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110 vs 220

by Docopac
posted 06-13-2011 07:00 PM


49 replies so far

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

13569 posts in 3255 days


#1 posted 06-13-2011 07:06 PM

My vintage saw was terribly underpowered at 110V. A beast at 220V.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

16284 posts in 4780 days


#2 posted 06-13-2011 07:39 PM

I’m going to put some popcorn on and enjoy the show. These kinds of questions always stir up a lively debate.

I’m no electrical expert at all, but what I’ve read indicates the main advantage to 220 is that your saw will likely be the only thing on the circuit, so you will not experience the light dimming and breaker tripping more common when running your saw on a circuit with other household draws on it.

In theory, running on 220 will not make your saw more powerful (although Al (Bertha) will disagree).

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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Bertha

13569 posts in 3255 days


#3 posted 06-13-2011 07:43 PM

^I’m pulling up a chair, too, Charlie;) I know that in theory, it shouldn’t. Many electricians (which I am not) have told me this. Maybe my saw defied physics somehow but it struggled on the simplest of task at 110V and blazes without delay at 220V. Nothing else at all was changed on the saw except the wiring. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t in some sort of fugue state and/or dreaming;)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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CharlieM1958

16284 posts in 4780 days


#4 posted 06-13-2011 07:48 PM

Al, maybe Rand’s friend, the wood fairy, also does horsepower upgrades on the tools of sleeping Lumberjocks. :-)

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View HorizontalMike's profile (online now)

HorizontalMike

7803 posts in 3476 days


#5 posted 06-13-2011 07:53 PM

Chomp, chomp, chomp,... gulp….burrrp! I’m just watchin’ Al and Charlie go at it….

Chomp, chomp,.... RRRip! Oh ‘sceeuz’ me! Whew!.... I’m outta’ here!... ;-)

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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TopamaxSurvivor

18742 posts in 4238 days


#6 posted 06-13-2011 08:04 PM

Al, it may seem that way, but the real reason is voltage drop on 110.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View HorizontalMike's profile (online now)

HorizontalMike

7803 posts in 3476 days


#7 posted 06-13-2011 08:58 PM

Topa,
Isn’t that why the supply voltage comes in at 120v?... to allow for the voltage drop to 110v?

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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BlankMan

1490 posts in 3915 days


#8 posted 06-13-2011 09:28 PM

Oh there definitely are some advantages of 220V over 110V and it does relate to more power at the blade.

First off, half the voltage, double the current. Double the current the wiring has to carry quadruple the power loss in the wiring. Hence the voltage drop in the wiring reduces the 110V available at the saw to double that of what it would be at 220V. So roughly as an simple example if you’re pulling 10A at 110V and the wiring has a 1 ohm resistance (it’s not this high this is just for example) you lose 10V in the wiring and the saw sees 100V. That same wiring operating at 220V pulling 5A with the wiring having a 1 ohm resistance has a 5V drop across it so the saw sees 215V. (Assuming typical 20A household circuit wired with 12ga wire for both 110V & 220V.) Losses in this example are 9.1% at 110V, 2.3% at 220V and this scales.

This is an exaggerated example and rough calculations (not taking into account it’s actually a divider circuit) to show Voltage does make a difference, the higher the voltage the lower the losses thus more of the power is delivered to the load in this case being the saw. That is why transmission lines are at hundreds of thousands of volts to lower the current thus lowing the losses and delivering more of the power to the load.

And power losses in the wiring produces heat and heat increases the resistances which further increases the losses.

Physics at its best.

Right Topa? And Howdy!

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

13569 posts in 3255 days


#9 posted 06-13-2011 09:37 PM

So I wasn’t imagining things, Curt? ;)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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BlankMan

1490 posts in 3915 days


#10 posted 06-13-2011 09:45 PM

Nope. And I had a buddy that claimed the saw comes up to speed faster too at 220V. Makes sense, haven’t been able to prove that one way or the other though. Makes sense in that voltage is akin to pressure and it’s pushin’ those electrons faster to the load to do the work.

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

13569 posts in 3255 days


#11 posted 06-13-2011 09:46 PM

Sweetness.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Paul M Cohen's profile

Paul M Cohen

86 posts in 4340 days


#12 posted 06-13-2011 09:56 PM

Of course if you had a DVR motor there is a major difference, you get just over 1.25-1.5 HP on 110 and a full 2 HP on 220.

The reason it seems to come up faster on 220 is most likely due to less voltage drop on the 220 dedicated line.

Soon to be a proud owner of a DVR table saw. :-)

-- Paul, Beaverton OR, www.TravelbyPaul.com

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BlankMan

1490 posts in 3915 days


#13 posted 06-13-2011 09:59 PM

Coming up to speed faster may have something to do with the inrush current as it’s coming up to speed being double hence once again the voltage drop (loss) in the wiring being double thus it takes longer. Theoretically makes sense.

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

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knotscott

8346 posts in 3938 days


#14 posted 06-13-2011 10:12 PM

There are benefits to using 220v as mentioned, but the benefits can vary a lot depending on the particular circuit and the particular motor in question. It’s possible that there’s no noticeable difference in some cases, and a very noticeable difference in others. If 220v is readily available, I’d make the switch. If it’s not readily available but lights are dimming and the saw is slow to come up to speed and struggling, I’d consider making the switch. If 220v is not readily available, and there are zero issues with running a tool on 110v, it’s probably not worth bothering.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

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Minorhero

373 posts in 3167 days


#15 posted 06-13-2011 10:15 PM

Outside of a physics class there is an amazing amount of superstition when it comes to electrical matters. I think a lot of this is from the fact there are so many folks out there that got their electrical knowledge in an apprentice style system. They do something a certain way because their old boss taught them that way. Their old boss did it that way because he learned to do it that way from his boss and so on.

Folks will swear up and down certain methods or wiring choices are the only way to go while others will swear up and down that they are wrong.

The point is simply this, chances are getting real solid comparison data out of the internet concerning any kind of electrical issue is going to be slim to none.

There is however a very obvious and practical difference between the two. All the 220 wiring configurations for motors I have seen use less amps then their 110 counterparts. What this means is that 110 motors of 2hp tend to use at least a full 20 amps and often times are just over that amount. So unless you have a 20 to 30 amp circuit. you can not run a 2hp motor. 3hp motors will need more power still and since most folks are not running 30 amp outlets they might as well re-wire for 220 volt. This issue becomes even more prevalent when you run out of amps in your box and still need to power your machines.

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

13569 posts in 3255 days


#16 posted 06-13-2011 10:37 PM

^Minor, I’m the type of guy who’ll stick my finger in something, to see if it’s hot. Ouch! yes, it’s hot. The best advice the electricians ever gave me here….was to call a good electrician. I was told that I should run my saw at 220V, so I had it installed. To my happy surprise, it appeared to run with significantly greater power. That was how I arrived at my current state of electrical knowledge;)

I was also told that you could re-peen the lateral adjuster on a #8 frog. To see how that went, consult my avatar.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Loren's profile

Loren

10477 posts in 4210 days


#17 posted 06-13-2011 11:38 PM

Not all old motors are dual voltage, but most 220 volt motors will start
and run on 110 volts, but at greatly reduced power.

I have an old overarm router I’ve run for years at 110 because it
worked… and recently discovered the plate says 220. It is a low
amperage motor at either voltage, and I haven’t tried it on 220
yet, but I’m curious to see if it spins faster.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

18742 posts in 4238 days


#18 posted 06-14-2011 12:07 AM

Voltage comes at 110- 120 because way back in the beginning of time, we decided it was safer than 220-240, so we have it. Europe just uses 220 for single phase.

There is no power difference between a watt at 120 and one at 240 or 480 for that matter. The perception is because of the effects of voltage drop when the motor starting inrush does not drop the voltage so far or when it starts to bog down, the voltage does not drop as low.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

13569 posts in 3255 days


#19 posted 06-14-2011 12:46 AM

Topa, how can the increase in power I observed be explained? I’m not talking spin-up, light dimming, I’m talking cutting ability. I was milling cherry stock for my nighstand when I switched over to 220V. Same blade, same saw, same stock, same stock thickness, same everything, vastly increased cutting power. I’m just honestly curious now. Nothing that anyone anywhere tells me will change my mind about what I experienced; I just want to get to the bottom of it! ;)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

18742 posts in 4238 days


#20 posted 06-14-2011 01:06 AM

More voltage drop on undersized conductors equals lower performance. The same wire with 220 wil give you better performance when the motor reaches maximum power or a slight over loading.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Paul M Cohen's profile

Paul M Cohen

86 posts in 4340 days


#21 posted 06-14-2011 01:22 AM

Al, it could also be that at 220 you were using different windings that were capable of delivering more hp. 110 15 amp circuits are limited to about 1.5 hp so motors designed for 110 are designed to deliver no more that 1.5 hp. 220 volt circuits can handle 3 hp or more so a motor may have additional windings to support more hp when running on 220.

DVR motors sense the voltage and do the increase hp automatically. AC motors that require you to change terminals to support 220 may connect to different windings to get additional hp. Usually the plate will show amperage at each voltage, if the 220 amperage is 1/2 the 110 amperage the hp should be the same minus 110 wire loss. 1 watt = 0.00134102209 hp

-- Paul, Beaverton OR, www.TravelbyPaul.com

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TopamaxSurvivor

18742 posts in 4238 days


#22 posted 06-14-2011 03:20 AM

Most power tools that I am aware of have universal motors or an induction motor if you buy a little higher quality. Who is selling small shop tools with DVR motors?

You normally have to get into 3 phase before you get different windings for different speeds, ect. The motors in table saws are changed by series connection for 240 volt and parallel for 120. There are all kinds of wonderful gadgets out there thanks to modern electronics, but they mostly just confuse the issue.

I am a fan of using the highest voltage your equipment allows. It usually preforms better, but not because you get more power, because you have fewer low voltage related issues.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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Paul M Cohen

86 posts in 4340 days


#23 posted 06-14-2011 03:46 AM

Shopsmith and Nova Lathe are two companies offering DVR motors that immediately come to mind.

-- Paul, Beaverton OR, www.TravelbyPaul.com

View Loren's profile

Loren

10477 posts in 4210 days


#24 posted 06-14-2011 03:51 AM

I just got a 220 volt portable power tool, a specialized saw.
I may make my opinions known – I’ve never had a universal-motor
tool on 220 volts.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

18742 posts in 4238 days


#25 posted 06-14-2011 04:30 AM

I don’t recall seeing a 220 universal motor either, but there is no reason the junk tool people couldn’t make one and use it. After all they have changed the way they calculate HP and label 3/4 saws and routers as 2 or 3 hp.

Lathes are to totally different world than table saws. You have great need for variable speeds They are not likely to experience 3” of oak being shoved into them either ;-)) Looks to me like the have all the advantages of DC motors without having to run a motor-generator to get it ;-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Paul M Cohen's profile

Paul M Cohen

86 posts in 4340 days


#26 posted 06-14-2011 04:48 AM

One advantage of DVR is very low startup and operating current, typically 1 or 2 amps. Then when you hit them with 3” oak the current goes up gradually (instantly to human perception) and the saw speed is constant. When operating a lathe the current stays low lowering the operating cost for something that continuously for long amounts of time.

The advantage of variable speed in a table saw is to prevent burning in some woods like cherry, or to cut metal or plastic sheets.

-- Paul, Beaverton OR, www.TravelbyPaul.com

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TopamaxSurvivor

18742 posts in 4238 days


#27 posted 06-14-2011 05:26 AM

What is the cost and who makes them?

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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crappywoodworker

16 posts in 3111 days


#28 posted 06-14-2011 05:37 AM

Hey, 220 is 110 better :)

-- John Davis, D.C./Balt

View Paul M Cohen's profile

Paul M Cohen

86 posts in 4340 days


#29 posted 06-14-2011 05:38 AM

“What is the cost and who makes them?”

The motor or something with this kind of motor? Generally the motor with the computers that run them run close to $600 if you can find one unless you are an OEM manufacture. A Nova DVR lathe lathe costs over $2,000, a replacement Shopsmith Headstock runs $1,200-$1,800.

-- Paul, Beaverton OR, www.TravelbyPaul.com

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TopamaxSurvivor

18742 posts in 4238 days


#30 posted 06-14-2011 06:09 AM

I meant in a table saw. Including the drive in the motor is a good idea and it was only a matter of time when the older motors couldn’t take the high frequency switching of modern drives.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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Boneski

143 posts in 3695 days


#31 posted 06-14-2011 06:35 AM

If Thomas Edison had his way you’d all be running DC power – then you’d know all about voltage drop.
Spoilt for choice over here in Australia – 240 volt single phase, 415 volt 3 phase.
Most of my larger gear is 3HP single phase – plenty of power!

-- Blinded by brilliance

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Manitario

2788 posts in 3445 days


#32 posted 06-14-2011 06:36 AM

I love it when this question pops up on LJ’s. I don’t have anything worthwhile to say, but certainly enjoy the responses.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

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Docopac

44 posts in 3170 days


#33 posted 06-14-2011 07:55 PM

I’m happy I could entertain a bunch of you :-)

I still don’t have a clue if 220 will make that big a difference in my weekend wood work but it has been interesting to watch this debate.

-- Docopac (a carpenter in a different medium)

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

13569 posts in 3255 days


#34 posted 06-14-2011 08:54 PM

All I can tell you is that personally, it did in mine. Of course, when I say “all that changed is the voltage”, that of course isn’t entirely true. The cord, plug, receptacle and internal wiring had to change, as well. Perhaps I had a bad connection, bad wire, bad receptacle in my 110V setup that was accidentally “fixed” along with my increase in voltage. I always learn a lot from these debates. Plus, you get to see some familar faces of people you admire.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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SCOTSMAN

5849 posts in 4147 days


#35 posted 06-14-2011 08:59 PM

I think the truth is 220 will be more powerful but not necessarily more noticeable. Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

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TopamaxSurvivor

18742 posts in 4238 days


#36 posted 06-14-2011 10:13 PM

Docopac, I have been troubleshooting motors and controls, fixing equipment others have given up on for over 40 years. Don’t ask me about lighting, I don’t hang light fixtures, the guys that can’t do what I made a career of doing handle that ;-)) Without seeing your installation, IMO, unless you are having problems with dimming lights when the saw starts or it is bogging down a lot, 220 vs 110 will not matter. What will make a difference is a bigger motor. Look at the name plate of the motor, not the BS on the front of the box claiming to have a 5 hp saw with a 1 hp motor on it.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

13569 posts in 3255 days


#37 posted 06-14-2011 10:19 PM

Topa, like those 5000W stereo amplifiers at Walmart? Or the 10,000kW generators at HF? :)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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TopamaxSurvivor

18742 posts in 4238 days


#38 posted 06-14-2011 10:24 PM

I haven’t checked them out, but I can imagine what you get from them. I had an opportunity to buy American made today!! Needed a good tubing cutter to fix the 5th wheel plumbing. Right beside the Kobalt made in China was an American made Superior Tool ;-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

13569 posts in 3255 days


#39 posted 06-14-2011 10:29 PM

Superior tools for superior Americans! Heck yeah, baby. I’ve always been a snap-on guy but I picked up an SK ratchet on an Ebay “scramble and find something else you want so you can combine shipping” adventure. I don’t know, Snapon, this thing is pretty nice….

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View BlankMan's profile

BlankMan

1490 posts in 3915 days


#40 posted 06-15-2011 12:30 AM

HF has a 10KW generator? For under $500 too I bet?! Gotta go… ;-)

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

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Docopac

44 posts in 3170 days


#41 posted 06-15-2011 01:10 AM

Thanks guys I will be getting a Jet Proshop saw this weekend and it comes prewired for 110 so I will try it and see. If I have problems with dimming or bogging I will up grade it to 220.

Thanks again for all the help.

-- Docopac (a carpenter in a different medium)

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DamnYankee

3312 posts in 3124 days


#42 posted 06-15-2011 01:24 AM

When I wired my workshop my electrician friend (and power tool user) said he could run a 220 line for me but said I really wouldn’t see a difference if he ran a dedicated 110 line – which he did.

-- Shameless - Winner of two Stumpy Nubs Awards

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rsdowdy

105 posts in 3758 days


#43 posted 06-15-2011 04:21 AM

The real shocker would have been when you grabbed ahold of those erm 2 20s.

Royal

View Docopac's profile

Docopac

44 posts in 3170 days


#44 posted 06-15-2011 04:29 AM

I told my wife the same thing, she told me I wasn’t wired for 2 20.

-- Docopac (a carpenter in a different medium)

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StephenO

44 posts in 3108 days


#45 posted 06-15-2011 04:33 AM

I love a good three phase.

-- -Steve, Seattle

View HorizontalMike's profile (online now)

HorizontalMike

7803 posts in 3476 days


#46 posted 06-15-2011 01:28 PM

Yea cr1 ya’ young pup, just wait until your 60s and you’ll look back with wistful eyes and wish you could have the age appropriate 4 40s (isn’t dreamin’ wonderful).

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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Fireguy

132 posts in 3798 days


#47 posted 06-15-2011 02:08 PM

You really won’t get more power with 220v vs. 110v. The motor will run more efficiently (cooler and cheaper) at 220v because of the voltage/ current difference explained above. The inrush current is what causes the lights to dim when you turn on your saw on an undersized line or circuit, this is the same reason that it seems to have more power, under high load you are not able to draw enough current through the wires on the 110v circuit. You can solve this problem by using a larger diameter wire to supply power tools and a larger breaker (15amp rather than 10amp). In the end running a 220v circuit will be about the same expense as a proper 110v circuit and the saw will be more efficient at 220v and you will have a lower electric bill because of it.

You really don’t get a voltage drop when you turn on your saw, the voltage remains at 110v-120v that it started at, the power grid is not 100% stable and you will have variations in voltage that range between 110v-120v and you will range between 220v-240v in the US and in some other countries it is even more.

-- Alex

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rsdowdy

105 posts in 3758 days


#48 posted 06-15-2011 06:18 PM

And here I thought that running 220 would cost me more in electric bills but I woudln’t have to suffer the equipment getting bogged down due to lack of power. This is almost like a Christmas present! Thanks for all your info!

Royal

View rcs47's profile

rcs47

210 posts in 3691 days


#49 posted 06-16-2011 03:25 AM

Alex,
We (utility) calculate voltage drop in our service drops, with the idea of providing 120/240 Volt, 3 wire, single phase residential service. We do have a voltage range we are allowed to be within, and still meet the tariffs. There is a voltage drop within the house wires, that’s why most people talk 110/220 Volts.

You (and your neighbors) may see a flicker when your equipment starts. We normally calculate flicker on commerical, industrial and Ag, but we will add residential when we know they have large equipment they plan to connect to their service. We typically see this problems with welders, but it can happen if you add a large piece of equipment. If we get a call from your neighbor for television interference (TVI) and track it back to your equipment, the cost to correct the problem is on you. It may include isolating your service, a larger transformer…

As far as a reduced power consumption, you will see less heat because lower amps at 240 Volts. Heat is energy, but you will need to run the motor many hours every day, before you start to see a difference on the bill. If you were working in a refrigerated warehouse, then you will see savings.

I have seen the saw “power increase” on my Dad’s Unisaw. When he closed his cabinet shop, he moved the Unisaw home, rewired to 120 Volts. He didn’t like the way it cut connected to a dedicated circuit. Added a 240 Volt circuit, and it was back to a production saw again.

Doug

-- Doug - As my Dad taught me, you're not a cabinet maker until you can hide your mistakes.

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