Step Up Converter Questions


Mayor of Southtown, ,
20 Year Member
Dec 26, 2000
Hey guys,

Random question, and not arcade related, but I really trust our techs here and I know if anyone would have a good answer for this, it's the NG tech crew.

OK, I have a pretty uncommon piece of old music equipment, a Waldorf Microwave I, that is a 220V/50Hz spec model. These things came out in 1989, run at a meager 23W, but sadly have an internal transformer that is not switchable to 110v/60hz.

I'm contemplating having this transformer rebuilt for US use, or just leaving the machine as-is and running it on a step-up transformer.

Problem is, that damn 50Hz. I know I can go all out and get something like a GOHz box that would do the frequency and voltage conversion, but that's pushing a grand and for only one piece of 220V gear in my possession, it's a ridiculous over-solving of the problem.

I could also go the two-step conversion of 120v/60hz to 12V DC and then 12V back to 220V/50Hz, but having two boxes between this synth and the wall seems like I'm opening myself up to potential ground loops or other interference. Plus, I've yet to find a good solution that goes straight one into another without a large 12V battery hooked up in-between, which seems asinine.

Of course, the most cost effective option is to just use a 120v to 220v step up transformer and ignore the 60Hz, but I worry about this older piece of gear being able to take that higher frequency long term, and potentially doing damage to a hard to repair/hard to replace item.

And... Lastly, just going to a tech local and hoping they can replace the internals with something that will work here. Seems like it might be the best and safest option over all, but this unit is in such nice shape I almost worry about it going to a tech for conversion and having something else happen to it while there... I've heard some horror stories, and unless I get incredibly lucky, I have to hunt down a tech that is willing to build a new transformer basically from scratch to get this to work.

So, long post summed up: Would you worry about the frequency difference on an older piece of gear when used with a good-quality step up transformer? I know newer tech wouldn't even flinch, but the vintage nature worries me. What do you think?