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Old 19-11-2018, 07:31   #1
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Adding 50amp 120/240

Hello All,

New to boat ownership, as I just closed on the boat in Oct. Will be living onboard my 43ft 1977 Viking all winter in New England (RI). While I have reverse cycle heat probably through December into January, I expect I will lose that in Feb/March. Current plan is electric heat through those 2 months. I had my first test this weekend with the temps dropping into the high 20s, and it is clear that the 2 30amp 120v shore connections will not be enough for the heat I would like. So, I am looking at having a 50amp 120/240 connection installed. I figure the upgraded electrical will be useful in other ways in the future as well. I plan on having the marina tackle this as I am not experienced enough yet, but am trying to plan on costing. So, quick question on 50amp 120/240 systems:

- Looking at Blue Seas Systems 360 panel designs, you take the shore power through a shore/gen selector switch, then you can add a monitor and circuit breakers. Does the panel automatically step down the 240v to 120v based on how you wire the circuit breakers? Or is some type of additional step down transformer required (adding alot of cost)?

Going to have the marina take care of this, but Im trying to learn and cost. Thanks!
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Old 19-11-2018, 07:43   #2
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Re: Adding 50amp 120/240

See Diagram 2 (Pg 20)
Boaters' Guide to AC Electrical ➥ http://kelownayachtclub.com/wp-conte...atersGuide.pdf
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Old 19-11-2018, 08:13   #3
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Re: Adding 50amp 120/240

Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
See Diagram 2 (Pg 20)
Boaters' Guide to AC Electrical ➥ http://kelownayachtclub.com/wp-conte...atersGuide.pdf
Thanks!

So to make sure I understand, all you are doing is wiring the circuit breaker to 3 of the 4 wires of the 240v. So no stepdown is required. Both hots = 240v, 1 hot = 120v. Correct?
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Old 19-11-2018, 08:17   #4
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Re: Adding 50amp 120/240

Quote:
Originally Posted by R1Guy View Post
Thanks!



So to make sure I understand, all you are doing is wiring the circuit breaker to 3 of the 4 wires of the 240v. So no stepdown is required. Both hots = 240v, 1 hot = 120v. Correct?


Correct
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Old 19-11-2018, 10:58   #5
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Re: Adding 50amp 120/240

R1Guy,

Our boat is pretty much wired per the reference Gord provided and it works well. We also have the option of using the 3 independently controlled air conditioners to heat the boat [and dehumidify by running A/C] when at the dock.

Here are a few additional considerations for you to ponder since you will be needing to upgrade wiring, shorepower cord and inlet[s], etc. [These were all included in our AC electrical rewire project years ago.]

1) Shorepower inlet considerations: [3]

~ I strongly recommend you install SmartPlug inlet[s] on your boat. [Their shorepower cords are top quality as well...] It will pay for itself in time and $ saved not having to replace the 1939 design still in use in the US today. [Ask me how I know...] [Or hard wire the 50A cord to the boat, storing the cord in a lazarette...]

Of course, you are stuck with the old twist-lock plug design on the dock side of things here in the US...

~ Improving accommodation with a 50A cord [i.e., 4 wire 6 AWG]: It is a monster to handle- especially in cold weather. Therefore we have shorepower inlets on both port and starboard so we can choose the most convenient one [typically opposite our desired walking route]. This requires a seperate selector switch [e.g., A-B-Off; Our two inlets are wired using circuit breakers with mechanical lockouts which allow only one to be on at a time...] This allows you to choose which infeed is connected, or have both off. [i.e., the unused infeed outlet is isolated so no one could be shocked by touching the exposed terminals...]

~ We chose to keep our 30A cord[s] [unless you hardwire the 50A cord to the boat...]: We use ours [for handling convenience when traveling in warmer weather] when we don't need 50A of AC power. [e.g., no heaters, but using the battery charger and water heater...] To accommodate this I installed a 50A SmartPlug on the end of the 30A cord [i.e., 3 wire, 10AWG] so it would plug into the boat [instead of making a 30-50A adapter]. Since the 50A inlet on the boat has 2 hot 110V legs, I also jumped the one hot wire in the 30A cord to the 2nd hot leg of the SmartPlug [inside the SmartPlug on the 30A cord.] In this way, both legs are hot [so everything in your AC panel works] even though you are limited to 30 Amps of 110V AC... The trade off is you are reliant on the 30A circuitbreaker on the shorepower pedistal since your boat will have 50A breakers... We move around a lot, and are willing to use it this way [and we haven't had any problems.] Others may prefer to only use their 50A cord.

2) Inverter: Think about connecting it as another selectable AC power source [e.g., generator, shorepower, inverter] INSTEAD of passing through all your shoreside power and having it automatically come on if shore power is off. Chances are if you have an inverter in your 30A AC system is isn't rated for the 50A anyway, so this approach saves you having to replace the inverter, and I believe is safer. [I'm never surprised by AC going hot unexpectedly...] Doing this will also require a seperate circuit breaker to turn on the battery charger if the inverter is also a charger. [And of course you need this with a stand-alone battery charger anyway...]

3) Galvanic Isolator: Now is the time to install an appropriately sized Galvanic Isolator [one with capacitors].

4) [Future] Isolation Transformer: If you feel you might travel to destinations with 220V AC only shorepower [Europe, etc.] where you might want to install an isolation transformer, consider running your new 50A infeed wires [i.e., wires that run from inlet on boat to AC panel on boat] in a way [route] that accommodates a future isolation transformer install. [e.g., A route that leaves a loop of wire in an area where a transformer could be installed...]

I hope this makes sense and some of it may be useful. [If it doesn't makes sense, please consider consulting a marine electrician.]

Best wishes with your project.

Cheers! Bill
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Old 19-11-2018, 11:19   #6
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Re: Adding 50amp 120/240

Thanks so much for the response!

Love the idea of duel shore connects on each side with a selector. I am going to go with that.

I was considering the Smart Plugs. How do they compare to the Marinco EEL connectors?

Thanks again, much appreciated.
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Old 19-11-2018, 13:33   #7
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Re: Adding 50amp 120/240

R1Guy
You will have to upgrade your 30A shore power circuit breakers to 50A three pole circuit breakers at the panel. That may become a real estate problem.
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Old 19-11-2018, 13:50   #8
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Re: Adding 50amp 120/240

Quote:
Originally Posted by R1Guy View Post
Thanks so much for the response!

Love the idea of duel shore connects on each side with a selector. I am going to go with that.

I was considering the Smart Plugs. How do they compare to the Marinco EEL connectors?

Thanks again, much appreciated.
I'm glad you found some of it useful. It is always fun to share what one went through/chose to do when others are pondering similar projects. [Not to mention helping others spend their money...]

I have handled the Marinco EEL connectors. They are the same old twist-lock plug but with an easier way of clamping to the inlet [vs. the screw-on ring...] Therefore they offer no electrical connnection improvement. [i.e., same surface area on the contacts...]

SmartPlug also has a superior method of attaching to the boat [better than the EEL in my opinion...] and totally different connectors with (what they claim to be) 20 times more electrical contact area.]

Smartplug was worth the investment for us.

The only thing better would be [as I previously mentioned] hardwiring the 50A cord to the boató eliminating the outlet[s] on the boat. This saves $ and makes it even safer by eliminating the outlets... [One would have to make sure to have ways of automatically disconnecting the hardwired cord (e.g., lockout circuit breaker) when it was not in use so other AC sources (e.g., Generator or inverter) didn't charge its exposed contacts.]

Best wishes choosing what is right for your needs.

Cheers! Bill
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Old 19-11-2018, 14:10   #9
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Re: Adding 50amp 120/240

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieJ View Post
R1Guy
You will have to upgrade your 30A shore power circuit breakers to 50A three pole circuit breakers at the panel. That may become a real estate problem.
Thanks for the comment. I am planning on adding a new separate panel for this and leaving the current 2 30amps connections and panels in place. All the marina's that I am planning at being at for the next couple years offer (qty 1) 50amp 120/240 and (qty 2) 30amp 120 connections at the dock.

wrwakefield, thanks for the info on the smartplug. I think I am going to plan using that instead of the EEL.
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Old 19-11-2018, 14:33   #10
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Re: Adding 50amp 120/240

Even with 50 amp 240 you will struggle to have enough heat in your boat. And portable space heaters really aren't designed to run all winter. They fail - or worse become a fire hazard. Every year there are boat fires from failing heaters.

You might consider putting in a diesel heater. (Espar and Westbasto are the major names although ITR's Hurricane system is also popular in New England)

These come in two flavors - hot air or hydronic (warm water flows through a tube fan radiators). The hydronic provide the best comfort but are more expensive to install.

Have you looked at insulating? One common practice is to build a clear shrink wrap shelter over as much of the boat as possible. This becomes something of a greenhouse on sunny days and greatly reduces the need for heat. Also, be sure to provide a source of fresh air or the trapped humidity will have water dripping off every cold surface.
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Old 19-11-2018, 17:47   #11
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Re: Adding 50amp 120/240

Looking at installing a diesel hydronic system in the future, either an eberspacher or wesbasto. However, that will be around a 10k bill so while i know its not perfect, I am going to do the electrical upgrade first and look at the diesel heating in 1-2 years. Also a little concerned about how much diesel it would use in winter. I only have 300 gallon diesel tank capacity and the fuel dock will be unavailable for 3-4 months in winter. At full load, the webasto DBW 2010 uses .4 gal/hr. If it runs 50% of the time over 4 months that's almost 600 gallons of diesel. Not sure how that would work or how much run time per day these units actually have.
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Old 21-11-2018, 07:09   #12
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Re: Adding 50amp 120/240

SOME folks like electric blankets. I do and I don't. I have a couple of them on my smaller boat, and a 1kw space heater in the vee berth. I am not in New England, no, but we do get below freezing sometimes in New Orleans. Up there, this solution might need a helping hand, if you want to sleep warm. That is where your diesel heater would come in.



Tenting the boat is something we do more in the summer than in the winter but in colder climes it does definitely help. Worth the hassle? Try it and see.



If you have a nice vee berth you might want to just heat up forward. If you sleep further aft, seal off the vee berth so you don't waste heat up there. Same principle if you have an aft cabin type boat. Don't heat spaces that don't need heating.



Big thick sleeping bags, the rectangular type, are REALLY good at holding in the heat from the electric blanket. Talking about the $30 or so ones from walmart that unzip and can zip two together for a double. You might want another layer of good quality foam under or over your mattress too. It it gets super cold, like way below zero, you want all that and a mummy bag, too, and completely drained and blown water lines for sure. Oh, it sucks to need to take a dump and your head is frozen solid. A portapotty stashed away somewhere on the boat can be a lifesaver at times like that. Instead of using noxious chemicals that smell worse than the poo and pee, you just let it freeze in the bag and it is then simple to carry to shoreside facilities. Some people prefer to only "go" shoreside and not on the boat but what a hassle, in inclement weather or in the middle of the night!



Dressing warm helps of course. Even the cheapest thermals will make you more comfortable. You are out of the wind and snow and sleet and hail and wind and monsoon and tarnados, while you are down below so it is pretty easy to be comfortable when it is colder than Aitch Ee Double Toothpicks outside. Sorel type pack boots with the removable felt liners will keep your feet nice and toasty. take out the laces, You don]t need them below. A watch cap or "charlie brown" hat is great for preventing heat loss from the noggin.



If you want it to be 72deg on your boat, reliably, it is gonna cost you some money, period. Even on shore power. Especially if you have to rewire for a really big electric heating system.



DO NOT run a cheap space heater unattended. They are notorious for starting fires. Make sure your breaker is not too big to trip if there is a short.



.4gal/hr seems like very heavy consumption. I bet your diesel at half throttle doesnt burn that much, and I know you could route your cooling water through a radiator for heat.



Does your marina allow coal/wood heating? There are a lot of nice little heat stoves that burn basically any burnable solid material you care to feed it, that put out a LOT of heat. Downside is when you are asleep, you aren't awake to feed it more fuel until you do wake up shivering. Plus side is you can often find free wood. Negative side is it is usually a lot of work to bring it to the boat and cut it up into usable lengths and split the large pieces. The miniature franklin type stoves are pretty cool and I really like the Shipmate line of stoves as they are fairly convenient to cook on, too. My marina doesn't allow wood fires at all. Funny, but they do allow propane. Go figure.
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Old 21-11-2018, 08:25   #13
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Re: Adding 50amp 120/240

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Originally Posted by CarlF View Post
Even with 50 amp 240 you will struggle to have enough heat in your boat. And portable space heaters really aren't designed to run all winter. They fail - or worse become a fire hazard. Every year there are boat fires from failing heaters.
Wow, that seems alot of power.

R1 Guy, that is quite a bit of work to do and you are probably running out of time as winter creeps in. How about something like this Antarctic Diesel Heater? and then supplement with electric oil filled radiators when you are away from the boat to maintain some heat.

Although smaller we spent last February on board in quite an unusual bitter English winter with ice on the deck and sea water freezing were it splashed on the jetty. Our 16A shore supply ran a 1kw oil filled heater when we were away from the boat and then a 2kw Airtop ran when on board. We reached 74.F before turning down the Webasto as it was a bit hot on board.

Don't forget you need ventilation even in the cold.

Yes you may need to hump an dump diesel mid winter to top the tank up, but diesel heating will give you some independence if the shore power goes pear shaped for a couple of days in a storm.

UK supplier but there are lots of US versions too:

https://www.kuranda.co.uk/dickinson-...-ant-dickinson

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Old 21-11-2018, 09:53   #14
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Re: Adding 50amp 120/240

Hello Pete,

I actually just spend all day looking at those Dickinson diesel heaters, and specifically the Antarctic model.

The few of concerns I have:
1. The cost, while much less than a Hydronic system, is not insignificant. I estimated around $3k to install. Could be more as I don't really know how long the installation would take

2. Concerned about being able to distribute that heat throughout the aft and vberth cabins. I suppose keeping the AC units in fan-only mode might help move that heat around?

3. Long term intent is to install the Hydronic, so seems that if I put that in now it becomes a waste where as the electrical upgrade can continue to be useful after

4. Space - New electrical panel has a nice spot in a wall, future hydronic goes under into the engine compartment, but the Dickinson would take a good size footprint out of the cabin.

Thoughts?
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Old 21-11-2018, 10:17   #15
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Re: Adding 50amp 120/240

Is that someone else installing it or you doing DIY? Seems pricey for a $1300 unit, but does solve the redundancy problem of shore power failing.

The alternative cheap option is a pair of the Chinese / Russian Webasto Airtop copies. Popular this side of the pond because they are cheap and seem to work well, not sure if they are available in the US.

You have quite a bit of glass in that boat, so you need either heavy curtains or for this winter or secondary glazing as a temporary measure. Watched my Dad use this type of stuff years ago and if he managed it then anyone can. Ought to be available state side.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Stormguard-...y+glazing+film
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