Hendie

220V AC Appliances In Canada

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shaun

Nelia

This might sound a bit silly, but try your local sewing machine outlet. A lot of the bigger more industrial types of sewing machines run on 220 volts, if the guys at the sewing machine store can't help you, I'm sure they will be able to tell you where to go.

I got my wife a transformer/ converter for $80. It can work either way 110/220v or 220/110v, it has two outlets (plug sockets) on it so you can plug the sewing machine and overlocker in at the same time (no need to unplug every time you want to change machines). All I had to do was cut the old SA plugs off the machines and fit the Canadian plug.

It is very important that you get a heavy duty transformer (at least 100VA) for an ordinary domestic machine. If you are going to do a lot of sewing, or have a bigger machine than the average domestic machine then it would be better to get a bigger transformer.

I found that the transformers that were available at Radio Shack were more for your international traveller who was looking to run a hair drier, shaver, or charge a cell phone battery.

Try the local Electrical suppliers (the guys who would supply the contractors).

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Nelia

Thanks to everybody for all the information provided. I was fortunate enough to find some local electricity shops that could help me with almost everything. A lot cheaper than what Radio Shack would have costed me. Both sewing machines are working, although for some reason or another the one is not as fast as usual. Anybody knows why this is happening?

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Harry

Nelia,

some kinds of devices have a speed that is determined by the frequency of the AC power.... typically 60 Herz in Canada and 50 Herz in SA. Classic record turntables are a great example....they run too fast in Canada if you are using South African "capstans"( the little cylinder around which the rubber belt goes inside the turntable). You may have that kind of problem here with your one machine...except you are saying it is too SLOW (!!?).

So it may be that you are not getting enough current ( the wattage is too low on the transformer for that machine?) and the engine is struggling. It could be that your machine is basically designed for just 50 Hz and somehow cannot handle the 60Hz in Canada. You may need advice from a real ticketed Canadian electrician here. Have you tried the website of the machine company?

For power levels and frequencies in various countries, and also some good general advice...go here.

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Cathy K

Nelia,

Most sewing machines are equipped with AC/DC universal motors which are to a large extent not influenced by frequency, as induction motors are.

I think you problem lies with the wattage of your transformer. It might be just high enough for the one sewing machine, but not for the other one which might be just a little bit 'tighter'. You can try and live with it, or get a transformer wit a higher wattage, say, 20%-30% higher than the one you now have.

Pierre K.

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Nelia

Pierre,

Die masjien (Pfaff) wat stadiger werk het laer Watts. Die transformer wat ek het, se VA is 300 en die masjien se Watts is 90. Ek neem dus aan dat dit voldoende is. Die Bernina het hoër Watts (105) en werk soos altyd. Ek sal maar by 'n Pfaff agent probeer uitkom en navraag doen. Jy weet nie dalk van 'n elektrisiën wat ek ook kan skakel nie?

Baie dankie

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Guest Engela

Ek het 'n ouerige Bernina (olraait, ek sal die WAARHEID praat) - 'n rerige ouerige Bernina (was my 21ste verjaarsdaggeskenk van my Ma in die hoop dat ek sal van masjienwerk hou....) - ek het net ons S.Afrikaanse vriend hier in Kanada, wat 'n elektrisien is, gevra en hy het oorgekom en krag geneem van waar jou wasmasjien en tuimeldroer is! Nou werk my masjien en enige ander S.Afrikaanse enjintjie soos 'n droom. My een vriendin het van haar industriele masjiene gebring uit S.Afrika en dieselfde elektrisien-vriend het haar huis regdeur ge-wire sodat sy haar naaldwerk kon doen! Ons vriend het al sy masjienerie uit S.Afrika gebring, sy motorhuis ingerig en siedaar - hy het geen transformers nodig gehad nie! Elke huis in Kanada het blykbaar beide 110 en 200V. So, kry net die regte ou (Italianer sal ook werk, want hulle kom uit Europa en hulle werk in dieselfde voltage as ons uit S.Afrika), maar asb nie Kanadese nie, want hulle kyk jou skeef aan!

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Cathy K

Nelia

Nee jong, dit spook by jou masjientjies! Jou transformator se VA is duidelik genoeg - daar moet iets skort met die masjien self, of met sy motor. Wanneer laas was hulle gediens deur 'n kundige? Miskien kan 'n goeie 'lube job' dalk net die ding doen. Styfheid in die masjien asook in die laers van die motor kan veroorsaak dat hy stadiger as die ander een loop.

Ek bly hier in Nanaimo en ken ongelukkig nog geen 'sparkies' hier of elders nie.

Pierre K.

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Nelia

Engela,

Dankie vir die inligting, maar blykbaar moet jy nie sulke goed te hard sê nie aangesien dit "eintlik" nie heeltemal reg is om te doen nie. Aangesien ek by iemand huur, is dit ook nie 'n opsie nie. Ek het by 'n Pfaff agent uitgekom en hulle eerste reaksie was ook of die transformer groot genoeg is soos Pierre gevra het. Ek gee rerig nie om dat die masjien bietjie stadiger werk nie, maar wil dit net nie beskadig nie. Hopelik sal ek môre inligting kry. Indien die masjien beskadig is met die vervoer, moet ek voor volgende week 'n eis insit en dit is hoekom ek so 'n bietjie frantic rondvra om uit te vind wat aangaan.

Groete

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Harry

Engela,

dis waar dat alle huise 240V toevoer het. Dis of weggesteek in die "breakerboard" of (meer tipies) aangelê na die kombuis of Waskamer waar swaarder SA-tipe krag nodig is. Die probleem is dat 'n mens jou versekeringsdekking kan beduiwel as jy self die storie "gyppo". Dit is 'n duisend keer erger bekommernis as 'n Bernina wat nie lekker wil werk nie. Daar is ook probleme met aarddrade en dit kan gevaarlik wees.

Inderwaarheid kan jy 240V kry deur die "lewendige" drade van twee aparte onafhanklike sokke (bv twee aparte mure op twee aparte brekers) na jou masjien te bring...maar dis vrek gevaarlik. Ek sou dit nie aanraai nie.

Om dit so te stel: die een sok se 'live"is +120

Die ander sok s'n is -120 ( hulle is sogenaamd "180 grade uit fase")

Dus: +120-(-120)= 240

Weereens...dis vrek gevaarlik want, as iets verkeerd gaan, "trip" net een lyn dalk en jy dink alles is af...intussen sit jy met lewendige 120V in jou hande op die ander lyn. Laat eerder 'n bekwame gelisensieerde ou die job doen sodat die "job" goedgekeur is en nie jou assuransie befoeter nie.

Verder is daar skynbaar reëls wat betref die gebruik van 240V toerusting wat nie die goedkeuing van die toepaslike amptelike kliggaam wegdra nie (juis agv aardprobleme). Min SA goedere sal hier aanvaarbaar wees.

Dis egter waar dat, ten spyte van wat ek hier sê, ek tans my groot TV en my ma se Elna van die 240 Volt hardloop. wat aangelê is vanaf die brekers na 'n punt in die sitkamer deur "unnamed parties".

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shaun

Harry

You are 100% correct with the way the houses are wired. The final voltage from the two leg (phase) is actually 208V though. There is a formula to work it out , but I'm a bit rusty on that side of things, something to do with phase angles and the fact that the electricity is in the form of a sine wave and then RMS (root mean squared) values also get thrown in there some where so it gets a bit "ingewikkeld".

The problem with the sewing machine sounds like a common problem that I regularly came across back in SA.

It all boils down to the voltage rating of the machine. The older products were more sensitive to this factor. Look and see what the rating is ie.220V OR 240V. You will find that a 240V machine will struggle a little over here ( a lot of the machines and appliances imported into SA and more so from Europe were actually 240V). The greater the vintage the less "elecrically efficient" the motor was built and the more its going to "feel" the decreased voltage. The nominal domestic voltage in SA is s'posed to be 234V, but you will find that you normally end up with anything between 220V- 230V due to a voltage drop in the supply cable.

Did you ever buy the bulk pack of no name brand light bulbs at say Pick 'n Pay, only to find that the whole pack of ten light bulbs lasted as long as that one single bulb that you bought at the hardware store down the road. The bulbs more than likely would have been manufactured in the same factory under the same quality control standards, but with different voltage ratings for various export markets. Somehow due to over production the bulbs for a 220V market, instead of the correct 240V, would find themselves on the SA market, usually in the form of a bulk pack and at a reduced price.

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Merv

Just out of curiosity, I once hooked up a digital multimeter to a mains outlet back in Randburg and just watched the readout for a while. The readings I was getting back ranged anywhere from 200v to about 230. I then knew exactly why lightbulbs didn't last too long (we were forever replacing the damn things, even so called long life bulbs)

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Nelia

Hi,

Having read the last couple of responses, I assume that it will damage my sewing machine in the long run and that is not just a case of having a slower machine and to get used to it. Am I correct to assume this and is there anything that I can do about it?

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Guest Engela

Harry, nee, ons het nie ge-steel nie - dit is heeltemal wettig en is deur 'n gesertifiseerde elektrisien gedoen. Baie mense uit Europa weet dat dit gedoen kan word en ons vriend sal dit NOOIT aan ons doen as hy weet dit is onwettig nie! Ek is dom wanneer dit by elektrisiteit kom, maar blykbaar is daar so-iets soos 'n split of so-iets en bedoel vir ekstra belading. My masjien het net soos Nelia'sn stadig gewerk - asof hy wil uitbrand (selfs met die transformer wat ek geleen het by iemand) en toe kom ons vriend en hy doen die korrekte bedrading vir ons en siedaar! Als wettig, want ons huis is ten volle oorbedraad en die volgende elektrisien het GEEN probleem gehad toe hy sien wat ons gedoen het nie - hy het dit ookal gesien, veral by huise van Italianers! So, ek wil net dit duidelik stel dat ek nie iemand probeer in die moeilikheid kry nie......... . My Pa het egter 'n moerawiese transformer laat sny in S.Afrika en my Ma werk met haar masjiene asof dit 'n grap is asook al haar kleiner kombuis gereedskap, soos elektriese mes, klitser ens. My Pa het die ding op wieletjies gesit, want dit is ontsettend swaar en hy sleep hom na sy werkskamer en werk tot sy sweismasjien daarmee. Hy het tot hul vleismasjien saamgebring en ek en my ouers het twee skape 6 maande terug opgesny asof ons opregte slagters is! Dis 'n wonderlike ding om te he, maar ek het gevoel ons het in alle geval die krag in ons huis en al my S.Afrikaanse vriende het ons vriend gebruik vir hul masjiene. Nelia, ek hoop jy kom reg en almal gee tog sulke fantastiese raad. Is hierdie nie 'n wonderlike Forum nie? Ek hoop ek ontmoet eendag julle almal!! Iemand hierdie Vrydag in Edmonton?!?!?! Ek is daar en sal graag iemand ontmoet vir koffie........ .

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Guest Engela

Ek wil net in nagedagte bylaat - ek het vergeet om dit te noem - met ons verbouing by ons huis, het die Stadsraad se elektrisien gevra na die snaakse prop in ons muur en ek het verduidelik waarvoor en van waar ons dit geneem het - hy het verstaan en geen probleem gehad nie! Dit sal julle almal gerusstel, want hy sou BESLIS dit nie toegelaat het nie - hulle is ontsettend streng met ALS wanneer jy bou. Die prop in die muur (ek het twee - een in die naaldwerkkamer en een in 'n ekstra gaste-kombuisie wat ons in ons basement het) is natuurlik nie dieselfde prop as die res van die huis nie en hy is geel, sodat jy hom maklik kan sien.

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Harry

Nelia, ja! Ek sou versigtig wees met jou masjien..hy kry duidelik swaar.

Shaun, I thought I'd spare the folks the worries of phase angles...that's also where the difference comes between VA and RMS Wattts, I guess. I would defer to a proper electrician in these matters, though. I am a physicist, so I sort of have to figure things out from first principles every time...and sometimes I'm wrong(!!).

SkiBum, I believe the "120V" voltage level here in Vancouver fluctuates even more on a percentage basis. I lost my nice Okidata laser printer due to a fluctuation that was a little too much.

Engela, met "gyppo" het ek nie bedoel wat in SA gebeur het met die nuwe selfaangestelde elektrisiëns wat mense se huise in Soweto "hotwire"om krag te steel sonder om te betaal nie. Ek het bloot bedoel dat ouens hier in Kanada sommer self die drade "gaan haal" by die "breaker board" en, siedaar...hulle het 240V! Dus..geen geïmpliseerde diefstal nie, madame!...Ek's maar net bekommerd jy skok aan 'n lewendige draad wat jy gedog het dood is.

As jy na jou breakerboard gaan kyk, sal jy sien die 240 V lyne word gehaal vanaf twee naasliggende "breakers" wat ge-"gang" is (aanmekaar vas)....dis sodat hulle gelyktydig trip om seker te maak albei drade is óf lewendig, óf dood...maar nie een aan en een af nie, want dis gevaarlik, soos ek reeds verduidelik het.

Shaun, as I recall Pretoria and PE (230-240?) voltages were higher than the rest of SA (220?), so we went through bulbs at an awfully high rate in Pretoria.

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Nelia

Harry,

Is daar enigiets wat ek kan doen, soos 'n groter/ ander transformer kry? Rewiring 'n huurhuis is ongelukkig nie 'n opsie nie.

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Guest Guest_Heidi

Hi there,

Can anybody advise as to whether one has to throw out ALL your 220V appliances upon moving to Canada - or can one get some sort of adaptor? We'd love to keep our Hi Fi, as it has sentimental value.

Naturally appliances for which one cannot get spares etc. in Canada would not be a good idea to take over, regardless of voltage.

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Guest Guest_Engela

Ag dankie Harry, ek het dit in alle geval opgeneem dat jy besorgd is en dis reg ook so! Gits nee, ek is nie een van daai Soweto-girls nie hoor!! Volg die Wet soos nog iets......... . Arme Nelia - ek hoop sy kry haar geliefde masjien dat sy weer kan sing!

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Guest Guest_Engela

You should see what we've been writing regarding Nelia's sewing machine. Perhaps your hi fi system has an adaptor at the back and can just be switched to 110V? My Dad brought a transformer with from South Africa (you must go to an Engineering place for this to be done) and he brought all their small appliances - hi fi, meat machine and small welding machine and all are running VERY well on the transformer. Have a proper one cut, so that you have enough power surge. These transformers are VERY heavy and if you want to use one somewhere else (your garage) and one in the house - have two. They are expensive as well, but worth it! Do NOT bring a microwave - for some reason they blow out very quickly!

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Nelia

Heidi,

As Engela said, I started a discussion about my sewing machines, where for some or another reason, one is not working as well with the transformer. You will find it in the Settling In section. Don't know yet why, but will let everybody know.

On Hi-Fi's: I went to a dealer in South Africa and the response that he gave was that apparently speakers will have no problem, but all the other components have to be able to handle 110V as it will not work with a transformer. As I have not brought any other electrical appliances with me, I cannot give you the real end results.

Good luck

Nelia

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Harry

Heidi,

there is a lot of stuff on this forum about this issue..just search around a little.

However, I have no idea why your dealer gave you that line about the HiFi set!?

Every single component of my HiFi gear had a selector with which to set the power level at the back. The Speakers do not use ac power, they get their signal from the hi-fi amplifier..that's why they will always be OK. A lot of PC's also have a selector at the back. A few don't. You can buy a replacement power supply for a pc at between $30 and $60.

If you actually have a record turntable, you have to not just switch the voltage at the back to 110/120, but you also have to find the little grey cylinder that came with your machine. It belongs on the little rotating spindle around whoich the rubber band goes inside the player. It is known as a capstan. The frequency of the power here in Canada is 60 cycles per second ( Herz). In SA it is 50. As a result your records will run too fast, unless you put the correct 60Herz capstan on the machine. In my case, I ground it down till the speed was right! The Overture to Tommy sounded way too strange when played too fast. :ilikeit:

It is the ELECTRICAL gear that represents the real problem. Most of that should stay behind..certainly the white goods should stay behind. Microwaves are so cheap here that I would not bother to bring one. Theproblem area/ grey area is with stuff like sewing machines...read around here.

Contrary to popular belief in SA, the houses here ARE EQUIPPED with 240 volts. It is usually in the kitchen or Laundry or at an air conditioner, where 120V turns out to be not much good for higher power equipment ( To get the same power out of 120 V as out of 240V, you have to use twice as much current...this gets tough on the wiring and has certain dangers, so they just settle for the inevitable...240V). The sockets and plugs differ from the SA variety, though.

You can have your home wired to have a 240V socket in, say, the lounge or workroom...no problem.

The other problem is that they do not like the idea of you using unapproved 240V devices, because the earthing arrangement here is a bit different from the way it is handled in SA. It can basically get more dangerous here. In general, electrical wiring standards in canada would scare the living hell out of a South African electrician, especially considering the wooden houses. It certainly frightened me as a scientist.

So my advice is, go look at the back of all of your electronic stuff for a little thing that looks like a regular ( usually black or white) screwtop, with a little window next to it that shows 240 or 220. You then need to turn that screw wit h a screwdriver till it says 110 or 120.( Obviously after unplugging it first). DO NOT PLUG IT IN AGAIN IN SA AFTER SWITCHING...you WILL damage your stuff.

I hope this helps.

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Hendie

I have taken the liberty to merging quite a few threads concerning the use of 220V appliances in Canada under this one heading. Contained in this one article should now be enough information and caveats to satisfy most enquiries regarding this topic. :ilikeit:

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Harry

Dankie, Hendie.

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shaun

I have been asked the same question three times in the last 48 hours so I will post some info here for all to read. Harry/Hendie move the post to where ever you guys think it will be best suited.

The question is " I've cut off the SA plug (round pin) from the appliance and have bought the North American (flat pin) plug, but I don't know which wire goes where?"

FOR APPLIANCES:

The SA coloring is as follows:

Brown = Live

Blue = neutral

Green = earth

The North American coloring:

Black = Live

White = Neutral

Green = Ground (earth)

If you have bought a CSA (Canadian Safety Authority) aproved three pin ( two parallel flat and one round) plug, then the terminals will be colored accordingly:

Top left hand screw (silver) = Neutral

Top Right hand screw(copper) = Live

Bottom screw (green) = Ground (earth)

This plug is usually square in shape.

For the two pin plugs (no ground terminal) the bigger (left hand terminal) is the neutral, while the copper colored screw ( on the right) is the live.

Edited by shaun
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shaun

Another question: " Why did I get shocked by the black wire, it never happened in SA?"

There are two reasons for this:

1) Don't work live!! Pull the fuses or switch off the circuit breaker. If you don't know what you are doing you will get shocked no matter what the color of the wire is!

2) The color of the wiring suppling the outlets (plugs) is different to SA.

In SA the colors where as follows:

Red = Live

Black = Neutral

Green or bare copper wire = Earth

In North America:

Black = Live!!!

White = Neutral

Green or bare copper wire = Ground (earth)

The above info is for the serious DIYer, if you have any hesitation what so ever rather call in an electrician.

Edited by shaun
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