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Old 04-02-2011, 19:57   #1
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Change 220vac to 110vac ?

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I just puschased a used 32 ft. Beneteau in the Virgin Islands. After looking it over and making the offer, I will be heading down there next week to spend a couple of months getting familiar with it and working on it. After chartering for a number of years this is my first ownership venture. My question to the more experienced owners is regarding the 220V electrical system on the boat. It probably originally came from Europe since it has 220V outlets in the cabin. Is it worthwhile for me to have it rewired to 110V ac? I'm not electrically inclined so I don't know if just the battery charger would be changed, a 110V plug and new outlets installed or if there is much more to it than that. There is a small inverter on board so an appliance can be used when the engine is running. Finding 220V does not seem to be a problem in the Virgins but I just wonder if it makes sense to convert so it conforms to what most other boats are using. Thanks for any advice.
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Old 04-02-2011, 20:18   #2
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Well it depends.

1. Where will you keep the boat or where will you cruise, places with 220 V or places with 110 V?

2. Check the battery charger. Many work on both voltages and frequencies, 110 V 60 Hz as well 220 V 50 Hz. If a dual voltage then no need to change for the charging, just get adapters for the AC connection.

3. Will you be using any AC tools or appliances on board? If not then why change over?

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Old 04-02-2011, 20:38   #3
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If you want to use the boat with 110V electricty you'll need a complete rewire of the AC.
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Old 04-02-2011, 20:47   #4
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If you want to use the boat with 110V electricty you'll need a complete rewire of the AC.

Not necessarily. If the wiring is of quality and gauge to handle the load you could just replace all the receptacles and plugs.
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Old 04-02-2011, 20:53   #5
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Not necessarily. If the wiring is of quality and gauge to handle the load you could just replace all the receptacles and plugs.
True, or you could just swap the outlets, and if the wire is too small for a typical 15 or 20 amp circut downgrade the breaker to match the ampacity of the wire.
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Old 04-02-2011, 21:11   #6
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True, or you could just swap the outlets, and if the wire is too small for a typical 15 or 20 amp circut downgrade the breaker to match the ampacity of the wire.
Yes, replace the outlets. That's what I was trying to say. The little holes where you plug in the toaster or the drill.

Have never looked inside a 220V 50Hz system but they all have three holes for the plug so I would guess you could make a hot, ground and neutral connection with the existing wiring to all new boxes, plugs, outlets, etc. Shouldn't be that big of a job.
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Old 05-02-2011, 07:26   #7
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Just be careful to downgrade the current capacity, most 230VAC systems are rated to carry 16 amps , hence that 8 amps at 110vac. 2.5mm2 flexible is the typical sqaure area used in the cables, youre milage could vary. Downrate the circuit breakers accordingly and teh RCD will need to be changed

The other things will be the battery charger, the fridge and the Hot water heater. These will need changing if you have them, The charger might be dual voltage the fridge is a maybe and the water heater is definitely a change item.

Other small things are neons, any mains based lighting . If you have an invertor that will need changing as well.

If the system is simple its really an outlet change

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Old 05-02-2011, 07:46   #8
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Just be careful to downgrade the current capacity, most 230VAC systems are rated to carry 16 amps , hence that 8 amps at 110vac. 2.5mm2 flexible is the typical sqaure area used in the cables, youre milage could vary. Downrate the circuit breakers accordingly and teh RCD will need to be changed
Huh?

If the wire is rated for 16 amps @ 230VAC, it's 16 amps @ 110 volts also.

FWIW, 2.5mm is larger than 14 awg and will handle 20 amps.
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Old 05-02-2011, 07:56   #9
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A 16 Amp supply (wire, breaker, etc) will run a 3,680 Watt device at 230 Volts, but only a 1,920 Watt device at 120 Volts.
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Old 05-02-2011, 07:58   #10
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Just be careful to downgrade the current capacity, most 230VAC systems are rated to carry 16 amps , hence that 8 amps at 110vac.
A 15 amp circuit is a 15 amp circuit, regardless of the voltage used. A typical 220vac circuit wired with 14awg cable can handle 15 amps and would be protected with a 15 amp breaker. If you switch to 110vac, you don't need to change the breaker. The wiring can still handle 15 amps. The advantage of using a higher voltage is that a load will use less current for a specific power level than would the same load at a lower voltage.

Looks like we were composing at the same time DotDun & GordMay :-)

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Old 05-02-2011, 10:13   #11
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Thanks for the suggestions so far. I plan to use it mostly in the US and BVI'S as well as the Spanish Virgins. In month long trips I will probably be at docks for 3 or 4 days, total. I will check the charger to see if it is dual voltage. I think the fridge just runs on 12V. Not a big power consumer, but it would be nice to plug in a coffee pot or small microwave oven and charge up tool batteries when at the occasional dock.
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Old 05-02-2011, 10:22   #12
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I think it'd be much simpler/cheaper if you just made up an extention cord with a marina plug one end and a 4 socket plug combo the other... leave the boats wiring as is... if it an European boat that could come in handy at selling time for EU buyers...
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Old 05-02-2011, 11:12   #13
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I would leave the boat the way it is and buy a Honda gen for 120 v 60 hz. Also adapters are available to run some NA appliances on 220 v 50 hz.
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Old 05-02-2011, 17:09   #14
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A 15 amp circuit is a 15 amp circuit, regardless of the voltage used. A typical 220vac circuit wired with 14awg cable can handle 15 amps and would be protected with a 15 amp breaker. If you switch to 110vac, you don't need to change the breaker. The wiring can still handle 15 amps. The advantage of using a higher voltage is that a load will use less current for a specific power level than would the same load at a lower voltage.

Looks like we were composing at the same time DotDun & GordMay :-)

Eric
I stand corrected, and more clear headed now....
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Old 06-02-2011, 09:06   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
Just be careful to downgrade the current capacity, most 230VAC systems are rated to carry 16 amps , hence that 8 amps at 110vac. 2.5mm2 flexible is the typical sqaure area used in the cables, youre milage could vary. Downrate the circuit breakers accordingly....

Dave
Wow that is so wrong Dave. Circuit breakers may need to to uprated not the opposite - cable size too maybe. To power similar 110 volt appliances will require twice the current.

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.
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