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Swapping UK power cords for US power cords

Swapping UK power cords for US power cords

Old May 6, 17, 12:09 am
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Swapping UK power cords for US power cords

So I have just moved back to the US from the UK after a three-year job and I want to bring my desktop back here with me, but I don't know if I can just swap out my UK cord for a US one. I am trying to stay away from plug adapters for safety reasons. Any help would be appreciated.
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Old May 6, 17, 12:21 am
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Originally Posted by Kosta Souliotis View Post
So I have just moved back to the US from the UK after a three-year job and I want to bring my desktop back here with me, but I don't know if I can just swap out my UK cord for a US one. I am trying to stay away from plug adapters for safety reasons. Any help would be appreciated.
UK desktop computer are likely built to need 220 volts but US power is 110 volts.

Not clear where you bought the computer, so you'd best consult the manufacturer's website or the computer manual. No generic answer is likely to be useful to you.

Welcome back!
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Old May 6, 17, 12:41 am
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It's been a while since I've had a desktop PC but I distinctly remember that my old desktop's power supply had a manual toggle that you flipped depending on the input voltage. This was pretty standard from my experience. In any case, most modern power adapter bricks are dual voltage input. At most, you can likely swap out the power supply on the desktop and go on with your life. It's easy enough and not too expensive from the many computer parts retailers online (assuming your desktop is a standard form factor one)

Last edited by SBR249; May 6, 17 at 12:52 am
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Old May 6, 17, 12:50 am
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Originally Posted by SBR249 View Post
It's been a while since I've had a desktop PC but I distinctly remember that my old desktop's power supply had a manual toggle that you flipped depending on the input voltage. This was pretty standard from my experience. In any case, most modern power adapter bricks are dual voltage input. At most, you can likely swap out the power supply on the desktop and go on with your life. It's easy enough and not to expensive from the many computer parts retailers online (assuming your desktop is a standard form factor one).
Yes, I remember one of my old ones having the same thing, but sadly I can't look at mine right now. Yeah, I was thinking that all I had to do was swap out the power supply but I felt like I needed to make sure. No its a custom made one if it was a factor made I wouldn't bother shipping it all the way here.

Thank you!
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Old May 6, 17, 2:04 am
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Originally Posted by SBR249 View Post
It's been a while since I've had a desktop PC but I distinctly remember that my old desktop's power supply had a manual toggle that you flipped depending on the input voltage. This was pretty standard from my experience.
Well, standard if you bought an off-the-shelf consumer desktop.

If you built you own or bought a more power-efficient business model, a power supply unit with active power factor correction is the norm. It automatically detects input voltage and adjusts accordingly. Units without active PFC are vastly inferior in terms of durability and realiability (not just of the PSU itself, but the risk of frying other components is also much higher without active PFC).

Originally Posted by Kosta Souliotis View Post
I don't know if I can just swap out my UK cord for a US one.
Yes, you can just get a new cord.

Also see my comments above. If your desktop has a cheap PSU with passive PFC, there'll be a small switch on the back of the PSU which you need to move to 115 V. If there's no such switch, the PSU features active PFC and you're good to go.
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Old May 6, 17, 2:22 am
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UK to US is not a problem. If you plug it in the worst that will happen is that it will run slowly as it expects 220v and is only getting 110v.

It is when you are doing it the other way round that it can get exciting!
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Old May 6, 17, 2:35 am
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And there are no indications on the back of the desktop? All of my desktops had the specs of the power supply on the back. Moreover, there are good chances, that it will support 110V. It's been a while since I last saw a power supply that can't run on 110V-220V.
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Old May 6, 17, 6:40 am
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Originally Posted by antichef View Post
UK to US is not a problem. If you plug it in the worst that will happen is that it will run slowly as it expects 220v and is only getting 110v.
This is incorrect. It will either run normally because the power supply ("PSU") automatically detects and adjusts for the input voltage or it won't run.
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Old May 6, 17, 6:51 am
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Originally Posted by ajGoes View Post
This is incorrect. It will either run normally because the power supply ("PSU") automatically detects and adjusts for the input voltage or it won't run.
Exactly! the voltage at the plug has very little to due with the motherboard's processor speed....
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Old May 6, 17, 6:53 am
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Originally Posted by Kosta Souliotis View Post
So I have just moved back to the US from the UK after a three-year job and I want to bring my desktop back here with me, but I don't know if I can just swap out my UK cord for a US one. I am trying to stay away from plug adapters for safety reasons. Any help would be appreciated.
Like others have said, if you computer is dual voltage, then its a now brainer and it will work with the American style plug. The label on the computer will give you that info....
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Old May 6, 17, 8:09 am
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Still a lot of replies ITT with are either imprecise or flat-out wrong.

Once again, there are two types of computer power supply units available for desktop PCs in ATX (and mATX etc.) format.

1.) Lower-spec PSUs: These feature passive PFC. Those PSUs will have an input voltage selector switch. It is imperative to have the switch set appropriately. Connecting to the wrong voltage range will immediately and permanently destroy the PSU. (At the very least, you'll fry it for sure when the switch is set to 115 V and you hook it up to 230 V.)

2.) Higher-spec PSUs: These feature active PFC. No input voltage selector switch. Just hook 'em up. They'll work with all input voltages in the range of 80 V to 240 V or so.

Again, if you have type 1, it is of critical importance to use a screwdriver or your fingernail to put the selector switch in the correct position. The switch would be on the back of your desktop's case near the AC power plug. If no such switch exists, it is relatively safe to assume you got a type 2.) PSU.

Originally Posted by WorldLux View Post
And there are no indications on the back of the desktop?
Usually, there will be a fan which exhausts air out of the back of the PSU. (That's what's facing towards the back of the case.) So no space for a big label with specs. Instead, the label with the PSUs specs will typically face the inside of the case. Thus you'd have to open up the case to inspect the label.

Last edited by fppmongo; May 6, 17 at 8:26 am
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Old May 6, 17, 1:37 pm
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Originally Posted by ajGoes View Post
This is incorrect. It will either run normally because the power supply ("PSU") automatically detects and adjusts for the input voltage or it won't run.
I think he was thinking about old non-digital electronics like hair dryer, vaccum, drill, etc...

When we moved from 220V country to here... we bought all our household electronics. They all worked but slower... But that was 35 years ago.. back then there are no digital components in any electronics.
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Old May 6, 17, 1:48 pm
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Originally Posted by Need View Post
I think he was thinking about old non-digital electronics like hair dryer, vaccum, drill, etc...

When we moved from 220V country to here... we bought all our household electronics. They all worked but slower... But that was 35 years ago.. back then there are no digital components in any electronics.
Nowadays we usually reserve the word "electronics" for devices with chips in them, broadly speaking. Devices with heating elements or non-miniature motors are usually not electronics in this sense of the word.

Using this definition, many electronic devices made in the last twenty years work fine at 120V or 240V. Their power supplies always have the input voltage printed on them, though you may need a magnifying glass to read it. Typically you'll see "100-240V 50-60 Hz".

Devices with motors usually won't work if connected to the wrong input voltage. If the voltage is too high, their motors will burn out almost immediately; if it's too low, they may operate but very slowly and will often overheat.

Devices with heating elements will burn out immediately if connected to too high a voltage. Some such devices are wired to allow either 120V or 240V operation, with a switch to select the voltage. If the switch is in the 120V position and you plug your travel hair dryer into a 240V outlet, you'll need a new hair dryer.
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Old May 12, 17, 9:59 pm
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The repair and service manual for your machine is probably available on the web (if you remember the model), that will have the info.
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Old May 13, 17, 3:30 am
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Originally Posted by ajGoes View Post
This is incorrect. It will either run normally because the power supply ("PSU") automatically detects and adjusts for the input voltage or it won't run.
Middle ground: It will run but shut down if you look at it wrong.

It happened to me once, the selector got bumped to 220V somehow. It ran but the power supply couldn't turn out as much power as it was supposed to, it was very easy to overload it and cause a shutdown.
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