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Mods to change US equipment to work on UK mains (without step down converter)

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Mods to change US equipment to work on UK mains (without step down converter)

Postby Neko Neko » Thu Mar 27, 2008 2:59 pm

Hello

I picked up a deltalab effectron modulation box from New york about a year ago. I'm running it on a step down converter (i live in the uk) and it works great but the converter is noisey. Is there any way i can mod the delta =lab effectron to run on uk mains without a stepdown converter? by this i also mean a uk plug.

the unit works on 110 volts 50 or 60 hz. obviously i understand that the componets might not take the uk voltage but they did produce a uk version so maybe they will.

Thanks
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Re: Mods to change US equipment to work on UK mains (without step down converter)

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Mar 27, 2008 5:54 pm

The UK version would have had a different mains transformer which would produce the required power supply voltages from a 240V source instead of a 115V one.

If you are competent to measure the AC voltages from the current 115V transformer when running on your step down transformer (or if you can find an electronics technician who is), then it shouldn't be too hard to find a suitable replacement transformer and rewire the unit accordingly.

BUT, if you are not totally confident in your abilities to do this safely, then don't even think about it. Take it to a qualified service company and ask them to modify it for you.

Hugh
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Re: Mods to change US equipment to work on UK mains (without step down converter)

Postby Neko Neko » Fri Mar 28, 2008 8:44 pm

thanks for the post Hugh. I've never measured ac voltage from any mains source before or worked with transformers ethier. I have built lots of stompboxes and a synth so i'm quite competent with soldering, debuging and electronics.

How dangerous is it to measure an ac voltage and how would i go about doing it, with a multimeter i'm guessing.

Roughly how much do you think it would cost to get a technition to mod it?

Thanks

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Re: Mods to change US equipment to work on UK mains (without step down converter)

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Mar 29, 2008 2:42 am

If you know what you are doing, it's not dangerous. But it does involve takingthe lid off a box with mains voltages inside, so you need to be careful.

Essentially, all you need to do is take the lid off the thing when it is unplugged. Identify where the mains come in to the box and how it is routed to the transformer. Make a note to stay well away from that side. Then locate the secondary (or secondaries) output from the transformer and see where it (or they) go to the power supply board.

What you then need to do is plug the unit back in to the mains supply (via your converting transformer) and measure the voltae (or voltages) provided by the secondary (or secondaries) using an AC voltmeter.

Once you have that information, you can try to source a replacement transformer of the same size that will provide the same secondary voltages for a 230V input. You will also need to check that any power switches, fuse holders and other wiring is up to handling 230V mains.

It's then a simple case of ripping out the old transformer, bolting in the new one, and rewiring as necessary (not forgetting to upgrade the fuse and rewire the mains input cable and plug).

Hugh
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Re: Mods to change US equipment to work on UK mains (without step down converter)

Postby tomas » Sat Mar 29, 2008 10:22 pm

It is possible that the mains transformer has dual primary windings. In this case you would see four leads on the mains side, wired in two parallel pairs (one pair for each winding) for 115 V. By wiring these in series, leaving the middle two leads only connected to each other, the transformer will be setup for 230 V. If the mains transformer is of this type, there will usually be some information about it on the transformer or near the wiring on the mains side, because it is essential to connect the windings in the correct order. Dual primaries are used by smaller manufacturers who wish to use as few different components as possible while catering to domestic and export markets.
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Re: Mods to change US equipment to work on UK mains (without step down converter)

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun Mar 30, 2008 2:45 am

Very good point, and well worth checking when examining the current transformer arrangement.

Hugh
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Re: Mods to change US equipment to work on UK mains (without step down converter)

Postby SunShineState » Fri Apr 04, 2008 8:57 pm

isn't it also dangerous replacing the transformer without knowing its va rating -just measuring the output voltages wouldn't seem to be a safe way of replacing the transformer to me!? and as you say how can you be sure that you have the correct fuse, switch rating etc for the job on the primary side? a job for a professional who knows what he is doing I would say - not really DIY
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Re: Mods to change US equipment to work on UK mains (without step down converter)

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Apr 05, 2008 10:51 am

SunShineState wrote:isn't it also dangerous replacing the transformer without knowing its va rating

It's dangerous just taking the lid of the box if you don't know what you're doing. The problem here is that we are treading a fine line between trying to be helpful to the original poster, without exposing outselves to being sued if he kills himself because someone on the SOS forums told him to do it ;)

An indication of the appropriate VA rating is specifed on the power requirements label on the product, and any competent electronics technician would be able to figure out a suitable repalacement transformer.

a job for a professional who knows what he is doing I would say - not really DIY

Doesn't need to be a professional, but it does need to be someone competent in his (or her) knowledge of electronics and electrical safety. An experienced and knowledgeable electronics hobbyist should be able to change an input transformer without problems.

But as always, if they don't know what they are doing, they shouldn't do it at all, and leave the job to someone that does. Mains electricity isn't something anyone should be experimenting with!

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Re: Mods to change US equipment to work on UK mains (without step down converter)

Postby Voltage-Controlled-Oscillator » Sat Apr 05, 2008 12:22 pm

If you are determined to do this conversion job yourself and you are not entirely sure about the process, it is highly advisable to buy some electronics books and learn about the components you are going to be working with.

Two recommendations:

"The Art of Electronics", P. Horowitz and W. Hill.

"Electronic Principles", A. Malvino.

As said by others, if you don't know what you are doing, leave it to someone who does.

Good luck,

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Re: Mods to change US equipment to work on UK mains (without step down converter)

Postby Gordonjcp » Thu Apr 10, 2008 11:59 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
It's dangerous just taking the lid of the box if you don't know what you're doing. The problem here is that we are treading a fine line between trying to be helpful to the original poster, without exposing outselves to being sued if he kills himself because someone on the SOS forums told him to do it ;)

This can't be stressed enough. Mains voltage can kill you. At best, it will hurt. Somewhere in the middle it will hurt you and kill the equipment you're working on.

Fortunately most synths and effects don't use very very dangerous voltages, unlike valve amps.

And while we're at it, never ever take the cover off a microwave oven. The power supply in those will definitely kill you, instantly. With around 5kV and .1A to play with there are no second chances...

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
An indication of the appropriate VA rating is specifed on the power requirements label on the product, and any competent electronics technician would be able to figure out a suitable repalacement transformer.

A transformer physically about the same size will have about the same VA rating...
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Re: Mods to change US equipment to work on UK mains (without step down converter)

Postby monosyllabic » Sat Apr 19, 2008 3:35 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:

But as always, if they don't know what they are doing, they shouldn't do it at all, and leave the job to someone that does. Mains electricity isn't something anyone should be experimenting with!

Hugh

I need to do this on a pair of CD players.

Who should I be looking for to do a modification like this? It sounds a pretty easy job to be honest and I'd be confident in doing it myself but I have no idea where to get the transformers from.
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Re: Mods to change US equipment to work on UK mains (without step down converter)

Postby agent funk » Sat Apr 19, 2008 5:35 pm

Sometimes there will be mains filtering components which will need changing as well.
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Re: Mods to change US equipment to work on UK mains (without step down converter)

Postby SunShineState » Thu Apr 24, 2008 10:36 pm

if there's a mains fuse the rating of this will need to be changed, too, etc, etc - is it really worth it for what a CD player costs these days?
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Re: Mods to change US equipment to work on UK mains (without step down converter)

Postby monosyllabic » Fri Apr 25, 2008 1:17 am

SunShineState wrote:if there's a mains fuse the rating of this will need to be changed, too, etc, etc - is it really worth it for what a CD player costs these days?

Each CD player is about £500.
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Re: Mods to change US equipment to work on UK mains (without step down converter)

Postby Neko Neko » Wed Sep 14, 2011 3:56 pm

tomas wrote:It is possible that the mains transformer has dual primary windings. In this case you would see four leads on the mains side, wired in two parallel pairs (one pair for each winding) for 115 V. By wiring these in series, leaving the middle two leads only connected to each other, the transformer will be setup for 230 V. If the mains transformer is of this type, there will usually be some information about it on the transformer or near the wiring on the mains side, because it is essential to connect the windings in the correct order. Dual primaries are used by smaller manufacturers who wish to use as few different components as possible while catering to domestic and export markets.

Sorry for resurecting a very old thread but I have come back to sort this out as my step down converter is bein a pain noise wise. Having had a proper look at the PCB and read about dual primary windings it seems that this transformer is capable of this. See the pic of the PCB where the mains comes in.

Image

Image

How do I wire this for 230v? I'm guessing solder where the two tabs say 230v? Also what fuse would I need to replace the on on the board?

Thanks for all your help.
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Re: Mods to change US equipment to work on UK mains (without step down converter)

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Sep 14, 2011 4:47 pm

Sorry Neko, but it's really dodgy to try to answer your question based on some blurry photos.

This really is one of those "if you need to ask, don't do it" situations, and your guess about the soldering across the pads marked 240V is only part of the story -- SEVERAL OTHER CHANGES NEED TO BE MADE TOO -- so that wouldn't be enough, on its own, to make the required modification. Doing what you suggest is likely to destroy the product! Modifying mains supply is not the place where you want to be guessing anything!

Seriously, find a good electronics technician who can properly evaluate the transformer and the circuit board connections and circuitry in person. When he or she understands the mains and transformer wiring they'll be able to work out how to switch it to 230V operation in a safe manner.

I think, from looking at the pictures, it probably can be modified fairly easily and a good technician with his hands on the unit and a test meter would figure it out in no time at all.

But it would be foolish, irresponsible and potentially unsafe for anyone here to offer advice on the basis of the information you have provided. I know that's frustrating, but I don't want you trying to modify it, getting it wrong, destroying the unit, and then blaming SOS or anyone else here!

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Re: Mods to change US equipment to work on UK mains (without step down converter)

Postby John Willett » Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:45 pm

I agree with Hugh.

Don't attempt anything yourself unless you are *sure*.

I think I would e-mail the manufacturers and and ask for the specific details of what to do - attaching a pdf of your photos.
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Re: Mods to change US equipment to work on UK mains (without step down converter)

Postby Henry-S » Wed Sep 14, 2011 9:17 pm

Reminds me of the time I saw a guitar that was being fixed in the local music shop and the person had 'tried' to adjust the truss rod on his guitar... it was f00ked! Why bother risking your health/equipment when you can just take it to a registered electrician who will sort it out properly and guarantee their work. What happens if you do it and bugger it up, you could be buying yourself a new effectron + a nice box to live in ;)

Mains can kill you and with the remark about "i guess i solder this to this" is kinda like saying you would be happy with a mechanic saying "i guess the brakes attach here"
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Re: Mods to change US equipment to work on UK mains (without step down converter)

Postby ef37a » Wed Sep 14, 2011 10:51 pm

+1 absolutely Hugh.

Just because some screen printing says something on a PCB does NOT meant the actual fitted components can be so altered. Many PCBs are multi-model, multi-purpose, multi different target countries.

Take it to a technician.

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Re: Mods to change US equipment to work on UK mains (without step down converter)

Postby Neko Neko » Thu Sep 15, 2011 10:04 am

Alright guys I will see if I can find someone to do it. I was merely following up on an earlier post which said it might be easy for with these markings. I'm not willing to risk the box it's vintage and the company is long gone.

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