Megavolt - Your source for electrical information in Israel




50/60 Hertz

By: Henk Pasman

Electrical equipment is made by the manufacturer only for a certain frequency and cannot be used on an other frequency!

In some cases it is made to be used for both frequencies and in that case specifically mentioned on the type plate: 50/60 Hertz.

Battery charger for a laptop computer. On the type plate is mentioned: 100-240 Volt and 50/60 Hertz
(which means any voltage between 100 and 240 volt plus can be used on either 50 or 60 Hertz)

Why you cannot use it on the other frequency:
- because the internal current goes up and this might cause faster deterioration of the insulation on the wiring, which causes short circuit and this may lead to fire, which can burn down your house!

What happens:
In transformers (like input transformer of the equipment) the current goes up.

In motors (like cooling ventilator or compressor) also the current goes up, the turns of the motor depends on the frequency, which means the turns are 17% higher if you go from 50 Hertz to 60 Hertz and 17% lower if you go from 60 Hertz to 50 Hertz, plus in this case the internal cooling is lower!

Can I do anything in order to still use the equipment on an other frequency?
Yes you can but at your own risk, you still cannot change the effect of higher or lower turns, but you can lower the current:

Lower the voltage to the equipment with about 20% as mentioned on the type plate, buy means of a transformer.

Example 1:
Europe model 230 Volt 50 Hertz to be used in the States on 60 Hertz: connect it with a transformer from 120 Volt on the electrical outlet in the States to 180 Volt for the equipment. (instead of the mentioned 230 Volt)

Example 2:
USA model 120 Volt 60 Hertz to be used in Europe on 50 Hertz:
connect it with a transformer from 230 Volt on the electrical outlet in Europe to 90 Volt for the equipment.
(instead of the mentioned 120 Volt)

Example 3:
Can women use there hairdryer on vacation on an other frequency? Only if on the type plate is mentioned 50/60 Hz and if it can be adjusted to the other voltage of either 120 Volt or 230 Volt. Do not think you can buy a universal adapter, because this is only possible if the adapter can handle the wattage (around 1200 Watt or VA). An adapter like this is quite heavy if it based on a transformer, if it is based on electronics it is not heavy but it might damage the equipment and should only be used for a short period of time.

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