View Full Version : Electical power in South Africa

25-01-2013, 04:11 PM
Setting up a job we will be doing in Cape Town South Africa and I need to know a couple things about their single phase power. I am only familiar with what I deal with in the U.S.

Is the voltage 220 or 240

Is the voltage referenced Line to Line or is it 240VAC to 240 neutral

Also will 120VAC be available there

The only things I do know is the are 50Hz and they do ground their neutral.

Any help would be appreciated

25-01-2013, 04:45 PM
1. use google, very helpful at times.....
2. SA is 220 to 230 3 pins. 50hz. 110 could be found in all the hotels bathrooms.
you can buy a transformer though.

Best of luck with your job.

26-01-2013, 09:29 AM
Line to line 380volt , live to neautral/earth 220 volt ( ex Cape Town) beautiful place ,enjoy it.

27-01-2013, 11:33 AM
220VAC line to neutral ( though it will be anything from 210VAC to 250VAC depending on the place and the load on the system) and 400VAC phase to phase. No 110/120V available unless you use a transformer to make it from the supply, though it is a very common transformer for control panels, which will have a 220/400V primary and a 120/220 secondary at whatever current you need ( mostly a 5A version is the max current, they get big, expensive and heavy over that) for your control circuitry. All power systems have an earthed neutral at the supply, which means the neutral inside the premises is separate from the earth conductor, and must be kept that way. You cannot use the earth as a current carrying conductor, and cannot use the neutral as a earth either. As to protective devices, it is mandatory to have a RCD on all standard plugpoints, and it is recommended to have the same on all 3 phase supply points that have a socket and cord that connects them. This is in addition to overcurrent protection by appropriate circuit breakers. All wiring must be in accordance with the relevant SANS codes, and the breakers, plugs, sockets and wiring must be code compliant.

29-01-2013, 04:48 PM
Thanks, for the response. A few years ago we got caught in Spain with them not grounding the neutral so I always double check.

03-02-2013, 08:52 PM
That's suprising that Spain doesn't have a grounded neutral? Like Sean says you can wire the controls of equipment from North America to a tranny with 50/60 hz 380-440 v/220-240v primary 120v secondary with a combined earth and grounded neutral. They are used in the UK and Europe and known as a reduced low voltage system and are commonly used on construction sites for power tools and lighting, and commonly found on control panels so they can be used any where in the world, as UK and Europe is 50 hz (230v) 220-240 v grounded neutral (TNC-S/PME). Then its just the appliance load you need to consider.

Try to stay clear of the centre tapped secondary that give you 40-70 v on both legs that equal 110-120 v, they can be a pain when fault finding. I think they will be allowed to used in Africa as the wiring system out there is based on British French and Dutch, but they have their own wiring regulations/codes. So correct me if I'm wrong Sean?

And just in case you didn't know an RCD (residual current device), is a GFCI. And unlike in the US, and Canada your not allowed to connect the earth/ground to the neutral at the service entry, it has to be done by the power company as Sean pointed out.

I worked out in Lybia in the eighties and one of the problems I found was that the maximum demand allowed for a premise was limited to say the least, and getting a 3 phase 415v supply was almost unheard of. If you ever need any help with terminology or regulations/codes used this side of the pond, then don't hesitate to ask.

08-02-2013, 06:11 PM
If you're going to use a step down transformer to run American equipment in South Africa then the problem will be the frequency difference. Many control PCB's are frequency sensitive, they often pace their internal clock speeds by the supply frequency. Also motors don't run well with lower frequency supply, their speed will be reduced and their efficiency as well which leads to hotter running temps and premature failure. Maybe an inverter supply would be better if you can find one with 50hz input and 60hz output.