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Using European outlets in American house permitted or not? #87164 01/26/04 10:14 PM
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wa2ise Offline OP
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Suppose someone from Europe moves to the USA and brings most of his electronic equipment designed for 230V. Assume this equipment won't mind 60Hz instead of 50Hz, but needs the 220V. Would it be a code violation if he uses a few European style outlets (with the seal of approval or listing from the European equivalent of UL) installed in his house, fed by a 220V circuit equipped with a double pole 15A breaker in the panel? Or should he use a NEMA 6-15 (If I recall correctly, 220V @ 15A socket) and change the plug on a European outlet strip that he can plug his equipment into?

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Re: Using European outlets in American house permitted or not? #87165 01/26/04 10:30 PM
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tdhorne Offline
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The answer to this will depend on were you are. The US NEC does not forbid having special purpose outlets but local code may. The big problem with what you propose is that the 220 in europe is the phase to ground voltage rather than the phase to phase voltage. When I was working on an embassy chancellery in Washington, DC, we installed a completely separate system for the european style outlets so that one of the legs would be the grounded conductor of the circuit. I'm not saying that what you are proposing is dangerous but I can't guarantee that it is not. You might want to post your inquiry in alt.engineering.electrical as there are several european participants active on that usenet news group.
--
Tom H


Tom Horne

"This alternating current stuff is just a fad. It is much too dangerous for general use" Thomas Alva Edison
Re: Using European outlets in American house permitted or not? #87166 01/27/04 04:59 AM
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pauluk Offline
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Running European equipment across the hot legs of a standard U.S. 120/240V supply shouldn't be a problem, even though in most of Europe it would be supplied by a grounded conductor and a phase at 220V to ground.

Non-grounding type plugs in Europe are non-polarized, and even the Schuko plug (the most common grounding-type connector) is reversible, so there's generally no way to guarantee correct polarization anyway. European equipment is therefore built with the fact in mind that either wire may be hot or grounded in normal use.

A few areas in Europe still derive their 220V supplies from two phases of a 127/220V wye system.

Re: Using European outlets in American house permitted or not? #87167 01/28/04 10:37 AM
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C-H Offline
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Just a few thoughts:

1) The European receptacles are rated 10A, 13A or 16A. Does the NEC allow any of these ratings on a 15A breaker?

2) If it turns out that the NEC requires a 20A breaker for the 16A receptacle, you need to check with the manufacturer that the receptacle is listed for this use.

3) The British 13A receptacle is not ideal for use on 120-120V systems, unless there is a GFCI. (There is a fuse in the plug which should be on the line side.) All other connectors should work fine from a technical point of view.

UL has a European branch, which is responsible for approving the Danish connectors but they also approve the German plugs. Check with them if they have given any European receptacles a UL listing for the US. I doubt it, but who knows?

[This message has been edited by C-H (edited 01-28-2004).]

Re: Using European outlets in American house permitted or not? #87168 01/28/04 01:59 PM
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earlydean Offline
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My call on this would be to allow only US recognized receptacle outlets, hooked up to US codes. If the current resident wants to use foreign appliances, he would have to purchase adapters or re-wire the cord end caps. When the current resident leaves, or purchases replacement appliances, the receptacle outlets will fit. This would be the safest way.


Earl
Re: Using European outlets in American house permitted or not? #87169 01/29/04 04:17 AM
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pauluk Offline
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I tend to agree that it would be easiest to keep to NEMA fittings. NEMA 6-15 (240V 15A) receptacles wired on a 15A branch circuit will offer the same degree of overcurrent protection as would be afforded in many European countries where 16A circuits are employed.

Isn't there a duplex receptacle available with one half 5-15 (120V) and the other half 6-15 (240V)? With several of these one could have both 120 and 240V available at several locations, and it would be relatively simple for anyone to convert them to regular 120V duplex outlets at a later date should they so wish.

Re: Using European outlets in American house permitted or not? #87170 01/29/04 08:55 AM
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earlydean Offline
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The point I was trying to make, Paul, was that when the current owner left, the new owner/tenant, wouldn't be aware of the differences and might have an accident. Make the permanent wiring to US standards. Make any adapters on the appliances.

Earl


Earl

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