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Old 08-02-2010, 05:17   #1
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Question European Boats vs North American - Electrical Systems

Thought I would ask here I figured probably someone would know the answer.
Are boats from Europe wired differently then NA boats 220 vs 110?
If I bought a boat from the EU would I have to have it rewired to work in the Caribbean and would my NA appliciance work on it or not?
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Old 08-02-2010, 05:30   #2
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Plenty experts on here but I guess EU to USA is better than the other way round.
Cables will be heavier. Might have to change out fuses and bulbs.
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Old 08-02-2010, 05:43   #3
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At first I used the adaptor in the Eruo plugs. I have since installed new wire, and outlets in different areas. There is a difference in the guages of wire.......i2f
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Old 08-02-2010, 06:51   #4
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Yes - European & North American boats are wired differently.

Electrical service differs from island to island in the Caribbean. Some islands are serviced with North American 110 Volt, 60 cycle electricity (Type E plugs), and some with European 220 Volt, 50 Hz power.

See ➥ http://www.starkelectronic.com/fv.jpg
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Old 09-02-2010, 23:08   #5
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Quote:
Are boats from Europe wired differently then NA boats 220 vs 110?
Yes, Euro boats are wired for 220 VAC derived from L1 and L2, no neutral and the standard (<50' vessel) shore power connection is 16 amps using pin and sleeve connections.

Quote:
If I bought a boat from the EU would I have to have it rewired to work in the Caribbean and would my NA appliciance work on it or not?
As noted above, there is no neutral on a Euro boat. As a work around, one of the lines could become the neutral but this would have to be carried through the entire system to ensure you don't create a reversed polarity condition by getting the L (hot) and the derive N turned around at an appliance. Additionally, since you are halving the voltage, you will be doubling the amperage for a given appliance so the ampacity of the conductor must be checked. And this leads to ensuring that the circuit breakers are adequate in the new service.

Once you have sorted out getting the power aboard and distributed properly and you can plug into an island, you still have to deal with the difference in line frequency: 50 Hz on the island; 60 Hz required by the NA appliance. Purely resistive loads (water heater, tea kettle, iron) are not frequency sensitive. Inductive loads (pumps, motors, fans, etc.) are very sensitive to frequency and a 60 Hz piece of equipment will run very hot when operated at 50 Hz. Dual voltage and frequency motors do exist but the lower frequency requires a lower voltage (120 VAC @ 60 Hz requires 100 VAC @ 50 Hz).

So the shorter answer is, it can work, but you better know what you are doing.

Hope this helped.
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Old 10-02-2010, 07:35   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieJ View Post
Yes, Euro boats are wired for 220 VAC derived from L1 and L2, no neutral and the standard (<50' vessel) shore power connection is 16 amps using pin and sleeve connections.
I am sorry Charlie, but you are wrong here. EU AC single phase is L and N so there is a neutral. This is what you get with the standard blue shore power plug. The blue wire is neutral and the brown wire is hot.

For a safe installation where you want to use 110V appliances instead of EU 220V appliances, you have to change the outlets and probably (but check what you have now) need to pull new wire. Reason is that the current will get doubled on 110V and the wiring must be in spec for that.

Apart for the neutral thing, Charlie's post is correct, watch out with 60Hz on your pumps (A/C), motors and compressors (A/C).

cheers,
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Old 10-02-2010, 15:40   #7
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Rick-
Good grief...did I really say that?? It was late. I was tired. I had my head where the sun don't shine. In my defense, I spent the day wiring isolation transformers, bringing in L1 and L2 and creating the neutral on board, yada, yada , yada.

Sorry if I mislead anyone. Except for that significant error, the rest of my post is valid.

Charlie
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Old 11-02-2010, 15:06   #8
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Plenty experts on here but I guess EU to USA is better than the other way round.
Cables will be heavier. Might have to change out fuses and bulbs.
No its easier to convert a 110 Vac into a 230VAc european system then the other way around. The cables will already be sized to handle the current.

A 230 Vac ( This is the hamonised EU voltage) system could to converted to 110 by simply changing the breakers/fuses and outlets, but you need to check teh current rating of the wires. Most EU boats would have sufficent cable capacity, but high current feeds like water heaters and battery chargers etc,might need new cables pulled. If you have concerns then 110Vac breakers could be speced with lower ratings to protect the cables.

The shore power connected may or may not need replacing, some EU boats use the Marinco connectors, other use the blue 3 round pin receptable.

Obviously onboard AV devices will need to be changed to 110, like water heaters, fridges, unless there are dual voltage devices already.

This assumes that you are not planning on a need for US 240Vac systems, which will require a completely seperate installation

Not difficult to do. but time consuming
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Old 11-02-2010, 15:34   #9
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Consider this

Not sure if this is old news to other, but I thought I'd post here in case not.

I have a NA 110V AC wired boat that I will eventually take throught the Carribean and hopfully eventually on to NZ encountering both 110V AC and 230V AC.

My boat is already fitted with 2 x Charles Industries Isolating transformers, but of the 110V in / 110V out type.

I discovered that they do a 'universal' transformer for not much more than the standard : http://www.charlesindustries.com/mar...T-ISOG28-1.pdf which I'm planning to substitute for the original. Available at Defender around $550 ea.

My plan is to keep the entire boat wired 110VAC except for the section between the Marinco recepticles and the transformer. Since this is already sized for 110V, it will handle 230V AC nicely without rewiring.

The transformer can be switched between 110VAC primary and 230VAC primary just by adjusting three tap wires as per the instructions in the link above. I intend to assemble a heavy duty custom switch between the tap points so that I can go between 110 and 230 at the flip of a switch (hopefully while the power is off !!).

This might be a rather costly exercise, but possibly cheaper than a ton of re-wiring / new breakers etc. and neater than the shoreside devices I've seen.

I'm aware this won't fix the 50 / 60Hz issue, but I think that's manageable with the kit I run.

Duncan
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Old 12-02-2010, 10:49   #10
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Duncan: I would advise you to have a look at the Victron 3,600W isolation transformer. It can do all you need plus more (make 220V out of 110V plus the other way around) and it is the best one I've seen up til now. It's so good that I ripped out my Charles and replaced it with a Victron, even though the Charles could step down & up too.

cheers,
Nick.
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