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American power tools in the UK

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El Barto

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An American imported circular saw has popped up for sale, the seller says it runs fine via a 110v transformer but because it is made for 60hz rather than 50hz it runs about 20% slower than it should.

Can anyone tell me if there's a (simple) way to run it at full speed?
 

Sideways

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If the seller is suggesting it will run OK, just slow, off a 110V (site) transformer, is this a single phase machine ?
And what is the power rating ?
 

CHJ

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That motor appears to have Brushes, that indicates it's a universal motor with a comutator.
If that's the case It's speed is not frequency related and will work on DC or AC supplies.
 

Sideways

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So - the saw is designed to run on 120V, a site transformer will give you 110V so it will run about 10% slow because of the slightly reduced voltage. As CHJ says, frequency is pretty much irrelevant where brushed motors are concerned, they are not a synchronous design like an induction motor.
I doubt that running off a site transformer is making this run any hotter than it would normally. It's a powerful, high torque saw, 15A is a decent current, there is likely to be some waste heat from the motor and gearbox.
 

Mark A

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I have a 30-year-old Skil HD77 wormdrive which runs perfectly well from a 110v transformer. The slightly slower motor speed makes no difference in actual cutting performance as these things have so much more torque compared to a conventional saw.

Mark
 

Sgian Dubh

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As others have said, American configured hand held power tools (not 3 phase stuff that perhaps MikeJhn thought you were describing) run fine through a 220V to 110V transformer. I have several such tools, e.g., routers, planers, circular saw, various sanders, angle grinders, etc that I bought when I lived in the US and I run them all through transformers. I'm so set up for 110V tool usage now that whenever I have to buy new power tools here in the UK I get the 110V volt version rather than the 220-240V version.

One possible advantage is that 110V power tools do seem to be rather less attractive to both thieves, and to those that would normally like to borrow them (and return them damaged), especially if you're not willing to lend the transformer to go with the tool(s). Refusing loan of the transformer is quite easy - just say you need it to run your other 110V kit, whether that's true or not, ha, ha. Slainte.
 

mbartlett99

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I run US tools through a site transformer as well - no issues inc. the electronically managed festool stuff. One slight advantage is that they seem to have a higher resale value as the trades need them for site work.
 

Bodgers

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Mark A":3oyew5d2 said:
I have a 30-year-old Skil HD77 wormdrive which runs perfectly well from a 110v transformer. The slightly slower motor speed makes no difference in actual cutting performance as these things have so much more torque compared to a conventional saw.

Mark
Unlikely this has an induction motor, so it won't be running any slower...
 

Phil Pascoe

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mbartlett99":2je864f4 said:
I run US tools through a site transformer as well - no issues inc. the electronically managed festool stuff. One slight advantage is that they seem to have a higher resale value as the trades need them for site work.
Funny, my neighbour commented at the weekend that the people he knew who did a lot of site work weren't buying much 110v anymore, everything possible was now battery.
 

Trevanion

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mbartlett99":3nd4p102 said:
One slight advantage is that they seem to have a higher resale value as the trades need them for site work.
I thought it was the opposite, nobody seems to be able to get rid of the 110v kit and it’s always 10%+ cheaper than the 240v equivalent.

I’ve personally never had any issues with taking 240v stuff on site but perhaps they’re more stringent about it on the bigger sites where bureaucracy is king.
 

mbartlett99

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phil.p":1cubitaj said:
mbartlett99":1cubitaj said:
I run US tools through a site transformer as well - no issues inc. the electronically managed festool stuff. One slight advantage is that they seem to have a higher resale value as the trades need them for site work.
Funny, my neighbour commented at the weekend that the poeople he knew who did a lot of site work weren't buying much 110v anymore, everything possible was now battery.
Well thats definitely true. I used to use loads of air tools but batteries have changed all that. Think the last one was a really serious impact gun oh and the needle gun.
 

Sideways

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Trevanion":1bso9xus said:
I’ve personally never had any issues with taking 240v stuff on site but perhaps they’re more stringent about it on the bigger sites where bureaucracy is king.
Wiring regs have long specified 110V for use on (all) construction sites (with a centre tap earth so 55-0-55V) but EU harmonisation led to the option of 230V tools used with a suitable RCD protection and (if I remember) a mandatory risk assessment and frequent inspection of the equipment.
Unless the contract is subject to open public procurement rules, there's nothing to stop a company imposing tighter restrictions on their contractors, so 240V is still excluded on many sites as the overhead of policing it and documenting that you have done so in case of accident costs too much time.
No doubt plenty of sites are casual about the rules but if someone were to get electrocuted and fall off a scaffold because of your 240V kit you could be in court alongside everyone else ...

It's all about the additional risk of electrcution on a construction site with harsh environment damaging to cables and the need to use tools sometimes in standing water, in the rain, at height, etc. A max 55V to earth reduces the risk if someone does get a belt.
 

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