There have been questions lately from members of the Yahoo Superba/White Group and on Ravelry, about the power or Voltage requirements for their electronic model knitting machines that were imported from Europe.
These questions solicited various answers in the discussion forums about Transformers, and so I thought I would provide a laypersons overview of power requirements for ALL models of electronic Superba, Singer or Phildar knitting machines, and any model of Motor Drive made for and imported from Europe.
If you live in North America and you have purchased an electronic model of Superba, Singer or Phildar brand Knitting Machine or a Motor Drive from Europe, please be advised that you must also purchase a Step Up & Down Transformer to operate these machines here in North America. Why?
European electrical home appliances are wired to operate at 220-240 Voltage, and appliances originally sold in Europe come with specific styles of Power Cord Plugs.
These Plugs will not fit into your wall socket here in Canada, The United States or Mexico. The shape is wrong.
Also, in North America, our home wall outlets, apart from those for our Clothes Dryer, Electric Stove and Furnace, provide only 110-120 Volts, which is not enough to operate appliances meant for use in Europe.
This includes any electronic model of Superba, Singer or Phildar Knitting Machine or Motor Drive that was originally sold in Europe.
A Step Up & Down Transformer plugs into our standard wall socket, and once turned on, will step up our North American 110 Voltage to the European 220 Volts that is required to operate the electronic programmers that come with these model of machines.
Transformers are sold in various "sizes" of Watts, in a huge range. For the purpose of providing enough power to operate multiple items, you would purchase a Transformer in the range of 500 Watts up to 1000 Watts.
This is more than enough power to operate the Singer System 9000 Electronic Programmer, plus the Motor Drive accessory, and, in the case of the Singer System 9000 model, the optional Display Monitor.
Also, the Transformer will accomodate a wide range of Plug styles used around the world - but not all. I'll review the two most common styles.
Euro C Plugs
Anyone in North America who has bought a Motor Drive Unit for their knitting machine will notice that the Plug on the Power Cord has two rounded pins extending out from the Plug, and that this will not fit into our power outlets.
This is because all the Motor Drives exported for sale in North America were wired for use in Europe.
This style of Plug is known as the "Euro 2-Pin C Plug", and is used on home appliances of this size throughout Europe and much of the world - except in The United Kingdom.
Now , back in 2004, when I purchased the Motor Drive shown above, for my knitting machine, I bought it here in Canada but it came wired with a Euro C PLug.
I knew that I would need some kind of Plug Adaptor and what it was sold with was a small travel size wall plug adaptor - which was completely inadequate.
Please understand that about all electronic equipement of this nature; their power requirements are greater than that of a simple hair dryer and in addition to a specific Voltage, they require a certain amount of Watts for these larger motors and circuit boards to operate.
The only way to provide the required number of "Volts" and "Watts" any electrical unit requires to operate is to purchase a Transformer.
Volts & Watts:
So how do you figure that information out? It's listed on the bottom of all certified electric appliances worldwide.
Here is a photo of the power requirements on the bottom of my Superba EMS Motor Drive.
You can read listed across the top that this model requires 220V~ and 170W to operate.
That's 220 Volts at the source and when operating the motor will draw minimum 170 Watts power as it runs.
Below is the power listing for my Singer System 624 Programmer.
This unit, having no Motor but having a printed electronic circuit and memory chip, requires 15V or 15 Volts to operate and 450 mA or .45Amps.
When I was purchasing my Transformer, I thought ahead to eventually one day sourcing and buying other models of Singer/Superba that were only available in Europe; in particular the System 9000 and 624 models.
I was advised to purchase a 1000 Watts model of Transformer, which would accommodate all the power requirements of any future machines. It was expensive but I thought, great, I'll have everything I need.
This is the Transformer that I bought.
You set a pin on the left to correspond to the Voltage coming into the unit. In this case, I have it set at 110V. The unit then ramps up the Voltage to 220-240 Volts.
When I plugged the Motor Drive Euro C Plug in to the Transformer, it fit and I got my Motor to operate. No problem.
I assumed this would be the case when I eventually did purchase my additional knitting machine units from the UK.
It was not.
When I finally received and opened the boxes to these new units and tried to plug these into my Transformer, I found, to my dismay, that these units came with a larger 3-Pin style of Plug, and that none of these would fit into the Transformer that I purchased.
UK G Plug
In the UK, they have their own standard of Plugs to be used for home appliaces of this size, known as the “UK G Plug” or UK Grounded.
The UK G Plug has 3 very broad rectangular pins extending from it and often comes with a Fuse set into the interior of the Plug.
This style of UK G Plug came on the following products I received from England:
• The Singer System 9000 Controller:
• The optional Display Monitor for the 9000 Controller:
• The Singer System 624 Controller Power Adaptor:
Now, my Transformer did come with 3 small Plug adaptors, but they would not accept this larger style of Grounded UK Plug either.
And, the Electronic Suppy store where I purchased the Transformer did not stock any Adaptors for this UK G Plug either. When I inquired where I could buy one I was told to go to England. This establishment won't ever receive my business nor endorsement again.
Talk about frustrating!
Those of you tech experts "in the know" about such things may be sitting there chuckling at this and my ignorance, but like most people, at the time, I was unaware of any differences in the style of plugs between Europe and the UK.
I knew about the Euro C Plug but that's it.
Also, I had, all told, spent well over $1000 on this equipment which I wanted to knit on, that I needed to knit on! - only to not be able to use it!
Furthermore, we should remember that our ability to shop and source items like these on the internet has greatly improved vs. 3 years ago, with products now easily sourced here in North America and at reasonable prices. Not like it was when I was going through all this and had trouble finding any kind of adaptor, and when I did the cost of shipping to Canada was $70 for a $30 UK Power Bar!
I had spent my budget on whatever was going to cross the Atlantic and end up in my possession and I could not afford to devote any further time to getting these machines to work. So, while I could do work on the knitting machine itself, the System 9000 and System 624 Programmers sat there, unused.
15Volt Power Adaptors:
For System 624 Programmers and
Pressure Pad Programmer Models Superba S47,
White 1502, Phildar D115 and Singer Memo II/600
One day, while sitting, brooding and looking over this useless to me equipment, I noticed the Voltage on the System 624 UK Power Adaptor read 15V. That's 15 Volts. My spider-sense started tingling! See the photo below circled in Blue.
Singer/Superba System 624 UK Power Adaptor:
This was the same figure I saw printed on the Power Adaptor for my White Model 1502 Knitting Machine, wired for use here in Canada. See the photo below, circled in orange.
This is the same model as a Superba S47 and the popular Singer Memo II/600 models sold in Europe.
Hmmm. I pondered and debated, since I know little about wiring and electronics, and was worried if plugging in the wrong adaptor would somehow fry the Electronic Programmer's circuit board.
But in thinking it through, I focused on the word "Adaptor" and that is just what these particular style of Power Cords do for both models of knitting machine.
That is why S.I.T./Superba 15Volt Power Adaptors are so large and make a small, audible humming noise when plugged in to an outlet.
These adaptors step down either European 220V or North American 110V to the 15Volts these Programmers need to operate.
System 624 Programmer Power Requirements
White 1502, Superba S47, Singer Memo II/600
Programmer Power Requirements
This information is on the bottom of the machine bed.
North American 2-Pin Plug and UK G Plug Adaptors
So buyer beware! If it was not for the fact that I already had a similar style 15V Adaptor, with the correct style of connector, I would not have been able to get the 624 operational.
Different Countries - Different Plugs:
Regardless of what country in the world you live in, you must:
• Identify what style of Plug the Knitting Machine Electronic Controller or Motor comes with.
• What Voltage it needs to operate on.
• The total number of Watts all the units require to run.
In North America:
• If the machine has come from Europe, you will need a Step Up & Down Transformer to increase our power grid 110 Voltage to 220 Volts.
• This will allow you to insert in the standard “Euro C Plug” used in Europe and operate your machine.
This is the most common style of Plug used on smaller home appliances throughout the world.
In speaking to Ravelry group member Tony in New York, he recently purchased a System 624 Model from The Netherlands, and confirmed for me that it came with this 15Volt Adaptor featuring the Euro C Plug.
This would be the Adaptor sold and used in any European country outside of the UK.
All Motor Drive Units exported for sale in Canada and the US as either the "Superba" or "White" brand, have this Euro C Plug standard.
That’s why many second hand units sold on ebay and other sources come with a Transformer.
That’s why many second hand units sold on ebay and other sources come with a Transformer.
Any Transformer model from 500 Watts up to a maximum of 1000 Watts is more than sufficient to operate a knitting machine electronic controller and accessories.
• IE: The Singer System 9000 Knitting Machine Programmer, the 9000 Display Monitor and the Motor Drive can all be accommodated by a 500Watt or up to a maximum 1000W Step Up & Down Transformer.
UK G Plug/UK Ground
In the UK, electrical appliances of this size come with a UK G Plug, which is grounded and sometimes fused, to prevent electrical shock and overheating.
If you are purchasing a single item from the UK, either just an electronic model knitting machine or just a Motor Drive, you must also purchase a “UK G Plug Adpator” for the Transformer, as the 220V Outlets on all transformers I’ve seen and sourced will not accept this larger, grounded G Plug from the UK.
• If you intend to operate more than one unit imported from the UK at the same time, for example both an Electronic Knitting Machine Controller and a Motor Drive, then you must purchase a “Universal Power Strip” which will accomodate both the C and UK G Plugs.
For Countries With 220 Voltage Power; Europe, Asia, South America, Australia, New Zealand and Africa
The same rules apply about units coming from the UK with Grounded G Plugs. You must purchase either an adaptor for single units or a Power Bar to operate multiple units with a UK G Plug.
Light Scanning Selection Box Models.
Lastly, I wanted to include some photos and information about the Light Scanning Selection Box models exported to North America, namely the Superba S48 and White 1602 Models (shown below) which came wired for use in North America.
Readers in Europe and Asia will recognize these as the Singer Memomatic 2310/2330/2340 models and the Phildar Memomatic.
If you buy a Light Scanning model knitting machine from France, Germany or the UK, then the C Plug and UK G Plug information applies to this model of knitting machine as well.
These units, when exported for sale in North America, came wired for 110Voltage and the proper style of Power Cord Plug.
These are the electrical requirements on the back of a Light Scanning Mylar Selection Box for North America:
As requested in an email, this a photo of what the Power Cords for use here in North America look like. People have written asking for this information, so I include it here as well.
I hope this information is of help.
Do take good care and happy knitting!