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100-240v rated gear - universal power supply?

Discussion in 'General Audio Discussion' started by Taketheflame, Nov 10, 2018.

  1. Taketheflame

    Taketheflame Member

    Messages:
    99
    Hey all,

    Just something I've been curious about lately. Every piece of audio gear I have is rated for the standard US voltage (120V). However, there are several vintage pieces of gear on my "wish list" that are quite hard to find versions of that are strictly US/North America voltage spec. However, I often find these pieces from worldwide sellers - many of them have multiple plug outlets on the rear panel, with a rated voltage range of 100-240v.

    My question - does this mean I would be able to safely use gear like this on a US outlet by simply using the correct plug type/outlet/adapter? (i.e - no use of step up/down transformers).

    Thanks!
     

     

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  2. avionic

    avionic " Black Knights " Subscriber

    Messages:
    43,778
    Location:
    Fort Dodge, Iowa
    No..Step up or down transformers would be required if the piece did not have internal provisions to change mains voltage.ie transformer taps.
     
    KentTeffeteller likes this.
  3. lini

    lini just me...

    Messages:
    5,891
    Location:
    Munich, Bavaria
    Ttf: Basically there are two types of such multi-voltage devices - the older type will typically make use of a transformer with multiple taps plus configration switch, the newer type will make use of a modern switched-mode power supply, nowadays most usually without a configration switch. Possible extra outlets on the back don't really have much to do with that. I.e., these will always provide just the same voltage that comes in via the power plug or jack.

    Greetings from Munich!

    Manfred / lini
     
    Taketheflame and Pio1980 like this.
  4. Bob

    Bob AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,275
    Location:
    West coast
    all these mean is that if its plugged into 120, the sockets will supply 120. if the input
    voltage is 240, then these sockets will supply 240.

    however, everywhere I've been - anything other than 120 uses a different plug style,
    British square pins, PR China V-angled square pins, etc.

    check the schematic if in doubt.
     
    ben_ likes this.
  5. DaveVoorhis

    DaveVoorhis Super Member

    Messages:
    3,907
    Location:
    Behind you.
    Some modern -- typical digital -- gear will run on a wide voltage range without the voltage being switched. Most gear is specified for a relatively narrow range either around 120 volts, or around 240 volts. You can't simply plug 240 volt gear into a 120 volt outlet and have it work properly, even with an adapter. You need a power converter.

    Take a look at the voltage input rating, which will almost invariably indicated the required voltage range.

    If you're seeing power outlets -- i.e., plug sockets -- on the rear panel, the ratings of those should not be used as an indication as to the expected input voltage of the unit.
     
  6. 2broke4this

    2broke4this Active Member

    Messages:
    240
    Location:
    Arlington, VA
    As someone who recently moved overseas, I went on a quest to find and only bring dual voltage gear. As DaveVoorhis said, look at the back panel or on the power supply (if it's external) to see what it says for input voltage. I've got a mix of things, some have a switch you have to flip (and sometimes they have different fuse rating recommendations), some automatically sense the voltage. The newer digital gear just does its own thing, but the Parasound Zamp and Ztuner, my Audioengine S8, and a few other pieces I brought needed to be switched manually.

    To sum up, if the gear you've found says that it can take the full range of input voltage, you're likely in business. Assuming it's vintage gear, find the switch that controls input voltage. Good luck!
     
    Balifly likes this.

     

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  7. triode17

    triode17 Super Member

    Messages:
    1,315
    If the published rating is 100v-240v, it has switching power supply and will run anywhere between those two voltages. If it has two ratings of 120v and 240v, then some conversion has to be done to run it safely. Could be a switch or an internal jumper that needs to be changed.
     
    2broke4this likes this.
  8. Taketheflame

    Taketheflame Member

    Messages:
    99
    So, if it says this right above where the power cord connects to the chassis...

    AC
    110-240V (listed as a range, not something like 120/240 V)
    50-60Hz

    It can be used without a conversion transformer? Was it common for vintage gear to have listings like this?
     
  9. Taketheflame

    Taketheflame Member

    Messages:
    99
    Thanks! Munich is on my list of many places to visit :)
     
  10. triode17

    triode17 Super Member

    Messages:
    1,315
    Not, not common for any vintage gear to have this. Switching supplies in consumer equipment has only become popular in the last ten years or so. And yes, it can be used without a conversion (step-up or step-down) transformer. My company makes consumer PA gear and we use universal power supplies like this often.
     
  11. DaveVoorhis

    DaveVoorhis Super Member

    Messages:
    3,907
    Location:
    Behind you.
    Yes.
    That perhaps depends on your definition of "vintage", but it would be very unusual, if found at all, in analog gear made before (roughly) the mid-2000's and it's unusual in the majority of purely-analog gear made today.

    What is the device that has this rating?

    Unless... Are you referring to a mechanical switch that lets you select a variety of voltages between 100 and 240?

    That's not unusual on vintage gear.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2018 at 5:01 PM

     

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  12. EastPoint

    EastPoint Factory Code No. 4200 Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,613
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    A fair number of vintage receivers and amps have multi-voltage transformers. I have seen lots of Pioneer and Sansui gear like that, and some Marantz.
     

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