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Old 29-03-2014, 11:31   #1
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Wiring of american to european shore power plug

Hi again electrofreaks,

last time I asked a question regarding electrics on the forum I got a lot of good responses. I sincerely hope the same now.

We are now in British Virgin Islands and when wanted to plug my european plug into the system the female plug didn't like my male plug. This is the plug I have:

I've bought this: 50A 125/250V Locking Male Plug | Marinco

In my current shore power plug it has three connections. As far as I understand Nigel Calder regarding getting 250 VAC from shore, but I am little bit unsure how to connect it to my female plug (the one with two small holes and one bigger).

Anyone with knowledge on this topic?
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Old 29-03-2014, 13:56   #2
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Re: Wiring of american to european shore power plug

I'm assuming since your signature indicates you are from Oslo that your boat is set up for European 220v-50hz power.

The BVI is 110v-60hz power.

You don't want to just wire up a plug to make it fit in the socket.

You need to adjust the voltage and depending what you are running, you may or may not need to adjust the frequency.

There are a variety of ways to accomplish this but be careful as either voltage can be dangerous.
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Old 29-03-2014, 14:06   #3
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Re: Wiring of american to european shore power plug

Assumed correctly about setup.

My battery charger allows for 80 to 260 volts, so that will be fine i guess. But the devices that are made for 220V which I put into the sockets on my boat wont.

So, I therefore want 250V from the 50A socket here in the BVI. The boat next to has done the following:

connected the two hot plugs (black and red) live and neutral and ground to ground. As far as I understand Calder this will work fine.

Is there a way to measure if I'm getting 250 volts out with a multimeter (the problem i'm thinking of is that there will be two hot plugs and one ground, and the multimeter has only two inputs).

With this setup we can always run on the inverter to make sure the different aplliances get the correct voltage.
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Old 29-03-2014, 14:48   #4
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Re: Wiring of american to european shore power plug

Quote:
Originally Posted by Golden Orchid View Post
Assumed correctly about setup.

My battery charger allows for 80 to 260 volts, so that will be fine i guess. But the devices that are made for 220V which I put into the sockets on my boat wont.

So, I therefore want 250V from the 50A socket here in the BVI. The boat next to has done the following:

connected the two hot plugs (black and red) live and neutral and ground to ground. As far as I understand Calder this will work fine.

Is there a way to measure if I'm getting 250 volts out with a multimeter (the problem i'm thinking of is that there will be two hot plugs and one ground, and the multimeter has only two inputs).

With this setup we can always run on the inverter to make sure the different aplliances get the correct voltage.

youve completly lost me there, what do you mean by hot plugs?
if you connect l n e together it wont work so

better to do a quick line drawing so we can see what you intend doing
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Old 29-03-2014, 15:04   #5
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Re: Wiring of american to european shore power plug

My terminology is not the best, i'm sorry.

With hot i mean "pluss", where to power actually go through.

The connection i bought is like the bottom right on this pic:


(green=G)
(black=Y or X)
(red=Y or X)
(white=W)

what do you by "l n e"?
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Old 29-03-2014, 15:21   #6
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Re: Wiring of american to european shore power plug

There is a really good thread on this forum about this. Search "mastervolt" and "victron" and you will find it. The problem is your boat is 220 volt single phase and North American power is 230v split phase. Do you know the difference? With split phase there are two 115 volt hots tied to a common neutral.

What you will most likely need is either an auto transformer or isolation transformer. I avoided buying one for two years and now regret it. I went with the Victron Auto Transformer as I don't feel I need an Isolation transformer.
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Old 29-03-2014, 15:41   #7
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Re: Wiring of american to european shore power plug

Thanks for the reply guys. I connected the plugs as mentioned above and i have 224V i my sockets now.

Does the difference between single/split face affect me now?
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Old 29-03-2014, 17:37   #8
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Re: Wiring of american to european shore power plug

unplug the ac wire from your charger (with the breaker off..). wire an extension cord from a 15a 110v plug on the dock and wire into the charger.

this is a temporary setup. if you plan to stay longer you're require some big changes.

run everything else off the inverter.

I don't know what you just did but it sounds scary as hell. and if I was running that dock I would have kicked you off already
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Old 29-03-2014, 17:47   #9
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Re: Wiring of american to european shore power plug

You plugged into 230 volts so you are using both hots without a neutral. Don't know if that's ok or not. Probably depends on if your boats neutral is also grounded.
I'm surprised some of the more knowledgeable experts haven't commented yet.

Regardless, I would check in to getting a small Isolation Transformer. Then you can wire in 120 volts and get 240 out of it. What does your refrigeration and air conditioner run on?
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Old 29-03-2014, 19:02   #10
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Wiring of american to european shore power plug

In theory and I stress in theory, other then the frequency there is no issue directly connecting a split phase US ( which is single phase ) into a euro 230vac system. In essence you connect one of the hot 110 to the boats live wire and the other 110 live to the boats neutral. EU boats will not assume that polarity reversal cannot occur so will be safe " enough ". However bear in mind that you will have most likely single AC breakers hence even of switch off, the neutral will be still love with 110

It will work , but I would recommend it on any long term basis

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Old 29-03-2014, 19:26   #11
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Re: Wiring of american to european shore power plug

Thanks for more good information guys.

Usually we get our power from 200 watt solar panels. We don't have fridge or air conditioner... But now we are in a marina and wanted to use charge the batteries. It works with the method I described above. That also works for other boats.

Yes, you are right goboatingnow, that's the method i'm using.

And smac999, i am glad you aren't in charge of this marina.
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Old 30-03-2014, 00:49   #12
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Re: Wiring of american to european shore power plug

THIS IS DANGEROUS!!!!

If you had any old or faulty equipment where the neutral and earth were joined then you would have 110v on your prop shaft and engine block - this could kill you if you went swimming in the water!!! Any exposed neutral bus bars in the boat would also have 120 volts on it which will light up reverse polarity diodes.

I don't think your insurance would be too happy in case of a fire.

If you need to use this source of 240 volts then the boat would need rewiring with an extra 4 wire shorepower socket and extra 240 volt 60 cycle sockets.

An isolation transformer switchable between 110 and 240 volts is an easier solution, but there will always be the 50/60 cycle problem. So to power 50 cycles equipment on board from shosrepower run a isolated large inverter from a large battery bank that is charged by a separate large 110 volt battery charger. If a large load is going to be sustained for a lengthy period and the inverter is taking 100 amps to deliver the 240 volt - 50 cycle load then the shorepower charger must be able to deliver 100 amps to supply the current without discharging the batteries. A smaller charger will mean the batteries run down.

This is an expensive option, but the redundancy of the extra charger does give backup for times when the inverter/charger fails.

An inverter/charger will probable accept 50 or 60 cycles input, but will always output the same cycles per sec - they wonít change the output frequency
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Old 30-03-2014, 02:04   #13
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Re: Wiring of american to european shore power plug

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailinglegend View Post
THIS IS DANGEROUS!!!!

If you had any old or faulty equipment where the neutral and earth were joined then you would have 110v on your prop shaft and engine block - this could kill you if you went swimming in the water!!! Any exposed neutral bus bars in the boat would also have 120 volts on it which will light up reverse polarity diodes. . . .
"Double down" on that - your set up is very dangerous, not only to yourself but to other people. It will work, - but - you do not have any fault protection when you do not use the shore power neutral.

U.S./North American and European/World power supplies both use a "neutral" and a "hot" wire. The difference between them is the North American supplies 110-120 Volts and the other supplies 220 volts.
In order to operate high power equipment without the liabilities of very high amperage, the North American system makes available a third wire (normally colored red) which when bridged with the black wire results in 220-240 volts.

By connecting that third wire - red - to your European neutral you are putting power/voltage on your primary return wire which is supposed to be kept at "earth ground" voltages. The measured voltage from a "neutral" line to a "safety ground" - green wire should be zero. In your setup you would be reading 110-120 Volts on a voltmeter.

On U.S./N.A. boats this would activate the "reverse polarity" warning light. Do you have such a light on your European power system?

As mentioned, in case of a fault like a short from an appliance to its case or cabinet anybody touching that case/cabinet and also touching a natural earth ground would be electrocuted - unless they can really react quickly they would most probably die. In case of a fault that shorts your boat's neutral to any underwater metal parts of the boat like propeller, bonding system, etc. you would most probably electrocute anybody swimming around your boat.

Although your "quick fix" works, it relies on everything else in the boat being perfectly proper. If you have a genset, you might cause serious problems with it by setting up shore power this way.

Although expensive to purchase, the proper and simple fix is to use a transformer to double the U.S./N.A. 110-120 voltage up to 220 volts and not "hot wire" your boat's neutral. Most marinas I have visited in the Caribbean have these transformers available for free or for a fee.

If the marina operator/management has any "electrical" sense they would be horrified at this set-up as their shorepower circuit breakers would most probably never trip in the event of an excess current drain caused by your boat - and - most likely the shore power cable and/or something else would start a fire which could destroy your boat and/or marina property.

That is why it was mentioned that if your boat is insured most likely you would not be able to collect anything once the insurance company found out that you "hot-wired" your boat's neutral.

Other than all the above, it you are comfortable taking the risks, go for it.
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Old 30-03-2014, 02:54   #14
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Re: Wiring of american to european shore power plug

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailinglegend View Post
THIS IS DANGEROUS!!!!



If you had any old or faulty equipment where the neutral and earth were joined then you would have 110v on your prop shaft and engine block - this could kill you if you went swimming in the water!!! Any exposed neutral bus bars in the boat would also have 120 volts on it which will light up reverse polarity diodes.



I don't think your insurance would be too happy in case of a fire.



If you need to use this source of 240 volts then the boat would need rewiring with an extra 4 wire shorepower socket and extra 240 volt 60 cycle sockets.



An isolation transformer switchable between 110 and 240 volts is an easier solution, but there will always be the 50/60 cycle problem. So to power 50 cycles equipment on board from shosrepower run a isolated large inverter from a large battery bank that is charged by a separate large 110 volt battery charger. If a large load is going to be sustained for a lengthy period and the inverter is taking 100 amps to deliver the 240 volt - 50 cycle load then the shorepower charger must be able to deliver 100 amps to supply the current without discharging the batteries. A smaller charger will mean the batteries run down.



This is an expensive option, but the redundancy of the extra charger does give backup for times when the inverter/charger fails.



An inverter/charger will probable accept 50 or 60 cycles input, but will always output the same cycles per sec - they wonít change the output frequency

Nonsense , stop Inventing non existent fault modes. About the only thing that had " hot" chassis are old US valve radios.

Furthermore this is a EU boat. It will not be wired to assume neural is at earth potential , which is why you do not see " reverse polarity " warnings lights on such panels

Furthermore there is a whole boat RCBO which would trip of any current flowed to ground

It's very common in European to have unpolarised mains . Either by socket desig or inadvertently. The boat wired to split phase ( a misnomer ) is as safe ( or not ) as it always was.

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Old 30-03-2014, 03:11   #15
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Wiring of american to european shore power plug

Quote:
Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
"Double down" on that - your set up is very dangerous, not only to yourself but to other people. It will work, - but - you do not have any fault protection when you do not use the shore power neutral.

U.S./North American and European/World power supplies both use a "neutral" and a "hot" wire. The difference between them is the North American supplies 110-120 Volts and the other supplies 220 volts.
In order to operate high power equipment without the liabilities of very high amperage, the North American system makes available a third wire (normally colored red) which when bridged with the black wire results in 220-240 volts.

By connecting that third wire - red - to your European neutral you are putting power/voltage on your primary return wire which is supposed to be kept at "earth ground" voltages. The measured voltage from a "neutral" line to a "safety ground" - green wire should be zero. In your setup you would be reading 110-120 Volts on a voltmeter.

On U.S./N.A. boats this would activate the "reverse polarity" warning light. Do you have such a light on your European power system?

As mentioned, in case of a fault like a short from an appliance to its case or cabinet anybody touching that case/cabinet and also touching a natural earth ground would be electrocuted - unless they can really react quickly they would most probably die. In case of a fault that shorts your boat's neutral to any underwater metal parts of the boat like propeller, bonding system, etc. you would most probably electrocute anybody swimming around your boat.

Although your "quick fix" works, it relies on everything else in the boat being perfectly proper. If you have a genset, you might cause serious problems with it by setting up shore power this way.

Although expensive to purchase, the proper and simple fix is to use a transformer to double the U.S./N.A. 110-120 voltage up to 220 volts and not "hot wire" your boat's neutral. Most marinas I have visited in the Caribbean have these transformers available for free or for a fee.

If the marina operator/management has any "electrical" sense they would be horrified at this set-up as their shorepower circuit breakers would most probably never trip in the event of an excess current drain caused by your boat - and - most likely the shore power cable and/or something else would start a fire which could destroy your boat and/or marina property.

That is why it was mentioned that if your boat is insured most likely you would not be able to collect anything once the insurance company found out that you "hot-wired" your boat's neutral.

Other than all the above, it you are comfortable taking the risks, go for it.



again let me counter with proper electrical analysis.

In Europe, it's very common to find both floating neutrals or in fact indeterminate polarity. Only a fool in 230vac land assumes the Neutral isn't " hot " ( and you will be reminded on that every time you touch it ) the boats appliances will function ( and CE requirements dictate) safety even under floating or " hot " neutrals.

Many many boats will be wired to incorrect polarity shore power and will have no indication of issues. ( there will be no issues )

Hence you will find no " reverse polarity " lights. In fact loads of people in Europe will never know what the real polarity of the mains is. ( on land and on boats )

Furthermore the boat, unlike NA boats. Will be fitted with a RCBO, which will protect the boat and trip if there is any neutral or hot to earth faults.

And yes it would be better to have breakers on the " neutrals " but it's not the end of the world

So stop making ill informed " insurance " statements. You have neither knowledge of his insurance nor the electrical situation the boat is designed to handle

To suggest a European boats insurance would be invalidated by reverse or floating onboard neutral is nonsense.

I mentioned to the OP , that the process is in theory correct. yes it does generate one or two extra fault modes and I certainly wouldn't consider it without an RCBO installed.

Quote:
Although expensive to purchase, the proper and simple fix is to use a transformer to double the U.S./N.A. 110-120 voltage up to 220 volts and not "hot wire" your boat's neutral. Most marinas I have visited in the Caribbean have these transformers available for free or for a fee.

If the marina operator/management has any "electrical" sense they would be horrified at this set-up as their shorepower circuit breakers would most probably never trip in the event of an excess current drain caused by your boat - and - most likely the shore power cable and/or something else would start a fire which could destroy your boat and/or marina property.
While this is indeed safer, it's not because it solves any of the above issues. It's primarily be cause it isolates the ground return path to exclusively the other leg of the transformer output. Not because it fixes any polarity issues persay. Equally the OP could wire split phase US to a 1:1 isolating transformer and get onboard 220vac that way too.

In my opinion all boats should have mandatory 1:1 safety isolating transformers anyway. But that's a different issue entirely

Ps explain the genset issue ?. I'm intrigued

Also explain this statement
Quote:

If the marina operator/management has any "electrical" sense they would be horrified at this set-up as their shorepower circuit breakers would most probably never trip in the event of an excess current drain caused by your boat - and - most likely the shore power cable and/or something else would start a fire which could destroy your boat and/or marina property.
The OP boat is essentially an " appliance " both spilt phase hots to his boat will be fused by the marina. On board he has a RCBO , the fault mode you describe cannot occur as of he has an undetected on board neutral fault( on his isolated on board neutral) , ( AND his RCBO has inexplicably failed) the shore breaker on the relevant split phase will trip.

So folks stop being hysterical, just think about the systems and how they interact.

( ps of course not if you have a old US made domestic valve radio from the 50s on board , then it's not safe !)

Dave


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