mikeyozell Senior Member Joined: 15 Jan 2014 Posts: 2 Location: United States Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Wed Jan 15, 2014, 2:15pm Subject: power converter question
long story short, I was just given a European model (220-240v at 60hz according to the plate on the bottom) Rocket Espresso Giotto to test drive. It seems the easiest way to use it here in the states is to purchase a step up/step down converter. Anyone have experience with these converters? Second question is; what wattage converter to buy.
calblacksmith Moderator Joined: 25 Nov 2007 Posts: 7,675 Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A. Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32 Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major Vac Pot: 40s era Silex Drip: Msl. Com. brewers Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Thu Jan 16, 2014, 7:02am Subject: Re: power converter question
There is no free lunch. Yes you can use a step up/down transformer but at the expense of pulling more current on the 120v line, possibly more current than a 20 amp line can provide. 220v machines tend to have higher wattage heaters, because at 220v, it will draw less current and home circuits can handle them with no problem at 220v.
I am using a transformer on a generator. The generator is only 13 amp on 120 and my needs are in the 20 amp range. The generator has a 220v output at 26 amps (as it is both of the 120 v circuits combined) I am using the transformer to step the 220 down to 120 and I can pull all the current I need. It was a way to make an inexpensive generator do the work of a more expensive generator. As I paid $150 for it brand new when the price is over $400 retail, it was returned by the prior owner for the exact reason I am using the transformer, it did not do the job on 120 v that he need it to do.
There is a wide range of quality in transformers too. I am using a 5KW commercial quality transformer on a 3.5 KW generator. I bought the transformer used for $150, list on it is $1200. It is designed to run full rated load 24/7 lower cost transformers are not so rated. In my case, with careful shopping I was able to get what I need at a good price, less than buying a generator large enough to do what I wanted without the transformer.
If this is only a temp situation, you might consider using a 220 v extension cord if you don't want to run the circuit to the kitchen though running the line is not hard and most cities allow you to do the work yourself if you pull a permit and have the work inspected. It is easy to do but only should be attempted if you understand what you are doing and have the work checked after it has been finished (or whatever stages the inspection department require).
The wattage on the name plate should tell you what you need to buy, if the machine is 2860 watts, (13 amp at 220v) you will not be able to run it on even a 20 amp dedicated 120 line as they are only good for 2400 watts (20 amps 120 v) And that is pushing the line to the max.
You say you are in the trades, use your contacts to help you, as I said, perhaps an extension cord from an unused dryer plug. They are normally rated 30 amp 220 that is more than enough to do the job.
In real life, my name is Wayne P. Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!
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