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Generator electricity frequency - 50Hz/60Hz

We have a British bought generator that operates at 50Hz, 110 or 220 v. We are buying tools (circular saws and chop saws) locally that would normally operate on 110v 60Hz. Will the tools suffer because of the frequency difference?

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The tools will not rotate as fast nor develop as much torque as if they were run on a 60 Hz generator. So they may not be able to cut as much material at a time. Increasing the voltage (from 110V to 220V) will not help, but might burn the tools out. Is it possible to run the tools through a UPS rated 60Hz? the UPS will compensate for the frequency of the generator.


Mike Ennis

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The tools will run about 12% slower than their normal speed.

Ensure that you do not accidentally feed 220V into the tools. (I am assuming that you are taking the 220V feed and powering the tools via the yellow transformers?

Also be aware that of the generator is 220V 3 phase, you need to take the power between either red/yellow/blue and neutral. If you go between the phases (i.e. any combination of red+blue etc) you will get around 380 v. After the transformer that will give you 170V, which is too much for power tools.


Mark Hawkins

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The tools will tend to run slower than designed. This may be more of a problem with any induction motors, but most power tools use brushed motors (aka 'universal') for which the frequency is less of an issue. So, if they have brushes they should be ok.


Duncan Kerridge

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2013-12-09 06:12:33 -0500
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Last updated:
Dec 09 '13