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British to USA conversion

boxplayer4000

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Accordion Midi Power Supply.
I have a situation where a ‘British’ accordion midi may be required to work in the USA. Most will be aware of the differences in mains supply voltage in the respective countries and it would helpful to know of any convertors or other solutions to the problem that members of this forum are aware of. Thanks in anticipation.
 

debra

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Many power supply units for electronic devices nowadays support a voltage between roughly 120 and 240 Volts and these should work with just an adapter plug. If your power supply really requires 220-240 Volts then you need a transformer (or find a 240 Volts plug in the venue where the device is to be used. (These are sometimes found in a kitchen and very often in a garage/workshop.)
 

boxplayer4000

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Debra. Thanks for that.
The label on the power supply in question does not allow for a lower voltage (120v) but simply states 240v. I'm fairly sure converters will be available to go from 240v to 120v. They certainly are for getting an A.C. supply when in your car. I'm not aware of these conversion points in kitchens or garages. That would seem a bit limiting for a player. I haven't begun to look on the internet yet and I took the lazy option of posting here first. Thanks again.
 

davidplaysaccordion

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When we moved to the US from the UK some 25 plus years ago I got my wife a 120 to 240 transformer so that she could keep her (fairly expensive) sewing machine. Worked great for years. It was pretty bulky and weight a few pounds but it did the job. I think I got it in the UK before moving here. As long as any transformer has the power rating to drive your electronics it should be ok. The difference in frequency (50 in the UK, 60 in the US) should not make any difference as it all just converted to dc and smother out anyway once inside the box.
 

debra

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Debra. Thanks for that.
The label on the power supply in question does not allow for a lower voltage (120v) but simply states 240v. I'm fairly sure converters will be available to go from 240v to 120v. They certainly are for getting an A.C. supply when in your car. I'm not aware of these conversion points in kitchens or garages. That would seem a bit limiting for a player. I haven't begun to look on the internet yet and I took the lazy option of posting here first. Thanks again.
You do need a transformer from 120V to 240V then. (Doesn't have an exact match, 120V to 220V or 130V to 230V would all be close enough.)
In most places in the US there is 240V available for heavy appliances and for machinery in a workshop. Friends of mine installed a 240V outlet in their kitchen so as to use a European deep-fryer. (A transformer would need to be very large and heavy to supply something like 2.000 Watts.)
Possibly the cheapest solution in your case is to get a power supply for your "midi device" that accepts 120V input. Surely there are people in the US using a similar accordion and midi so power supplies should not be too hard to find.
 

Valski

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You do need a transformer from 120V to 240V then. (Doesn't have an exact match, 120V to 220V or 130V to 230V would all be close enough.)
In most places in the US there is 240V available for heavy appliances and for machinery in a workshop. Friends of mine installed a 240V outlet in their kitchen so as to use a European deep-fryer. (A transformer would need to be very large and heavy to supply something like 2.000 Watts.)
Possibly the cheapest solution in your case is to get a power supply for your "midi device" that accepts 120V input. Surely there are people in the US using a similar accordion and midi so power supplies should not be too hard to find.
You don't specify the brand of the instrument so it is hard to say absolutely however most electronic devices work on both UK and US voltage as the power plugs are mainly used to charge the battery. I would think it best that you consult with the manufacturer as they would be best able to advise you.
My Roland Fr8x has a charger where the wallplug piece is interchangeable and the USA piece can be switched over to an European plug. This is reasonably standard on electronic such as laptops etc. I have even used cheap adapters where the end of the plugs are changed. If you were using power directly from the mains then there might be an issue.
 

Scuromondo

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Most homes in the US have access to 220V power. Electric ovens, clothes dryers, and most water heaters require a 220V supply. That said, you would still need a plug adapter, as the 220V plugs used in the US are not the same as those used elsewhere.
 

Valski

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Most homes in the US have access to 220V power. Electric ovens, clothes dryers, and most water heaters require a 220V supply. That said, you would still need a plug adapter, as the 220V plugs used in the US are not the same as those used elsewhere.
The main feeds are 220-240 volts in the US and Canada. However I don't know how practical it would be to plug into the those outlets as they are usually reserved for furnaces and electric ranges so you might as well forget about this option. I don't know of any electronic accordion that would require that it be plugged in during a performance so it will probably not be an issue. An amplifier or keyboard might pose a problem but probably not an accordion.

Please give the details on the accordion in question, and this way we can make an educated suggestion.
 

boxplayer4000

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The power supply with the midi states: Input 240v 50Hz. Output 12vDC 600mA. Power 18w. and it has two 5-pin DIN 180deg connections: 1)Power to the Acc. and 2) Midi out.
Convertors which would do the job appear to be available on places such as Amazon. Unlike the contributor above who had a convertor for a
sewing machine, which would need quite a few watts power, this midi power supply needs only a very small fraction of that. I wasn't aware that two voltages were available in so many USA domestic situations. Does this mean there are two separate supplies or is there step-down or step-up transformer in the house? Perhaps the 50hz and 60hz supplies might make a difference in some cases; eg. some older analogue clocks derive their timing from the frequency.
Thanks to all for the interesting facts and figures.
 

davidplaysaccordion

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US domestic power is 'strange'. It comes in as 220 volts but has a center tap. Power to most receptacles is from the tap and one side of the supply giving 110v. To get 220v two of these 110v circuits are 'combined'. Basically the outer wires of the input are used and the tap is ignored.
Don't get me started on the color coding of the wires. I can never remember if the live is the black one or the white one because those colors are 'soooo' intuative. And then you've got the white wire with a bit of tape around the end to tell you it's not really white.
 

Scuromondo

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The power supply with the midi states: Input 240v 50Hz. Output 12vDC 600mA. Power 18w. and it has two 5-pin DIN 180deg connections: 1)Power to the Acc. and 2) Midi out.
Convertors which would do the job appear to be available on places such as Amazon. Unlike the contributor above who had a convertor for a
sewing machine, which would need quite a few watts power, this midi power supply needs only a very small fraction of that. I wasn't aware that two voltages were available in so many USA domestic situations. Does this mean there are two separate supplies or is there step-down or step-up transformer in the house? Perhaps the 50hz and 60hz supplies might make a difference in some cases; eg. some older analogue clocks derive their timing from the frequency.
Thanks to all for the interesting facts and figures.
The easiest thing might be to just buy a 12V wall-wart capable of delivering at least 600mA and then splicing in the connector you need to interface to your accordion
 

John M

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Since the current requirement is low (0.6 Amp), the simplest might be to just get a 12 VDC supply. This one supplies 2 Amp at 12 VDC. The cost is $6.99. If the output connector does not fit your midi, you can solder the wires to your connector. It can only be two wires. Also, this supply will work on 220 VAC input. Here is the link at Amazon:


John M.
 

Valski

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The power supply with the midi states: Input 240v 50Hz. Output 12vDC 600mA. Power 18w. and it has two 5-pin DIN 180deg connections: 1)Power to the Acc. and 2) Midi out.
Convertors which would do the job appear to be available on places such as Amazon. Unlike the contributor above who had a convertor for a
sewing machine, which would need quite a few watts power, this midi power supply needs only a very small fraction of that. I wasn't aware that two voltages were available in so many USA domestic situations. Does this mean there are two separate supplies or is there step-down or step-up transformer in the house? Perhaps the 50hz and 60hz supplies might make a difference in some cases; eg. some older analogue clocks derive their timing from the frequency.
Thanks to all for the interesting facts and figures.
I would think that the solution will probably be a power cord that will connect to the step down transformer that you already own. If you purchased this unit with the last 10 years then this is most likely to be the case. Electronic devices are made for global markets and my laptops, cameras, accordion and the Midi orchestra module that I own are all made this way. Pull on the plug and you may be surprised that this is the case. Then you can order just the cord on line. Always try the obvious option first.
 

Alan Sharkis

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The power supply with the midi states: Input 240v 50Hz. Output 12vDC 600mA. Power 18w. and it has two 5-pin DIN 180deg connections: 1)Power to the Acc. and 2) Midi out.
Convertors which would do the job appear to be available on places such as Amazon. Unlike the contributor above who had a convertor for a
sewing machine, which would need quite a few watts power, this midi power supply needs only a very small fraction of that. I wasn't aware that two voltages were available in so many USA domestic situations. Does this mean there are two separate supplies or is there step-down or step-up transformer in the house? Perhaps the 50hz and 60hz supplies might make a difference in some cases; eg. some older analogue clocks derive their timing from the frequency.
Thanks to all for the interesting facts and figures.
US domestic power is 'strange'. It comes in as 220 volts but has a center tap. Power to most receptacles is from the tap and one side of the supply giving 110v. To get 220v two of these 110v circuits are 'combined'. Basically the outer wires of the input are used and the tap is ignored.
Don't get me started on the color coding of the wires. I can never remember if the live is the black one or the white one because those colors are 'soooo' intuative. And then you've got the white wire with a bit of tape around the end to tell you it's not really white.
Color coding of wires can be simplified by remembering the following:

Neutral wires are white, unless marked with a different colored tape or paint. Then they are “hot.”

Hot wires are usually black or red, but may be sime other color, but not green.

Ground wires are either green or bare (no insulation.)

But who’s going to open an outlet cover to check color? The easier way is to look at the outlet itself. If it has two parallel slots (older, ungrounded) or two parallel slots and a round hole (newer, grounded) it will supply 120 volts. If anything else, it will supply a higher voltage, and the arrangement of the slots will indicate the amperes.
 

boxplayer4000

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Thanks all for responding.
davidplaysaccordion: Thanks for the description of the mains power system. I think that ‘split/centre tap system’ is available here as well but it doesn’t come into premises/domestic situations as standard.
scuromondo: I’ve used your suggestion of using a separate DC supply (12v in this case) for long time. The power supply supplied with the midi in question is a small, compact, sealed unit which doesn’t lend itself to modification. Silly prices are asked for professional power supplies which do ‘wear out’ due to frequent use, usually faulty cables or connectors due to repeated plugging/unplugging and wrapping cables untidyly. The parts for a simple power supply can be bought for about 10 - 15 British pounds while ‘professional’ units can be around 150 pounds. The fact that only low dc voltages are being used make it fairly safe for do-it-yourselfers messing around.
To those other asking I have no knowledge of what kind or maker the midi is. The installer has gone out of business. It’s an early model of midi and as far as is known it simply identifies the note(s) and their duration and is not touch sensitive. The polyphony is unknown.
 

oldbayan

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I would not advise to use a device set for 50Hz into a 60Hz circuit! The result voltage even using a 120 to 240 adapter will not be the same, unless there is a power rectifier and regulator in your device that turns AC into real 12-volt DC. Most power adapters simply use a diode circuit to "cut" one half of the alternating phases to get "pulsating" DC and have a capacitor to even out the flow of current. With the additional Hz your device may produce more than 12 volts as a result.
 

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