220V => 110V Trouble

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by uncle woody, Aug 20, 2013.

  1. uncle woody

    uncle woody

    Dec 7, 2008

    I'm looking into buying a US Mesa Boogie Big Block 750. It has that train-wrenching gut sound I've been chasing for a couple of years now. Anyway... They seem to only be made for an american 110V and not for the european 220V standard.

    I was looking into the step-down transformer procedure and found out that you need a transfo with at least the wattage of your amp. Since even a 1000W rated transfo can only power 750W for a short amount of time before shutting down, I don't know how I will power this thing unless I carry a transfo around the size of the BB itself.

    Is there anything I can do aside from moving to the US?


    Also, why do they go for around $1000 in the US while I've seen them go for twice that price here in europe? I can't tell if they're 220V versions or not, but I dont think so.
  2. supremo


    Oct 20, 2008
    Best solution is to change the transformer. Replace it with one 220V/120V.
    Don't use external step down transformers, cause affects amp's sound quality
  3. If the external transformer is adequately sized, it will have ZERO affect on the amp's sound quality.

    What do you think those big things on the power pole do? They're stepdown transformers. This is basic power distribution theory.
  4. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Inactive

    Before buying this you should email Mesa and see if a European version of the power transformer is available. Toting an extra piece of hardware will get old really fast.

    Edit: Especially after the first time you find you've forgotten to bring the thing with you!
  5. uncle woody

    uncle woody

    Dec 7, 2008
    Oh wow, I did expect them to be bigger. European ones seem to be more expensive but I'll see what I can find.

    But still, how can I make sure this thing wont fry the amp. I've been browing forums and read some horror storys concerning high wattage.

    The BB has a 15A fuse. So 15X110=1650W used max?

    Also, it will only output 550W trough my 4ohms cab. But this has nothing to do with the supply needed, right?

    Thanks alot.

    edit :"Before buying this you should email Mesa and see if a European version of the power transformer is available."

  6. Okay, knowing you have a 15A fuse helps, and 15 times 110 does equal 1650. Factoring in the inefficiency of the stepdown transformer, then I'd go for the 2000 watt.

    While theoretically your power demand from the wall will go down if power output is limited, still...I'd go for the 2000 watt.

    If SWR does have a European power transformer available, I agree that would be the "preferred" way since you wouldn't have to tote around another heavy item (your stepdown transformer)--but you'd have to install it yourself or pay somebody to install it. I suspect the CE certification was costly for SWR to get, that's why the amp cost much more in Europe.
  7. Oh, to answer the part about not frying the amp--transformers don't "push" power through a device. If you have a 10,000 watt transformer hooked up to an amp that only uses 400 watts, no problem. The amp still only draws 400 watts, the transformer just has a lot of reserve power.

    Of course, the transformer plug and receptacle must be wired properly like any plug or receptacle.
  8. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Inactive

    All amplifiers have an "efficiency" figure that equates to how much power it draws from the supply for a given power into it's load. Class D amps employing switching supplies can be in the nineties % efficient. Class AB with regular transformer supplies around 50%. So for every 100W the amp is putting out it's pulling 150W from the mains. This is a simplistic description but I hope you get the idea. :)

    Edit: Shoot Bill - were you a typist in another life or what!! :D
  9. B-string

    B-string Supporting Member

    You need to be able to have enough to support inrush current at startup. If the BB's fuse is a slo-blo the inrush current can be over 15A. You will use less power in operation but that does you no good if the amp can't power up first.
  10. uncle woody

    uncle woody

    Dec 7, 2008
    Mail is sent.

    The fuse is Slo-Blo, I gues I'll have to ask for the inrush current as well. Good point.

    Thanks for helping out guys.
  11. BbbyBld


    Oct 13, 2005
    Meridian, MS
    Not unless there is active PFC (no bass amps with SMPS have that). Otherwise, weight and size are the advantages of the power supply, not efficiency. The high efficiency of the class D helps, of course.
  12. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    err …. have you contacted mesa's customer service and asked if this amp can be rewired for 220VAC? It would help to include the serial number, if you can get it, with your inquiry.

    A number of their amps can be wired for either voltage.
  13. uncle woody

    uncle woody

    Dec 7, 2008
  14. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    +1 on contacting Mesa Boogie directly. They can tell you whether or not a 220v mains transformer is available for the amplifier you are wanting to purchase.

    They are available for some models. After all, Macca uses Mesa Boogie on his backline.
  15. MesaBoogie

    MesaBoogie Commercial User

    May 14, 2013
    Petaluma, California
    Artist Relations / Product Specialist: Mesa Boogie
    All of our amps made for export feature 220-240v transformers - They are all configured for their specific destination. Thanks!
  16. B-string

    B-string Supporting Member

    With due respect, can the OP get a 220-240v transformer for his unit is the question.
    BTW I keep getting a failure for the Mesa web page.
  17. Yep I'm getting a no-go on the Mesa page as well.

    And to repeat B-string's clarification:the OP has the 110 volt power transformer and would like to replace it with the 220-240 volt export PT.
  18. MesaBoogie

    MesaBoogie Commercial User

    May 14, 2013
    Petaluma, California
    Artist Relations / Product Specialist: Mesa Boogie
    Replacement transformers are available by contacting the distributor in the country you reside in.

    Our server has been down, so I'm not able to give more detailed information as far as the OP's distributor - but we hope to have our site back up and running this evening. Thanks!
  19. B-string

    B-string Supporting Member

    Excellent thank you. There is your answer OP! Contact the local distributor for the power transformer and stop fooling around with outboard step-downs. :)
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