Originally Posted by GordMay
Originally Europe was 120 V too, just like Japan
and the US today. It was deemed necessary (1950's ?) to increase the voltage to get more power with less losses and voltage drop from the same copper wire diameter.
At the time the US & Canada
also wanted to change, but because of the cost involved to replace all electric appliances
, they decided not to. At the time (50s-60s) the average US household already had a fridge, a washing-machine, etc., but not in Europe.
To answer this this and some other questions ( foggy) Gord 110, 230 VAc ( 220-240Vac) was decidied way back in the late 19th century, originally 100VAC bulbs were all that was available, as they get more fragile as voltages increase, Edison decided in the 1880's to use 110VAC, in 1889, Berliner Elektrizitäts-Werke a berlin utility, decided to increase the efficiency and size of its distribution network and adopted 220VAC utilisting the new metal filament lamps that had become available. By 1900, this had been codified.
The issue is nothing to do with fridges and and their were quite a few in Europe by that time too.!
Foggy to address your points re safety
European Main supplies have been protected by whole house and whole boat RCDs ( yes I accept that the term GFI can be used, though more then ground faults can trip RCD's and GFI's) for some time. by the time mains gets to a receptable in my boat it will have passed through 3 or 4 RCD's . Hence European safety
authorities have replied on this protection for some time. ( 30mA RCD's)
Because of that The RCD directives ( CE mark) allow boat builders not to connect protective earth ground and DC ground together, Note that AC Neutral should never be tied to DC ground. ( even though its often tied to the earth somewhere else) The primary reason for the interconnection is in theory , if a metal device not connected to AC ground , inadvently goes "hot", the protective ac ground can carry the fault current
, via the DC ground and trip fuses
,etc. The EU does not require that connection where mandatory whole boat RCD's are used ( though it is a subject of debate).
Bonding all underwater devices is very unusual in GRP boats in the EU. I would argue as have many experts that such bonding encourages problems rather then discouraging them.
I would argue that no connection between AC and DC systems is more appropriate anyway, leaving safety in the hands of RCD's. AC protective ground can be incredibly dirty, with RF spikes, fault spikes, resistive bleed through from power lines etc.I would argue that conecting to DC ground is problematic ( I fully accept that ABYC regs require it). in fact theres often so much current
flowing in the protective ground that items like glavanic isolators dont even work well. then bringing bonded underwater objects connected to that system makes things even worse.
The reason in generally I feel 230VAC ( European standarised nominal voltage) is safer, stems mainly from practices associated with 230VAC as opposed to the less lethal 110VAC, Ive worked in industrial electrics and electronics
both sides of the atlantic and in my experience more liberties are taken with 110 then you could get away with in 230vac. ( thats not to say that there arnt plenty of bad, sub code 230vac installs around!)
European 230Vac is a phase and neutral approach ,, rather then the 220Vac US approach of two hots.