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Google for "Step Up Down Voltage Transformer Converter" and you can find all sorts of CSA/UL-certified devices that eliminate the need to rewire the house.
 

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Did some more googling, and found this in the NB Electrical regulations:

QUALIFIED PERSONS
24 Notwithstanding anything in this Regulation, a qualified person may make minor repairs to or replacements of electrical installations if he does not make any changes or modifications to the circuits and the work meets the requirements of the Code and this Regulation.
Sounds stricter than the case here in Ontario, where a homeowner may make changes and have them inspected. In NB, only an electrician may ask for an inspection.

Since the only existing 240 V circuits will be 30A dryer circuits or 40A electric range circuits, I doubt you could legally change those to have 20A 240V receptacles and be code-compliant.

You would still have to deal with getting the foreign equipment type-acceptance. Check the list of certifiers in my previous post -- it;s quie possible if your equipment has one of those stickers, the agency could tell you if it is legal for connection in Canada.


Wow -- 43 replies to one simple question! I guess we're a talkative bunch!
In other words, if what you want to do is possible, a licensed electrician will have to do it.
 

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From the "NB Electrical Regulations" this is pretty standard across the country

APPROVED EQUIPMENT
3(1)No person shall install, attempt to dispose of, dispose of or use any electrical equipment, electrical fixtures, appliances and their components which are not certified by the Canadian Standards Association, the Underwriters’ Laboratories of Canada or any other recognized testing laboratory acceptable to the Chief Electrical Inspector.
3(2)Notwithstanding subsection (1), the Chief Electrical Inspector may approve any equipment or apparatus of a specialized nature having a limited local market and for which regular certification and listing by the Canadian Standards Association appears to be impracticable.
3(3)Where any electrical equipment or apparatus is found to be faulty or does not meet the standards of the Code when installed in service, the Chief Electrical Inspector may prohibit the use of such electrical equipment or apparatus, notwithstanding approval by the Canadian Standards Association or any other recognized testing laboratory.
 

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"Step Up Down Voltage Transformer Converter" and you can find all sorts of CSA/UL-certified devices that eliminate the need to rewire the house.
That does not realy solve anything. It does not eliminate the need for suitable plugs/outlets nor does it eliminate the need for CSA/CUL approval.

the Chief Electrical Inspector may approve any equipment or apparatus of a specialized nature having a limited local market and for which regular certification and listing by the Canadian Standards Association appears to be impracticable.
That's what we call special inspection here. It can be as simple as having a local inspector approve a device (relatively fast and cheap) or it could require testing at an approved testing lab (slow and expensive.) It's usually pretty easy to get a UL approved device passed here. Not sure about European equipment but if there is a corresponding 120v model that is approved for Canada, it should not be too difficult.
 

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ScaryBob said:
It does not eliminate the need for suitable plugs/outlets nor does it eliminate the need for CSA/CUL approval.
The proper ones are portable boxes that have either a North American CSA/UL-rated [email protected] receptacle and a CE-rated [email protected] plug, both connected internally to a transformer/rectifier, or the opposite: a CE-rated [email protected] receptacle and a CSA/UL-rated [email protected] plug. Combined units can be purchased that can step up and step down as required. They can be bought in lots of power ranges, from typical tiny electric shaver transformers to household 30kW (or higher) units.

They don't require any alteration of the home's proper wiring, but unfortunately they don't seem to get around Rule 3(1) in Coop's post if I understand the intent of it.

Working for a multi-national corporation I have seen many people use such devices when on temporary long term assignments in which they know that they'll be returning to their home country and thus aren't considering new purchases of consumer electronics.

Step Up Transformer:
Code:
CSA/UL Rated               CE Rated
120VAC @ 60Hz              240VAC @ 50Hz
Plug          \           /  Receptacle
               \         /
           Transformer-Rectifier
Step Down Transformer:
Code:
           Transformer-Rectifier
               /         \
              /           \
CE Rated                   CSA/UL Rated
240VAC @ 50Hz              120VAC @ 60Hz
Plug                       Receptacle
Step Up/Down Transformer:
Code:
CSA/UL Rated               CE Rated
120VAC @ 60Hz              240VAC @ 50Hz
Plug          \           /  Receptacle
               \         /
           Transformer-Rectifier
               /         \
              /           \
CE Rated                   CSA/UL Rated
240VAC @ 50Hz              120VAC @ 60Hz
Plug                       Receptacle
I would call the local electrical inspector and confirm that these are okay to use. Also let's be clear that there are no free lunches - transformer-rectifier boxes use a fair amount of power themselves doing this work, so research would have to be done on all aspects of using one.
 

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Yeah, i see that a lot, too. I'm currently wrapping up a nine-countries-in-three-weeks business trip and I've seen more solutions than i care to count. (greetings from Prague, BTW)

Something for the OP to consider....Electronics (even high end) don't last forever, and it may not be worthwhile to do any significant rewiring. Have you considered getting a power bar in the country where you are coming from an simply getting a local electrician to wire a Canadian 240VAC plug onto it, and then just putting a stove or dryer receptacle in your house?
 

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I recommend putting A/V equipment on a separate circuit. That could be wired as 240v initially and then changed to 120v when the 240v equipment is replaced. Transformers or inverters are a good solution for small loads but one suitable for an HT system would be quite large, heavy and expensive. For items like small kitchen appliances, it's probably better to replace them but converting a 15a split receptacle to 240v would be simple. Large appliances, like a dishwasher, are typically on it's own circuit so rewiring that for 240v would also be simple.
 

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99semaj that's the central issue here - an electrician cannot do it for a variety of reasons, most of which revolve around losing his/her continued certification, therefore their livelihood. A buddy who I used to play hockey with is a master electrician who has walked out of many homes without taking the job due to either improper wiring already in place or improper requirements being asked for. Would a contractor or other person do it? Probably someone could be found, but again the risks of future trouble are too high.

Another thing about the actual power provided here in North America versus in other parts of the world (classicast touched on this earlier). The power supplied to a home in North America is over 3 wires: two are insulated "hots" @120VAC, each coming from taps right off of the nearest transformer on a nearby pole or box, while the third is a bare conductor that they call a "return" while electricians call it a "common". The fourth connection is local to the home, and that is a proper ground. In 240VAC circuits in North America the higher voltage is achieved by bonding the two hots within the appliance device (dryer, range, motored shop gear, etc.) and the excess energy leaves via the common/return. Linemen and hydro engineers know that the return is always very alive even though it does not have a direct load applied to it.

In a true 240VAC system like in most of the world there is no need for two separate hots since the local transformer windings are not designed for 120VAC. You get a hot, a common, and your third connection is a proper local ground.

So, hydro people not only disapprove of illegal home wiring but their lives depend on each of the wires doing exactly what it is expected to do when they're stretching out of a bucket on a cherry picker truck in the pouring rain to restore a fallen line. As has happened in the past, homeowners who freelanced (usually with portable generators wired right into the panel without the main breaker being opened!!!) have caused terrible events for the pros out on the lines.

Here endeth the sermon... ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #50 ·
Hi all,

this discussion shows the obvious, that is, every code/law/rule is open to different interpretation, here in Canada as well as in any other country in the world.
This is perfectly normal and human.
Demonstration is that no inspector in NB has ever told me I cannot do the job myself, on the contrary they confirmed I can do it and then get it approved.
No insurance has ever told me that they will not insure something which is approved by the inspector.

Certifications:
as I said, I am not in the position to verify right now, but I am 99% sure that every single piece of equipment has got a bunch of certifications, including TUV. So, for the moment this is not something I can discuss further.

Someone mentioned to sell my stuff in EU or use step-up transformers or so, I explained at the beginning that there are valid reasons for this equipment to be here as it is. We are talking about tens of thousands of $ of hi-end equipment that in order to perform at the expected level it has to be powered 240V.
I guess you will have to agree that wiring 3 or 4 receptacles 240V will be less expensive.

Honestly, your guys go OT every time, my last post was asking confirmation whether some receptacles I had seen at HomeDepot were good or not for my needs, nobody replied this question, which was the most important to me.

The code is important, as it is the law, but nothing is useful without common sense or being pragmatic.
I find that here in NB, they use common sense and pragmatism, never an issue so far, excellent people and place to live.

So, please, trust that I will set up the needed receptacles at a standard which will be safer than required by the code, the inspector won't have any problem to approve it and most probably will give compliments on how the work has been done.

If you want to help, please focus on my questions only, the rest leave it to me, the help that I expect from this forum is to answer some of my questions. Nothing more.

Thank you for understanding.

Regards,
Alex
 

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There is only one way to wire a home in Canada, and that is the right way: according to the Provincial Electrical Code, which is a subset of the Canadian Electrical Code.
 

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Stampeder makes an important point. Where 240V is the norm, electricity is delivered as a neutral that is very close to ground potential, and a hot which is at 240V.
In North American 120V systems, 240V is delivered as two hots that are both at 120V potential.

Appliances may be designed so that their safety is assured by having certain parts at the neutral potential. When a 240V appliance like this is connected to North American hot+hot style 240V, the line that was designed to be neutral in the appliance will instead carry 120V, and that could be a safety problem.

Much depends on the design of the appliance. Many appliances would have a non-polarized power lead, and in this case they must be designed to handle either conductor being hot. One with a polarized power lead could not be safely connected to NA 240V since it is designed to have a certain conductor be neutral.
 

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The problem is not necessarily with the house wiring alone, it is also with your re-wiring of the device plugs. This is where the device need to be certified as being able to run on two hots, instead of a hot and a neutral, as would be the case in Europe.

The presence of TUV certification alone is not enough, as it presumes European power supply. However, TUV may be in a position to tell you that your particular equipment is safe when used with (effectively) a non polarized plug, and can issue you a trivial re-certification for North American use on a 240V supply with two hots.
 

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In a true 240VAC system like in most of the world there is no need for two separate hots since the local transformer windings are not designed for 120VAC. You get a hot, a common, and your third connection is a proper local ground.
If this is indeed the case, then the only solution is a transformer that is wired to provide the correct voltage and configuration. It would likely need to be a high end "hospital grade" (or similar) transformer in order to provide power that is conditioned correctly for high end audio gear. The best way to do this would be to put the transformer in the basement (near the panel) and run a separate circuit to a European style outlet for the HT gear. The outlets and installation would need to be inspected and approved. It's always easier to get approval if you take out a permit and call the inspector first. I wouldn't put HT gear and motorized appliances on the same circuit or transformer so they would need to be done separately. Note that a single transformer for one circuit can cost up to $500 plus installation so it won't be a cheap proposition.

Metallo, it's difficult to tell if outlets would be OK without seeing them and the equipment. Generally speaking, you are not going to find anything suitable for a special wiring setup in Home Depot. You will need to find a local electrical wholesaler willing to order them. That's assuming the correct outlet is available in NA. You may need to order the outlets from Europe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #56 ·
Hi all,

yes, home depot is not the best place for this kind of things, in NB I won't be able to find that kind of "speciliazied" retailer, therefore internet is my best friend ;)

I know I will have to go through some investigations, but I will sort this out safely.

I will post back results once everything is achieved.

Cheers
Alex
 

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ScaryBob said:
It would likely need to be a high end "hospital grade" (or similar) transformer in order to provide power that is conditioned correctly for high end audio gear.
The pricier, high end consumer voltage transformers convert the supply to DC internally, then rectify it back to true sine wave AC. That way [email protected] can be stepped up to [email protected] in a single box, or [email protected] can be stepped down to [email protected] without having to shift or crunch any sine waves.

Before mass-production of diodes and rectifiers the original way to convert the voltage and the frequency was to run an electric motor on [email protected] that was geared to a generator outputting at [email protected], or vice-versa depending on the supply.

That would be a neat DIY project! :)
 

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The pricier, high end consumer voltage transformers convert the supply to DC internally, then rectify it back to true sine wave AC.
I am talking about real transformers. Some are designed to isolate, condition and regulate the voltage so they are better than surge protecting power bars. 120v-120v transformers are fairly common in some industries to provide safe, isolated power for sensitive equipment. They are not as cost effective as other devices for consumer applications. 240v to 240v, 120v to 240v and other configurations are available.

BTW, the process of converting of AC to DC is called rectification. The process of converting DC to AC is called inversion (not rectification.) This process rarely produces a true sine wave that is suitable for A/V equipment and is much less efficient or reliable than a transformer. AC to DC to AC conversion is usually used to provide voltage regulation and/or power backup on poorly regulated or unstable power systems. This type of regulator/UPS is called an online regulator/UPS. It can also do AC voltage step up or step down. This is different from most consumer UPS which are standby models that simply pass the AC power most of the time.
 

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I think you need some newer reading materials. :) I'm talking about transformers with rectifier circuits that are available on the market today. The neatest one I ever saw was in the Amazon jungles of Brazil where my employer had to isolate a factory in Manaus from the main power grid. Really cool work! :cool:

All of the transformer types I've described in Posts #46 and #57 would solve the OP's requirement for a high end audio system as long as using them is legal in NB.
 

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Having looked at this from every angle I can think of (not much to do while I'm working in Gdańsk) I'm beginning to think the only legal, practical solution is to get a properly certified step up transformer and a Schuko-style power bar from your country of origin.

It's clean, cheap (~$200), easy, and takes care of the grounding, single-220VAC-leg.
 
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