Will this temperature controller work in North America?
August 13, 2014 10:37 AM   Subscribe

I need to purchase a few temperature controllers; I'm interested in this one but I'm not sure if it will work in North America without blowing up or melting something or other adverse and undesirable things.

I had previously ordered this one and am using it right now; it works fine, but it's out of stock, permanently. It looks similar enough to make me want to try it, but not at the expense of burning my house down.

So, will the first device work if plugged into a regular ol' power strip?

(The device it's controlling is this, in various sizes, but no more than 24 watts - if it matters.)
posted by Nyx to Grab Bag (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It says it has a 220 V input and output; standard US line voltage is 110-120 V. This means that it will draw more current than it was designed for in order to achieve the same power. If you're only operating a 24 W heater, you should only be drawing a couple hundred milliamps, well below the 10 A specification of that controller. If you do draw more than the limit, it would hopefully throw a fuse in the controller.

That said, I probably wouldn't risk it. That thing looks iffy as hell. Type A plug on one end and universal adapter on the other without voltage switching capability? I'm betting it's not UL listed...
posted by mr_roboto at 11:40 AM on August 13, 2014

This unit uses 220v for both the internal power supply and for the output power, so if you try to use 120v it will probably not power up correctly. It is probably not worth trying to make it work. There seem to be aquarium heater controllers like this one:


That looks like a better way to go.
posted by H21 at 12:17 PM on August 13, 2014

That looks sketch as hell, but so does the one you were using. It's very hard to say wheather it will work but considering the price it seems like a chep experiment. So, go ahead and buy it and keep an eye on it for the first few hours you are using it.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 12:19 PM on August 13, 2014

The device isn't big enough or expensive enough to be a transformer, so if you put in 110V, it'll put out 110V. There's just a thyristor-style device to either switch the AC on or off through the device - I highly doubt it can actually do voltage translation.

Although listed as out of spec, I would say with rather high confidence that the device in question will operate successfully. Note that the device includes US power plugs on the input and output. The innards of the device are almost definitely low-voltage DC; effectively no one makes low-voltage DC power supplies that only work with one voltage point since it is so easy to make them compatible with 110V or 220V (note, this is why all of your home electronics are generally dual-voltage). So, I suspect the device will power up and will switch AC. At the very worst, the device will get a bit hot and stop working after a few months/years - it won't burn your house down.

For what it's worth, I am an electrical engineer, but power engineering is not my area of expertise.
posted by saeculorum at 1:05 PM on August 13, 2014

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