Most standard outlets in North America are set up to run items that need 120 volts. However, some larger appliances actually need 240 volts of power. If you have an appliance you need to temporarily plug in and use that needs 240 volts, but you only have 120-volt outlets, you can make your own transformer in order to get the power that you need. This project requires multiple tools and electrical knowledge.
Gather The Right Supplies
In order for the job to go smoothly, you need to purchase all the necessary supplies before you get started. You should be able to find most of these supplies at your local home improvement store in the electrical and hardware sections. You will need two steel bars which are at least six inches long, as well as two steel bars that are at least thirteen inches long or double the length of the previous steel bars plus at least one extra inch.
You are also going to need an emery board, a large roll of magnetic wire, electrical tape, wire snips, and 8 bolts and nuts. Finally, if you do not have a drill, you will need to purchase or borrow one for this project.
Drill Holes In the Steel Bars
The first thing you are going to need to do is drill two small holes right next to each other one end of the first six-inch bar. Use the drill bit for each hole that matches the diameter of the bolts that you purchased. Then you are going to drill another two small holes at the other end of the bar. They should make a right angle together.
Once you have drilled the holes in the first bar, you will repeat the process with the second bar. In total, you will need to drill 8 holes.
Wrap The Smaller Bars In Electrical Tape
Next, take the electrical tape you purchased and wrap it around each of the two steel bars that you just drilled. Start the electrical tape right after the holes, and wrap it until you reach the two drill points on the opposite side of the bar. The drill points should not be covered up with the tape.
Make sure you use electrical tape and not just regular tape that is lying around your home. Electrical tape is specifically designed to absorb electrical current and will protect you from getting accidentally shocked.
Wrap The Larger Bars In Magnetic Wire
Take one 13-inch steel bars, and start right next to the drill points on one side, and wind the wire around until you reach the other end. Make sure you do not cover the drill points. You will want to wrap the wire around it 625 times. When you reach the end of the bar, secure the wire with electrical tape; make sure you don't cover the holes. Then, cut off the remaining magnetic wire with your wire snips.
Take the second 13-inch steel bar, and repeat the same process. The only difference is this time, you are going to wrap twice as much magnetic wire around the steel bar. So, instead of wrapping it 625 times, you are going to wrap it around the bar 1,300 times, or until it is twice as thick as the previous bar. Once again, when you get to the end cut off the additional magnet wire with your wire snips, if there is any left, and secure it in place with electrical tape.
Align The Bars
Now that the bars are prepared, it is time to put them together. Lay the two large bars that are wrapped in magnet wire next to one another so there is a small gap in between them. Place the six-inch steel bars wrapped in electrical tape underneath each of the larger coil bars so that they are perpendicular to the larger bars, forming a 90 degree angle. Line the holes up with one another.
Next, take the bolts and bolt each short bar to the larger bar. When you are done you should have a rectangular shape with one long side missing.
Finally, use the emery board or nail file you purchased to sand about an inch and a half of the enamel from each wire coil so that you have an inch of exposed, un-insulated wire.
Hook Up The Transformer
You are not ready to hook up your homemade transformer. All you have to do is take the coil wire on the strip that has less magnetic wire on it and stick that end into the 120-volt outlet, kind of like you were plugging in an appliance. Then, take the coil attached to the end of the strip that is wrapped in twice as much magnetic wire and wrap it around the end outlet of the appliance that needs 240 volts.
The transformer you made will allow you to supply your appliance with 240 volts of power from a 120-volt electrical source. However, this should only be used as a temporary measure. If you intend to keep the appliance and need a permanent source of 240 volts of power, you should have an electrician (like those at Sierra Electrical) install a new 240-volt outlet for you.