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Converting a Silvia/Rocky from 220V to 110V

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  • Converting a Silvia/Rocky from 220V to 110V

    Hello CSers,

    I need advise on how to convert my well-loved Silvia/Rocky combo to 110V use. I already thought of just buying a step-down transformer once I get to Canada but can someone tell me which parts are voltage-specific?

    I could just sell it but Im not too happy to part with it since our relationship is going strong (esp., after shes got the watlow sd3C upgrade).

    Besides, Im planning to come back to Australia so this is a keeper.

    thanks...

  • #2
    Re: Converting a Silvia/Rocky from 220V to 110V

    dcaffeine8d

    Well you could buy a step up transformer.... and run them that way.... (a step down run back to front isnt quite the same)...... Step up transformers of sufficient power rating would be very expensive....

    Or you could replace the element and the pump in the Silvia with a 110V one, the motor in the Rocky with a 110v 60 cycle one.... then most of the wiring in both has probably been designed to supply the much lower current drawn on 240V (less than half the current).... so may well not be adequate.... neither might the switches etc..... basically you would need a trip to an electrician with a wad of dollars to have it all checked and the new bits fitted - which will also cost you a wad of dollars (certainly cost you in total almost as much as new machines!!)

    In reality either putting them in storage here (or lending them to someone you trust ).... and getting replacements when in 110V land is probably the most cost effective.... and sell the replacements when you leave.

    Appliances like these (unless designed for dual voltage/frequency) are not a good prospect for moving to other countries with different power supply voltages and frequencies...

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Converting a Silvia/Rocky from 220V to 110V

      Thanks JavaB. I did not think it would be that complicated.

      As for the transformer alternative, so you reckon I need a step-up transformer (is that what they are called?) I thought most transformers would work either ways?

      I was looking at the following link: http://www.voltageconverters.com/voltage_converters.html

      Is there any disadvantage in running a 220V-appliance on a 110V AC source? I know they should consume the same amount of power but would drawing more current reduce the life of the appliance?

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Converting a Silvia/Rocky from 220V to 110V

        Step down transformers in theory can also be used as step up transformers... as in (simple) theory the voltage is determined by the turns ratio and that alone....

        For example if there are twice as many turns on the high voltage side as the low voltage.... whatever you put in on the high voltage side.... you will get exactly half on the low voltage one. And in fact at no load (or a very small load) that is pretty close to actual.....

        But winding wire is lossy (as it has some resistance).... so when you draw a lot of current from the low voltage side.... you lose some voltage.... so what they often do in a real stepdown transformer is add a few more turns to the output so that under load the voltage is correct..... so say it is 2 to 1.1 (exaggerated)

        But when you turn the transformer around..... you now have 1.1 to 2.0.... so you wont get twice the voltage.... and when you load up the output it will drop even more!

        The transformers you linked to are obviously just the appropriate turns ratio..... with no compensation for resistive loss.... so although not ideal... they will work reasonably well in both directions...

        You would need at least the 2000W version (Id probably go for the 3000W as it will have better regulation - the difference between no load voltage and full load voltage).

        The only real disadvantage is the motors in the devices will run faster (60 Hz mains frequency compared to 50Hz).... which shouldnt do any real damage.... but they wont be quite so powerful (higher frequency - greater inductive reactance - less current - less power).... but running 60 Hz motors on 50 Hz can cause them to overheat.

        Even at the cost of the transformer.... with the amount of value a second hand Silvia/Rocky combo can fetch.... Id think twice about selling and replacing the equipment at the other end.....

        Remember also many 240V appliances are higher powered than their 110V cousins (only requiring 46% of the current to consume the same power) so in the US they will draw 2.2 times the current (plus the losses in the transformer).... and that could create a problem with some supplies... The Silvia should be OK.... but I wouldnt want to try it with anything bigger.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Converting a Silvia/Rocky from 220V to 110V

          If youre moving into a house put in a 220V outlet.


          Java "Been there, done that!" phile
          Toys! I must have new toys!!!

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Converting a Silvia/Rocky from 220V to 110V

            Thanks Javaphile. I never thought of that. :

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Converting a Silvia/Rocky from 220V to 110V

              In the US, and I would assume Canada, almost all houses and apartments have a 220V circuit in the kitchen (for an electric stove/oven) or the utility room (for an electric clothes dryer), or both.

              If you are lucky, then adding an outlet to the kitchen circuit might not be too difficult. Or, you could be the only kid on the block with an espresso bar in the laundry room ;-)

              I would suggest making sure there is a ground fault device (we Yanks call them GFCIs) on Silvias circuit in any event. If your heating element ever goes bad, you will be quite happy it is there to protect you.

              Jim

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Converting a Silvia/Rocky from 220V to 110V

                Thinking outside the box you can also purchase yourself a inverter and run the sylvia off a 12V car battery when you are there. Granted inverters are not all that cheap, but it does give you a coffee system that you can even take on the road if you ever wanted to. Also the inverter will give you the 50Hz signal (albeit not too clean). You might want to throw in a trickle cahrger for the battery too, but they are as cheap as chips.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Converting a Silvia/Rocky from 220V to 110V

                  Originally posted by anthonyd link=1194419728/0#7 date=1194478806
                  Thinking outside the box you can also purchase yourself a inverter and run the sylvia off a 12V car battery when you are there.
                  Whilst that would be very attractive you would need a few more than 1 car battery....

                  The Silvia is rated at 1100Watts..... assume the inverter is about 90% efficient (typical figure)- then input power is a bit over 1200W.... or 100Amps...

                  Now most 12 V car batteries are about 50-60 Amp hours.... at a lower discharge rate than 100 Amps..... so you would be lucky to get 20 minutes before the battery dies (100 Amps is the same as the starting current in a small car..... and you know how quick that kills the battery)...

                  From a single battery you might get enough power for one extraction before the battery dies.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Converting a Silvia/Rocky from 220V to 110V

                    yep, JB, very true...

                    AnthonyD, we have 4 6V batteries, providing 545AH @ 24V at C100 (which means the batteries are designed to slowly discharge, not like starter batteries).
                    when we  inadvertently (through shore-power overload etc.) switch to inverter-power whilst either Bott or jug or heater (2 bars) are running you can see the "gauge" run down... even with that capacity in the battery-bank we would last less than  3 1/2 hours before the inverter would sound the "over-discharge" alarm.
                    our batteries are designed to handle 250 discharges of 90%, 1000 discharges of 50%, and 3000 discharges of 15%... which should tell you something about the way a battery feels when it gets sucked dry too quickly!

                    our battery bank is the very minimal needed to support a 100Amp draw for any length of time... and, FYI, it weighs 320kg ;D ;D, oh and the inverter weighs 45kg!!

                    L

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Converting a Silvia/Rocky from 220V to 110V

                      Sorry for bumping to thread up. Im here now in Canada since January and have got my PIDd Silvia at last.

                      Ive bought a voltage regulator (servo-type) rated at 3000W since I thought the Silvia is 1100W. I turned it on the first time, then I got leaks. Holy cow! So I stopped it. Opened it up and checked the boiler leak. It seemed during the shipment, the boiler became screws became loose. So I tightened it up and powered it up once more. This time no leaks. Yes!

                      It was OK for the first day. The next day, I smelt something burning. I thought it was Silvia but then I saw it was the voltage regulator. And I was in the middle of my steaming. I didnt turn it off because what was more important to me was my foam. Then I turned-it off and checked the transformer. I opened it up and saw the fuse box connection was the one that burnt. I checked the fuse but it did not break. It was just the connection wires which somehow started burning. So I tried to reassess the situation.

                      What could have caused it?

                      Is it due to the PID because Ive got the Watlow SD3C with steam function which whilst steaming also turns on the steaming function so temp does not drop down. Or is it due to the pulsing action of the PID since it turns the boiler on and off to reach the setpoint.

                      Is it a load overload? Granting Ive got the rocky which is 350W and Silvia at 1100W which should be enough. However, I looked at the bottom of the SIlvia again and I see the following:

                      1150W
                      1100W
                      48W

                      Hmm.. So I know that 48W is the ulka pump. Now could it be that the 1100W is for the boiling and 1150W for steaming? Should I total this up to get the real power consumption? What does the rating for each mean on the bottom of the Silvia. The Rocky has just one.

                      Total for above is 2298W. This is close to the 80% load efficiency of my 3KW transformer. Could it be the reason? Can you guys help me out put some sense to this? If it is, then Im considering upgrading to 5000W voltage transformer and Im going for this one below:

                      http://www.110220volts.ca/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=ATVR-5000&Category_Code=ATVR

                      --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                      Power Converter/Transformer

                      * Changes 220/240 Volt (Foreign Electricity) to 110/120 Volt (U.S. Electricity)
                      * Also can change 110/120 Volt (U.S. Electricity) to 220/240 Volt (Foreign Electricity)

                      Features:

                      * Two (2) calibrated voltage meters: input and output voltage
                      * Lighted power switch
                      * Input voltage switch
                      * Heavy-duty circuit breakers rated to 415 volts
                      * Metal housing with oversized rubber platform feet
                      * Unit Working” indicator light
                      * Time Delay switch. Delay feature acts as a type of surge and spike protector by delaying the introduction of the current so it slowly enters the system.
                      * Delay Engaged” light
                      * Protection” light
                      * 110 V. Output” light
                      * Heavy-duty carrying handles
                      * Input 80 – 140 and 120 – 240 volts
                      * Accuracy Output Regulation +/- 4%
                      * Universal Output Receptacle
                      * Dimensions: 15” X 8.25” X 11”
                      * Weight:
                      * 40.56 pound Maximum Output Power:
                      * 45.50 amps @ 110 volts / 22.73 amps @ 220 volts Recommended Maximum Load:
                      * 4000 watts (80% of capacity)
                      --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                      From the above description, Im interested in the time-delay feature and it will affect the Silvia. I also hope the 4KW effective capacity rating is sufficient for the continuous operation of dear Silvia + PID.

                      I need help guys so kindly pour it any comments. I feel at a loss for my Silvia. Its like have a Ferrari without a fuel. ;-(

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Converting a Silvia/Rocky from 220V to 110V

                        Sounds like you really are decaffin8d,

                        If the connection wires are burning [I assume you mean the insulation] it suggests they are experiencing an overload condition and/or that the type of insulation utilised does not like the high temperature caused by high currents.
                        Are these the wires that connect the 110AC into to the rest of the converter?


                        I dont understand three power ratings you mention under Silvia.
                        The pump is 48w, the boiler is 1100w, perhaps as you suggest under steaming 1100w becomes 1150w [I doubt this] or perhaps 1100w is for the 240v elements and 1150w is for the 110v elements.
                        Whatever the case you do not add the [1100 & 1150] together.

                        I Dont know the rocky spec, but it wouldnt be more than 200-300 watts

                        The PID power supply will add negligible power to the overall consumption [eg 20watts] and without knowing exactly how your converter works, Id guess its on/off pulsing action to boiler is less likely to cause overload that if the boiler was driven hard on.


                        Therefore, unless Im missing something the total consumption of your system is within the range of the converter.
                        Plus, if well designed, its fusing and MCBs should trip the unit before any serious overload/meltdown occurs.

                        I use a time delayed relay/resistor circuit to slowly power up my DIY hifi amplifiers. Switching directly onto the high capacitance in the supply rails will cause very high inrush currents.
                        I suspect the delay circuit you mention will work in a similar way and for similar reasons.
                        How long does the Delay Engaged Light stay on for?
                        [10-30 sec would seem appropriate]

                        As a suggestion, It may be best to turn on Silvia & Grinder after the delay engaged light has gone out.
                        Are you doing this?


                        Assuming you properly warm up your espresso machine, the whole system would have been running ok for half an hour or so with out any problems.
                        Switching over to steaming, instead of brewing, should not have increased the power consumption in a significant way.


                        So whats the problem?
                        I dunno, some more questions.


                        Maybe the insulation on the connection wires is just "bedding in" [are they actually burnt or just a little brown]?

                        Are you waiting for the surge time delay to end before powering up the grinder and espresso machine?

                        Perhaps, the PID steaming circuit is not correctly wired, I think this is unlikely since the function works, but had you used it prior to 110v operation?

                        What do the input and output voltage meters on the converter read?

                        Are there user and or non user settings/switches within the converter that may not be correctly applied?

                        Most importantly, have you contacted the converters manufacturer?

                        Keep us posted

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Converting a Silvia/Rocky from 220V to 110V

                          Originally posted by reubster link=1194419728/0#11 date=1206922657
                          If the connection wires are burning [I assume you mean the insulation] it suggests they are experiencing an overload condition and/or that the type of insulation utilised does not like the high temperature caused by high currents.
                          Are these the wires that connect the 110AC into to the rest of the converter?
                          Yes. It is the insulation which I see go to smokes. It is near the wires where the input source is coming from. I have a voltage regulator which can do a step-up and step-down through a switch.

                          Originally posted by reubster link=1194419728/0#11 date=1206922657
                          I dont understand three power ratings you mention under Silvia.
                          The pump is 48w, the boiler is 1100w, perhaps as you suggest under steaming 1100w becomes 1150w [I doubt this] or perhaps 1100w is for the 240v elements and 1150w is for the 110v elements.
                          Whatever the case you do not add the [1100 & 1150] together.
                          I just saw this on the bottom of the Silvia specs so I made an assumption. I was I guess trying to figure out what caused an overload.

                          Originally posted by reubster link=1194419728/0#11 date=1206922657
                          I use a time delayed relay/resistor circuit to slowly power up my DIY hifi amplifiers. Switching directly onto the high capacitance in the supply rails will cause very high inrush currents.
                          I suspect the delay circuit you mention will work in a similar way and for similar reasons.
                          How long does the Delay Engaged Light stay on for?
                          [10-30 sec would seem appropriate]
                          My current voltage regulator does not have a delay circuit now. Since I thought my current 3KW might be the cause, Im deciding on upgrading to 5KW if it would help. It has a voltage meter and current meter. I see the current being drawn only when the Silvias pump turns on and when it is heating. Once it reaches the setpoint, the PID pulses the machine, then I can see the current being drawn then back to 0 then on then back to 0. Would this on and off drawing off current cause the overload?

                          Originally posted by reubster link=1194419728/0#11 date=1206922657
                          Maybe the insulation on the connection wires is just "bedding in" [are they actually burnt or just a little brown]?
                          Ive opened up the voltage regulator and I can see it burnt since the plastic near the contacts became charred black. What does bedding-in mean?

                          Originally posted by reubster link=1194419728/0#11 date=1206922657
                          Perhaps, the PID steaming circuit is not correctly wired, I think this is unlikely since the function works, but had you used it prior to 110v operation?
                          Yes. I had it running for 6 months before I moved here. I was also able to steam 3 times before the voltage regulator went haywire.

                          Originally posted by reubster link=1194419728/0#11 date=1206922657
                          What do the input and output voltage meters on the converter read?

                          Are there user and or non user settings/switches within the converter that may not be correctly applied?

                          Most importantly, have you contacted the converters manufacturer?
                          My converter is servo type so I can adjust the voltage to go higher by twisting a knob. No special user-settings except the input voltage selection.

                          I already tried but did not get a responses yet.

                          Thanks by the way for the reply.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Converting a Silvia/Rocky from 220V to 110V

                            To me the converter sounds faulty and more worryingly it has the potential to become a fire hazzard.
                            The manufacturer need to respond.

                            But just to clarify to your response,

                            By "bedding in" I mean the wiring/insulation just needs to get used to the heating. When I used to build valve amps, the Txs would sometimes smell a bit funny for a couple of days and then after some time it will stop smelling.
                            In your case, I dont think charred black constitutes "bedding in" and appropriate thermal consideration of the insulation should have been made by the designer.

                            In terms of pure heating/overheating, the pulsing of the PID is less likely to cause overload than the standard Silvia thermostat.
                            You can see the converter current responding briefly the PID [ie briefly on and off] .......In effect energy is only drawn when required, and due to good thermal stability, not much of a pulse is needed.
                            If driving a thermostat controlled machine, the current output of the converter would be full-on for [say] 1min and off for [say 3min]
                            But that 1min "fully on" would present the highest potential for overload.

                            Perhaps [and I think this is what youre getting at] the converter has some "smarts" that dont respond well to the the fast switching of the PID.
                            Only the manufacturer could really confirm this.

                            The AVTR5000 looks good on paper, but remember your coffee equipment is within the rating of your 3000watt unit.
                            Again, the manufacturer needs to provide comment, if it is a faulty converter [I think it is], you are throwing unnecessary money at the [albeit higher specd] solution.

                            Finally,
                            Can your GPOs accomodate the new converter?
                            If a higher powered GPO is required, would it not be easier/cheaper to convert to 240Vac as Javaphile & Jim [PIDKits] suggested?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Converting a Silvia/Rocky from 220V to 110V

                              Hmmm,

                              Sounds to me more like a loose or bad connection could be causing this problem. Given everything that has been reported and responded to above, the Converters rated output (so long as this is verifiable) is well and truly able to manage the Silvia/Rocky Combo.

                              Bad connections, for whatever cause, are capable of generating significant temperatures at the site of the connection which can then be conducted along the copper wiring both up and downstream of the locus. My advice would be to contact the manufacturer of the Converter as it will almost certainly entail a warranty claim to have rectified. In my experience with this sort of device, rapid switching at the load has no detrimental effect on any control aspects of the device, or of the device overall.

                              All the best mate :-?,
                              Mal.

                              Comment

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