230v (EU) 50hz > 120v (US) 60hz - what to do?

Thread Starter

mrspanda

Joined Nov 2, 2022
15
I recently acquired a US product (a sewing machine) running on 120 volts, 60Hz and 45 watts.

Sadly I live in europe where 230v, 50Hz is the norm.

I can easily find a 230v > 120v step-down transformer - however the frequency will still be 50Hz.
As I understand this can be a big issue, with overheating and the machine running slower.

Am I totally screwed? Or what can I do?
 

LowQCab

Joined Nov 6, 2012
4,217
If the Sewing-Machine is like the simple, old-school variety,
with a variable-Resistance-Foot-Pedal Speed-Control, and an AC/DC-Series-Wound-Motor,
You can get away with a lot, and the 50hz won't make any difference at all.
A step-Down-Transformer would be just fine.

However, if there are Electronic-Controls involved, or SCR-based Speed-Control,
the particular Specifications have to be taken into consideration.
But, it will probably work with a Step-Down-Transformer in any case.
.
.
.
 

Reloadron

Joined Jan 15, 2015
7,546
I would just try it with a common step down transformer. I lived in Italy for about 3 years using a US specification 120 VAC 60 Hz 20 cubic foot large refrigerator freezer. The 60 Hz compressor did just fine. I agree with LowQCab in that for the older foot pedal speed control motors it will likely be fine. Not sure as to if it has an SCR speed control but if it were mine I would give it a try.

Ron
 

Reloadron

Joined Jan 15, 2015
7,546
Sorry you find it sad to live in Europe, I quite enjoyed it! :p
But in most cases you can get away with just a transformer.
Actually living and working in Europe were some of the best years of my life. Every country was a whole new food experience. It was also enjoyable as to exploring new cultures and traditions. Glad I did it all when I was much younger. :)

Ron
 

Reloadron

Joined Jan 15, 2015
7,546
I couldn't get away from it as I was born there! :p
But experienced a few places including N. Africa. :)
Actually my son was born there in Napoli (Naples). He has a birth certificate will all the Italian documentation as well as his birth records from the US department of state. He was about 3 when we returned to the US and the daughter was 5 and could speak English and Italian. While there I traveled Europe pretty extensively and loved it. :)

Ron
 

Thread Starter

mrspanda

Joined Nov 2, 2022
15
If the Sewing-Machine is like the simple, old-school variety,
with a variable-Resistance-Foot-Pedal Speed-Control, and an AC/DC-Series-Wound-Motor,
You can get away with a lot, and the 50hz won't make any difference at all.
A step-Down-Transformer would be just fine.

However, if there are Electronic-Controls involved, or SCR-based Speed-Control,
the particular Specifications have to be taken into consideration.
But, it will probably work with a Step-Down-Transformer in any case.
.
.
.
My description of the machine was lackfull (apologies),- it's an automated embroidery sewing machine- is that what you describe as "SCR-based Speed-Control"? So yea, there's no foot pedal regulating speed.

I'm so afraid that the frequency line difference, would burn the motor or something like that.

A silly question: Lets assume I buy a transformer (they seem pretty inexpensive). Would there actually be a way of adding something after the transformer that could turn the 50hz to 60hz? Im talking plug n play'ish.
 

Thread Starter

mrspanda

Joined Nov 2, 2022
15
Look at the power-input specifications: it might be OK.
Then post the make and model for better informed advice.
Thanks, i've emailed the support to see if I can find some deeper info on power-input, motor and such. Their online downloadable manual doesn't tell me anything.
Model is the Brother SE600.

I'll post the info when I hopefully hear from support.
 

MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
28,772
Do you know , or can tell the nature of the motor, later models had PWM drives for a BLDC motor.
There is a very good chance that frequency is not going to be an issue, regardless of the technology used.
Edit: so it appears to be a very modern computerized M/C, so I would think that this confirms that there is every chance that it would not know the difference in freq.
 

Thread Starter

mrspanda

Joined Nov 2, 2022
15
Being totally unknowleable about all of this, would the below transformer be something I could go for?
Specs for the machine was: 120 volts, 60Hz and 45 watts

Step down converter - 240Vac to 115Vac (70W)

Technical details:
  • Plug connections: CEE7/7 plug for US (type B) outlet with earth
  • Input voltage: 240 VAC
  • Output voltage: 115 VAC
  • Max. peak load: 100W
  • Max. continuous load: 70W
  • Protection: Thermal fuse (240Vac / 2A, 125°C)
  • Cord length: 2m
  • Size: 115 x 84 x 59mm
  • Weight: 1280g


transformer.png
 

Thread Starter

mrspanda

Joined Nov 2, 2022
15
Do you know , or can tell the nature of the motor, later models had PWM drives for a BLDC motor.
There is a very good chance that frequency is not going to be an issue, regardless of the technology used.
Edit: so it appears to be a very modern computerized M/C, so I would think that this confirms that there is every chance that it would not know the difference in freq.
Happy to hear your input on this! Cheers.

Im receiving the machine tomorrow or monday, but naturally started to pre-panic trying to find solutions :)
I'll surely try and figure out what kind of motor is in there and update the topic, when I have the info.
 

Reloadron

Joined Jan 15, 2015
7,546
Max is among our duty motor experts. :)

Reading the specifications for your machine and what that power converter outputs it should be adequate with a little overhead. Your machine is 45 watts and the unit can supply up to 70 watts continuous. While I don't see mention of the output frequency it should work even if the output frequency is 50 Hz.

Ron
 

MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
28,772
I am guessing that is a simple linear supply, i.e. mains transformer! I can't see them using a SMPS for that.
If so Ron has it covered !
 

Ian0

Joined Aug 7, 2020
10,054
Power tool transformer is the cheapest solution (but bear in mind that it is intermittently rated)
https://www.screwfix.com/p/carroll-...ep-down-isolation-transformer-230v-110v/61847
I have a 120V 60Hz Kitchen Aid mixer which is run that way, and I have also run a 120V 60Hz washing machine.
The Kitchen Aid's speed control doesn't work quite as well as I imagine it would on 60Hz.
Interesting to note that the cost of the Kitchen Aid at US prices, PLUS carriage, duty and VAT, PLUS the cost of the power tool transformer was less than the UK price of the Kitchen Aid.
 

Ian0

Joined Aug 7, 2020
10,054
Being totally unknowleable about all of this, would the below transformer be something I could go for?
Specs for the machine was: 120 volts, 60Hz and 45 watts

Step down converter - 240Vac to 115Vac (70W)

Technical details:
  • Plug connections: CEE7/7 plug for US (type B) outlet with earth
  • Input voltage: 240 VAC
  • Output voltage: 115 VAC
  • Max. peak load: 100W
  • Max. continuous load: 70W
  • Protection: Thermal fuse (240Vac / 2A, 125°C)
  • Cord length: 2m
  • Size: 115 x 84 x 59mm
  • Weight: 1280g


View attachment 279876
The only snag is that they tend to be autotransformers, so if you use them in parts of Europe with reversible plugs (Germany, Spain etc,) it can easily end up with 230V between live and earth, where the insulation is only designed for 120V.
Also, watch the power rating - like the power tool transformers they tend to be intermittently rated, which is probably OK for a sewing machine unless you are using it commercially!
 

Boggart

Joined Jan 31, 2022
82
The only snag is that they tend to be autotransformers, so if you use them in parts of Europe with reversible plugs (Germany, Spain etc,) it can easily end up with 230V between live and earth, where the insulation is only designed for 120V.
Also, watch the power rating - like the power tool transformers they tend to be intermittently rated, which is probably OK for a sewing machine unless you are using it commercially!
Interestingly, you can't always assume that what you have is an autotransformer (or isolated transformer). I bought a low power 240 to 120V transformer from a supplier here in Australia, it actually had a warning label stating it was an autotransformer type, so out of interest I checked the resistance between input and output, which was infinite. So, I opened it up and there was a split bobbin fully isolated transformer. So, at some stage the design had been upgraded and yet the warning label was still being attached.
So, you can't assume either way, I would always test the transformer before using.
 
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