European espresso machine 220V to use in USA

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twisterlove

Postby twisterlove » Sep 16, 2016, 1:49 pm

Hi folks,

I planned buying a home espresso machine online from a store in England for a good price. I asked if I can operate the machine in USA, and they replied "NO".

Is it possible to just use a simple plug converter, or I need heavy duty converter?
If I need a heavy duty, then I think it is not worth it!

Thanks.

Nick Name

Postby Nick Name » Sep 16, 2016, 2:11 pm

This is not my area of expertise, but if you run the site's search "european machine with 110V" you get links to many discussions of the subject. I hope they help.

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redbone

Postby redbone » Sep 16, 2016, 4:15 pm

twisterlove wrote:Hi folks,

I planned buying a home espresso machine online from a store in England for a good price. I asked if I can operate the machine in USA, and they replied "NO".

Is it possible to just use a simple plug converter, or I need heavy duty converter?
If I need a heavy duty, then I think it is not worth it!

Thanks.


If buying new I have to ask why buy from the U.K. which uses a Type G (identified as the fused British plug) Italy uses C,F,L plugs. You will need a step up transformer to use them in the U.S. / Canada.
Between order and chaos there is espresso.
Semper discens.


Rob
LMWDP #549

Nick Name

Postby Nick Name » replying to redbone » Sep 16, 2016, 4:36 pm

Many companies that do mail order from UK allow you to choose the plug (UK/Continental at least). Anyway most of the machines come from continental Europe... Not Londinium obviously, but still you can choose the plug you need...

But anyhow a valid point. Be sure what you order to avoid any unwanted surprises.

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HB
Admin

Postby HB » Sep 16, 2016, 5:41 pm

twisterlove wrote:I planned buying a home espresso machine online from a store in England for a good price. I asked if I can operate the machine in USA, and they replied "NO".

That's a good recommendation. For sake of reference, I'll elaborate on the natural follow up question, "Why isn't this a good idea?"

The answer basically boils down to you'll need a big step-up transformer or you can hire an electrician to run a dedicated 220V line. Needless to say, the configuration will not be UL listed. While you may not care, be forewarned that your insurance company may deny a damage claim in the unlikely event that it burns down your house. Then there's the problem of resale: Nobody in the USA will touch it; or at a minimum, they'll demand a huge markdown to account for the perceived risk of the purchase.

Nick Name wrote:This is not my area of expertise, but if you run the site's search "european machine with 110V" you get links to many discussions of the subject. I hope they help.

Indeed, search will reveal lots of prior discussions, e.g., Converting 230V espresso machine for use in the US.
Dan Kehn

Luc_b

Postby Luc_b » Sep 16, 2016, 6:02 pm

And don't forget about the frequency. 50 Hz in EU vs. 60 Hz in US. It matters in case of some appliances. Transformer changes only voltage.
Luc_b

twisterlove

Postby twisterlove » Sep 16, 2016, 9:29 pm

First, the price is two third the price in the usa, so that is the reason I considered it. However, since it is risky, I think I will overlook it.
One thing came to my mind though, I am not sure if the manufacturer will honor the warranty if something goes wrong.

Thanks. I will look into the other posts too.

Regards.

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AssafL

Postby AssafL » Sep 22, 2016, 3:49 am

Luc_b wrote:And don't forget about the frequency. 50 Hz in EU vs. 60 Hz in US. It matters in case of some appliances. Transformer changes only voltage.


Actually, for espresso machines it rarely matters. Heaters are resistive and thus are not affected.
Motors are affected, but marginally so. Since the field rotates faster they may rotate a bit faster (remember there is slip in induction motors - hence asynchronous). There is also losses - but these are usually higher at lower frequencies. So 60Hz should be better.

Where it matters quite a bit is in Synchronous motors - like they used in old alarm clocks. These would rotate at 6/5 their design RPM if powered off of 60Hz. Old record players using synchronous motors would spin fast (I remember there was an aftermarket for Gerard motors spindles for different mains frequencies).

VFD may also be impacted, and anywhere where AC mains is used as part of the circuit.
Caution! Water, heat, pressure and electricity don't mix! I want an espresso.

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AssafL

Postby AssafL » Sep 22, 2016, 3:58 am

I modified my espresso machine from 110V to 220V. It cost (if I remember) about $800 which in the case of the GS/3 was painful but not unexpected.

Had to replace three solenoid coils (not the solenoid body - just the coil); the motor, and two heaters (Steam boiler and coffee boiler). Could have saved probably 200$ sourcing some of the parts not from LM (e.g. the coils) - but they were very helpful so I bought everything from them.

Took about 2 hours to rebuild the machine (but I am reasonable handy in this stuff).....

You can drop the conversion price CONSIDERABLY: Espresso machines have 1 or 2 high wattage devices: heaters for single or dual boilers. These are the majority of the wattage. If you can separate the wiring for the heaters and swap the heater(s) with 110V model and run the rest with a small 100-200W step up autotransformer - you'll do fine. If the heater is controlled using an SSR or a pressure stat you should be able to separate them easily.
Conversion is not considered an easy chore.
Caution! Water, heat, pressure and electricity don't mix! I want an espresso.

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redbone

Postby redbone » Sep 22, 2016, 11:24 am

The more complex the machine the greater the difficulty with power conversions.
With something like the the VAM \ Caravel I was successful replacing the cord and element from 220V to 120V without incident.
For a new machine with complex layers internals it would be more cost effective using a step up convertor from Europe 220 to North American 120V voltage
Between order and chaos there is espresso.
Semper discens.


Rob
LMWDP #549