Author Topic: Wurlitzer 200 series relocation to uk from us  (Read 245 times)

Offline Jonah s

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Wurlitzer 200 series relocation to uk from us
« on: November 03, 2020, 03:54:13 AM »
Hello 👋 I decided about 2 years ago that I would purchase a wurli 200/200a, since then I have been steadily collecting the funds for the purchase and am about ready to buy one. A model 200 has recently popped up on reverb that looks like a good deal, only catch is that it is from the USA and I live in the UK.

Anyway my question is
- is there anything I need to consider for buying one from overseas other than the outrageous shipping cost? I have heard stories of the 140’s resisters Melting due to the wrong power supply.

Would really appreciate anyone’s help here. Thanks again :)

Offline pianotuner steveo

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Re: Wurlitzer 200 series relocation to uk from us
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2020, 05:26:48 AM »
I'm not an electrical expert, but as you know, the voltage is more than double in the UK, so, that is a big factor. I was there once and at least 2 of the step down voltage adapters that my wife bought didn't work at all. I'm sure others will chime in, but I'm not sure what people have done in the past. Is there a more expensive, higher quality step down adapter available? I would look for one with an output voltage of 110-115v, not 120v if that is even possible.

Also, Ive seen resistors charred/ burnt, but I've never seen one melt...
« Last Edit: November 03, 2020, 05:30:01 AM by pianotuner steveo »
1960 Wurlitzer model 700 EP
1968 Gibson G101 Combo organ
1975 Rhodes Piano Bass
1979 Wurlitzer 206A EP
1980 Wurlitzer 270 Butterfly Grand
2004 Hammond XK3
2009 73A Rhodes Mark 7
2009 Korg SV-1 73
2017 Yamaha P255
2020 Kawai CA99
....and a few guitars...

Offline OZDOC

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Re: Wurlitzer 200 series relocation to uk from us
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2020, 06:40:09 PM »
Speaking from Australia where we have 240V 50Hz power, I own many US voltage instruments which I run from step-down transformers (variously marked 240 to 120, 220 to 110, 240 to 115). All my transformers have been bought from hobbyist electronics stores (Jaycar in Australia) rather than, say, travel stores or on-line. I have never had a problem with failure or out-of-spec performance. Mechanical transformers eliminate the possibility of electronic noise being introduced by a poorly filtered step-mode electronic power supply - the downside is that these are heavy and bulky and often are capable of delivering far more current than needed. But I also have some very small step-mode supplies which have been chosen to be well matched in terms of current draw and which work perfectly with no noise. With some US instruments I replace the main power transformer in the keyboard with one that has a 240V primary winding. It is my understanding that this will not be a simple option in the Wurlitzer as the secondary side has multiple taps. However, export models of the Wurlitzer were made, so somewhere out there you may find the right transformer to permanently modify your instrument. With the Wurlitzer, frequency is not an issue - UK 50Hz is OK. Unlike my Hammond B-3 (pictured in Classic Keys) that requires both voltage and frequency conversion to operate at the correct pitch.
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Offline Jonah s

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Re: Wurlitzer 200 series relocation to uk from us
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2020, 02:11:19 AM »
Thanks for the reply! The piano was sold before I could even send the seller a message. I’m sure I or someone looking for a solution will find your answer helpful in the future.

Offline Major Bloodnok

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Re: Wurlitzer 200 series relocation to uk from us
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2020, 10:07:01 AM »
It is worth noting that, in the UK, construction site mains-powered electrical tools are required to operate at 110V. On a small site, e.g. if carrying out work on an existing residential property, the supply will often be drawn from a 240V system. For this purpose, there are small, robust, portable transformers to effect the necessary step down. These will commonly be available for hire from tool hire depots, enabling them to be tried out as a solution before committing to a purchase.

Travellers' voltage adaptors are fairly uncommon now that portable appliances typically have multi-voltage switch-mode power supplies; and they will anyway be of relatively low power capacity. A small portable site tools transformer, however, will typically handle 3kVA - way more than enough for electrically-powered audio equipment (unless you are rigging for a heavy-metal festival). They can be had for about £50, and you would also need a (matching) bright yellow 16A plug to connect to it.

A transformer of a more practical size and capacity can be had more cheaply from the likes of Farnell or Radiospares (electrical/electronic components suppliers), but it will be necessary to obtain and build it into a separate enclosure, if it cannot be accommodated in the space left by removing the original US step-down transformer. However, such a replacement, as recommended here by OZDOC, is generally the neatest and safest solution, if the equipment tranny does not already offer a 240V winding. If replacing the tranny, do not skimp on quality for the sake of a few quid; and get a competent person to do (or check) any mains wiring work, unless you are justifiably confident in your own capability.
 
Now the boring safety stuff. The reason for requiring 110V on construction sites is that the consequences of receiving a shock at 110V, while painful, are generally less serious than for the same thing happening at 240V. 240V is considered safe for a domestic environment where conditions are less challenging than on a construction site, provided that equipment is properly constructed and maintained, and used responsibly. It is the current that does the damage, but 240V applied e.g. between the left and right hands can easily drive enough current to kill. I mention this to underline the message about getting the mains wiring right. Note also that the design of mains connectors used in some countries - and the old US-style 2-pin plugs perfectly exemplify this point - leaves much to be desired, especially if working at 240V. Authentic vintage mains cords are fine on purely decorative equipment, but not hooked up to the supply. You will probably also need to provide a secure earth connection, unless using a sealed (double-insulated) transformer isolating the DC out. You might need to arrange that there are not multiple paths to earth (which can cause hum loops), but there should be at least one such (insulated) route.
 
Finally, do not let anybody tell you that UK mains voltage is 230V. It is not. 230V (within broad stated tolerances) is now the 'declared voltage' for UK mains supply, for reasons of standardisation of European domestic appliances. In the UK the actual supply is still delivered at 240V, as it has been for a long time, and there are no plans to change that. This will be irrelevant for more modern equipment with an electronically-regulated power supply unit, but older equipment which relies on the transformer turns ratio for its internal DC voltages, and which offers a choice of primary winding connections (sometimes with a mains voltage selector switch), should be set up for 240V operation in the UK.
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