Thread Number: 37730  /  Tag: Small Appliances
Switching Euro motor for US motor on Sewing Machine
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Post# 402307   12/10/2018 at 17:46 (570 days old) by Seijun (Portland, OR)        

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I have a French 1951 sewing machine with a motor rated at 125v/35w/50hz. First of all, would this work on a US outlet without damaging anything? I am unsure about the hz rating, since US outlets are 60hz.

Second, if this cannot be run on a US outlet, is there any reason why I could not switch the motor with a US version? I just so happen to have a "spare" motor for the same machine, but built for US outlets.

Post# 402314 , Reply# 1   12/10/2018 at 18:50 (570 days old) by gregvacs28 (space coast)        

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I'd switch it.


I was thinking of buying a Henry vacuum from the UK, having it shipped to the US, then changing the motor to a 120 volt so it will work here.

Post# 402391 , Reply# 2   12/11/2018 at 14:32 (569 days old) by Seijun (Portland, OR)        

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Well, after much mucking about online I *think* my french machine is safe to use on an american outlet. I found mixed answers on how safe it is for a modern induction motor to be used long-term. However, my sewing machine uses an old universal motor with a speed control, which apparently doesn't care much about hz ratings. Anyway, I plugged it in and nothing exploded or acted weird. I am happy! When I bought the machine I was fully expecting it to have a 220V motor which would have been a problem.

I also called a local electrician service, Starks vacuums, and a shop that specializes in vintage kitchen appliances, and they all told me to call a sewing repair center. I tried without success to explain that it was inconsequential that the motor was in a sewing machine. The same kind of motor can be found in vacuums, kitchen mixers, old fans, you name it.. "Can a 50hz motor run safely on a 60hz outlet" does not seem like it would be a hard question for any of these places!

Post# 402439 , Reply# 3   12/12/2018 at 03:08 (569 days old) by MadMan (Chicago, IL, USA)        

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Heh universal motors are not affected by the hertz, as they do not use it. That's why they can be run on DC or AC. The electricity is just used to create opposing magnetic fields... that those fields cycle back and forth isn't part of the equation, because the two fields will always oppose each other.

Now, an induction motor is a different animal. It specifically uses the cycling of AC power to create the opposing magnetic fields, and the motor has to be designed to a particular hertz. Though to be fair, the difference between 50 and 60 hertz in terms of a small induction motor is not so great, but a speed difference of the motor spinning would probably be noticeable, and probably not suited for actual use.

I find it surprising that the motor was specifically labelled 50Hz, despite being a universal motor. Perhaps such a label was some weird European thing to do, before they standardized to 220v 50Hz.

Post# 403009 , Reply# 4   12/24/2018 at 00:48 (557 days old) by Ultralux88 (Denver, Colorado)        

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Personally I think itís simpler to just get a step up transformer and then just the machine in its factory form. Iíve got a couple 240v vacuums in my collection, and I would love some more.

Post# 403064 , Reply# 5   12/24/2018 at 20:25 (556 days old) by MadMan (Chicago, IL, USA)        

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...or you could just wire a 240v outlet. Most houses in the US already have 240v in the breaker box, would be pretty simple. But I suppose a transformer would be easier to relocate.

Post# 403075 , Reply# 6   12/25/2018 at 00:40 (556 days old) by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

Most any good sew&vac place has replacement sewing machine motors at lower prices than a transformer or hiring an electrician to run a 240V outlet.And for the outlet you would have to have an outlet installed to match the machines plug.

Post# 403103 , Reply# 7   12/25/2018 at 21:29 (555 days old) by MadMan (Chicago, IL, USA)        

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Several options, anyhow.

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