United Kingdom Expat Forum - Using US Appliances in the UK

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pebruce
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5/28/2008 12:27    
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My family and I are relocating from California to London in July, and I wanted to know if the following US appliances/ electronics will work in the UK or if I should plan on storing them in the US and purchasing new or used items once I'm in the UK:

- Bose speaker for iPod
- Table & floor lamps
- Telephones
- Home PC - ours has a switch for 230 voltage, so I think we should be ok??
- Printer for home PC
- Small electric food chopper (mini cuisinart)
- Electric hand mixer
- Coffee pot

Thanks so much for any advice you could give.

pallega
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From: United Kingdom
5/29/2008 18:32    
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Our experience is that you may want to:

1. Call Bose and your PC maker and your printer manufacturer in the UK and ask for a UK lead to replace the US lead

2. Don't waste time rewiring lamps, buy them here in the UK to fit your new home

3. US Telephones don't work in the UK - buy them here

4. Buy all new electricals in the UK - converters (if they work) are cumbersome and use up valuable space in the smaller UK-sized flats and homes

afrizat
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From: United States
6/1/2008 05:36    
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First thing you should do is check the back of all your applicances and see what currants they can accept. If the Input reads 100 to 240V then they will work in the UK, all you need is a UK specific plug (either buy an adapter or go to a store like Maplin in the UK that will sell you the proper electric wires). So your PC should be fine.

Now if your electronics use AC adapters, then just bring them with you and go to a local store here (like Maplin) that can sell you the right AC adapter.

Finally, if your electronics just accept 110V and do not use adapters, then the transformer question comes into play. In general they are BIG and HEAVY and TOTALLY impractical, so for trivial items like coffee machines, lamps etc I would not do it. For applicances that are always on (TV) I would not do it either (apparently they can cause burnout). We bought one only because we have expensive kitchen food processors etc that we decided to bring. If yours are cheap or you do not care anbout them too much, buy them here. If you have expensive equipement AND you are really into using it AND you do not want to buy the equivalent here (twice the price) then I would go for a transformer. Note, when you buy one, make sure to tell the people what you are going to use it for (the appliance consumption) so they can size it for you.

afrizat
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From: United States
6/1/2008 05:38    
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First thing you should do is check the back of all your applicances and see what currants they can accept. If the Input reads 100 to 240V then they will work in the UK, all you need is a UK specific plug (either buy an adapter or go to a store like Maplin in the UK that will sell you the proper electric wires). So your PC should be fine.

Now if your electronics use AC adapters, then just bring them with you and go to a local store here (like Maplin) that can sell you the right AC adapter.

Finally, if your electronics just accept 110V and do not use adapters, then the transformer question comes into play. In general they are BIG and HEAVY and TOTALLY impractical, so for trivial items like coffee machines, lamps etc I would not do it. For applicances that are always on (TV) I would not do it either (apparently they can cause burnout). We bought one only because we have expensive kitchen food processors etc that we decided to bring. If yours are cheap or you do not care anbout them too much, buy them here. If you have expensive equipment AND you are really into using it AND you do not want to buy the equivalent here (twice the price) then I would go for a transformer. Note, when you buy one, make sure to tell the people what you are going to use it for (the appliance consumption) so they can size it for you.

My phones worked here.

pallega
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From: United Kingdom
6/2/2008 13:23    
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WOW! Your phones worked in the UK? Something has definitely changed over the past 5+ years or you've got a new trick you need to share.

Given that the US uses RJ11 jacks for phones (in the base and the wall) and the primary installation in the UK is the BS6312, we're very curious to learn how you lucked out moving your phone from the US and getting it to work here.

Also, in the UK, the phones are wired differently. The master socket contains a high voltage surge protection (SP1) to suppress high voltage spikes etc, a 1.8 µF capacitor to feed the AC ringing and also together with a 470 k© resistor to provide remote testing when no telephones are plugged into to any sockets.

In the United States, the pair of wires from the central switch office to a subscriber's home is typically powered by -48V direct current (DC) and backed up by a large bank of batteries (connected in series) in the central office, resulting in continuation of service during most commercial power outages. The subscriber loop typically carries a "load" of about 300 Ohms.

These are very different systems. How'd you do it?

gah26
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From: United Kingdom
6/3/2008 09:45    
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We have been using our US table and floor lamps with an adaptor for 4 1/2 years without incident. I'm talking the cheap adaptors that go for about 5 bucks.

I used the same type of adaptor to charge my Palm Pilot when I 1st got here and it blew the charger cable. I had to get a UK cable.

We had a mini chopper when we got here and I used it a few times with a transformer and it worked fine. But, the transformer is about the same size as the chopper. You could use a transformer for your coffee maker, chopper and hand mixer but they are cumbersome and you may find that you don't want to waste the kitchen space on 1 or several of these bulky items.

afrizat
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From: United States
6/3/2008 16:34    
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Yes it worked.

I have a Uniden system comprised of a base with answering machine and 2 handsets.

For the handsets/base I bought a AC adapters when I got here and for the telephone jacks I bought a cable that had the US style plug on one end and the UK one on the other.

I did all this at Maplin Electronics, no pb. I am not a handy man so if it did not work out of the box it wasn't going to happen.

So, I woul dnot buy new phones in the US and brng them over, but if you like the one you have and cannot get any money for it, bring it over and see what happens.

pallega
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From: United Kingdom
6/4/2008 04:44    
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Thanks, Afrizat. That's worth a try! Excellent advice - and, simple!

sassafrassdc
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9/11/2008 15:29    
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Yay that you answered most of my questions on this subject.

Just want to clarify.

If it has an AC adapter (meaning one of those box thingies on the cord somewhere) then I can just get a new cord.

So, for example, my wireless router should come with us?

Thanks!

pallega
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From: United Kingdom
9/11/2008 16:53    
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If the unit has one of those "brick" things that allow the cord to be attached and detached from the "brick" (that's attached, in kind, to the unit) then you should be able to call the manufacturer in the UK and ask for a UK lead. Or, of course, you can use an adaptor. We kept our US one as backup for the 1st 6 months and then "went native" afterwards.

afrizat
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From: United States
9/12/2008 06:15    
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sassafrassdc,

Just to make sure we are on the same page: your AC adapter, if is accepts 110 to 240v, may even work here, you will just need a plug adapter.

Your wireless router may not work for a totally different reason: they use ADSL here and not DSL (like in the US). Before I figured that out (IE my wireless router plugged into the UK ADSL modem was not working), I spent allot of time with support, which was really annoying.

My recommendation would be: sell it if you can get money for it and buy one here OR bring it with you, but be prepared to buy a new one just in case. Who knows, maybe you will get cable here and it will work fine.

evangraj
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9/10/2009 20:52    
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Hello. Is this still the case? I was thinking of bringing my wireless DECT VOIP phone over from the US to the UK. As its a digital and analouge phone ... will neither work? Thanks in advance.

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