One big piece of personal news that I’ve yet to share here on the site is that my family and I – and We Got Served too, I guess – will be emigrating from the United Kingdom to Canada in March. We’ve been handed a fabulous opportunity to try out the next chapter of our lives in Southern Ontario and while it’s a huge leap, it’s one we’re really excited about.
Of course, moving abroad takes a lot of planning (and I mean a lot). It’s a project that’s preoccupied the family throughout the last twelve months, and while I’ll spare you much of the details that are out of scope of this particular blog, working through the changes required to our home tech is also taking up much of my headspace.
What to ship out? What to leave behind? What new stuff do we need? Cable Broadband speeds are how fast? It’s going to be great fun and a huge learning experience. So over the coming months, I’ll share any tips and discoveries along the way which may prove useful to others thinking about crossing the pond.
Firstly, let’s talk TVs. Now they’re some of the largest and most expensive pieces of technology in the home, so shipping them to another country is not an insignificant task. While modern-day TVs no longer suffer from the old PAL/NTSC broadcast differences that used to be a problem (when using an external tuner like a cable set-top box with HDMI), I’ve been concerned about power requirements.
For the uninitiated, here in the UK we’re on a (nominally) 240 V mains electricity system (actually, it’s declared as 230 V nowadays), whilst in North America, voltage is set at 120 V. So, I could switch the three-pin UK C7 figure-eight power cable that my Samsung TVs use for a North American equivalent, but there simply might not be enough juice to power the TV. That is, of course, unless my TVs support variable voltage like much of our computer kit in the home.
So, I checked the rear of one of the TVs to see the voltage requirements, hoping to see the magic numbers 110-240 V inscribed. Bah. 220-240 V only. So, if I wanted to ship the TVs out to Canada, we’d need a transformer to adjust the voltage – they’re available reasonably cheaply, but can be bulky, noisy and eat power like there’s no tomorrow. Maybe I’d have to swallow the expense of buying new sets after all.
There was one last hope. A good old dig around Google enabled me to find the part numbers for my TV’s internal power supply board. When I then researched the part numbers on various spare part retailer websites (not the most fun hour I’ve ever spent), it turns out those PSU boards are indeed multi-voltage.
For reasons best known to Samsung (but I’m guessing the words “import” “price” and “differential” may be relevant, maybe it’s to reduce international compliance testing and labelling costs), they label many of their TVs suggesting single voltage when, in fact, they support 110 – 240 V inputs. Hurrah!
So, this afternoon, I popped along to our local electronics store, purchased a step-down transformer to convert our 230 V power to 110 V and plugged in the TV. A risk, for sure, but a managed risk given what my research indicated.
The result? Success! The TV powered on just fine, proving it is indeed multi-voltage – no matter what the rear label indicated.
So, we’ll be shipping our TVs to Canada – the acid test, of course, will be plugging them into the Canadian mains and seeing what happens. Of course, there’s less risk plugging a 240 V rated device into a 110 v power supply than vice versa, and I would not officially recommend anyone does either of these things!
If you’re following a similar path, do make sure you thoroughly research your TV and its internal power supply – if you’re at all nervous, seek the advice of a qualified electrician before any experimentation!