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why is it the united states uses 110 ac volts instead of 220...

<< Back to: Electrical Wiring FAQ (Part 1 of 2)

Question by jeff
Submitted on 2/10/2004
Related FAQ: Electrical Wiring FAQ (Part 1 of 2)
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why is it the united states uses 110 ac volts instead of 220 ac volts which
is used by many asian countries? what is the difference between them
that the u.s. favored the use of 110 instead of 220?? t.y.

Answer by D. Tiwari
Submitted on 4/7/2004
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For a given system that consumes power and that transmits power  the flowin of current dissipates heat which consumes power. When the Emf force is high, power is reached at a point with less loss than when it's transmitted at long length with reduced EMF ( evidently by P = I Squared R ).Power loss is significant as current is increased. Yes, I personally would favour the power transmitted at less current and more voltage. My research in this matter led me to understand that when a standard for transmission was being developed by con edison and some other person from germany, the favoured system proposed was 220V, but con edison had already patented dozens of systems which uses 120V and was adamant in not using the 220V which he knew was better. Eventually the german person went back to Europe and established the 220V system, he also equally enraged that nothing con edison patented at 120V would be used there.


Answer by Rudy
Submitted on 8/14/2004
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Jeff, your assumption about North American  electrical wiring is not exactly what you think it is.

The electrical company feeds the electrical power, about 34 Kilovolts (Voltage level differs across the U.S.) to a neighborhood transformer, where it's transformed down to 240 Volts. This secondary winding of the transformer has a center tap. So, each house is supplied with this 240 Volts and a Neutral. This 240 Volts is wired to the kitchen for electrical cooking, it's wired to the laundry room for operation of an electrical clothes dryer, it supplies the air conditioning system and other places in the house where heavy appliances are located.

One tap of the secondary winding, together with the neutral tap, supplies 120 Volts to about half of the electrical outlets that you see in the wall inside the house, the other tap of the secondary winding, using the same center tap (neutral) supplies the other half of the electrical outlets in the house so the electrical draw from the secondary winding of the neighborhood transformer is about balanced. Then, there is of course a ground.

There is really no need to have 240 Volts to operate and electrical razor or to light up a light bulb!

Industrial buildings are wired differently, where you'd encounter 3 Phase systems in addition to the 240 Volt and Center tap configuration as described above. But that is a different story!

And last but not least, keep in mind that North America uses 60 Herz which is more efficient than 50 Hz, specifically for transformers. (60 Hz transformers need less  core material than 50 Hz transformers).


Answer by alex
Submitted on 1/13/2005
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First of all the AC current, 110 V, 60 Hz was not patented by Edison. He was strongly opposed AC with goal to set DC standard. The person who we have to congratulate and put back into history books is NIKOLA TESLA. He deserved that, cause his inventions made us enjoy our life better than kings in 19th century.


Answer by Monkie
Submitted on 12/16/2005
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I think you are right!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Answer by Sean
Submitted on 3/8/2006
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You'll have higher chance or pretty much dead if you get shocked with 220v..
110v you can survive through electrical shock..
It's more of a safety issue.....


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