Philippines household electrical

Philippines electrical 2
I generally prefer to make blog entries showing off my vacations and laughing at you schmucks still working for a living.   But a friend asked for a video about the electrical system here. I looked for a lot of this info before moving and did not really find much. And since it was a major concern of mine before moving, I thought I would go ahead and make the video.   It got a bit long… but I do babble a lot. So to really be redundant I will repeat most of it here.
I asked on a few chat forums before moving over here and, in usual internet fashion, everyone wants to be the expert and everyone wanted to be “electrical engineers” so I will try and just explain it in plain English. Like you really care if it is delta or wye configuration – and I assure you over 99% of the electricians in the Philippines don’t know the difference anyway! I mean seriously these guys argued for pages over delta & wye – and we all know that is for 3 phase anyway and does not apply much here in Filipino residential wiring.

The wiring at your house will most likely never be this pretty The wiring at your house will most likely never be this pretty
First things first, the electrical here in the Philippines is 220 volt. And just to dash your 110 volt hopes I will let you know it is not two 110 wires – it is a single 220 volt and a neutral… sorry. I know you hoped it was two 110’s, that is so common in the US, so you could take a 110 and grab a ground to make your own 110 volt circuit. Not gonna happen! So far I have not seen any 3 phase or grounded systems in any house here. If I were to ever build here I would put in a nice, grounded, system. But I may and might never build…  (and if your house has 3 phase, ground, or even 110, good for you but I have never seen one here with it)
One of the biggest problems with bringing 110 volt appliances with you is that someone WILL plug it into a 220 plug and blow it up. It may take a while… but it is bound to happen. The standard 2 prong 110 volt American plug is identical to the standard 220 volt Filipino plug. I had everything labeled with 4”x6” tags saying “110 VOLT ONLY!” and no one here understood it. But all my 110 stuff blew up on its own – not by being plugged in incorrectly – so I just contradicted myself. The constant brown outs are bad enough but the power fluctuations are insane. I can plug my meter into an outlet and just watch the power go all over the place. When we say 220 volts it could be 190, 250, whatever. I think that is harder on the electronics than the power outages. The fans speed up and slow down, lights go dim to bright, just really crappy power regulation.  Which why you will need to buy Automatic Voltage Regulators (AVR).
The AVR is supposed to smooth out the power fluctuations. Kind of a surge protector on steroids. I now have 2. One in the living room for the TV, Playstation, and laptop.   And one in my office for the desktop PC. Nothing has blown up since I got them. Before I knew about them my power supply on the desktop PC blew out during some crazy power surges. The absence of damage does exactly prove their effectiveness, but I would recommend an AVR anyway.
If you are going to bring some 110 volt stuff with you make sure you have a good quality transformer. You can buy them here or ship one from the US. Since x-formers are so heavy, if you are shipping, I would recommend using a Balikbayan box. It is the cheapest shipping option around – and no weight requirement. I suspect the 110 volt appliances use more electricity. I am not sure but judging from the heat loss on the x-former they cannot be very efficient. Since electricity here is so expensive it may be better to just get some 220 volt stuff here anyway. Currently I am paying 12.75/kwh which is about 30 cents in US dollars.
Philippines electical 5  Philippines electical 4
The plugs here are interesting, to say the least. The standard 220 volt plug is the same 2 blade plug like we use for 110 in the US. But many appliances you buy will have different plugs. I think it just depends on what country it is from. The Philippines does not seem to care what they get, in the US we would bitch and moan until the stores bought the right plugs. Here… you take what you get. So there are numerous plug adapters at the hardware store. When you buy a TV, iron, rice cooker… make sure and check the plug. The store will not usually tell you if you what plug is on it. It is up to you to check. There is a “standard” plug on the adapters and power strips that is a one size fits most. It is an odd looking plug but it will accept many different prong configurations.
 
 Philippines electical 1
Most modern electronics are dual voltage.  but make sure and check your devices before using them here.   My laptop, and phone chargers are 100-240 volt input.  My computer monitor is dual voltage, my Blu-Ray player was 110 only.  I did not bring my 46″ TV with me so I don’t know what it had.  It was just too big for me to ship.   I have heard that they have 50 Hz power here but I doubt they are consistent enough for it to matter.  But my chargers also say 50-60 Hz.  So they are safe in any case.  I use the same chargers here that I used in the US.  And the first time you plug that thing into a 220 volt plug you just know you are about to blow something up ha ha.  But if says dual voltage you  are good to go… but it is still a bit scary that first time… 
 Just keep in mind the power is 220, ungrounded, and generally very poorly delivered. As long as you don’t expect consistency you might be ok.
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 

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41 thoughts on “Philippines household electrical

  1. If you are planning to bring in some of your appliances from the US to the Philippines, it is a requirement that you being a 110V stepdown transformer first. I saw some good transformer brand like Panther.

  2. Having worked in various area’s in oil production, a proper earthing connection was always essential. The electrical engineers hammered it into our hard skulls to ensure that the earthing was perfect. So, it became a kind of religion. When we constructed our house 25 years ago, I therefore insisted that the engineer installed a “proper earth”. I thought it was even more important as our house is on the top of a hill. 2 years ago, we got a lightning strike and by golly, it blew out the whole 220V system. The door of the switchboard was found back 9 meters away… Analyzing the damage, it became clear that the earthing was not sufficient, so I instructed the engineer to triple the earthing points. And then, I retired and we moved back to Philippines and we started fixing all loose ends. So, I wanted to install earthleak switches and went to the best electrical shops here and was flabbergasted. “What is that Sir?” “Oh, we do not do that in Iloilo….” But I found the earthleak switches (“RCCB”) but found nobody who could test my earth. Nobody. So, I got a tester from Europe and found ….. 2000 Ohm. Completely unacceptable, so I will install a grid under the new patio. No wonder, the system blew out. Then, I tested a friend’s new house and there, the installer hammered an earthing rod next to the earthing of Eleco’s HV mast and we got 30 Ohm.. Low, but acceptable. A good trick from the installer…
    In the mean time, I have seen many electrical fires and almost always it was shoddy installation, but a proper earthing could have prevented the damage…
    What I learned:
    – In the province, earthing is an un-known factor.
    – Always insist on installing earthleak switches. Because of the shoddy installation, the switches often trip. Therefore, install an earthleak switch in EVERY sub-system, it makes faultfinding easier.
    – Find a way to get a good earthing installed AND TESTED.
    – NEVER believe an electrical installer here. NEVER. Give them half a chance and they will mix colors of the cables and you have no idea what goes where. Find an experienced expat to be present at the start of the cabling and check, check, check. Ofcourse, there are some good Fiipino’s, but many more tinkerers and for a layman, it is impossible to indentify who-is-who. At least from a certified expat,you can rely on his skills. An added cost, but what does it cost you to rebuild the whole electrical system like I had to do after the lightning strike?????

    Oh, and our village has 175 Volt and 46 Hz on their generator system. Even an AVR does not help there, most equipment just don’t work with the low frequency. Luckily, my solar installation provides exactly the correct parameters….

    Things you take for granted in Europe are often an unexpected big problem in Philippines and it makes you into an allround engineer to sort them out. It costs you a bit extra, but then, you have more fun in Philippines sorting it out. Thanks For The Internet.

  3. A great and useful thread guys. I’m an ex pat living now in Makati and now working as a technical manager for a local company with branches all over the place. Despite 20 years of experience in Au UK and SA understanding the power supply variants and wiring here can still be confusing. This thread has given me more useful “Real world” info than all of the official power web pages put together.
    Thanks.

  4. guys there is a 220v supply with 110v for each terminal…i tried to hook up a ground wire to my metal parts of the house which are connected to the ground (foundation===the roof and fences) and i am getting a 110 volts supply…now may i ask, is it safe to use this in my appliances wc need a 110v supply? any safety issue? what? how can i correct that ?

    1. Hi Ernie,
      I would council against it and these are my reasons.
      There is no solid link between your derived ground reference at the house with that at the centre tap on the pole transformer. The efectiveness of this pathway via the ground is variable, and it will most probably lead to an unstable 110 volt supply due to variations in ground resistance, and the extent to which the loads in the house balance across the 220 volt legs.
      The ground return for the 110 volt supply is carrying the imbalance current.

      You would certainly have to give very particular attention to the equipotential bonding of all exposed conductive parts, so as not to create potential shock hazards between them, and I do note that you have already undertaken some of this.

      If your 110 volt loads are not going to be excessive, could you not install in your house a dedicated transformer to meet the needs of your 110 volt equipment, and that way you can have a wholly metallic circuit?

      If you need more help give us a shout, and hope it goes well for you.

      Hugh

  5. If you hadn’t already sent those items I would have discouraged it since you can buy 220v versions locally for not much more than it cost to ship them. Anyway, the general rule is to get a converter that can supply 3 times what the appliance says on its label – if it says 1000w, get a 3000w converter. The converter itself consumes electricity so running anything on it will use more electricity overall than it did back in the USA.

  6. Can someone please tell me how many watts Dual Power Converter do I need so the 1000 watts microwave, toaster oven, and power tools that I sent to the Philippines will be operational. Nobody at Home Depot, Lowes, and Ace here in US knows. Not sure what Electric Co. they have in Nasugbu , Batangas..Where is the best place to buy AVR? The PC and TVs are no problem…Hope somebody can answer, Thanks!

    1. That’s what my Brother in Law has in Davao City. 220 volts line to line. So just take care when handling E27 lamp caps and the switches are single pole devices.

  7. Hi guys, just a side footnote on electrical service here in the PI, I live in Angeles City where due to the huge former US airbase the electrical service ( Angeles Electric) is a 3 wire fro the pole service, my house like almost every house in my subdivision has both 110 and 220 service, in my case almost all the houses were leased by the US military for housing and the construction of the house, its wiring ect had to be signed off on by Military officer for housing. example all my ceiling fans are 110 hunters each and every wall socket where there are 2 220 plugs (I converted these to round pin plugs for recognition purposes) are right next to 2 100 sockets. Of course there is no grounding that I am aware of and I am told most towns right outside most old bases ( Subic Bay comes to mind ) the wiring is done like this. As new construction takes place the new housing is only given 2 wire 220 service.

  8. Hola Todos,
    I am a little confused as to the respondant’s reply about the electrical system in the Philippines, so I am going to try and explain a little.

    A single phase supply on a system which has one of the conductors solidly earthed at the distribution transformer, and possibly at the consumer’s premises will comprise a live or Hot wire, and a neutral conductor . Technically it is a T.N. System T.N. Meaning Tierra and N Neutral. The system has one of the distribution conductors that goes to the consumers premises solidly earthed to maintain stability of the system, to provide a reference point with respect to earth ground, and may include the function of a protective conductor to ensure that faults are readily detected and cleared.

    The Neutral conductor is a solid, continuous conductor right back from the consumers premises to the distribution transformer. A complete metallic pathway. It is definitely NOT a case of simply having a live or Hot wire and sticking a ground rod into the soil and expecting that to provide a reliable return pathway for the applied loads. That would be dangerous, and cause all sorts of problems.

    A single phase supply can be any voltage desired. It could indeed be 110 Volts. That was a pressure commonly used in the early days of electric power distribution. It can also be 220 Volts. The higher voltage deployed allows for smaller conductors to be used for any equivalent power load that was using the 110 Volt supply.

    Now we come to the anomaly. In the Philippines there are systems which supply 220 VOlts to your house from the distribution transformer. This is what some people call two phase, but a better description would be split-phase, because it is one single phase split into two halves which are 180 degrees apart.
    The secondary of the distribution transformer has three tappings. One central one and two outers. You get your 220 Volts by connecting across the two outer terminals.
    The centre tap of the transformer secondary is normally earthed, and can provide a source of 110 volt pressure by connecting between one of the outers and that centre tap.
    However, if you are going to distribute 110 Volts you must have a solid conductor going from that earthed centre tap to each consumer.
    You cannot rely on the resistivity of the soil to be a low enough value in order to provide a return pathway back to the transformer.
    In America you will find three wires coming into a house. Two hot wires and a Neutral.
    220 Volts is obtained across the Hot wires, and 110 Volts between either of the hot wires and the third or Neutral wire.

    For Three Phase in its true sense, you have three separate tappings coming from the transformer which are all HOT, and a fourth conductor which is the neutral, and this should be earthed back at the transformer, and maybe at the consumers premises if the power company require it. In America they would.

    So Amigos, where does that leave us?
    Well from my own experience of the Philippines I will give you two examples, but they are not necessarily definitive.
    In Zamboanga City where my mother in law lived, you got a T.N.C system at 220 Volts.
    The service into the house was a central insulated conductor around which was wrapped a bare aluminium neutral conductor.
    My Brother in Law who lives in Davao has two insulated HOT wires that come into his panel board from the metering point. It is still 220 Volts derived from those two outer tappings on the distribution transformer. What you have to remember here is that at every point in the installation within the house you always have 110 Volts to earth, so,to,isolate something You must open the breaker in the panelboard. To be exacting, any appliance should deploy double pole switches, including lighting fittings.

    I hope that helps, and if not I can have another go.

    Saludos del el chico electricista.

  9. i don’t know who’s the author of this and where he lives.
    every household here (Philippines) has 220V rated. but if it is 220v on a single wire and a ground, or a 3phase (110V,110V,ground) there using is defending on your location and electric company. most likely on the provinces which electricity came from coop power company, their using 220V on a single wire and a ground. but in manila and other near provinces which supplied by Meralco Electric Comp(damn with their high power rates), their using 3phase.
    im saying this co’z i live here in Cavite and i”m using 3phse supply. i have 110V appliances and i used it with single 110V wire and ground.

    1. Hola Ace y Todos,
      I think we need to clarify a few things here.
      Getting your 110 Volt supply is not a case of finding a Hot wire and sticking a ground rod into the earth as the return conductor for any supply in the Philippines.

      As I think I have posted previously, in the Philippines, the system of distribution was/ is a derivation from the original North American concept, but you only have two conductors going to your house, unless you have a true three phase supply, i.e. three hot wires and a neutral comductor.

      Of these two wires, depending on where you live, you may either have two hot wires or one hot wire and a bare neutral. Both these types of installation can be at a pressure of 220 Volts .
      The difference comes in the actual connections at the distribution transformer.

      To try and give you a practical example, my mother in laws house in Zamboangs City had a supply in which the overhead coming to the premises consisted of a central insulated conductor surrounded by a bare, stranded aluminium conductor, which formed the earthed neutral.
      Effectively a T.N.C. System at a pressure of 220 Volts to earth.
      In contrast, my Brother in Law in Davao has two insulated conductors coming in as his service,
      Still a 220 Volt pressure, but both wires are HOT.
      With respect to ground we have 110 Volts from each Hot conductor.

      It is important to know the nature of your supply because it affects the methodology of using switches in the house. Technically, with that installation in Davao, all switches should be double pole type even light switches. Why? Because if you do not isolate both lines, and you only use a single pole switch, you still have 110 Volts to earth on the unswitched line. Best to open the breaker if you are doing any work on the installation.

      If you want a more detailled explanation I am happy to provide one.

      Saludos desde el chico electricista.

    2. What we have, here in Iloilo, is a single hot 220, and a neutral – no ground. From talking to other expats it seems that it is done differently in different areas. The old base in Subic is said to have 110 and 220, more like what we had in the US.

  10. I wonder if you can help – I have googled this for a while now and you are the most “on topic”.
    I have just bought a GE Microwave for my fiancee in Bacolod, just over the water from you. The model is JEI2340WPSL and it is a free standing model – (I.E. not the built-in type).
    At the rear of the appliance is a 2 pin plug which will fit into her 2 pin socket nicely – HOWEVER – there is also a green and yellow wire (a few feet long) hanging from the rear independent of the power cable/cord/wire !!! I am presuming this is an earth wire but have no idea what to tell her to do about it.
    I am in the UK and everything here is earthed (standard procedure around the house and on appliances the third wire (earth) is inside the 3 pin plug).
    Her house was only built this year – I have no idea whether the house is “grounded”/earthed and your blog post seems to suggest that all/most are not.
    I have just told her not to use it until I find out what she should do.
    Thank you for your time in replying and any research you do to reply – Very much appreciated.
    Robert (England, UK)

    1. I don’t know. That sounds like it would be a grounding wire. I have not seen a house here with aground – though I hear they exist.
      I would recommend she talk to a qualified electrician to get it hooked up. In all the service manuals I have seen GE recommends not only a grounded circuit – but a dedicated circuit. The chances of that being available without help are slim to none.

    2. I have ti install my own grounding here for grounded appliances.. I drive in a ground rod or steel rod as most suppliers don’t even know what a ground rod is here. I am currently renovating a home here myself and will be replacing the original wiring. They typically use only one color here for the entire home.. I will be puling in 4 for my convenience.. Probably confuse the hell out of some filipino “Electrician” in the future.

      1. Yeah, we just had a very small house built I let them do pretty much what they wanted. If/when I build a bigger house I will probably wire it myself. I would like to get most of the supplies shipped from the US. Balikbayan boxes are our friends.

  11. Tim I want to ship a computer and a laptop that I purchased here in the USA to my daughter who is attending the University there, for some reason this same computer is double the [price that I purchased here. My question is on the electrical adapter it says 100-240 volts can she just plug this into an outlet there or will she need something else to make sure that it works and does not explode with the unit becoming useless. Thank you for your response in advance.

    1. As long as the adapter is dual voltage (100-240) you can just plug it in. The first time you do it is a bit scary ha ha… but it is fine. I would recommend a voltage regulator (AVR). It helps smooth out power fluctuations. It is not “required” but is important for the safety of your electronics. I always use an AVR with my laptop, my wife does not (both laptops purchased in the US). I have had no problem with mine in 3 years. Hers had to get repaired in less than a year – the power switch and a ribbon cable burned up.

    1. Hi Hitman,
      I am not quite sure in what context you are referring to amperage, but I will try to give an answer to what I think you are driving at.
      Amperage referrs to the amount of current drawn by a particular device when working at a given voltage.
      So for example a 120 Watt flat screen TV on a 220 volt supply will draw from the supply:
      I (Amps) = P (Power in Watts) / V Volts so in our case that equates to I = 120/220 which comes to 0.55 Amps, just over half an Amp.
      The same TV working on a 110 Volt supply draws 120 Watts / 110 Volts = 1.09 Amps.
      The lower mains voltage requires more current to get the same power output for the device.
      This in turn means we have to use thicker conductors at the lower voltage in order to be able to carry the increased current and avoid excessive voltage drop at the same time.

      If, on the other hand, your enquiry is related to the capacity of your domestic supply toa house, in terms of what current can I draw as a maximum, then this will probably be determined by the consumer and the power supply company when they make a request for a supply.
      The total load for any given dwelling will relate to floor area in square metres, and the types of appliance to be deployed.
      For example, obviously a very small house is unlikely to have a big demand for air conditioning, cooking and water heating, as opposed to a mansion which is likely to have a much greater potential demand for power, hence current in Amps.
      The capacity of your supply will depend on the rating of the equipment supplied by the electric company and already installed (metering unit, main cutout or overcurrent device) plus the size of the cable which has been installed to meet that specific demand.
      If the main incoming service was sized for a small house with minimal demands, and a the owner then wants to install much more heavy current demanding apparatus, then the incoming service, and possibly the metering device, may be undersized. They will need upgrading.

      From my experience from what I have seen in domestic situations, the incoming service is sized for 30 to 40 Amps and on a 220 Volt supply that means (P=I.V) 8800 Watts for a 40 Amp Capacity service. 6600 Watts for a 30 Amp service.

      Just as an example, and I know you are not living in Spain, but there your supply is determined by your demand. The basic allowance is for just 5750 Watts or 5.75 kW.That is on a 230 volt supply and equates to 25 Amps.
      That is electrificación básico. The basic, but you can go less if you can maintain a lower level.
      If you want air conditioning and or electric heating, then immmediately you go into the classification of electrificación elevado, which means you pay much more for your power consumption, so it pays to minimise your demand within the limits of the basic level or less.

      Whatever you position in the Philippines, I suggest you first get an understanding of what you have got on your premises by way of size of service cable, and then think about where you want to be, the equipment you want to install, and then calculate what the load is going to be and see if you are within existing capacity. If not, then it will mean an upgrade.

      I hope that helps you. If you want any further assistance please feel free to contact me.

      Hugh

  12. Hi to all. The whole principal of an earth or grounded network is to provide a secure reference point. The aim of the electrical engineers is to maintain the Neutral conductor as close as possible to Earth or zero potential.
    There are different approaches to achieve this, and system designs vary.
    Increasingly distribution systems for consumers are based on the T. N. C. (S) design where
    T stands for Tierra, meaning one of the supply conductors is solidly and intentionally earthed or grounded at the point of generation and distribution.
    N and C in this nomenclature refers to the combined function of the Neutral conductor. It provides both a return pathway for completing the circuit AND a protective function for earth/ground fault currents.
    To achieve stability and maintain personal safety it is essential to frequently and effectively earth ground the Neutral conductor on the distribution network.
    If some jerk decides to cut a chunk out of the earth conductor at the base of a pole in order to get a bit of aluminium cable for whatever, then the system can be compromised and the Neutral conductor begins to acquire a significant potential. It “floats” (rises and falls) depending on the load and environmental conditions e.g. Soil conductivity

    The S part of the nomenclature is where the combined function of the Neutral conductor is
    Separated out , usually at the consumers premises. The consumer should then have a separate Circuit Protective Conductor to all outlets, so that appliances requiring an earth ground can be safely connected e.g. Computers, fridges, etc.
    This is not something frequently found especially in older properties, but changes are gradually happening and moving towards this positive contribution.

    Incidentally, do not decide to relieve yourself near to an electric pole . You may unwittingly become part of the earth grounding network.

  13. Hi Tim,

    Not long ago I was visiting my brother in law in Bohol. I found it interesting that there the power meter is on the pole, before the supply wires to the house. There are two wires going to the house where they enter a power board (circuit breaking switch). There is no switch at the meter like here in Australia. Only one of these wires entering the house is insulated, that is, one is plain wire. Being AC current this means that this wire is live! It was only when my brother stated his intention to move these inlet wires to allow for a veranda extension (yes I paid for that) I asked him how he planned to turn off the power. He said at the switch inside, I said no that wont work it will only turn off the power inside the house. I pointed out the bare wire from the pole to the house to him and he told me don’t worry it is only the “GROUND”. Now I’m no electrician but I know in AC that both wires are live, His english is not that good but he understood “Touch that wire and you will go ZZZZZZTTTTT!!! ” He got an electrician friend to help move the wires. Sorry for the long story but a warning to the unwary perhaps.

    1. Yes, they call the bare wire “ground” but it is not really grounded. Even a lot of professional electricians here don’t know. It is just the neutral – but people get shocked like crazy on the neutral!

  14. hi sir tim, i bought a kitchen aid food processor and i was trying to buy for a voltage regulator. a local store told me that if the motor wattage is 1000 watts, you should buy a triple voltage regulator, say 3000 watts. are you familiar with this kind of requirement? thank you

  15. Just a point to mention for the unwary. Where your electricity supply is derived from a step-down transformer and you have just two wires coming into your house, it is possible, where the centre point of the secondary of the transformer is earthed (grounded), you will have two live (hot) conductors coming to your metering and panel board. That gives you your 220 volts ac (110 volts between either outer terminal on the transformer and earth).
    This is fine where double pole circuit breakers are used, because both live (hot) conductors are isolated when the breaker is opened.
    However, beyond the panel board, single pole switches are commonly used which means that only one of the live conductors is disconnected which means that a potential 110volts to earth remains at any outlet, for example a lampholder.
    This presents a potential hazard which could be fatal. The type of lampholder deployed most commonly in the Philippines is that of the Edison Screw format. E27 and other sizes.
    Most electrical regulative authorities require, for reasons of safety,that only the centre contact of this type of fitting is connected to the line conductor i.e. The hot or live conductor because the metal screw connection can be more readily touched, especially if the screw part of a lamp base protrudes beyond any insulating sleeve (sometimes glazed cardboard!!).

    Why does it matter? Well if you are standing on top of a metal ladder trying to remove a lamp base that has become stuck you might well have an electrifying experience by touching the screw portion of the lamp cap.
    110 volts ac is enough to kill someone, and the current (amps) does not need to be high. 50 millamperes (0.05 Amps) is sufficient, never mind falling off the ladder into the bargain.

    The best advice is to ALWAYS isolate any circuit that you are intending to work on at the panelboard. Open the double pole breaker for the circuit or even the main double pole switch if you are at all in doubt.

    1. I wish we had two 110’s I was looking for it 🙂 Some areas may have it though (there are no real standards here). All I have seen here is a 220 and a neutral.

      I worked in HVAC for over 20 years and I would never work on a live circuit. I always secured power, and tested it, before working.

    2. I am an Electrician since 1974.. I can tell you on Luzon there is only a single 220 volt lead and a neutral wire… Nowhere on this island will you find 2 110 volt lines incoming.

      1. Well Robert, you are a lucky man! At least you know exactly where you stand, well hopefully.
        The point I was making relates to the fact that, where you have a supply of 220 volts derived from the two outer tappings of the secondary winding of the distribution transformer, and the centre tap is grounded, you will have 110 to ground from each outer leg.
        I was not suggesting that you can reliably derive a 110 volt supply by using an earth rod and one of the outer leg taps.
        The point I was hoping to establish was that due care needs to be exercised because, as far as I have so far encountered, the switches controlling lighting circuits are single pole, and thus only open one of the lines going to the fitting. That means where we have this 220 volt supply derived from the two outer tappings of the distribution transformer, one of the connections to the lamp holder will remain at 110 volts to ground even though the switch is open.
        That can give you literally an electrifying experience!
        My brother in law’s house is in Davao, and I can assure you that both incoming lines are hot.
        I can measure 110 volts from either line to ground, and I will not work on any circuit there unless the panel breaker is locked off and the circuit proven to be dead.
        Fussy? Yes I am, life is short enough as it is.
        Saludos desde el chico electricista.

  16. Do you think if I bought some 110 outlets here in the USA that they would work with the 220 volt system in the Philippines? I would think that the outlets manufactured for use in the US, for example Leviton outlets, would be a higher quality that those found in the Phils. Inquiring minds want to know.

    1. I am not an electrician and cannot give good advice on that. You would have to look at the amp rating, the actual voltage may not be a problem? Along those lines… we have an outlet strip we bought here in the Philippines and used it for over a year for our rice cooker, toaster oven, and a fan, before I looked at it and saw it says 110 volt only ha ha Luckily it is not a surge protector and does not have a light or any other load on it. So the 220 volts never hurt it. (we are still using it)

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