Recommend a *specific Brand / Model* 120V to 100V Step Down Transformer

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by VinylAddict, Nov 6, 2017.

  1. VinylAddict

    VinylAddict Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Arizona
    Hello - this is my first post on the forum. I have been perusing this forum for years, and now that I have a request that I am not having much luck with researching online,, I figure it was time to join!! Great forum, I have relied on the valuable information here many times.

    Formalities aside ;-) - I recently purchased a Yamaha GT-2000L which is in the process of being packaged / shipped. Of course, these are made for the Japanese market and are 100V. All my current turntables / gear is 120V and made for the US market, and have never purchased any 100V items before, and never had a need for a step down transformer.

    On that note - can you recommend a *specific* brand / model Step Down Transformer that you use? It would be nice, but not required, to be able to plug more than one TT into one transformer, or having a transformer with multiple outputs. (I am also looking to purchase a Kenwood KP-9010 in the near future).

    I figured from my reading that a 50W to 100W unit would be plenty - the Yamaha GT-2000 are fairly low wattage (as low as 7w), and the "rule of thumb" of getting a transformer that is 4x the wattage of the device is what I am applying. Not the KP-9010 is near 15W, so if I were to get a transformer with multiple outputs, a 100W for both the Yamaha and Kenwood would hopefully be sufficient.

    I also would like to stay in the $50 -$75 range... I have heard from most discussions you don't have to break the bank, and there are plenty of good ones in that range. If you have one cheaper and like it, then definitely let's hear that too! Or if you feel I am not spending enough and require more $$, that works too! The more input the better, in the audio world there is always something for everyone's needs and budget, as we know.

    I did a lot of searching online, most discussions are pertaining to whether it is needed or not, but I rarely found discussions that were focused on specific brands and models. Then, on sites with product reviews like Amazon, many transformers did not have stellar reviews... in fact finding reviews in the 3 star range were common. Additionally, many are way more wattage (and weight) than I require.

    Note I am not looking for discussion / advice as to whether a step down is required, how it works, etc. I am going to use one.

    Thanks in advance for your reply.
     
  2. VinylAddict

    VinylAddict Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Arizona
    Correction to my post above - the GT-2000L is 12 W, the GT-2000 (no L) is 7w. I think having the YAL auto lifter is the main reason for the higher wattage in the L model. That is really the main difference between the two models.

    And yes, the correction does serve as a "bump" :). Anyone? Nobody owns a Step Down Transformer???
     
  3. harby

    harby Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR, USA
    I have a big 7.5A variac that's semi-permanently dialed to 100V (the knob shaft seized up but the cover can be removed and the brushes rotated by hand. If you can get one used for the price you are expecting to pay, it will have more uses, such as powering up equipment under test, or making the "brown sound" out of a tube guitar amp.
     
  4. VinylAddict

    VinylAddict Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Arizona
    Thanks for that harby. That would definitely do the job, and more!

    If I wanted to go with just one outlet, looks like this one would do the job... 3PN221B and 3PN501B Portable Variac Variable Transformer

    I wonder if it is OK to put a 2 - 3 outlet pigtail / power bar into the one output receptacle to run more than one device?

    They are a little spendy though, even this lower-spec'd model is $350 plus retail, and nothing really cheaper on the bay. The one you included in your link would be more at home in my woodshop than in the HT room (aka living room).... but hey, I have a TT in the woodshop too... (yes, my woodshop has very good dust collection and air handling... it stays very clean).

    Thanks for sharing...
     
  5. Davey

    Davey very clever with maracas

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    That Yamaha GT-2000 is one super table, they don't come around very cheap anymore, hope it gets to you safely and works to perfection, they didn't get much better back in those days. We were talking about some other nice Japanese tables and step down transformers in another recent thread ... Question about my new Kenwood KP 990 turntable...
     
  6. VinylAddict

    VinylAddict Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Arizona
    Davey - (OT) yes, I did a lot of researching, and soul searching to finally pull the trigger on the GT-2000. (the "Are we living dangerously" thread resonates in my mind).

    I was 100% sure two days ago I was going to purchase the 9010 first, but a friend of mine who runs an audio store back east convinced me to give the GT-2000 a whirl. He owns both... and a GT2000x, an L-07d, a P3a, a QL10 and QL-A95 and about 15 other TT's... so he is a good resource.

    He tried to sell me his GT-2000 (non-L) with YAL, but besides wanting too much, once I saw the L model, and being a woodworker, I was turned on by the beauty of the wood base. He bought all of his TT's from Japan, like I did with the 2000L, and has some great contacts.

    And yes, I am on pins and needles waiting for it. Good news is the firm I bought mine from has a legendary reputation for packaging, and many years of good service to the US on similar purchases. I did not want to risk any other method, and between you and me, I just couldn't support one of the "fee happy" firms that sticks everything to the buyer.... no names mentioned on purpose.

    Back on topic ;-) The VT-100J you mentioned, yes I saw those, in fact this VT model is more for European to US (120V to 220V). But the VC-100 model is the Japan to US 100V to 120v. I didn't settle on those for a couple of reasons - the $25.99 price tag made me think am I spending enough, and there just were not enough reviews.... but that is why I started this thread, because price and reviews are not the end all be all.... sometimes the reviewers could be trying to power some inefficient, ill behaved hair dryer... where it might be completely sufficient for a TT.

    Thanks for that though.... I am still a little surprised at the lack of product recommendations on this topic around the web.... lots of discussions verifying you need it, people use them, but little on actually which product.

    I just sent a note about 15 min ago to the friend who runs the audio store back east, he promised to send the name of the one he uses when he gets home. He said something about "it was a red one on Amazon, I think I spent like $70 bucks" I will definitely share what he comes back with, he kinda knows a little about this area and with all those 100V Japan model DD's he has been using more than one type for quite some time.

    By the way, for some reason I still need to try a 9010 too... what's wrong with me? I already own two SL-1200's (m3d and Mkii), an SL-1600, an SL-1700, an AT-1240LP and an old Technics SL-J2 I bought way back in the 80's. Guess who is going to be culling some TT's in the next year! But I look at the 9010 and 2000 as the next rung of the ladder past the stock SL-1200. (notice I said "stock" SL-1200 lovers.... I love 'em too, just don't want to pony up and mod them - by the time I would be done, I could have bought 2/3rds of a 9010).

    By the way, the 2000 I bought is one owner, 100% original, dust cover included, complete with some micro scratching on the lid. No worries, I have a baldor buffer in the woodshop for the outside and a Metabo variable speed die grinder for the inside, and have turned a few 6 out of 10 covers into 9 0ut of 10. The last stretch is more hand rubbing anyway.

    Mine has not been recapped or anything... which I am always on the fence about. He scoped it, it shows good waveform.... but I am definitely going to take a look at the caps when it comes in. Good news is the 2000 board access (and recapping) is quite simple... but I am not going to do ANYTHING unless something looks suspect. I am of the camp with these high end DD's "if it ain't broke" but that is a very hotly debated topic... my audio store friend is of the opinion DON'T touch it unless it fails... but others say that's too late... especially with Denon's and the potential impact to the microprocessors if a cap goes bang.

    I have also been chatting with a guy in TX who restores Denon's, and has restored 2000's in the past (some of you know who I am talking about), and he is of the camp "change the caps immediately". So he is a great resource if I ever need to pick his brain. He has done a fair number of TT's and seems to know his stuff.

    By the way, the Japanese fellow who I was working with where I bought my 2000L also says "leave it alone" His techs only recap when they come in not working, or show signs of problems when scoped. Whatever that is worth.... (to me a lot).

    <dang, fell way off topic, and got long winded to boot LOL>

    Hey, maybe its a good idea to shoot the Japanese gentleman a note and get his advice on a brand / model of a Step Down too... if he knows. Then I can reply to my own thread... I seem to be doing a good job of that anyway!

    Thanks everyone so far for the responses.
     
    Davey likes this.
  7. Cockroach

    Cockroach Member

    Location:
    Visalia, CA
    I'm not sure a step-d0wn transformer is needed. But you've already made your mind up there. What I'd be more concerned about, however, is accounting for the frequency difference, which will affect any turntable that doesn't have provisions for that. Japan uses 50Hz, and the US uses 60Hz.
     
  8. VinylAddict

    VinylAddict Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Arizona
    The Japan model TT's are designed to run on 50 /60 Hz both - it's right on the label. Either works. (check the back of the TT on the label for virtually every Japan TT)
     
  9. Steve G

    Steve G Forum Resident

    Location:
    los angeles
    okay I gotta ask - 50hz is 100v AC and 60hz is 120v AC, sooooooo..... why do you need the step down transformer if it works at 60hz? Or am I completely out to lunch?
     
  10. jea48

    jea48 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Midwest, USA
    I can see why it would be.
    Electricity in Japan
     
  11. jea48

    jea48 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Midwest, USA
  12. VinylAddict

    VinylAddict Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Arizona
    Start here:
    What is relation between frequency and voltage?

    I am in the middle of my evening margarita and listening to Miles and watching hockey ;-) so being lazy and pasting links. Plus, not being an electrical engineer I might not explain it well. There is a lot of info on the web that tries to explain what you are looking for... I am not going to pretend I am the expert in this field.
     
  13. VinylAddict

    VinylAddict Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Arizona
    Thank you. Isn't 500w complete and utter overkill for a 12w turntable though? Nothing wrong with overkill though....

    Plus, are you recommending as someone who uses it for this application, and it has worked well for you?
     
  14. Cockroach

    Cockroach Member

    Location:
    Visalia, CA
    There's no correlation between AC voltage and frequency. Most of the world uses 220 to 240VAC at 50Hz. The step-down transformer is generally needed to prevent the possibility of the higher voltage burning out the lower voltage-rated components, not to compensate for frequency.

    I had forgotten that Japan uses both, depending on where you are. When I was stationed in Northern Japan, we used 50Hz. All of our US-purchased electronics worked as-is except for digital clocks, and our microwave ran at a lower power (and slower clock).
     
  15. harby

    harby Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR, USA
    There's plenty of cheaper on eBay. From ones from the 50's to new made in China, they all have a similar look, the big knob and round housing.

    Better overrated than underrated. These are something to put far away from the turntable (and out of sight), since the transformer will produce a magnetic field (but a small one at small currents). You can also dial in your 100v or whatever you think is going to work best, and check AC voltage with a multimeter.
     
  16. Steve G

    Steve G Forum Resident

    Location:
    los angeles
    Thanks for that - I've had the wrong info all my life - I just thought it was 1/2 of the voltage!
     
  17. VinylAddict

    VinylAddict Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Arizona
    Harby - I was referring to $350 for the particular model I posted a link to. I know there are many other models for different price points...

    If it is not too much trouble, could you post a link or two to ones you think hit acceptable wattage (to a point I don't need 1000W), and decent price point (<$125 perhaps). I just don't know much about the Variac types that well... thanks in advance. If $125 doesn't get me anything good for this type, I will probably look for something else... mainly because there are plenty of solutions that will do the job just fine for under $75... I just don't have experience enough to know which ones are betters than others though.

    So far I think you are the only one that shared a solution they actually used and had experience with, thanks for that. That goes for everywhere, on the forums I rarely see anyone saying what model they use(d).
     
  18. jea48

    jea48 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Midwest, USA


    A variac transformer is just a variable auto-transformer. Not sure why you would want to spend the extra money.

    The turntable you are buying may only consume 12 watts but because the load is a motor I would figure at least 5 times the 12 watts for starting the motor to get the platter up to speed, just to be on the safe side.

    Other examples of 120V to 100V converters.
    Power Converter - Step Up/Down Japan Transformers

    The 500 watt converter link I supplied was only meant as an example.
    When looking for a converter you might want to make sure it is 120V to 100V. More than likely your mains power voltage at your wall receptacle outlet is 120V to 123V. I noticed a lot of the converters are 110V to 100V.
    100V x 5% (over-voltage) = 105V.
    100V x 10% (which would be the max over-voltage I would go) = 110V.

    As for my experience installing buck/boost auto-transformers I have installed, hard wired, many in past years. Single phase as well as for 3 phase applications.

    Jim
     
  19. VinylAddict

    VinylAddict Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Arizona
    Thanks Jim. I have lots of examples - I am not having much trouble finding examples, but more looking for recommendations from direct experience and what worked well for other audiophiles to save me weeding through a web-full of examples and reviews that still have me asking the question "ok, what do I really need to spend, which one is the sweet spot for price to value for the application of driving a (high end) DD turntable"

    On that vane,can you share a link, or a brand / model of one that you have specifically used for TT's? Sounds like you have a lot of experience with these and that would help me tremendously.

    Thanks in advance Jim!
     
  20. VinylAddict

    VinylAddict Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Arizona
    Hi Jim - in addition to my last note - the transformers you included as examples above - these were the same ones discussed earlier in the thread. (have a look).

    I noted earlier in the thread that these get not so positive reviews on Amazon, and I balked because of that, but more importantly the price point has me questioning the level of quality. But I am not 100% sure, and if you use these, have used them and they are great, that would help put my mind at ease.

    Thanks for taking the time to share your knowledge on this... I still have not settled on any brand or type... but if these are "all I need" I am happy to spend $35 and not $135!
     
  21. harby

    harby Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR, USA
    For just powering a turntable motor, even a small Japanese travel converter would work fine. Used to have what was probably this exact model, but might have given it away, as I can't recall when I last saw it.

    $20 on eBay

    Japanese students seemed to have these little wall-wart sized adapters all the time, apparently much easier to find in Narita airport gift shops than on the Internet. Rarely needed for most devices, especially with most electronics these days using switch-mode power supplies that can run from 90V-250V. My Japanese IH micom rice cooker plugged into US power works fine, maybe even cooks faster.

    [​IMG]
     
  22. jea48

    jea48 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Midwest, USA

    I have not personally used one the converters shown in the website links. I can not recommend any of the Plug & Play voltage converters.

    You might check if you can buy one locally. Then you can have the sales person tell you about the ones he/she sells. One thing to check for is how loud is the buzz/hum of the transformer.

    Jim
     
  23. VinylAddict

    VinylAddict Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Arizona
    Thanks Jim. I have a couple of notes out now to a couple of reliable sources on this, after I was not getting a lot of ideas on this thread, I decided to hit up some folks I know who are very active on the audio front... thanks for sharing the info.
     
  24. VinylAddict

    VinylAddict Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Arizona
    After much deliberation, more research, asking some who are smarter than me.... I am strongly considering this one:

    300 Tru-Watts™ 115 Volts to 100 Volts Step Down Transformer - Use 100-Volt Japanese Electrical Devices in USA/Canada – AJD-300

    Over what I thought I would spend, but it is very high quality and comes highly recommended. Made in USA. Plenty of headroom at 300 watts.

    At the end of the day if I was powering a $250 TT, I would not spend this much and the VC-100J might be all I needed. But since I will be powering a much higher end unit, I am going to spend up for a better insurance policy!!! YMMV.

    Thanks all for the responses.
     
    jea48 likes this.
  25. jea48

    jea48 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Midwest, USA
    If your mains voltage is 120V then the output of the 115V to 100V transformer will be slightly higher than 100V. You should still be fine. Most manufacture's equipment voltage rating is + or - 10%.
     
    VinylAddict likes this.

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