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Old 08-20-2005, 08:28 AM   #1
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European 220V outlet "Schuko"


I have a few 230V European appliances (800-1300 W resistive, not motorized or electronic) that I would like to simply plug in as needed instead of using a transformer. To do this, I was thinking about installing one Euro outlet at a specific place in my home in such a way that I could replace it with a properly wired US outlet sometime in the distant future.

I read up on the European "Schuko" outlets, compared them to a US 220-240V outlet, and know *just* enough to be dangerous. So I am asking for advice and perspective before I either give up or make a really big mistake.

The US 240V outlet has two hot 120V wires and a ground, no neutral. The Euro "Schuko" grounded outlet has one 230V hot wire, one neutral and a ground. By design, it's not polarized, so the hot wire can be connected to either side.

I was originally tempted to tie my two US 120 V hot wires near the Euro outlet, connect them to one side of the Euro outlet, connect the neutral to the ground and ground it. But this seems too easy and I also read that the two phases of US 120V are out of phase with each other, so would it even work?

I have also seen some advice to the effect that the Euro outlet can be set up with two 120V hot wires like the US outlet and "a well-designed appliance" will handle it OK...whatever that means...perhaps that in a properly grounded appliance, the current would seek the ground and everything would be OK. Might be worth a try using the Euro outlet or by simply installing a proper US 240V outlet and changing the plugs on the appliances.

Any advice on how to proceed would be greatly appreciated!

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Old 08-20-2005, 10:23 AM   #2
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European 220V outlet "Schuko"


Sounds dangerous! I don't think your insurance company would like it. I like your thought process though. Somebody told me once that they run there 277volt,(1 hot), ballast on 240volt circuit, (2 hots). I thought they were crazy but I did try it on a fixture for a few minutes. It worked. Good luck. HS.

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Old 08-21-2005, 03:06 PM   #3
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European 220V outlet "Schuko"


I also read that because the two hot wires are 180 degrees out of phase, there is 120 Volts between each hot wire and the ground wire, but 240 Volts between the two hot wires. I wonder if, in practice, this is equivalent to the Euro socket, in which the hot wire is at 230V with respect to ground and there is a neutral wire essentially at ground. This would lead me to believe I could wire it like the US socket with two hot wires and a ground. Might be worth a controlled test.
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Old 08-23-2005, 02:38 PM   #4
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European 220V outlet "Schuko"


Quote:
Originally Posted by estophile

I was originally tempted to tie my two US 120 V hot wires near the Euro outlet, connect them to one side of the Euro outlet, connect the neutral to the ground and ground it. But this seems too easy and I also read that the two phases of US 120V are out of phase with each other, so would it even work?
NO NO NO!!! Best case scenario is that it will just blow the breaker and it won't work. Worst case depends on how much current your wires can handle and how fast your breaker blows... If you have done it really wrong, then you could generate a bit of heat, and maybe a little light show for yourself.

All you will have accomplished is to short circuit your phases to each other.


Quote:
Originally Posted by estophile
I have also seen some advice to the effect that the Euro outlet can be set up with two 120V hot wires like the US outlet and "a well-designed appliance" will handle it OK...whatever that means...perhaps that in a properly grounded appliance, the current would seek the ground and everything would be OK. Might be worth a try using the Euro outlet or by simply installing a proper US 240V outlet and changing the plugs on the appliances.

Any advice on how to proceed would be greatly appreciated!
In the US a typical 3-wire 240V circuit has two hots (1 from each phase) and a neutral. In this case, the Neutral is really a ground, and does not actually carry any current. If you do the following:
- run an appropriately guaged 3-wire cable from an appropriately sized double-pole breaker in your main breaker box to the outlet in question.
- connect Hot from appliance to one of the hots from the house (black wire).
- connect Netural from appliance to the OTHER hot from the house (red wire).
- connect ground from the appliance to the Neutral from the house (white wire).

It will work - provided the extra 10 volts (typical, sometimes more, sometimes less) doesn't damage your device.

I can give you no advice however on whether this will meet code (although I suspect it will not).

Some of your comments demonstrate a significant lack of understanding in the fundamentals of how AC power works. Before attempting anything, I would suggest educating yourself a bit more.
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Old 08-24-2005, 02:16 AM   #5
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European 220V outlet "Schuko"


Whoa hold up. Euro electricity run on 50 hertz we (as in Mexico,Canada,and US) run on 60 hertz that 10 hertz difference can be dangerous. I have heard of euro stuff running on our electricity but is not recommended. So if you don't use a transformer or some type of resistor to downconvert to 50 hertz your asking for trouble.
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Old 08-24-2005, 06:59 AM   #6
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European 220V outlet "Schuko"


JustaFramer is right. You need to take into account the frequency. Without knowing what your appliance is, its hard to say. If it is just resistive, like a SIMPLE heater or something, then you will probably be ok. Anything else, including a more complex heater with a digital thermostat, and you would have to look at it more carefully.
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Old 08-27-2005, 09:45 AM   #7
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European 220V outlet "Schuko"


Thanks for all your advice! You're all helped fill in a bit of the BIG gap in my knowledge of this topic!

The appliance in question is a samovar, basically a water boiler that is used to make tea. There are no electronics at all, just a resistive heating coil and a mechanical thermostat. I've been running it with a huge step-up transformer but was thinking about a more permanent installation.

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