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  • New digs

    So we have moved overseas. We just arrived last night and I've already managed to blow up my Makita battery charger. The plug is a polarized one but the adapters I bought allow the plug to go in in either orientation--wide prong on the left or right. I tried to align it the way I thought made the most sense, but I heard a pop in the charger. There is scorching near the power cable on the inside but nothing else. It doesn't turn on anymore. The Makita is supposed to be able to handle all voltages and frequencies. I even lugged the batteries in my carry on.

    Anyway, my new "shop" is a real head scratcher. From the pictures we got, I thought the balcony we got was completely enclosed in glass and metal and had a solid roof. Turns out it's just a glass fence and completely open to the roof of the building 6 more stories up--our neighbors above us have no balcony but can see down onto mine. We are on the 12th floor. At least the view out is nice.

    The balcony is quite big--15'x20' but there's a big glass patio and chairs in the middle. I did bring a track saw, jigsaw, and small router so now I really need to see how much noise I want to try to get away with. Also since it's open to the sky, I need to come up with some kind of shelter. Although this area doesn't get much rain, I noticed last night that water was condensing on the metal frame of the roof and dripping down. I also noticed some bird droppings.

    Well, that's where I'm at. The tools will be delivered in a month so hopefully I can get more guidance about what I'm allowed to do out there.

  • #2
    First thing I did when I got overseas was use my voltage meter just to check everything. Sorry to hear about the batter charger. I learned that the Japanese 200V lines were two wire, not 3 as we think; two 100V wires, no ground wire. Was the polarized plug 220 - 240V?

    I didn't live in an apartment, but Japanese houses were 4 to 6 feet from each other on both sides and behind in most cases. I managed to choose my times to work.
    Hank Lee

    Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

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    • #3
      Dust control shouldn’t be much of a problem using your tools on the balcony! Just point a box fan your way and it disappears.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by atgcpaul View Post
        ...I've already managed to blow up my Makita battery charger. The plug is a polarized one but the adapters I bought allow the plug to go in in either orientation--wide prong on the left or right. I tried to align it the way I thought made the most sense, but I heard a pop in the charger. There is scorching near the power cable on the inside but nothing else. It doesn't turn on anymore. The Makita is supposed to be able to handle all voltages and frequencies.
        I doubt incorrect AC mains polarity would result in damage. In the United States, the 120VAC mains outlets are polarized for safety (to avoid shock hazards). The electrical codes allow manufacturers to "assume" proper polarity in their electrical design. In most other countries, polarity is not assured by electrical code - and this is likely why your adapter doesn't provide a polarized connection.
        From the symptoms, it sounds like the charger was connected to a mains voltage that was too high (i.e. 220V instead of 120V). Are you certain that the charger has a "universal" input? I just checked the Makita Model # DC18RC charger specification for an example and it is only rated for "A.C.120V 50–60HZ". If it comes with a permanently attached power cord with the standard "NEMA 5-15" type plug, instead of a removable power cord with the "IEC C13/C14" plug/receptacle combination, then I would doubt that it has a "universal" voltage input rating (90VAC - 264VAC).

        It is possible (not necessarily probable) that there was a surge suppressor on the input that clamped to stop the over voltage, resulting a blown input fuse. Replacing the fuse and suppressor may "fix" the problem. (This will likely require soldering). It may not because there is so much energy available from the AC mains that the fuse may have blown after the downstream electronics were destroyed. (In other words, the fuse prevented a fire, but didn't prevent damage).

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        • #5
          I second Slik Geeks assessment. Are you sure the charger was universal input?
          Sounds like an overvoltage application failure.
          Loring in Katy, TX USA
          If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
          BT3 FAQ - http://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/dis...sked-questions

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          • #6
            Originally posted by LCHIEN View Post
            I second Slik Geeks assessment. Are you sure the charger was universal input?
            Sounds like an overvoltage application failure.
            Looks like it was supposed to be universal input to me. Maybe it was mislabeled.

            I have no pressing home improvement tasks so I will wait for my multimeter which will be here in a month. If the fuses are still good, then I'll just buy a replacement charger. Just sucks that I have to.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by atgcpaul View Post

              Looks like it was supposed to be universal input to me. Maybe it was mislabeled.

              I have no pressing home improvement tasks so I will wait for my multimeter which will be here in a month. If the fuses are still good, then I'll just buy a replacement charger. Just sucks that I have to.
              My wife had a universal hair dryer that was supposed to take 100/120 - 200-240V outlets that did that. She used the hair dryer for 2 or 3 years in Japan and then took a trip to South Korea. She plugged it into an adapter and into the outlet and sparks flew. I wonder if a "universal" voltage adapter gets used to one voltage and doesn't change when voltage changes? This might not be a real explanation but the logic of it sounds plausible.


              I think you could get some concession at least from Makita if you contacted them.

              Do you have a voltage meter for checking the outlets before using - by any chance?
              Hank Lee

              Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by atgcpaul View Post
                Looks like it was supposed to be universal input to me. Maybe it was mislabeled.
                [/ATTACH]
                Thanks for the photo, that was very helpful. Upon my first glance at the label I thought it said the same thing that you thought. But a second close look made me realize that the label is a bit confusing (more on that later).

                if you study the label carefully, you'll find that the label states the following (leaving out other languages):
                Input:120V~ 240W 50-60Hz It ISN"T specifying 120V - 240V.

                Here is what it is specifying:
                120V (USA standard mains line voltage)
                ~ (AC, alternating current)
                240W (240 watts power consumption)
                50-60 Hz (50 to 60 cycles per second)

                The labels on appliances should always specify the nominal operating voltage, voltage type (alternating), maximum power consumption or current, and acceptable frequency if it is alternating current. This label does that.
                The US standard line voltage at your NEMA 5-15 receptacle is 120V 60Hz.

                Sadly, this photo confirms my suspicion: The charger is only rated for 120V, not 220V. Bummer.
                The 240W specification can be confusing because it is similar to the nominal voltage of 220V or 240V. The label could have been better designed.

                Comment


                • atgcpaul
                  atgcpaul commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Thank you! Mystery solved. And yes, a real bummer. Luckily I can still buy from Amazon here so another $30 for a new charger that will then plug into a transformer.

                  Now I've got to check any other appliances I assumed might be dual voltage like my TV (still on the slow boat over). I setup Netflix on the loaner TV we have in our apartment last night. It's only displaying in the local language so that was real fun. Thank goodness for the Google Translate app.

              • #9
                Originally posted by leehljp View Post
                My wife had a universal hair dryer that was supposed to take 100/120 - 200-240V outlets that did that. She used the hair dryer for 2 or 3 years in Japan and then took a trip to South Korea. She plugged it into an adapter and into the outlet and sparks flew.
                Did it have a switch to select the voltage (low: 100V/120V or high: 200V/240V)? That would explain what happened. Japan: 100V USA: 120V South Korea: 220V.
                Given that the hair dryer has a motor and a heater, and a true "universal" power supply (accepting any voltage between 90V - 264V without any configuration change required) would be bulky and expensive to convert the energy required for a hair dryer; I suspect that the dryer had a switch to select the voltage range. With a motor and a heater, the windings can be configured via a selector switch to be in parallel (100V-120V) or in series (200V-240V).

                My theory is that it worked fine in Japan because the voltage was in the proper range for the setting, but in South Korea, the switch was still set to the low voltage range and the motor and heating coils saw about 4X the rated power.

                Comment


                • #10
                  I'm sorry to say, it's your fault.
                  It says Input: 120V~240W 50-60 Hz

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                  That means 120V at 240 Watts power.

                  It looks like it at quick glance BUT IT DOES NOT SAY 120-240V
                  Yes, I can see how that might happen.
                  Its unfortunate that the watts came out to be the exact value that could be mistaken for High mains voltage.
                  I would like to think that if I was creating that label that I might have realized the possibility of confusion and been more specific but technically the label is 100% correct.

                  Sorry.
                  Last edited by LCHIEN; 02-08-2018, 01:43 AM.
                  Loring in Katy, TX USA
                  If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
                  BT3 FAQ - http://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/dis...sked-questions

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    Originally posted by Slik Geek View Post

                    Did it have a switch to select the voltage (low: 100V/120V or high: 200V/240V)? That would explain what happened. Japan: 100V USA: 120V South Korea: 220V.
                    Given that the hair dryer has a motor and a heater, and a true "universal" power supply (accepting any voltage between 90V - 264V without any configuration change required) would be bulky and expensive to convert the energy required for a hair dryer; I suspect that the dryer had a switch to select the voltage range. With a motor and a heater, the windings can be configured via a selector switch to be in parallel (100V-120V) or in series (200V-240V).

                    My theory is that it worked fine in Japan because the voltage was in the proper range for the setting, but in South Korea, the switch was still set to the low voltage range and the motor and heating coils saw about 4X the rated power.
                    Now that you mention it, I think it did have a switch. We purchased several electrical items shortly after arriving in Japan near the West Tokyo military base (Yokota), and their electrical items were made for traveling military folks. If it had a switch, It was set to Japanese voltage and that would explain it. I do remember a few items had switches on them.
                    Hank Lee

                    Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

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