European to U.S. power converter

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European to U.S. power converter

Post by bf421 » Sun May 29, 2016 4:55 am

I have an inexpensive plug adapter that I can use to plug in U.S. devices. All it does is convert the European round prongs to flat prongs. This works fine for my phone or computer charger, since they are designed to handle either 120 or 240 volts. However, I have some kitchen appliances that are designed only for 120V, and I would need a voltage adapter to safely plug them into 240V outlets in Finland. Any suggestions on a good adapter that converts voltage in addition to just the plug type?

European to U.S. power converter


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Re: European to U.S. power converter

Post by AldenG » Sun May 29, 2016 5:25 am

If they have motors, there is an excellent chance you need more than the usual 240-120 volt conversion. You would also need 50Hz to 60Hz conversion, which is much less common. It's just something for you to look out for as you search for a solution.
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Re: European to U.S. power converter

Post by Pursuivant » Mon May 30, 2016 10:40 am

You need an industrial "converter" if you have anything beyond a tortilla press. For a tortilla press you can get a "transformer" on ebay, but you need to do the calculation on the amperage. Though you can keep the coffee warm on your transformer as it heats up. Way cheaper to buy new appliances.
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Re: European to U.S. power converter

Post by mjgoode » Wed Jun 01, 2016 11:25 am

High current appliances - things that heat, things with motors, are difficult to deal with.

From what I recall motors / power supplies made for 50Hz works ok at 60Hz, but the other way may not be the case even if you step down the voltage. It comes down to the amount of copper needed in the windings and how much heat the device can deal with. 50Hz generates more flux which creates more heat so the wire used is heavier to handle that. (My electromagnetics are rusty, Google will help you if you want to get into the math.) Stuff designed for the states is often "optimized" with lighter wire. It depends upon the device of course.

When I looked a few years ago it was prohibitively expensive to get the "right" box to do both the voltage conversion and the cycle conversion. So I left the problematic devices back in the states. I do have a step down transformer that runs some audio gear at 50Hz, but I researched the power supplies for each device before going that route. (And called the manufacturers too.) The transformer also runs the charger for my beloved cordless drill.

Depending upon how long you're going to be here it may be worth it to buy local appliances so you don't fry your American ones . . . or start a fire. That's probably cheaper than a cycle/voltage converter. Or you run a really long extension cord to the US Embassy . . . they have 60Hz power as I recall. ;-)

Good Luck,


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