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Old 06-02-2011, 09:49   #16
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Don't do anything. Surprisingly perhaps to people in the US, a large portion of the world functions just fine on 220V. Leave it as it is. Unless perhaps you're just tying the boat to a dock and using it as a condo in a 110V country.
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Old 06-02-2011, 10:01   #17
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... I plan to use it mostly in the US and BVI'S as well as the Spanish Virgins ...
All of which use North American 120V 60Hz AC c/w NEMA configuration plugs & receptacles.
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Old 06-02-2011, 12:34   #18
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You might want to consider leaving the boat as is, with the addition of an inverter that powers a couple of new dedicated 117 VAC 60 Hz outlets for US-spec chargers, tools, and small appliances. If your current battery charger doesn't support US and Euro voltages and frequencies. 100 - 250 VAC and 50-60 Hz would be great. You'll end up with a "world boat."
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Old 07-02-2011, 09:18   #19
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For the record I have a European boat which has cruised East coast US & all the East/West Caribbean. I hook up to standard 110/220 60 amp sockets in marinas with Hubbel connector wired across phases to give me 220 volts.

I also have small 110 volt inverter and a 220 to 110v 100 watt transformer to power the several small 110 volt appliances I have on board, giving me the best of both worlds.
Be careful using USA split phase 240v to power European appliances. When you do so you have no 'neutral' in the sense that neutral is the same potential as ground. With USA split phase 240v, both conductors are 120v from ground. An appliance that is expecting neutral to be the same as ground won't like it, it could become a safety issue.

There is goodness, your European electric motors will spin 20% faster! That vacuum cleaner will do a wonderful job!!
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Old 07-02-2011, 09:23   #20
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You dont need to rewire as all the wire grids are the same for 220v and 110v (remember its a production boat - one size fits all)

The only thing you would ever need it for is being in a marina and using shore power. You might find it better to just buy a solar panel.

All the marinas hate me cos I dont need their expensive electricity!

And the water heater... but you can just wire that up to a power cord, eh?
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Old 07-02-2011, 10:36   #21
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A "pure"European AC wired boat is not insurable inside the USA unless you remove/disable the AC circuits. Which I have done for customers who were trying to sell their boats to a US citizen for use inside the USA. That said, it is a new market these days and it just might be that the manufacturer of a "new" boat in Europe that also has a marketing branch in the USA might just install wiring in the boat that meets both E.U. and USA standards. You would have to have a competent electrician or surveyor examine the boat carefully to find out.
- - The wire sizes necessary for USA 120 volt 60 Hertz systems is larger than the normal 220V 50hertz E.U. systems. The grounding and neutral systems are also different along with wiring color standards. These differences in the "originally" E.U. wired boats makes them a fire hazard if you just change receptacles and plug in USA appliances/machinery. Which is why they were classified as uninsurable.
- - However, as I said first, this is now a "world market" and manufacturers really don't like having to make and market 2 different boats because of different electrical standards. So they can new make the boat to the most restrictive standards and then market it world-wide by simple changing the outlets and circuit breaker panel. Kind of like automobiles which are now manufactured/engineered so that they can be converted from right hand drive to left hand drive with only minor changes. Same with electronics and computers which are now made to use any form of power system worldwide. So have somebody competent look at the boat and and get a real answer.
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Old 07-02-2011, 11:53   #22
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Originally Posted by DotDun View Post
Be careful using USA split phase 240v to power European appliances. When you do so you have no 'neutral' in the sense that neutral is the same potential as ground. With USA split phase 240v, both conductors are 120v from ground. An appliance that is expecting neutral to be the same as ground won't like it
Good point although it hasn't been an issue for me in eight years and many marinas in Central & North America. I do notice my microwave oven works better in fact although the timer runs a little slower. Would have thought with 60Hz it would run a little faster.

Although my 240v generator has neutral tied to ground, in the UK at least grid electricity doesn't have it tied directly, but rather through a very large resistor. There are consequently a few volts measurable between ground & neutral in any home. A neon test screwdriver proves this showing full brightness on live but also a faint glow on neutral.
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Old 07-02-2011, 12:25   #23
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"Not a big power consumer, but it would be nice to plug in a coffee pot or small microwave oven"

I dont know about your microwave and electric coffee pot, but they suck some serious amps on my boat. Maybe not for a long time but they use the elec big time when they are switched on
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Old 08-02-2011, 08:11   #24
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Both E.U.(& rest of the world) and North/Central/South America share the same design of electrical power - one hot lead and one neutral lead - and in some places, but not all places, an earth ground lead. The N/C/S American shove 120Volts down the hot wire while the others shove 220Volts down the hot wire. Both are single phase AC but one is supplied at 60 Hertz (cycles) and the other at 50 Hertz.
- - Appliances that involve heating elements could care less what the Hertz is but are very sensitive to the voltages. Appliances with "timing" dependent upon the supplied Hertz (cycles) are normally very "touchy" about what you feed them. Microwaves are notorious for "burning out"/failing if you feed them the wrong Hertz since the Magetron is dependent upon that Hertz to function properly. If you look at the "label" on the microwave where the model/serial number/power requirements are listed you will normally see the "frequency" block greatly enlarged and the number 60 or 50 prominently displayed. This is the dead giveaway that operating that device on the wrong Hertz power will most probably result in the failure of the appliance.
- - Other appliances like clocks, etc. will simply run about 16% faster or slower, and the same with motors in things like boat air conditioners and compressors.
- - However, as I said before the modern equipment (probably all made in
China) is manufactured to accept either voltage and frequency - if it is possible - so that they do not have to manufacture two different models.
- - For cruising boats there are step up and step down transformers like the popular Charles series that can change 220VAC to 110VAC or the reverse. This takes care of most equipment on cruising boats except those items with "frequency dependent" timing or motors. So you have to be very careful when stepping up or down voltages as some very expensive appliances or boat systems can get fried in seconds or in the case of air conditioning in a longer period of time as the motor "overheats" from trying to work at a too slow a rpm or too fast a rpm.
- - For minor equipment you can purchase in hardware stores in most islands very cheap step up/down transformers for use with individual equipment. But again remember, the frequency (Hertz) is very important and ignoring it can result in some very expensive stuff burning out.
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Old 08-02-2011, 08:40   #25
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I've never seen an American marina without 220. The places you are at have 220 euro stuff. No need to change.
Someone else mentioned small inverter or transformer for the occasional American product.
Does anyone know the pros/cons of using a new 12dc/110ac inverter (mucho$$$) or using a 110/220 transformer on the existing inverter(excluding downwind wiring etc)?
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Old 08-02-2011, 08:47   #26
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I've never seen an American marina without 220
Except as mentioned above the US 220VAC will be what is called split phase while what the boat is wired for is 220VAC single phase (terrible terminology...). If one doesn't understand the difference one should get knowledgeable assistance.
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Old 08-02-2011, 18:56   #27
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It's terrible that I as an engineer wrote about derating circuit breakers. I really should read my own posts.

What I meant was that the outlets are derated. If the outlet handles 10 amps at 220 then it's 10 Amps at 110 ie half the power. You can't increase the CB unless the cable is rated to support higher currents.

American split phase cannot be used on a single phase 230vac system.

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Old 09-02-2011, 03:13   #28
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American split phase cannot be used on a single phase 230vac system.

Dave
I realize there can be a safety issue with the euro neutral being hot, and different hertz.
But, it can work.
surely there are many non-american boats hooked up to "50 amp" in marinas all over the east coast?
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Old 09-02-2011, 04:17   #29
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When faced with this problem a few years ago I bought an isolation transformer, pigtail and adaptor plugs. It sat in the cockpit, worked just fine and allowed me to choose between 220 or 110 power tools. Modern chargeable items are so adaptable that they can accept any voltage - well mine did anyway. My computer, drill, flashlight battery charger, cellphone, camera etc were all perfectly happy charging on 220 or 110.

You do need to avoid the cheap transformers.
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Old 09-02-2011, 06:57   #30
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Your right, just checked my cellphone charger and laptop power supply. Both say 100-240v 50/60 HZ

Eric
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