Author Topic: Basic info  (Read 121839 times)

Offline Bob Johnson

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Basic info
« on: July 02, 2019, 03:58:13 AM »
Hi. Haven't posted in a while, but I check here often. I may be making a move to the Philippines early next year, more on that later. Just a question on basics for now. Packing door-to-door boxes, my wife packs portable tools, and now we are sending a new generator. My understanding is that PI uses 220 volts using American plugins. I know a couple years age my wife put a single-voltage TV, 110V, in her luggage, plugged it in, and burned it up. Does the Philippines use 220V everywhere, or have I heard wrong? If so, how do they deal with 110V battery chargers? Have a voltage converter for every tool? If voltage is 220, what good is a 110V generator set? The wife was packing some LED bulbs we got super cheap, told her they wouldn't work. Sorry if this sounds confusing. Just trying to get the facts straight in my head. We have a large filipino community here, but still too much conflicting info. My wife has a house in Manila and family in Abra in northern Luzon.

Offline lost_in_samoa

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Re: Basic info
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2019, 04:48:58 AM »
My understanding is that PI uses 220 volts using American plugins. I know a couple years age my wife put a single-voltage TV, 110V, in her luggage, plugged it in, and burned it up. Does the Philippines use 220V everywhere, or have I heard wrong? If so, how do they deal with 110V battery chargers?


The topic area you need to focus on is "Building in the Philippines"

One of the best specific threads is "electricity in the Philippines"

I know that those areas are not updated frequently.  But they don't really need to be.  The information is accurate today.

In direct answer to your questions.

The electrical system in the RP is a "hodge - podge".   "As built" there are different systems in different areas.  Areas where there is legacy US construction differ from what you would find in other provinces.

Generally you will receive from the utility two lines of "240vac" and no ground.   To run 120vac appliances you need to step this voltage down to 120vac and provide a ground that is relative.  Usually done with a step down transformer.

When powering tools through a "step down" device you have to account for "motor inrush current" and "peak load current" draw.

Motor inrush current is the amount of current flow into the device when it is first powered up.  It can exceed 4->5 times the rated full load draw.  For a second or two at device start up.  That blast of peak current will throw breakers and burn fuses throughout the circuit if you have not accounted for it.

Peak current draw is just that.  The highest level of current pull when the tool in question is working as hard as it can.


I run lots of big 120vac power tools.  I do this because

1.)  Having tools that require not commonly available electricity discourages those tools from "growing legs".

2.)  The RP tool providers I have frequented are flooded with  counterfeits and poorly made look a likes.  After the 4th locally procured drill motor dies you realize that it is cheaper to buy quality from the manufacturer and ship it.   

Your mileage may vary.

Over the years I have burned up countless locally obtained voltage converters.  They followed the same trend as locally obtained power tools.

My final solution was to procure a smaller industrial grade step down transformer that could be wired to provide two legs of 120 and a ground relative to those legs.  I sized this transformer 25% over what the highest inrush current from the largest tool I possessed was.

That was not a cheap solution.  But I am in the second or third year of using it with out a glitch.

Proceed with caution.  Hope this helps.


Offline Bob Johnson

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Re: Basic info
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2019, 05:24:30 AM »
OMG--I didn't know this section of the forum existed! This will take some study! It looks like my wife and I will take a trip to the PI in Dec-Jan. She wants me to retire and stay to finish her house in Manila. We will see what happens. I don't usually have any idea what's going on until she asks me "Why aren't you packed?"

Offline FastWalk

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Re: Basic info
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2019, 08:30:04 AM »
Hi. Haven't posted in a while, but I check here often. I may be making a move to the Philippines early next year, more on that later. Just a question on basics for now. Packing door-to-door boxes, my wife packs portable tools, and now we are sending a new generator. My understanding is that PI uses 220 volts using American plugins. I know a couple years age my wife put a single-voltage TV, 110V, in her luggage, plugged it in, and burned it up. Does the Philippines use 220V everywhere, or have I heard wrong? If so, how do they deal with 110V battery chargers? Have a voltage converter for every tool? If voltage is 220, what good is a 110V generator set? The wife was packing some LED bulbs we got super cheap, told her they wouldn't work. Sorry if this sounds confusing. Just trying to get the facts straight in my head. We have a large filipino community here, but still too much conflicting info. My wife has a house in Manila and family in Abra in northern Luzon.

When we moved,  we ended up bringing lots of stuff that we don't even want now...   Think about what you actually want from your stuff,  and then the cost of sending it.  With the exceptions of specialty tools or very very high quality ones and good quality computers it can be possible to buy most items locally and then they will just work with the local power.

I believe everyone that moves hear will at least once make the mistake of plugging a 110 item into a 220 socket.   Its bad news...   

One of the things we did was buy a new 55" TV to send.   After paying for the shipping of it,  I found I could have gotten a decent quality 65" locally and spend less money.  The one I sent ended up being a 110 only... So now I have a small converter on it,  it works fine until at some time in the future we rearrange that room and forget to put the converter on and just plug to the wall.

Asking questions about it is smart so you can save some money and not send stuff that might never be used.

We did everything with small boxes for shipping.  After doing it,  I wish we had instead used a small container so that some of the larger items could be sent.  Items like small garden tractor,  good quality gas pressure washer.  Those type of items are more expensive hear and don't fit into the small boxes.  I think it would have cost me the same to fill a small container vs a big pile of small boxes had I thought about it before sending and spending a lot on the small boxes.
Remember, today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.

Offline David690

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Re: Basic info
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2019, 06:45:40 PM »
When we moved,  we ended up bringing lots of stuff that we don't even want now...   Think about what you actually want from your stuff,  and then the cost of sending it.  With the exceptions of specialty tools or very very high quality ones and good quality computers it can be possible to buy most items locally and then they will just work with the local power.

I believe everyone that moves hear will at least once make the mistake of plugging a 110 item into a 220 socket.   Its bad news...   

One of the things we did was buy a new 55" TV to send.   After paying for the shipping of it,  I found I could have gotten a decent quality 65" locally and spend less money.  The one I sent ended up being a 110 only... So now I have a small converter on it,  it works fine until at some time in the future we rearrange that room and forget to put the converter on and just plug to the wall.

Asking questions about it is smart so you can save some money and not send stuff that might never be used.

We did everything with small boxes for shipping.  After doing it,  I wish we had instead used a small container so that some of the larger items could be sent.  Items like small garden tractor,  good quality gas pressure washer.  Those type of items are more expensive hear and don't fit into the small boxes.  I think it would have cost me the same to fill a small container vs a big pile of small boxes had I thought about it before sending and spending a lot on the small boxes.

A balikbayan box can be any size and any weight you like.  They just use 3 or 4 standard sizes to make calculating the rate easier.  We must have shipped at least a dozen boxes of different sizes, small, medium, large, jumbo plus a self made carton for the wifes bicycle which wouldn't fit into one of the standard boxes.

For the voltage, most places are 230v 60hz.  I believe there are some places that have 110v as a result of the US military presence.
It will be worth checking the rating tag on whatever it is you want to bring, as most modern electronic stuff nowadays, smart TV's, computers etc are dual voltage 110/220v and dual freq 50/60Hz.  Even a lot of power tools are dual voltage/frequency.  Mine are.

Where you will most likely face problems are heavy items with large motors, compressors, such as AC units, washing machines etc.
Londoner at heart

Offline Bob Johnson

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Re: Basic info
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2019, 01:44:00 AM »
Poring over your links in the building section, I obviously have a lot of research to do. 50 years experience, and I see I have new tricks to learn. Thanks for the help, I will be back for ? from time to time.

Offline suzukig1

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Re: Basic info
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2019, 01:28:30 PM »
Off topic for the contents of this thread but on topic going by the title of the thread.

PHL Bank Accounts

If you don't already have a PHL bank account, you should open one in the U.S. (I assume you are in the U.S.).  There are U.S. branches of PHL banks that will open accounts that are PHL banks accounts.  If you don't have a PHL permanent resident visa it is now very difficult for foreigners to open PHL banks accounts.  (Foreigners with PHL permanent resident visas are ok.  Foreigners in the PHL as tourist or under the Balikbayan privilege now have difficulty opening banks accounts.)  Stricter rules implemented at the end of 2018 enforcing the 2001 Anti-Money Laundering Act.

Offline Bob Johnson

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Re: Basic info
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2019, 09:30:24 PM »
Will take this up with wife. This will be critical if we manage construction funding. The wife is a naturalized US Citizen now, too.

Offline Bob Johnson

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Re: Basic info
« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2019, 11:16:50 PM »
AND since this is a basic thread, this kind of information is much appreciated. Lots of things to think about; I just take debit card/direct deposit/checking account access for granted. Back to electrical, and since my wife packed a new 110V generator we got at auction in a balikbayan box, I think I will throw in a large step-up/step-down transformer in the next.

Offline suzukig1

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Re: Basic info
« Reply #9 on: July 04, 2019, 01:48:28 PM »
AND since this is a basic thread, this kind of information is much appreciated. Lots of things to think about; I just take debit card/direct deposit/checking account access for granted.

Since you are in the U.S. open a Schwab brokerage account.  With that you get a Schwab bank account and a Visa debit card.  Schwab reimburses all ATM fees worldwide.  In the PHL most ATMs will charge you P250 every time you use a foreign ATM card.  Schwab will reimburse all of these fees when you use the Schwab Visa debit card.  No fees on their end and no foreign currency conversion transaction fees.  The Visa daily currency conversion rate that they use is better than the currency conversion rate you can get in the PHL from any PHL bank.  You need to maintain a U.S. address to keep a U.S. Schwab account open.  U.S. citizens with a foreign address can open an international Schwab account and still get the Schwab Visa debit card.

Offline M.C.A.

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Re: Basic info
« Reply #10 on: July 04, 2019, 04:59:20 PM »
Bob for me those generators sure ended up to be a waste of time and expensive lessons learned, they basically destroyed my two 32" TV's so the only thing I'd plug into a generator is a fan and light bulbs, LED bulbs are cheap here also so no worries they have LED bulbs that also look like the old long florescent ones.  I'm not an electrician but just my learning lesson is that the power on these generators isn't steady so when the power fluctuates it destroys the capacitors, not a big deal with a fan or AC unit you can change them out and these capacitors are available here and cheap.

Bottom line is that it's a real pain converting 110 volts to 220 volts and unless it's some sort of special appliance you can't live without such as a hot dog machine (can't live without that) then I'd get a transformer once you get here but you'd be amazed at what you can buy or end up buying online if you can't find it locally.
My views would be from someone who lives out in the province close to in-laws on a pension.  Norwegian and French heritage.

Offline Bob Johnson

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Re: Basic info
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2019, 09:45:58 PM »
Suzukig:  I love Schwab! Perfect! Our company 457 was on Schwab, traded extensively (then they switched). Definitely will initiate that. I imagine local internet will be pretty unreliable for day trading, however.  MCA:  The gen set is already packed. Far be it from me to dispute my wife's logic. That's what prompted this thread questioning 110 vs 220 power, and to find out it is nothing like US 220 service to boot. She insists it will be useful in her province, Abra, although she does not understand the electrical situation.

Offline ermita_virus

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Re: Basic info
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2019, 09:54:38 PM »
220 everywhere, except Bagio, if I recall. But most electronics in the US are not 110. They are something like 100-260. But I would not bring all that stuff with you. The taxes will not be worth it. Might as well buy new. If you eve need it at all. After all that, it will likely be stolen, and could put your life in danger.

Offline David690

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Re: Basic info
« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2019, 12:48:42 AM »
220 everywhere, except Bagio, if I recall. But most electronics in the US are not 110. They are something like 100-260. But I would not bring all that stuff with you. The taxes will not be worth it. Might as well buy new. If you eve need it at all. After all that, it will likely be stolen, and could put your life in danger.

No taxes if you ship your stuff in via Balikbayan Boxes.  I brought all of my power tools with me.  I also sent a Samsung 65" UHD TV, Bosch Oven, Ceramic Hob, Extractor hood.
Londoner at heart

Offline MotorSarge

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Re: Basic info
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2019, 03:36:01 AM »
Does any one here know what is the biggest size balikbayan box?
MS