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Old 08-08-2014, 10:51 PM   #1
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Default Running UK power tools in the US

A framer from the UK asked me if there was a way he could run his UK tools over here. If they are 240V line to ground will they run on 240 L-L? He was also asking about using a converter, is there a portable step up transformer that could provide 240 L-G from 120 L-G?
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Old 08-08-2014, 11:18 PM   #2
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I know household power in uk is 240 but I think contractors use a lot of 120 tools. It has been a while since I was there but I am pretty sure this is the case. Plugs are different but I am very confident major uk building sites provide 120volt power. I am going to do some googling on this one.
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Old 08-08-2014, 11:29 PM   #3
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CTE (center tapped to earth) 110volt required by their version of OSHA. 55 volts on each leg, apparently. Either by 110 generator or transformer.
They do some odd stuff in uk. Some examples:
No line voltages switches in bathrooms. Either a keyed socket with a string or an LV switch. I dont remember outlets but I think they made an exception for 110 shaver outlet .
All receptacles had a switch.
All plugs had a fuse ( or two )
Been a while since I've been there, though.
And the craziest thing: Ring circuits. Lines begin and end at the breaker, outlets are tapped off the ring. Supposedly left over tech from WW2 when copper was in short supply, ring circuits could use smaller gauge wire.
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Old 08-09-2014, 01:40 AM   #4
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Why cant you just put a 240v USA style plug on them and use them ?
You would obviously need 240v not just 120v.
But a lot of places in USA have 240v anyway.
The only problem is that USA is 60Hz not 50Hz.
so the tools will run faster.
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Old 08-09-2014, 09:24 AM   #5
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What the hell kind of tools are they? Probably cost a fortune to ship here, then another chunk of change to make work.
Power tools are cheap, show him to home depot
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Old 08-09-2014, 10:06 AM   #6
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Chances are if the tool doesn't care about frequency it can be done no problem. It will need a NEMA cord cap since the British plug will fit nothing else like it and the fact British plugs fuse the hot so they can work safely on 32 amper rings.
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Old 08-09-2014, 10:11 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe cool View Post
CTE (center tapped to earth) 110volt required by their version of OSHA. 55 volts on each leg, apparently. Either by 110 generator or transformer.
They do some odd stuff in uk. Some examples:
No line voltages switches in bathrooms. Either a keyed socket with a string or an LV switch. I dont remember outlets but I think they made an exception for 110 shaver outlet .
All receptacles had a switch.
All plugs had a fuse ( or two )
Been a while since I've been there, though.
And the craziest thing: Ring circuits. Lines begin and end at the breaker, outlets are tapped off the ring. Supposedly left over tech from WW2 when copper was in short supply, ring circuits could use smaller gauge wire.

They are the only country that does rings (and those that followed their standards). It was to conserve copper after the war. But you in theory in any room you can get 7600 watts of power total Outlets are rated 13 amps btw.

A bit different from the rest of world that uses 10 and 16 amp 230 volt radial circuits.
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Old 08-09-2014, 11:42 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NacBooster29 View Post
What the hell kind of tools are they? Probably cost a fortune to ship here, then another chunk of change to make work.
Power tools are cheap, show him to home depot
It depends on the quality of the tool. Some are really worth keeping.
You can get a one or two KVA control transformer real cheap, or even free.
Just use the secondary connected to the 120 volt line and the primary to the load. If it doesn't come with an enclosure, one can be easily built, plus the transformer isn't that heavy.
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Old 08-09-2014, 12:09 PM   #9
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I have a bunch of 240V 50HZ portable power tools; they all work just fine on either 208 or 240 60HZ.

Drills, a portaband, angle grinders, worm drive Skilsaw, etc. Some of these are more than 20 years old.

Never had a lick of trouble.
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Old 08-09-2014, 01:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meadow View Post
They are the only country that does rings (and those that followed their standards). It was to conserve copper after the war. But you in theory in any room you can get 7600 watts of power total Outlets are rated 13 amps btw.

A bit different from the rest of world that uses 10 and 16 amp 230 volt radial circuits.
Ring circuits work great for incandescent low voltage landscape lighting
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Old 08-09-2014, 10:10 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joefixit2 View Post
Ring circuits work great for incandescent low voltage landscape lighting
Which makes them great for 240 volt circuits
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