Trivia Question 150VAC/60Hz?

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Old 05-06-17, 08:15 PM
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Trivia Question 150VAC/60Hz?

Having just seen a list of the voltages used in some 150 countries worldwide, it seems we're down to either 110/120 VAC @60Hz or 220/240VAC @50Hz. Has the 150VAC @ 60Hz standard completely disappeared?

The reason I ask, is that that was the standard in Colombia (South America) when I lived there in the early 70's. Be interesting to learn why that became the standard when, even then, most countries used 110/120VAC or 220/240VAC.
 
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Old 05-06-17, 08:22 PM
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Don't know about Columbia, but for many years, now the US standard has been 120/240 volts at 60 Hz
 
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Old 05-06-17, 08:53 PM
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My guess was that it was an attempt to encourage national production of electrical appliances designed for that voltage. At that time, with few exceptions, light bulbs were the only appliance available for 150VAC, all unfrosted, to boot.

The only other appliance we had was a wringer-type electric washing machine, made locally. For everything else, a transformer was necessary, and they were available everywhere, even the local grocery store.
 
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Old 05-06-17, 08:59 PM
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Now that most electronics handle different voltages and frequencies I haven't paid much attention to international power flavors. I've only been worried about whether or not I have an adapter for the socket. It's been 9 years since I've been in Columbia and for the life of me I can't remember anything about what I did to charge my computer and camera.

Doesn't Japan have two different voltages?
 
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Old 05-06-17, 09:38 PM
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Doesn't Japan have two different voltages?
No they are 100V throughout, but they have two different grids, one 50Hz and the other 60Hz. That was one of the huge issues when the tsunami hit and Fukushima went down.. They couldn't tie the grids together to get power from the southern end of the country because of the frequency difference.
 
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Old 05-06-17, 10:08 PM
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I can't find anything on the internet about it, so I figure Colombia (not Columbia) switched to 110 VAC shortly after we left in 1973.

The distribution network was inadequate; During the day, 145-150 volts prevailed, but at night, from 6 PM till 9 PM, demand dropped the voltage down to about 130 VAC. The incandescent lights had a slight yellowish tinge at that voltage. The synchronous motor on our stereo suffered (the transformer brought the voltage down to about 100 volts) so my dad devised a switch, with a voltmeter so that when the voltage got down to that level, we could bypass the transformer and run the stereo on 130 V. That stereo was an early 60's model GE with some of the first generation solid state electronics ("Solid State" clearly marked on the turntable....). And, of course, power outages were frequent.
 
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Old 05-06-17, 10:25 PM
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most countries used 110/120VAC or 220/240VAC
There are countries using 100V (Japan) and 230V (much of Europe).

There are countries using 115V, but never heard of 150V. If it was out there, must been a long time ago.
Here are list of the standard voltage and frequency of different countries.
Complete list: Plug, socket & voltage by country - World Standards

These are the official standard voltages, but I heard voltages actually vary in some countries especially in country sides.
As long as those voltages are within the tolerance, devices plugged into it will work fine.
150V would be way over or under voltage of standard 1xxV or 2xxV devices used around world, so probably not a good voltage to choose for compatibility reasons.
 
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Old 05-07-17, 11:30 AM
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Interesting that Japan uses 100V. I would think there might be some American appliances that would suffer at that voltage, and I wonder if it's common to see step-up transformers used there. Actually, in the case of Colombia, I think we bought single-winding "autotransformers". I remember dad using a VOM to determine the hot side of the receptacle (everything was non-polarized back then) and then plug in the autotransformer accordingly.
 
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Old 05-07-17, 01:11 PM
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Philippines, at least Olongapo in the '70s, was strange. Two services to the houses in separate fuse boxes, one 110 volt and one 220volt. Receptacles in a house we're all NEMA 1-15. Some hooked to 110 and some to 220. A house often had a mixture of small appliances such as desk fans and radios, some of which were 110 and some 220 all with 1-15 plugs. They just had to remember which went where.

The voltage stability was so bad I remember seeing a 110 TV plugged into an adjustable transformer (variac) with a built in voltmeter plugged into 220. The person watching TV was constantly adjusting the transformer to keep the TV at the right voltage.
 
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Old 05-07-17, 01:44 PM
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I wonder if it's common to see step-up transformers used there.
I just looked up, and such a transformer does exist.

https://www.amazon.com/VCT-VT-500J-J.../dp/B000PC4JL4

But, I cannot confirm if it is common to see in Japan.
I don't think it would be common, because there are plenty of devices made for Japanese market. No reason for them to import devices intended for the US market that may require transformer to work.
It would be for the same reason it is not common to see 120V to 220V (or 230V) transformers in American households.

Receptacles in a house we're all NEMA 1-15. Some hooked to 110 and some to 220. A house often had a mixture of small appliances such as desk fans and radios, some of which were 110 and some 220 all with 1-15 plugs. They just had to remember which went where.
That sounds very dangerous. I'm sure there were many people frying their 110V appliances.
Never been to Philippines, but since their official standard voltage is 220V, may be they were in process of converting to 220V?

When South Korea went through conversion from 100V to 220V, electric company provided a fairly large transformer to every households to convert incoming 220V mains to 100V. That way, existing 100V appliances could be used without any problem. It was up to the customers to convert existing wiring/outlet to 220V or choose to continue using 100V. Some houses built during this periods had both 100V and 220V outlets, but not 220V on 100V outlet.
I grew up in Korea and as a kid I remember every households had a large 220V to 100V transformer installed at the entrance, where fuse panel was located. They had voltmeter and dial to adjust output voltage.

Conversion started in 1973 and officially completed on 2005.
 

Last edited by lambition; 05-07-17 at 02:10 PM.
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Old 05-07-17, 08:57 PM
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I asked dad if a variac wouldn't have been a better choice for our "expensive" second-hand stereo, he said sure but too expensive. The autoformers sold there were cheap and a light switch was cheap. When my Rolling Stones record tempo started slowing down I knew the autoformers' voltage had dropped under 100 and a quick switch brought it up to around 128 or 130. A crude solution, now that I look back on it, but hey, dad was of the "Greatest Generation" that survived WWII, so everything in life after that was low risk in comparison.
 
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