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Old 11-11-2007, 01:10   #1
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Advice Needed - 110v shore to 220v yacht

I'd appreciate some guidance from someone with more knowledge of electricity than I have.

We're shortly off to Carib and boat is wired for 220v when shore side.

Our euro 220v systems are single phase with three wires. Ground, neutral and live 220v. All three going via plug / socket pins.

I'm told the US 220v systems has 4 connections. Ground, neutral, live 110v and a second live 110v. The 2 x 110v (I'm told) are out of phase, go via two of the pins, and the ground connector is via the outer casing (as opposed to a pin)?

Does this mean I can make up a pigtail connector by getting a 220/230 v 50 amp male US plug and wire this shore side of the pigtail, with a euro socket on the other end, and effectively connect the 2 x 110v into 1 x 220v without spending any more than the cost of the plug / socket / wire?

Or am I missing something and being really stupid?

Appreciate some help please.

JOHN
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Old 11-11-2007, 05:49   #2
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Unfortunately, boats and electricity don't get along well together. I think you are proposing to connect one of the US hot wires to what would be 'your' live 220V and the other US hot wire to what would be 'your' neutral. The ground would be ground. Yes, you will get your 220V at 'your' socket. BUT ....
I'm not sure what you are proposing to do with the US neutral wire.
Problem #1 - whatever is connected to 'your' neutral will be at a potential of 110V instead of the 0V it should be. This could prove to be a fatal mistake.
Problem #2 - if you attempt to connect 'your' neutral (which is now wired to one of the live wires) to the US neutral, be aware that the neutral is grounded at the marina side, so you'll take out the breaker as soon as you connect.
I don't see any cost effective solution short of an expensive and heavy transformer. You really should contact a certified marine electrician. I rewired my boat last summer and I found Peter Kennedy at Peter Kennedy Yacht Services - Marine Electrical Systems quite willing to work with me and make suggestions.
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Old 11-11-2007, 06:53   #3
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NO you cannot simply “adapt” your 220V 1 Phase 2-Wire (+Gnd) Euro wiring to 220V 1 Phase 3-Wire (+Gnd) North American service.
You CAN adapt your 220V Euro’ to 120V 1 Phase 2-Wire (+Gnd) N.A. use; but your Euro’(220V 50 Hz) appliances won’t work.
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Old 11-11-2007, 11:40   #4
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What you need is one of these converters.

http://www.110220volts.com/power_con...FQY8gwodYQ39-Q

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Old 11-11-2007, 12:03   #5
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As Gordon said, the real problem is in the cycles per second of US 60Hz versus European 50Hz. Buying a step up or step down transformer that only converts voltage is relatively easy. You will need a voltage and frequency converter...called static frequency converters (solid state) or rotary frequency converters (two connected motor-generator).
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Old 11-11-2007, 13:00   #6
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Maybe I should have mentioned that I would use the converter above for keeping the batteries charged up and rely in the batteries as one would at sea, running off the inverter for on-board appliances.

Or to just buy a 110V charger to keep the batteries up.
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Old 11-11-2007, 13:14   #7
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Well, it really depends on what you are trying to run. Unless it has a motor in it, in most cases the frequency isn't all that important. Things like a battery charger won't really care, although they may run a little warmer.
Unless frequency is an issue, the transformer box described is 'on the right track', but it's a free standing unit, not marine grade and would certainly need protection from the weather and salt water environment. If you were to get one of those units, some jury-rigging would be required. If you could stuff the unit in a cockpit locker or in some out of the way place (yeah I know, cruisers already have them jammed to the rafters) and wire the input side to a short cord with a 115V/30A twistlock plug. Then just buy a standard North American 115V/30A shorepower cord to plug into. Wire the output side of the transformer to a cord that looks just like your existing shore power cord and will reach your existing shore power inlet.
This arrangement will save making any modifications to the boats electrical system at all. It's just a different pig-tail arrangement than what you were thinking about.
If you go this route, you'll need a big one, say 3000Watts to handle the 30A circuit.
We could answer your questions better if we knew what devices you were trying to run.
Oh, and BTW, depending on what islands you are visiting, they may already be 220V systems. Grenada for instance is just like the UK.
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Old 11-11-2007, 13:59   #8
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If you use a victron or a mastervolt inverter charger you can use the american 220 volt shore power line , you do have to reset these units to 60 hrtz but I have used it and it works fine in this way and since you own a hanse 461 I presume that you have one of these units on board , send victron or mastervolt a e mail and ask them what to change
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Old 11-11-2007, 16:09   #9
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Swagman:
I don't think think that you are being stupid at all. This can be done simply provided you are careful not to use appliances that are sensitive to US/ Euro phase difference. It will work well for your battery chargers and anything without a motor.
This color coding is based on the latest European color code and is
as follows:

1. Brown = European Hot
2. Blue = European Neutral
3. Green with Yellow Stripe = European Grounding (or
Safety Ground)

USA 220 Volt AC typically has 4 wires with color codes as follows:

1. Red = USA Hot
2. Black = USA Hot
3. White = USA Neutral for 110 volt
circuits only
4. Green = USA Grounding (of Safety
Ground)

NOW, as you measure Voltage AC (RMS = root mean square voltage,
which is what your digital volt meter more or less shows you)
between the following points you will get the following readings:

EUROPEAN: Between the Brown and Blue Reads 220 Volts AC
Between the Blue and the Green with Yellow Stripe
Reads Zero Volts AC
Between the Brown and the Green with Yellow Stripe
Reads 220 Volts AC


USA: Between the Red and Black Reads 220 Volts AC
Between the Red and White Reads 110 Volts AC
Between the Black and White Reads 110 Volts AC
Between the White and Green Reads Zero Volts AC

When wiring the 220 Volt AC cable from the boat to USA
power the following should be done:

a. The Brown Wire (European Hot) should go to either the
USA Red or Black wire
b. The Blue Wire (European Neutral) should go to the USA
Red or Black wire (whichever the Brown wire isn't connected
to. My understanding, and please somebody correct me if I am wrong,
is that the polarity of these two connections (red and/or black to
blue and/or brown makes no difference).
Finally the Green with Yellow Stripe wire should go to the USA
Green wire.
The USA white wire has nothing connected to it from the European
cable.

The given appliance or load doesn't care about polarity since it
is
alternating current (AC). All the load cares about is that there is
an EMF (ElectroMotive Force) of 220 Volts pushing the electrons back
and forth in the wires of the load (e.g. the lamp, motor etc.) Again
this discussion doesn't take into consideration the frequency
with
which the electrons are moved back and forth (Hertz). If I
understand it correctly the naming of the wires (Hot, Neutral etc is
somewhat arbitrary) and hence confusing at times.

I know that it works as I did exactly this when I brought my Amel SM to the US in 2002.
I did consult a few marine electricians and some so-called knowledgeable sales persons at the local West Marine. They all were a bit dubious but none of them could give me a good explanation of why it would not work.

If anyone out there has any critical comments or thoughts, I would be most interested.

MDL
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Old 11-11-2007, 16:42   #10
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Well, you have done what I stated that the original poster wanted to do in my original post, and have left the US neutral wire with no connection. As I said, it will work, but there is a safety issue here. Whatever is connected to that European neutral wire is expecting to be at 0V potential, not 110V potential. It's roughly equivalent to a reverse polarity situation in a US setup. I guess as long as there is no electrical fault, you'll get away with it. But if that neutral ever gets to a spot that someone can touch it .....
That solution is cost effective, but IMHO you are risking your life. So far you've got away with it.
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Old 12-11-2007, 01:24   #11
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Hi All,
Really appreciate the information provided and nice to know the theory can work in practice, so thanks, MDL. But from the weight of negative feedback, think I'll opt for the converter.
Cheers
JOHN
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Old 12-11-2007, 02:13   #12
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power supplies

John Just check what you already have. From memory my mastervolt charger could take 90v ac to 240v ac without any change other than the plug type & could cope with the frequency range to cover 50-60hz without any change. So if you can operate with the charger keeping the DC up & then your normal inverter to give you any appliance you normally use then you may need nothing except an "inline lead" to cover the different type of plugs & sockets.

Regards Bill
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Old 12-11-2007, 07:22   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bill good View Post
John Just check what you already have. From memory my mastervolt charger could take 90v ac to 240v ac without any change other than the plug type & could cope with the frequency range to cover 50-60hz without any change. So if you can operate with the charger keeping the DC up & then your normal inverter to give you any appliance you normally use then you may need nothing except an "inline lead" to cover the different type of plugs & sockets.
Not all the Mastervolt kit is so obliging. My Mastervolt MASS 80 charger accepts mains voltage from 105 - 135 VAC. The 230 V version accepts 205 - 265 VAC. Either accepts 50 - 60 Hz. In Europe I used a tool transformer from shore power.
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Old 12-11-2007, 11:39   #14
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John,

I believe your system at home is designed to work at 240V as this is European common voltage. It has 3 wires and they are coming from one phase of a 3ph transformers. One of the wire (NEUTRAL) is connected to a transformer end that is connected to the ground (earth). The other (LIVE) is connected to the phase end of a transformer. The third is GROUND which is connected to the station ground directly. All these are at the supply side. All three are coming to your boat separated from each other in a cable.

Now, it depends how your boat AND appliances are wired. If they are wired as three isolated, insulated, independent connections that are separate at ALL times through out the entire boat (including appliances) - then using US type 240V power should not create a problem. All you have to do is to be sure that a proper connections are made at both end of a supply cable. However, I would suggest that a person knowledgeable in electrical installations review your boat design and wiring both AC and DC. He should test your boat to check to confirm that there is not connection between NEUTRAL and GROUND on your boat. That the NEUTRAL insulation is not damaged or reduced.

Chris
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Old 04-10-2008, 06:28   #15
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Wired for the World ~ by Ed Sherman
The AC electrical service that we have in the United States differs in voltage and frequency from systems found in most parts of the world. So how do we equip our boat?. For no-hassle AC power anywhere, especially for U.S. boats going foreign, it’s necessary to think globally ...
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