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Old 04-30-2011, 05:21 PM   #1
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International Electrical Question..60HZ vs 50HZ Supply


Hi again,

I'm from the US and will be working in Jamaica this summer building a drug rehab center (a lot of concrete and concrete block). I'd like to bring a lot of my own power tools with me..grinders, hammer drills, mixing drills, saws, etc. I was doing some research and found out that Jamaica's power supply is 120V 50HZ..instead of the 120V 60HZ here in the US. Almost all of my tools are rated at 60HZ (a few say 50/60HZ). I read that using 60HZ equipment on a 50HZ supply can cause the tool to run slowly and can cause the motor to burn out prematurely. Is there any way to convert a 50HZ supply to 60HZ? We have not decided yet whether we will set up temporary site power or use generators. If we do use generators we could just make sure we get ones that are 60HZ..that may be the way to go.

Thanks,
Jeff
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Old 04-30-2011, 07:35 PM   #2
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International Electrical Question..60HZ vs 50HZ Supply


Appliances and tools labeled 50/60 Hz can be run on 50 Hz with no problem. Do not run a 60 Hz (only) item on 50 Hz because it is possible it might burn out even when you are not loading it down (before pushing the material into the saw blade and before plunging the drill bit into the material and before plugging extra circuit boards into the PC expansion slots.)

(You can get away with using 50 Hz only equipment on 60 Hz provided you don't load it down severely.)

The impedance (internal resistance AC-wise) of motors and transformers and other equipment using coils is less for a lower frequency AC power. If the impedance is too low, the equipment draws excessive current and overheats.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 04-30-2011 at 07:42 PM.
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Old 04-30-2011, 10:08 PM   #3
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International Electrical Question..60HZ vs 50HZ Supply


The admonition not to use 60Hz motors on 50Hz power only applies to induction motors, not to "universal" motors. Most smaller power tools use universal motors because they are cheaper and can pack much more power into a smaller and lighter device. If it has brushes, it's a universal motor. Universal motors are not frequency sensitive at all, and will run on DC just as well as AC. They do not rely on the inductive impedance of the windings to limit current.
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Old 05-01-2011, 01:17 PM   #4
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International Electrical Question..60HZ vs 50HZ Supply


Thanks for the replies! Most of what we will be using will be universal motors so we should be fine then. I have a friend that that ran a welder off of a 50HZ supply and the welder did not function correctly..I'm sure that had an induction motor on it.
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Old 05-01-2011, 02:34 PM   #5
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International Electrical Question..60HZ vs 50HZ Supply


Never seen an AC welder with motor in it except for a fan. They are transformers.
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Old 05-01-2011, 04:07 PM   #6
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International Electrical Question..60HZ vs 50HZ Supply


A welder would not function correctly (though I would expect it to work well enough) because they rely on inductive reactance for current limiting. It would probably provide more current than anticipated, but probably not by too much.
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Old 08-02-2011, 01:46 PM   #7
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International Electrical Question..60HZ vs 50HZ Supply


Hey guys, I'm new here, but I have the same type of question, only for battery powered tools. I have the M18 Milwaukee 18v batteries and I am taking them overseas on a short trip also to a country with 50hz. The voltage will be fine, but I don't want to jack up my nice new Lithium-Ion batteries with 50hz. Do you guys think that will cause any damage? I know Milwaukee has an international charger for $100 but I would rarely use it again after this trip so I don't really want to buy one.
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Old 08-02-2011, 05:25 PM   #8
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International Electrical Question..60HZ vs 50HZ Supply


Quote:
Originally Posted by zolkabir View Post
Hey guys, I'm new here, but I have the same type of question, only for battery powered tools. I have the M18 Milwaukee 18v batteries and I am taking them overseas on a short trip also to a country with 50hz. The voltage will be fine, but I don't want to jack up my nice new Lithium-Ion batteries with 50hz. Do you guys think that will cause any damage? I know Milwaukee has an international charger for $100 but I would rarely use it again after this trip so I don't really want to buy one.

I think it will just take longer to charge than normal. That's all. As long as it's the same voltage. Just for $hits and giggles, take a digital alrm clock with ya that operates on 120/60, set it for when you SHOULD wake up, then see what time it is when somebody else is waking you up. I'll bet it's 2 hr 20 min slow.... BTW, How do you guys find these oversea jobs?
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Old 08-03-2011, 01:45 AM   #9
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International Electrical Question..60HZ vs 50HZ Supply


Should work fine. Modern chargers are switching power supplies that convert the line voltage to DC before stepping it down anyway. Many are rated for 50 or 60 Hz, and 100-240V (or at least 100-120V). Even if it's not explicitly rated for it, it will almost certainly work fine.
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Old 08-03-2011, 04:35 PM   #10
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International Electrical Question..60HZ vs 50HZ Supply


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Originally Posted by Shauni View Post
I think it will just take longer to charge than normal. That's all. As long as it's the same voltage. Just for $hits and giggles, take a digital alrm clock with ya that operates on 120/60, set it for when you SHOULD wake up, then see what time it is when somebody else is waking you up. I'll bet it's 2 hr 20 min slow.... BTW, How do you guys find these oversea jobs?
Thanks for the tip. I'll give it a whirl.

I have been doing overseas work since my first year of college. There are all kinds of opportunities. Most of the ones I seen are pro bono, but there are also a number of construction companies that get contract jobs overseas and need qualified Americans to work them. Feel free to message me and let me know what you're interested in, and I'll see if I can help.
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