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Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 3
suresh Offline OP
Junior Member
I am buying a music system that works on 110v-60HZ and taking it with me to India. India works on 220v–50HZ. I can get a transformer that will step down my voltage from 220v to 110v. My question is about the frequency. Would my appliance still work as I will not be converting the frequency from 60 hz to 50 hz. If it does work, will it affect the quality of the output of my music system or the life of the equipment?

Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
Originally posted by NJwirenut on 03-08-2005 08:55 PM
A stepdown transformer should be all you need, with the following caveats:

If the unit incorporates synchronous motors for a tape deck or turntable, they will run at 5/6 speed.

If the unit incorporates a digital synthesized tuner, the channel spacing and/or frequency coverage may not match the Indian broadcast allocations.

Running a 60 Hz power transformer on 50 Hz will generally cause the transformer to run a bit warmer than usual. Whjether this is a problem or not depends on the transformer design.

Originally posted by pauluk on 03-09-2005 08:14 AM:
The frequency difference is only likely to be a problem for any synchronous motors in the unit, such as those used in traditional turntables and older style tape decks.

Almost all of the modern "all-in-one" systems use motors in the cassette deck (and CD player) which are run from DC and will not be affected. Ditto for the cheap turntables which can still be found in some units.

You may want to check the radio tuner as well. If it's continuously variable or tunable in 1kHz steps, it will be fine, but some of the current digital tuners go up in normal channel increments. For North America, that's 10kHz steps (900, 910, 920 etc.), but in Europe and points east, the spacing is 9kHz (900, 909, 918kHz).

A similar situation can occur on FM, where American stations are spaced 200kHz apart (90.1, 90.3, 90.5MHz etc.), but elsewhere in the world they can be on the even slots between (e.g. 90.4) or even on 50kHz spacing (e.g. 90.45).

{ Edited to insert NJ's comments from General area to which subject had been cross-posted }

[This message has been edited by pauluk (edited 03-09-2005).]

Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 1,253
djk Offline
In general audio equipment actually uses DC for everything and you'll find that there's a small transformer inside the music system or each component of a larger system.

It should work ok with a stepdown transformer. In general, there's no problem with motors on modern equipment, certainly not with CD players, MD players etc ... although it could happen!

I would strongly advice, however, that you invest in surge protection when you get to India. Buy it in India e.g. in a local computer store.

Also, I would invest in a telephone surge protection device if you plan on using modems, and particularly if you plan on using your laptops built-in modem on the indian phone network.

In modern parts of the major urban areas spikes are no more common than in the USA but in rural areas, small towns and old parts of cities you can get spikes and brownouts.

Bring a US power strip and try to get a transformer with a trailing cord on the 220V side. It doesn't matter if it comes with a European or British plug, you can easily cut that off and fit a local plug in India.

India generally uses the old British 15A plug which was phased out of use in the UK and Ireland. It has 3 very large round pins arranged in a triangle. There is also a 5 amp and 2 amp version which may or may not be in use in India.

I've also seen the modern UK plug with rectangular pins in use in an hotel over there!

So don't bother with adaptors until you get there [Linked Image]

And whatever you do DO NOT buy them in Radioshack! They sell some very scary adaptors!

[This message has been edited by djk (edited 03-09-2005).]

Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 3
suresh Offline OP
Junior Member
Thanks to each of you for your guidance. I ended up purchasing a home theatre system yesterday, which I will be taking to India with me. Your advise on this topic has been very valuable to me. Thank you :-)

Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 1,253
djk Offline
Home Theatre (as in TV?!?)

I thought you were refering to an audio system.

Indian and US TV broadcast standards are substantially different. India uses the European PAL (B) system. The USA uses NTSC (M) A US TV will not be capable of viewing Indian broadcast channels without a converter.

However, you *may* be OK if you hook it up to an RGB feed from a digital satellite set top box.
(you will also need cables to convert from SCART (european standard 20 pin A/V connector) to whatever is on your US TV)

Also, any DVD player purchased in the USA will only play Region 1 (North American) DVDs unless it's specifically multi-region. You may, however be able to hook up an Indian DVD using RGB or digital connection. Connecting it to the speaker system will be absolutely no problem (although the connectors in Europe and the USA are slightly different!)

In the USA speaker connections are normally "banana plugs" these are not used on european equipment as they happen to perfectly fit European 230V socket outlets! Also, partially inserted banana connectors can expose users to relatively high voltages in high power speaker systems.

[Linked Image from]
US style banana plug

[Linked Image from]
European version. (shrowded and too wide to fit into any european electrical outlet)

You may need to fit banana connectors if your speakers / equipment has bare cables. Some equipent uses screw on binding connectors for speakers or, on smaller speakers, push in connectors that accept the bare cable ends.

Older CRT (traditional tube-based) used the line frequency to time the refresh rate on the screen. i.e. European PAL tvs operated at 50hz and US NTSC TVs operated at 60Hz.

I would expect that a home theatre / home cinema TV would be a little more advanced than that and will more than likely not worry too much about the 50hz frequency.

I have no idea what the scenario is with plasma or LCD screens.

Best of luck with your system! I hope it works!

Make sure you get a good step-down transformer and use surge protection!

Also, be aware that some transfomers wound for 60hz supplies can produce more heat when operated at 50hz... It's usually not an issue, but worth keeping in mind with something like a television! i.e. do not leave it operating on its own without supervision and don't leave it plugged in on standby overnight!

[This message has been edited by djk (edited 03-12-2005).]

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