JPS Resource Centre
ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT & 50-CYCLES
Most electrical appliances operate on either a 50-cycle or a 60-cycle system. This means the supply of electricity reaching the equipment is repeated 50 times for the 50-cycle or 60 times for the 60-cycle, in one second. The number of cycles per second (Hertz) is known as the frequency of the supply.
In Jamaica and the United Kingdom (UK), electrical equipment operate on 50 Hertz (Hz), while in North America the standard is 60Hz. If you use 60Hz equipment on the Jamaican 50Hz system, you risk damage to your equipment; especially with larger appliances like refrigerators, air conditioners and washing machines.
Possible effects of mixing cycles include:
- Overheating - motors will rotate at a slower pace as they pull more current
- Under Performance - e.g. pumps and washing machines will spin at a slower rate
- Permanent Damage - increased temperatures can wear out wiring thus reducing the lifespan of the equipment
When shopping for electrical equipment always enquire about the cycle system, and ensure that you buy the correct equipment for the Jamaican 50-cycle system.