switch.

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Nelia

Now a question for Calgarians - I need to test the existing transformer to find out how much Watts it can take. Where would I be able to do something like that, as it looks like I will have to fork out the $160 if the British one is not appropriate???

Thanks

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Luna

Nelia,

We bought a transformer 5 years ago in Calgary for my Bernina. We got it from a small electrical outfit - not a Radio Shack etc. It was by far the least expensive of all the commercially available options.

I took a look at the specification on the transformer. It was manufactured by Hammond Manufacturing. Contact them to find a dealer/distributor in Calgary.

Model # - 170 CE

PRI - 230 V, 300 VA (I think this means that it is good for up to 300 Watts)

SEC - 115V

You have to install plugs for the unit but we got those from Home Depot and it wasn't too difficult to do.

Good Luck!

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Guest Guest_Ina

I live in Calgary and bought a transformer for my sewing machine @ a little shop close to the Chinook centre. I think it was in 1A Street SE, close to Mcleod Trail. It was around $50 - $60 and it works fine. I'm not sure what the size is, will look tonight after work if you are interested.

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Nelia

Thanks for all the information. Ina, I would really appreciate it if you can let me know what size. I was a bit shocked at having to pay $160, but buying new machines will cost me a lot more. Apparently it is the Watts that make the difference.

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Guest Guest_Ina

The one I bought is a "step up and down" transformer, and there is a number on it: 42-ST500. I think it is a 500 watt unit. If you go east in 58 Ave, from Chinook, turn left in 1A street and go down, the place will be on the right side, a small electrical shop. It is far down the road, but I cannot remember the name.

The person adviced me what to buy. We are using the transformer currently for our SA computer as well, that came with. I hope you'll find it.

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Nelia

I tried to find the place that Ina referred me to, but it does not look like it exists anymore. Drove up and down 1A Street SW and SE. Any other suggestions from anybody as to where else in Calgary except Radio Shack that I can go and look for a transformer????

Thanks

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Harry

Nelia,

I cannot help you with a place to go, but the VA figure is basically the volts multiplied by the current in amps that the thing draws. It is not quite the same thing as true watts. You should find a VA value or a Watts or an amps rating on your Bernina somewhere.

In a nutshell, your transfomer needs to be higher VA or higher wattage than what your Bernina needs, otherise you'll have problems.

The transformer that Luna mentions appears to be the wrong way round! The primary (PRI) should be 115V and the secondary (SEC) 230V. Maybe this was a transformer that was originally meant for operating US gear in the UK! In principle there is no big problem operating it in reverse as long as the VA or wattage values are acceptable.

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