How to select Transformers & Voltage Converters

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Many thousands of 8ZED Voltage Converter Step Down Transformers are in use around Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands since 2007. 8ZED Voltage Converters are supplied to both domestic and commercial applications including US Government Consulate General and Embassy in Australia and Fiji. 8ZED is a highly reliable and economical solution for Step Down Voltage Conversions. 
Voltage Converters used as a step-down power conversion transformers for appliances and tools are commonly available in two design types. ie: Laminated Core and Isolated Toroidal. Despite the design differences, the various types perform on the same basic principle as discovered in 1831 by Michael Faraday. They all share key functional parts. The list below are the designs typically used for household Appliances, Tools, Medical, Audio equipment and interconnecting sub-transmission networks:
  1. Step Down Transformers, full name Laminated Core Step Down Transformers are sometimes called Auto Transformers. The Laminated core transformers made by 8ZED are the most often used voltage conversion transformer for appliances and tools. Suited to applications where the voltage conversion ratio is less than 3:1. The Australian 240V to US 120V step down voltage conversion is 2:1. The Australian to Japanese 100V voltage conversion is 2.4:1. 8ZED Step-Down Transformers are shielded between primary and secondary laminations to reduce EMI or electromagnetic interference. This provides a shield against magnetic field noise. 8ZED Step-Down Transformers is fitted with a safety power overload cut out fuse, externally accessible and replaceable in case of power overload. A new 8ZED safety feature is the thermal protection cut out, which is built into the winding to protect against overheating. For around the home, boat or at work the Laminated Core Step Down Transformers are cheaper, lighter, smaller, and more efficient than an Isolated Toroidal Transformer of the same power rating.  Autotransformers are safer than standard Isolated transformers for use in areas such as kitchens and bathrooms with normal earth leakage home appliances. In some conditions, standard isolation transformers will not work with earth leakage appliances. Contact customer care or use message chatline if in doubt. 

    Single winding autotransformers are also found in large three-phase electric power distribution networks, to interconnect sub-transmission stations. They are the most efficient method of voltage conversion, typically 66 KVA step down to 33 KVA.  Autotransformers that are not adequately shielded emit a low register hum, which you can sometimes hear around older substations. The main advantages, when used in substations, is the autotransformer is smaller, lighter, and cheaper than typical dual-winding transformers, where electrical isolation is not required. Other advantages of Autotransformers include lower leakage reactance, lower load losses, lower excitation current, and increased KVA rating.

  2. Isolated Toroidal Transformers link two circuits in dual windings magnetically. A typical application is the power supply and manufacture of sensitive laboratory or medical equipment like defibrillators or sound systems like amplifiers and speakers. In these applications, voltage conversion ratios can greatly exceed 3:1. Isolated transformers include magnetic field shielding to prevent coupling of electromagnetic noise between circuits and have reinforced insulation to withstand thousands of volts of the potential difference between primary and secondary circuits. The electrical isolation of dual windings means there is no current leakage, particularly important in research and medical applications. 8ZED Toroidal transformers are designed to virtually eliminate the external magnetic field noise interference around the transformer, important when the volume on amplifiers are cranked up and voltage conversion ratios rise well above 3:1. Toroidal Transformers have doughnut-shaped twin windings, which are used to save space, but the transformers are much larger than the more commonly used Laminated Core Step Down Auto Transformers for a given power rating. The Toroidal windings require more complex and slower production equipment and therefore cost a lot more to make.
Please read these important frequently asked questions and answers before purchasing your step down transformer to ensure you have chosen the correct one:
What is the total power draw in watts specified on your 110V/120V USA or 100V JAPANESE appliance?
Unsure on the rating? On your appliance there will be 3 sets of numbers, It should be displayed as follows:
“input 120V 60Hz and either XXX Amps or XXX Watts”
If the appliance rating is XXXA then please enter the number in the A section of the calculator “above”, this will then indicate how many watts it is.

Can 100V Japanese build appliances run ok on a 110V/120V USA Step Down Transformer?
No, the input voltage will be too high by as much as 20% resulting in damage to your appliance! If your 100V/110V Japan appliance is run from 110/120V Transformer the appliance electric motor will run faster than manufacturers' optimal design. Running incorrect voltage over extended periods may void manufacturers' warranty, reduce the performance and life of your appliance and risk dangerous overheating. 

Can 100V/120V USA build appliances run ok on a 100V Japan Step Down Transformer?
No, the input voltage will be too low by as much as 24% resulting in damage to your appliance. A 110V/120V appliance running from a 100V/110V Transformer means an electric motor will run slower, possibly stalling and overheating windings. Running incorrect voltage for extended periods may void manufacturers' warranty, reduce performance and life of your appliance and risk dangerous overheating.

Will your appliance be used in short bursts or running continuously?
The 8ZED Range of Laminated Core and Toroidal transformers have two power ratings. Power rating 1 for One hour or less running time.  Power rating 2 for Over an hour or continuous 24/7 operations. In both these running conditions, either a Laminated Core or Isolated Toroidal transformer can be used.  Isolated Toroidal transformers are more expensive than Laminated Core Transformers and their use is normally reserved for extreme conditions of constant full load or where large voltage conversion ratios are experienced. For normal domestic and industrial use of your appliance, the Voltage Converter with a Laminated Core Step Down Transformer design is a sensible option.  The two safety power rating parameters for 8ZED Laminated Core and Isolated Toroidal Transformers are stated to ensure you select the best value option for your appliance. This means you can select the optimum rated Voltage Converter Step Down Transformer that will run cooler and last for many years to come. Many users tend to operate their Step Down Voltage Converter behind appliances or in cupboards. Hence, it is sensible to build in a safety allowance of 25% capacity to ensure the cooler running and limit overheating.

What is the difference between Voltage Converters / Step Down Transformer and Isolated Toroidal Transformers?
Toroidal transformers are particularly useful to step down power through ratio's greater than 3:1 and are particularly useful for variable voltages used in high-performance sound system, scientific and laboratory equipment.  They are up to twice the size and weight of Auto / Laminated Core Step Down Transformers of an equivalent capacity.  The additional cost of production and materials results in Isolated transformers costing between 3 to 4 times the price of a Laminated Core Step Down Transformer.  For normal appliance voltage conversions, particularly for intermittent or occasional appliance use where the conversion ratio is under 3:1, an 8ZED Laminated Core Step Down Transformer is a sensible choice. Orderhuge offers a range of Voltage Converters, both 8ZED and Powertrain Laminated Core Step Down Transformers and 8ZED Isolated Toroidal Transformers.  If unsure, please contact Live Support for further assistance.

Does your appliance have a motor, pump, heating element or compressor?
Appliances including one of these elements usually require a considerably larger transformer model than indicated by the manufacturer power draw specification. These high power surge elements have large start-up power requirements. Typically, you should select a transformer 3 to 6 times stated power draw. If unsure, contact Live Support for further assistance.
Example: However in many cases, if your appliance states 120V 60Hz and 6.15A then this will be the max current draw, 120x 6.15 = 738watts, the best-matched transformer, in this case, is the ST-1000, but if powering for over an hour then select the ST-1500

Is your appliance two pins, two-pin keyed or three pins?
All 8ZED Voltage Converters have the universal socket to suit all three variables.
Two-pin, Two pins Keyed “one pin is thicker” and the Three pin “two flat one round”

Why won’t my appliance plugin?
All 8ZED Voltage Converters are manufactured using high quality pressed metal pin sockets and in the initial instances of usage, a slight amount of force will be required to plug your appliance to ensure a strong secure connection.

What happens if my Voltage Converter gets overloaded?
8ZED Voltage Converters have a temperature-activated Thermal Overload Protection which cuts off the power supply if the transformer overheats and resets automatically when a safe operating temperature is reached. Thermal overload protection is the second method of protection in addition to the replaceable safety fuse in every 8ZED transformer. The transformer has an internal thermal overload switch which monitors the internal temperature of the Voltage Converter. If the temperature reaches 125 degrees C ± 5 degrees C, the switch will open. When the temperature cools down to 80 degrees C ± 5 degrees C the internal switch will remake the circuit and allow the supply of current to the 240v input circuit of the transformer. This switch will cycle on/off/on as long as the transformer is not too hot due to an overload condition. The overload condition means you are applying a higher output load than is safely rated for the transformer. If this overload situation is likely to repeat you must seek advice from the manufacturer, who will likely suggest you switch to a higher output Voltage Converter or examine the appliance for defects.

Does 8ZED make the multi-type step down step-up transformers?
No! While they may sound convenient, these transformers have a high probability of damaging your equipment because of either under or over voltage, so we do not recommend using them. If you reverse a 110V power feed into a 120V multi-type transformer winding you get an under-voltage output to your appliance by as much as 24%. A motor with this under-voltage will run slower and likely stall then cause damage to the appliance. 8ZED Voltage Converters are dedicated step down transformers built specifically to safely run USA 120V or Japan 100V manufactured appliances from Australian 240V power.

Does a Transformer Frequency 50Hz or 60Hz make a difference?
Australian designed Transformers rated for 50Hz, have been operating on a 60Hz supply for the past decade.  8ZED™ transformers are 50 Hz which run very effectively on 60 Hz mains supply. The effect of frequency is the generation of a particular EMF of a transformer. A given flux density will increase with frequency. By operating at higher frequencies, transformers can be made physically more compact and cheaper, because a given core is able to transfer more power without reaching saturation. Therefore, smaller thickness laminations for autotransformers or fewer turns for toroidal transformers are needed to achieve the same impedance.

Conversely, the lower the operating frequency the more flux lines that are generated. Operating a transformer at 50Hz generates 20% more flux lines than at 60Hz, but it will run considerably cooler. The trade-off is that the 50 Hz autotransformer require more and thicker laminations to carry the extra flux lines to reach the required current impedance. The 50 Hz Toroidal transformers require more windings making it 10% heavier and larger than the more compact 60 Hz transformers. Therefore, because of the greater size and material, a transformer designed to run at 50Hz will simply run cooler at 60Hz.
However, the more compact and slighter 60 Hz transformer will not work as well on a 50Hz mains power.  It will easily overheat and not run efficiently. The 8ZED™ Step-Down transformers, set to convert 240V 50 Hz AC mains supply to very successfully operating appliances built for 60 Hz 120V AC supply frequency. Similarly, 8ZED™ Step-Up transformers are extensively used to safely run modern  50 Hz Australian appliances on American 60 Hz power grids. Many thousands of 8ZED™  transformers are used in commercial and consumer applications for over a decade. 8ZED™ is the trusted supplier to discerning users including The American Embassy for Consulate and Defence applications. Always check with manufacturers recommendations before making a selection, or contact customer helpline support at Orderhuge.
Are frequency converters 50Hz to 60Hz available?
Yes, purpose-built electronic or electromechanical devices that convert AC current of one frequency to AC current of another frequency are available. These power converter inverters can also change the voltage, but if it does, that is incidental to its principal purpose. Traditionally, these devices were electromechanical motor-generator set. With the development of solid-state electronics, frequency converter inverters are built to operate as electronic frequency changers. These switch-mode power inverter devices usually consist of a rectifier stage (producing direct current) which is then inverted to produce AC of the desired frequency.
If voltage conversion is desired, a transformer will usually be included in either the ac input or output circuitry. This transformer may also provide isolation between the input and output AC circuits. A battery may also be added to the DC circuitry to improve the converter's ride-through during brief outages in the input power. 
For the past 15 years, modern 50 Hz transformer materials technology has improved and have become a far more practical and significantly less expensive alternative. As a result for most applications, the 50 Hz to 60 Hz frequency converter has become redundant for most appliances. A 50 Hz transformer will comfortably run on 60 Hz mains supply, with the added advantage of running a much cooler operation. The disadvantage is the 50 Hz transformer is at least 10% heavier and bulkier than the 60 Hz transformer. The 50 Hz transformer, due to their additional material design and bulk is capable of generating 20% more flux lines required to operate on a 60Hz AC supply. The compact and slighter 60 Hz transformers will not work as well on 50Hz mains power.  They readily overheat and not run efficiently, risking damage to the appliance.
The 8ZED™ Step-Down transformers, set to convert 240V 50 Hz AC mains supply to very successfully operating appliances built for 60 Hz 120V AC supply frequency. Similarly, 8ZED™ Step-Up transformers are extensively used to safely run modern  50 Hz Australian appliances on American 60 Hz power grids. Many thousands of 8ZED™  transformers are used in commercial and consumer applications for over a decade. 8ZED™ is the trusted supplier to discerning users including The American Embassy for Consulate and Defence applications. Always check with manufacturers recommendations before making a selection, or contact customer helpline support at Orderhuge.