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I purchased a Power Bright VC1500W Step-Down/Up Transformer before moving to Australia. I was under the impression that Australian voltage was supplied at 240V, but the standard was recently changed to 230V.

The back of the device allows you to select the input voltage (options are 110, 200, 220, 240):

Rear View of the Power Bright VC1500W

Unfortunately 230V is not an option. What should I choose and will it be safe? What will the effective output voltage of that choice be? My family plans to use the transformer for US electrical appliances, including a blender, mixers, and a breast pump. Your help would be greatly appreciated.

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    Go for 240. The official change to 230 will just be a safety margin. Everybody in Australia who is vaguely aware of such things just thinks of it as 240 and only people with a technical interest would even know about the official change to 230. – hippietrail Nov 9 '14 at 23:25
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    One would have thought that it would have been almost as easy to buy those appliances as new ones in Australia, rather than shipping your old USA bought ones plus the power transformer to Australia. – user13044 Nov 10 '14 at 1:47
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240V will work fine. Mains voltage and anything that uses it will have tolerances of at least 6% (~14V for 240V). Making use of this, the Australian voltage change was mostly done on paper, since most actual Aussie electricity is still served at 240V.

That said, please ensure that any devices you plug into your transformer are rated to use less than 1500W peak. The breast pump will be fine, but heavy-duty blenders and mixers may push the limit, and overloaded transformers can catch fire and/or electrocute you. Don't plug a power strip into your transformer, don't leave the devices running for long periods and keep the transformer turned off while not in use.

  • If merely overloading an electrical appliance would cause fire or electrocution hazard, it would not have been allowed for sale in most sane jurisdictions. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Nov 9 '14 at 23:51
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    The transformer is allowed for sale with the assumption that you're using it within the documented limits. The OP's model seems reasonably heavy-duty, so I'm just being cautious here, but I have personally had a cheap but perfectly legal Chinese transformer purchased in the US literally catch fire when overloaded. – jpatokal Nov 10 '14 at 0:05
  • I've had a cheapo transformer start to melt. I detected the smell. I would probably just buy a new blender. I don't think an ordinary hand mixer draws that much current. I suppose in some places the transformer would have to be fused. But the ones in my closet drawers are not. It does have maximum wattage stamped on it. – Andrew Lazarus Nov 10 '14 at 7:39

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