UK / EU voltage

Buffalo

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Folks,

Would appreciate some advice.

I bought my valve amp from Europe and at the time was strongly recommended by the manufacturer to use a step-down transformer to ensure the amp only saw the 230v it was expecting rather than our 240(ish) to avoid any problems.

I've now got my eye on a subwoofer with built in solid-state amp, again from Europe. Assuming that this will also be built for 230v, do I have the same potential issue ? Or as it's solid state, do I not have to worry ?

Thanks in advance, Steve

 

AmDismal

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Running an 845 SET at over voltage can be a real issue, leading to lower tube life and potentially other components. But with SS it's far less likely to be such a problem; indeed the sub may be specced for 220-240 anyway. I would probably be rather chilled about it.

 

Valvebloke

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In principle there's no difference between valve and solid-state gear as far as the supply voltage goes. But in practice some valve equipment manufacturers seem to design closer to the limit. If a piece of kit complies with modern standards, and is CE marked to show this, then it should have been tested to work across the full range of voltages which might be encountered, and this runs from 216V to 253V. But again quite a lot of gear doesn't seem to be up to this. In short you're better safe than sorry ...

VB

 

i_should_coco

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I believe all European (CE marked) products *must* be specced for 230V +10%, -6% to accommodate the UK's 240 actual voltage.

Edit: VB beat me to it. :) :^

 

Buffalo

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Thanks for the replies fellas. I certainly did go for the safe route with amp right from the off by adding a variac. Seems I can be a little more relaxed with the sub.

Cheers, Steve

 

Buffalo

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Yeah but how many times have you had to fix a NAF amp? :)
Touch wood, the amp has run faultlessly. When I spoke to NAF re the covenance of the amp, they were adamant I used it with a variac. They supply 230v versions for EU and a 240v specifically for UK. I'm no techie but wonder if any problems here are result of UK users buyingfrom Europe and not using a variac ?

 

David Pinnegar

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Hi!

In theory the UK should eventually be normalised to 230V . . . eventually but we often see voltages of 250V and even above.

One energy saving suggestion, as many things really waste power with excessive voltage, is to install a mains regulator unit taking the voltage down to 220V and this can save its cost on one's electricity bill.

The particular relevance of supply voltage with valve amps is the filament temperature and running valve amps overvoltage reduces the life of the valves. With transistor supplies there's really not much to worry about.

Best wishes

David P

 

Valvebloke

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Hi!In theory the UK should eventually be normalised to 230V . . .
It'll be a long time coming. Replacing all the substations overnight isn't going to happen. Having a split infrastructure with some substations delivering 230V and some 240V introduces compatibility problems of its own. But one day, maybe ...

One energy saving suggestion, as many things really waste power with excessive voltage, is to install a mains regulator unit taking the voltage down to 220V and this can save its cost on one's electricity bill.
I thought this had been debunked ? The heavy power consumers (heating, air conditioning, refrigeration, lighting) are all either thermostatically controlled or driven by the consumer's demand for output. So whatever the voltage the thermostatic stuff stays switched on until the room/water is warm/cool enough and then switches off. If you drop the voltage to a heater it just stays switched on for longer until it's delivered the energy needed to heat the room to the required temperature. The total number of kWh clocked up on the the supply meter is unchanged. Likewise if the lights are dimmer because the voltage is lower then people go out and buy more powerful (or just more) bulbs. In fact the inevitable inefficiency in a voltage reducer may mean that fitting one actually wastes energy (although it ends up as heat, so as long as it's in your living room the effect once again cancels out).

If you do want to reduce the voltage to a sensitive piece of kit though you should very definitely use a bucking transformer rather than a Variac or (for a small voltage drop) a step-down transformer. It'll be much cheaper, safer, quieter (i.e. it won't buzz as much), smaller and more efficient.

VB

 

henkuk

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On a sidenote, before I moved to the UK many years ago, I bought all my kit with Euro voltages. Plugged it straight in here (1995 that was), never had an issue...

If I buy something from eBay or whatever, I open it up to see if it is set to 240V, if not I will do that...

YMMV

 

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