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Old 11-05-2014, 18:26   #1
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European Boat in North America

I plan on purchasing a European Boat with a 230V 50 Hz system and bring it home (Vancouver, Canada) for two years while I live aboard and prepare to retire and head out cruising to the South Pacific and beyond. Eventually to circumnavigate.

The 230V system will be a challenge while in NA, but I can handle that. What I can't get my head around, and I have actually done a significant amount of research on this, is what I can use on board in the way of small appliances. I get that I need to start the generator if I want to use the wash/dryer or dishwasher, but what about small kitchen appliances and the like? Should I be buying my coffee maker from Amazon.uk?

I'm serious here. This I just don't get. I am going to live aboard here (Canada) for two years. After I head out, no problem, the rest of the world... or a significant portion of it is 230, so I am not interested in any solutions that have me converting to 110.

Any guidance would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 11-05-2014, 18:43   #2
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Re: European Boat in North America

Most battery chargers here will not work too well on 50 hz, same for light bulbs, seems you also need to split the wiring in order to get 115v a/c from that 230, could be an issue, or , research a transformer to up the 50 hz to 60 and fix the 115v if necessary. Beaver Engineering in Surrey may be a source for the transformer.
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Old 11-05-2014, 19:01   #3
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Re: European Boat in North America

This comes up on a recurring basis.

In this case, a Google or DuckDuckGo search would be very helpful to you, in addition to what you may learn on this forum and from reading the electrical section.

I just typed in

converting 230v 50hz to 120v 60hz

and got lots of hits.

I haven't read them, that's your job...

Good luck.
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Old 11-05-2014, 19:22   #4
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Re: European Boat in North America

Find out what U.S. travelers do to use their 120v appliances in Europe. I have some things, such as cell phone chargers, that are labeled: Input, 120/240v AC.
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Old 11-05-2014, 19:28   #5
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Re: European Boat in North America

Andrew,

We have a European boat in America and it is 230v for everything. We discovered that most medium to large marinas (on the west coast, at least) have 220 volt power so plugging in to the dock is not a problem. There is sometimes a problem with different cycles but all our 220-230v equipment on board, including the battery charger, runs fine with it. The only thing that doesn't is the washing machine - that needs to be run on the generator for some reason.

We buy 220 volt appliances off Amazon: toaster, hair dryer, etc and they are cheap and work much faster than the 110 stuff we were used to.

Cheers.

Dhillen
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Old 11-05-2014, 19:39   #6
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Re: European Boat in North America

We're currently kitting up to cruise our US built.boat in the med. I've added a dedicated 220V, 50Hz, 30A shore power point which is wired (via a breaker) directly into out Magnum inverter/charger. We also have solar. Our plan is to keep our 110-115V stuff and run it off the inverter. The batteries will charge (while in Marinas) from EU shore-power as our charger/inverter can handle.both inputs. We're also planning on switching out two of our AC wall receptacles for EU sockets and wiring them into the 220V 50Hz sub-panel, to cover items which can switch easily (such as laptop and phone chargers)

You should be able to go a similar path and just stay native 220V but add one or two 30A shore power receptacles for 115V 60Hz - everything else can be run off the 12V via an inverter configured for 220V 50Hz.

I know the Magnum inverters can do this, and I'm sure some of the MasterVolt kit can too!


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Old 16-05-2014, 22:21   #7
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I have just completed exactly that issue for a European spec Oyster 55 as a live aboard stateside.

First easy fix. The Victron 3600 watt auto voltage input isolation transformer works extremely well. Apply 110 volt and get 230. Apply 208 volt you get 208, apply 240 volt you get 240 volt.

Ensures the neutral and hot are right and removes any galvanic path to shore.

In my case I wanted to be able to run large 50hz only loads on shore power if desired. So two modes of operating.

Transformer to 100 amp at 30v charger then make 230 volt 50 cycle power with a victron quattro 8kva inverter.

Other mode, feed output of transformer directly to inverter, limit shore power from transformer to 16 amps, inverter can add as much as 8kva so 12kva total if needed. Has 200 amp at 30v charger built in.

I normally run in the first mode...

For 110v equipment I have a 1200 watt inverter only which powers a parallel set of outlets to the 230v outlets.

The nice part of the quattro inverter is built in dual inputs so if I turn on the generator it drops shore power and shifts to 50hz. With the 6kva generator I can source 150 amps at 30v for charging and can provide as much as 14kva to house loads for 30min or more.

Currently I have about 440 ah at 24 volts which is working very well
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Old 16-05-2014, 23:19   #8
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Re: European Boat in North America

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dhillen View Post
Andrew,

We have a European boat in America and it is 230v for everything. We discovered that most medium to large marinas (on the west coast, at least) have 220 volt power so plugging in to the dock is not a problem. There is sometimes a problem with different cycles but all our 220-230v equipment on board, including the battery charger, runs fine with it. The only thing that doesn't is the washing machine - that needs to be run on the generator for some reason.

We buy 220 volt appliances off Amazon: toaster, hair dryer, etc and they are cheap and work much faster than the 110 stuff we were used to.

Cheers.

Dhillen
Take care trying to plug a European 230V into North American 240 V because they are very, very different.

Not only is the frequency different, 50 Hz EU vs 60 Hz NA but the wires are different.

EU is single phase, one hot wire of 230 V and one neutral. US power is two phase. 2 hot wires and one neutral The hot wires are each 120 V but 180 degrees out of phase so you have two separate 120 volt supplies Hot 1 to neutral and Hot 2 to neutral The you get 240 V by connecting across the 2 Hot wires. Since they are out of phase the 120 of one adds to the 120 of the other to give 240.

Connecting US power to an EU system incorrectly could make big sparks.
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Old 16-05-2014, 23:31   #9
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Re: European Boat in North America

There is actually no neutral in 240 V /ac in N.A. the second leg is actually the neutral, hence, 60 cycle.
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Old 16-05-2014, 23:41   #10
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Re: European Boat in North America

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There is actually no neutral in 240 V /ac in N.A. the second leg is actually the neutral, hence, 60 cycle.
If you are referring to my post that's what I said. To get 240 V you use two hot wires. But there is a neutral wire in US 240V systems. That's how you get 120V, one hot wire to the neutral is 120.

Also, the hot and neutral wires have nothing to do with the frequency. That is determined by the number windings and rpms of the generator. Run a 60 Hz generator a lower rpm and you can get 50 Hz.
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