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Old 26-06-2019, 16:18   #1
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220 Vs 110

Full disclosure.. I understand very little about electricity, other than how to change an outlet, or a ceiling fixture. Beyond that, I'm a little intimidated. So, I'm hoping for some guidance, and perhaps some education.

The boat we are purchasing has 220 amp outlets. (Australian flagged, and we are buying it in the US). Would it be better to change or add outlets with 110 amps? or would we be just fine with getting a handful of international converters to plug into the outlets?

I know that the microwave is 220, and so is the washing machine. All the freezers and refridgerators are 220. the lights are obviously hardwired... so, I'm thinking that we would only need a couple plugs in the galley for small appliances like a coffee pot.. one at the nav station for charging phones and laptops/ ipads.. etc. Other than that I don't know what we would need an outlet for.

Anyone have experience with this?
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Old 26-06-2019, 16:26   #2
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Re: 220 Vs 110

The key difference is that the wiring for 220V is much thinner than that required to run at 110V. Thus you cannot convert to 110V without replacing everything. If you can stick with 220V life will be considerably easier.

Remember that virtually all your low-power stuff like laptop chargers etc, will be dual voltage and will run happily on anything from 110 to 240V. Your only issue might be a coffee pot, but you could always simply buy a 220V one of those. Keeping your boat entirely at 220/240V would be much cheaper.

What you can do (and I’ve done on my boat) is install a Victron isolation transformer. This is a good thing to have anyway, as it isolates your boat from any trouble caused by flaky wiring in the marina or from your neighbours. But the side benefit is that it’s easy to switch the input voltage as required. You can plug into 110V on the dock and have 240V in the boat. If you travel somewhere with 240V you just switch over and carry on.
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Old 26-06-2019, 16:45   #3
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Re: 220 Vs 110

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tillsbury View Post
What you can do (and I’ve done on my boat) is install a Victron isolation transformer. This is a good thing to have anyway, as it isolates your boat from any trouble caused by flaky wiring in the marina or from your neighbours. But the side benefit is that it’s easy to switch the input voltage as required. You can plug into 110V on the dock and have 240V in the boat. If you travel somewhere with 240V you just switch over and carry on.
I've put this on my research list... I had never heard of one before, so thanks for the suggestion.
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Old 26-06-2019, 17:19   #4
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Re: 220 Vs 110

Quote:
Originally Posted by scarlet View Post
Full disclosure.. I understand very little about electricity, other than how to change an outlet, or a ceiling fixture. Beyond that, I'm a little intimidated. So, I'm hoping for some guidance, and perhaps some education. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


Anyone have experience with this?



You will undoubtedly obtain some good information from folks who DO have experience with this, as you have already. There have also been, as you may have guessed, many previous topics on just this subject in the electrical section.


That said, "None of was born an electrician."


Nigel Calder's Boatowners Manual has a good section on just this subject.


I knew nothing about electricity when we bought our boat in '98. I worked hard and learned, albeit not about different voltages, but the learning part remains applicable.


Good luck in your decision-making process.


Your boat, your choices.
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Old 26-06-2019, 17:48   #5
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Re: 220 Vs 110

Quote:
Originally Posted by scarlet View Post
Full disclosure.. I understand very little about electricity, other than how to change an outlet, or a ceiling fixture. Beyond that, I'm a little intimidated. So, I'm hoping for some guidance, and perhaps some education.

The boat we are purchasing has 220 amp Volt outlets. (Australian flagged, and we are buying it in the US). Would it be better to change or add outlets with 110 amps Volts? or would we be just fine with getting a handful of international converters to plug into the outlets?

I know that the microwave is 220, and so is the washing machine. All the freezers and refridgerators are 220. the lights are obviously hardwired... so, I'm thinking that we would only need a couple plugs in the galley for small appliances like a coffee pot.. one at the nav station for charging phones and laptops/ ipads.. etc. Other than that I don't know what we would need an outlet for.

Anyone have experience with this?

It's not the outlets, it's the whole system you need to think about.
Presumably, the outlets are run off a 12V-240V (Australian standard) inverter at 50Hz (unlike the US 60Hz mains power).


I'd expect the lights to be 12V, not run through the inverter.


If you use existing wiring, be aware that running at 110V will double the Amp requirement of appliances and is likely to need thicker wires.
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Old 26-06-2019, 18:04   #6
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Re: 220 Vs 110

StuM is right. It's not just the voltage, but the 50 vs 60Hz you have to be concerned with as well. It it's been here in the states for a while, find out how the current owners managed the electrical differences. Maybe they only used their genset which would be setup to handle the boats electrical system.
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Old 26-06-2019, 20:41   #7
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Re: 220 Vs 110

if you plan to stay in north america find a 120 / 240v 60hz boat. you will save a lot of hassles.

the main issue is not the voltage. but the frequency.

many of those appliances you listed might not even work correctly on 60hz.
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Old 23-07-2019, 14:07   #8
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Re: 220 Vs 110

tilsbury: lots of Victron Isolation transformers out there, which model # did you choose?
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Old 23-07-2019, 14:09   #9
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Re: 220 Vs 110

tillsbury: lots of Victron Isolation transformers out there, which model # did you choose?
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Old 23-07-2019, 14:22   #10
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Re: 220 Vs 110

Get a 220 coffee pot. That boat doesn't have a coffee pot already?

Most of the things you listed (most anything that runs on a battery these days) can charge with 220 - you just need an adapter.

I wouldn't bother trying to change the boat. You'll just need to pay attention. May need a transformer for some things, like tools that aren't battery-based.

Don't need to make it a big deal.
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Old 26-07-2019, 16:00   #11
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Re: 220 Vs 110

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Originally Posted by sbarbu View Post
tillsbury: lots of Victron Isolation transformers out there, which model # did you choose?
There are only three I can find. The difference is the power capacity — 2000, 3600, or 7000VA. A “normal” shore power supply (30A 110V or 16A 240V depending on your country, approximately), is near enough 3600VA. If you have serious power requirements on a big boat, with two shore cables, choose the 7000. If your requirements are small and your budget too, perhaps the 2000 would be enough. The vast majority of average sized boats would probably choose the 3600VA, like I did.
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Old 26-07-2019, 17:33   #12
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Re: 220 Vs 110

We bought a boat that was previously Austrailian flagged, and reflagged it USA. The boat has a 220V/50Hz electrical system. Typcially we spend at least half our time where shore power is 110V/60Hz. It is an issue, but not a big one. To replace all of the following systems on the boat would be cost prohibitive:
* Genset
* Battery charger (already replaced)
* Inverter (already replaced)
* Washer/dryer (already replaced)
* 5x A/C systems
* Dishwasher
* All the wiring (undersized for 110V)
* Water heater (already replaced)
* Water maker (already replaced)


So, we stick with the 220V. It becomes an issue in two ways.

First, when you try to replace something simple -- say an espresso machine or a blender or an AC powered cabin fan -- and you're not in a 220V country -- your selection is more limited and more expensive. The options are to either wait until we're back in a 220V country, to pay more, or use a transformer. The transform approach is what I use for 18V cordless chargers, for example. Most of the bigger items (e.g. battery charger/inverter) are easy to get in 220/50.

Second, if you come to a dock and ever connect to shore power you need an isolation transformer. If you don't spend much time a dock (we don't), this is not an issue -- but we have one anyway. We sometimes go years without connecting to shore power anyway.

Most electronics (e.g. laptops, TVs) are 220V capable.

I see some people are concerned about the 50/60Hz issue. It hasn't been a problem for us. The only one of our appliances that doesn't work well on 60Hz is our washer/dryer. Some of the A/C units aren't rated for 60Hz, but they work fine. The manufacturer told me it may shorten its life to run it at 60Hz, but I haven't found that to be the case -- and when it goes I will replace with units capable of 50/60. Since, by definition, we're at a dock whenever we have 60Hz power, the washer/dryer isn't a big deal -- shore dryers work better than our condensing dryer anyway.

In short, it is a slight disadvantage for us having a 220V boat, but not a significant one.
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Old 27-07-2019, 14:11   #13
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Re: 220 Vs 110

Thank you so much for that reply accomplice- that has definitely assisted in my decision, and will get that Victron installed in short order..
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