View Full Version : Cabin Utility Electrical Outlets

22nd Jan 2010, 20:58
Hello All,

With the aircraft AC electrical system putting out 115v and 400htz, will any 110v appliance (i.e. a shaver, vacuum cleaner, cell phone charger) work normally in the cabin utility outlets in the lavs and galleys? Are they normalized to 60 htz somehow?

Usually I see the cabin service folk's vacuum plugged into the jet bridge outlets with a long drop cord.

Are all Boeing, Airbus, and MD series aircraft the same with respect to the cabin utility outlets?

Thanks for any replies.

22nd Jan 2010, 21:08
Never had any problem with electronics and the outlet in the lav is for a electric razor (electric motor). I have never heard of 115vac @400hz damaging anything designed for 110 @60hz.

D O Guerrero
22nd Jan 2010, 23:53
If I bought an american coffee maker, could I plug it in through the socket behind the FO's seat?

23rd Jan 2010, 00:35
If I bought an american coffee maker, could I plug it in through the socket behind the FO's seat?

You would have to unplug the Capt's mobile phone / laptop charger first...

23rd Jan 2010, 00:45
G'day PCars,

Some AC powered devices, such as ones with small motors, are frequency sensitive and probably wouldn't run well, if at all, on a 400Hz supply.

Battery chargers are another story, they convert AC to DC to charge the battery in the device and so the incoming AC frequency is irrelevant as the output DC frequency is by definition zero. Most modern battery chargers can sort out the input voltage in order to output the correct DC voltage.

I've run a laptop from the aircraft supply, through a charger, without any problems though something like a directly powered electric shaver might be problematic.


23rd Jan 2010, 02:51
The L1011 has 115VAC outlets at every entry door, and they come in hand for charging mobile phones, laptops and...some of our CC have a special coffee machine to prepare latties, etc for the crew...one even brought a small waffle iron for waffles for the entire crew.
A nice touch.
So far as I know, the vacuum cleaners used by the ground crew for cabin cleaning are designed for the 400Hz, however, not sure if a regular 60Hz vacuum cleaner would work OK.
I suspect not.

23rd Jan 2010, 03:56
Living in Australia where the power supply is nominally 240V 50Hz I have known people over the years who have bought power tools while in the USA where most power is 110V 60HZ.

A simple transformer will convert the 240AC to 110AC easily enough but won't change the Hz so an electric motor designed to use 60Hz power when run on 50Hz power will usually not run optimally, it will either not develop it's rated power or it will overheat or both. I dunno whether electrical theory supports this but that is my experience.


23rd Jan 2010, 04:18
If you put a bridge rectifier in a 110/60 vacuum cleaner, you can run it off the 400 Hz outlets. Runs fine, as you're converting it to DC.

Dan Winterland
23rd Jan 2010, 04:45
The shaver sokets are powered by inverters whihc adjust the frequency to 50-60hz as many shavers rely on that frequency to work.

Plugging some power adapters into 400hz will damage them, but not the appliance as the output will have been rectified. I used to plug my laptop into the galley socket when positioning and accepted the fact I was going to have to replace it every year.

In a lot of aircraft the sockets for cleaning are powered by the ground service bus and are not energised in flight.