Yankee Power

  last edited: Tue, 24 Jul 2007 07:27:51 +1000  from Diary and Other Rantings
I'm starting to get the electricity under control. Have managed to pick up most of the wall-wart transformers I need. Incidentally, for the benefit of anybody that may have to follow these footsteps, forget about Tandy and Dick Smith as electronics suppliers. You'll go broke. There's a little place in Bowral called 'Leading Edge Electronics' that has much better transformers for about half the price. They've also got a better selection.

I also have pretty much given up the process of converting most of the wall-cord equipment. Some of it can be rewired, but it's a very painful and time consuming process. So instead, we've set aside one room of the house with 'Yankee Power'. I've got the familiar U.S. power strips and line cords everywhere; all feeding off of a 2kw transformer that I picked up at Fry's for $150 USD. If you attempt this, get that transformer (or three). The biggest they've got on this side of the pond is 1kw for about $300 AUD. Big difference. You'll still have to change the power cord because the Fry's transformer is set up with a UK plug, and you don't want to pump a couple kilowatts through a little plastic Aussie travel plug adapter (which you also want to pick up a few dozen of at Fry's for $1.50 USD each - you can't find 'em here at all because nobody here needs Aussie travel converters). The power strips I'm using are the super heavy duty metal Home Depot power strips with about ten plugs and a fifteen foot cord. They're about $50 USD each. I've got six or seven of 'em from my music shoppe days. The only problem is the built-in surge suppressor. If you turn on the 2kw transformer, it will send a surge and throw the house circuit breaker every time. I took some clippers and clipped out the surge suppression circuitry on a couple of these boxes as I got tired of walking outdoors in the cold to reset the breaker. I've converted over enough stuff that I probably won't need the other power strips, so I'll probably sell them for $100 AUD each (or whatever the market will bear) on ebay.com.au. Yankee power strips sell at a premium here, usually along with a transformer and some kind of home theater device that somebody tried to save money on by buying overseas - and then spent a fortune trying to get working on 220v50hz. And mine are the premium power strips, not the $4.95 USD economy strips that sell here for $50 AUD.

In the Yankee room is my recording equipment, but also such things as region 1 DVD's,  NTSC television stuff,  and any other foreign formatted thingies.  It's starting to feel like home, so I draped a couple of US flags in the windows. Well we still need blinds and they're the only pieces of cloth I could find that are near the correct size. We used the extra sheets for the other windows. I've also got about 600w of 60hz power available, but luckily most of my stuff runs off of the transformer and I haven't yet had to build a container for a few 12v batteries and charging equipment to supply the sine wave generator. We'll probably need it for Amanda's and Isabella's sewing machines - so there might be yet another Yankee room dedicated to sewing.

UPDATE: Looks like the sewing machines will also work just fine on 50hz. Yay! Thanks to Chinese manufacturing and global markets. Ten years ago this wouldn't have been the case. This means that so far we haven't found a single thing that absolutely needs 60hz to run.  Of course the big reason for that is because we sold all the stuff that we knew positively would be a problem...