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Old 08-03-2016, 18:24   #1
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New boat build Europe to US

I am building a new sail boat in Europe. I plan to keep it in there for a year, sail to the Caribbean, stay there for a year and then to California. The builder wants to set the entire boat up as a European boat with:

1) The AC bus will be powered by either shore-power or the generator (220/50) which will power the battery charger, the water heater and the Air Conditioning (all of which can run on 60Hz or 50Hz).
2) The inverter bus will also be 220/50Hz will support the TV, Microwave, and Washer/Dryer. Since these all are "electronic" they will only run on 50Hz.
3) This design allows the inverter bus to also be powered by shore power or the generator when at anchor or docked.

My concern with this design is that all domestic appliances are 220/50. This makes them difficult to service in the US and very difficult to replace.

So, I proposed to make everything 220/60Hz. If this were done, everything will work when the boat arrives in the US, and I will have domestic appliances that can be serviced easily and upgraded with US products.

I have gotten a lot of push back asserting that I don't understand the impact of the 1-phase European vs 2-phase US power impacts the solution. I admit I am not sure on this topic. Is the builder right or:

Am I crazy?

Dave
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Old 10-03-2016, 23:59   #2
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Re: New boat build Europe to US

there isn't an easy good way to deal with it. if you built it all 240v 60hz how do you plan to use it the first year in euroupe?
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Old 11-03-2016, 00:33   #3
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Re: New boat build Europe to US

I suggest that you go for an "all DC" or "all inverter" solution. Shore power goes to an battery charger only. All on-board appliances are fed from an inverter.

This way you can de-couple the frequency and voltage of the shore power from the boat's AC appliances completely.

Then it is a question of deciding whether it is easier to fly in US appliances (better after a year, but much more expensive) or to get European stuff now (cheaper and much less hassle.)

Note that most equipment will be able to operate on 50 and 60 Hz, as most stuff nowadays use efficient switched power supplies. My Acer monitor for instance says "100V - 240V, 50-60 Hz". Big motors are the exception I guess (washing machines.) So you could just go for a 230V / 50 Hz inverter, buy anything with a motor in the US, and the rest in Europe.
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Old 11-03-2016, 00:49   #4
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Re: New boat build Europe to US

I guess the pushback from the builder could also be that they are not set up to change their supply chain. If you are building at Hanse (again?) (your profile says Hanse 505) you will find that anything done in the factory cannot be changed much. This is the downside to buying a production boat: to make a profit they need to keep all variations to a minimum.

A different option would be to buy the boat without any AC and then have an electrical specialist build in what you want. This will take more time and money though.
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Old 11-03-2016, 03:10   #5
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Re: New boat build Europe to US

I have a 220V/50Hz boat in the Caribbean. Finding 220V AC appliances in the Caribbean is easy (any of the French islands will have them) and the few times that I'm at the dock and use the 200V/60Hz supply I can run the air conditioning as that is set up to take both frequencies. The only device I've had a problem with on shore power is the washing machine, but I can use the option that merrimac suggested in that I switch the AC bank of devices to the inverter and run it off my 5Kw inverter while charging the battery bank.
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Old 19-04-2016, 16:18   #6
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Re: New boat build Europe to US

To wrap up, I ended up going as most suggested. 220V 50Hz. In the end, Swan did not want to engineer a 220/60 boat with 110V outlets. I understand their position. They build mostly for Europe and don't really want to make the investment in understanding 110V wiring (not that it would have been that big an effort). As many suggested, I found that it is not difficult to get 220/50 appliances in the US and many items run on either voltage or frequency. For the few that require 110V, I can always install an inverter and a few 110V outlets. Even TVs don't mind 50 Hz, it is really only motors (washer/dryer). In 2 years I will have an "interestingly" well fitted 505 for sale. I just finished installing the last bits of my storm rig, including a trysail track on the mast.

Dave
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Old 19-04-2016, 19:27   #7
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Re: New boat build Europe to US

First, I am amazed that Swan cannot do (and has not done) a 50hz boat. Second, I don't know about you, but I found it very difficult to get a decent selection of 50hz appliances in the US - and typically had to deal with shady vendors when I could. I think you had it right the first time, and should have insisted. You could have done what we did and had two inverters - one at 50hz and another at 60hz, and dual outlet types. Then you can run any appliance anywhere. It was an aftermarket fix for us, but is super convenient.
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Old 20-04-2016, 08:20   #8
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Re: New boat build Europe to US

To be clear, they are doing a 50 Hz system, not 60. I agree that they could have done this, but I understand their reluctance to take on the engineering, however limited. When the boat gets to the US, I will install an additional inverter. Swan is otherwise very cooperative and building an very customized boat, so I am happy!

Dave
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Old 20-04-2016, 08:51   #9
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Re: New boat build Europe to US

The switch between Euro and US 220v wiring is fairly easy, but if the boat is wired for 220v, the wiring size may be inadequate for 110v. OTOH, its not that big a deal to pull new AC wires.
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Old 20-04-2016, 17:57   #10
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Re: New boat build Europe to US

Quote:
Originally Posted by SausalitoDave View Post
To be clear, they are doing a 50 Hz system, not 60.
Yes, of course. Typo. Are there really no 60hz Swans out there, though? OK to add an inverter, but you should run the 110 wires during the build, or at a minimum spec larger 240 wires.
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