Electrical Question ... 220v power on 110v

I bought some really nice waterproof 5v power supplies with 12amp, 60watt capability to run a couple hundred RGBs. The problem is I stupidly didn't notice the 220v AC input. The range says from 170v to 250v (or so).

Is my only option to use these only when I have a 220 outlet available or is there something I can do to make them work on a 110 outlet .. even if it effects how many amps I can get out of?

The AC input is three wire, ground, neural and positive. I can provide more details as requested.

Thanks to anyone that can help on this non-arduino'ish question (even though I am running them with an arduino).

Hope you have your receipt....time to get a refund

Thank you for the reply.

Shipping was too much in comparison as it was a not too expensive but heavy item .. lucky I didn't buy too many :)

I'll just chalk it up as a learning experience.

I think it's worth a shot to try running it on 120VAC. Usually it's safer to run on lower voltage (usually). You definitely won't get the same power output but you'll probably get at least half.

Wear eye protection, keep a fire extinguisher handy, turn it off if things start smelling funny, etc.


I did try running it on 110 but did nothing and I verified the specs are 170v and higher, so I guess I'll need a dryer outlet to run my LEDs lol.

Thanks again for the replies

With such a wide input voltage it's obvioulsy a switch0mode power supply and is failing to run on your 110 supply. What you could try is fitting a 110 - 230 booster transformer to the inpout side so's the transformer units are seeing 230 volts. These should be readily available from the likes of Radio Shack or Tandy


Not only the voltage is of importance but the frequency too. Double check what is specified on your power supply a bad frequency can lead to many smoke

Thanks to all for replies. I"ll let you know if I have any success.

If they are switchers then the frequency will not matter as much, still curious why they don't run at 120V. how heavy do they fell are they about 0.5 Kg or more then if so they are most likely analogue supplies with a heavy wound transformer on the input side. You best option in this case would be to use a 110 - 220 step up transformer on the input (mains) side, transformers such as this are available from most parts distributors including Farnell and RS. Ideally this transformer should be designed for the mains frequency in your country are you 50Hz or 60Hz ?

Peter B.

If your units were linear type transformers rated to operate at 230 volts then in all probability they are for 50Hz (that being the frequency on this side of the pond). 50Hz transformers need more iron in their core than 60Hz ones so will operate off 60Hz systems OK (too much iron is no problem). However with a 170 to 250 rating they are almost certainly switch-mode supplies and the first thing that happens within one of those is the AC is rectified to DC so frequency of supply is irrelevant. jack

Before I got out the white surrender flag I would see if I could rewire the transformer. A lot of transformer have center taps for this purpose.

or just buy a new one for $30 and save yourself the small hassle.

Well if the forum is not giving up yet .. neither am I :)

I just ordered one of these .... http://cgi.ebay.com/50W-110-220-VOLTAGE-CONVERTER-STEP-UP-TRANSFORMER-/290457519449?cmd=ViewItem&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item43a09e0559#ht_1955wt_1137

For 9 bucks each .. better than tossing them or attempting to sell them over the pond.

Will let you know how it goes :)

Again thanks for such great input all around.

You'll need to be careful of plugging a 60 watt power supply into that 50 watt transformer, and ensure that you don't draw more than 50 watts of power total.

Thanks for the heads up :) I computed I should be ok playing it safe ...

Since I am hooking this to a 110, I am only planning on taking it to 6amp not 12amp. This is a total of 100 RGBs at .3 watts each, which will cap out at 30 watts on full white.

Which does bring up another question. Do I need to cut the amps in 1/2 and stay at 6amp on a 12amp supply or does such a rule not apply when using a step up transformer? If I find there is no issue running the full 12amp on 110 then I would then max out at 160 LEDs (48 watts) and maybe look for a 60watt or higher rated one depending on price difference.

Again - thanks for noticing that and giving me a heads up - great community!