Running 110v power tools in Europe

I wonder has anyone had experiences with running Taiwanese power tools in Europe? Many of the tools here are quite a bit cheaper, and the quality isn’t too bad either (maybe not up to par with European brands but for the money it’s very good). However the problem is I don’t think any of them runs on 220v. I have seen transformers sold rather inexpensively, that turns 110 to 220 or back, but will the different frequency in Europe (50Hz) cause problems? Is it possible to change frequency?

That’s a great question.

If the device doesn’t specify 60Hz, I don’t think it’d matter. Simple things like tungsten lights, and heaters don’t usually care too much about frequency (between 50 & 60 Hz). Motors and clocks often use the frequency to determine how fast to run. Going from 60 to 50 should be fine, but I’m not sure. I’ve read that going from 50 to 60 could burn out compressors and some motors, as they’d run faster and hotter.

I looked at a couple sights for 50 to 60 Hz conversion and they talked on and on about how great they were, but not why you’d need them. It makes me think it’s not necessary in many smaller applications. I did read that microwaves and tvs generally must have the correct frequency.

There are frequency converters, but they’re more expensive. They usually convert the AC to DC, then back to AC again. The simple 110 to 220 and 220 to 110 Voltage converters are just simple coils that double the voltage and cut the current in half (or vice versa) so that overall power is similar, they’re around 90to 95% efficient.

plug two of them in series.

Well the only thing I am concerned about is the air compressor… I heard those larger brushless motors can be re-wired for 220 or something depending on how you hook them up… what is up with that? It’s a 2.5HP compressor it does specify 110/60Hz… I don’t know if running at 220 50Hz will do anything bad.

Um, yes. mucho baddo. Don’t plug that sucker in!

However, you may be able to tap into another set of connectors on the winding (some motors are built like that for simplicity of producing for multiple markets), but a 2.5HP motor is likely to be fairly critical of its frequency, and running a 60 Hz motor at 50 Hz may not make it terribly happy. However, if it’s a simple little thing, it’ll probably just turn 15% slower, and be less efficient. Either way, it’s better than running a 50hZ motor at 60 Hz, which might overheat.