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I have a conveniently placed NEMA 6-20 240V outlet here in my lab. I'd like to use it to power my equipment by using a converter that steps down the voltage to 120V. I've been searching all morning for something that would fit my needs, but so far I have not found the right product.

I'm wondering if this is a bad idea, or if I'm missing something that would prevent this from working. My thought is that the 240V outlet would be great to run my whole bench from since it can supply a ton of watts for all my 120V equipment if I can find a way to set things up ideally.

Edit: I'm located in the US, and ideally I'm looking for some kind of all-in-one power distribution solution that will supply all the equipment on my bench. A combination of a step-down converter/transformer and a power strip might do the trick, but I need be sure that it will handle the wattage of my DC power supply, O-scope, function generator, soldering station, etc. I have a regular 120V outlet, but I'm running so much off of it already that I'm growing concerned. It would be nice to run my computer and other sensitive stuff from the 120V line, and use the 240V line for all the brute stuff.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What country are you in? \$\endgroup\$
    – The Photon
    May 4, 2018 at 15:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, this question would probably get better (less likely to burn your house down) answers on DIY. If you agree, click "flag" and ask the mods to migrate the question over there. \$\endgroup\$
    – The Photon
    May 4, 2018 at 15:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ Can you share your VA load calculations for steady state and startup(surge on motors) and why you cannot balance two power strips with 20A breakers for each 120V line? This is best practice for load regulation results. Balance \$\endgroup\$ May 4, 2018 at 16:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ They make transformers that go from 240VAC down to 120VAC. They also happen to make the opposite. That can handle over 1200W. amazon.com/Voltage-Converter-Universal-Transformer-Charging/dp/… \$\endgroup\$
    – Aaron
    Aug 3, 2022 at 18:32

2 Answers 2

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Your least expensive option might be to replace the outlet with a 120V outlet, and replace the two-pole breaker at the other end of the wire with a single-pole breaker.

Of course, it might depend on whether you can do it yourself, or convince your landlord to do it him/her self, or whether you are in some institution where you have to fill out piles of paperwork to get it done.


Edit: A 6-20 outlet does not have a neutral connection, but if there is a neutral wire taped off in the box, and if there's room for more than one outlet in the box, you could have a 120V outlet on each of the two phases, and no need for access to the breaker panel at all.

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You could also use a 2:1 step-down transformer.

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    \$\begingroup\$ 'Also'? What is the first option? \$\endgroup\$
    – Transistor
    May 4, 2018 at 16:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ The wording of the question implies, at least to me, that active power supplies were being considered. \$\endgroup\$
    – Bort
    May 4, 2018 at 16:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ The required frequency might differ (50/60 Hz..) \$\endgroup\$
    – Eugene Sh.
    May 4, 2018 at 16:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ We don't give product recommendations on this site and asking for one will have your question closed. See the Help to see what's on and off-topic. \$\endgroup\$
    – Transistor
    May 4, 2018 at 16:59

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