110 or 220

I’d rather have …

  • 110V
  • 220V

0 voters

Which would you prefer?

I don’t envy having to change ALL of my electrical devices, though my printer would get a breather, since it’s on conversion to 110V.

Is 220V really the standard of the developed world? Are the newspapers really reporting the situation accurately?


What newspapers ?

I’d rather have 220V, but here I’d settle for anything with an earth. The currents are just enormous if you’re on 110V - my living room airconditioner would draw 66 Amps alone ! You’d need cable the size of tree trunks ! You’d need to have supplied my house in Ireland with a 240 Amp fuse ! I’ve never seen one that big !

China uses 220V as well (with an earth). And PAL ! And ads for English teachers in Shanghai ask for English accents (or they did in '98!) In fact, what the hell am I doing here !!? Oh yeah, I forgot…

These newspapers :arrow_right: http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2003/07/21/2003060304

How would that work ? How would you stop plugging the wrong voltage device in the wrong socket ? Would you need a different socket, would you get a proper socket with a proper earth ? How many standards they come up with ?

If they change the electricty, they have to make sure that Taiwan won’t get confused with China, so they should make it DC, and make it blue. And it wouldn’t be measured in volts and amps, but in the taiwanese ‘dian’ which be a mystery to anyone outside Taiwan

Is there any advantage to 220V over 110V or vice versa ? Rascal ?

Weird, especially since they don’t mention that the US and Canada also use 110V.

The advantage of using 220V is that there will be less current to achieve the same power.
Say your hairdryer consumes 1100 Watt than that’s 10 Ampere (110V * 10A = 1100W), so with 220V it’s only half, i.e. 5A.
Don’t see how you can save electricity however as the power consumption is still the same!?

Supplying 220V is not a big problem since Taipower does provide 220V (2 Phases @ 110V plus Neutral). Problem would be the AC socket though perhaps they could invent one with both voltages and appliances have different plugs, depending on the voltage (i.e. the 110V plug remains and 220V will get a new one). Naturally the socket would only allow you to plug 110V devices into the 110V outlet and 220V into the 220V outlet (but physically the same wall outlet). That should be possible and they could include an earth then, too.
Conversion in old houses is of course more troublesome than installing the dual-voltage system in a new house.

BTW: Equipment with a high power consumption (like radiators, water heaters, electrical stoves etc.) in Europe use 380V, i.e. 3 Phases @ 220V each (plus neutral and ground). Now that’s the one you don’t want to touch …

My apartment has sockets for both (the AC units run on 240). I thought this was common in many apartments?

Yes, 220V is common for A/C, but it’s not standard throughout the house. Soddom, I think you’ll find you have more 110 than 220, and in easier to reach places
I ran a 240V VCR from a A/C socket before I got a proper transformer.

Most houses have 220 going through the box to an outlet for the AC and maybe another for the kitchen. Older houses sometimes only have 100 though. You can tell by the tramsformer (right word?) outside the house - the shapes are different.


No domestic residences in the UK are supplied with 3 phase circuitry. 415V AC is available to commercial customers. Three phases are only beneficial if you’re turning a large motor.

There is a certain inefficiency in carrying low voltages across huge distances, but that’s not the case in Taiwan. There are step down transformers all over the place, and it would appear that the Taipei grid is at 22kVAC. I’m only going by the big green boxes on the street which have “22kV” written on them. The loss at that voltage has got to be minimal. So I don’t understand the story.

I would have thought they would have been more worried about the huge currents being carried at 110V across cabling that couldn’t handle it. Burning cables have burnt down quite a few buildings in Taiwan. I have seen speaker cable carrying mains voltage in Taiwan.

I think I figured the power saving claims: if a high current rushes through a wire @ 110V then the wire will also cause some loss due to it’s internal resistance. At 220V only half of the current is needed, so the “power consumption” of the wire (since it has a fixed resistance) is lower.

For the technical minded:

P (W) = U (V) * I (A)
U (V) = R (Ohm) * I (A)
P = R * I * I (P = R * I to the power of 2)

R is a constant (say 1 Ohm) while I is the current demanded by the load. Using the earlier example of the hairdryer (1100Watt) the power loss at
110V: 1Ohm * 10A * 10A = 100W
220V: 1Ohm * 5A * 5A = 25W

Did I get it right? :?

Though most electrical houshold items don’t draw that much power it appears as if you can indeed reduce the power consumption.

Disagree. All new housholds in Germany are now supplied with a 3 phase circuitry. As mentioned earlier it is necessary for fixed appliances like water heaters (shower), electrical stoves/ovens (those built into the kitchen) etc. And of course for large motors as you said - but those are rather unusual in a home.
We used to have a water heater for the shower running on 220VAC in our old house and it was crap, so we changed that back to gas. Our new house has a 3 phase supply, which also is usefull to distribute 220V loads with higher demand (washing machine, dryer etc.). Each incoming phase is fused with 50A, so 150A in total. 100A (230V) is todays demand for a domestic residence, if you have electrical heating you need around double of that.

I don’t understand how a heating element can utilise three phases. But anyway, houses in the UK receive 240V plus or minus 10 percent from the national grid. The electricity company will install a fuse on their side, commonly 100-120Amps, depending on the size of the house. Only one phase (L and N) plus an earth is supplied from the grid. The earth is actually supplied from the nearest step down transformer and consists of a copper rod about 150 feet long buried in the earth. There are 3 circuits within the house. One is the ring main - 240V at 13A. The other is a curcuit for heavy duty items such as ovens, showers, and cookers, which is 240V commonly at 60Amps. The third is a lighting curcuit of 240V at 5Amps. But these are all on the same phase. It’s just a matter of fusing - the idea being if you blow up the cooker you still have lights, or if your lights go (each room should be on a separate circuit) you can still have your socket outlets, and only 5Amps for the lights means you’re not going to get a massive burn if you mess up changing the light bulb.

In a large house it is possible to exceed the 13Amp limit on the ring main. For this reason two or more ring main circuits are often installed.

All of this is supplied from a single phase transformer. I used to live on a farm which had a separate 3 phase 415V supply for milking machines, but that had to be supplied from a different transformer and was very expensive to install.

I am interested to hear Germany is supplying three phases to domestic properties. So you have 5 wires coming into the house (L1, L2, L3, N, E) do I understand this right ? (Please bear with me ! I am interested in the topic but don’t fully understand - do you know of any websites I could look this up on?)

I have a feeling the UK has sneakily reduced their specifications to 220V from 240V.

Does anyone know how the US system works ?

Due to the higher load the heaters could be distributed across all 3 phases as opposed to be connected all to one single phase. Then again one heater could have several elements and a 3 phase supply, don’t really know since we use floor heating ourselves.
Just to clarify, I didn’t refer to those smallish and movable heaters with a power cords but rather fixed installations (instead of e.g. a central heating running on gas or oil). Sorry if that wasn’t clear.

Nearly correct - the energy provider installs 4 wires (L1, L2, L3 and N), the earth is obtained at the house, i.e. a copper rod burried in the soil / foundation. N and E are connected in the main distribution.
Germany does not use a ring, more a star wiring since every circuit has it’s own cable to the fuse box.

Just stumbled across this: jpoc.net/countries/germany/w … plugs.html

Simple one: crmagnetics.com/frequency.htm
More details (general): epanorama.net/documents/grou … iring.html
Or start from the main page at links.epanorama.net/links/wire_mains.html

This is usefull for travelers (with pics of the plugs and sockets): interpower.com/icl/guide.htm

Actually this also applies to Germany. Several years back it was 220V, then (when I started playing engineer) it was 230V already and today we are also closer to 240V. The actual voltage measure can of course differ somewhat.

Same as Taiwan, i.e. a TT System where you are supplied with 2 life (hot) wires and a neutral.
Each Life to N gives 110V while L1 against L2 gives 220V.

TN-C System: The neutral and the earth terminals are combined.
TN-S System: The neutral and earth terminals are completely separated.
TN-C-S System: The neutral and earth terminals are combined, but separated just outside the consumer’s installation.
TT System: No earth terminal is provided, but the star point of the supply is connected to the mass of the earth, and the consumer’s installation is also connected to the mass of the earth. The earth at the consumer’s installation is usually provided by installing local earthing systems (e.g., rods or mats).
IT System: This is similar to the TT system, differing in that a resistor is inserted between the star point of the supply and the earth.

I love learning about the different power systems but we all must remember that we are in Taiwan where the rules of physics and safety don’t always apply.

I’m not sure about the 220 volt supply for the airconditioning but I’ve noticed that many new homes in Southern Taiwan only have two wires running to the 110 volt outlets.

One friend insisted on getting some outlets wth three prongs with the center prong being ground. He just got three prong sockets with no ground.

Since his Taiwanese is very limited and his family thought such things as ground is considered unecessary in the south, he has little choice but to accept this. Now, what happens when we go to 220 with Taiwan’s safety standards.

:laughing: :laughing: :laughing:

Good one! :smiley:

I think going to 220v for major appliances is a good idea, but what else do they want to change to 220v? In the US the only other appliances that use 220v as I recall are stoves and clothes dryers. Hot tubs use it it also but these are not as common. I think many people would be pissed off if Taiwan decides to use 220v for everything, can you imagine the piles of useless applicances, many of which are new.

Jeff, you can run a dual-system: either seperate 110V and 220V sockets or invent a combined on (where due to the mechanics 110V loads plug into the 110V and 220V loads into the 220V output). Not a big problem.

Besides, Taiwan has already 220V easily available and 110V are derived from that: L1 - N = 110V, L2 - N = 110V, L1 - L2 = 220V.
We have installed such a distribution at our customer’s sites (includes lightning and overvoltage protection and ELBC/RCD), the power system (SMR) and Air-Cons run on 220V while light and outlets are 110V only.

In the end it’s just a matter of (re)wiring your house accordingly.

220 with a proper ground or 110 with a proper ground - problem. My friend’ s house is a new house. Theoretically, all new houses should be built to accommodate the standard three prong wiring.

But they are not.

Fast foward… all the outlets will have 220. Will the installers add the ground? Or will they think it unnecessary?

You can argue which voltage is better but, will it be installed properly. In the computer grounding thread you can see a plight similar to my friend’ s.
You should have heard the argument when he insisted that outlets don’t belong in rooms that fill up with water. The wife reluctantly let him remove the outlets.

People don’t avoid showers during thunderstorms. I’ve seen “Frankenstien like” knife switches connected to water heaters that I was expected to turn off right after stepping out of the shower.

But on the other hand. More people get electrocuted in the states with all the precautions then in Taiwan. Why?

If it was going to be done by the same cowboys who wired it in the first place - no thanks ! :wink:

This is stupid. Some countries have strict rules where to install those outlet (e.g. how far from the tub or basin etc.) but it’s possible - else you shouldn’t even have a light in there.
That said it’s highly recommended to use an ELCB then and you must have a proper grounding system there.

Perhaps they sit in the wrong chair!?

What madmen voted for 110V ? Shit, lets go the whole hog and run the place on 48VDC! Why isn’t that option up there?

Any decent electrical apoliance already has inbuilt ability to take from 60V to 260V.

I make sure that all the electronics gear I buy can take 220v because when the power shuts down during typhoons I need to run a 220V generator to run the fridge and the satellite TV and stereo systems.