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  1. #1

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    FYI, I am completely out of my depth when it comes to electrical engineering.

    I have three pedals that I need to power when I travel to Europe (Type E/F):
    - one 9V DC 100ma
    - one 18V DC 500ma (thought it might not need that many amps)
    - one 24 AC 100ma

    I've been using this consumer-grade voltage transformer/power strip (Sorry! Something went wrong!) but I'm starting to worry that if it ever fails, I would have no plan B. And since it's a dinky plastic box, I'm guessing this thing won't last forever.

    I suppose there are three options:
    1. buy individual "type E" (or is it "F"?) plug adapters for each pedal- one issue would be that it's hard to find these in the US. I might be able to have a friend in Europe buy them for me, and I could send him the money, and then pick them up when I go back. But I have a gig in Korea (same plug/voltage there) before I'll be back in Europe.
    2. buy some kind of "power brick"multipedal power box that would ideally take 110V or 240V, but I've not found one with 24V AC. I come across a couple with 9V AC, but that's not gonna do it. Plus those with the AC power way more pedals than I need to.
    3 - buy a pro-quality transformer, and then plug a US power strip into it for my existing adapters. But I'm already struggling with weight restrictions on my bags, so it can't be too cumbersome.

    Note: I don't use a pedal board. Two of the pedals sit at my feet in front of my chair (an XLR on/off, and an XLR A/B pedal - both powered to avoid "pops" when switch, and one to provide phantom power), and the other (a Jr. Barnyard) sits on top of the amp behind me.

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  3. #2

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    As you mention a transformer, I thought I would mention that it's not uncommon to see transformers rated for dual 50 and 60HZ use. However if you ever see a transformer rated for 60 HZ only, I would not use it with 50 HZ.

    With the lower frequency, the transformer impedance may be too low for the transformer design. With the lower impedance the currents may be too high for the transformer design.

  4. #3

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    I have one of these that I picked up in Sham Shui Po, Hong Kong. It powers my 115VAC Princeton Reverb replica in 230VAC 50Hz land with nary a problem. The Princeton Reverb runs very quietly with no hum and the stepdown transformer barely heats up at all. It is 150VA and weighs about 1 pound...OK, 2 pounds.

    Your wall warts can be plugged into it with the aid of a power strip. You could find Hammond step-downs from Mouser, McMaster-Carr, Digikey, etc.. The Hammond is an isolation stepdown transformer, Made in the USA, and costs 5 to 6 times as much. I would plump for the Hammond if I had the cash.

    This is practically the same thing as the SUPAC: https://www.amazon.com/LiteFuze-LC-3...aps%2C631&th=1 . (Caveat: as you can read in one of the reviews this spud is really rated for 150VA, suitable for the wall warts of your 3 pedals and any low powered amp like the Princeton Reverb, Deluxe Reverb, EH150, VA-185 but not all the amps plugged in at the same time .)

    You may run your EH-150 or VA-185 off it, too. Those mini ones for electric shavers are not suitable as they cannot supply the current, the milliamps, that your pedals and amp draw from the mains.
    Last edited by Jabberwocky; 06-04-2019 at 01:53 PM.

  5. #4

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    Gig travel can be challenging. Not sure how helpful this is, but here are a few things I've figured out

    The One Spot and PowerAll wall-warts seem to take 100-240v input, so you can use them anywhere with the right plug adapter. I think there are ways to trick them into giving up 18v as well.

    I gave in and got a Strymon Zuma R300 to clean up the spaghetti from the wall warts, it works 100-240v input. I think it may offer 18v outs as well.

    I have an AC powered Sarno tube buffer that Brad built with an extra internal 115v/230v switch for US and Europe, and it limps along on Japanese voltage. Don't know about your timeframe, but perhaps the AC powered pedal can be modded as well?

    When all else has failed, I've run my main OD and spare reverb off of batteries and gotten through the gig...

    Partners of US airlines feel ZERO obligation to abide by the carryon and weight rules of the originating flight....

    If the dinky plastic box is working, maybe the simplest option is just to get a spare

    Safe travels and best wishes for your music,

    PK

  6. #5

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    Japan runs on the rather unusual 100VAC mains. The Sarno Tube Buffer would limp along as it in running on starved brown sound mode set up for 115V. 100V is 13% under 115V i.e. 87% of full power. You'd require an uncommonly found 100VAC to 115VAC step-up transformer to run USA equipment on Japanese mains.

  7. #6

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    Thanks! Brad advised me to run the Black Box on Japanese voltage and not worry too much, but he built one for my duo partner on my last tour specifically for 100v. I didn't really A-B them critically, but I got more or less my usual sound out of my rig, as did Hiro-san with his....

    PK

  8. #7

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    Considering you have the need for 24VAC in the mix, it seems like you already have the most elegant, lightweight and inexpensive solution. Why not buy another one of the BESTEK Universal Travel Adapters?

  9. #8

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    I definitely do NOT need to power an amp, but I'll take a look at the Supac and also simply consider an alternate Bestek.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jabberwocky
    I have one of these that I picked up in Sham Shui Po, Hong Kong. It powers my 115VAC Princeton Reverb replica in 230VAC 50Hz land with nary a problem. The Princeton Reverb runs very quietly with no hum and the stepdown transformer barely heats up at all. It is 150VA and weighs about 1 pound...OK, 2 pounds.

    Your wall warts can be plugged into it with the aid of a power strip. You could find Hammond step-downs from Mouser, McMaster-Carr, Digikey, etc.. The Hammond is an isolation stepdown transformer, Made in the USA, and costs 5 to 6 times as much. I would plump for the Hammond if I had the cash.

    This is practically the same thing as the SUPAC: https://www.amazon.com/LiteFuze-LC-3...aps%2C631&th=1 . (Caveat: as you can read in one of the reviews this spud is really rated for 150VA, suitable for the wall warts of your 3 pedals and any low powered amp like the Princeton Reverb, Deluxe Reverb, EH150, VA-185 but not all the amps plugged in at the same time .)

    You may run your EH-150 or VA-185 off it, too. Those mini ones for electric shavers are not suitable as they cannot supply the current, the milliamps, that your pedals and amp draw from the mains.

    Hey Jabs, so I'm digging the "LiteFuze" you suggested on Amazon. This one is rated at 500, which really amounts to 250, and it's got an EU plug, which is what I'd need for Korea and most of Europe.

    Perhaps I can make this the main transformer, and move the Bestek to back up status.

  11. #10

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    Yes, if you do not mind the extra weight of the "500W", more like 250VA, in Volt-Ampere. It is ample for your 3 pedals, and a 15W to 25W tube amp that consumes about 200W of power.

    Bring a few spare fuses along with you.

  12. #11

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    Again, I am definitely NOT going to be bringing my own amp anytime soon, so the small one should suffice anyway.

  13. #12

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    PSA GIBSON ES-150 electric guitar Charlie Christian model w/ | Reverb

    Looks like a good set given its age but make an offer; few takers except for aficionados like ourselves; exercise due diligence, please. Could use some restoration.

  14. #13

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    Just a quick message to my transatlantic cousins in jazz (I live in France).

    Don't fall into the trap of thinking that there is a single European standard in mains plugs. For example, the UK, Switzeland, France and Denmark all have very different 3 pin (grounded) plug formats.

    Before travelling,make sure that you have the right sort of adapter or plug for the country or countries you will be visiting - there are many multi-format adapters that will help get you there....

    The site in the link below is very helpful in getting an understanding of the different formats used in different countries

    Plug & socket types - World Standards

    Happy playing on your travels
    Ray

  15. #14

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    Ray,

    speaking as a fellow European: don't overdo it. The sockets for the types C, E and F are virtually identical, and most plugs should fit most sockets. It's only the UK and Ireland that use a different system - and again, that's nothing a good adapter couldn't take care of.

  16. #15

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    My only concern is with the Schuko plug and wall socket. The earth ground pin for the Schuko resides in the wall socket. Most multi-way adapters for the UK 3-pin wall socket do not have a ground pin for the Schuko. These adapters have the effect of not grounding equipment terminated with the Schuko plug. This can be dangerous to anyone using tube/valve amps with such adapters.

    I suggest to anyone travelling abroad to find out what the electrical standards are for that country and find a proper adapter that keeps your equipment properly grounded.

    As an aside, the Apple Macbook supplies a UK adapter with a proper metal ground pin. I get unpleasant shocks all the time using it. It astounded me to find out that while the adapter has a metal ground pin the power supply is not electrically connected to it internally. That is to say, it gives users the false impression that the power supply and Macbook are grounded when in reality they are not. The metal ground pin is just for show.

  17. #16

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    Pro-Audio 220V->110V Transformer? (So I can use my US pedals in Europe/Asia)-music-store-schuko-uk-plug-adapter-230v-240v_1_pah0008490-000-jpg

    UK to Schuko adapter.

    Pro-Audio 220V->110V Transformer? (So I can use my US pedals in Europe/Asia)-41wfhzi7wil-jpgPro-Audio 220V->110V Transformer? (So I can use my US pedals in Europe/Asia)-41blkbmfx7l-jpgPro-Audio 220V->110V Transformer? (So I can use my US pedals in Europe/Asia)-41fga7kk2el-jpg

    Schuko to UK 3 pin properly earthed adapter.

    Wonpro adapters. Use the correct one to ensure proper grounding.
    WAD Series (With NEMA-1-15R Receptacle.) - Wonpro Co., Ltd.

  18. #17

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    Things have probably changed in the past 40 years, but when I was in Germany with the Army, everyone used transformers, which were readily available. Most people bought used, and the same transformers kept being used in place, or very near. You bought used transformers when you arrived, and sold them when you left. There was no shortage, and they were easily available locally. I would think the venue could provide you with a transformer. That said, look closely at the wall warts you already have. The majority of the ones I have are dual voltage, and can be used in 240V sockets with just an adapter. A couple came with 4 or 5 adapters in the box, which should fit any outlets anywhere. I usually need a magnifying glass to read the fine print on chargers, but most of them say 100-240V, 50-60Hz input. All that is required for most modern chargers is the proper adapter to fit the outlet, the transformer function is built in. Read the fine print on the charger.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by docsteve
    Ray,

    speaking as a fellow European: don't overdo it. The sockets for the types C, E and F are virtually identical, and most plugs should fit most sockets. It's only the UK and Ireland that use a different system - and again, that's nothing a good adapter couldn't take care of.
    Steve,
    as you (and I) say, a good adapter will cover most situations.

    Nonetheles surprises exist for the unwary who think type C, E and F are the only standards in Europe.


    • The UK and Ireland have type G,



    • Switzerland and Lichtenstein use type J,



    • Denmark has type K



    I won't forget the first time, many years ago, when I took my laptop to Switzerland 2001 and was unable to use it for a presentation because I didn't have an appropriate adapter....

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray175
    Steve,
    as you (and I) say, a good adapter will cover most situations.

    Nonetheles surprises exist for the unwary who think type C, E and F are the only standards in Europe.


    • The UK and Ireland have type G,



    • Switzerland and Lichtenstein use type J,



    • Denmark has type K



    I won't forget the first time, many years ago, when I took my laptop to Switzerland 2001 and was unable to use it for a presentation because I didn't have an appropriate adapter....
    I‘m pretty sure a Euro plug (type C) would fit most sockets nicely, apart from those brexiteers. Of course, they are not grounded but that shouldn‘t matter with effect pedals.

    US to Europe adapters/transformers are not readily available outside US army posts.


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  21. #20

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    Adapters are readily available on ebay and amazon, for both directions. Also you can find them in many international airports, at increased prices.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell
    That said, look closely at the wall warts you already have. The majority of the ones I have are dual voltage, and can be used in 240V sockets with just an adapter. A couple came with 4 or 5 adapters in the box, which should fit any outlets anywhere. I usually need a magnifying glass to read the fine print on chargers, but most of them say 100-240V, 50-60Hz input. All that is required for most modern chargers is the proper adapter to fit the outlet, the transformer function is built in. Read the fine print on the charger.
    So, just following back up on this thread... not that I've been doing any traveling....

    I realized most standard guitar pedal wall worts DO already work 100-240V as Sgosnell rightly pointed out - and it's just a matter of a simple adapter for the plug.

    But I had pedals with very persnickety, idiosyncratic power needs - 18V DC isn't that crazy, but the 24V AC is the real problematic one.
    Even finding a replacement US adapter is actually a pain.

    But perhaps the solution I should've been looking for wasn't finding a way to transform 220V->110V for my annoyingly idiosyncratic 24V AC wall wort, but rather finding a different pedal that wouldn't require such odd power. As it turns out, I found an alternative pedal set up that would just require a standard 9V DC. And frankly, that'll be a lot easier to deal with at home anyway. So... there you go.

  23. #22

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    funny this should return as i was considering buying a euro amp for use in the us (they're cheaper). and then i was pondering if i should swap the transformer on the amp or use a dealie to step up the voltage to the 240 it wants. but then i have to consider wattage, and voltage and all that and for a 100 watt head, it probably needs a significant converter. but if i had one of those, i can have as many euro amps as i want and i'll be covered (at home, unless i want to carry that heavy thing around).

    but as you're finding, the simplest solution is not to need anything crazy. i'd still like to know, but i guess i know what the "best" solution is already.