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Old 10-02-2007, 20:45   #1
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110 vs 220, which & why?

If you were having a boat built and you had a choice regarding which AC system to install, which would you pick? Why?

Now, if your intent was to stay only in the US and Caribbean, it would certainly seem that the obvious answer is 110. But, we're expecting to spend at least a year in the Med, first, and then through the Carib to the Pacific. So, I could see where that might change the "convenience" equation a bit. We do intend to land back in the US when done, and the boat would be documented in the US.

So, you world travellers out there -- if you had the choice, which would you pick? What are the pros and cons in your decision?

Thank you.

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Old 10-02-2007, 21:30   #2
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240 better case scenario for you wiring needs
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Old 10-02-2007, 21:53   #3
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Some ideas here.
Cruising World - Wired for the World


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Old 10-02-2007, 22:30   #4
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It is easier to have 240 and to drop down to 110 than to go the otherway. But then, you are going to have greater difficulty getting 240V appliances for the boat when you live in a 110V country.
What I would do is stay with your country power system and run things off 110V inverters. So all you have to really worry about is carrying a 110V and a 240V battery charger. You will need a decent house bank system, but that is not as hard as getting hold of 240V appliances.
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Old 11-02-2007, 04:33   #5
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Tough question. What are you running your 110V? If just to charge your batteries then a dual volt charger would be needed.

The 220V systems is not the exactly the same as the 240V. The 220V is a different hurtz. Although some items will handle this well, others will not.

You can buy dual voltage items it would be best. If not, buy the voltage for the area that you will be in most.
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Old 11-02-2007, 05:48   #6
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ID - I assume this is an L420 question and I'm glad you raised this although it may be a bit late for me. Here are a few of the things that drove my choice of 110V.

1) Appliciances. I don't see myself needing to replace too often and can do without most. However, we are going to be returning to (or bringing our kids from) the US once a year where goods are cheap so we felt this was a good replacement source.

2) Marina versus anchoring. We felt we'd not be using marinas too much so generator efficiency was more important for the long stays. I don't know why but the same Onan generator puts out more kW at 110V/60Hz than at 220V/60Hz

3) Voltages onboard. We're happier with the lower voltages from a safety perspective. Having lived (and electrocuted myself) in both the US and UK I find 110V unpleasant and 220V downright disturbing. Some may see this as a reason why I should not go anywhere near electrics but for me, in a marine environment, I prefer 110V.

So we chose the 110V option for the above reasons. I have still not figured out what to do when we are in a marina where we have 220V/240V. Worst case is we'd have to run the generator but I don't want to rely on this so I'm glad you opened this discussion.

My highest priority is being able to recharge the batteries from the different shore systems. All but the A/C can then run off inverter. My second priority is to run the oboard electrics directly from shore.

Does anyone have any pointers to products that do A/C to A/C conversion possibly even doing the 50Hz to 60Hz conversion?
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Old 11-02-2007, 05:55   #7
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110 vs 240

ID


There are some VG chargers made by mastervolt. Not the cheapest but good value. Look at their IVO Smart series which autoranges 110/240 without any help from you.(the shore power socket & lead will need different configuations) Remember to size the wiring for 110v as it requires twice the current as 240v. By using a seperate (sine wave) inverter you can run the voltage & frequency of your preference.Note some of the models can charge multi banks.

Hope this helps.
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Old 11-02-2007, 06:07   #8
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I have the answer as to why the 110V/60Hz option generates more power. It has to run 20% faster to get the right Hz (http://www.onan.com/pdf/marine/a-1481.pdf). How this impacts fuel usage I don't know. I'm hoping it won't affect usage much at lower loads but gives you more range of power where you will be using more fuel at the top end. Maybe someone can clarify this.
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Old 11-02-2007, 08:57   #9
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Jack has a good article on preparing for Europe here

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Old 11-02-2007, 09:25   #10
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Originally Posted by ess105
ID -

Does anyone have any pointers to products that do A/C to A/C conversion possibly even doing the 50Hz to 60Hz conversion?
Yes, the Cruising World article suggests a center tapped isolation transformer.
This company has center taps on both sides so you can convert up or down or just use as an isolation transformer without converting voltage. I'm sure there are others, this is just the first hit I found that explicitly explained it.
http://www.victronenergy.com/upload/...ransformer.pdf


You still can only use 120v appliances that can tolerate 50 hz.

When you get home plug into 240v power or replace the shore power inlet plug to 120v and move the wires on the taps to do no voltage conversion. Size the wires on the primary side for currents you will see when you're running 120v when you do the install and you won't have to rewire.

Electrically an isolation transformer is the preferred method for protecting people and boat, but everyone uses the diode method because of the size, cost and weight of transformers.

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Old 11-02-2007, 10:39   #11
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Jack "Whoosh" is the practical authority, on this subject.

It seems, to me, that your boat will be an essentially American boat, enjoying a relatively short European interlude.
Accordingly, I would recommend a 120VAC 60Hz set-up, with whatever additional Euro compatability you can afford.

This could include an (step-up, shielded) Isolation Transformer (perhaps, even with Inverter output 60 to 50Hz) as previously suggested; undoubtably a better solution than Galvanic Isolators (though big, heavy, & expensive).
I believe that Euro to American "converters" are commonly available (for a fee) at upscale marinas.
When moored out (Med'), you woldn't need anything, being self-contained.
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Old 11-02-2007, 11:03   #12
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Thanks, folks. Some very helpful information and links. To summarize, let me see if I've got this right:

1. For appliances with high power needs (e.g., air conditioning), if I get those in 110, I need to make sure that the unit can run at both 60 and 50 Hz. If so, an appropriately sized isolation transformer will allow me to run those off of either 220/240 at 50Hz or 110/120 at 60Hz. But, the essential factor is that the appliance must be able to run off of either frequency to be operational off of shore power. Otherwise, genset is engaged, which is not likely to make the neighbors in the marina very happy.
2. For internal boat wiring, if run for 110, the wire will be bigger and heavier, but if I (or a later owner) wanted to configure the boat for 220, the wiring would not have to be changed. Vice versa is not true. If built to 220, the boat would have to be re-wired for conversion to 110.
3. Being in the US, I would probably tend to have 110 appliances. Most of them would run off the inverter and those that can't, see #1.
4. Follow-up Question: Assuming a 110/60Hz boat in a 220/50Hz marina, in order to charge the batteries in the 420 (propulsion main banks are 72 v, the boat would come with a 110/72v charger/inverter), I would need to have the isolation transformers to run between the shore power connector and the charger/inverter, correct? So, the connections would run: Shore power plug at 220/50Hz => isolation transformer input => isolation transformer output (now at 110v, but still 50Hz) => 110/72v charger/inverter input. Does in matter that the frequency is still 50Hz?
5. When looking at the Mastervolt site, they are introducing what they say is a "switch-mode" isolation transformer http://www.mastervolt.com/en/124/world's_first_switch-mode_isolation_transformer.html
What does that mean? Does it make a difference? I will say this, the specifications for this product are both lighter and smaller than both the other Mastervolt and the Victron products. Taking up less space is good, lighter is good. Is "switch-mode" good?

Thank you also for the link to Whoosh's helpful article and the CW article.

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Old 11-02-2007, 11:25   #13
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ID - I looked at the MasterVolt site. The product you referenced does not change the input to output voltage. Couldn't find an explanation for was Switch Mode was.
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Old 11-02-2007, 12:06   #14
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ess105 -- Thanks for catching that, I see it, now. Victron appears to have a product that will go from 230 => 115 and vice versa.

Whoosh's solution may end up being the best route to go.

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Old 12-02-2007, 05:55   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Intentional Drifter
ess105 -- Thanks for catching that, I see it, now. Victron appears to have a product that will go from 230 => 115 and vice versa.

Whoosh's solution may end up being the best route to go.

ID
Not visa versa
It is just an inverter where the input range is 90 - 255 volts. I presume auto ranging, and the output can be either 110 or 220v. Output frequency can be either 50 or 60 hz and would be independent of the input frequency.
Sounds like the ideal solution for a cruiser. Buy the output that suits the installed appliances and plug it in anywhere.

Switch mode just means a type of power supply that uses dc, or rectified ac, which is switched on and off at a high rate, typically 20 khz.This is stepped up or down through a small ferrite transformer to what is required. If the device has a dc output the quazie ac is rectified and filtered. If it is an inverter the input switching is done to create an output that is more sineusoidal in shape. This is then filtered to become a true sinewave. The squarewave or semi sinewave inverters don't control the input properly nor are they filtered well so the output in rougher. The high frequency allows the use of small and light weight transformers.
All dc to dc, ac to dc and inverters are basically small variations on the same theme.

The output can be fully isolated from the input so it would act as a traditional transformer in regards to galavanic isolation as well. Seems an ideal solution except for susceptability to lightning that a traditional tranny would better handle.

Mike
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