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Old 14-08-2016, 19:31   #1
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Best World Travel Voltages

Speaking entirely theoretically, if one were starting from scratch for a world traveling vessel, what electrical voltages on board would be the most useful?

Is there any reason, for instance, to have 12V DC, when almost every marine device is available in 24V DC?

And for alternating current, 50 or 60 hz? 110/120V, 220V, 230V??

What if you have a high dockside load and may require 3 phase service?

Do you install multiple AC services, say for North America/Caribbean, as well as for Europe and Asia?

What is most effective, most often?
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Old 14-08-2016, 19:50   #2
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Re: Best World Travel Voltages

There is no "answer" just options - it's a matter of preference.
For us we're USA based and our gear is 110V 60Hz centric but we want flexibility - are systems are:
* 12v for engine management system (no choice)
* 24v LFePo based ships systems for most equipment
* 110V split into two buses (Bus #1 60Hz and Bus #2 50/60Hz)
* Shore power is fed via Victron Auto Isolation transformers that step higher voltages down to 110v
* Bus #1 appliances are supplied via LiFePo batteries and Mastervolt 4000 inverters when only 50 Hz is available.
* We can supply any voltage or cycles by this design.


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Old 14-08-2016, 19:53   #3
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Re: Best World Travel Voltages

Worldwide 220-240V 50 Hz is by far the most common. (pretty much everywhere other than the Americas)

While there are situations where 24V has definite advantages, appliances / components are not so commonly available. You will find that many boats with 24V actually have a mixture of 12 and 24 power outlets.
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Old 14-08-2016, 19:55   #4
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Re: Best World Travel Voltages

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Old 15-08-2016, 00:16   #5
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Re: Best World Travel Voltages

12/24v is normally done by boat size. generally 30-40' is 12v. you don't normally see 24v till over 50' most things 24v will cost more and be harder to find. plus you normally end up with 24-12v converters for things that only run 12v. more things to have and fail.

as for AC power. you can't just pick one if you are traveling. you'd need a way to be able to run or handle either of them depending on where you were.. there are different ways of doing this with different costs.
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Old 15-08-2016, 00:44   #6
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Re: Best World Travel Voltages

24v is much better for transmitting large amounts of power. If you will have a bow thruster, electric windlass, etc. -- go with 24v. Providing 12v to a few things which are hard to find in 24v is a trivial problem.

Completely separate engine (and generator) charging and starting, with separate alternator, and this can be 12v without any problem.

For AC power, 110/60 vs 230/50 depends on where you will spend the most time. Choose whichever system matches your most frequent cruising area.

Then, install an inverter large enough to run all your AC equipment (or a gang of them -- you can combine two or three Victron inverters). Separate shore power inlet to run a separate battery charger on the "other" voltage -- whichever one you did not choose for your native on board AC system.

So now when you are in a region which has power different from your "native" power, just use the second shore power inlet and run everything off the inverter.

It will add complexity but also efficiency if besides the battery charger, you can switch over your immersion heater to the "other" voltage (to save inverter capacity), and have perhaps a few sockets with the "other" voltage for devices which don't care.


TIP: If you decide on 230/50 as your "native" AC power, size the wiring so that the boat can be converted to 110/60 later in case you end up living permanently somewhere with that power. That means the wiring should have double the cross section of wiring which would be suitable for 230/50.
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Old 15-08-2016, 08:28   #7
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Re: Best World Travel Voltages

Dockhead,
I agree with your approach, wrt water heaters ours are wired to the unswitched side of our Mastervolt inverters and because they are cycle agnostic only ever see line voltage which has been stepped down by our Victron auto-isolation transformers.
Paul



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Old 15-08-2016, 14:11   #8
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Re: Best World Travel Voltages

There is no best.

You simply accept whatever the local voltage is and play accordingly.

It does not matter how your boat is wired as you can always convert voltage.

BTW We sailed the loop without plugging into 110 once. Then again if you take off from the US then you are already wired 110 and that's that.

BTW I am working on a boat that is wired for 12/24/110/220. It is only the matter of how big the boat is and what cruising backyard is kept in mind.

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Old 18-08-2016, 09:29   #9
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Re: Best World Travel Voltages

Paul, assuming you have a 120V/60Hz house appliances running off the inverters output, how do you keep 120V/50Hz from passing through when your isolation transformer is plugged into 230V/50Hz?




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Old 19-08-2016, 08:39   #10
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Re: Best World Travel Voltages

Hi Journeyman,
We use a selector switch for 50 or 60 Hz.
The cycles pass through the isolation transformers but when on 50 Hz we route the current via a Mastervolt chargemaster to the Lithium battery bank then invert it back to 60Hz for those items that are cycle dependent.
See attached simplified drawing.
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