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Taking equipment across continents – how do deal with voltages in different countries AC line voltage tips for international set-ups

“I own equipment geared to one country’s electrical standards that I would like to take to other countries. Ordinary, off-the-shelf electricity converters either forbid use with electronic equipment or (from my experience) produce huge amounts of noise over amps or mixing boards. While touring bands must deal with this problem all the time, I’ve yet to find anyone who could offer practical advice about how to best take equipment across continents. Any words of wisdom?” There are a number of different methods for changing the AC line voltage. With audio equipment it is very important to have clean electrical power. However, a device designed to power a razor or hair dryer may understandably use the lowest cost methods and components. In an ideal world manufacturers would use power supplies that auto switch to conform to the varying standards found around the globe. This is something to consider when choosing equipment in the first place. Sometimes manufacturers intentionally use power supplies that do not do this because it helps them control the distribution of their products (wake up and smell the global economy, guys). The off-the-shelf converters you refer to will often work just fine in our experience, but if you travel a lot and/or have equipment that is problematic, a more professional solution should be employed.If you travel to a variety of locations around the world you are going to find it worthwhile to invest in one unit that can accommodate many different voltages while always outputting the voltage you need. We have just described a voltage regulator. Most voltage regulators have a limited range of voltages they can “capture” and use, but it is possible to build them with a very wide range – enough that they can be used almost anywhere.One such device is the Furman AR-Pro. It can capture voltages from 88 to 264 volts and convert them to our standard 120 volts, which means you can use it around the world provided you wire it up correctly. Don’t take that benign little wiring remark lightly though. Standards for electrical wiring differ by more than just the voltage produced. Some systems have two “hot” legs (like our standard home 220 volt systems), while others employ hot, neutral, and ground wires. Just be careful with the wiring. There is more to this than just plugging the stuff in.

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