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Old 02.11.2006, 20:53
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Wanted: 110/120-220/240 transformer

Hi everyone,

I am looking for a heavy duty, ~1000W step-up step-down transformer to run some of my North American appliances. This is not a little hair-dryer voltage converter mind you. I am looking for something that weighs a few kilos and is about the size of a shoebox.

Does anyone know a source for these transformers in Switzerland?

I have brought them over from The States before, but it's always a hassle to take something that heavy, and now the baggage screeners don't like the looks of a large heavy black box with wires attached to it.

Thanks!
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Old 02.11.2006, 21:32
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Re: Wanted: 110/120-220/240 transformer

I know this is a stupid question, but does your appliance cost more in Switzerland than a transformer? What is the appliance? I'm guessing it's something to do with TV/Internet or Telephone. Don't leave us guessing

I had a quick look around for "Stromwandler". I figured if anyone would have them it would be www.conrad.ch - they had them, but more as components rather than what you are looking for. I did a bit more searching but turned up nothing. Come to think of it, I don't think I've really seen any for sale. I've seen them in Japan (they also have funny electricity), but not in Switzerland.

Maybe some Americans who've need to convert voltage might know some more info.
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Old 02.11.2006, 22:06
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Re: Wanted: 110/120-220/240 transformer

Hi Geoman,

Welcome to the forum! It's nice to have another member from canton Vaud. You should introduce yourself in the introductions forum when you have the chance. And keep your eyes peeled for an English forum social night happening in Lausanne sometime soon...

I live in Vaud as well, and needed to buy a voltage converter when I moved here from Canada. I had no luck finding anything locally, and ended up buying one online.

Try googling in German "Spannungswandler 110 220 1000 W" or in French "Convertisseur 110 220 1000 W". You'll find lots. I've noticed that yatego.com (in German) has some pretty good prices: 63 euros for a 1000W 110/230 V converter/adapter. I'm not sure where they're located.

Two things to check would be:

1. Compatibility with Swiss sockets. There are slight variations in the shape of plugs between Germany/France/Switzerland. The annoying thing is that the holes in the wall are the same, but the shape of the hole to accommodate the rest of the plug can differ. (Note: if the electrical outlets in your apartment are flush with the wall, this won't be a problem.)

2. Shipping charges. They'll charge by weight, and those things are heavy.

Good luck!

HeatherM
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Old 02.11.2006, 22:17
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Re: Wanted: 110/120-220/240 transformer

Thanks for this useful information!

It's mostly high-end stereo equipment, so yes, it would be worth somewhat more than a transformer.

At some point I'd consider selling my stereo equipment to someone moving back to North America, but for now, I'll have a look for a transformer.

I was aware I could buy a transformer in Germany or France, there are usually some on ebay.de for example, but as has been noted the shipping really gets you.

Anyway, if anybody knows a electronics surplus or hobbyist shop in Switzerland that might have transformers, let me know. In the meantime, I'll look again online...

Thanks again!
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Old 02.12.2007, 12:40
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Step-Down Transformers (for US appliances on 220v)

Do any of you have any suggestions on how I can convert the electric from my prelighted American Christmas tree. We have a small converter with a fuse that an electrician made for my partner for the 200 disc CD changer bought in the U.S. but we plugged the tree into this (it worked) but it got way too hot and we could smell that burning wire smell so we unplugged it. It has about 800 lights so it must use alot of energy. If anyone has any ideas please help.
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Old 02.12.2007, 13:02
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Re: Electric converter for American prelighted tree

You would probably need a good quality converter and I have no idea where you would get one, maybe FUST. My personal experience (4 countires and mutliple appliance blunders later) is dont even try to use any appliance that produces significant amounts of heat, even with a good converter. The voltage difference between the US and Europe is too much and you will ruin your tree, it might take a little while but it almost always happens.
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Old 02.12.2007, 14:44
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Re: Electric converter for American prelighted tree

there should be some information about step-down transformers in here: Importing electrical equipment - ins & outs
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Old 03.12.2007, 09:50
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Re: Electric converter for American prelighted tree

Well I think I found the solution last night after many hours of searching and Lob Rocksters helpful post. I started searching Step down converters and everything was in U.S. or U.K. of course and soon became frustrated. So I shut down the computer had dinner and then had another idea to search but with a German translation. Spannung Transformator (voltage transformer) and successfully found this website in Der Schweiz. westfalia-versand.ch I found a 500 watt step down/up converter and my partner seems to think that this is the solution so we will see. I will keep all posted as to when and if the tree lights sizzle and die after all. But hope that this will work successfully.
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Old 03.12.2007, 18:47
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Re: Electric converter for American prelighted tree

If you still require some convertors send us an email and will be glad to help if we can.
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Old 09.12.2007, 01:42
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Re: Wanted: 110/120-220/240 transformer

I'm looking for a big step-down transformer for my North American electronics also. I've found that european internet stores are selling "The Cube" brand ones at affordable rates, but the highest powered one i can find is 1000W. I found it at yatego.com (German) and smartshop.ch (swiss). The smartshop.ch site will ship it for only 11CHF which is a bargain considering how heavy it must be!

Paste:

Anzahl Bezeichnung alle Preise inkl.MwSt. Einzelpreis Gesamtpreis
1 St Spannungswandler 240-120V AC 1000W [201317]
(Lieferzeit: 6-12 Arbeitstage) 0% 120,00 CHF 120,00 CHF

Zwischensumme: 120,00 CHF
Versandkosten: 11,00 CHF
0% alle Preise inkl.MwSt.: 0,00 CHF

Endsumme: 131,00 CHF
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Old 09.12.2007, 22:08
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Re: Step-Down Transformers (for US appliances on 220v)

If you're still looking for one and willing to travel to Baden, then I know a local store that sells a 2000W step-down converter but it is over 200 CHF. It is Swiss made and has an inlet for the US plug with ground and goes into a box type thing (size of half a shoebox) and on the other end is a Swiss plug. I was looking for it for my stereo also, but didn't want to spend that much on it. PM me if interested in finding the store since I don't know the name off they top of my head.
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Old 09.12.2007, 23:42
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Re: Step-Down Transformers (for US appliances on 220v)

After reading more about it I think i want a toroidal transformer (i.e. one that's a donut instead of a box) b/c they are quieter and more efficient. I think this'll make less hum. If you remember the name of the store i'd like to know it, in case it is a toroidal transformer... otherwise i'll grab one in december when i'm in the uk.
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Old 10.12.2007, 00:35
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Re: Step-Down Transformers (for US appliances on 220v)

Hmm, I don't remember the name of the store, but I remember the address being Landstrasse 16 (or a very low number like that). It is located in the neighbor town of Wettingen, next to Baden. If you just walk across the bridge from Baden to Wettingen, it becomes Wettingerstrasse and then it turns into Landstrasse very soon. The shop is on the ground level, on the right side of the road going from Baden to Wettingen. Also, there is a Dental place above it. It looks closed, but you just walk in and it's privately owned and someone will help you. I hope that helps, oh and I saw it there probably back in July so I'm not sure if it's still there. I don't think there will be many people looking for something like that though so it should still be around.
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Old 10.12.2007, 07:18
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Re: Step-Down Transformers (for US appliances on 220v)

I imported a 35 lbs step down transformer (220 to 110 - not sure why you'd want a step up here), but you can get these kind of things at Pusterla in Zurich.

I use mine for flash heads for studio photography, but I use a fairly regular one for my HIFI system, so I would look to see how much your equipment really needs, most likely you can get away with a smaller transformer (which will also make no noise compared to the behemoth I use).
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Old 10.12.2007, 11:14
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Re: Step-Down Transformers (for US appliances on 220v)

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I imported a 35 lbs step down transformer (220 to 110 - not sure why you'd want a step up here), but you can get these kind of things at Pusterla in Zurich.
Yeah, step-down not step-up. Cool, i'll check out that place but i'm probably going to grab a toroidal transformer from England since they're good value and higher quality than the block E-I laminate jobbies floating around here. I'll stick my head in that store for a quick look though...
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Old 10.12.2007, 11:30
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Re: Step-Down Transformers (for US appliances on 220v)

Beware that some transformers might introduce a lot fo noise that might actually defeat having a high end audio equipment.

I know my dad had the same problem. There are devices which are meant to "smooth" out spikes in voltage, but these might still not fix the problem.

Of course, it depends on what kind of wattage your equipment requires and how good the transformer is, but I think you should look out for this.

Ideally, you should somehow agree with the seller that you have to try if the transformer works fine and return it if it introduces artifacts to the playback. According to my experience, high end audio shops will gladly allow you to try things at home, provided they know that in the end you'll become their customer (and buy a lot of expensive stuff). I would definately talk to a professional who could maybe recommend a particular transformer that has good properties.
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Old 10.12.2007, 11:40
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Re: Step-Down Transformers (for US appliances on 220v)

Yes, i'm well-aware of this. There are multiple issues i'm aware of, please add to this list:
  1. An overloaded step-down transformer may produce "ragged" AC sine-waves (aka sinusoidal distortion), which can cause devices' internal transformers to buzz
  2. AC mains comign from the wall can have trace amounts (couple of volts) of DC introduced by lots of appliances etc, which saturates in the step-down transformer's core. The saturation builds and releases quickly, causing a buzz. Solution appears to be a diode bridge of sorts (i.e. like PS Audio's "Humbuster AC" but I don't want to spend that much money)
  3. My audio equipment's transformer may simply not like the quality of electricity produced by shoddy transformers. A finer-tuned one might help.
Remember, I don't care if the step-down transformer is loud, I can put it out on the balcony. The issue is the transformer of my audio equipment (the internal one breaking out all the voltages), which is what's buzzing.

Thoughts?
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Old 10.12.2007, 11:42
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Re: Step-Down Transformers (for US appliances on 220v)

Berberat is a company in Geneva that is specialised in building transformers. Not expensive and high quality. Used them several times, always excellent.

Good luck

Will

Elektromotoren Herstellung Pierre Berberat


Fabrication de transformateurs
Rue des Caroubiers 5, 1227 Carouge/GE
022 343 36 34
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Old 10.12.2007, 12:00
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Re: Step-Down Transformers (for US appliances on 220v)

Interesting. Are Berberat replacing transformers inside appliances directly, to avoid the need of a step-down altogether, or are they making step-downs? Can you tell me what you bought and how much you paid?
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Old 10.12.2007, 12:06
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Re: Step-Down Transformers (for US appliances on 220v)

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Interesting. Are Berberat replacing transformers inside appliances directly, to avoid the need of a step-down altogether, or are they making step-downs? Can you tell me what you bought and how much you paid?

You could also take it to this place (they are in Zurich - Ankerstrasse) . They worked on my amp and did a great job for a decent price (you can get a quote). They can surely find a good power supply to replace your 110V with.
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