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Thread: [OT] Unstable firewire hard drives performance in 220 volts countries

  1. #1

    Default [OT] Unstable firewire hard drives performance in 220 volts countries

    Over the years, I often travel back and forth to the US, Asia and Europe with my MacBook Pro and external firewire hard drives, which were purchased in the USA. While in Europe or Asia, which generally runs on ~220 volts, I've had several experiences whenever I daisy chained more than 1 external firewire hard drive to my laptop, either the connection was very unstable, resulting in drives randomly unmounting; or my current dilemma where the 2nd drive is not mounting at all. I never experience these issues at all while I'm in the US. My guess is that the difference in voltage (110 vs. 220) or cycles (60 Hz vs. 50 Hz) is affecting the drives somehow. I have experienced this with G-drives, and the Newertech Voyager Q and Wiebetech Traydock which are well built, reliable enclosures. I pair the enclosures with Seagate or Hitachi drives. All the enclosures' AC adapters specifically state that they're rated for 100-240 volts. I thought hooking all my drives to a 2000 watt voltage transformer would solve the problem but it didn't. Using 1 firewire drive is not a problem, but the daisy chaining seems problematic. The dilemma is I MUST daisy chain the drives for backup purposes and just for general data wrangling. Plus my MacBook Pro only has 1 firewire port. My laptop and firewire port is not the problem, as I've upgraded several times over the years. The reason I'm posting on this forum is I'm assuming there are many FCP editors out there who travel and use American drives in 220 volts countries.

    My questions are:

    1. Has anyone else ever experienced USA drives acting funky in 220 volts countries? I've heard some ProTools users have to be more careful about this, perhaps because of the cycles difference.
    2. Anyone have an idea for a solution to this problem?

    Thanks so much,
    HL

    PS. On perhaps a related note, when I plug my MacBook Pro into a 220 volts outlet and lay my wrists below the keyboard, there is a current or vibration that I do not feel when I'm in the US.

  2. #2
    Expert BenB's Avatar
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    You can potentially damage your electronic equipment doing that. There are adapters you can get for this purpose. Web searches should point you to them easily.
    Digital Media Instructor for
    Louisiana State University & Delgado College

  3. #3

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    Do you mean transformers? Adapters are just for altering the plug shape. As I stated, the power bricks state they are compatible with 100-240v, so I'm following what the specs recommend.

  4. #4
    Expert BenB's Avatar
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    Running 60Hz equipment on 50Hz power sources can potentially damage the equipment.
    Digital Media Instructor for
    Louisiana State University & Delgado College

  5. #5

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    Thx BenB. So I'm wondering then why are these adapters capable of world voltage 100-240 volts, if the cycles will negatively affect the drive? As far as I know, I haven't seen a transformer that also converts cycles, only the voltage

  6. #6
    Expert BenB's Avatar
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    They should be converting cycles, too. If they are labeled as international converters, and list US, UK, you're ok.
    Digital Media Instructor for
    Louisiana State University & Delgado College

  7. #7

    Default Transformers don't convert cycles

    http://voltageconverters.com/faq.htm

    According to the above website:

    Do voltage converters convert the cycle (Hz)?

    All voltage converters only convert the voltage and not the cycle, however most appliances and electronics will function properly with them.
    North American 110-120 volt electricity is generated at 60 Hz. (Cycles) Alternating Current. Most foreign 220-240 volt electricity is generated at 50 Hz. (Cycles) Alternating Current. This difference in cycles may cause the motor in your 60 Hz. North American appliance to operate slightly slower when used on 50 Hz. foreign electricity. This cycle difference will also cause analog clocks and timing circuits that use Alternating Current as a timing base to keep incorrect time. Most modern electronic equipment including battery chargers, computers, printers, stereos, tape and CD players, VCR/DVD players, etc. will not be affected by the difference in cycles.

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