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Using 220V Silvia in the U.S.
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rsnidjik
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rsnidjik
Joined: 23 Oct 2003
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Espresso: PID'd Silvia 230v, 110°...
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Posted Thu Oct 23, 2003, 4:26am
Subject: Using 220V Silvia in the U.S.
 

I'm considering buying a Rancilio Silvia machine in Europe, where I'm presently living. Next year I will return to the U.S. and I would bring the Silvia with me.

My questions:

(1) Will there be a problem for the Silvia's motor if it is rated at 50Hz rather than 60Hz? I will, of course, be using a decent step-up transformer when I use the Silvia in the U.S.

(2) Once I get to the U.S., is it possible (and expensive) to replace the European motor with a 110V-60Hz motor?

Thank you.
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hamm
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hamm
Joined: 22 May 2003
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Location: Kettering, Ohio
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Posted Thu Oct 23, 2003, 1:58pm
Subject: Re: Using 220V Silvia in the U.S.
 

I know about as much about European electronics as a German Shepherd would know about eye surgery, but I had a passing thought that might be of some use.

I'm in the music biz, so to speak, as I'm still in a band and I have a small home recording studio.  Some of the gear I've seen in the past has required weird power supplies as they were built for use in Europe or Japan, or wherever.

What I definitely remember is that European electronics will work if the proper converter/inverter is used.  That is you'd want to make SURE that whatever you plug in will juice the machine properly.  To be specific, you'd need to find something that would alter the current coming out of your outlets, NOT what goes into the machine.

I think you're already on that page, but if 60hZ electricity found it's way to a machine that's supposed to operate on 50hZ, things will get weird.  And if 110 volts are supplied to electrics that need twice that, it won't behave very nicely either.

I think you will need either a converter or an inverter.  As you can tell, I've completely forgotten which was which, so I'm succeeding in making myself look more idiotic by the second.  I'll stop and see if anyone else actually knows what they're talking about.
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HB
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Location: Cary, NC
Posted Thu Oct 23, 2003, 5:37pm
Subject: Re: Using 220V Silvia in the U.S.
 

I lived overseas too and considered bringing back appliances.  I decided it wasn't worth the trouble and expense.  In your particular case, the pump will run faster than it should.  This will burn it out prematurely.  A new 110V Ulka pump costs $48 + shipping.  A step-up transformer is  $65 + shipping.  Transformers this big really heat up and are heavy.

Since Silvia has good resale value, I would advise selling it before you leave and buying another when you return.  It would be inconvenience to wire the pump for one input (110V/60Hz) for the pump and the rest of the machine for another (220V).  You might also use this as an excuse to upgrade.  

-- Dan

 
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korngold
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korngold
Joined: 21 Jul 2003
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Posted Fri Oct 24, 2003, 11:52am
Subject: Re: Using 220V Silvia in the U.S.
 

Dan,

Since you know about the electrical side of things, I have an odd machine that I will be trying to get running.  I have a 120v 50hz Gaggia (supposedly 1500 watts) machine with a "standard" US-style plug.   I have a few questions about it:
1) Can I use this machine in the US in a standard socket without frying all the components?
2) Will the difference in Hz just make the pump run faster, or will it have ill-effects on the other components?
3) If I replace the pump (w/60 Hz), will that solve the problem?

Thanks,
Anthony
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HB
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Joined: 3 Apr 2003
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Location: Cary, NC
Posted Fri Oct 24, 2003, 5:57pm
Subject: Re: Using 220V Silvia in the U.S.
 

korngold Said:

1) Can I use this machine in the US in a standard socket without frying all the components?

I'm not an electrician.  That said, Silvia is a very simple machine.  The boiler coil is unaffected by cycles, just voltage.  Light bulbs from overseas work just fine here, just a lot dimmer (OTOH, ours go "pop!" over there -- yes, I forgot once).

2) Will the difference in Hz just make the pump run faster, or will it have ill-effects on the other components?

It will run faster and probably generate more heat, work the membrane harder, and create more pressure.  That obviously won't bode well for the pump's longevity.  Whether it will last five minutes or five years, I don't know.  The OPV would release any excess pressure, so there is no risk of damaging Silvia's innards.

3) If I replace the pump (w/60 Hz), will that solve the problem?

Yes, I believe so.

The above is based on what I've read and a little experience with the practical side from my stay overseas (insert standard disclaimer here).  You could run the pump and wait until it seizes, then buy a 60Hz replacement (like this one).  Better yet, shop around since the prices vary wildly among espresso parts resellers, then don't worry about it.  Let us know how it works out...

-- Dan

 
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yiqin
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yiqin
Joined: 20 Jan 2003
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Location: Beijing, China
Expertise: Professional

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Posted Sun Oct 26, 2003, 6:24am
Subject: Re: Using 220V Silvia in the U.S.
 

As far as I know you need to change the solinoid. I asked similiar questions before to Chris and Isomac. They all told me the solinoid may not working properly in different Hz.
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HB
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Location: Cary, NC
Posted Sun Oct 26, 2003, 7:42am
Subject: Re: Using 220V Silvia in the U.S.
 

I wondered about that too.  I assume the solenoid is a simple electromagnet, so I'd expect it to work.  If it was 220V versus 110V, that'd be another story!  The parts list supports this assumption since it doesn't list different components by Hz, only voltage (see below).

While we're doing an inventory: What about the power indicator lights?  If they are incandescent, no problem.  But what if they are the LEDs?  I'll guess that they should work but may flicker.  To be certain, I looked at the parts list under "Electronic components".  The switch is listed as K69, "Black switch with LED," and there is only one part number.  

Good thing there isn't an onboard processor.  :-)

-- Dan

HB: z11-de-cd-solenoid-group.jpg
(Click for larger image)

 
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rsnidjik
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rsnidjik
Joined: 23 Oct 2003
Posts: 74
Location: Dislocated
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: PID'd Silvia 230v, 110°...
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Vac Pot: nope
Drip: nope
Roaster: West Bend Poppery 1500W; am...
Posted Tue Oct 28, 2003, 10:43am
Subject: Re: Using 220V Silvia in the U.S.
 

Here's some more info on the European Silvia and Rocky models. In the user's manual for both machines, the power is specified as 230V and 50/60Hz. Can I assume by this that the only thing I'll need to do in order to use my European Silvia and Rocky in the U.S. is to change the voltage with a step-up transformer?

I had worried mainly about going from 50Hz to 60Hz. However, if the machines are truly rated at 50/60Hz, then I'm hopeful that I can bring them to the U.S. and use them with a good-quality transformer.

Thanks for any further input. I appreciate what's been provided thus far.
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HB
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Joined: 3 Apr 2003
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Location: Cary, NC
Posted Tue Oct 28, 2003, 6:00pm
Subject: Re: Using 220V Silvia in the U.S.
 

rsnidjik Said:

Can I assume by this that the only thing I'll need to do in order to use my European Silvia and Rocky in the U.S. is to change the voltage with a step-up transformer?

Posted October 28, 2003 link

Yes, a transformer is all you would need (also see this FAQ). To be certain, I looked at the Ulka vibration pump data sheet (also shown below).  You can confirm the model number for your own satisfaction, however I have no reason to doubt the acceptable inputs are correctly labeled on the machine.  

My advice...

The real question is whether you would want to bring it back given that you'll have to buy a large transformer.  They are heavy, somewhat expensive, generate heat even when idle, and sometimes buzz (no idea why).  You may be willing to accept that, but you may find it difficult to entice a buyer if/when you upgrade.  Such a transformer is about the size of a small toaster and few would be willing to give up countertop space for it.  If you had acquired a true one-of-a-kind gem then I'd say go for it.  However, given that Silvia often sells for almost 3/4 of its original price, bringing it back seems an inconvenient and financially uninteresting proposition.

-- Dan

HB: ulka_data_sheet.jpg
(Click for larger image)

 
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PJK
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PJK
Joined: 21 Jan 2002
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Posted Tue Oct 28, 2003, 7:50pm
Subject: Re: Using 220V Silvia in the U.S.
 

Dan has covered the downsides of bringing the Euro Silvia to the US.  Those items would give me pause.

There is a possible up side. The 220 Volt machines have an 1100 Watt heater.  We get only 800 Watts in our US machines.

If you really want to do this you might consider installing a 220 Volt outlet for the machine and replacing the cord on the machine with one with a 220 volt US plug.
Depending on the layout of your house it may not cost much more than the transformer and you won't be putting up with a big heavy and buzzy box.

Phil

rsnidjik Said:

Here's some more info on the European Silvia and Rocky models. In the user's manual for both machines, the power is specified as 230V and 50/60Hz. Can I assume by this that the only thing I'll need to do in order to use my European Silvia and Rocky in the U.S. is to change the voltage with a step-up transformer?

I had worried mainly about going from 50Hz to 60Hz. However, if the machines are truly rated at 50/60Hz, then I'm hopeful that I can bring them to the U.S. and use them with a good-quality transformer.

Thanks for any further input. I appreciate what's been provided thus far.

Posted October 28, 2003 link


 
Philip J. Keleshian
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