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Will a voltage converter wreck a Rancilio Silvia?
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HelenE
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Joined: 5 Nov 2010
Posts: 19
Location: USA
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Nov 5, 2010, 6:21pm
Subject: Will a voltage converter wreck a Rancilio Silvia?
 

We're about to buy a Rancilio Silvia. We live in the United States but we're likely to make a temporary (four-year) move to Germany in less than a year.

Obviously we would need a good quality voltage converter (Germany is 220V; USA is 110V) as well as an outlet adapter if we're going to use the machine in Germany.  Could using a voltage converter wreck the machine or cause it to function in any non-optimal way?

(We've been waiting a while to buy the Rancilio Silvia and don't want to wait until we move to Germany, if we can help it. Just want to make sure we're not going to ruin it, either!)

Thank you!
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CoffeeRon
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Posted Fri Nov 5, 2010, 6:33pm
Subject: Re: Will a voltage converter wreck a Rancilio Silvia?
 

A voltage converter should be easily obtainable and cause no problems whatsoever with your Sylvia!   Ron
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PJK
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Posted Sat Nov 6, 2010, 12:54am
Subject: Re: Will a voltage converter wreck a Rancilio Silvia?
 

Hi Helen,

First off welcome to the forum.

While I agree with Ron I think I should chime in here.  There are several types of voltage converters available.  You need to be sure you don't get the wrong one.

The Silvia requires about 1000 Watts.  The pump takes about 50 watts.  The heater on US machines has been rated at 800 Watts. the European machines have an 1100 Watt heater. I am not sure what the current Silvia heaters take.  The conservative approach would be to assume 1100 Watts.  There are transformers which will handle that.  They are large and fairly spendy.  They will do a fine job.

Voltage converters sold in travel stores are of two types. 1. The low power converters intended for electronics. These are transformers capabile of tens of Watts.  They will not come close to handling the heater in the Silvia.  2. Phase control type. These converters alter the voltage waveform of the power so the equivalent hearing value is similar to US power.  These are sutable for irons and hair dryers.  There is no telling what one of these converters would do to the pump in the Sylvia.

Now if you are a hacker it might be possible to split the pump from the heater in the machine and use the low power converter for the pump and the second type converter for the heater.  This might be smaller and cheaper but it might also be a kludge and a deathtrap.  Even so that is probably what I would do  being a cheapskate (I prefer the term frugal).

The sensable approach would be to get a transformer capabile of more than 1200 Watts.

Phil



HelenE Said:

We're about to buy a Rancilio Silvia. We live in the United States but we're likely to make a temporary (four-year) move to Germany in less than a year.

Obviously we would need a good quality voltage converter (Germany is 220V; USA is 110V) as well as an outlet adapter if we're going to use the machine in Germany.  Could using a voltage converter wreck the machine or cause it to function in any non-optimal way?

(We've been waiting a while to buy the Rancilio Silvia and don't want to wait until we move to Germany, if we can help it. Just want to make sure we're not going to ruin it, either!)

Thank you!

Posted November 5, 2010 link


 
Philip J. Keleshian
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c4h5n2o
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c4h5n2o
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Posted Thu Nov 11, 2010, 1:25am
Subject: Re: Will a voltage converter wreck a Rancilio Silvia?
 

HelenE Said:

Could using a voltage converter wreck the machine or cause it to function in any non-optimal way?

Posted November 5, 2010 link

Using a step down transformer (voltage converter) is unlikely to cause you problems. Since your machine is nominally 1100W, look for a 1500+ watt model. You should be able to find one under $75.

The transformer will reduce the 230V in Germany to the 120V that a machine purchased in the U.S. will expect. However there is also the matter of line frequency which is 60 hz in N. America and 50 hz in Germany. For the most part this will just cause the (vibe) pump in the Silvia to run about 15% slower. It is unlikely to be a problem for Silvia's electronics. It will put some stress on your vibe pump. But I wouldn't expect it to cause you problems for home use. If you want to be extra cautious, you could invest in a 230V pump ($50) for the duration of your stay abroad. But you should also be fine using the original pump.
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HelenE
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Joined: 5 Nov 2010
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Location: USA
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Thu Nov 11, 2010, 6:43am
Subject: Re: Will a voltage converter wreck a Rancilio Silvia?
 

Phil, Ron and c4h5n2o -- thank you so much!  It looks like we'll be able to get our Silvia for Christmas with a clear conscience (and a few extra gadgets!)

I appreciate all your help.
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HelenE
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Joined: 5 Nov 2010
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Location: USA
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri May 6, 2011, 6:50pm
Subject: Re: Will a voltage converter wreck a Rancilio Silvia?
 

Thanks again for the advice! I have a follow-up question (and now I have a Silvia too):

will this work?
Click Here (www.220converters.com)

It is step-down only; we won't be buying any appliances in Germany to bring back to the US, so we shouldn't need the step-up, right? Is there anything that suggests to you that we shouldn't buy this one?

Only a month away from our move now!
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CoffeeRoastersClub
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Posted Fri May 6, 2011, 6:57pm
Subject: Re: Will a voltage converter wreck a Rancilio Silvia?
 

HelenE Said:

Thanks again for the advice! I have a follow-up question (and now I have a Silvia too):

will this work?
Click Here (www.220converters.com)

It is step-down only; we won't be buying any appliances in Germany to bring back to the US, so we shouldn't need the step-up, right? Is there anything that suggests to you that we shouldn't buy this one?

Only a month away from our move now!

Posted May 6, 2011 link

 If the Rancilio uses 1500 watts or less, yes it will work.

Len

 
"Coffee leads men to trifle away their time, scald their chops, and spend their money, all for a little base, black, thick, nasty, bitter, stinking nauseous puddle water." ~The Women's Petition Against Coffee, 1674

www.CoffeeRoastersClub.com     www.javaPRO-CRC.com     www.KaffeeFrisch.com
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Arethusa
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Posted Sat May 7, 2011, 3:12pm
Subject: Re: Will a voltage converter wreck a Rancilio Silvia?
 

Does it really make sense to use a converter rather than just buy an espresso machine in Europe?  4 years isn't that short.
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HelenE
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Joined: 5 Nov 2010
Posts: 19
Location: USA
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun May 8, 2011, 3:47pm
Subject: Re: Will a voltage converter wreck a Rancilio Silvia?
 

We've considered it -- three years is the likely time -- but if we're confident that a converter won't damage the Silvia we'd rather spend that $55 than the $600+ it would take to buy a new one in Germany :)
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PJK
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PJK
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Expertise: I love coffee

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Posted Mon May 9, 2011, 10:14am
Subject: Re: Will a voltage converter wreck a Rancilio Silvia?
 

Hi Helen,

This transformer should work fine.  If you are using a 120 Volt grinder as well just don't use it on the same transformer while the Silvia heater is active.  

By the way transformers are bilateral.  If you acquire an appliance which you can't part with which is within the capacity of the transformer you should be able to bring it back.  The output of your transformer will be the input for step up and the input will be the output.  You will have to change the connectors of coarse.  The 110 volt plug can be easily found here but the 220 volt receptacle will be easier to obtain in Europe.

Phil

HelenE Said:

Thanks again for the advice! I have a follow-up question (and now I have a Silvia too):

will this work?
Click Here (www.220converters.com)

It is step-down only; we won't be buying any appliances in Germany to bring back to the US, so we shouldn't need the step-up, right? Is there anything that suggests to you that we shouldn't buy this one?

Only a month away from our move now!

Posted May 6, 2011 link


 
Philip J. Keleshian
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