Can I use a US (110V) lighting fixture with a 240V mains supply?
May 15, 2016 10:34 PM   Subscribe

I recently bought this pendant light from the CB2 store here, which is having a closing down sale. Despite it being sold locally (Singapore), upon some inspection I've found that the light is likely to be the exact same model as the one sold in the US (i.e. only rated for US 110V, and not UK/Singapore 240V). The guy at the store said that I could connect it directly to the mains here, but I'm not too certain. Should I try to get it rewired?

I'm not an electrician, but I know high school physics and did some electrical work before. As far as I can tell, the light is basically nothing more than a fancy collection of wires, that will transmit electricity from the mains to my light bulb, which will be ones that are rated for use here. So, there is only one concern: Can the wire handle the different voltage?

Since the voltage here is higher, that means the current will be lower. But from what I've read, higher voltage means you need more insulation. Are the wires likely to be able to handle 240V? I'll probably be using low-power LED light bulbs (~2.5W), so the overall power draw will be pretty low. I'm not sure if that has any bearing on the voltage issue though.

Rewiring the light is probably possible, but kind of a hassle. I'm not sure if I can find an electrician here willing to do it, and how much they would charge. I could also just return the light and complain to CB2 about it, but we really do like it and would like to keep it if possible.
posted by destrius to Home & Garden (6 answers total)
Just make sure to use 240V bulbs. Your average light fixture wire is rated to 600V, so don't worry about it.
posted by ryanrs at 10:38 PM on May 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

Also, in the US, a large percentage of commercial lighting (think fluorescent fixtures in big office buildings) is 277V and they use the same wiring as 120V.

(277V is a the phase-to-neutral voltage of a 480V 3-phase electrical service, so it's really common in large buildings.)
posted by ryanrs at 10:47 PM on May 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

If you need more than one opinion, I agree with ryanrs, including the part about using the correct bulbs.
posted by Bruce H. at 11:36 PM on May 15, 2016

The wires aren't the problem, the bulbs are. If you're using 240V bulbs you're fine.
posted by Brockles at 5:55 AM on May 16, 2016

Alright, thanks guys! I checked the labeling on the wires and it seems they are rated for 300V, but that's still above 240V and so should be fine.
posted by destrius at 5:08 PM on May 16, 2016

Oops, you're right. I checked some wire datasheets, and lots of lamp cord type wire is 300V, not 600V. Still fine for 240 though.
posted by ryanrs at 10:54 PM on May 16, 2016

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