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Post new topic Electricity in New Zealand?
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Author Topic:  Electricity in New Zealand?
Bill Bassett


From:
Rimrock, Arizona, USA
Post  Posted 25 Mar 2019 7:00 am    
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If I were to take my gear, including SS and Tube amps, Accessories and pedals, to...let's say New Zealand, I know I would need converters, I'm just wondering who makes them, how does one safely use them and has anyone got experience with such things?
Thanks,
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Godfrey Arthur


From:
3rd Rock
Post  Posted 25 Mar 2019 8:21 am    
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AC power in NZ is 230 volts with a 50hz frequency. You would need step-down transformers to feed your gear 120 volts.

But the 50hz will be an issue because Conus (assuming this is where the gear you are referring to is coming from) is 60hz.

You can get frequency converters but they are not cheap compared to step down transformers.

The gear will work but may not sound the same to you on 50hz.

You may want to source AC converter devices in NZ as they would have units that are suited to the area.

The outlets used in NZ look like these:


Some electronics are designed to accept 50-60hz but they are not all the same across the board.
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Bill Bassett


From:
Rimrock, Arizona, USA
Post  Posted 25 Mar 2019 8:41 am     Thank you.
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The tube amp was quite an investment. But the SS can be
Sold and replaced with NZ gear when I get there.
Sure is a lot to think about.
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Godfrey Arthur


From:
3rd Rock
Post  Posted 25 Mar 2019 9:19 am     Re: Thank you.
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Bill Bassett wrote:
The tube amp was quite an investment. But the SS can be
Sold and replaced with NZ gear when I get there.
Sure is a lot to think about.


Sounds like you'll be there for a while and not just a tour.

Yes if it's possible you may want to source gear there as well, as bringing U.S. gear to NZ in the way of electronics will be looked upon as a red headed stepchild simply from the fact the AC voltage needs extra devices to work.

I would venture to say the resale value will be down as well over there for Stateside electronics unless it's something not available in 230 vac 50hz and any prospective buyer will not mind if the unit is 60hz instead of 50hz. That may be a small niche and you could be sitting on the item for a long while.

Might be best to liquidate U.S. amps etc before your trip.

Just bring your guitars and pedals as those are universal.

You would need AC adapters for your pedals for NZ power.

Or you could contact the makers of your amp etc and ask if they can convert the transformers for NZ area as some may be making units for outside of conus like NZ before you leave, if you're so inclined.
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Ian Rae


From:
Redditch, England
Post  Posted 25 Mar 2019 1:26 pm    
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When I saw Bill's title "Electricity in New Zealand?" my immediate thought was "Yes, I'm sure they do." Smile
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Benjamin Franz


From:
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Post  Posted 25 Mar 2019 3:10 pm    
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Many of us here in the antipodes (myself included) use 120v tube amps and other US equipment with Step down transformers with no problems at all. They are easily acquired from electronics shops.
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Paddy Long


From:
Christchurch, New Zealand
Post  Posted 25 Mar 2019 4:55 pm    
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Just a standard step down transformer is all you will need !! I bought a Peavey Session 400 back from Nashville in 1982 and all I ever used was a standard 230V to 115V transformer ... I believe these units take care of the slight difference in hz ....

That amp is still working fine today so it's obviously not a problem.

Ian.... hehe I thought the same thing -- in fact we have had electricity for months and months now !!! Laughing
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Harry Dove


From:
Michigan, USA
Post  Posted 25 Mar 2019 6:02 pm    
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This is a bit off the subject of power in New Zealand. My wife has me making cabinets for her kitchen, washroom, and utility room. I was surprised to find that all of the clear pine from my local lumber store was from New Zealand. Lumber must be cheep there for them to ship it all the way here to Michigan. I can't imagine what the freight would be. I'll add a word of advice. If you know how to make cabinets, don't ever let your wife find out.
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Godfrey Arthur


From:
3rd Rock
Post  Posted 25 Mar 2019 9:50 pm    
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Paddy Long wrote:
all I ever used was a standard 230V to 115V transformer ... I believe these units take care of the slight difference in hz ....


Can you supply a brand and model number?

Would like to see a step down transformer that is also a frequency converter that is affordable.

Correction of frequency is not a small foot print device.

The all-in-one step-down-frequency-converter jobbies I've seen are huge and cost over $1,000.

The smallest stand alone frequency converter I've seen is 10"x4"x8" and costs over $400.

The issue of using a 60hz device in a 50hz area is the core overheat problem of the 60hz transformer.

A solid state frequency converter converts incoming AC power into DC, by use of a rectifier. The DC energy is then reconverted into AC power by use of an inverter section. A lot of parts and the cost is reflective.

Using a 50hz tranny in a 60hz area, runs cooler. Otherwise a 60hz tranny in a 50hz area runs hotter.

I deal with major artist concert production and it is becoming the norm now for U.S. artists to show up without their own gear. For one, the freight costs are disheartening and in the case of guitars, having to prove where the guitar's woods originated (what country) upon returning to conus is a red-tape nightmare because of CITES regulations.

More to the point, a U.S. artist, if they bring their own electronics will need and request a 110 (120 to be exact) volt stage power supply.

Guitar and bass amps are sourced locally and they run on 230vac, Fender Twins, Vox AC30, Marshall heads, Ampeg SVT. etc.

We never use city grid power. One, for the dirt and fluctuations in the city supplied AC and two, for the grid going down during a mega-buck concert.

It is always two huge crystal controlled gen sets. One for the sound and one for the lights. The gen sets are calibrated to 120 vac and 60hz in the case of musical instruments and 230 vac. And the lights are on a different circuit which is 230 vac.

Fortunately Hz in the P.I. is 60hz at 230vac.
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Paddy Long


From:
Christchurch, New Zealand
Post  Posted 27 Mar 2019 3:58 pm    
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Sorry Godfrey I no longer have that amp or the transformer -- but the guy who currently owns it is still using it so I know the amp hasn't been damaged in any way.

If I recall the transformer cost me about $150 at the time. Advances in technology would make the prices you are quoting excessive I would have thought and impractical !!!
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Godfrey Arthur


From:
3rd Rock
Post  Posted 27 Mar 2019 8:05 pm    
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Paddy Long wrote:
Sorry Godfrey I no longer have that amp or the transformer -- but the guy who currently owns it is still using it so I know the amp hasn't been damaged in any way.

If I recall the transformer cost me about $150 at the time. Advances in technology would make the prices you are quoting excessive I would have thought and impractical !!!


Hi Paddy. Smile

Those prices are today's prices for a step down transformer that changes frequency. And they are items being targeted for the NZ market. These can be found online.

Hence I asked for the brand and model number.

I have my doubts that the transformer you owned was able to rectify Hz.

I have voltage regulators, 500 watts up to 5,000 watts. The 500 watt cost about $100, the 5,000 watt cost $1,000. None of them rectify Hz. It's 60hz in and 60hz out.

Granted advances in technology makes things better and cheaper.

The lifespan of a transformer designed for 60hz used on 50hz is shortened.

Whether it gets damaged right away or not is another matter.

If a device is auto-volt and auto-frequency (100~230 vac 50/60hz) like chargers for laptops and cell phones then you're good to go.

A basic guitar amp, a refrigerator are a different item and would not normally be designed as auto regulating.

In the case of a tonewheel generator B3 Hammond organ which gets its A-440 from 60hz, you would not be in tune with the rest of the band if you plugged into 50hz.

The black box (photo below) in front of the flywheel of the Hammond organ tone generator changes and rectifies Hz and makes sure it stays at 60hz so the organ plays at A-440 especially if you plug into 50hz, or use a gas powered generator, or your grid power is going up and down in the Hz department. It costs $400 not including a Ham tech's work.


A frequency converter is necessary for a tonewheel Hammond organ if you are on stage with a major act.

Jason Mraz came to town with his Hammond chop (portable) and the techs asked me, wondered why it would not play in tune in some of the other countries they played. They had just played Australia, in fact. His techs had no idea the effect of 50hz on a 60hz motor controlled organ would have on pitch. They learned the hard way.

The transformer below is a unit that is available today.

It goes for about $1,000. They call it a "step-up" transformer because it will convert 120vac 60hz to 230vac 50hz. It targets the NZ/Asian market.


Gohz.com's 500VA static pure sine wave frequency converter, convert 110V, 120V 60Hz to 220V, 230V, 240V 50Hz in one step.

http://www.gohz.com/500va-frequency-converter

If anyone over there in NZ can point me to a much cheaper solution, I'd appreciate it. Smile
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Sandy Inglis


From:
Christchurch New Zealand
Post  Posted 28 Mar 2019 12:23 am    
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Hi Godfrey
I have Paddy's old Peavey Nashville 1000 with the step-down transformer he had, I think it was bought from "Dick Smith". It is only a transformer in a box - no frequency change!
Paddy used it for many years and I too am still using it with no ill effects. The amp should not suffer any ill health as once it is rectified and filtered, it doesn't matter what the mains frequency was. I admit that the 115V tranny in the amp could run a bit warmer, but so far it hasn't died. I tried to get a 230v 50Hz tranny from peavey but they won't supply outside the USA.
I was given a 15W peavey "Rage 158" amplifier as it was 115 Volt so I bought and installed a local tranny of suitable output volts an it has made a great practice amp!
Sandy
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Godfrey Arthur


From:
3rd Rock
Post  Posted 28 Mar 2019 1:56 am    
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Sandy Inglis wrote:
I tried to get a 230v 50Hz tranny from peavey but they won't supply outside the USA.
I was given a 15W peavey "Rage 158" amplifier as it was 115 Volt so I bought and installed a local tranny of suitable output volts an it has made a great practice amp!
Sandy


Hi Sandy.

I have/had a Rage, my son lent it to a classmate, someone at the kid's house blew out the tranny by assuming it was 220v. They tried to replace the tranny with a 220 volt. Rolling Eyes

Number one the tranny didn't fit the chassis, it sticks out the back of the amp and was mounted wrong and now there's this loud hum. Crying or Very sad The repair guy they brought it to, it was his idea of a fix. Oh Well

But hey it's now 220 volts and you can plug in it..

Yeah right...

So much for, yes, a great practice amp.Very Happy

I used it for beach gigs while in the South Pac.

Transformers add to the tone of an amp. It's not all about just power conversion and supply. When the transformer is changed, the tone changes as well.

And your amp is worth more if it has the factory tranny in there.

Not all amp transformers are created equal.This is why companies like Classic Tone transformers and Mercury Magnetics exist.



http://www.classictone.net/Fender-Style-Transformers.html



https://www.mercurymagnetics.com/


The reason American amp makers won't sell you parts is to protect their foreign dealers.

I have Fenders purchased here, old Silverface Bassman and Showman and they have the orange voltage selector chicken-head knob on the back. International model Fenders from the late 60's and 70's.

The newer international Fenders are just 220+ volts, no ability to change the voltage on the back.

As I suggested to the OP, Bill, if he were to ask the U.S. maker for a 220 50hz tranny for his prized ($$$) amp, if they would allow him that before leaving for NZ he would be set in that respect.

I bought a Bryston amp for monitors. It goes well with NS10's. It's made in Canada. I was in San Diego at the time I asked the factory in Canada to configure the 4B-ST for 220 volts 60hz rather than deal with conversion.

They obliged.

One can do anything with their gear.

I'm going to get that Rage up and working.

Unfortunately, the parents of the kid that borrowed the amp, had no inkling that the Peavey transformer was more important and could be rewound, instead of just popping anything in there. So the original transformer was lost to me as the kid's family, embarrassed, thought no one would be the wiser if they brought it to some roadside shop and got it "fixed." Alien Muttering Razz



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Sandy Inglis


From:
Christchurch New Zealand
Post  Posted 29 Mar 2019 12:06 am    
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Hi Godfrey
I didn't worry too much about modifying the Rage 158 as it was free, but I've stayed with the step-down transformer for the Nashville 1000, unless I can get a genuine Peavey transformer. The amp is too good to mess with and seems OK running with the current setup. The only problem so far was forgetting to pack the step-down tranny for a gig.
The little rage was great when I found a Bullet Mic and played blues harp through it, what a sound!
Sandy
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Godfrey Arthur


From:
3rd Rock
Post  Posted 29 Mar 2019 8:43 am    
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Sandy Inglis wrote:
Hi Godfrey
I didn't worry too much about modifying the Rage 158 as it was free, but I've stayed with the step-down transformer for the Nashville 1000, unless I can get a genuine Peavey transformer. The amp is too good to mess with and seems OK running with the current setup. The only problem so far was forgetting to pack the step-down tranny for a gig.
The little rage was great when I found a Bullet Mic and played blues harp through it, what a sound!
Sandy


Sandy, it's run what you brung. Smile

My Rage I picked it out of a number of new stock at a department store.

The pitfalls of being in an area with multiple AC voltages.

Have fun in hobbit land!
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