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Old 06.05.2007, 21:35
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household electronics

Two quick questions on household electronics?

1) Can anyone recommend a good website to browse for electrical equipment/appliances?
2) If when you moved to Switzerland you were given an allowance to buy some new stuff, what would you buy new/what would you bring from UK (are there any appliances that don't convert well)?

Many thanks in advance for your help.

Harry J
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Old 06.05.2007, 21:38
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Re: household electronics

www.toppreise.ch
and there is nothing much that won't travel from the UK. TV won't work perfectly but that's about that. So be specific
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Old 06.05.2007, 21:43
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Re: household electronics

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TV won't work perfectly but that's about that.
In what way won't it work perfectly?

Main concerns on whether to bring/buy new are:
tumble dryer,
washing machine
baby steriliser
stereo
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Old 06.05.2007, 22:07
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Re: household electronics

All those things will work fine. TV's signal is different so you have problems with picture & sound.
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Old 06.05.2007, 22:24
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Re: household electronics

Whoa! Steady on!

Many apartments in Switzerland have washers and dryers that use 3 phase power - something that's not only unknown in the UK, but actually illegal in domestic premises there! Take a look at your washer and you may see it has a bigger 4 pin plug. Many Swiss rental apartment blocks have a shared laundry room with washers and dryers though.

Washers and dryers, probably because they are 3 phase and therefore unique to Switzerland, are horribly expensive compared to the UK, but are far better quality, with a life of 15 - 20 years.

Small electricals like sterilisers will work fine once you change the plug, but are probably just as cheap here.

TVs tend to be a problem as Swiss TVs work on different sound frequencies to the UK. They also have an extended tuning range to cope with the cable systems that are common here. Also, DVB-T and freeview, which is common in the UK is only just coming into use in Switzerland, with just a few channels available.

Arranging and bringing a Sky box and card is a lifesaver, especially for bored partners who may have to stay home, but be sure you have a clear view south and can get permission for the dish.

RS
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Old 06.05.2007, 22:31
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Re: household electronics

I bought my washer & dryer here, took them back to the UK used them there after changing the plugs. I then brought them back to Switzerland again and after changing the plugs again they are used here. If they work on a domestic mains socket where does the 3 phase power come into it? Is this only in apartments?
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Old 06.05.2007, 22:37
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Re: household electronics

Well, maybe it varies from apartment to apartment. I've only ever seen the 3 phase variety.

Anyone?

RS
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Old 07.05.2007, 00:01
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Re: household electronics

We moved back here from the UK last Oct and brought our Toshiba CRT TV. Been using it since then for both Cablecom and Sky without a problem.
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Old 07.05.2007, 01:30
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Re: household electronics

I think the TV issue might depend on the age of the TV you are bringing over. I recently got a LCD TV, but am expecting it to work in Switzerland after reading the instructions (could still be proved wrong - I move to Zurich next month).

This is probably a really stupid question, but I have to ask it. Is there any point in me bringing over my freeview digibox with me?

kfc.
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Old 07.05.2007, 07:59
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Re: household electronics

bring all your household appliances
consider not bringing white goods unless you're moving into a house - even then, you'll likely have white goods that you need.

digibox is something to definitely bring over
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Old 07.05.2007, 09:02
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Re: household electronics

The washing machine and tumble drier in our house are three phase.

The washing machine was fitted a few days after we moved in. Our landlord suggested a test load, so we loaded up and set her off. Everything worked fine so he left. As soon as we got to the spin bit, there was an awful crash; the washing machine had thrown itself across the room, ripping the cable out of the wall. The retaining bolts that hold the drum in place during transport had not been removed. Despite crashing into a wall there wasn't a single scratch on the machine (Zug) and once put back and the bolts removed it worked perfectly. They may cost a fortune, run on over 400 volts and only fit in Swiss houses, but they will still be working after a nuclear attach.
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Old 07.05.2007, 09:29
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Re: household electronics

In Geneva 3-phase 380V current is the exception rather than the norm. Most appartments I've seen run off 220V, with 15 amp fuses for heavy load appliances.
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Old 07.05.2007, 10:53
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Re: household electronics

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We moved back here from the UK last Oct and brought our Toshiba CRT TV. Been using it since then for both Cablecom and Sky without a problem.
I think I can safely say that if you're using a set-top box like a Sky box, Cablecom digital box or even Bluewin TV box, you can use pretty much any TV that has a SCART socket, because you're effectively only using the TV as a monitor. All TVs that have a SCART socket are one variety or another of 625 line PAL.

Problems arise however if you want to connect anything to your TV's aerial socket, because although Switzerland uses PAL, it's a different flavour of PAL with the sound on a different subcarrier frequency. This can result in a perfect picture but no sound. UK TVs also use digital NICAM for CD quality stereo, unlike the inferior FM used in Switzerland.

Similarly, TVs sold in Switzerland have a greatly extended tuning range so that they can receive the 40+ programs typically available on the analogue cable TV that is still the norm in Switzerland. UK TVs sometimes have only a limited tuning range.

TVs are now so generic, that modern TVs can automatically cope with different sound carrier frequencies and even some UK TVs have extended tuning ranges, although these are not used in the UK.

Unfortunately there's no easy way to tell in advance if your old UK TV will work in Switzerland. The newer and dearer the TV, the better the chances, it depends absolutely on the model concerned. Note also that the UK trend of built-in DVB-T or "Freeview" receivers is virtually useless here, as although becoming slowly available in some areas, there are just a few channels and you need an external aerial, a rarity here!

TVs and other electronics are actually pretty cheap in Switzerland and unless your TV is pretty special or almost new, my advice is to leave it in the UK and buy a new one here. It just ain't worth lugging a big fragile TV across Europe.

RS
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Old 07.05.2007, 11:06
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Re: household electronics

The only problem I've had is with my Iron, which trips the main fuse to the flat, anyone know the cause of that?

Try checking the plug'n'play setup menu on your TV. It usually has the countries supported. Mine worked straightaway, by no means a new or expensive model either. Another good indication is if it supports PAL and NTSC.

My freeview box didn't pick up a thing here.

Can't advise on Washing machines/driers, but you might be prohibited from installing them. so check with your new landlord first. Most blocks of flats have a laundry room.
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Old 07.05.2007, 11:18
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Re: household electronics

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The only problem I've had is with my Iron, which trips the main fuse to the flat, anyone know the cause of that?

Try checking the plug'n'play setup menu on your TV. It usually has the countries supported. Mine worked straightaway, by no means a new or expensive model either. Another good indication is if it supports PAL and NTSC.
The only odd problem I've encountered is that English ring main sockets allow you to pull a max of 13A, which a 240 volts is just over 3000 watts, whereas most Swiss plugs are max 10A at 220 v, i.e. 2200 watts. So some beefy English kettles trip the fuse, especially if that fuse serves sockets that have other things connected. PCs and laser printers can be a problem too as they pull a huge current at switch on. But I wouldn't have thought your iron pulled so much? It may be that your Swiss socket is protected by an Earth leakage trip and your UK socket was not - if the iron is defective that trip will ping out. Fortunately new irons are very cheap!

As you correctly point out, many modern TVs have menu settings for all the world TV standards. With a modern digital TV, the innards of which have been reduced to just a few chips, it's cheaper to design a single chip for all markets than specialised ones for each country. But older TVs are much fussier, and you need some technical expertise and to read the manual carefully to try to understand if your UK TV will work. Mostly it's not worth the effort anda good excuse to buy that Plasma you always wanted!!

RS
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Old 07.05.2007, 11:23
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Re: household electronics

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The only odd problem I've encountered is that English ring main sockets allow you to pull a max of 13A, which a 240 volts is just over 3000 watts, whereas most Swiss plugs are max 10A at 220 v, i.e. 2200 watts. So some beefy English kettles trip the fuse, especially if that fuse serves sockets that have other things connected. PCs and laser printers can be a problem too as they pull a huge current at switch on. But I wouldn't have thought your iron pulled so much? It may be that your Swiss socket is protected by an Earth leakage trip and your UK socket was not - if the iron is defective that trip will ping out. Fortunately new irons are very cheap!

As you correctly point out, many modern TVs have menu settings for all the world TV standards. With a modern digital TV, the innards of which have been reduced to just a few chips, it's cheaper to design a single chip for all markets than specialised ones for each country. But older TVs are much fussier, and you need some technical expertise and to read the manual carefully to try to understand if your UK TV will work. Mostly it's not worth the effort anda good excuse to buy that Plasma you always wanted!!

RS

Cheers, it was a dirt cheap Iron in the first place! I'm a scruffy git too, so end result, haven't used an iron in 5 months
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