I bought a string of lights from America (110V, 25W per socket, 50 sockets (1250W total) to use in South Africa (power supply is 220/230V 50Hz).

I thought I could just use a converter (220V to 110V) and 25W incandescent bulbs.

But now I wonder if I really need a converter? The resistor is the actual bulb, which I will buy here and will therefore be rated 25W at 220V.

Surely that will be fine? I figure 1250W/110V=11.4A for the string or 25W/110V=0.23A for the socket. Or 1250W/220V=5.7A for the string or 25W/220V=0.11A for the socket.

Does current make a difference? These are just lights, not electronics, right?


The lamp sockets are presumably rated at 110V - this means if you use 220V you may be endangering someone due to not having sufficient insulation built in to cope with the higher voltage. Play safe.

  • \$\begingroup\$ So can we tell from this? - amazon.com/gp/product/… \$\endgroup\$ – Elizabeth Jul 23 '15 at 13:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ And then the obvious question that lead me to wonder about this: can I use the 220V bulbs in that lamp holder with 110V input? I don't care if they're dim. I would actually buy 11W bulbs if we could get them here. \$\endgroup\$ – Elizabeth Jul 23 '15 at 13:31
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ These are outdoor use lamp holders. I wouldn't even consider plugging them in to 220V. You might kill someone. Without a definitive statement from the manufacturer you are taking risks that I see as unreasonable. Either use a step down transformer or don't use them is my advice. \$\endgroup\$ – Andy aka Jul 23 '15 at 13:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ Will 220V lamps mechanically fit? If so this is a safe option with a 110V supply. \$\endgroup\$ – Andy aka Jul 23 '15 at 13:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah they fit, I did check that. So why is that dangerous? I don't see why if the bulbs themselves are rated at the correct power? And step-down transformer or just a converter? \$\endgroup\$ – Elizabeth Jul 23 '15 at 13:49

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.