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Japanese washlet toilet seat 2010/6/6 02:31
This forum was very helpful to me. Based on the info I found, two months ago I just plugged the Sanyo washlet toilet seat (which I purchased in March 2010, in Tokyo), without any step-down transformer, and all works beautifully. The seat was for 100V but here in Canada (and US) the voltage is 120V. Still, all is working fine. To be in line with the norms, and be safe, I installed a GFCI outlet plug in the washroom, Thanks again for the info in the forum.
by George Oprea (guest) rate this post as useful

Japanese toilet seat 2010/7/21 05:40
My boyfriend has a Japanese toilet seat in Mexico. I know the US and Mexico are different countries, but I use my electronics from the US here in Mexico with no problem and do not have to buy a converter, so I am sure it would be fine.
by Achulin (guest) rate this post as useful

washlet in us 2010/8/9 01:52
if you'd like to have a washlet in us,ask toto usa.

http://www.totousa.com

you can buy your washlet,from many line up for us.
import from japan,i don't recommend it.because of safety.

toto has dealers,worldwide.

http://www.toto.co.jp/en/index.htm
by tatsujik (guest) rate this post as useful

safety 2010/8/9 18:23
Safety first.
But to advise somebody to buy stuff in the US is unnecessary.
If you know what you are doing there is no risk involved. I would only advise to use a step down transformer or bucket transformer as is mentioned in this posting. I am from Europe (230V) so I have no option not to use a transformer.
BTW if safety is a concern you should not go to Japan as there is a risk that the plane crashes…Or maybe you are in a taxi crash on your way to the airport…
Maybe somebody can investigate how much a specific model cost in the US and in Japan (including shipping, transformer) and than you can decide if it is worthwhile to buy the washlet in Japan (Yes, I know there are more differences like warranty, service etc.).
B. Slager
by B. Slager (guest) rate this post as useful

My experience so far 2010/11/15 11:15
This seems to be the best collection of information on the internet about installing a Japanese-made (100 V) washlet in the USA or Canada, so I thought I would share what I have found so far.

I brought a Toto TCF-315 in Japan two years ago on sale and brought it back here to Canada,to install when we got around to renovating the washroom (which turns out to be this year).I would never have bought the equivalent north american model, because I would have to have paid four times as much (!).

I was strongly tempted to just plug it in, having read a few people's posts that it works fine, and knowing some people run rice cookers here with success. However, we've all heard from returnees who have noticed some appliances having a shorter life due to the excess volts.Some of the more informed posters above have pointed out the risks.I've decided to use a step-down converter, to be safe.

The good news is that a step-down converter is fairly cheap. I just ordered a Power Bright converter from VoltageConverters dot com, and will update this with a review when it arrives. They ship from Montreal for Canadian orders, so no customs or duty fees.

The electrical consumption isn't bad on my washlet, because it has no hot-air blower, and also has a hot water tank -- which means it doesn't have to heat the water on-the-fly, which I believe would consume more.

The heater for the 1.4 L tank draws 350W, and the seat heater a mere 50W. Total wattage is listed as 417W. Most guides I've consulted online have advised to plan for spikes of at least 20%, which would put me over 500W. I ordered a 1,000W transformer, the nearest rounded-up level.

(I would recommend making sure the washlet doesn't overload the circuit. I found this information online: "if you have a 15-amp circuit...safe wattage usage would be 1,440 watts." In my case, I have only some lighting and bedroom outlets on the same circuit, which seems like lots to spare.)

I've also decided to use a GFCI outlet. I found a 15-amp one on sale. These seem to be an essential step. Not only does the building code demand it (and I don't want to invalidate my home insurance), but everyone who works with electricity seems to consider it madness to have an outlet anywhere near water without a GFCI.(To the poster above who said he was going to install with a GFCI but no transformer, what I read seems to indicate they do different things - the GFCI protects against short circuits and electrocution, whereas the transformer prevents excess voltage to the electronics.)

At this point I'm not sure how I will set all this up. One way or another I have to cut into the wall behind the toilet (Have to be really careful when cutting into that wall - not only does it have the water pipes, it also has the sewage vent stack!)

Two main choices, I think:

1. Install a new GFCI outlet to the wall near the toilet, then have the converter plugged into that, and the washlet plugged into the converter. This would be a bit awkward looking, as there is no way currently to hide the converter. I could potentially install a shelf above the toilet with a curtain, Japanese style, to hide the converter. Another thing I don't like is that I would have to wire a new leg of the circuit myself.

2. Or I could install a new GFCI outlet in the wall as above, but not directly on the circuit. I could have it wired so that the outlet's insulated cable comes out through a plate in the wall behind (into a bedroom), then ends in a plug that goes into the converter (hidden away in the bedroom in this scenario), and the converter plugged into my existing bedroom wall plug. I like this option because I don't have to do any real wiring, except of the GFCI to a length of cable, turning it into a GFCI extension cord secured to the wall on the washroom side.

If anyone with relevant knowledge or experience has any advice or comments, they would be welcome. I will update this page as I progress, to help anyone else looking into this.






by SendaiCanadian rate this post as useful

Toto Elecrical Plug 2011/5/24 00:36
Hi folks. I am planning to install a toto toilet seat this week. I'm trying to find a reasonable solution to the the ground wire.

I plan to use a transformer for the voltage and connect to a nearby GFCI outlet but was wondering if I can cut and splice in a North American three prong plug, connecting the power and the ground, thus removing the toto Japanese plug.

The plug head seems to have some sort of reset/breaker built in. I tried reading the Japanese manual, but my limited Japanese reading skills wasn't able to figure out exactly what is in that plug head. It seems to have a reset and "test" button as well as an LED. Is there some sort of Japanese circuit breaker, or (doubtful) even a transformer in that plug head?
by Wassupo (guest) rate this post as useful

Great replies by all! 2011/5/31 17:50
Looking at picking up two washlets before leaving Japan. A friend's dad that used to live here in the 90s apparently bought and used one for ages with no problem in the states, but I'm still looking for more info, and trying to decide on a model as well as whether or not I'll use a step-down voltage transformer.

Either way, I'll likely get the basic INAX model and/or the basic Panasonic model (planning to bring two with me), and both their brochures (the ones at Yodobashi Camera) say less than 500W and are less than 20,000 yen with 10% points...so price wise, it makes way more sense to get a seat here and, if I choose to, a converter.

Looking forward to any additional help people can offer. I'd love to hear that the INAX or Panasonic seat is designed for 100-120V, as that would be great...but even first hand stories from people who're using a seat without a converter would be nice.
by peteer01 (guest) rate this post as useful

GFI options 2011/6/18 16:13
You might consider replacing the circuit-breaker in the panel (the one you want to use for the washlet) with a GFI circuit-breaker. Check with an electrician, but when I had an ofuro put in my house the GFI was in the breaker panel, not local to the bath itself.
by Kakiage (guest) rate this post as useful

Using it now for 6y+ 2011/9/5 22:48
Hi everybody,

This thread really seems to be the most comprehensive source of information on usung Japanese washlets. Thanks to all!! Even if it´s quite old already I should add my 2 Cents:
Here is another positive experience of using an Jap. model abroad. Brought a National Showerlet (then, one of better models with motor lid) about 6y ago to Germany.
(note: National was the sister brand of Panasonic, some years ago Matsushita has streamlined their brand portfolio and only Panasonic remains...)

Installation was not a big issue. However, no way to adjust this fixture thingy to the holes in my toilet. Just glued it on toilet surface using flexible assembly adhesive (don't know the right name, this suff that comes in caulking cartridges, like silicon but much firmer). Can really recommend this if the screws and distances will not fit at all. Should e removable (Will try soon...)

Electricity I did give a big thought. Just hooked it up to a 500w 230V-110V trans. Trans has no earth... Will improve this.

So far everything worked fine until recently the washlet breathed its last... I believe it was the hard water here
(especially in my town). Maybe newer models are less sensible. Maybe there is a way to decalcify once in a while flushing lemon acid or so... Not sure.

Already ordered the next washlet to be brought by friends in their moving container. This time TOTO. Reason are Japanese user reviews and our personal feeling having used both. (This time with sensor lid ;) And TOTO is THE ORIGINAL.
Price is now below JPY41000 for KV446 (w/ sensor lid but no fan)

My idea is to install this time a Japanese 110V socket connected to a trans hidden in the 'sanitary installation block' (hope you understand): No ugly black trans on the floor and earth can be properly connected.

So my clear message is:
-DO IT if you want/can ship it at reasonable cost/effort and do not mind using a transformator (US&Co.: You are even luckier).
-Installation is much easier as it seems at first sight. At a pinch you can glue as well. Inch based fittings seem to be standard in most countries. Worst case you need some small adapters.
-The show effect of motor lid is PRICELESS ;)
-Cannot say anything about water hardness. Should be an issue. With our very hard water National lasted 6y. Good? Aver? Bad? Don't know...
-In Europe models of same functionality and quality are still rare and cost are higher by factor 2-3!!
- For latest prices check here: http://kakaku.com/kaden/toilet-seat/
by Fischkopp rate this post as useful

Re: Japanese washlet toilet seat in the US? 2011/11/21 05:04
To update my post above, I have had the washlet connected for about six months now.

Because this still seems to be the best place on the Internet for information on this topic, I felt I should add the information here, in case anyone else is searching for it.

I went with the second option I was considering (number 2 in my post above): in a bedroom behind the washroom, I have a 1000w step-down transformer ($100) plugged into the wall. I have a short extension cord (14-gauge, 3 wire grounded) plugged into the transformer. It runs through the wall and ends in a Ground-Fault Circuit Interruptor (GFCI) receptacle/outlet in the wall next to the toilet. So from the washroom side it looks neat, a simple GFCI white outlet in the wall. Then I have the washlet plugged into that outlet.

By the way, someone above was asking about the washlet's power cord, with a square unit on the end of it, with the green button. That's just another GFCI: in Japan, they take the opposite approach, and put the GFCI on the end of the power cord, instead of in the wall outlet. I could have relied on this for safety, but I wanted the outlet near the toilet to have a GFCI of its own, in case someone plugged anything else into it!

On the topic of the Japanese power cord,their GFCI plug has only two-prongs, plus the green (ground) wire, not a three-prong as we use. Obviously you have to connect up the green ground wire to the outlet's ground for the GFCI to provide any safety! In my case I have the green wire running in behind the plate of my outlet, connected to the ground terminal on the wall-outlet GFCI.

About the plumbing, it was simple enough. I needed to split the cold water inflow to the toilet, to have it running to the toilet tank and the washlet separately. I did this by turning off the house water main (very important), cutting off the old single-out valve, sanding down the copper pipe to have it clean, then putting on a new quarter-turn ball valve. I used a compression-fit type, so no welding. The ball valve has two outlets (five-eighths, if memory serves). From there I have two standard steel-mesh hoses feeding to the toilet tank and washlet. The Toto washlet accepts a standard north-american female fitting.

(I didn't use the fancy "quick-disconnect" water coupling that comes with the Toto, which is meant to allow you to more easily pop off the seat for cleaning, because the connector unit had a non-standard fitting. Instead, I just used a steel-mesh hose long enough to leave enough slack to remove the seat entire and lay it on the floor, without disconnecting the water.)

Plumbers' teflon tape on all threads, of course, for leak protection.

If you have any doubts about how to do any of these steps, consult tutorials for similar jobs on YouTube, I find that a goldmine for renovations.

With that, we were the first family in the region with a washlet installed, and the envy of my spouse's Japanese friends.

Not everyone will think it worth the time, but for me it was a fun project and saved me a lot of money. Please put safety first and consult professionals when it doubt.

Hope all this detail helps someone!

by SendaiCanadian rate this post as useful

Re: Japanese washlet toilet seat in the US? 2011/11/21 09:37
I got a Coway brand one (korean, I think) which has a remote, but the seat itself contains a battery recharged by the flushing of the toilet. I had a plumber install it, it looked too hard for me to. It works brilliantly, though it is cold water only, which takes a bit of getting used to in winter.
by Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Japanese washlet toilet seat in the US? 2011/11/26 15:39
After reading with much interest the posts here since I am also contemplating to bring home from japan a washlet, I must say that I felt compelled to pitch in the electrical discussion.

First, 110V versus 120V and electrical setup

In Canada and USA, there are electrical codes that must be followed to the letter for electrical installation. On top of it there are approval bodies for electrical appliance and electronic ampliances.

Pulling extension cord through walls, setting ungrounded transformers on the floor, or putting transformer in walls just don't cut it (and dont try the buck configuration unless you can figure out the phases out of your xformers and have some level of understanding what you are doing). For info putting a transformer in a wall is not a good idea. Any device, split in the electrical cabling must be accessible for maintenance normally, plus these babies requires an enclosure in some codes

Feeding 100V rated device with 117V might work, it's probably a moderate risk as far as losing your investment but it is a potential safety risk. One day you might end with a cheaply designed seat that wont handle it.

Also you would have normally to check that the seat has passed electrical safety approval and radio frequency interference standards (not kidding who knows may interfere with you I****) for your market prior to installing it (just giving you the legal stuff that any laywer may use for not paying you...in case of trouble.

Failure to check that may result in bodily injury, and even loss of insurance in case of problems

Second subject watts and cost ofusing the features.

The instantaneous power consumption is measured in watts, you add them all up and they must not exceed your circuit rating. Thats easy

Your electrical bill on the other hand is not charges on peak consumption but continous PER hour consumption. A 100W light bulb lit for 10hours would use 1 kw hour of energy. A 50W light bulb would need 20 hours to achieve the same cost of energy

Thus your 300 watts butts drier that works for 30 seconds 12 times in a day (6 minutes in a day) uses a grand total of 30 watts hour of energy in a day, this is nothing compared to the heated seat that consumes 50w (let s assume 12 hours operation in a day with the cycling) that would be 600 watts hour thats were the money is !
Fans and other motors are non issue as far as cost since they are low energy and dont run very long.

Good luck with the washlet, but take no chances with electricity !




by Electrical engineer (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Japanese washlet toilet seat in the US? 2012/5/13 09:24
Good news for North Americans: Just saw that Costco is now carrying a Korean-made washlet, the "AMDM Intelliseat", for a mere $220 Canadian. It even has an air dryer function and remote. Sure, it's not a Toto, but at that price point, will be hard to go wrong -- especially because anything can be returned to Costco. I just looked up the reviews for the particular product on Amazon, and it seems to get good reviews (4.5 stars out of 5, based on 27 reviews).

I'll be getting one for the basement washroom, and if it's good, will update here. Finally, washlets are becoming available at a reasonable price in North America!
by SendaiCanadian rate this post as useful

Re: Japanese washlet toilet seat in the US? 2012/5/13 15:52
I've been looking at the Toto S300 on Amazon & it use to be around $600 a few months ago, but now is steady around $900. Anyone here have any idea why the prices has gone up so much? Is there some sort shortage of in Japan? Or maybe retailers finally adjusted for the low exchange rate.
by youth (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Japanese washlet toilet seat in the US? 2012/5/28 13:34
I have bought 3 washlets, one is remote 3 years ago. Took some searching how to fit metric parts to inches but we found answers at Home Depot plumbing parts. If you buy one in Western region ' Hertz is 60 cycle same in US. I bought them all at suburban discount shop for around $300 each. Toto is great but the least expensive model is $600+. The end result is the same for normal home use. If you ask a plumber who knows how to install, might as well buy one in US. I'm in Japan this week and buying one with a remote in the outlet store. Prices are around $330. We love them!
So far self cleaning is working well. Don,t buy etiquette model with the sound of stream to cover the sound of your business . Not needed!
Will post what I buy later.
by Adrienne (guest) rate this post as useful

Japanese washlet toilet seat in Europe 2012/6/17 01:06
This message group really contains all the info needed to install a Japanese toilet seat in US/Europe. Hence I also want to share my experiences here.
My wife recently had a business trip to Japan and brought back a Panasonic DL-WE40 washlet toilet seat.Just keep it packed in the original box, wrap it with some neutral paper (to hide the big "Panasonic" letters on the box) and ckeck it in at the airport - arrived perfectly on the luggage belt.
Once unpacked, everything was almost as expected:
- electricity: Panasonic mentions voltage 100Volt (but plug mentions suited up to 125Volt), so we had a step down transformer 230 - 110Volt (ordered through Amazon)
- plumbing: plumbing in our toilet was at 3/8 inch, and the Panasonic works with 1/2 inch - it's very easy to find connection parts 3/8 to 1/2 for just a few Euro/USD in any DIY market
- toilet size: this was actualy the major problem. Due to the fact that the Panasonic also has a function to spray a water film in the toilet before use, it also has some "bubble" at the bottom which has to fit in the toilet pot. This also makes that your toilet needs an internal size of the pot of at least 34cm.And total length available for fitting the washlet needs to be at least 52cm of real flat surface. Another feature of the Panasonic which makes it a bit more difficult to install is that it expects the bolts for fixing it to the toilet to be exactly 14cm apart, and has no flexible fitting.
As a result we had quite some difficulty to find a suitable toilet. And fortunately, after much internet research and going to bathroom stores we found the Villeroy & Boch Omnia Pro toilet to be suitable for the Panasonic.Only small issue being that the fixing holes for the seat are 15,5cm apart.
So I started the work: first exchange the toilet seat, then fix the bottom plate of the Panasonic. With some small adaptations and using smaller metal screws instead of the standard thich plastic ones using the 15,5cm spacing was no problem.
Then I did all the water connections and adapting where needed from 3/8 to 1/2inch tubing which was very easy.
Finally I installed a little cabinet next to the toilet so that all electrical connections were safely hidden, yet easily accessible when needed.
And then, I attached the 2 remote controls of the Panasonic (1 sensor to detect someone entering the little room so the toilet cover opens within a second - the second is a full remote control for all possible functions of the washlet). finally, switched on power and water... and all worked to perfection.This was 3 weeks ago, and all still working perfectly.
In summary - and thanks to all postings I read here - I can confirm a Japanese washlet is perfectly usable in Europe. Just don't forget the step-down transformator. Off course you need to be flexible and adapt a few things, but nothing goes beyond the skills you'd expect from any person with some DIY experience.
by MarcMich (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Panasonic washlet toilet seat in France 2012/7/16 08:04
Hello MarcMich,

This is a question for you as I am planning to buy the same washlet(Panasonic DL WE 40) for installation in France.

About your stepdown transformer : Do you confirm me that it is not necessary to use a 220 v to 100 V unit and that a 220 V to 110 V works perfectly ?

As you know the power consumption of this washlet is 1291 W (data contructor). What is the power of the transformer you are using ? 3000 W ?

Is this transformer plugged permanently ?

Has this transformer a ground plug on both sides ? I mean on the alimentation side (primary circuit) and on the utilisation side (secondary circuit) ?

Thanks a lot for your answers hoping you will find my questions !

Phil
by phil (guest) rate this post as useful

Step down converter? 2012/10/15 11:21
Hi everyone. The information here has been very helpful. I just came back from Japan and I took the plunge (no pun intended) and purchased a basic model Toshiba washlet for my New York apartment.

I'm not sure what converter to purchase. Also, what should I do about the green ground wire? Cutting and sodering the power cord just doesn't sound safe to me.

Thanks for any help!
by drum007 (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Japanese washlet toilet seat in the US? 2012/10/15 13:22
I'm not sure what converter to purchase.

A 110v to 100v step down converter like the one on this page:

http://www.smelectronics.com/japantrans.htm

Also, what should I do about the green ground wire? Cutting and sodering the power cord just doesn't sound safe to me.

You can convert it to a 3 prong plug using a replacement plug from your local hardware store. Its an easy and safe procedure (no soldering required) that takes all of 5 minutes to do.

However, if your voltage transformer doesn't accept 3 prong grounded plugs you can leave it as is and connect it directly to ground (for example, inside a gounded outlet box) or just leave it completely unconnected.
by yllwsmrf rate this post as useful

Re: Japanese washlet toilet seat in the US? 2013/1/9 04:18
Thanks so much for the info. How much should the wattage be on the transformer?
by drum007 (guest) rate this post as useful

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