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Old 27-02-2018, 07:00   #1
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220v to 110v

I know thereís a lot of posts on this topic but couldnít find one answering my specific question.

We have a 220v European boat and cruising in the Caribbean. Is it dangerous to replace the male head on the shore power chord with 125v/30a plug so that it works in the marinas?

I know this isnít the correct way to do it but is it actually dangerous?
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Old 27-02-2018, 07:59   #2
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Re: 220v to 110v

Are you trying to run 220v equipment on 110v? Your laptop charger might work, but your aircon and fridge sure won't.
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Old 27-02-2018, 09:34   #3
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Re: 220v to 110v

Iím guessing the fridge is 220v.

So the appliance just wonít run? Itís not going to fry anything or break the appliances?

Thanks for the response!
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Old 27-02-2018, 09:54   #4
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Re: 220v to 110v

You cannot simply replace the shore power cord plug to convert your boat from 50-cycle 220-volt European.
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Old 27-02-2018, 10:00   #5
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Re: 220v to 110v

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Originally Posted by Bumberg View Post
Iím guessing the fridge is 220v.

So the appliance just wonít run? Itís not going to fry anything or break the appliances?

Thanks for the response!
Hmm, I would guess the fridge is 12v. If it's 220v, that means they have an inverter.
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Old 27-02-2018, 10:25   #6
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Re: 220v to 110v

In short - no you can't just "change the plug". On the "easiest" end of the spectrum would probably be getting a transformer/converter. On the harder end would be converting the boat to 110v.

This is a pretty good writeup on varied electrical supply voltages/frequencies and how to approach them in two posts:

https://www.seleneowners.org/SO_news.php?newsid=38
https://www.seleneowners.org/SO_news.php?newsid=39
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Old 27-02-2018, 12:14   #7
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Re: 220v to 110v

A 220V appliance plugged in to 120V may work but the power drawn will be about a quarter of the required current. The lights will be very dim and motors will stall or turn very slowly. If they stall it may up the current some but in general it won't work well, if it works at all. Cooking equipment with heater elements will take forever and may not come up to temperature. Electronics with single inputs will probably not be seriously damaged but won't work. It's really not the smartest approach, and perhaps dangerous.

Doing it the other way, ie plugging 110V appliances in to 240V current will cause frying.
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Old 27-02-2018, 13:07   #8
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Re: 220v to 110v

I have to say I initially thought the OP was going to bring in 110v by changing the connector, then use a transformer up to the 220v his stuff on board needs. To try and run 220v equipment off 110v is bizarre
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Old 27-02-2018, 13:42   #9
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Re: 220v to 110v

In addition, European 220v is 50 Hz, not 60 as in the US. Anything on the boat with a 220v motor may not run on 60Hz even if transformed to 220v.

In my opinion, "easiest" (not necessarily cheapest) way to make a boat insensitive to shore power 110/220v 50/60Hz is to make the entire boat 12v and to use a battery charger that can handle any input power you have available.
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Old 27-02-2018, 14:49   #10
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Re: 220v to 110v

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Originally Posted by jamhass View Post
In addition, European 220v is 50 Hz, not 60 as in the US. Anything on the boat with a 220v motor may not run on 60Hz even if transformed to 220v.

In my opinion, "easiest" (not necessarily cheapest) way to make a boat insensitive to shore power 110/220v 50/60Hz is to make the entire boat 12v and to use a battery charger that can handle any input power you have available.
Yes! and one of these may prevent having to change your 240v/50HZ fridge,etc. to 12V. However,it is limited to approx 2000W (2KW) & may not run all of your EU 240V appliances at the same time.
You may still have to convert some of your loads to 12V as jamhass explained

I found this model by Google & have had no experience with them-just an FYI
2 kVA 110V/220V 60Hz/50Hz Frequency Converter | GoHz.com

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Old 27-02-2018, 14:58   #11
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Re: 220v to 110v

This appears to be a very flexible inverter. 12VDC- 120/240VAC 50/60HZ
AIMS Power 4000 Watt Inverter Charger Split Phase 120/240VAC, PICOGLF40W12V230VS

Again-just an FYI
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Old 27-02-2018, 15:14   #12
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Re: 220v to 110v

It's all about the appliances... generally anything with a power adapter / supply will work, down-lights, chargers, laptops, ipad/iphones, TV's etc. Fridge, freezer and other heavy duty items are likely off the cards. A step-down converter as discussed would be the best and safest idea.
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Old 28-02-2018, 13:55   #13
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Re: 220v to 110v

You may very well break things. The only way to know is to do a detailed analysis of your power system, and all that is connected to it to see which devices can/ cannot be run on 120V 60hz vs 230V 50hz. You may get lucky and find that with a few things turned off you can operate the basics on your boat. But just plugging in could be an expensive experiment/mistake.
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Old 28-02-2018, 14:37   #14
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Re: 220v to 110v

First of all there is really no need to change anything. We also have 220 v systems and have never been in a marina that couldn't accommodate us.
We carry a transformer that changes the 220 to 120 if I want to use any of my power tools but otherwise we never have a need.
If you are planning to cruise the world so to speak you are way better off with 220v as other than North America the rest of the world uses 220 volts....it is superior to 120v.
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Old 28-02-2018, 15:02   #15
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Re: 220v to 110v

All the 220V appliances will work with a single phase transformer that converts the voltage from 110 to 220V. The transformer size depends on the size of the boat equipment. A typical 40 footer will have 2-3KW air conditioner and 1KW fridge. So a 3KW single phase transformer will get the job done . There is always the frequency issue and North America uses 60HZ. Most of 220V motor appliances will try to run 20% faster due to frequency. And that may overheat the electrical motors that are close to their ratings. But in real world nothing happens. The motors are oversized anyway from the manufacturer.
The blender noise will be different (hi pitch noise). But the margarita drinks will still be DELICIOSO.
Just for the sake of argument a VCR (if you still have those tapes ) will spin faster . Just kidding it does not work on 60HZ.
I have converted the other way the 220 to 110 and had no problems whatsoever. The refrigerator cooling slowed down a bit.....
Cheers..
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