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  • 110v -> 220v ... possible?

    Hi guys,
    Sorry if this is a basic question -- here's the deal -- I live in an apartment that has 110v only (in my apartment at least, it's 220v going into the building). Anyway, I need to run a tool that requires 220v..am I basically out of luck? (Installing a new outlet isn't an option, my stove's gas, and no dryer, unfortunately.) I searched around and found this supposed converter:
    http://www.quick220.com/220_volt.htm
    that suggests you hook up their box to separate outlets (that run to separate sides of the breaker box), saying you can get 220 that way. In theory it seems to make sense, but I've been told (by a guy who's an amateur electrician) that I'm basically asking for a fire. What do you guys think? Any possible way I can make this thing happen (Short of installing an actual 220 outlet)?
    Thanks,
    Brian

  • #2
    Re: 110v -> 220v ... possible?

    I don't see it as a guaranteed disaster... but there are a couple pitfalls to be aware of. First, the device claims it can supply 15 amps if connected to NEMA 5-15 wall outlets and 20 amps if connected to NEMA 5-20 outlets. A 5-15 is not rated to supply 15 amps continuous and 5-20 isn't rated for 20 amps continuous. So I would not try to run more than a 13 amp tool using this scheme with 5-15 outlets, or 17 amps with 5-20 outlets. Most likely you won't have problems but I personally don't like to exceed the numbers.

    Next, even if your apartment has 5-20's, I wouldn't assume that the wiring up to the wall outlet is actually correct. Who knows what people have done over the years? I would check it out first.

    Finally, I didn't look at the device carefully enough to see if they have a way to overcome the fact that the breakers for the two poles won't have their handles tied together. This could possibly be handled in the device, and should be. I'm not comfortable with one pole tripping under a fault and the other remaining live. Unless the converter senses this and turns off the live line, this could be a shock hazard.

    I've tapped 120 volt outlets to make temporary 240 before - it works, but my approach (using scraps of thhn wired to the screw terminals of the outlets) was purely temporary and far from anything that any sane person would call "safe". But then again I do a lot of things that I would never advise anyone else to try. Proceed with great caution should you decide to try this, make sure you follow the instructions for the converter device to the letter, and - most importantly - understand what you're doing and remember - "safe" is better than "fast" or "easy".

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: 110v -> 220v ... possible?

      Regarding the item that needs 220-240 Volts to use.

      Look at the name plate. Does it show running and starting current in Amperes (Amp) on it? Can you please tell us what the device is? That's give us as much info about it as possible. Depending on the maximum and continuous current draw, you might be able to make use of a "Step Up" transformer. It would have a 120 Volt primary winding and a 240 Volt secondary. The problem with using one is that if you draw much output current you may well need it on a 30 Amp (or more) 120 Volt circuit.

      Please don't try some 1/2 @$$ method as such simply is NOT safe.

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      • #4
        Re: 110v -> 220v ... possible?

        Step up/down transformers/voltage converters are available for about $70 and will handle 1500 watts or so. Please do as Woussko advises, don't jerry rig anything. 1500 watts divided by the voltage will give you your amp draw if the name plate specifies watts instead of amp draw.

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        • #5
          Re: 110v -> 220v ... possible?

          Hi Guys,
          Thanks for all the excellent responses. The device is a glass fusing kiln that I'd like to incorporate into my furniture making (I don't own the kiln yet...just researching prospective purchases and their feasibility before I make the plunge). Anyway, the specifications of the kiln, seem to far exceed what's been suggested as a safe range (it's 45 amps, and 10,800 watts...so it "requires 6 gauge wire, a 50 amp breaker, and a NEMA 6-50P receptacle"). They also exceed the capacities of the voltage converter, so I guess that's out. (Thanks for prompting me to look at the specifications...I should've done that earlier obviously . Looks like the only real viable solution (as I can't have 220 installed) is just for me to rent a little studio space. I'm pretty sure my landlord would've been none too pleased about the kiln anyway...

          Well anyway, thanks again for your expertise guys. I sincerely appreciate it!

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: 110v -> 220v ... possible?

            That thing will only work if you have 240 volts supplying the apartment anyway. It works based on the fact that somewhere in your house is 2 receptacles on opposite phases of your panel.

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            • #7
              Re: 110v -> 220v ... possible?

              A hot kiln makes some nasty fumes too. You really need a garage where you can open it up for ventilation and that has good electric service. I think there are gas fired kilns made but I'm sure next to an electric one they are costly.

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              • #8
                Re: 110v -> 220v ... possible?

                Originally posted by Woussko View Post
                A hot kiln makes some nasty fumes too. You really need a garage where you can open it up for ventilation and that has good electric service. I think there are gas fired kilns made but I'm sure next to an electric one they are costly.
                And no way can you have one of those in an apartment.

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