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Old 10-02-2016, 09:40   #1
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220 volts in a 110 volt world

Looked to see if there were any threads on this subject and couldn't find any. So I guess I'm the ignorant one here!

Looking to buy a catamaran, and most of what we like and in our budget comes with a 220 electrical system. So hereeeees my question.

How big a deal is this as we are Americans living in a 110 world? We plan to cruise the Caribbean and spend most time on the hook. The boats are pretty much cruiser equipped. And I understand I can buy step down transformers for individual appliances such as laptops, flat screen tvs, hair dryers etc.

Will these appliances overload the 220 wiring as I understand it is a smaller wired designed to carry less voltage?

When it comes to replacing worn out equipment that operates on 220 50 hrtz, is it going to be a pain (in you know what) to buy replacement parts in US or am I facing order European and paying extra shipping costs.

I'm probably missing some issues here so feel free to chime in with other issues we may face.
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Old 10-02-2016, 10:05   #2
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Re: 220 volts in a 110 volt world

I have been in the Caribbe for the last 4.5 years in a Beneteau 51.4 built in France and sailed into the BVI where I bought it. It has 220v with an integral 110v transformer so the plugs in the boat are 110. I am presently in a marina in St Croix USVI no problem just plugged into the 250v and everything is copasetic. In Grenada the same AND Guadeloupe and Curacao and St martin had to change the plug into the three prong Euro. Even in the States there is 250v everywhere. I was going to change the whole thing but no problem so far anywhere Ive been. Hope that helps you cause knowing what I know now I would not let this stop me from buying the right boat. Let me add that my Genie is also 220v.
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Old 10-02-2016, 10:09   #3
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Re: 220 volts in a 110 volt world

Quote:
Originally Posted by faa50 View Post
Looked to see if there were any threads on this subject and couldn't find any. So I guess I'm the ignorant one here!

Looking to buy a catamaran, and most of what we like and in our budget comes with a 220 electrical system. So hereeeees my question.

How big a deal is this as we are Americans living in a 110 world? We plan to cruise the Caribbean and spend most time on the hook. The boats are pretty much cruiser equipped. And I understand I can buy step down transformers for individual appliances such as laptops, flat screen tvs, hair dryers etc.

Will these appliances overload the 220 wiring as I understand it is a smaller wired designed to carry less voltage?

When it comes to replacing worn out equipment that operates on 220 50 hrtz, is it going to be a pain (in you know what) to buy replacement parts in US or am I facing order European and paying extra shipping costs.

I'm probably missing some issues here so feel free to chime in with other issues we may face.
OK You ask a number of good questions.
Let me begin by saying I've lived in Europe for a dozen years and now have my 110v boat in Europe for the past two years.

First, nowadays, the problem is now as bas as it seems, as if you look at your chargers for laptops, phones, etc, you will see that virtually all of them are 240-110 volts, 50/60 hz.

SO, those items become no problem.

But regular step down isolation transformers, only change the voltage, not the frequency. SO I use one for my water heater, but it WILL NOT run anything else. It will NOT run most appliances that use any kind of electronic controls.

I'm going to change the heating element in the water heater to solve that issue.

In terms of new appliances, ideally if you can find dual voltage items, your life will be much easier. Hard to find in USA, but maybe Caribbean is easier.

Contact me offline is you need more info.

Richard
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Old 10-02-2016, 10:21   #4
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Re: 220 volts in a 110 volt world

I wouldn't consider it a big problem. As mentioned, there are ways around it. You might find out what gage wire they use in the boats you are interested in. Depending on that you might convert to 120v fairly easy.
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Old 10-02-2016, 10:25   #5
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Re: 220 volts in a 110 volt world

Thanks to you both. You've answered several of my concerns. Later today I'm headed to the "Mac" store to speak with a techie. We are an Apple enabled family e.g. two Mac laptops, ipad, and iphone - don't think I'm alone in this area.

So it sounds as if I need to install a 220/110 transformer to address all the onboard outlets. Will this be sufficient to power a microwave? Boat has a flat screen - heard these are very sensitive to power fluctuations? Not going to sea to watch TV, but wife enjoys watching those "chick" flicks so need to keep the Admiral happy. Will wireless controls work.
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Old 10-02-2016, 12:56   #6
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Re: 220 volts in a 110 volt world

A transformer that will also alter frequency will be more weight than it is worth. Get a 110/60 inverter, add a few outlets and you are good to go. Our boat was 220/50 when we got it. The only AC consumers are inverter/charger (which can take 50 or 60), water heaters (resistance only so frequency doesn't matter), air con (which we spec'd to work on 50 or 60) - all at 220/240V. So keep AC consumers few and make sure they can take 50 or 60, and you are all set. You'll just have to make sure any 60hz marina you go to can accomodate your 220V needs.
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Old 10-02-2016, 13:05   #7
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Re: 220 volts in a 110 volt world

Hi

We are sailing on a European cat and are currently in Hawaii, so we know the problems. We have made sure to install a/c and pumps in 230 Volt and dual frequency (Japan is half 50 and half 60 cycles, so Iwaki offers Japanese models that can take both). The Marina here has 115 and 230 Volt everywhere, and the only thing for which we need to switch to our generator is the washing machine - everything else works both ways.

As to TV, no idea because we don't have one, but I am sure there are 230 Volt models available. Power cubes these days are all 100 to 240, so don't worry about these.

Oliver
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Old 10-02-2016, 13:11   #8
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Re: 220 volts in a 110 volt world

Its the same wire.

I have had 220v boat all round the world and it's fine, easy.

If living in the USA it would take me about 3 hours to have the boat totally 110v.

Its not hard. Think it out. Don't over think it.

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Old 10-02-2016, 13:15   #9
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Re: 220 volts in a 110 volt world

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Originally Posted by faa50 View Post
Thanks to you both. You've answered several of my concerns. Later today I'm headed to the "Mac" store to speak with a techie. We are an Apple enabled family e.g. two Mac laptops, ipad, and iphone - don't think I'm alone in this area. .
One of the many things I like about apple products, all you need is a plug adaptor, as the input voltage on the power blocks will cope with pretty much anything in the world.
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Old 10-02-2016, 13:30   #10
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Re: 220 volts in a 110 volt world

All Mac kit will work on both 50/60 and 110v 220v 230v regularised, if the Mac chargers are used.
In Antigua we are 220v / 110 v - 60 htz, I put a tester on our supply and it read 223v 54 htz so I would not be to reliant on a consistent supply.
As already stated, things that are resistant load like heater elements / kettles etc are fine, but you will find any thing with an induction motor ( with out brushes) like hair driers, pumps (AIr con) may well over heat or fail in quick time.
The Caribbean is not the best place to shop, the French islands will often sell euro and us kit but far better to buy in the Us and adapt your supply, digital inverters for 12 v maybe an option for you small appliances and a geni twinned with you larger appliances needs, is my suggestion




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Old 10-02-2016, 14:53   #11
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Re: 220 volts in a 110 volt world

Keep it original in 220 V, add furniture, pump, oven, ecc that works with 220 , just buy a 110v to 220 v transformer and use it as dock inverter..So you can use it both usa and europe...just keep or skip the transformer...

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DOCK---- TRANSFORMER---220V BOAT
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Old 12-02-2016, 16:08   #12
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Re: 220 volts in a 110 volt world

As to the TV, there are a number of smaller HDTV/DVD combo units in the 22-24" range (perhaps larger) that actually run on 12 vdc, via a wall wart power supply. I have one at work, in the kitchen, and remember thinking when it was delivered that it would be a great option for a V berth screen. Of course, 24" is big enough for a lot of people on a boat, even in the salon. Personally, I have a 40" on the bulkhead (Catlina 30), on a mount that still allows me to stow the dinette table in the customary vertical position behind the screen.

Edit: Just looked at the 24" at in office kitchen, the wall wart for it lists 1ddc 3 amp output, the screen itself probably draws something like 20-25 watts.
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Old 12-02-2016, 21:20   #13
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Re: 220 volts in a 110 volt world

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Originally Posted by Factor View Post
One of the many things I like about apple products, all you need is a plug adaptor, as the input voltage on the power blocks will cope with pretty much anything in the world.
It's not a mac thing. Virtually any modern piece of battery powered electronics works fine on 110-60 or 220-50.

An option to consider: Get a big dual voltage battery charger. Run shore power to the charger and then get an inverter that matches your boats electrical system. Now you have voltage and frequency correct. Assuming a good quality inverter, you probably have cleaner power than a lot of shore power provides.
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Old 15-02-2016, 06:38   #14
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Re: 220 volts in a 110 volt world

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Originally Posted by faa50 View Post

Will these appliances overload the 220 wiring as I understand it is a smaller wired designed to carry less voltage?
Hi

Let me use an example of a kettle rating is 2,200w 220/240v. The max current 2,200w / 240 => 9.16amps. On a 120v system , then 2,200 / 120 => 18.3 amps.

Generally a boat with 120v would have thicker wiring than a boat with 240v for the same appliances.

IMHO, no problem converting a 120v to 240 v . I would be careful changing a 240v to 120v. On the safe side, I would redo the wiring with thinnned cable one size up to handle max load esp. in the galley if you intend to use electric kettle or halogen stove. I use these items for my galley.

For smaller load like charging phones and laptops, no problem.

A IR temperature gun is useful to determine what is happening to the wiring when using any equipment. For example, my boat is 120v wiring for the battery charger. After I replaced a expired Xantrex 40amp charger with a ProSterling 60 amps, I noticed the wiring is warm/hot when initial charging hits 60 amps. The wiring is too thin or somewhere along the line the joints/solder/wire is coming loose/corroded.

IMHO consider adding a 240v / 240v isolating transformer and adding elcb (earth leakage circuit breaker) or rccb (residual current circuit breaker) with 30 mA or 10mA .

My boat came with 120v 60hz for air cond, water maker (which can be wired for 240v), water heater (have to replace the heating element to a 240v one), bread maker (can toss over the side), sewing machine (which was given away), microwave (still going strong).

I am cruising in a 240v 50hz region so the boat came with a huge and heavy step down transformer. I have been using this transformer to supply 120v 50hz to run the air cond and everything else for the last 3 years.

Will switch the boat to 240v wiring after the air cond dies.
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