Electrical appliances on moving U.S. to Germany

63 posts in this topic

Posted

Okay, here goes...I know there are some TTers who will slam me for asking this "dumb question" -

 

I am packing up to come over for three years. Currently I am in the US. Is it worthwhile to bring all my electrical appliances (lights, TVs, coffee maker-everything) and then buy a currency converter and plug adapter for each one; or would it be better/cheaper to start over?

 

How easy it is to find these items (adapters and converters) and about how much do they cost? Is it risky in terms of having many things plugged in at once using these items?

 

Sorry, not an electrical engineer, and I really don't understand much about the electrical stuff other than the US is 110 and Germany is 220. So be kind (and that means you Bad Doggie).

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Posted

Pretty much everything you listed will need a transformer. I can't answer cost questions, but my guess is if you tried to route everything thing in your new place through transformers it would be both expensive and a pain in the ass. I'd recommend checking prices and sizes and probably buying a couple to support your favorite/most expensive appliances and then just buying the rest once you're here. Some things will of course work on the European voltage and you will only need adapters. They will usually say so on a nameplate or on the power supply so take a look.

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Posted

Adapters you can find all over the place, but transformers will probably only be available at electronic type stores. Google transformers or voltage converters to get an idea what you're looking for.

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Posted

Forget the lights and coffee maker type stuff, they are cheap here, is the TV multi system? if not then you will only be able to get AFN (American Forces network) on it. Voltage coverters range from $60-$200 depending on the voltage & you can buy them in the PX (as you will be coming over to work for the military you should get an ID card) but they do use an awful lot of electricity, and depending on the age of the place you rent, may blow the fuses frequently. You can pick up a lot of appliances/electricals from people who are leaving and depending on your status, the military will loan you a washer, dryer and refrigerator, and most electricals in the px are dual voltage so you can take stuff back with you if you buy it here or just sell it on.

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Posted

I would say it is a lot less hassel to startover and maybe even cheaper altogether.

I did not get the connection of the "currency converter" though.

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Posted

 

I did not get the connection of the "currency converter" though.

It's to work out how much the all the electricity these voltage converters consume is costing.

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Posted

 

Okay, here goes...I know there are some TTers who will slam me for asking this "dumb question" -

The questions are not dumb per se, only that they get asked and answered over and over and over.

 

For example,

 

Using U.S. electrical appliances in Germany

 

Bringing American electrical appliances to Germany

 

People put a fair bit of effort into providing answers. For example...

 

 

Some general rules:
  • Low current (power) devices that are not permanently on (hifi, etc) then use a transformer with the correct rating, so long as they can tolerate the 50 cycle supply here. Some people lay 110v power line across a room for imported devices, but keep it separate from the local 220v service.
  • High current devices (washing machine, dryer, iron) then don't even think about bringing them - the transformers you need to run them are bulky and VERY expensive
  • Permanently-on devices (clock, phone, answering machine) should really not be used with a transformer. Those with their own power supply can often get a european replacement
  • High-end consumer items (PC, projectors) are often (but not always!) multi-voltage or voltage switchable)
  • Don't confuse transformers (big, heavy, often expensive) with "clippers" (electronic voltage reducers - small, light tourist devices) - the latter are useless for general use
  • TVs won't work here to receive local domestic or European satellite services unless they are multi-standard (PAL compatible)
  • Other video devices such as VCR, DVD or games console will only work with a matching US TV. If you are coming as a family consider bringing TV, VC, games console etc., but understand you can only use them as a set, maybe in a cellar room, powered from a transformer, and then only with tapes, games, DVDs etc., you have brought with you, or get sent across)
  • Before you plug ANYTHING in cross-check it will work and does not exceed any power ratings. Explosions or fire can result if you make mistakes!

YL6

And then you come along not bothering your arse to use the Search function or at least acknowledging the effort that others have previously put in. I'm sure you're not stupid, so that just leaves laziness. Not a good start really. Search, read and then if your specific questions are not answered, post.

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Posted

Ironically, PCs and laptops, which go obsolete first, are about all that are international standard and dual-voltage-ready :)

 

That said, household appliances just aren't built to last the way they used to. They're all become expense rather than capital items, most of which will break or blow up within 3-5 years.

 

Using lots of voltage transformers for everything will put a vampire drag on your home grid that may end up paying for a few appliances. If a 110v 60Hz US vacuum cleaner breaks, where are you going to get it serviced? Plus, if your house burns down your insurance may determine that stuff was not up to code and contributed to the problem.

 

You should give your US stuff to parents and friends or donate to charity and buy new stuff here. Exceptions include stereo equipment and kitchentop appliances. Worst case scenario you'll have to sell a vacuum cleaner and/or washer/dryer.

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Posted

 

It's to work out how much the all the electricity these voltage converters consume is costing.

 

then buy a currency converter and plug adapter for each one;

A currency converter for "each one" ?

 

Thinking about it again, I think she means "current converter".

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Posted

 

Using lots of voltage transformers for everything will put a vampire drag on your home grid that may end up paying for a few appliances. If a 110v 60Hz US vacuum cleaner breaks, where are you going to get it serviced? Plus, if your house burns down your insurance may determine that stuff was not up to code and contributed to the problem.

If a cofffee maker has 700W it will draw a current of 6A with 120V and 3A with 230V. So no problem in Germany. At least in my apartment the fuses are of the 16A type.

The problem with a transformer is that it draws a high switch-on current. Even a transformer with 700W (3A) can blow a 16A fuse (which should withstand 3600W).

If the transformer has a switch-on current limiter it should work.

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Posted

I bought adapters to use with my appliances that were compatible with the german electrical system and convertors for my small appliances. I bought these at a travel store the adapters were around 3 bucks each and convertors around 16 dollars.

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Posted

 

Thinking about it again, I think she means "current converter".

D'y think?

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Posted

 

household appliances just aren't built to last the way they used to. They're all become expense rather than capital items

 

D'y think?

Not sure...

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Posted

How efficient are the current/voltage converters? The money you save by buying in US may be offset in electricity bills after 6 months use in Germany.

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Posted

A transformer convers voltage not current. However, you might need a currency converter for the electricity bill.

The efficiency of a converter depends on the size. Small transformers, let's say smaller the 250W 30%, larger ones let's say 2500W up to 90%.

So unplug them if you don't need them.

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Posted

Hello, all, and thanks so much for your replies. I think I will just essentially "start over", except for maybe a few lamps that are my favorites. I don't think my TVs are new enough to have any capacity other than to use 110; in fact pretty soon they will be obsolete in the US too for reasons that are a bit over my head.

 

I did search before I asked the question, Keydeck, but never found the right combo of words to access the past threads. Thanks for passing them on. I guess it's a little better to be called lazy rather than dumb : )

 

Thanks again for the nice welcome to TT. I'm sure I'll have other questions as I make my way to Germany. See you there!

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Posted

 

Hello, all, and thanks so much for your replies. I think I will just essentially "start over", except for maybe a few lamps that are my favorites.

One more thing ... if the lamps are incandescent, you'll have to bring over three years worth of light bulbs, too. If they're flourescent, then you'll need extra tubes, a back-up starter and definately a high-qualty true sine wave converter. Short version: I'd leave the lamps at home, too.

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Posted

 

... buy a currency converter ...

You´ll find lots of free currency converters here ...

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Posted

 

A transformer convers voltage not current. However, you might need a currency converter for the electricity bill.

The efficiency of a converter depends on the size. Small transformers, let's say smaller the 250W 30%, larger ones let's say 2500W up to 90%.

So unplug them if you don't need them.

What does 90% efficiency mean? Does that mean that if a german appliance draws x amount of electricity (sorry don't know the units) in an hour, using the transformer you'll use the same amount of energy in 9/10's of an hour? Or 1/10 of an hour? And if the transformer is turned off, is it still drawing power? Do I really need to unplug it when not in use?

 

Sorry for the basic questions. I understand very little about electricity, and we only get our electric bill once a year, so I'm really terrified to find out what it's going to be.

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Posted

 

What does 90% efficiency mean? Does that mean that if an American appliance draws x amount of electricity (sorry don't know the units) in an hour, using the transformer you'll use the same amount of energy in 9/10's of an hour? Or 1/10 of an hour? And if the transformer is turned off, is it still drawing power? Do I really need to unplug it when not in use?

 

Sorry for the basic questions. I understand very little about electricity, and we only get our electric bill once a year, so I'm really terrified to find out what it's going to be.

If your coffee-maker has 700W the transformer needs another 70W (a normal light bulb). You pay 770W. These 70W are heat. Whether the idle transformer draws power depends where the switch is. If it is on 230V side, everything is ok. The transformer is off. If not, you waste some energy. Just touch it. If it's warm you use it to heat your apartment. Disconnect it.

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