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I sent a 240V/ 30A/ 60Hz dryer (LG DLEX4000B) to a friend in Europe without realizing Europe operates on 50Hz. If they plug this dryer into a 240V/ 30A/ 50Hz system, what would happen?

  1. Would the dryer work on low motor RPM?
  2. Would the motor burn out?
  3. Would this affect other electrical parts in the system?
  4. Would it be possible to get the 60Hz motor changed to 50Hz motor?
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  • 4) Sure, but is it worth it? 5) Opinion based and off topic here.
    – FreeMan
    Oct 9, 2023 at 16:51
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    Best way to use this is bring it back to its original country and buy a new one designed to be used in Europe.
    – Solar Mike
    Oct 9, 2023 at 16:51
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    @SolarMike I am still trying to wonder if shipping costs were not more expensive than a new dryer.
    – crip659
    Oct 9, 2023 at 17:02
  • @crip659 that's an issue when defining "best"... But research about supplies in countries always helps, as well as checking the many similar posts about the issues that already exist on here.
    – Solar Mike
    Oct 9, 2023 at 17:04
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    @brhans you might think that but my modern-ish LG uses a standard universal motor. Unlike on a washing machine there's no reason to use a variable speed motor and a drive system, since the dryer is designed to run at once speed.
    – KMJ
    Oct 9, 2023 at 17:55

3 Answers 3

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TL;DR Neutral is the real problem

Yes, 60 Hz vs. 50 Hz is likely to be a significant problem. The electronics most likely will not have an issue at all, as it is common to provide the same electronic modules for appliances sold worldwide and with a universal power supply that can handle something like 100V - 250V so that it will work in Japan, US/Canada, Europe, Middle East, etc.

However, the motor will likely be affected by the different frequency. More importantly though, the motor will be affected by the different voltage. Yes, voltage is your real problem.

Historically, dryers built for the US/Canada market are designed to use 120V (hot-neutral) for the light, controls and motor. Controls are not much of an issue with electronic controls that are really tiny computers running off of a universal power supply converting a wide range of AC to low-voltage DC.. The light is no longer an issue because it is now normally LEDs running off a universal power supply.

The heating element won't be a problem as it is typically designed for 208V - 250V usage.

But the motor is still a problem. It is possible that a manufacturer such as LG may use the same motor for dryers destined for 240V-ish countries as for the US/Canada, but even if they do, it will be wired for 120V use. Why? Because that way they can use the same controls, motor, wiring harnesses, etc. for gas and electric dryers for the US/Canada market. The US/Canada market is huge, and it is also a little different in some ways (not just the 120V/240V electrical system) from Europe and other markets.

So it isn't the 50 Hz that will prevent this from working (though it may cause problems), it is the lack of 120V hot-neutral power that will be the big problem.

To answer the original question: If they plug this dryer into a 240V/ 30A/ 50Hz system, what would happen?

This dryer, as is typical with dryers sold for use in the US, does not come with a plug attached. Instead, the manual describes how to attach a 3-wire (10-30) or 4-wire (14-30) cord/plug. At that point it would become clear to an installer in Europe that there simply is no readily available residential compatible cord/plug which can (a) provide 30A of power and/or (b) provides both 240V and 120V at the same time. In other words, nothing will happen if they plug this in, because there is no practical, obvious way to plug it in.

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  • LG say it's OK to run it on 50 Hz in the questions section here. But I am suspicious about the need for a 30 A circuit. And it probably doesn't have EU safety ratings either. So there's two more possible problems. Oct 9, 2023 at 17:13
  • @Tetsujin A standard US dryer connection used to be hot/hot/neutral and is now (for ~ 27 years but still old stuff keeps getting grandfathered...it is a mess) hot/hot/neutral/ground. Ignore the ground. So that is 240V hot-hot and 120V each hot-neutral. Typical dryer configuration (and oven as well) uses 240V for heating and one of the hots + neutral = 120V for everything else. Oct 9, 2023 at 17:40
  • I'm still slightly confused - & may ever remain so, my apologies - but how would a consumer take that hot-hot & apply it to a mains socket that's only giving a single 240v hot with a neutral return? I imagine that is not a trivial DIY fix.
    – Tetsujin
    Oct 9, 2023 at 17:42
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    Well I'll be - just looked at the schematic, and indeed it's a universal motor as I suspected, but it's wired to run on 120v not on 240v. The two wires go to the control electronics, which are hooked to 120v and neutral. So both the motor and the control electronics are going to be very unhappy with the lack of split phase 120v. Time to update my answer.
    – KMJ
    Oct 9, 2023 at 18:00
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    @manassehkatz-Moving2Codidact for sure this will require modification of some sort to work. See my answer for the diagram itself.
    – KMJ
    Oct 9, 2023 at 18:07
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As said in manassehkatz's answer, neutral is your real problem. This isn't going to work. There's three wires coming in to this dryer: red, black, and white. Red and black are 240v, white is neutral that lets you get 120v from either the red or black phase on the split phase systems used in the US and Canada. 240v in Europe is missing the neutral and can't source 120v. According to the wiring diagram in the service manual, both the electronics and the motor run off the 120v. Without the neutral and 120v there, the electronics and motor will not work. Manualslib link here that I used for reference, though do expect it will go stale. I've embedded the key diagram itself right below.

Electric dryer wiring diagram

In the diagram you can see the electronics go to black and white, and the motor connects to the electronics via yellow and brown, with no connection to the red leg for power.

The most likely outcome is that this doesn't turn on at all. If you somehow end up tying the neutral down to one of your power legs, it still won't work even if the electronic survive the experience, as the motor will be wildly over-voltage, and some of the control electronics depend on 120V being present on each side of the neutral. You can see the white wire down from the electronics to pick up a sensor input, for example.

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American dryers are 120V devices. Really.

Because American dryer models are sold in both electric and gas-fired variants. Parts commonality is nearly 100% on a given model; the only difference is a natural gas heat stove vs. a 5kW electric toaster heating element. The only 240V thing on the dryer is that heating element. And that will work fine on 50 Hz, by the way, since it's a resistor.

You are in exactly the same situation as if you imported a 120V washing machine or blender.

And I bet you had the washer, since they're generally setup in pairs, but chose not to import it because it's obviously 120V.

You could try it with a stepdown transformer...

Well, you're stuck with it, so before you give it to the metal scrapper you can at least give it a try. A word of warning about American dryer connections: Our modern connections have 2 "live" wires, neutral and earth all separate - but we support an ancient and very obsolete wiring arrangement on dryers where we combine neutral and safety earth on one wire. This is a bad idea, and we learned that, and banned it in 1996, unlike some people.

So you must be careful when rewiring an American dryer to remove and isolate neutral from the chassis. Obviously, chassis should be tied to safety earth.

Once you've done that, you can look at the schematic and observe that one of the live phases (L1 or L2) serves only the heating element, and the other live phase serves all the loads. You will need to take "the phase that serves all the loads" and declare that Euro Neutral. The phase that serves only the heating element is "Euro Live". The former neutral then becomes "Euro 120V" and you'll need to use a stepdown transformer to make that. Typically these loads are under 1000 watts. Remember you must remove any bonding between "former neutral" and equipment chassis, or this will not work.

Also remember this thing is a 5,500 watt load, requiring 23 amps. You are not going to get that much power from some random Europlug, which limits to 13 or 16 amps. You will need a 32A hob connection, most likely.

It really seems not worth it.

In the future, since you are now aware of social media, I suggest asking questions like this before you waste the jet or bunker fuel to bring a 100kg monster across the sea. And in general, bringing electrical things across oceans is a bad idea.

Don't forget the dryer vent

One thing about American dryers that's fairly alien to Europeans is the need for outside venting. European dryers typically use a "condensing" model where they have a condenser (or increasingly, a heat pump) and that does not require an outside vent. The water is collected in a tray or let down a drain.

However, American dryers push the hot, wet air outside (while also creating a negative pressure inside the house, drawing outside air inside through window and door seals). If you do not vent an American dryer, you will have SEVERE condensation, mold and mildew problems inside the home. Believe me, plenty of Americans try it, and that's what they get. This is not optional - you must do it.

If you do not vent the dryer, you'll need to close off the laundry area and run at least 2 dehumidifiers in there. But honestly at that point, you might as well just use a "heat pump dryer", which is a dehumidifier inside a box with a tumbler and some clever routing of the dry/hot airflow.

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