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Old 26-12-2017, 16:59   #1
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Electrical

Thinking about purchasing a Lagoon 450 Catamaran; it is European 220. Can this be converted to US 110? Does anyone have experience with this? If so how much are we looking to spend and what would be a time frame? Does anyone know who does this work?
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Old 26-12-2017, 17:33   #2
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Re: Electrical

Depending on your intended cruising ground you may not want to switch it.

I have seen several threads concerning the switch, you might try the Search feature at the top right of this page. It can be done but there are issues with gauge of wiring, etc.
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Old 26-12-2017, 17:35   #3
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Re: Electrical

Costs depends on how much 220 stuff is on board that you want to replace. If it's a small electrical system you just scrap it all and start over. Some generators sets can change to 60 cycle by changing the governor setting and the connections for 120/240.
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Old 26-12-2017, 18:19   #4
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Re: Electrical

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Originally Posted by glassgal View Post
Thinking about purchasing a Lagoon 450 Catamaran; it is European 220. Can this be converted to US 110? Does anyone have experience with this? If so how much are we looking to spend and what would be a time frame? Does anyone know who does this work?
Your question isn't specific... there are two possibilities. You might want to use only 110 volt equipment on board. This conversion would be difficult and expensive. You'll find a lot of equipment you have actually will be fine with 220. You can buy 220 appliances in the US easily in any major city or online.

The other possibility is you want to plug it into a dock with 110V shore power and would be happy with 220V in the cabins. This can be easily (if not cheaply) done by adding a transformer. You would have 220V 60Hz but that would be fine with MOST everything, and your boat would be better suited to cruising the world outside the USA.

It can also be done more cheaply by wiring a 110V 50A shore power outlet as a split phase feed to make 220V 60Hz power. But this would need someone who understands the issues to review the wiring and circuitry onboard to be sure it would be safe.
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Old 27-12-2017, 03:51   #5
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Re: Electrical

If you are bringing the boat to the US forget it. If your not it will be fine. It is expensive and complicated if your not an expert on Marine Wiring and systems. If you are then it is just expensive. You can not possibly save enough on the European boat to offset this cost.

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Old 27-12-2017, 04:34   #6
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Re: Electrical

Conversion of the wiring can be easy, depening on original install. The bigger more expensive aspect is what electrical gear it has aboard...can you list it?

My cat was originally 220, but the builder planned for 110 or 220. The wire was of adequate gauge for 110 and the outlets were cut for both types of plugs. The only change I had to make was the heating element in the water heater. But, that was the only AC driven load aboard, so it was very easy conversion overall.

For just the wiring conversion the main thing you need to check is the wire gauge. Dropping the voltage to 110 will result in more amps on the wire, so its very important it is of adequate gauge or you just created a fire risk. Also outlets and breakers. If boat was wired only w only 220 in mind then it could become quite a project to rewire the whole boat.

If wired w only 220 in mind and lots of systems then a transformer for use at dock would be a much less painful solution...and is common to see on euro boats in marinas.
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Old 27-12-2017, 12:36   #7
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Re: Electrical

In the US and Bahamas shore power is 110V or 220V but at 60 Hz. The USA 4 wire 220V is achieved by using two live 110V wires as opposed to the 220V european which has one live, one neutral and one ground (three wires). So you need to ensure that the input wiring is correct and that the safety trip switches work on all live wires. This is a field for experts in AC voltage because getting is wrong is a health hazard. If your boat already has internal wires of sufficient diameter to handle the AMPS for 110V that would be a plus. See
https://www.bluesea.com/resources/87

The Battery Charger usually can handle either voltage or Hz (check the manual). So if you only use the battery charger it should be OK. If you want to use appliances that have electric motors it is more complicated, particularly high watt items like air conditioning.

One solution I have looked into (but not adopted so far) is to install a Frequency converter. This a is device that converts US shore power into 220V 50 Hz. These are sometimes used for super yachts and are heavy and pricey at anywhere between $4k - $20k for a 10Kva unit. At the low cost end are:
Difference between 50Hz and 60Hz frequency | GoHz.com
Google will reveal other suppliers in the USA.

However I would not be tempted to try this myself without a qualified marine electrician.
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Old 27-12-2017, 13:33   #8
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Re: Electrical

We have a boat designed for 220/50, and we feed it power when in the USA through a simple transformer. So we get 240V/60Hz instead of 220V/50Hz.

Everything we have installed works fine either way, including the AC. There are SOME items with electronics that are sensitive and fry if used at the wrong frequency. Always check the specifications! Motors typically just run a bit faster on 60Hz than they do on 50Hz, and the 10% voltage difference is well within tolerance.
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Old 27-12-2017, 13:45   #9
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Re: Electrical

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Originally Posted by billknny View Post
We have a boat designed for 220/50, and we feed it power when in the USA through a simple transformer. So we get 240V/60Hz instead of 220V/50Hz.

Everything we have installed works fine either way, including the AC. There are SOME items with electronics that are sensitive and fry if used at the wrong frequency. Always check the specifications! Motors typically just run a bit faster on 60Hz than they do on 50Hz, and the 10% voltage difference is well within tolerance.
What brand/model size transformer do you use? Is your aircon crusiair with 50hz motors and compressors??
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Old 27-12-2017, 15:17   #10
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Re: Electrical

I did the same thing. My boat was originally 220V/50Hz and I converted her to 120V/60Hz. Cost was very minimal, because the only thing I replaced were outlets (European vs. US) and shore power cable. I kept all wiring and circuit breakers as they were rated 100V-240V/10A. So was the battery charger, as many stand-alone chargers are. I also kept hot water heater element, with only side effect that I only get 1/4 of the rated power out of it, but for exactly $0 I was OK with it. Water still heats to very hot, but it takes longer. Later I added a 20A circuit (wiring and breaker) for galley to run microwave, because original 10A circuit would not handle it. I never needed more than 10A from other circuits.

So, it really depends on what you already have on your boat and how much power you require at each receptacle. If you have many 220V/50Hz appliances/generator already on board (e.g. 5 air-con units), the situation (and solution) would be different.
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Old 27-12-2017, 22:29   #11
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Re: Electrical

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Originally Posted by BambooSailor View Post
I did the same thing. My boat was originally 220V/50Hz and I converted her to 120V/60Hz. Cost was very minimal, because the only thing I replaced were outlets (European vs. US) and shore power cable. I kept all wiring and circuit breakers as they were rated 100V-240V/10A. So was the battery charger, as many stand-alone chargers are. I also kept hot water heater element, with only side effect that I only get 1/4 of the rated power out of it, but for exactly $0 I was OK with it. Water still heats to very hot, but it takes longer. Later I added a 20A circuit (wiring and breaker) for galley to run microwave, because original 10A circuit would not handle it. I never needed more than 10A from other circuits.



So, it really depends on what you already have on your boat and how much power you require at each receptacle. If you have many 220V/50Hz appliances/generator already on board (e.g. 5 air-con units), the situation (and solution) would be different.


Also check your electric motors— my ac motors are designed for 50/60hz so they run fine with a transformer. Iirc the one appliance that was an issue was a washing machine, and you don’t need that at a dock... cell phones etc generally work fine regardless
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Old 28-12-2017, 00:09   #12
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Re: Electrical

I installed the Victron isolation transformer (http://https://www.victronenergy.com/isolation-transformers/isolation-transformers-2000va-3600va-7000va) on my now sold Lagoon 450. It was originally a 110V 60Hz boat. The isolation transformer up-converts or down-converts voltage but doesn’t change the frequency. I was able to connect to shore power in 220V 50Hz countries with no problems. I didn’t run the washer/dryer, AC or other frequency sensitive motors on shore power but everything else run fine. I could run the generator for them.

I’ll install the same isolation transformer on my next boat, which will be European. It’s easier and cheaper.
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Old 28-12-2017, 04:37   #13
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Re: Electrical

I would not recommend the conversion. With 110V the current doubles for the same power consumption, what means you will have to rip out the 220V wiring, circuit breakers, chargers, inverters, AC, desalinator and appliances and throw in thicker cabling, higher Amp breakers, replace all outlets.

The Rest of the world uses 220V, it is easier to obtain 220V appliances and hook them up on your boat than convert everything down to 110V.

The AC Units have a separate 220V installation, the ONAN generator - if there - can be re-configured to 110V.
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Old 28-12-2017, 04:47   #14
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Re: Electrical

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Originally Posted by CatNewBee View Post
I would not recommend the conversion. With 110V the current doubles for the same power consumption, what means you will have to rip out the 220V wiring, circuit breakers, chargers, inverters, AC, desalinator and appliances and throw in thicker cabling, higher Amp breakers, replace all outlets.

The Rest of the world uses 220V, it is easier to obtain 220V appliances and hook them up on your boat than convert everything down to 110V.

The AC Units have a separate 220V installation, the ONAN generator - if there - can be re-configured to 110V.
You missed post #10.

No need to change wiring/breakers as long as you can live with the power delivered via 120v.
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Old 28-12-2017, 05:14   #15
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Re: Electrical

That's true, but then anything above 1.100W will need to be wired separately.

Another solution might be to transform 110 to 220V before the inlet (or use 220V/60Hz power-outlets of the marina to hook up). You then can charge the batteries as is and eventually use the 220V inverter for your appliances on board without any change.

If it has power-assist capabilities you can even top up the transformed shore power if needed by the batteries.
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