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Converting foreign voltage desktop computer?
April 8, 2009 11:47 PM   Subscribe

Moving a desktop computer internationally - we're moving from Korea (220 V) to Canada (110V). Is it as simple as removing the power "section" of the desktop and replacing it with 110 V at a computer repair place in Canada? Are internal components individually responsive to a particular voltage?
posted by carolekorea to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
 
Sometimes the power supply actually has a little 220/110V red tab switch on the back you can flip with something sharp. Depends.

The power supply converts the AC down to 12/24/5V internally, the internal components don't care. If it's a normal ATX power supply without a switch, you can still swap it out. If it's not a normal power supply, you still may have options.
posted by floam at 11:55 PM on April 8, 2009


The power supply most likely has an acceptable input range from 100-220V. In that case, all you need is a plug adapter.
posted by McGuillicuddy at 12:00 AM on April 9, 2009


Here's a picture of a typical ATX power supply. Notice the red switch next to the plug.

If yours doesn't have one, open up the tower and look at the label on the unit. It might accept 110 and switch automatically.
posted by floam at 12:03 AM on April 9, 2009


What floam said: the big cuboid power supply unit is just doing the same thing as the AC-DC adapter for your mobile phone or laptop. If it isn't switchable, it's swappable.

It's actually a simple home repair if you buy a replacement: unplug the various connectors from motherboard and drives, unscrew the PSU from the case, screw in the new one and plug in its connectors. Just don't try to take apart the PSU box itself.
posted by holgate at 12:07 AM on April 9, 2009


Awesome. Thanks. No switch that I can find, but I'll hop out to our neighbourhood computer dude and see if he can arrange it before we move. Repairs are super cheap here in Korea, and even though he likely won't have the new power supply unit with him now, he'll order one cheap.

Thanks!
posted by carolekorea at 12:12 AM on April 9, 2009


Don't forget to check your monitor can take 110v.

Of course, some monitors (and indeed some computers) can take either 110v or 220v just fine.
posted by Mike1024 at 12:19 AM on April 9, 2009


Like floam and McGuillicuddy said, wide-input-range computer power supplies are pretty common, so make sure that you actually need a new supply before going and getting one.
posted by hattifattener at 12:19 AM on April 9, 2009


Assuming that the power supply can accept 110V (and it almost certainly can), even better than a plug adapter would be just buy a new power cord that has a ground pin. You can see here that most computer power cords have the same power supply end configuration regardless of wall plug configuration.
posted by McGuillicuddy at 12:46 AM on April 9, 2009


If you do end up fitting a power supply with a voltage selector switch, and you switch it to 110 for use in Canada, for goodness' sake don't forget to switch it back to 230 before plugging it in again in Korea, or you'll let out all the magic smoke and it will smell bad and stop working.
posted by flabdablet at 1:23 AM on April 9, 2009


Modern power supplies will auto-detect the line voltage—no switch needed. The power factor correction circuitry basically takes care of it for free. So just because your supply doesn't have a wings fall off switch, doesn't mean it won't be happy with 110.

The power supply inside your computer should have a label listing the allowed input voltage range. Crack open your computer and take a look.
posted by ryanrs at 2:50 AM on April 9, 2009


All else fails, I use these for my kitchen appliances. I have never had a problem with simply using an adaptor on a computer supply.
posted by sundri at 5:23 AM on April 9, 2009


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