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Can aplliances designed for 60herts be damaged if used on a 50herts system? #137109
05/29/03 04:23 AM
05/29/03 04:23 AM
S
sparky74  Offline OP
Junior Member
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 12
Naples, Italy
I know that most aplliances designed for 60herts will work just fine on a 50herts system--well, maybe just a little slower, but they still work. I have been using U.S. 120v-60herts appliances on 120v-50herts European system for about a year now. I am worried that eventually, the difference in herts might have damaging effects on my aplliances. I am especially worried about battery chargers. I have a battery charger (designed for 60herts only) that charges a battery for an expensive piece of equipment. Once the battery is charged, it should hold the charge for about 4 days before it needs charging again. Well, lately I have been having to charge the battery just about every day. I am wondering if the difference in herts might have damaged my battery/battery charger? What about other aplliances such as: Refrigerators, microwave ovens, irons, toasters, stereos, etc. Can these aplliances be seriously damaged if I continue to use them on 50herts even though they are rated for 60herts? Help! Sparky74

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Re: Can aplliances designed for 60herts be damaged if used on a 50herts system? #137110
05/29/03 08:54 AM
05/29/03 08:54 AM
D
djk  Offline
Member
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 1,237
Ireland
It sounds much more likely that your battery has either reached the end of its lifespan or has developed a memory. Try completely discharging the battery and then charging it fully it tends to prolong battery life.

Re: Can aplliances designed for 60herts be damaged if used on a 50herts system? #137111
05/29/03 10:48 AM
05/29/03 10:48 AM
C
C-H  Offline
Member
Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 1,497
Stockholm, Sweden
I'm with djk on the battery. I don't see what could have affected it after a year.

The transformer in the stereo is likely to have a lower maximum output at 50Hz. If you put too much load on it, it will simply overheat. But few people use a stereo anywhere near full power. If you haven't had a problem yet, I don't see why you should in the future.

Resisitive loads, like irons and toasters, couldn't care less about the frequency.

I don't know about the microwave oven and I don't know if the motor in the fridge is frequency dependant. If it is I'd say it will fail prematurely.


[This message has been edited by C-H (edited 05-29-2003).]

Re: Can aplliances designed for 60herts be damaged if used on a 50herts system? #137112
05/29/03 11:32 AM
05/29/03 11:32 AM
S
SvenNYC  Offline
Member
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,691
New York City
If the icebox motor is frequency dependent and designed for 60 cycles it will run slower on 50 cycle current.

This also means it will work harder to pump that freon around the system causing it to overheat and give up the ghost prematurely.

I wonder how much design tolerance is involved when a modern-day cut-rate radio manufacturer selects a transformer.

Some transformers are ok on both 50 and 60 cycles but the radio is marked as 60 cycle only (usually the case with 110/117/120-volt rated radios).

I've noticed on some USA-market radios that the transformer gets noticeably warm...leading me to think that the manufacturer is running the trafo close to its limits.

The 220 volt radios are usually rated for 50 cycles and will work fine on 220 volt 60 cycles (if you're using a step-up transformer.

I never got a chance to take a 120-volt 60-cycle radio to Europe to see if the radio's internal transformer was going to be OK with it. Yes I was planning on using a step-down 220-110 transformer with it!! :-)

Ragnar, if you see this, do you have any 110-volt 60-cycle transformer operated appliances that you use regularly? Have you noticed any problems with overheating?

[This message has been edited by SvenNYC (edited 05-29-2003).]

Re: Can aplliances designed for 60herts be damaged if used on a 50herts system? #137113
05/29/03 02:38 PM
05/29/03 02:38 PM
H
Hutch  Offline
Member
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 381
South Oxfordshire, UK
The hot transformer unit when used on 120V is most noticable on those used for laptop computers. I have regularly used the same one on both US and European systems and they are rated 100-240V:50/60Hz.

I have always assumed that the increased temperature is due to them drawing more current at the lower voltage, in order to output the same power to the laptop.

Re: Can aplliances designed for 60herts be damaged if used on a 50herts system? #137114
05/29/03 03:16 PM
05/29/03 03:16 PM
C
C-H  Offline
Member
Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 1,497
Stockholm, Sweden
Quote

The hot transformer unit when used on 120V is most noticable on those used for laptop computers. I have regularly used the same one on both US and European systems and they are rated 100-240V:50/60Hz.


Strictly speaking, that is not a transformer, but a Switching Mode Power Supply. These switch the current internally, at something like 50kHz instead of 50Hz to get rid of the iron core used in a transformer.

Quote

I have always assumed that the increased temperature is due to them drawing more current at the lower voltage, in order to output the same power to the laptop.


I think you're right.

A transformer on the other hand will run hot on a too high a voltage, since the zener diodes - or whatever is used for voltage regulation - will basically be converting the excess voltage into heat.

Re: Can aplliances designed for 60herts be damaged if used on a 50herts system? #137115
05/30/03 06:27 AM
05/30/03 06:27 AM
T
Texas_Ranger  Offline
Member
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,409
Vienna, Austria
I don't have a stepdown transformer so I never used 60Hz stuff here. The only US appliance I ever used (apart from a table lamp) was a radio that was clearly labelled 50/60Hz and could be set to 110, 120, 127, 220 and 240V. One old radio I know can be set to 150V. Wonder where that was used?

Re: Can aplliances designed for 60herts be damaged if used on a 50herts system? #137116
05/30/03 06:28 AM
05/30/03 06:28 AM
P
pauluk  Offline
Member
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
Norfolk, England
I have quite a lot of 120V American equipment that I run at 50Hz via a transformer. As has been mentioned already, items which have simple heating elements or similar (e.g. my 120V soldering irons) couldn't care less about the frequency.

On the radio equipment, I've never had any problems with running at the lower frequency. That said, most of my radio gear is a good many years old, from a time when transformers were often more conservatively rated than today.

When you pass the output from the xfmr through a rectifier to get DC, strictly speaking you would need higher values of reservoir and smoothing capacitors at the lower frequency to keep the ripple down to the same level as at 60Hz. I've seldom found that to be a problem, however, as power supply designs usually build in a fair degree of tolerance in that respect (and tolerances on electrolytic capacitor values are wide anyway).


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