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Old 09-04-2011, 15:40   #1
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110v or 220v - 12v or 24v

Okay, so I'm seriously getting ready to buy a sail boat (48-54' in size) and have several options. On a couple of the boats they are 110V and others are 220V. The boat will be outfitted in the USA and therefore most everything sold is 110v and 12v.

One of the brokers tells me 220v and 24v is common everywhere outside of the USA. But, I am not sure. Which is best?

I plan to sail where ever the wind blows so I can't be more specific about countries etc.

If you are out there, I'd love to hear from you on this.

Thank you in advance for the advice.
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Old 09-04-2011, 17:40   #2
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Re: 110v or 220v - 12v or 24v

Nice thing about 12V here in the US is that you can get cheap RV or automotive grade electrical stuff where it's appropriate rather than the much more expensive marine grade. I'm thinking things like small fans, reading lights, coffee makers, and other non essential things.
I have no idea why we've stuck with 110AC here, 220 is much better IMO.
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Old 09-04-2011, 18:09   #3
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Re: 110v or 220v - 12v or 24v

In a new build I've decided to go totally 12v for simplicity sake. I will have shore power 220/110 (whatever is available) only to charge the batteries if I needed to. OK, so I won't be able to have a watermaker, air conditionong, the TV on all the time, multiple chart plotters, a toaster & a microwave, a washing machine, a dryer and I therefore won't need a generator. I hopng the KISS principle will mean that I spend a lot less time fixing the boat than most of the modern yachts with "everything." A boat can be designed to catch water and be energy efficient.

Greg
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Old 09-04-2011, 18:33   #4
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Re: 110v or 220v - 12v or 24v

The following will give you an idea of world voltages Electricity Around the World 220-240/50hz is probably more predominant.
Ref SWW's question my understanding is post WW 2 when Europe was being re-built they took the decision to change from 110 to 230V for the greater efficiency. It was considered in USA & Canada but the decision was too many existing appliances would have to be junked, so they decided against it, which means you are forever saddled with a less efficient system (110V reuires 30% more copper for the same kW rating and has greater voltage drop). Interestingly enough the most efficient single phase is 230v/60hz. Most of Sth America is 220V/50hz but Brazil is different (as always) - the south east (Rio, Sao Paulo etc) is 127V/60hz whilst the north is 220V/60hz.
Back to the original question - depends on what loads you intend to have on the yacht, will you have a generator and will you spend most time at anchor?
If you want air conditioning then you need an AC generator. A 60hz generator is more efficient because it is running at 1800rpm, as against 50hz at 1500rpm. For time alongside fit a dual voltage transformer.
If you don't want airconditioning I would suggest an inverter/charger for any AC needs, or if you are likely to be along side a fair amount of time separate inverter and dual voltage charger. 110 or 220V - I suggest wire for 110 intially, you can get the gear cheaply in the US, if later on you decide 220 would be better (probably because you cannot replace broken applicances) then the change is easy because you do not have to touch the cabling.
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Old 09-04-2011, 18:47   #5
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Re: 110v or 220v - 12v or 24v

I have inherited a 24v dc boat.
Has 220 and 110 ac. So now that I am in USA I can buy the best/easiest/nicest/convenient product for 110.
Outside USA good luck with the 110 stuff.
But for 24 my opinion is extremely negative.

My boat is littered with 24-12 transformers from original construction.
220AC - 12v battery chargers for the engine starting batteries(one just burnt out - hundreds to replace). Would be better easier to trickle of main 12v bank.
Having smaller wires to the 24v windlass? insignificant compared to the hassle and extra weight/cost of transformers...
12v dc is better...Can buy anything and everything everywhere....
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Old 09-04-2011, 19:17   #6
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SWW's question my understanding is post WW 2 when Europe was being re-built they took the decision to change from 110 to 230V for the greater efficiency. It was considered in USA & Canada but the decision was too many existing appliances would have to be junked, so they decided against it, which means you are forever saddled with a less efficient system
As am aside I've seen this Internet myth. A few times. Europe has had 220-230 vac since 1889. When the Berlin electric company installed it as the new more reliable metal filament lamps had become avaiable. , which could handle the higher voltage.

The US used 110 as this was originally the DC voltage used by Edison a few years previously as this wad all carbon filament lamps could handle.

The notion that Europe could change voltage post world war 2 when the whole continent and even most of the railways were electrified is laughable.

Dave
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Old 09-04-2011, 19:22   #7
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Originally Posted by AllezCat
I have inherited a 24v dc boat.
Has 220 and 110 ac. So now that I am in USA I can buy the best/easiest/nicest/convenient product for 110.
Outside USA good luck with the 110 stuff.
But for 24 my opinion is extremely negative.

My boat is littered with 24-12 transformers from original construction.
220AC - 12v battery chargers for the engine starting batteries(one just burnt out - hundreds to replace). Would be better easier to trickle of main 12v bank.
Having smaller wires to the 24v windlass? insignificant compared to the hassle and extra weight/cost of transformers...
12v dc is better...Can buy anything and everything everywhere....
I'd agree 24v was popular in Europe for a while but virtually s have returned to 12v

Dave
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Old 09-04-2011, 20:03   #8
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Re: 110v or 220v - 12v or 24v

A big factor in a sailboat is the engine. Most Yanmars (up to 160hp or so) are available only in 12v. While it's certainly possible to have a 12v engine and 24v house system (I once did), it can be a challenge. The bigger the boat the more likely you'll see 24v as the wire runs become longer. Above 60ft, 24v is very common. Below 50ft it's very rare. A mix in between.

It is quite easy and cheap to buy a transformer to change AC voltage. The real problem is frequency. There is no cheap way to turn 50 hz into 60 hz or visa versa. This is primarily a problem with motors as they can overheat if fed the wrong frequency. The most likely problem is air conditioning. A few air conditioners can take either frequency - but not many.

So if you're going to have air conditioning, think hard about where you might plug in. Obviously no problem if you run on your gen set.

If you don't need air conditioning in every port (and I would hope this is true), a very clever solution is to get a large (100 amp or so) 2nd battery charger that takes a wide range of voltage or frequency as input. Both Victron and Mastervolt make these. Give this charger it's own outlet, breakers, etc and wired only to the house batteries. You can then plug into any voltage and charge the batteries. Then use your inverter to provide "normal" voltage and frequency to the boat. This works great as long as the electrical draw isn't steadily more than 100 amps of charging (e.g. about 1000 watts) or your batteries will go flat. Which brings us back to air conditioning as the potential problem.

Carl
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Old 09-04-2011, 20:35   #9
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Re: 110v or 220v - 12v or 24v

in reply to Gobaoting's aside, just because you may consider it "laughable" does not mean it did not happen
http://www.ieee.org/portal/cms_docs_...der/trivia.pdf
I would expect the IEEE to be reasonably informed on the matter.
No question that Germany had 220V early on, but Germany is not the whole of Europe, although they did control most of it at one time, and would appear to pretty much own it at present
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Old 09-04-2011, 22:21   #10
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Re: 110v or 220v - 12v or 24v

G'day, mate. If the wind blows you away from North American AND you plan to spend time in marinas, you are probably going to want the option to have plug into shorepower. If you buy a vessel that is already set up with 110 volts AC, you can install a 220 volt stepdown transformer to 110 volts AC (and they pack some weight and heat), so will have to be mindful on installation location.

Another option is to have a larger battery charger that will work on both 110 and 220 volt AC. That way you can use an inverter to run your appliances and use the battery charger to keep the system balanced.

On the 12vDC/24vDC and the fact you are looking at boats in the 50 foot range, you want to look at your autopilot, bowthruster and anchoring systems. The electrical requirements of these systems is in the area (but not mandatory) that 24vDC is more efficient. Hope that helps. Cheers.
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Old 10-04-2011, 15:50   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marinheiro
in reply to Gobaoting's aside, just because you may consider it "laughable" does not mean it did not happen
http://www.ieee.org/portal/cms_docs_...der/trivia.pdf
I would expect the IEEE to be reasonably informed on the matter.
No question that Germany had 220V early on, but Germany is not the whole of Europe, although they did control most of it at one time, and would appear to pretty much own it at present
You might read the while section of mentioned and you will see the idea of post ww2 change over was ridiculed.

While it's true that some DC systems remained into the 60s these were the remnants of idiosyncratic installations. Europe widely adopted AC and siemens being one of the most prolific of generator manufactures endured that the 220vac system had widespread adoption in the inter war years.

What did happen in the 50s was the widespread introduction of national grids and thereafter pan-European grids.

Parts of rural Europe used 127vac nominal until the mid 60s.

The uk national grid standardised to 240 in the inter war years. Even though some funny local electrical schemes existed

But there was no 1950s switchover event. Most countries at that time were 220 even if some remnants of DC and other AC systems existed.

Dave
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