Stepup Transformer with Tascam

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Stepup Transformer with Tascam

Post by deepblackjoe@gmail.com » Fri Jul 03, 2020 6:55 pm

Hey all, I just got a tascam244 cassette 4track used from Sweden, and got a stepup that says 220 v but I measured 240 v coming out. I live in USA. Is it a bad idea to try to use this? The sticker says it's expecting 220. If it was a waffle iron I wouldn't worry but...

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Re: Stepup Transformer with Tascam

Post by KSS » Fri Jul 03, 2020 7:46 pm

Read the plate at the power entrance of the tascam. Depending on when it was made, it might have anything from 220 to 240VAC as max input.

Mains voltages have been steadily climbing in the USA over a long period of time. 110 was common, but now many-most have 120V at the outlet. Since the stepup transformer is a 1:2 winding, you're seeing 240.

It's probably okay, but the only real way to know is to ask Tascam or have someone with experience open it up and see where the mains goes, and what allowances-protections are built into the circuits inside. Without that, you're best answer is to trust the plate at its power entrance.

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Re: Stepup Transformer with Tascam

Post by deepblackjoe@gmail.com » Fri Jul 03, 2020 8:07 pm

Thanks for the breakdown. I checked the wall out of curiosity, 117. I should probably ask tascam or just return this transformer and get actual 220. I thought I'd be able to open and adjust it with a jumper or something because it says it'll do both, but the screws are glued in or something. Guess I'll have to wait till tomorrow, , it already took two months to get here stuck in customs. I'd be bummed if something happened now

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Re: Stepup Transformer with Tascam

Post by search64 » Sat Jul 04, 2020 12:39 am

European mains has been 230v for decades now. There’s a 10% tolerance, so 240 should be fine.

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Re: Stepup Transformer with Tascam

Post by Graham Hinton » Sat Jul 04, 2020 3:06 pm

search64 wrote:
Sat Jul 04, 2020 12:39 am
European mains has been 230v for decades now. There’s a 10% tolerance, so 240 should be fine.
Nobody in Europe has 230V mains, they just call it that on paper. European mains is a nominal 220V, UK Mains is 240V. Modern equipment should be able to handle both, older equipment (pre 1975) used multi-tapped transformers and a narrower range.

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Re: Stepup Transformer with Tascam

Post by search64 » Sat Jul 04, 2020 4:22 pm

Graham Hinton wrote:
Sat Jul 04, 2020 3:06 pm
search64 wrote:
Sat Jul 04, 2020 12:39 am
European mains has been 230v for decades now. There’s a 10% tolerance, so 240 should be fine.
Nobody in Europe has 230V mains, they just call it that on paper. European mains is a nominal 220V, UK Mains is 240V. Modern equipment should be able to handle both, older equipment (pre 1975) used multi-tapped transformers and a narrower range.
Tempted to show you I get 230 right now here in the Netherlands, but I’m in bed already.

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Re: Stepup Transformer with Tascam

Post by deepblackjoe@gmail.com » Sat Jul 04, 2020 5:15 pm

Does that mean I can go ahead and plug it in? It's from the early or mid 80's I think. I just don't want to fry anything. The fuse wouldn't help me right? I wonder if all those cheap transformers are just 240 with no way to switch.

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Re: Stepup Transformer with Tascam

Post by Graham Hinton » Sat Jul 04, 2020 6:33 pm

search64 wrote:
Sat Jul 04, 2020 4:22 pm
Tempted to show you I get 230 right now here in the Netherlands, but I’m in bed already.
What you have is 220V +4.5%. I have 252V which is 240V +5%.
Do you seriously think that all the national power companies changed all the voltages just because the EC wanted to call it 230V so that they could pretend that the EU was harmonised? It's exactly the same as it's always been. If you are at the start of a long distribution line you get a higher voltage than if you are at the end.
deepblackjoe wrote:Does that mean I can go ahead and plug it in? It's from the early or mid 80's I think. I just don't want to fry anything. The fuse wouldn't help me right?
It should do, that's what it's for. In that era Japanese manufacturers often dropped in a whole PSU for the world region it was being sold to. OTOH, have you had a look inside? There might be a changeover switch.
You should check with Tascam Service Dept. I'd be more concerned that it works on 60Hz instead of 50Hz.
I wonder if all those cheap transformers are just 240 with no way to switch.
Those step-up/step-down transformer are usually just double or half the input voltage. They are more likely to be an "auto-transformer" unless it says that it is isolating. If you want to alter mains voltages you need a device called a "Variac" of a rating greater than your load.

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Re: Stepup Transformer with Tascam

Post by search64 » Sun Jul 05, 2020 12:12 am

Graham Hinton wrote:
Sat Jul 04, 2020 6:33 pm
search64 wrote:
Sat Jul 04, 2020 4:22 pm
Tempted to show you I get 230 right now here in the Netherlands, but I’m in bed already.
What you have is 220V +4.5%. I have 252V which is 240V +5%.
Do you seriously think that all the national power companies changed all the voltages just because the EC wanted to call it 230V so that they could pretend that the EU was harmonised? It's exactly the same as it's always been. If you are at the start of a long distribution line you get a higher voltage than if you are at the end.
Well you did say “nobody gets 230v”. And being Dutch, I’m confident that they in fact did change the voltage they’re outputting.

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Re: Stepup Transformer with Tascam

Post by deepblackjoe@gmail.com » Sun Jul 05, 2020 3:24 am

Well I opened up the back of the machine and there is no changeover switch. Dammit. The sticker says 220 v 50 hz 30 watt. How does one go about converting the freq from 60 to 50? I looked around and saw only industrial application ($) type units. One smaller one came up that says it handles 50/60 "automatically". Hmm. What options exist for this predicament? Besides reselling... Really want to make this work

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Re: Stepup Transformer with Tascam

Post by deepblackjoe@gmail.com » Sun Jul 05, 2020 4:26 am

What about a pure sine inverter that takes 12 v DC and puts out 220 at 50hz? Any reason not to wire this up to a wall wart? I'm seeing more of this kind of thing.

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Re: Stepup Transformer with Tascam

Post by EATyourGUITAR » Sun Jul 05, 2020 7:56 am

I am not at the expert level that Mr Hinton is at but I have replaced transformers before. you need some specs from the old unit. if there is no way to rewire the existing transformer for your country, you can just replace it with the appropriate transformer. the clue is that you have way more than two wires for either your primary or your secondary coil. sometimes they are tucked away under the torroid, sometimes they are wired to voltage select switch. it may not be immediately obvious.
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Re: Stepup Transformer with Tascam

Post by Graham Hinton » Sun Jul 05, 2020 10:45 am

deepblackjoe@gmail.com wrote:
Sun Jul 05, 2020 3:24 am
Well I opened up the back of the machine and there is no changeover switch. Dammit. The sticker says 220 v 50 hz 30 watt. How does one go about converting the freq from 60 to 50?
Google "Tascam 244 Service Manual" there are several on line. This reveals that there were three models with different mains transformers: one for UK and Australia (240V, but with a 220V tap), one for North America (120V), and one for "General Export" which was switchable between 100V, 120V, 220V and 240V. I don't think that you need worry about the mains frequency now.

The transformers have three secondaries, two of which are centre tapped, so the only source of replacement would be a broken 244. I doubt if Tascam still support it and have spares, but there is no harm in asking. The PSU is several three terminal regulators, but I bet that heatsinking is minimal and running a 220V version on 240V will probably cause overheating, importantly there is no transformer protection if that occurs. If it was OK to run a 220V model on 240V they wouldn't have made three different custom transformers.

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Re: Stepup Transformer with Tascam

Post by deepblackjoe@gmail.com » Sun Jul 05, 2020 1:46 pm

Thanx for your insight Graham. I had a look at the service manual, and see there are five different transformers, uk, USA, Japan, Europe, and general export. Let's say I got a parts machine, which I am considering anyway; could the trans NOT be a drop-in replacement if there were differencs elsewhere? I don't see any multiple values in the parts list, but I'm unclear. A call to tascam tmrw I will make. I'm leaning toward converting, not 240, but maybe they will say to swap it, no difference. I must say those exploded view diagrams look pretty daunting, I wonder what degree of gutting it would take to swap.... Shouldn't lose sleep over it yet.

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Re: Stepup Transformer with Tascam

Post by EATyourGUITAR » Sun Jul 05, 2020 3:44 pm

deepblackjoe@gmail.com wrote:
Sun Jul 05, 2020 1:46 pm
Let's say I got a parts machine, which I am considering anyway; could the trans NOT be a drop-in replacement if there were differencs elsewhere?
in mass production, the goal is to use mass produced off the shelf interchangeable parts. although I have no specific information on your unit, I would gamble a guess that it is highly likely that everything after the transformer is the same. it is common however, when some parts become expensive or unnavailable, the manufacturing facility may actually use a different part number on newer units compared to older units. it could be a screw or a knob or some new brand of resistors that is really no different from the old one. rev 2 boards for any product are after they find a mistake or switch to different parts. the way these budgets work out, they rarely do minor improvements or changes for no reason. everything is cost justified or the result of some law.
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Re: Stepup Transformer with Tascam

Post by Graham Hinton » Tue Jul 07, 2020 10:26 am

deepblackjoe@gmail.com wrote:
Sun Jul 05, 2020 1:46 pm
I had a look at the service manual, and see there are five different transformers, uk, USA, Japan, Europe, and general export.
Looks like you found a different one from me, which tells us that it changed during its lifetime.
Let's say I got a parts machine, which I am considering anyway; could the trans NOT be a drop-in replacement if there were differencs elsewhere? I don't see any multiple values in the parts list, but I'm unclear.
My reading of the schematics shows that the transformer was the only difference. There were three different part numbers for the transformers in the one I found. https://tetrakansupermonobloc.home.blog ... ce-manual/
I wonder what degree of gutting it would take to swap.... Shouldn't lose sleep over it yet.
Well, you've got one there to look at. If it is not immediately obvious what is going to be involved then seek help.

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Re: Stepup Transformer with Tascam

Post by deepblackjoe@gmail.com » Thu Jul 16, 2020 12:11 pm

Well I ended up getting a supposed pure sine inverter that puts out 220 at 50 hz like the 244 wants, and hooked it up to a 12v wall wart. I check with the meter, 217 v. So I plug it in and turn it on, all the meters light up, counter at zero, but a very loud hum on the headphones. A look at the fine print in the manual reveals this is a modified sine inverter, not to be used with*acoustics*. Shut off immediately. Should I try another*pure sine inverter* that actually is? Finding and swapping the transformer would be best, I know, but I really want to use it. Am I risking serious damage by trying this? If I measure 220 with a pure sine it should be ok I thought, but maybe the pull on the inverter causes some strain on the machine I don't understand. Any thoughts?

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Re: Stepup Transformer with Tascam

Post by Graham Hinton » Thu Jul 16, 2020 2:53 pm

deepblackjoe@gmail.com wrote:
Thu Jul 16, 2020 12:11 pm
Well I ended up getting a supposed pure sine inverter that puts out 220 at 50 hz like the 244 wants, and hooked it up to a 12v wall wart. I check with the meter, 217 v. So I plug it in and turn it on, all the meters light up, counter at zero, but a very loud hum on the headphones. A look at the fine print in the manual reveals this is a modified sine inverter, not to be used with*acoustics*. Shut off immediately. Should I try another*pure sine inverter* that actually is? Finding and swapping the transformer would be best, I know, but I really want to use it. Am I risking serious damage by trying this? If I measure 220 with a pure sine it should be ok I thought, but maybe the pull on the inverter causes some strain on the machine I don't understand. Any thoughts?
It's probably not grounded. Is the wall wart two pin?

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Re: Stepup Transformer with Tascam

Post by deepblackjoe@gmail.com » Thu Jul 16, 2020 4:41 pm

Yes it is... Wonder if there's a way to make it possible

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Re: Stepup Transformer with Tascam

Post by deepblackjoe@gmail.com » Thu Jul 16, 2020 6:51 pm

Would a 3 prong 12 v wall wart help me? I failed to take this into consideration, as the 220 has two. I know this is unorthodox, but 220 is new to me

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Re: Stepup Transformer with Tascam

Post by XANi » Thu Jul 16, 2020 7:42 pm

deepblackjoe@gmail.com wrote:
Sun Jul 05, 2020 3:24 am
Well I opened up the back of the machine and there is no changeover switch. Dammit. The sticker says 220 v 50 hz 30 watt. How does one go about converting the freq from 60 to 50? I looked around and saw only industrial application ($) type units. One smaller one came up that says it handles 50/60 "automatically". Hmm. What options exist for this predicament? Besides reselling... Really want to make this work
Generally you don't. Transformer won't give a shit whether that's 50 or 60 Hz (maaybe heat a 1% more), the bridge rectifier and caps will actually filter higher frequency slightly better.

Only times where you would care is if device used the line frequency for something - like some clocks using line rate as source of clock ticks.

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