View Full Version : 220VAC tools in a 240VAC country

Phillip Ngan
08-26-2010, 11:46 PM
Can I bring my Ridgid jointer and table saw to New Zealand. The motors says that it can be wired for 220VAC. New Zealand uses 240VAC (single phase), 50Hz. I've spent the last couple of years building up my modest home workshop, and recently started to enjoy the fruits of my labour:) I'd love to take my tools with me.

For the smaller handheld tools, can I get away with using a step down transformer?

Dan Friedrichs
08-27-2010, 10:03 AM
The voltage isn't too big of problem, but the frequency is. Your motors will turn slower (5/6ths their normal speed). This is a major problem, mostly because many induction-type motors have a fan mounted to the shaft to keep the motor cool, and it will be turning slower, doing less cooling. Also, because the voltage-to-frequency ratio is higher, the motor will draw more current, so it will get hotter much quicker, anyways. Your best option in this case may be to buy new motors in NZ, and put them into your tools. I can't imagine that 1HP motors are very expensive.

Your handheld power tools are typically "universal" motors, so they won't mind the frequency change. You'll need a simple 2:1 stepdown transformer to get them 120V. Make sure the transformer is rated for 50Hz (one that is rated only for 60Hz may not work).

The voltage supplied is a nominal value, subject to variations of 10% or so. So the difference between 220 and 240 is nothing to worry about.

Jim Becker
08-31-2010, 9:24 PM
FYI, the voltage in North America is nominal 240, even though we often say "220". Mine hovers at 245 which is why I needed to put a transformer in for my slider to keep the over-voltage sensors from shutting it down. (my house outlets hover at 122-123v)

I agree with the others...it's not about voltage for your situation.