3rd world wiring question

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I am volunteering in the construction of a school for poor kids in peru. I have been asked to "fix" the wiring and I have had a bit of success. I am not an electrician but I have rewired an old home in the states working with 110. My initial question involves the difference between 110 and 220. My volt tester here reads 220 in regular type wall outlets. I thought 220 was used for large appliances which needed different outlets. But here everything appears to be 220. I know how to turn off the power, but is this 220 I should be very weary of? They are using very thin 2 strand wire without a ground wire. Thanks for any help
Mike
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That's the whole idea. The higher the voltage, the smaller the wire needed to transmit it. Saves lots on copper, but is considerably more dangerous. I don't know how it's done there, but it isn't necessarily two 120 volt legs, like we do in residential, commercial wiring in the U.S. , it may be one 240 volt leg and a neutral, so be especially careful of that. The electric service may be 440 volts cross phase
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220, and the likelihood of finding 440 is extremely rare. Would be good to have polarized and/or grounded outlets, butin many cases they are NOT provided for, or even available.
What type of plugs are used? Round pin? big/n/small round pin, rectangular or big/n/small rectangular?
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On 2/2/2009 4:43 PM rmpodmore spake thus:

You should know that much of the world uses 220 volts (nominal) for standard domestic electrical service.
No particular reason to be more wary of 240 than 120. You should, of course, be careful.
You ought to at least get ahold of a local electrician to find out what the basic ground rules (no pun intended) are: what the proper gauge wire is for what current capacity, local grounding practices, etc.
Their wire will probably be a smaller gauge than ours. Keep in mind that when you double the voltage, you halve the current (in amps) for the equivalent power (in watts, or volt-amps). So a circuit here that requires 20 amps at 120 volts may only require 10 amps at 240 volts there.
Would also be a good idea to visit local electrical suppliers to see what's available to you (assuming you don't have to travel to Lima to do this).
Please report your experiences back here; sounds interesting.
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On Mon, 02 Feb 2009 17:27:47 -0800, David Nebenzahl

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On 2/2/2009 5:40 PM metspitzer spake thus:

Not a good comparison. You don't need to be twice as carefu around 240 volts than 120. I've been shocked with 277 volts and lived to tell about it; not an experience I'd want to repeat, but I'm still here.
On the other hand, I'd say it's probably much more than twice as dangerous driving 240 as it is driving 120.
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On Mon, 02 Feb 2009 17:55:14 -0800, David Nebenzahl

And that depends what you are driving and where. A nascar racer on a highbank oval at 240 is not twice as dangerous as the same car on the same tracl at 120. (at 120 you're liable to be run over)

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On Mon, 02 Feb 2009 17:55:14 -0800, David Nebenzahl

I've been shocked by 2000 volts and I'm still here too, but your and my good luck doesn't mean that 240 isn't a lot more dangerous than 120.
It is, and he should be about 10 times as careful, because his odds of dying are about 10 times as high.
Keep one hand in your pocket, OP. Maybe you can get a wire with an alligator clip at both ends so you can attach the first test lead, and then you'll only need one hand to position the second. I was being careful working on a tv when I got that 2000 volt shock (probably far less amperage available than in the houses you're working on), and I never did notice myself touching anything I shouldn't have. Maybe the probe or my hand slipped. I was kneeling. Don't be standing in an awkard way that could cause you to move.
But 240 is used in all of Europe and I think more than half of the rest of the world. People work with it all the time. But 110 is not a shortcoming. Workers like it because it is safer for them.

That too.
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wrote:

than 220. When you grab a 110 wire, you tend to "clench" and hang on - NOT GOOD, while when you grab 220 it tends to "throw" you. You cannot hang on. There is a point, might be 440, that gives the "clench" reaction again - - - -
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On Mon, 02 Feb 2009 17:27:47 -0800, David Nebenzahl

Quite likely "ring wired" too, like our old knob and tube (circuits fed from both ends) meaning the wire CAN be even lighter than that.
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Uhhh, yeaaaa. Ever seen some of the locals in places?
    http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=kb2f7&s=5

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*It is quite possible that their normal power for everyday use is 220 volts and yes you should be careful when working with it. I am not familiar with that country's standard and approved wiring methods so I cannot offer any advice. If you can, post some pictures so we can see what you are talking about.
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On 2/2/2009 5:34 PM John Grabowski spake thus:

>

I'm really surprised that people don't realize that most of the world (outside the US, Canada, Japan and parts of South America) uses 220/230/240 as the standard instead of 110/120. Seems like a peculiarly American shortcoming.
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Kinda like the inches, feet, yards, miles thing.
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That's the kind of thing that would really make me nervous. I'm curious if it's two legs of 110 VAC to ground, or one leg of 220. Lack of ground wire is worrisome. That's the lack of safety that kills people. Good luck. I sense you are a kind person, and your heart is in the right place. Please keep in contact through the mailing list, and let us know how things work out.
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On Mon, 2 Feb 2009 21:59:38 -0500, "Stormin Mormon"

Peru is strange, guys. Parts of the country are 110/220, while other parts are 220., and some 220 areas are 50hz while others are 60Hz. If it is a 2 round pin connector it is straight 220, while 110/220 uses the parallel blade like USA.
If he is in the Talara region it is 110/220, and in the Arquipa area it is 220 50Hz Talara is in the northwest. Arequipa is in the south. The rest of the country is basically 220 60hz
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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

A function of which country was providing the development aid no doubt...
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Thank you for all the info. I have never used google groups before so I hope I am replying to everyone. The outlets here in northern Peru receive rectangular blades, my camera charger from the US fits into them. I will try to take some photos and send them along tomorrow. All of the wire in the school is exposed. It just runs around the tops of the walls. No use of wire nuts here, just electrical tape...and sometimes just scotch tape. no use of grounds anywhere.
mike
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

If you've got the time, inclination, tools, and parts... rip it all out and do it right. Your work might serve as an inspiration to others (or snickers about the crazy Gringo).
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On 2/3/2009 3:35 PM HeyBub spake thus:

I wouldn't.
Look at it this way: what you found there is probably typical of the way wiring is done in a good part of the country. So who are you to try to buck all that?
What would be reasonable to do would be to do the wiring that's needed and make it safer than the existing wiring: use wire nuts instead of just tape (and use tape too, but real electrical tape). Forget grounding. Check your work before powering on, make sure it's secured to the walls properly, and you'll have done a good job.
No need to try to impose gringo values on them.
By the way: you may think you're accessing this newsgroup through Google Groups, but you're actually posting to something called Usenet that predates Google by decades, going back almost to the original ARPANET. And keep in mind that Google has messed things up with their shitty implementation, not to mention all the spam here that's posted through their "portal".
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