Will this LED rope light kit work in Tokyo, Japan?
July 2, 2014 2:29 PM   Subscribe

This is the appliance in question. I'm aware that Tokyo's electrical system is 100 volts at 50 Hz, but I'm not sure how that applies to this rope light kit, which is rated for (according to the instructions) 120V, 60Hz, and 100 mA. Does the low current/wattage (12 watts) mean it will work anyway, due to some transformer inside, or is it just not going to be compatible?
posted by Maximian to Travel & Transportation around Tokyo, Japan (3 answers total)
It's hard to judge exactly without having the unit in hand.

Lights like that will either work directly from AC, using diode rectifiers and perhaps some capacitors (although perhaps not, as the 60 Hz AC will flicker faster than the human eye can perceive) or use a standalone AC - DC power supply. The level of sophistication of the electronics varies quite a lot across different models of lights.

If a transformer is used, running it at a lower frequency would lead to lower efficiency (greater heat output) and potentially could damage it. This again depends on the design of the lights.

If the lights operate at a lower voltage (eg 12V) and have a stand alone power supply which outputs this voltage then you might be able to source a more suitable DC power supply to provide this.

Ultimately it's very hard to judge without looking at the exact light design whether it would work, and given that you're dealing with mains voltages my advice would be not to try. LED rope lights are fairly ubiquitous - it's probably fairly easy to source them locally.
posted by leo_r at 3:43 PM on July 2, 2014

leo_r: "LED rope lights are fairly ubiquitous - it's probably fairly easy to source them locally."

Easy, perhaps, but expensive. Checking amazon.co.jp, 6m LED light ropes run between $83 US and $118 US, and, from my experience, prices around town will be either around the same as amazon or more expensive (ranging to much, much more expensive).
posted by Bugbread at 5:00 PM on July 2, 2014

The unit doesn't appear to have a separate transformer ("wall wart"); it just plugs directly into the wall, if that information helps at all.
posted by Maximian at 11:24 AM on July 3, 2014

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