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Old 03-08-2019, 06:52   #1
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New boat - 110v or 240v ?

I am in the early stages of contracting to build a 45í catamaran. The yards stock boat is 110v. 60Hz. They will build a 240v 50Hz system for the same price as the 110v system. The boat comes pretty well loaded from the yard with generator / watermaker / full navaids package / aircon / microwave / TV etc.
Iím from the UK and intend to use the boat as a liveaboard going Med / Caribs / Pacific. What are the pros and cons of 110v versus 240v ? If I elected to go 240v what issues should I be mindful of ? Should I ask them to retain the usual wire as I understand 110v wiring is higher gauge / safer than 240v equivalent ?
Iím a bit of an ignoramus on electrical issues - any input from the resident experts here would be appreciated.
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Old 03-08-2019, 07:08   #2
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Re: New boat - 110v or 240v ?

For the same amount of power/watts, a 110 system will require twice the current, hence, bigger wires are required.
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Old 03-08-2019, 07:29   #3
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Re: New boat - 110v or 240v ?

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For the same amount of power/watts, a 110 system will require twice the current, hence, bigger wires are required.
I understand that. Hence my asking if I should get them to retain the 110v wiring even if I choose to go for a 240v system.
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Old 03-08-2019, 08:03   #4
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Re: New boat - 110v or 240v ?

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I understand that. Hence my asking if I should get them to retain the 110v wiring even if I choose to go for a 240v system.


It canít hurt, but the color coding may be a problem.

https://www.graphicproducts.com/arti...-color-coding/
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Old 03-08-2019, 08:30   #5
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Re: New boat - 110v or 240v ?

I would wire it for both. But remember Europe is 50 cycles and US is 60. Ask them to price out a transformer.
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Old 03-08-2019, 08:35   #6
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Re: New boat - 110v or 240v ?

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I would wire it for both. But remember Europe is 50 cycles and US is 60. Ask them to price out a transformer.


Be aware that a transformer wonít do anything for the frequency.
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Old 03-08-2019, 08:38   #7
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Re: New boat - 110v or 240v ?

As noted above, it is easy to use 110 wiring for 240 not the other way around, most of the world is 240, have them install the wire gauged for 110 run 240 through it and if someone down the line want 110 it's an easy switch over.......if the wiring is not in place it's a pita....
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Old 03-08-2019, 08:51   #8
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Re: New boat - 110v or 240v ?

There have been a series of discussions about how to work with these choices on this very forum in the electrical section.



Indeed, in all of the many boating forums I read regularly, THIS is the ONLY one where knowledgeable folks explain the options.


Rather than me or anyone else suggesting you do a search, here's what I recommend: Go to the electrical forum and read a few dozens pages in of thread titles. It will soon become apparent to you which ones you should read in detail.


There are many options for you, in installation, equipment and operation.


I think all those have been discussed relative recently. Many of the threads are from folks coming or going to & from the US to EU and address your questions [perhaps not specifically for new builds], but I believe by reading about what others have experienced will help you with yours.


Quote:
Iím a bit of an ignoramus on electrical issues...

I keep repeating when I read this gem: None of us was born an electrician. We ALL had to learn it.


Good luck, and all the best with your brand new boat, not too many get that opportunity.
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Old 03-08-2019, 09:03   #9
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Re: New boat - 110v or 240v ?

Our boats are 110v 60hz wired but also have 230v 50hz inverters onboard in addition to 110v 60hz inverters. They can plug in and charge anywhere in the world without an issue or having to use a converter. The generators are 240 60hz. Small European appliances can be used via the inverter or a plug adapter.

The only thing.... all major appliances need to be purchased as 110v 60hz or 240 60hz models except for the waterheater which is 230v 50hz.

Iím not certain, but I donít believe everything works out as easily if the boat was wired 230v 50hz from the start since the major wiring would all be smaller and grounded differently. The breaker panel wiring would be completely different.
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Old 03-08-2019, 09:31   #10
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Re: New boat - 110v or 240v ?

Are you going to be living away from shore power much of the time?

If so, happy running the genset many hours per day when doing so?
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Old 03-08-2019, 09:31   #11
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Re: New boat - 110v or 240v ?

It seems to me that you should choose the voltage based on where you will be using the boat most. It is only North and South America that 110 volts is used.

Since you plan to spend a lot of time in the Med and S. Pacific I suggest 240 volts. Any time you are in 110 volt land you could use a transformer. If you have an inverter aboard the only 110 volt accessory you really need is a battery charger and there are many dual voltage chargers available.

The one exception to that is if you plan to winter over in 110 land and plan to heat electrically. In that case you can find 50 amp power sources that can supply 240 volt 60 Hz quite common in the U.S. With a little power connector wiring (with careful attention to grounding) You can use your 240 Volt devices too. Most 50 Hz devices will run on 60 HZ.
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Old 03-08-2019, 09:57   #12
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Re: New boat - 110v or 240v ?

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Are you going to be living away from shore power much of the time?

If so, happy running the genset many hours per day when doing so?
You’re way off on your generator assessment, I don’t know where you come up with your ideas, certainly... its not from living aboard a yacht. We live aboard a similarly equipped boat and run our generator only 1-2 hours per week while living exclusively in anchorages and cooking exclusively with electric appliances.

Our solar array is 450w.
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Old 03-08-2019, 10:16   #13
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Re: New boat - 110v or 240v ?

I made no statement.

I asked a question - of the OP.
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Old 03-08-2019, 10:24   #14
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Re: New boat - 110v or 240v ?

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Originally Posted by Hartings View Post
I am in the early stages of contracting to build a 45í catamaran. The yards stock boat is 110v. 60Hz. They will build a 240v 50Hz system for the same price as the 110v system. The boat comes pretty well loaded from the yard with generator / watermaker / full navaids package / aircon / microwave / TV etc.
Iím from the UK and intend to use the boat as a liveaboard going Med / Caribs / Pacific. What are the pros and cons of 110v versus 240v ? If I elected to go 240v what issues should I be mindful of ? Should I ask them to retain the usual wire as I understand 110v wiring is higher gauge / safer than 240v equivalent ?
Iím a bit of an ignoramus on electrical issues - any input from the resident experts here would be appreciated.
I'm not an electrician, but I will just share my own practical experience. First boat was 110v because we are American and that is what someone suggested. Took delivery of our new catamaran in France and was informed 110v would not be available anywhere in Europe. The suggestion was to buy/install a converter so we could plug into 240v while in Europe. Probably the best $12,000 we spent knowing we could go anywhere and plug-in.

Once we arrived in the Caribbean, 240v was more prevalent then 110v, so we always plug into 240v. Eventually we arrived in the US and 240v was always available so we plugged into 240v even while in the US. (yes, the hertz were different, but we never had an issue with any appliances)

Bottom line, we had a 110v boat and never plugged into 110v service. Just put an order in for a new catamaran and this time we are going with 240v and not incurring the $12,000 expense of a converter. Our experience was 240v was available everywhere, but not always 110v.
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Old 03-08-2019, 10:49   #15
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Re: New boat - 110v or 240v ?

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Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
I made no statement.

I asked a question - of the OP.

Not quite, john. The inference was that he would have to run the generator.


Ken's point in his reply was that is not always true, and that there are other options than only a generator.
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