How to power a 220v machine in the USA

Reply

  #1  
Old 11-26-14, 01:40 PM
J
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: usa
Posts: 8
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
How to power a 220v machine in the USA

Hi,

I've been trying to set up a line in my house that is dedicated to a new project i've started. The equipment I use needs the following power source to run efficiently:

Power supply

230 V AC, 50/60 Hz,16 A

I have revently had my super install a 220v line with a 30amp breaker (just because I want to make sure nothing goes wrong.

The problem is that the machine that I bought came with a 220v european plug.

I'm not sure what to do to convert the EU plug to US so that I can plug it in to my new line.

I was told by the guy who sold me the machine that all I need to do is cut the power cable male end off and then add a new male head with the proper US male head. Is it that simple? Is there anything that I should worry about when doing this?

Also, I noticed that the output of the new line reads 215v on my multimeter. The super said that the output isnt exact on multimeters, which I've heard from other sources as well. Should I worry about this?

Lastly, the machine says that it needs a 230v AC line to run, but I was told by the guy who sold the machine to me that 220 works fine. I'm trying to make sure that when I plug this machine in to use it, that it works, so before I get the first two issues I brought up fixed, I'd like to just know if the machine will work on the line.

Any assistance is appreciated.
 
  #2  
Old 11-26-14, 01:44 PM
S
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: WI/MN
Posts: 19,609
Received 97 Votes on 85 Posts
Welcome to the forums.

First, nominal voltage in the US is 240, not 220 volts. Hence, a reading of only 215 volts would have me a little concerned.

Wait for the pros to chime in but if it can run on the voltage and frequency, I agree that putting a new plug on it may be all you need to do.
 
  #3  
Old 11-26-14, 02:01 PM
I
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,943
Received 44 Votes on 42 Posts
What kind of machine is it? Different types of loads require different circuit design.

If the load is 16A, the breaker should probably be 20A not 30A, but that depends on the type of device.

If it does actually work on 240V 60Hz, then you can just change the plug to a NEMA 6-20.

The 215V reading is suspicious. My first guess would be the batteries in your multimeter are going flat or it's just a poorly calibrated meter. Check with another tester. While it's possible you could be getting 215V from the power company it is really on the low side. You ought to be about 235V-245V. Are you a long distance from the power pole such as a long country driveway?
 
  #4  
Old 11-26-14, 02:06 PM
H
Member
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 1,941
Received 137 Votes on 119 Posts
Eh, the concern is that EU 220 volt is derived from 3 wires, 1 220 volt hot, 1 neutral, 1 ground.

US "240 volt" couplings are a mishmash of types. Four prong plugs have 2 hots, 1 neutral 1 ground.
Three prong 240v home oven and dryer plugs can be 4 wire (above) or 3 wire with 2 hots 1 neutral, no ground.
Three prong 240v tool plugs are wired with 2 hots, no neutral, 1 ground.

Q- What sort of outlet did your super put in?

Good news is that 50hz is a EU rating, while 60hz indicates it was designed to work with US power.
If it is ok with 60hz power, you should be able to just change the cord.
(depending of what sort of plug you need to connect to what your super hooked up..)
There are adapters which come up on eBay or amazon.


Hal
 

Last edited by Hal_S; 11-26-14 at 02:31 PM.
  #5  
Old 11-26-14, 02:10 PM
J
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: usa
Posts: 8
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Hi,

The machine is this one:

BGA rework station Re-8500

I posted the power supply needs for the machine in my initial post.

I am on the 6th floor in an apartment building, so I would say, yes, I'm at least a long country driveway away.
 
  #6  
Old 11-26-14, 02:18 PM
I
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,943
Received 44 Votes on 42 Posts
The issue is whether it's primarily a resistive or inductive load -- there are different rules for sizing the breakers and circuit conductors.

It looks like this one is primarily resistive as the load is mostly heating elements. I'd say reduce the breaker to 20A and replace the plug and receptacle with a NEMA 6-20 configuration and you should be good to go. The wiring on this circuit should be a minimum of #12.

I suppose the voltage drop could be caused by being up a few floors in the building, but a properly designed distribution system shouldn't drop to that extent. Is it an old building?
 
  #7  
Old 11-26-14, 02:31 PM
J
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: usa
Posts: 8
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
If you wouldnt mind explaining just a little bit more, I'd appreciate it. I thought that using a 30amp breaker/10 gauge wire and an appropriate 220v 30amp outlet would allow the machine to take as much power as it needs and then some (i don't know what the 'and then some' really entails). I was just trying to make sure that nothing goes wrong by prtty much overkilling the wiring by using a 10 gauge as opposed to 12 and a 30 amp breaker.

So, what youre telling me is that if I dont use a 20amp breaker, that the current configuration will not work?

Its a prewar building, so yes, its old. Not over 100 years old.

The breaker box in my apartment and wiring isnt too old from what the super tells me.

BTW, I retested the 220v line. If I test the AC current using the multimeter in both hot lines, I get 215v. If I place one of the leads into one hot line and the other lead into the ground, I get around 122v per hot line.

Does this sound right? Should I chalk this reading up to a cheap multimeter? (It was $15 and made in china)
 
  #8  
Old 11-26-14, 02:42 PM
J
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 4,294
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
By having a 30 amp. breaker the wire becomes the fuse.
It would melt if something went wrong with the machine long before the breaker would trip.
Wire and breakers are sized according to the load.
16 amp load should have been 12-2 wire and 20 amp. breaker.
 
  #9  
Old 11-26-14, 02:44 PM
J
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: usa
Posts: 8
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
ibpooks,

I just researched the NEMA 6-20 outlet and that is the outlet that the super installed for me. I know nothing about electrical work, so please be patient with me.

Is there any concern that a power surge will fry the line and machine since the machine will be directly plugged in to the 220v line? I know this isn't the best way to act on something, but I was asking this question in a forum regarding the type of work the machine I mentioned below assists with. They recommended getting a 30amp breaker, but that could have simply been a typo that I didn't notice.

Later on he said to install a 25amp breaker, but that still isnt a 20 amp breaker like you mentioned.
 
  #10  
Old 11-26-14, 02:50 PM
J
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: usa
Posts: 8
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Joe,

Thanks for this info. Now that the work is done and there is a 10 gauge wire in the wall, should I worry about the wire not being a 12 gauge wire?

Will replacing the 30a breaker with a 20a breaker allow me to work without having to worry about the breaker tripping? The machine I'm planning on using uses high powered heating elements to heat cicuit boards to the point that their solder melts (~230 degrees c). If the breaker trips and the machine loses power, the board would start to cool and the process will be interrupted.

I can't have that happen. Is there something I'm missing? Something that will protect the outlet/machine/line/breaker in case there is an extraordinary event?
 
  #11  
Old 11-26-14, 02:53 PM
H
Member
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 1,941
Received 137 Votes on 119 Posts
Ah, you're running electronics, not a hot plate.

There are 2 conflicting concerns.
A 30 amp breaker is oversized, if a heating element shorts to "on" in the machine and draws 2x normal current,
the machine will melt because the breaker will never trip.
A 20 amp breaker may be a bit undersized, meaning it will trip if the machine pulls more than normal current.
You can get "slow blow" breakers, which don't trip during the intial rush of current.
Given that it is computer controlled, I would just go with the 20 amp breaker, I would expect that the
equipment has enough brains to control the temperature and the current draw.

Good news is that the gadget will be smart enought to tell it is US power.
Bad news is that you want to make sure the outlet you're connecting to
has the ground terminal wired to ground, not ground wired to neutral.
Ground connected to neutral can do odd things to elecronics.

What sort of cord does it have?
I'd sort of expect an IEC 13/14 (aka computer plug) for something like that.
You can find all sorts of international plugs to match the common 3 wire computer in plug.

Hal
 
  #12  
Old 11-26-14, 03:00 PM
I
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,943
Received 44 Votes on 42 Posts
The #10 wiring is great (bigger is almost always better when running wire). The breaker size is to protect the wiring, receptacles, cords and appliances from becoming overloaded and getting too hot if there is a malfunction. Using a breaker that is too large could allow a fire to start if the device has a short circuit. For safest operation you want to use the smallest breaker that will accommodate the machine normal operating current. For a device which is primarily a heater the breaker should be about 125% of the normal current (16A * 125% = 20A) That is why I recommended 20A. A 25A breaker is also reasonable, but those can be a little harder to locate. The 30A I believe is too large.
 
  #13  
Old 11-26-14, 03:28 PM
I
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,943
Received 44 Votes on 42 Posts
Sometimes the obvious just hits you in the face after you think about it for a minute...

The reason you measure 215V is that you don't actually have a 240V service; you have two legs of a 208V 3 phase service and your building super wasn't correct in describing what he installed to your apartment. You really ought to contact the manufacturer to see if the device will perform correctly on a 208V circuit.
 
  #14  
Old 11-26-14, 03:45 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,582
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
I'm guessing the same Ebay seller who is less then fully acquainted with US electrical service sold this to you as he did to another member here. See:

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...tml?highlight=

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...tml?highlight=

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...tml?highlight=

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...ut-ground.html
 
  #15  
Old 11-26-14, 04:34 PM
J
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 4,294
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
3PH in a US residential apartment in the US?
Not likely.
 
  #16  
Old 11-26-14, 04:55 PM
H
Member
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 1,941
Received 137 Votes on 119 Posts
Originally Posted by joecaption1
3PH in a US residential apartment in the US?
Not likely
Not at all.

Eh, New York State, perhaps.
City of New York, not entirely unlikely,

I've got 3 phase power to my HVAC in a little office outside Philadelphia Pa.
Not unusual to have 3 phase power for HVAC in a NYC apartment.


Originally Posted by ray2047
I'm guessing the same Ebay seller who is less then fully acquainted with US electrical service
sold this to you as he did to another member here
Huzzah, photos!

Ok, it takes a normal IEC-14 outlet, all the OP needs is to confirm
(a) they have 240v 2 phase
and
(b) they can find a nema 6-20 "winking plug" to IEC (computer socket) cord.

Hal
 

Last edited by Hal_S; 11-26-14 at 05:11 PM.
  #17  
Old 11-26-14, 05:53 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,582
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
(a) they have 240v 2 phase
Uh Hal nobody has 2 phase except an occasional industrial site with pre 1920 equipment powered by a on site converter.
 
  #18  
Old 11-26-14, 08:06 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 10,763
Received 97 Votes on 87 Posts
Eh, the concern is that EU 220 volt is derived from 3 wires, 1 220 volt hot, 1 neutral, 1 ground.
No big deal at all. The machine is looking for approximately 220 volts across EITHER 1 hot and 1 neutral OR across 2 hots. The machine isn't picky.

joecaption1

3PH in a US residential apartment in the US?
Not likely.
Many large apartment and condo buildings have a 3-phase 4-wire service that breaks down to 120/208 single phase to each meter.

Most supply houses stock 25 amp breakers anymore. Even the big box stores have some.
 
  #19  
Old 11-26-14, 10:44 PM
J
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: usa
Posts: 8
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Ray,

Actually, it wasn't an ebay seller. It's the owner of a website specializing in this type of work. I spent a few weeks talking to him and using his forum to talk to other people interested in this work. I then purchased the machine from him in person. It's not as impersonal as an ebay sale, but it is starting to feel that way.

It looks like I'm in a similar situation to the OP from those threats you linked. At least she was/is able to use her machine.

Hal,

Ok, it takes a normal IEC-14 outlet, all the OP needs is to confirm
It takes what appears to be a IEC-C19/20 (ill try to attach a picture)
Name:  iec-c19.jpg
Views: 1126
Size:  34.2 KB

(a) they have 240v 2 phase
I'll have to ask my super to verify.

a
nd
(b) they can find a nema 6-20 "winking plug" to IEC (computer socket) cord.
I have a nema 6-20 socket installed.
 
  #20  
Old 11-27-14, 06:27 AM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 13,806
Received 253 Votes on 221 Posts
Just adding my to cents.

208-240 volts is in most cases fine for any single phase equipment. If the nameplate says 220 volts that is +/- 10% so anything thing between 198 - 242 volts will work. Of course there are exceptions so it is always good read the manufactures requirements.

A 240 volt hot, hot, ground, and 240 volt hot, neutral, ground are the same thing. They are both 240 volts single phase.

A piece of equipment will only draw what it is deigned to draw (amps). The only time it will draw more is when something is wrong. This is why the 30 amp breaker is the wrong choice, more is not better. It is correct for the #10 wire, but it will not have any protection for the equipment. It should be a 20 amp breaker.

You just need to match the plug to the receptacle.
 
  #21  
Old 11-27-14, 10:12 PM
C
Member
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 973
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
No need to try to change the plug on that cord...just buy the right cord.

Here's one from Tripp-Lite that Amazon sells: Amazon.com: Tripp Lite Heavy-Duty Power Cord for PDU and UPS 20A, 12AWG (IEC-320-C19 to NEMA L6-20P) 6-ft.(P040-006): Electronics

It's a #12 cord, which seems to reinforce the need to drop down to a 20A breaker as others suggested.

They have plenty of other choices, just search for "c19 l6-20p".
 
  #22  
Old 11-28-14, 06:49 AM
H
Member
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 1,941
Received 137 Votes on 119 Posts
Originally Posted by Tolyn Ironhand
A 240 volt hot, hot, ground, and 240 volt hot, neutral, ground are the same thing. They are both 240 volts single phase.
THE SOCKET
Good way to put it, 2 phase was the wrong term.
Question I had is it's a 3 prong plug, so it's 2 hots and 1 something, either neutral or ground.

First question, does the equipment need a true ground-
e.g. for the electronics to work or for the chassis to be shock proof.
Second question is how is the outlet wired,
old dryer style "Hot-Hot-Netral", or equipment style "Hot-Hot-Ground"?

THE CORD
The correct cord is on eBay, as "hospital grade" or "server cord", for ~$6
The cost of a replacement plug for the OEM cord is actually more ~$15
I'd just buy a new cord.

Hal
 
  #23  
Old 11-28-14, 06:09 PM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 13,806
Received 253 Votes on 221 Posts
Older dryer feeds were Hot, hot, ground before a separate neutral was required. Older dryers only used 240 volts until the fancy electronics were added and started putting current on the ground wire.
 
  #24  
Old 11-28-14, 07:39 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 10,763
Received 97 Votes on 87 Posts
Older dryers only used 240 volts until the fancy electronics were added and started putting current on the ground wire.
They must be the really old ones. All the electric dryers I've ever seen from the '50s, '60s, '70s on up were all 120/240 volt dryers requiring hot-hot-neutral with grounding through the insulated neutral conductor (using 10-3 plain NM cable) till the 4-wire dryer circuit became code. The motor, timer and controls were all 120 volt.
 
  #25  
Old 11-28-14, 08:10 PM
F
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
Posts: 18,495
Received 36 Votes on 28 Posts
My mother got a Bendix Duomatic combination washer-dryer in 1958. Everything BUT the heating element on that machine was 120 volts.

Every American made electric clothes dryer I have ever had the misfortune to work on was 120 volts except for the heating element.

My Asko (made in Sweden) washing machine and dryer ARE straight 240 volt appliances.
 
  #26  
Old 11-29-14, 11:35 AM
D
Member
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Norway
Posts: 310
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Hello from Norway!
That plug are made for a maximum fuse of 16 amps, so the load will probably be far less.
If you just cut of the plug, you will see a green/yellow ground wire, and probably brown and blue.
Not all European systems has a grounded neutral, and as you see that plug are easily reversed, so it doesn't matter. Usually a voltage within 220-240 will be well inside whats OK. (or just buy a local cord, if that's more easy) Don't use a travel adapter, they are usually not good!

Like older US houses our older houses have ungrounded outlets (just 2 holes) and as you see, the plug will fit there too. Grounding is both a safety thing, protecting you, but also protecting e.g. electronics.
dsk
 
  #27  
Old 11-29-14, 11:50 AM
D
Member
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Norway
Posts: 310
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Looking a little bit more at your machine, it seems like it is well fused but those cords are often sized at 1 square millimeter or approx AWG 18. So keep an eye on how hot it will be after some time of using. My guess are: no problem due to short time at full load.

dsk
 
  #28  
Old 11-29-14, 12:13 PM
H
Member
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 1,941
Received 137 Votes on 119 Posts
Originally Posted by Furd
My mother got a Bendix Duomatic combination washer-dryer in 1958.
Everything BUT the heating element on that machine was 120 volts.
Eh, in warm weather, I use my grandmother's 1.5 volt 10,000 watt clothes dryer.
It's a 30' long clothes line...

Back on topic-

Originally Posted by d.s.k.
Not all European systems has a grounded neutral, and as you see that plug are easily reversed, so it doesn't matter.
...
Like older US houses our older houses have ungrounded outlets (just 2 holes) and as you see, the plug will fit there too. Grounding is both a safety thing, protecting you, but also protecting e.g. electronics.
Good to know - the original EU plug is made to plug into grounded or ungrounded outlets.
That sounds promising. The OEM plug doesn't need a ground,
good chance the equipment should work with ground or neutral.
So it's likely that as long as the equipment gets 240v, it will work.

Hal
 
  #29  
Old 11-29-14, 05:35 PM
J
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: usa
Posts: 8
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Hi all,

I ordered the proper wire off of amazon (Nema 6-20P to c19) and a new 20 amp breaker. I did see a 25 amp breaker, but I didn't buy it. Hoping the 20amp will be perfect.

At this point in time, it looks like I am set to receive the wire and give the line its first real test by using the machine.

My hopes for the independent 220 line is that I will be able to work using my equipment without the lights in the house flickering.
 
  #30  
Old 11-29-14, 05:49 PM
J
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: usa
Posts: 8
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I was also curious about transformers and wanted to ask this group their thoughts. First, the transformer that I was told to buy is this one: LINK TO TRANSFORMER

I was told to get this transformer to power my machine. Instead, I went the route of installing a new line, just so I have uninterrupted power. I didn't want to risk having the machine power off due to the breaker being tripped from too much power being used on that single line.

Would this transformer have done the job without much fuss?

Whether or not the equipment power needs would have been, there was a concern with the amount of other items that were plugged in to the same outlet as the one the transformer/equipment would have been plugged into. I just wanted to know if I made a good decision in the long run, or if I'm being overly cautious. Or, I guess, not as cautious as I should be.
 
  #31  
Old 11-29-14, 07:38 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,582
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
At 120 volts if the machine pulls 16 amps at 240 volts the transformer would pull 32 amps at 120 volts to the primary. General purpose 120 volt circuits are limited to 20 amps. You would need a special purpose 120 volt feed (~35-40 amp) to power the transformer.
 
  #32  
Old 12-06-14, 11:20 AM
D
Member
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Norway
Posts: 310
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I see no reason for that transformer you have a perfect supply as you have, the fan will speed up and give maybe some 20% more than at 50 hz, but it is designed for 50-60 Hz. The voltage are just as specified. I'm not sure about the rating of the fuses in your machine but as long as you have at more then that it should be nice.
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: