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Do I need a converter or a transformer?..


shrimpto

Question

...A bit of deja vu as I asked this question earlier, but it seems to have vaporised into the interether.

I have a "Flex" LW603VR polisher (looks like a 7" angle grinder) that I can not get an answer to for this question, and having found this great site, I'm hopeful one of you can assist.

It's been like dragging blood from a stone till now - yet my question is surely reasonable:

This tool is US120 volt 13amp...has a "slow start" feature, and a GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interruptor) built into the power cable.

Local plugs are 240 volt (New Zealand) - this tool is not made to suit same.

My homework so far has failed to come up with what I need to safely use this tool on our 240volt system - a converter or a transformer.

I'm not an electrician (respect to you guys!) and know little beyond that this tool is some 1560watts.

Please advise - any help most appreciated.

Cheers!

Dennis S

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16 answers to this question

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The speed control for this equipment is not a rheostat but an electronic module. The module is designed to work on 120v 60hz (part No Category Number: 253691). This module is not designed (nor capable) of handling 230v-50hz (cost of replacement is about US$100). You require a power convertor.

http://www.ereplacementparts.com/electronic-modual-120v-p-164347.html?osCsid=c09c3qcmsidkpc6m8p59q9nkd2The

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The transformer I bought online arrived by courier today and turns out to be a confidence building circa 10kg weighty thing. I've plugged the tool in and it goes and the speed wheel works. Thanks for the help and advice - I've got some fingers to cross.....

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Flex don't want a bar of my enquiry, and even their total self 'arrs' covering instruction manual for this hand held powertool states "Do not use with an extension cord" fer goodness sake. I have a 2kw transformer (that accepts the US plug on the tool) on its way to me - and in the absence of a reasonable alternative course of action I'll wing it from there....cheers to you all!.

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110V site tools are 2 phase.

Pardon? I`m afraid that is incorrect. What you are getting confused with is the earth point; which is from a centre tapping on the transformer.

This effectively means that phase and neutral, although 110v apart, are both only 63.5v away from earth. Nothing to do with 2 phases.

Does that help??

In so far as the 110V is made up by 55V on each leg.

As I understand it, the American system uses 2 phases, each phase being 120V. They use one leg and neutral for smaller appliances, and two legs for larger appliances such as wahing machines etc.

Could you fit a 110V plug on the tool, and then borrow or hire a transformer to see if it works?

Now the americans don`t use an earth - they have a centre tapped 3 core supply, with the "cold" wire being in the centre.

This provides for 110V to either of the two legs (although both are the same phase - just positive or negative with respect to CT), or 220 between the two "hot" legs.

Another possibility would be to contact the manufacturer and ask their advice.

Can`t find me coat - sorry

KME

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Flex don't want a bar of my enquiry, and even their total self 'arrs' covering instruction manual for this hand held powertool states "Do not use with an extension cord" fer goodness sake. I have a 2kw transformer (that accepts the US plug on the tool) on its way to me - and in the absence of a reasonable alternative course of action I'll wing it from there....cheers to you all!.

Wouldn`t expect an issue per se, as the motor is likely to be of the carbon brush type, which will, as previously stated, affect the speed by a factor of 83% (i.e. a set rotational speed of 3000rpm 60hz is likely to provide you with a speed of 2490 rpm. It shouldn`t cause overheating, as the machine is varispeed anyway. However, if the speed control is electronic, all bets are off and anything may happen (!)

In your position, I would connect to a standard site TX, as you are planning. It should be ok.

Just don`t quote or sue me if it doesn`t work.

HTH

KME

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Andy™

if its american, it will be designed to run on 60Hz, iirc, NZ uses 50hz? if so, the motor will not run properly and will most likely fail soon. chaning voltage down isnt a problem. so you use 110V on sites over there? if so, you would just need one of these transformers

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Yes it's ex USA, and I imported it without doing due diligence - thought that it would not be a problem to just buy a 240/120volt transformer(....duh!).

240 volt is the norm here, so are you are saying this powertool is doomed if I try to use it?.

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Andy™

yes. it will not run at correct speed and will overheat because of it

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Thanks for bearing up with my ignorance....the tool has electronic speed control - essentially the speed setting is a roller thumb operated controller graduated numerically.Help me her please - I can't see how it would matter whether the tool is going a little slower (or faster) through the Hz thing and how the tool would thus be damaged.

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Andy™

if you wanted to try it, get a 230-110v transformer and go for it. it may work, or it may not.

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Thanks mojorebel I appreciate that you have cared to looked into Flex powertools to find that info. Do you reckon that module should still shake hands nicely and get along well with some transformer supplied 120volts @50hz (vs 60hz)?.

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its a risk v price situation, you could risk running it at 50Hz - it would only take an email to Flex= but I would guess they would cover their backs and advice you against it

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spinlondon

I doubt if the frequency would have any effect.

The speed control is probbably just a rheostat.

The only problem I can see is whether the tool is single or 2 phase.

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I appreciate the helpful replies...The tool is single phase and it has a variable speed to a relatively slow max of 2800rpm. From nosing around the UK internet today, I see that there is increasing use there of 110volt powertools on construction sites - the rational it seems is of less severe electric shock if things go wrong (?!). Toolstop.co.UK have a 3.3Kva Twin outlet 110v transformer for example for just this purpose. It strikes me then that many others have had to sort out similar issues as mine, and it would be great to hear from anyone with more direct knowledge. My thread title as to whether I need a converter or a transformer appears to be favouring a transformer due to spikes when starting the tool - the reduced Hz thing notwithstanding.I need to get it right first time as this tool has already cost me circa UK480 pounds so I'm in too deep to stuff it up or walk away now.

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I think a site transformer is what you are likely to need.

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spinlondon

110V site tools are 2 phase.

In so far as the 110V is made up by 55V on each leg.

As I understand it, the American system uses 2 phases, each phase being 120V. They use one leg and neutral for smaller appliances, and two legs for larger appliances such as wahing machines etc.

Could you fit a 110V plug on the tool, and then borrow or hire a transformer to see if it works?

Another possibility would be to contact the manufacturer and ask their advice.

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