Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 05-09-2010, 12:28   #1
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Nevada City. CA
Boat: Sceptre 41
Posts: 3,745
Images: 9
Isolation Transformer for Europe

I am looking at purchasing an Isolation Transformer (IT) for my upcoming trip to Europe. It would be a step down IT to bring the 240v down to 120v. I will also want a few outlets in the boat that run 240/50hz. In order to do this my intention purchase a transformer that will allow me two different inputs either 120 or 240. 240 for Europe and 120 for when I bring her home. If I could change the input by a switch that would be great if I have to change jumpers that is OK. If there is something more complex that would read the input and change it accordingly I would consider that but would prefer to keep the electronics to a minimum. I am going thru my electrical requirements and the only 120AC equipment I use on a regular basis is this:

Battery Charger Iota DLS 55 operates on 108 to 132 and 47hz to 63hz.

The rest of my equipment runs off of the 12v system. I have no microwave or any other equipment like that except for power tools. I guess I should check to see how they are rated but if I had to use those I could run them off of my genset. Refrigeration runs off of 12v power. To my mind it seems like a standard IT such as this Marine: C-Power Iso Guard Isolation Transformers would work fine. What I am trying to do now is to find out what specs are important and then will decide which brand suits me best. Can anyone check my homework for me and let me know if I am on the right track.
__________________

__________________
Fair Winds,

Charlie

Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other's yarns -- and even convictions. Heart of Darkness
Joseph Conrad
Charlie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-09-2010, 12:39   #2
Moderator
 
Pete7's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Solent, England
Boat: Moody 31
Posts: 8,554
Images: 14
Charlie, you might be better off waiting until you get this side of the pond for a greater choice. A lot of workshop equipment runs 115v so its not an unknown voltage over here.

How many watts do you require at anyone time?

Step Down Converter - 230V to 120V - 200W - Stores and Prices

Some others,

110v - 240v converting transformers

Pete
__________________

__________________
Pete7 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-09-2010, 12:42   #3
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Nevada City. CA
Boat: Sceptre 41
Posts: 3,745
Images: 9
Thanks Pete those are reasonably priced. I am looking for an Isolation Transformer for the safety as well as the step down. I would want a constant 30 amps.
__________________
Fair Winds,

Charlie

Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other's yarns -- and even convictions. Heart of Darkness
Joseph Conrad
Charlie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-09-2010, 15:12   #4
Nearly an old salt
 
goboatingnow's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 13,649
Images: 3
as pete says the cheapest solution is the yellow encapulated isolating traffo used on building sites in the UK but there not as common elsewhere in europe

Mastervolt do an electronic one other makes charles industries (abyc )
__________________
goboatingnow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-09-2010, 17:03   #5
Registered User

Join Date: May 2009
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Boat: Chatam 50
Posts: 6
Hi Charlie,
Let me know how you make out with this as I am looking for the same sort of setup and have barely started researching it. I'll pass any info I get back to you. We have an aluminum 50' sloop that runs mainly off the 12V. battery banks and four 75 w solar panels. Both the engine and the 1 cylinder Kubota produce 12V (the generator is mainly for the Aaquamarine watermaker which both former owners have never been able to get to work.) 120 or 240 power requirements aren't much but will be once i get my espresso machine on board. Computer needs 120V though. Water heater can also use either engine or shore power and wouldn't be much affected by the difference in 120 60 or 240 50 cycles I expect.
__________________
Leee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-09-2010, 17:15   #6
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Nevada City. CA
Boat: Sceptre 41
Posts: 3,745
Images: 9
Thanks Leee I completely forgot about the water heater. But as I think of it I don't know that I will need to do that since it is heated by resistance and 50hz or 60 hz won't matter. Is that correct? As for the exspresso machine goes see if you can find one that has a 50hz to 60 hz tolerance then you are set. Otherwise you can run it off of an inverter or you can buy one of the stove top models. That's what we have.
__________________
Fair Winds,

Charlie

Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other's yarns -- and even convictions. Heart of Darkness
Joseph Conrad
Charlie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2010, 10:27   #7
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Spain
Boat: 45' Asphalt Cruiser
Posts: 16
I would set up and purchase in the States, if doing it again. Victron or Mastervolt systems are easy to source in Europe, but service people who understand American set-ups are hard to find (in my practical experience).

We installed a Mastervolt 100amp/12v 3-stage charger that accepts an input of 90~260v whenever dirty or low amperage supply is suspected. A 4000w inverter then makes the coffee

We also installed a Victron 240v-240v 32-amp isolation transformer connected to a Victron 240v-120v stepdown that has two-leg common neutral output for our Stateside 4-pole 50-amp needs, but have never got this to connect. The reason is that the Victron isolation transformer increases voltage about 6% and our internal power protection device will then not let it through. That is because it's good weather and the supply is steady at 240v from the grid. Now if we can find some device to lower the incoming voltage back to normal that would put a smile back on my face.

The Victron isolation transformer has a soft-start, so they claim, but to make it acceptable, we had to install a professional soft-start unit. Again, our experience.

Victron and Mastervolt both make higherend equipment that you can change input voltages and amperages through software, but they are expensive. Doing it again, I would rather spend money and travel with a smile.
__________________
Ultimarv is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2010, 10:45   #8
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Nevada City. CA
Boat: Sceptre 41
Posts: 3,745
Images: 9
Thanks for the info Ultimarry. At this point I am pretty sure that all I really need is a step down transformer that will accept 120/240 50hz to 60hz and put out 120v. Don't want all of that fancy stuff. From there what I will need to do is wire in seprate outlets for any 240v 50 hz. Fortunately I already have a set of outlets on the boat that were connected to my 3000 watt inverter. I never got around to disconnecting them and they are not tied to my AC system so I can take those wire in a 240v 16 amp breaker, change out the receptacles to a European standard (if there is such a thing) and have both sources of power.
__________________
Fair Winds,

Charlie

Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other's yarns -- and even convictions. Heart of Darkness
Joseph Conrad
Charlie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-09-2010, 13:33   #9
Nearly an old salt
 
goboatingnow's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 13,649
Images: 3
Quote:
We also installed a Victron 240v-240v 32-amp isolation transformer connected to a Victron 240v-120v stepdown that has two-leg common neutral output for our
Why the two stage approach.

Quote:
change out the receptacles to a European standard (if there is such a thing) and have both sources of power
The most common is the Schuko type see Schuko - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

dave
__________________
goboatingnow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-2010, 13:52   #10
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Seattle, WA
Boat: Dix Caribbea 30'
Posts: 59
I just got some help on this same subject yesterday from Larry Budd at Charles. My project is a complete re-fit of the AC system. Requirements are a basic but very safe, reliable 120V AC 30amp system. But I also want an upgrade path to accommodate 230V shore supply (if/when my cruising plans extend far enough).

The answer... Charles 93-isog2/8-A transformer. It's an isolation transformer with multiple taps to do just what we're talking about. Larry recommends using a two-source power switch that switches between two separate shore power inlets: one for 120V and the other for 230V. He included a schematic which is attached to this post. This plan is not complete; it only shows how to connect the IT and switch for dual inlets and voltages. You may also want an elci protected main for each inlet and of course there's the entire secondary side of the IT. I beleve Bluesea or Paneltronics offer panels that combine the breaker and AC source switching into a single unit.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	front view 93-iSOG2_8-A with 120_220 rotary switch.JPG
Views:	575
Size:	123.6 KB
ID:	19118  
__________________
erict is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-09-2010, 08:03   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Spain
Boat: 45' Asphalt Cruiser
Posts: 16
Quote:
Why the two stage approach?
Simply put, this is a US 50-amp 4-pole shore connection.

Stage-1:
The Victron Isolation Transformer is used to separate the grid-ground from the boat-ground. The input is 25-amp 240-volt shore, with the same output.

Stage-2:
The Victron Stepdown input is 25-amp 240-volt (from the Isolation Transformer), with output being two separate 120-volts legs, using a common neutral generated by the device itself and boats ground. That mimics a US 50-amp 4-pole shore connection.

Exit Stage-Left:
The problem is that the US wiring originates Shore with an expensive power protection device that cuts power from getting through at two voltage thresholds: too low or too high. The Victron Isolation Transformer is wired to increase voltage by 4-6% and sends this output to the Victron Stepdown, which sends it down to the original Shore input where the expensive power protection device decides that the input is just a little to high to allow it to pass.

Ideal Situation
The ideal situation is when shore is being provided when below 240-volts and the Isolation Transformer is bringing it up to acceptable voltages. Then the whole thing works fine. Case in point is when everyone else docked up is running heaters or air conditioning. However, this is rarely the case!

Victron
Victron states that this is a feature of the Isolation Transformer. Well, if you do not have power protection, then maybe this is OK, but I value power protection from brown-outs or spikes more. Thus, by passing the power protection unit is one remedy is. I am looking for another!

IMHO: work everything out in the States and don't expect Europe to understand US electrics, especially 50-amp 4-pole shore power (not that many medium-size boats have them).
__________________
Ultimarv is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-09-2010, 08:45   #12
Senior Cruiser
 
osirissail's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: A real life Zombie from FL
Boat: Gulfstar 53 - Osiris
Posts: 5,416
Images: 2
Be warned - there are two distinctly different types of transformers.
- - "Step down transformers" are used on construction sites and by craftsmen to enable them to use their power tools on either 220V or 110 volt or vice versa. These transformers have only 1 windings with a mid-tap/connection. The common/neutral wire is the same wire for both the power supply and the tool. Connecting the power supply hot wire to the end of the transformer loop results in "half" voltage being available at the center tap. Connecting the power supply hot wire to the center tap results in "double" voltage being available at the end tap. These units are not usable on a vessel and normally will cause dock power breakers to trip or worse.
- - "Isolation Transformers" have 2 isolated windings in the transformer. Both the hot wire and common/neutral wires from the dock power supply and the ship's hot and neutral never meet each other (are not connected to each other). So the power from the dock is "isolated" from the ship's electrical power system.
- - There are various versions of the "isolation" transformers with some having "isolation" for the ground wire. Other versions have multiple taps on one or both windings so that you can input one voltage and output a double or half value voltage on the other side. These "isolation" transformers are what are needed for marine vessels.
- - Charles makes some very good isolation transformers Marine: Isolation and Boosting Transformers

- - I am sure that other marine electrical suppliers in North America and Europe also make similar equipment. Just be sure to get an "isolation" transformer - the ones with 2 separate windings inside the transformer and not a transformer with only 1 winding.
__________________
osirissail is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-09-2010, 09:59   #13
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Spain
Boat: 45' Asphalt Cruiser
Posts: 16
Good point above. I have seen many posts here suggesting the Yellow transformers found cheaply in Europe (many professional power tools for outdoors use are 110v their).

Victron equipment is for marine use. Their Isolation Transformers do just that: isolate with two separate windings. Fortunately for some, and unfortunately for others (me), they increase the output voltage slightly.

Their 16-amp 240-volt Isolation Transformers also perform stepdown in a single unit. Their 32-amp 240-volt ones don't, although they do a more expensive multi-tap that is software programable.
__________________
Ultimarv is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-09-2010, 10:47   #14
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: SW Florida
Boat: FP Belize, 43' - Dot Dun
Posts: 3,426
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ultimarv View Post
Victron states that this is a feature of the Isolation Transformer. Well, if you do not have power protection, then maybe this is OK, but I value power protection from brown-outs or spikes more. Thus, by passing the power protection unit is one remedy is. I am looking for another!
Why don't you move your power protection so it's between the shorepower and the isolation transformer? Since the Victron is a known, there is no need to believe it will produce brown-outs and spikes.

Just curious.......
__________________
DotDun is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 24-09-2010, 06:11   #15
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Spain
Boat: 45' Asphalt Cruiser
Posts: 16
Quote:
DotDun:
Why don't you move your power protection so it's between the shorepower and the isolation transformer?
Yes, this may have to be the next step solution, but means more gear to purchase, install and carry. I'll explain:

The current power protection circuit expects USA 50-amp 4-pole 240v shore power and measures across the two 120V lines for 240-v. This is what the Victron Autotransformer (Stepdown) produces after receiving its input from the Victron Isolation transformer.

Thus, the original power protection circuit cannot be moved forward between grid and the Isolation transformer. A new power protection device would have to be procured and installed. Agreed though, this may be the only way forward.

Somewhere I heard (and Victron hasn't answered) is that Victron manufacture three output versions of the Isolation transformer: 230v 240v and 250v. I am not sure what I have and this what I am investigating now.

In the end, DotDun's advice may be the only way forward.
__________________

__________________
Ultimarv is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Victron Isolation Transformer Voltage Increase Ultimarv Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 5 06-09-2010 10:42
ELCI and Isolation Transformer Microship Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 20 19-08-2010 16:54
Isolation Transformer and SSB Sailabel Marine Electronics 3 02-04-2010 17:30
Shipping from Europe (Mainland) to Europe (St. Martin) Question Zanshin Atlantic & the Caribbean 19 16-02-2010 20:57
Isolation transformer Pa La O La Construction, Maintenance & Refit 11 12-08-2008 14:14



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 10:37.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.