Moving from Canada to the UK...what to upgrade

Posted on 1998-03-24
Last Modified: 2011-09-20
I have just purchased a fully loaded Intel P200MMX complete with 24X CDROM,
17" monitor
32 MB RAM (72 Pin SIMMS)
ATI s3Virge (Rage II) Video card 4MB RAM (VRAM?)
16 Bit Sound Blaster
3Com/USR X2 56K modem
HP 600C Colour deskjet printer
mother board is TX chipset
3.2 GB HD
plus 1.08 GB HD

I am about to be transferred from Canada to Bristol, England.  Here in Canada voltage is 120, AC, single phase?, #cycles?, and not sure of amperage.

But in the UK, they've got 240 Volts, AC single phase, 50 cycles (Hz)...plugs of 3 pin, 5 and 13 Amps.

So how and what need fixing?  Can I use adapters or will I need new power supplies?  For which?  I know BT does not support X2 technology for modems...does anyone (in Bristol)?  Or is telephony data exchange different altogether?

Please check through my list of componenets and let me know what needs to be done (if anything) with each.

Question by:jtrifts
LVL 27

Expert Comment

ID: 1018749
There are a few items to consider.
1. You do not need to worry about the current. It will take care of itself.
2. You need worry only about the power supplies in the computer, the monitor, and the printer. If the power supplies work, so will the rest of your stuff.
3. Many power supplies can be switched to work on 240. You must ask the people from which you bought your equipment  how to switch to the higher voltage.
4. You can leave the power supplies alone and get a voltage conversion transformer to step the voltage down from 240 to 110. Get a transformer type voltage converter. It must have a transformer. It should have a rating of about 250 watts (or add up the watts of all your equipment). The size will be about 1/2 cubic foot. It will weigh several pounds. $50 is almost too much to pay for one.
4. You will need new plugs for your equipment if you switch the power supplies. Wait until you get there before doing it. There are two types, a small one and a big one. Get the kind that fits the sockets in the room where you set up the equipment. Either kind will work.  If you do not feel competent to do it, an elecrical shop will do it for a reasonable charge and advise you of the alternatives.
5. If you go the transformer route, take along a Canadian type power strip so you can use the plugs that are already on your equipment. You will have to get a British plug put on the end that goes into your house wireing. If you get the transformer on this side of the Atlantic you will be able to pug the power strip into the transformer. You will be able to get the confversion transformer in Britain, bur you might have to look for it a bit. They will supply the right plugs.
6. If your telephone line does not support the highest modem speed, the modem will automatically use a lower speed. Check with AOL here. They may have some suggestions. You will probably have to get phone line adaptors for it but that will not be much trouble. See the phone company there.

Author Comment

ID: 1018750

I will be giving you the points...but have reopened because I would like some clarifications (right now you deserve a B but with the clarification, you can repost and I'll give you the A)

If I bring along a power bar, and purchase a step down transformer when I get there, I shouldn't have any problems...I follow you there...but as far as the modem is concerned:
Since I use X2 and British Telecom only supports Rockwell's K56flex:
a) will my modem work at all?; or
b) it will work, but only at 33.6 Kbps?; or
c) it will work, but only at 28.8 Kbps.

How sure are you of this?...someone I was talking to noted that the actual communication technologuy is different (he listed out a couple of Acronyms which I promptly forgot) noting that the actual data would not be understood.  Now this sounds odd considering the fact that I can communicate by telephone, internet, etc anywhere in the world...but perhaps my NBTel is doing some sort of translation for me...I've no clue here.

And one other thing that I hadn't thought far as my speakers are concerned (I've got several pairs around the room)...I should just be able to get a normal adapter(s) with appropriate voltage right?

Cheers, I appreciate your help.

LVL 27

Accepted Solution

aburr earned 100 total points
ID: 1018751
I think that yur modem will work at 33.6 with another 33.6 modem. it will work at 28.8 with another 28.8. If the tele line is noisy , the modem will step down in speed untill the data can be exchanged. I am not absolutely sure that this is the case.
speakers. Do you speakers plug into the AC line now? Most do not. They just plug in to the computer and will work normally if the computer is working. If the speakers plug in to the AC line it is unlikely that their power supplies can be switched to 240. Use the step down transformer on them.
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Expert Comment

ID: 1018752
Just an addendum to what's been said:
Your modem should work just fine in the UK, it all depends on what ISP you choose, a friend of mine bought a USRx2 modem and it works fine there(of course he bought it here in the US) I don't know about the phone connections, but they should be the same for Canada and US and therefor UK. Make sure that your Voltage stepper also modify's the frequency from 60 to 50hz, this shouldn't be too much of a concern as the the output to your computer will be DC, and not AC, however for anything else you bring over, such as your monitor, this could really make things screwy.
And there is only one type of socket (3 pin with rectangular pins) about 25 years ago there was another type which used round pis, but you'd be very, very hard pressed to find somewhere which has that sort of socket. (unless of course you consider the socket for electric razors, then there's two, but I don't think you'll set up your computer beside the sink in the bathroom.)
For anything which takes like a 12vDC input just buy new adapters when your they're you should be able to pick em up for about five quid or so, and they usually come with 6 adapter heads for different uses...

have fun, it's a nice country....

Author Comment

ID: 1018753
Thanks all.  Well covered.

(BTW all my sets of speakers have built in amplifiers and as such require a power source (we're taling high quality stereo surround here)

Look forward to getting back to EE when I get there.


Expert Comment

ID: 1018754
need an adaptor for the modem to! Adaptors different. 5 Amp fuses all round. I would just rewire into a british plug itll be easier! Also PSU should have a 240 switch on the back. A new PSU is cheaper than a step down transformer.


Author Comment

ID: 1018755
Yes, an adapter for the modem would be necessary, but I don't think I need one as you describe sico.  Since my modem is internal, it derives it's power from the motherboard, not from an external power supply.

However, the actual connections for phone jacks are different in I'll have to see if I can find some sort of adaptor there.  But so far, I haven't been able to find out if that's available (or if there are any ISPs with X2 far everything I've found in Bristol, UK uses K56Flex.



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