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Here in Chile, we have 220 V 50 Hz single phase coming from the electrical grid in most residential houses. Due to my buying habits, I have some devices that have been imported from 100-120 V countries. For example, I have a Japanese PS1 that runs at 100 V/50-60 Hz and subwoofer from Amazon that runs at 110 V/50-60 Hz and a bunch of others.

What would be the most efficient way to get ~110 V 50 Hz?

The reason why I want something efficient is because all of the devices are on the same area (subwoofer is under my desk, PS1 is to the left of my desk under my TV, etc.) and I don't want to have one step down transformer per device.

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    Most electronics these days (and I accept that PS1 is old) don't really care what the input voltage or frequency is - they just feed it into a switched mode power supply and everything is happy. This saves the manufacturer a lot of money as they can sell the same device in Europe/US/etc with just a plug change. Of course, you need to inspect the device carefully, as putting 220V into a device which only accepts 110V will not end well. Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 9:42
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    The thing is, I have inspected the devices and they only work in the 100-110-120v range. The PS1 blows up with 220v (don't ask how I know this lol) and the Subwoofer uses a transformer so it requires the 110v to be able to step down from 110v to whatever it needs.
    – Lemon
    Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 9:50
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    You might consider altering your buying habits slightly to ensure that the products you purchase in the future either A) support 220v 50Hz natively, or B) have switching power supplies that support "world voltages" as noted above by Martin. You might be getting the cheapest device Amazon sells in the category, but when you add in the cost of a transformer (upgrade for more devices), is it really that cheap?
    – FreeMan
    Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 13:04
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    @Lemon the PS1 was sold in lots of countries and I bet they made the PS1 the same but made the power supply brick different. You might check whether you can buy a PS1 power supply brick made for your country. Maybe someone is even still making new ones. Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 16:10
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    PS1 uses a line input to an internal power supply. However you could swap out the power supply module with one from a 240v country.
    – KMJ
    Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 18:00

3 Answers 3

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A step-down auto-transformer is appropriate for loads like this. They only use one winding instead of 2 in many transformer designs, saving wiring (cost and weight). The isolating transformers used for power tools necessarily use 2 coils.

These are often sold just as "voltage converters" or "transformers" and you need to get one rated for the total load you'll be using at once. 500W is easily available, for example. Some of the bigger ones do both step-up and step-down - be sure to set it up correctly.

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A transformer.

There are yellow transformers that are designed to power professional devices in the UK from the grid (230V)

I have one and it works a treat. But if you order it then postage may be costly as they are very heavy.

This is a link to a similar product to the one I have and supports the drills etc I use: https://www.screwfix.com/p/defender-3000va-intermittent-transformer-distribution-kit-240v-110v/230kp#_=p

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    And make sure the transformer can support the powerdraw of the device. Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 9:09
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    note this is kind of a "brute force solution" because it always works, but it's expensive and bulky. Actually I clicked the link and saw it was $90 which is not bad. I thought it would be more like $400 Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 16:13
  • @user253751 I mentioned that it would be costly to post.
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 16:17
  • Also note that any UK 'building site' 110v transformer, whist being absolutely great for the job will also have 'building site' sockets, not standard UK 13A sockets. They're always yellow for 110v - tester.co.uk/tools-and-accessories/…
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 16:27
  • @Tetsujin - that's true - they're similar to the big round blue plug/sockets found on campsites - but there are plenty of ways to re-wire with other plug/sockets - as long as they don't fit 220v stuff.
    – Tim
    Commented Oct 23, 2022 at 12:11
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The most efficient way of solving your XY-type problem is to get proper power supplies for these appliances.

It may be even simpler if the original power supply units are in fact 100-240V compatible and you could need only a plug adapter, but this is not always the case.


What's wrong with transformers:

  1. Bulky
  2. High quality ones are expensive, usually more than the 220V power supplies for your gear.
  3. Low quality ones are a real fire risk even with no load. Some of them are noisy as well.
  4. They have their own power draw (e.g. a 100W transformer will draw 1-3W even without load. I don't know how much the electricity costs in Chile, but small expenses tend to add up.
  5. Did you say subwoofer? Be prepared to get some audible mains hum.
  6. Even high quality ones are hard to get right in regard to grounding. This comes with some risks.
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    Proper power supplies aren't always available, especially once you get into the higher wattage ranges.
    – Mark
    Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 23:32
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    @Mark really? We talk about electronics. Toasters and vacuum cleaners are different. For even higher wattages (e.g. a kitchen range) 230V gets the default option even in the US.
    – fraxinus
    Commented Oct 22, 2022 at 15:40
  • Point 5 makes no sense. Any AC voltage is transformed so many times from the generating plant to your outlet than throwing a couple more in between changes nothing at all. Also, never heard of a receiver or sub with a replaceable power supply... The source of noise in home-grade audio gear is mainly cheap design, sensitive to ground loops from improper connections, and signal ground is always isolated from the mains, obviously, for safety. The only thing I'd do is overrate the transformer for audio power amps by 10-15%, unless I had a reason to trust their stated power rating. Commented Oct 22, 2022 at 22:39

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