I just purchased an old laser disc player. On the back I can set the
voltage for 110, 120, 220 or 240. Should I set this to 110 or 120. I
would have thought 120 but the previous owner had it on 110v?
I've never seen a selection for 110 or 120 before in my life???
The US line voltage is 120V. Sometimes it drops a few volts due to heavy
load and long/thin cables. If you have a multimeter or other means to
measure the line voltage, then the answer is obvious. If you don't, then buy
a multimeter or a "kill-a-watt" device (measures wattage, voltage, and
I would set the player to 120V. If it works fine, then leave it. If there is
intermittent problem (unlikely), then try 110V.
Probably either one would work fine.
In fact, there may be no electrical difference between the 110V and 120V
setting. The voltage regulator inside the laserdisc player would compensate
for the slight difference between the input voltage and the expected input
That's "kind of" what I was thinking but I can't see why they would
actually let you choose (between 110 and 120) unless is there a
country that uses 110v as house voltage? As I said it just seems odd
to say the least. But for the record - 120v setting works fine.
I always called it 120v because as you mentioned if you put a volt
meter in an outlet you get about 118v or 119v but my grandfather from
"the olden days" always referred to it as 110v as many people did back
then so it seems.
Probably blame Thomas Edison? The USA had to use 60 to catch up!
Joking aside I was once in lodgings in an older part of the UK where
the supply was 230 volts DC! The landlady persisted in saying "Oh yes
it's ACDC electricity".
Also all the the voltages are 'nominal'!
Here in this part of North America, for example, at this time of year
when electric heating loads are off, one side of our nominal 120 is
typically 122 and the other 119 but it varies. I've seen it as high as
127 and as low as 114; but all within the percentage variations
The AC frequency also varies from country to country. Sixty hertz
(Cycles per second) in North America etc, and fifty hertz in UK and
many other countries. Some aircraft use similar voltages (115 volts
AC) but at 400 hertz!
BTW. I thought Japan was nominally 100 volts AC? However 110 would
even then be only 10% high.
120 V DC was available in certain parts downtown New York as late as
the 1930's (maybe beyond). RCA used to sell special radios that
would run on DC house current.
Japan actually uses 100 VAC with 1/2 of the country on 60 Hz and 1/2
of the country of 50 Hz. I'm not sure how they picked a voltage that
is close to but different than what every other country in the world
I've used some 'made-in-japan' industrial timers rated for 100V AC in
the US and they worked OK even though they had weird, non-NEMA power
Some homes in the USA even go higher than 120 V. I routinely measure
123 V at my outlets and my meter is pretty accurate.
No harm is done by the higher voltage, accept your stuff (motors, tv
sets, computer power supply) runs a little bit hotter. Some would say
this is wasteful. Unless they are in brownout conditions, power
companies seem to like providing the higher voltages (closer to 125
V), there is less voltage drop, and watt-hour for watt-hour, they sell
more of them.
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