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Old 22-11-2008, 19:20   #1
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US Boat in Australia

Hi Guys/Gals,

Ok... I have no idea and I have had different opinions so I hope someone might know.

I have a US boat which is 12v wired with a 110v socket for shore power and it doesn't have any 110v appliances on board. It's arriving in Australia shortly so here is the problem.

What do I need in relation to connecting 240v Australian shore power?

I believe I need a step-up/down transformer, is that correct?????

Also, is there an adaptor for US 110v shore power plug for an Australian system...as you can tell by my terminology I have no idea...lol

Any advice would be appreciated.


Cheers,

Wojo
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Old 22-11-2008, 20:10   #2
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You have two differences in AU power vs US power, the voltage and the frequency. US is 120 Volts at a frequency of 60 Hz (Hertz or 60 cycles per second). AU is 240 Volts at 50 Hz. If you have no 120V AC appliances, power tools, etc and only need to run your battery charger you are probably OK. Check the specs or manual on the charger and it will very likely be compatible with 240V, 50 Hz power. If it is then all you have to do is buy an adapter plug for the male end of your dock power cord. This will allow the power cord to plug into an Aussie power outlet to charge your batteries. Then just run your boat systems off battery as usual.

If you do want to use any US standard AC powered tools or appliances be careful. Read the spec plate that is should be on the tool to see if it is compatible with the AU power especially the 50 Hz. A step down transformer will only drop the voltage from 240 to 120 but will NOT change the frequency. Some electrical items like motors for example synchronize with the frequency and will probably not be happy on 50 Hz.

You can buy a more expensive device that will convert voltage and frequency to US standard or just use an AC invertor running off your batteries to make US standard power.

Not sure of your level of technical expertise so tried to keep explanation reasonably simple. Hope this answered the questions but let me know if you have furether questions.

Happy sailing.

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Old 22-11-2008, 20:30   #3
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You have three direct solutions, each more expensive than the other. First would be to simply rewire the boat to accept the 240v power. Second, if that is not acceptable (if the stay in Australia is temporary) add solar panels and wind generator to keep the boat off the grid and provide power to the outlets through an inverter. Lastly, addition of a generator would solve the problem.
The cost of adding a transformer to change the voltage and frequency would cost more than the first option and begin to approach the second.
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Old 22-11-2008, 21:46   #4
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Wojo,

Seems like it might be good to clarify what you are trying to accomplish and long term plans for the boat.

Will the boat be permanently based in Australia? If so you want a permanent solution instead of adapters which are more appropriate for temporary use. If permanent you should remove and replace any US style AC outlets, extension cords, etc.

If you only plan to use 12V DC and plan to stay in AU permanently then you should confirm your battery charger is 240V, 50 Hz compatible or buy a new charger. Again you should buy a standard AU 240V power cord to connect boat & charger to shore power.

If you plan to use your AC outlets then they will need to be replace and rewired.

Regards
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Old 23-11-2008, 02:44   #5
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We use 500 watt and 1000 watt stepdown transformers for some of our USA 120 v stuff. We can run a vaccum cleaner, a printer hooked to our computer (indeed the whole desktop computer) or a 3/8 inch electric drill motor that are all designed for 120 vac, 60 Hertz power from the 240 vac, 50 Hertz power here in South Africa. They sell for $50-$100. An American company -- Voltage-converter-transformer has a website of that name. They make up to 3kw transformers.
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Old 23-11-2008, 07:22   #6
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We use 500 watt and 1000 watt stepdown transformers for some of our USA 120 v stuff. We can run a vaccum cleaner, a printer hooked to our computer (indeed the whole desktop computer) or a 3/8 inch electric drill motor that are all designed for 120 vac, 60 Hertz power from the 240 vac, 50 Hertz power here in South Africa. They sell for $50-$100. An American company -- Voltage-converter-transformer has a website of that name. They make up to 3kw transformers.

Hi Cowboy,

No problem with the vac or drill motors running hot or slower than normal? I have read that at least some motors would do so running on 50 Hz power but never had the chance to try this in person.
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Old 23-11-2008, 07:37   #7
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We had a 110v inverter on board, so bought a cheap automotive 12v charger in OZ and ran our 110v appliances off the inverter. Later we bought a 3000 watt transformer in Singapore for US$ 140 and used it for 220v shore power (couldn't find the same transformer in OZ for less than $700).

If the boat is to be based in OZ, you might as well convert the AC to 220v with OZ plugs...the existing wiring is overkill for 220 volts but will work fine.

We never had any 50/60 hz issues, but did back the xantrex inverter/charger down using the power sharing feature so it never tried to charge at full power.
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Old 23-11-2008, 10:32   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wojo View Post

Also, is there an adaptor for US 110v shore power plug for an Australian system...as you can tell by my terminology I have no idea...lol
Can't help you with the rest of this, but... my 110 (here in Canada) is usually attached to shorepower through a pigtail, which mates the power cord on one end and has standard three-prong plug on the other. That's pretty standard.

But the thing is that multiplug adaptors to convert the US/Canada three-prong into an Aussie/European/British etc can be found at any travel shop.

Note that they don't do anything about the voltage or frequency, but they let you plug into the wall.

While in New Zealand last year, I was able to plug in and use my laptop (because the tranformer automatically adjusts for different voltages) but I fried my cellphone chargere (because it didn't).

Connemara
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Old 24-11-2008, 00:02   #9
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Quote:
Hi Cowboy,

No problem with the vac or drill motors running hot or slower than normal? I have read that at least some motors would do so running on 50 Hz power but never had the chance to try this in person.
Hi Skipmac,

The vacuum cleaner has been running 5 years with no problem. I am not sure that I could detect if it was turning at 5/6 of its previous speed; it still does a good job. The variable speed drill seems just the same but again I don't know that I would notice if the unloaded drill speed was slower. The working speed as I use it is just fine. Of course electric clocks (like in an automatic washing machine!) run slow. I have never tried a microwave oven that was 120 volts on the transformer but the barber’s hair clippers work fine. Oh, by the way, don't expect American TV's to work in other countries; the method of scanning and coding the picture is different in many places so even if the voltage is fine they may not work.
Some of our Australian members will know if their TV use PAL or not. They may also know about rental videodisks in an American DVD player. I have no problem hearing American music CD’s with my South African DVD player. When we bought the DVD player we made sure it accepts 120 to 250 volts so it can come home with us.
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Old 24-11-2008, 01:52   #10
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FWIW:
Oz TV is PAL
US TV is NTSC
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Old 14-01-2009, 19:08   #11
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Dilemma

Thanks for all the posts.

As I hahve said above I have a USA built boat with all 12v appliances on board and the boat is in Australia (240V). I run a TrueCharge 40+ (110v)battery charger.

The questions is this:
Do I buy a step down transformer for around AUD$300 and connect my shorepower to that and then on to the battery charger or do I replace a perfectly good TrueCharge 40+ battery charger, valued in Australia at around AUD$800, with a 240v battery charger for around AUD$500 at 20amps output instead of 40 amps.

I'm guessing I would need a 1000w output transformer for the Trucharge 40+????

ahhhhhh
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Old 14-01-2009, 19:40   #12
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If the transformer is cheaper I would buy that and keep the 120 V 40 amp charger instead of downsizing to the 20 amp 240 V version.

This assumes you plan to run only the 12V DC appliances on the boat and plan no other electrical changes over time.
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Old 14-01-2009, 20:52   #13
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Quote:
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If the transformer is cheaper I would buy that and keep the 120 V 40 amp charger instead of downsizing to the 20 amp 240 V version.

This assumes you plan to run only the 12V DC appliances on the boat and plan no other electrical changes over time.
You could probably get a shop to manque up a step-down transformer for next to nothing, but even if not I'd go with the el cheapo transformers.
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Old 14-01-2009, 23:41   #14
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I think it depends on if you are selling it.

If you are then change to 240v.

If not then do whats cheapest...





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Old 15-01-2009, 05:06   #15
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the truecharge manual http://www.xantrex.com/web/id/462/docserve.aspx

shows it was designed for 50/60 cycle operation, and the maximum input power is just about 1100 watts (12 amps with a 90 volt input, or 8.5 amps with 120 volts). I'd recommend you get a 1500 watt transformer, just to give yourself a little cushion, especially if its stamped 'made in China'.
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