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Fred Page

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What are the likely electrical problems associated with buying machinery from America?
I have in mind the electric motor in a surface planer.
Fred.
 

ike

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I think you could run 110V machinery through a standard UK site transformer of a suitable rating (around £60 for a 3kVA). It'll run at a slightly different speed due to being rated for 60Hz supply.

American 220V gear is double live wire 110V+110V+Neutral - not sure how or if this could run on our supply.

Ike
 

Taffy Turner

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ike":6qkgcmdh said:
I think you could run 110V machinery through a standard UK site transformer of a suitable rating (around £60 for a 3kVA).

Ike
Not too sure about that. Most 110 V site transformers are "center tap", which means you get 55V either side of neutral. This is to minimise the shock you get if you happen to touch live conductor. I don't know if that means that equipment rated for 110V would work correctly or not.

We need an electrical engineer to help us out on this one - Tony - where are you???? :D
 

ike

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Fred, I'm no expert!, so at this point I'll wisely defer to one of the electrical engineers here!
 

Taffy Turner

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Fred,

The USA electrical supply is at 60Hz, ours is at 50 Hz, so any machines built in the US will run slower here by 16.66%

Assuming a design cutter head speed of, say 3000 rpm, in the UK this would run at 2500rpm. It shouldn't cause any harm to the motor, but I am still a bit dubious about the 110V versus 55V centre tap issue, so best to wait until someone with more in-depth knowledge posts on this topic.

Hope this helps.

Gary
 

ike

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Taff, I reckon those dustbin looking line transformers on stateside power poles might be what you said i.e. "centre-tap" . I had 220V supply installed to my house in Belize for AC. Other 110V circuits (ring main, lights etc) I wired so as to roughly balance load on the 2 lines. Not that electricity was ever that reliable as the supply regularly fed as low as 90V!

A 3-phase supply ran 110V+110V+a "high line" at 190V +Neutral (PME?). A system which even the local electric utility engineer struggled to explain, and which I never quite understood due to my lack of electrical theory.

Ike
 

Adam

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ike":pgupkmro said:
Taff, I reckon those dustbin looking line transformers on stateside power poles might be what you said i.e. "centre-tap" . I had 220V supply installed to my house in Belize for AC. Other 110V circuits (ring main, lights etc) I wired so as to roughly balance load on the 2 lines. Not that electricity was ever that reliable as the supply regularly fed as low as 90V!

A 3-phase supply ran 110V+110V+a "high line" at 190V +Neutral (PME?). A system which even the local electric utility engineer struggled to explain, and which I never quite understood due to my lack of electrical theory.

Ike
This has been discussed in depth before... see here....

https://www.ukworkshop.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1859

https://www.ukworkshop.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1640

https://www.ukworkshop.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1443

https://www.ukworkshop.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1057

It's all a question of finding the right phrase to put in the search facility - in this case "60hz" seemed to come up trumps.

Adam
 
A

Anonymous

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Hi guys

Yep. USA has 240V supplies on posts outside house which are centre tapped to 120V for domestic use. 60Hz rather than 50Hz which reduces the speeds of induction motors but not brushed (universal) motors.

You should be OK with a mains transformer down to 110V for motoes but not no-volt switches etc.. Torque and speed will be down by quite a bit on motors and I would look for a european alternative; especially as when one adds import duty and VAT to the US price, the saving is usually none to large.

You might find that some US kit runs at 240V which are the two 120V supplies centre tapped to earth. I think your motors will be OK on this but not the control gear such as no volt switches.

Also, kit bought directly from USA is NOT CE marked and should NOT be used in the UK
 

Noel

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Tony":1xq8mj8g said:
.

Also, kit bought directly from USA is NOT CE marked and should NOT be used in the UK
Tony, why? other than being "unofficial". Assuming that voltage and Hz are compatible and from a reputable manufacturer, what's the problem?

Noel
 

Fred Page

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Can I put in a word since I started this topic?
It's an old chestnut. However, the dollar/pound relationship raises the old issues.
The Yorkcraft 6 inch surface planer costs £175 as against a UK equivalent Axminster CT150 at about £450 so what's going on? Why isn't any UK merchant importing these machines for sale in the UK?
Okay, there's shipping, tax, import duty etc but does this still add up to £450? This is the calculation I'm trying to do at present. I did it two years ago and there was no point in even thinking about buying from America. Since then the dollar has changed further to our advantage in the UK and so I'm checking out the position once again. My original electrical question was in the hope that somebody would tell me that you cannot use American machines in the UK - well, there are clearly problems but they do not entirely eliminate American machine usage here. Now, would anybody on this forum like to add anything?
Fred in Kington UK.
 

Midnight

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if I'd the cash and the shop space, I'd be ordering literally tons of US cast iron in a heartbeat.... resolve the motor issues with direct UK spec replacements....

then again.... I can always import tons of US ductile iron, blow the motor thang out the window an live happy in my small shop....

every now an then, life can be REAL good... :twisted:
 
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Noely":3r8vdj6e said:
Tony":3r8vdj6e said:
.

Also, kit bought directly from USA is NOT CE marked and should NOT be used in the UK
Tony, why? other than being "unofficial". Assuming that voltage and Hz are compatible and from a reputable manufacturer, what's the problem?

Noel
Noel

Non CE marked kit is not to be sold for use in the EU under european law (EU directive 85/374/EEC). US companies are not permitted to sell directly to EU countries and most will refuse if asked. When I tried to purchase some US kit a while back I could not get anyone to import it as it was not CE marked and thus could not be sold for use here.

Whatever the legal position, the CE marking system is very worthwhile and useful particularly when it comes down to the electrical side of things such as EMC and guarding/safety issues too
 

Terry Smart

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Fred Page":2hk6c5eh said:
The Yorkcraft 6 inch surface planer costs £175 as against a UK equivalent Axminster CT150 at about £450 so what's going on? Why isn't any UK merchant importing these machines for sale in the UK?
Probably because there's no money in it for them.

Listed above are several drawbcks with taking the machine off the container and delivering it straight to the customer; speed-reading the comments so far I get the idea it won't perform as it should so some conversion might be required. This will cost money and also having people able to fix them if they go wrong can cost money.
I'm not fully conversant with the CE regulations mentioned above but there would probably need to be a test of some type carried out before these machines could legally be sold in this country. More unneccessary paperwork but rules are rules and whilst other countries may flaunt them we in the UK seem to follow every one of them to the letter... not always a bad thing if everyone was to do the same to keep things even. Still costs money though.
The cost of shipping machinery will be high due to the weight of the items, and the duties and clearance charges can be surprisingly high. Then there's the cost of transport from the dock to the warehouse, the cost of the warehouse itself used to store the machines until (or even if) they sell.
Of course if not all of the machines sell - or take a long time to do so - that is capital tied up which is not earning money for the importer and of course that is the reason for doing it - to make money.

I'm not saying for an instant that 'rip-off Britain' is a thing of the past, it happens all the time I'm sure especially when you compare home-produced product with fewer transport costs to those in other countries; I'm just not convinced this is an example of it.
 

Sgian Dubh

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I can't tell you anything about how to set up and operate US configured motors such as those used in table saws, planers and the like Fred.

But when I closed down my business and moved back to the UK from the US in 2003 I brought over all my US 110V, 60Hz handtools-- routers, drills, planers, jigsaws, buzzsaws, etc.. They all work fine with one of the 110V transormers seen all over building sites in the UK.

I reckoned that even if the tools didn't last long due to any electrical conflicts then at least they'd get me going until they burnt out or whatever, by which time I'd be able to replace each item as needed with UK configured tools.

On the other hand I sold all my heavier duty and three phase stuff in the US before I moved. The weight was an issue with the saw weighing about 1,300 lbs. if I recall rightly. Storage at this end would have been a problem, and then I'd probably have to get a new motor at great expense. I decided I'd buy heavy plant or large kit here if and when required, even though there is an apparent premium to pay. Slainte.
 
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