German Kitchen Appliances in the USA

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My ex once bought a fancy coffee machine when visiting us here. U.S. kitchens usually have a 220 outlet for the stove/oven. He had an electrician install a 220 outlet on the wall from that so he could use the machine. 

 

Same thing in laundry rooms if you want to take your German washer and dryer over there.

 

Now the electricity experts will chime in. 

 

ETA - He bought a German outlet here and took it over. He could just have easily used a U.S. outlet and changed the plug out.

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Also be careful of the difference in frequency as the US runs on 60 Hz. For a regular coffee machine it shouldn’t be a problem, but could be if your machine has motorized parts like a grinder or frother. Traditional adapters don’t change frequency, meaning anything with a motor can burn out faster. Ask me how I know.

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AnthonyJ,

 

You would need to check the power supply on the Nespresso machine to see if it will handle 50hz and 60hz along with input voltage.  As a note, many laptop and phone chargers will run on US voltage/frequency and European voltage/frequency.  You just need a plug adapter (not voltage converter).  

 

Be careful...

 

S.

 

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2 hours ago, MollyWolly said:

For a regular coffee machine it shouldn’t be a problem, but could be if your machine has motorized parts like a grinder or frother.

 

The machine I mentioned had all of those features. He like it so much that he ordered one for his parents in Boston and got it hooked up for them. I'm talking about Jura coffee machines that weren't available in the U.S. back then. I also know people who have taken their German washers and dryers over there with success.

 

I have posted about this before and got the usual "frequency" replies. What was your experience?

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There are a few issues with moving these appliances over the pond. The frequency issue can be a problem if the power supply does not take care of it.

Another issue is polarity. US appliances are strickter in terms of polarity. Although we think of AC as having no polarity, it is not entirely true. The neutral is a ground connection of the neighborhood power transformer.

For the vast majority of equipment, this makes no difference. But for some sensible equipment, especially if using a toroidal transformer, it can be noticeable. Examples are anything related with sound. For example a guitar preamp could produce some noise if plugged inverted.

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Based on the fact that Geman plugs are 100% reversible, I call bullshit on the polarity issue. It MAY be true coming the other way from USA to Germany, but from Germany to US, nah.

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Not bullshit, very well known fact for professional musicians. There is a lot of equipment developed in US, sold in Europe, that still has that issue.

In my case it was a Mesa Boogie Triaxis, which has a toroidal transformer.

A lot of musicians don't care or don't notice, but if you work as a studio engineer, you notice it clearly. "Hey, why was it OK yesterday and today is making that noise?"

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3 hours ago, MikeMelga said:

developed in US, sold in Europe

Yes I can see that is possible and I sad as much, but this thread is about things from Europe going to the US.

 

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Boats may plug into shore power when in harbour. Transformers are then used to charge the batteries. If shore power is not correctly polarised, then damage may occur due to 'earth' not being connected to 'neutral'.

 

The earth leakage trips may not work as expected.

 

A simple €20 tester in the circuit shows if you need to reverse the polarity.

 

Get one if these to be on the safe side

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8 hours ago, MikeMelga said:

There are a few issues with moving these appliances over the pond. The frequency issue can be a problem if the power supply does not take care of it.

 

 

As long as the proper voltage is provided, most modern electronically-controlled electro-mechanical devices will not have issues with a change in frequency. Most electronically-controlled devices will have their own internal clock that provides timing for motor control, regardless of power frequency.

 

However, there are some devices that rely on power frequency for timing and/or motor control.  My ex-wife brought a German sewing machine to the US, and attempted to use it with a voltage converter.  Timing is critical on a sewing machine, and her machine relied on power frequency as the „clock“.  The frequency mis-match turned her sewing machine into junk.

 

She ended up having to replace it with an electronically-controlled sewing machine that uses an internal clock to provide the correct timing.  The replacement machine does not care about power frequency.

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1 hour ago, Space Cowboy said:

there are some devices that rely on power frequency for timing and/or motor control.  My ex-wife brought a German sewing machine to the US, and attempted to use it with a voltage converter.  Timing is critical on a sewing machine, and her machine relied on power frequency as the „clock“.  The frequency mis-match turned her sewing machine into junk.

I’m a quilter and have a relatively high end 15 year old Bernina sewing computer (made in 🇨🇭) sitting idle in the US.  I was told that it can’t be used here, and I’ve read horror stories of people using a converter and then permanently damaging one of these.  No good solution, ha?  😏  My mileage is relatively low for the machine’s age and I would prefer to stick with it than buy something here, partly out of sheer comfort, partly based on principle. 
 

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3 hours ago, BethAnnBitt said:

 

I’m a quilter and have a relatively high end 15 year old Bernina sewing computer (made in 🇨🇭) sitting idle in the US.  I was told that it can’t be used here, and I’ve read horror stories of people using a converter and then permanently damaging one of these.  No good solution, ha?  😏  My mileage is relatively low for the machine’s age and I would prefer to stick with it than buy something here, partly out of sheer comfort, partly based on principle. 
 

 

The machine my ex brought to the US from Germany, the one that was reduced to junk, was a German-made Pfaff (Pfaff is now making their machines in China, and their reputation for quality has suffered severely as a result).

 

The machine she bought in the US as a replacement is a Bernina sewing computer.  IIRC it was purchased around 2008-2009.  It clearly states on the serial number plate that it will work with both 50/60Hz.

 

You might want to have your Bernina looked at to see if it says the same thing.

 

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4 hours ago, BethAnnBitt said:

 

I’m a quilter and have a relatively high end 15 year old Bernina sewing computer (made in 🇨🇭) sitting idle in the US.  I was told that it can’t be used here, and I’ve read horror stories of people using a converter and then permanently damaging one of these.  No good solution, ha?  😏  My mileage is relatively low for the machine’s age and I would prefer to stick with it than buy something here, partly out of sheer comfort, partly based on principle. 
 

 

I have the Bernina B570QE sewing machine and the Bernina L460 overlocker.  Both were purchased about a year ago from a German distributor, and the power requirements on the data plate for each state 100-240VAC, 50-60 Hz.  I also have a Singer 4423 sewing machine I bought from an Italian distributor, but the power requirement on the data plate states 230VAC 50 Hz. 

 

As Space Cowboy wrote, it might be worthwhile having someone confirm the voltage requirements for your Bernina.  If the machine is compatible with European power, the cost of shipping it here will certainly be less than replacing it.

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21 hours ago, fraufruit said:

 

I have posted about this before and got the usual "frequency" replies. What was your experience?


My experience was going the other direction, i.e. from the US, so maybe not exactly the same. That said, I had a very fancy transformer (not adapter) and it didn’t help with the motor burnout problem. First was a stand mixer, which was sad because it was so expensive. I didn’t know that was the problem, and thought it just broke. I only investigated further after the second incident - an electric toothbrush - and that’s when I learned to be wary of using anything with a motor even on a transformer.

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2 hours ago, MollyWolly said:


My experience was going the other direction, i.e. from the US, so maybe not exactly the same. That said, I had a very fancy transformer (not adapter) and it didn’t help with the motor burnout problem. First was a stand mixer, which was sad because it was so expensive. I didn’t know that was the problem, and thought it just broke. I only investigated further after the second incident - an electric toothbrush - and that’s when I learned to be wary of using anything with a motor even on a transformer.

 

Motors designed for 60hz spin slower under load when used with a 50hz power supply.  Spinning slower under load than originally designed makes the motor run hotter, as the reduced frequency causes current to rise.  So they don‘t last as long.  Motorized household appliances like mixers, blenders, vacuum cleaners, and the like tend to fail fairly quickly if they are designed for 60hz but are regularly run on 50hz.

 

There are typically fewer problems running 50Hz motors on 60Hz power.

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I thought the transformer changed the Hz as part of its job.

 

I brought a Singer sewing machine over from the US. It never worked great with a transformer but it worked. (I hate to sew and didn't use it much.)

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