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(This might be more of a DIY question, if you think so I will gladly move it there)

I recently moved to the US and intend to use some of my 230 V appliances on "native" 240 V here in the US, for which the outlet should be NEMA 6-15 or 6-20. Since I don't want to rewire every appliance or use many adapters, I was thinking about rewiring existing power strips (example), which are rated 16 A, with a suitable NEMA plug (6-15). Unfortunately the plugs on these are molded on, but after giving up a short section of cable I should be able to identify the ground wire easily (green/yellow color-coding or by measuring continuity with ground contacts); the "hot" and "neutral" wires should not matter since both outlet wires are "hot" here in the US.

Since the power strip is only rated at 16 A (not that I plan on ever drawing anything near that), breaker and outlet should be rated for 15 A, and the correct outlet and plug to be used would be NEMA 6-15.

Is there anything else I have to consider? Are there any legal restrictions in Virginia that you are aware of that might make this unfeasible?

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    Your problem will be finding an NEMA 6-15 receptacle to plug your modified power strip into. 240 volt outlets are usually only provided for high power devices such as stoves and clothes dryers. Aug 18, 2021 at 15:38
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    ^^^ This. In most houses you might have one or two 240V outlets. You can't run everything off these. The operating frequency isn't the same either (50hz vs 60hz) which may or may not matter, depending on the appliance (Anything with a motor will probably run about 20% faster because of this) Honestly you should have sold your stuff back in Europe and bought new stuff here...
    – Kyle B
    Aug 18, 2021 at 16:22

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That is fine. Use strips that have an NRTL marking such as UL, TUV, BSI, etc.

You can also hunt flea markets and garage sales for older metal US power strips which use standard receptacles, and change those receptacles to NEMA 6-15, which use the same form-factor.

As far as wiring your home, you cannot delete or convert any of the mandatory 120V outlets. Every 12 feet (3.6m) along walls, every 4' (1.2m) along kitchen countertops, the mandatory laundry and garage receptacles, the refrigerant pump socket next to the outside heat pump* unit, etc. etc. There's quite a list.

However, as long as those mandatory 120V receptacles are provided, you can install as many 240V receptacles as you please. 240V NEMA 6-15 and 6-20 receptacles use the exact same wire and hardware as 120V.

You are allowed and welcome to install 20A/240V circuits using NEMA 6-20 receptacles. Note they are double-keyed so they will accept 6-15 plugs, and that is fine.

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  • What do you mean by using older US power strips? They would not have the Schuko (CEE 7/3) outlets? Aug 18, 2021 at 21:38
  • @Raketenolli you'd change the plugs on your appliances to NEMA 6-15. Changing an appliance plug is legal and easy, just lop off the old plug and apply a plug designed to be retrofit onto a cable. They are common, even in 6-15. Aug 18, 2021 at 22:42
  • That's what I wanted to avoid by just putting a new plug on my (European) power strips, leaving many Schuko outlets available and not having to put a new plug on every single appliance/power tool/... it's mostly tools and small machines so I will run all of them in roughly the same place. I'll only need (new) 240 V outlets in maybe 2 or 3 places, not far from the breaker panel. Aug 19, 2021 at 14:06
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You won't have a neutral, but as the Schuko plug is not polarised that probably doesn't matter.

the voltage will be 240 instead of 220, but that should be withing the acceptable range of the appliance.

The frequency will be wrong, but that will only effect appliances that use the frequency for timekeeping or speed regulation. this is unlikely to be catastrophic.

Legal, probably. acceptable to your insurance company, probably not.

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  • There are many appliances that will not like the wrong frequency and/or will not like being run at 10% overvoltage. There are also many appliances with universal PSUs that will happily run on anything --- but those can be plugged into 120V outlets with just a plug converter. I'm not sure in fact how many appliances remain outside those two groups.
    – jay613
    Aug 18, 2021 at 15:42
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    @jay613 It's not 10% overvoltage. Europe is 230 and UK is 240. Multi-voltage only works for things with switching power supplies. Almost any kitchen appliance will care about voltage either due to heating elements or motors. Aug 18, 2021 at 18:55
  • @Harper-ReinstateMonica you're right but my general question remains ... it seems like buying a few small appliances (to your point) would be an easier route than bringing them overseas, installing special outlets, building special power bars, and hoping they'll work at 60Hz. Especially so in the kitchen ... who wants a 240V power bar sitting on the kitchen counter right next to a blender? I'm just curious what devices OP wants to bring that make this question worthwhile.
    – jay613
    Aug 19, 2021 at 17:00

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