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Old 21-09-2014, 18:08   #1
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Advice Needed: Step UP transformer for Land Power

Hi All

I just bought a Benetoooo' 50 (New Life) with a 220V 30 amp 50Hz system.

Im told I should aquire a step-up transformer to 240v 60 Hz just to be safe on U.S./Caribbean land power ( I plan to cruise the Carib for year-plus).

I'm hanging in a marina in Key Biscayne till Nov 1, plugged into 240 60 hrz. Everything seems to run fine at the moment. The surveyor urged me to deal with this issue.

Do I really need such a thing and if so what do you recommend? My most excellent electrical guru says I need something to handle at least 6000 watts.

Any and all advice is appreciated!

Cliff
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Old 21-09-2014, 20:39   #2
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Re: Advice Needed: Step UP transformer for Land Power

I'm not from around your parts, but around here 240 VAC is the standard. 220V AC stuff will run on 240 VAC without problem. In fact, a lot of the stuff we use here is actually rated at 220V AC. A transformer cannot change the input frequency and the difference between 50 Hz and 60 Hz can cause problems. For example, transformers can run hotter and be less efficient and electric motors run at incorrect speed. Other electronics will be relatively unaffected by the difference in AC frequency.

My suggestion would be not to worry about the 220 vs 240 VAC difference too much, but be aware of incompatibility with the difference in frequency. Most appliances will have their electrical ratings printed on them so avoid using those items not designed for the AC frequency you are connected to.
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Old 21-09-2014, 21:15   #3
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Re: Advice Needed: Step UP transformer for Land Power

Quote:
Originally Posted by clifflyon View Post
Hi All

I just bought a Benetoooo' 50 (New Life) with a 220V 30 amp 50Hz system.

Im told I should aquire a step-up transformer to 240v 60 Hz just to be safe on U.S./Caribbean land power ( I plan to cruise the Carib for year-plus).

I'm hanging in a marina in Key Biscayne till Nov 1, plugged into 240 60 hrz. Everything seems to run fine at the moment. The surveyor urged me to deal with this issue.

Do I really need such a thing and if so what do you recommend? My most excellent electrical guru says I need something to handle at least 6000 watts.

Any and all advice is appreciated!

Cliff
You asked for advice.. Here is my $.01 worth beased on some relevant experience.

1) Fire the guru or surveyor who told you that a transformer will change frequency. (Sorry I could not let that one go by!)

2) Look at all pieces of equipment that run on AC (including battery charger). Read the labels and manuals to find if they will take 60Hz too. If the labels or manual say 50Hz only then call manufacturer and find out a) if they really mean to say that 60Hz will cause a problem and if so b) what do you need to change to make the thing run at 60Hz.

3) Be particularly careful with anything that has a motor. Note that if you apply the wrong frequency to a motor in many cases if will turn at a different speed and this will affect other things.

4) IMHO the only critical pierce of AC equipment that has to run with both 50 and 60 Hz is the AC-powered battery charger. Note that some reputable manufacturers will label their 120V-powered chargers as 60Hz only but when you ask them they will tell you that 50Hz will do fine (and probably vice versa). I have been there, hence point 2.a.

5) If you feel you also need air conditioning at the dock then you may be in trouble because many units cannot be easily converted from 50HZ to 60Hz and vice versa. You may need to use the genset..
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Old 21-09-2014, 21:50   #4
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Re: Advice Needed: Step UP transformer for Land Power

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Originally Posted by svlamorocha View Post
You asked for advice.. Here is my $.01 worth beased on some relevant experience.

1) Fire the guru or surveyor who told you that a transformer will change frequency. (Sorry I could not let that one go by!)

2) Look at all pieces of equipment that run on AC (including battery charger). Read the labels and manuals to find if they will take 60Hz too. If the labels or manual say 50Hz only then call manufacturer and find out a) if they really mean to say that 60Hz will cause a problem and if so b) what do you need to change to make the thing run at 60Hz.

3) Be particularly careful with anything that has a motor. Note that if you apply the wrong frequency to a motor in many cases if will turn at a different speed and this will affect other things.

4) IMHO the only critical pierce of AC equipment that has to run with both 50 and 60 Hz is the AC-powered battery charger. Note that some reputable manufacturers will label their 120V-powered chargers as 60Hz only but when you ask them they will tell you that 50Hz will do fine (and probably vice versa). I have been there, hence point 2.a.

5) If you feel you also need air conditioning at the dock then you may be in trouble because many units cannot be easily converted from 50HZ to 60Hz and vice versa. You may need to use the genset..
Correct all the way.


European 220 Volt 50 Hz power uses One Hot Wire and One neutral wire plus the safety ground wire. USA 240 Volt 60 Hz uses TWO hot wires and One neutral plus the safety ground. If you have anything on the boat that will work on 60 Hz you would use only one of the US hot wires which would be 120 volts and might have to use a step up transformer to take that to 220 volt 60 Hz.
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Old 21-09-2014, 22:06   #5
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Re: Advice Needed: Step UP transformer for Land Power

I had a 120V boat that we outfitted in Europe, so som equioment was 220-240V/50Hz other was 110-120V/60Hz. I had a Victron isolation transformer to provide both voltage all th etime on the boat - if I was on shore of not.

The only item that made problems was the water pump for the washing machine. The drum motor worked fine though. So when on 120V shore power, I disconnected from it. The inverter was prgoammed to baturally produce 120V 50Hz, which would be stepped up to240V/50Hz. All was good then. When the washing machine was done I connected to shore again.


- 220V or 240V makes no difference. All equipment will take both.
- 50Hz or 60 Hz - electric motors can be problematic. Transformers are fine with it. aybe a little more losses.

Friend of mine has a 220V boat and has made a shore power adaptor to the 2 (180 degree shifted) hot phases on US style dock power supplies. Works fine.
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Old 21-09-2014, 22:40   #6
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Re: Advice Needed: Step UP transformer for Land Power

We have a 220v 50hz boat. Been cruising for 16 years now, never had a problem running on 60 hz except for the microwave oven. To run it IF we are on a US style dock we disconnect shore power, run the microwave on our inverter that puts out 50Hz, then switch to shore power and you can hear the inverter/charger ramp up from 50 to 60 and then hand over to shore power. The freezer is a 1.5 Hp 220/50 and it runs fine on 60. (the capacitors are 50/60Hz)
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Old 22-09-2014, 03:17   #7
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Re: Advice Needed: Step UP transformer for Land Power

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European 220 Volt 50 Hz power uses One Hot Wire and One neutral wire plus the safety ground wire. USA 240 Volt 60 Hz uses TWO hot wires and One neutral plus the safety ground. If you have anything on the boat that will work on 60 Hz you would use only one of the US hot wires which would be 120 volts and might have to use a step up transformer to take that to 220 volt 60 Hz.

We have dealt with this before, IN general a European boat with a standard EU wired 230 VAC system , will run on a US 240VAC split phase ( which is actually a single phase system ) . The US Neutral in this case is not needed.

The boats RCBO will also function correctly, and in preference the circuit breakers should be double pole.

Preferably the best thing is to use a 1:1 isolating traffo, and run the split phase system through that , That has the advantage of polarising the system.

by the way European system voltages are normalised at a nominal 230 VAC, hence they are 230VAC 50 hz ( +- 10%) the variability allows EU countries that range from 220 VAC and 24VAC to "fit" into the 230 VAC harmonised standard !.

Dave
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Old 22-09-2014, 04:58   #8
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Re: Advice Needed: Step UP transformer for Land Power

I have a query on this as well, we have a new lagoon cat, 220V AC. The cristec chargers specify
Voltage From 85 to 265VCA single-phase
Frequency From 47 to 65Hz
3.2.1. Cable from the public AC power supply network or generator
All CPS3 battery chargers can operate automatically and equally on single phase networks from 85 to
265VCA and from 47 to 65Hz.

Does this mean when we plug into shore power in the caribbean we just need the correct shore power lead or adaptor and the battery charger will be fine?
Also will the Quick water heater work fine?
I can run the AC power points through the inverter if need be for the appliances, or should they be fine using the dock power direct?

I know this has been answered before but I just want to clarify. Id hate to arrive, plug in and let the magic smoke out of anything because I used the wrong connection..
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Old 22-09-2014, 05:02   #9
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Re: Advice Needed: Step UP transformer for Land Power

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Originally Posted by monte View Post
I have a query on this as well, we have a new lagoon cat, 220V AC. The cristec chargers specify
Voltage From 85 to 265VCA single-phase
Frequency From 47 to 65Hz
3.2.1. Cable from the public AC power supply network or generator
All CPS3 battery chargers can operate automatically and equally on single phase networks from 85 to
265VCA and from 47 to 65Hz.

Does this mean when we plug into shore power in the caribbean we just need the correct shore power lead or adaptor and the battery charger will be fine?
Also will the Quick water heater work fine?
I can run the AC power points through the inverter if need be for the appliances, or should they be fine using the dock power direct?

I know this has been answered before but I just want to clarify. Id hate to arrive, plug in and let the magic smoke out of anything because I used the wrong connection..

The charger will be fine, but before you plug into a 110 outlet , you need to ensure ALL devices that may power up, are equally fine, ( or you can isolate them)

And yes your inverter will function as normal


dave
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Old 22-09-2014, 05:17   #10
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Re: Advice Needed: Step UP transformer for Land Power

Ok thanks x3. So as I understand it, US uses 110V as standard, but 2 positives will double the voltage at the dock outlet. Does this mean some dock outlets are labeled 110 and others 220? Do they accept the same plugs?
If 220 isn't available my charger and hot water heater should work on 110, maybe the water takes twice as long to heat? And I should run the AC circuit through the inverter if I use a 110V shore power to supply 220V via the battery bank so as not to damage appliances such as computer chargers, kettle and juicer with incorrect voltage?
All AC plugs can run from the inverter or shore power except the water heater.
Please correct any misconceptions I might have as electrical theory is not my strong suite!
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Old 22-09-2014, 05:27   #11
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Re: Advice Needed: Step UP transformer for Land Power

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Originally Posted by monte View Post
Ok thanks x3. So as I understand it, US uses 110V as standard, but 2 positives will double the voltage at the dock outlet. Does this mean some dock outlets are labeled 110 and others 220? Do they accept the same plugs?
If 220 isn't available my charger and hot water heater should work on 110, maybe the water takes twice as long to heat? And I should run the AC circuit through the inverter if I use a 110V shore power to supply 220V via the battery bank so as not to damage appliances such as computer chargers, kettle and juicer with incorrect voltage?
All AC plugs can run from the inverter or shore power except the water heater.
Please correct any misconceptions I might have as electrical theory is not my strong suite!
The US, uses the concept of single phase 110 and a split phase system that supplies 240, ( even though this is a single phase system in respect to itself)

Hence you typically have a hot and a neutral at 110 and two hot wires at 240 ( with a neutral that technically isn't needed) .

IN europe, the assumption that the Neutral is at earth potential while widespread, it is not compelling, hence most electrical system assume that the neutral can be at line voltage and insulation and installation practices are similar to the live wire practice.


Hence you CAN ( with caveats) make use of a split phase system in a EU boat, however there can be gothchas.


As for using 110, yes your water heater will be OK, as will your charger, as long as everything else is OK , then 110 VAC will be OK.

BUT, what about fridges, etc, you need to go through everything on you AC panel.


THEN, consider the issue of boat wiring, while most EU boats will be wired with 2,5mm sq, this is underrated ( just) for full 3Kw 110 power. This means that potentially your water heater could draw current in excess of your cable. ( or your battery charger).

Again there is a difference between technically possible and practically possible. I can evaluate my boat, simply because Im an engineer, Short of a complete survey , I can't tell you about your boat. Hence YMMV
Dave
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Old 22-09-2014, 05:47   #12
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Re: Advice Needed: Step UP transformer for Land Power

Ok thanks again, I didn't consider the fridges, I'm not sure if they run from 12v only, or AC along with the plugs via the inverter, or direct to the fridge. So to be safe we should on,y plug in to 220V where it's available I guess
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Old 22-09-2014, 05:51   #13
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Re: Advice Needed: Step UP transformer for Land Power

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Ok thanks again, I didn't consider the fridges, I'm not sure if they run from 12v only, or AC along with the plugs via the inverter, or direct to the fridge. So to be safe we should on,y plug in to 220V where it's available I guess

Given your admitted knowledge, can I be so bold as to say only plug into equivalent European 230Vac, and do not use US split phase 240. At the very least if you want to use split phase 240VAC, get a suitably rated isolating transformer.

This is really not an area for the newbie


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Old 22-09-2014, 06:15   #14
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Re: Advice Needed: Step UP transformer for Land Power

Thanks again, given we rarely spend time in marinas and are pretty self sufficient with solar, we will probably skip the transformer and just not plug in to the docks. The transformer seems to be upwards of $1500 plus installation. I just googled Martinique and it said they use the same power as France 220V 50Hz so I guess arriving there it's safe to connect the shore power.
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Old 22-09-2014, 06:58   #15
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Re: Advice Needed: Step UP transformer for Land Power

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Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
We have dealt with this before, IN general a European boat with a standard EU wired 230 VAC system , will run on a US 240VAC split phase ( which is actually a single phase system ) . The US Neutral in this case is not needed.

The boats RCBO will also function correctly, and in preference the circuit breakers should be double pole.

Preferably the best thing is to use a 1:1 isolating traffo, and run the split phase system through that , That has the advantage of polarising the system.

by the way European system voltages are normalised at a nominal 230 VAC, hence they are 230VAC 50 hz ( +- 10%) the variability allows EU countries that range from 220 VAC and 24VAC to "fit" into the 230 VAC harmonised standard !.

Dave
So the fact that the voltage on US 240 v 3 wire system is 180 out of phase on the two hot wires doesn't cause any problem on 220/230 V EU 50 Hz equipment?

What about the opposite. If the equipment would tolerate the 50 Hz frequency would US 240 V equipment run on EU 230 V supply?
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