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Old 01-04-2014, 11:38   #1
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Powering a 110v Boat in a 220v Marina

Hey All,

I've spent the morning reading through old threads, but didn't really find one particularly current that specifically touches on my issue. Here is the background...

My wife and I are having a new Fountaine Pajot Helia 44 built. Since we are based in the US, we would like to have the boat set up on a 110v/60hz system. We are planning on installing a generator, as well as air conditioning, and will make sure our battery charger can handle both 110v/60hz and 220v/50hz. However, we eventually plan to set off on a circumnavigation and thus are looking for the best option to set up the boat to handle air conditioning on 220v/50hz shore power.

Here are the list of options as I understand them:

1) Don't use air conditioning when plugged into 220v/50hz shore power. (Not really desirable)

2) Run the generator at the dock to power all AC electrical systems, including air conditioning.
-This would only be needed when in marinas with 220v/50hz and seems like a great way to annoy neighbors at the dock, which is not our intention.
3) Install an isolation transformer that can "step down" to 110v and run the 60hz air conditioners on 50hz.
-Our dealer has informed us they don't recommend this option as an air con designed to run on 60hz can have problems if run on 50hz instead. They also looked to try and find dual cycle air cons that could work on both 50/60 hz but couldn't find any currently being manufactured.
4) Combine the battery charger with a large inverter to power some/all of the air cons on board.
-Our dealer also doesn't think highly of this option.
5) Invest in a shore power conversion system such as ASEA or Atlas Marine that will convert both voltage and cycles.


I am learning more each day about electrical systems, but at this point consider myself to be fairly novice. The shore power converter seems the simplest route, but the cost is extremely high, hence looking for other alternatives that would still fit our needs.

Can you please share how you set up your boat/would solve this issue? Am I missing any other options that should be considered?

Thanks in advance!

David
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Old 01-04-2014, 11:59   #2
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Re: Powering a 110v Boat in a 220v Marina

Starryhorizons, on my last boat I had an isolation transformers that could also be used as a step-down transformer. From my recollection, while the 'step-down' reduces voltage from 220 to 110, it kept the hz at 50 rather than 60. I gather this could prove problematic for some 110V/60hz appliances and not for others. Anyway, if I have remembered correctly, this may be where the problem lies.

Brad
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Old 01-04-2014, 12:11   #3
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Re: Powering a 110v Boat in a 220v Marina

Get a 220V 50Hz Aircon and use the hot to hot 240 volt connection in the USA.
A 50Hz set will be happier at 60Hz than the other way around.
We have done that with no ill effect, provided the capacitors are rated 50/60 Hz.
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Old 01-04-2014, 12:30   #4
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Re: Powering a 110v Boat in a 220v Marina

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Originally Posted by Southern Star View Post
Starryhorizons, on my last boat I had an isolation transformers that could also be used as a step-down transformer. From my recollection, while the 'step-down' reduces voltage from 220 to 110, it kept the hz at 50 rather than 60. I gather this could prove problematic for some 110V/60hz appliances and not for others. Anyway, if I have remembered correctly, this may be where the problem lies.

Brad
Brad - you hit on the main issue. The 60hz aircons on the boat apparently won't like 50hz and they don't make dual cycle aircons anymore that could have handled both.

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Originally Posted by sy_gilana View Post
Get a 220V 50Hz Aircon and use the hot to hot 240 volt connection in the USA.
A 50Hz set will be happier at 60Hz than the other way around.
We have done that with no ill effect, provided the capacitors are rated 50/60 Hz.
Thanks for the suggestion sy_gilana. Is your whole boat set up 220v/50hz? Installing a 220v/50hz aircon on a boat that is set up for 110v/60hz seems like it would create it's own set of issues.
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Old 01-04-2014, 13:21   #5
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Re: Powering a 110v Boat in a 220v Marina

Yes it is...Everything is 220 - 50 but we spent a long time hooked up to USA power without problems.
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Old 01-04-2014, 14:04   #6
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Re: Powering a 110v Boat in a 220v Marina

I'd split the problem up and wire both a proper 110v and 220v system. It doesn't need to be expensive and is safer.

For the 110v side, install a good size 110v inverter/charger like the Victron Multiplus 3K which can support a single 16k BTU air conditioner. The Victron will support 2500 watts continuously and 6000 watts momentarily for compressor startup. It will also handle the hot water heater (but not at the same time as the A/C)

For the 220v side install a completely separate, property wired and fused (with European style shore power outlets, cord, and RCD) 220v shore power system with a 220v 200 amp 12v charger and a 16k BTU 220v 50h air conditioner.

Outiside the US, you would normally only run the one 220v A/C and handle house loads from the 220v charger. But during the hottest few hours each day, you can add a 110v a/c powered by the inverter. When running the 110v A/C, you'll need to turn off the water heater and not use the microwave but this should be easy to work around.
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Old 01-04-2014, 14:22   #7
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Re: Powering a 110v Boat in a 220v Marina

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I'd split the problem up and wire both a proper 110v and 220v system. It doesn't need to be expensive and is safer.

For the 110v side, install a good size 110v inverter/charger like the Victron Multiplus 3K which can support a single 16k BTU air conditioner. The Victron will support 2500 watts continuously and 6000 watts momentarily for compressor startup. It will also handle the hot water heater (but not at the same time as the A/C)

For the 220v side install a completely separate, property wired and fused (with European style shore power outlets, cord, and RCD) 220v shore power system with a 220v 200 amp 12v charger and a 16k BTU 220v 50h air conditioner.

Outiside the US, you would normally only run the one 220v A/C and handle house loads from the 220v charger. But during the hottest few hours each day, you can add a 110v a/c powered by the inverter. When running the 110v A/C, you'll need to turn off the water heater and not use the microwave but this should be easy to work around.
Thanks for the suggestion CarlF. That certainly would be a creative solution. However, our boat is a catamaran and is actually designed for multiple air conditioners in the salon/hulls as it's not really designed to run ducting from one main AC. Not sure I could stomach the cost of essentially duplicating that set up with both 110v/60hz and 220v/50hz ACs!
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Old 01-04-2014, 23:03   #8
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Re: Powering a 110v Boat in a 220v Marina

are you setting up the boat for 120 or 240? with ac you'll probably want a 50a 240v plug 60hz if you plan an US system. or do you plan to run dual 30a 120v? you'll definally want more then a single 30a 120v.
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Old 02-04-2014, 07:14   #9
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Re: Powering a 110v Boat in a 220v Marina

There is no cheap and simple solution that gives you 100% compatibility with both power sources. At least no that I've found.

You can go cheap and get an 70-90% solution or you can go expensive and get a 100% solution.

If it were me: I would first decide the long term system i want (110 or 220). I would go with the charger/inverter option and size it to run one of the AC units when on the other power source. That will get you the 70-90% solution as the inverter should be able to power all the minor loads (TV, lights, phone charger, etc...) without much issue and you can maintain at least a reasonable comfort level by shutting off the areas of the boat you aren't using and cooling the area you are in. At night for sleeping, there's a good chance 1 unit will be enough for the entire boat anyway.

Of course if you are in 220v land for a long time, you still have the issue of what to do when your 110v coffee maker dies and they don't sell 110v coffee makers locally.
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Old 02-04-2014, 08:54   #10
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Having much the same problem in reverse (50 hz 230v boat in us marina as a live aboard) I have chased many of these options.

My air conditioner and fridge compressors are rated for 50/60 hz operation but sound happier on 50hz.

I found references that the 230v wabesto air conditioners are rated for 50/60 operation. There are many more options in 230/240 volt equipment which is multi frequency.

Washer/Dryers and microwaves are notoriously frequency sensitive.

I went with the following

3.6 kva isolation transformer auto input and programmes for 230/240 output.
100 amp 24v charger (skylla-i from victron)
8kva inverter/charger (quattro from victron)

I mostly run into the battery charger and make power from dc
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Old 02-04-2014, 14:04   #11
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Re: Powering a 110v Boat in a 220v Marina

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...I found references that the 230v wabesto air conditioners are rated for 50/60 operation. There are many more options in 230/240 volt equipment which is multi frequency....
We have a Cruisair 230v 50hz. When we bought it we had the option of a 230v 60hz which we were told would be better for the States, but we weren't sure how much time we might be there. Yes there are countries that run at 230volts 60hz. So this is a good option. A 50hz has to run 20% faster on 60hz so is not so good. 60hz runs 20% slower at 50z which is much easier for the compressor.
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Old 02-04-2014, 21:04   #12
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Re: Powering a 110v Boat in a 220v Marina

Thanks for all the replies everyone! However, it appears there are a few different opinions on whether it's better to have a 60hz air conditioner run on 50hz or a 50hz unit running on 60hz. Either way it seems like you may have some issues using an air conditioner on the wrong frequency.

Having a large enough battery charger and an inverter to run an air conditioner or two seems like the most common solution people are using. My dealer doesn't think very highly of this method, so has anyone had many problems with this set up?
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Old 03-04-2014, 02:12   #13
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Re: Powering a 110v Boat in a 220v Marina

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Originally Posted by StarryHorizons View Post
...Having a large enough battery charger and an inverter to run an air conditioner or two seems like the most common solution people are using. My dealer doesn't think very highly of this method, so has anyone had many problems with this set up?
I have a Victron 2.5Kw Inverter working at 240 volts 50hz, and I also have another 110 volt shorepower charger that can be used to charge the batteries when the inverter is running.

I also have a 280 am FP DC genset to run at anchor. This whole set-up is a more efficient system than an AC genset because an AC genset must be larger and sized to cope with the start-up current of the air con. With my "Power Assist" inverter the high start-up current is momentarily taken from the batteries.

See Victron's excellent website for more info.
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Old 03-04-2014, 06:14   #14
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Re: Powering a 110v Boat in a 220v Marina

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Originally Posted by sailinglegend View Post
... 60hz runs 20% slower at 50z which is much easier for the compressor.
Using a 60Hz motor in 50Hz duty:
It will turn 20% slower.
Cooling will drop dramatically.
The load's horsepower requirements will drop, possibly dramatically.
V/f will increase possibly causing a large increase in current draw.

More ➥ Motors: Changing between a 50 and 60Hz supply. - Electric motors, generators & controls engineering FAQ - Eng-Tips
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Old 03-04-2014, 08:48   #15
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Re: Powering a 110v Boat in a 220v Marina

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I have a Victron 2.5Kw Inverter working at 240 volts 50hz, and I also have another 110 volt shorepower charger that can be used to charge the batteries when the inverter is running.

I also have a 280 am FP DC genset to run at anchor. This whole set-up is a more efficient system than an AC genset because an AC genset must be larger and sized to cope with the start-up current of the air con. With my "Power Assist" inverter the high start-up current is momentarily taken from the batteries.

See Victron's excellent website for more info.
Just so I can be sure I'm following you correctly with your genset, are you using the DC genset to charge the batteries and then using your inverter to provide AC power to run your air con?

As for using the inverter, how exactly do you have the inverter and charger set up to work in concert to provide AC power when on shorepower? I'm still having trouble understanding why my dealer doesn't like this option. The expensive shore power converters seem to essentially do this exact same thing.
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