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Old 10-08-2018, 14:02   #1
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Lightbulb Boat Voltage 110/220?

My wife and I are beginning our search for our retirement live-aboard catamaran. For sale are boats equipped with 110V systems and others with 220V systems. Our plans are to sail many years throughout the Caribbean, then venture to South America and Asia Pacific Regions. What is the recommended and best voltage system for our sailing plans, or does it matter when hooking up to shore power? Thank you.
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Old 10-08-2018, 14:07   #2
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Re: Boat Voltage 110/220?

Youíre likely to find more 220v than 110v when traveling globally.

https://www.worldstandards.eu/electr...ge-by-country/
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Old 11-08-2018, 00:35   #3
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Re: Boat Voltage 110/220?

Run all your on board electrical from an on board inverter and battery bank.

Get a good quality multi voltage battery charger, then who cares what the voltage is at the docks you visit....
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Old 11-08-2018, 00:42   #4
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Re: Boat Voltage 110/220?

There are 3 different voltages you are going to find.

120 60hz us
240v 60hz us
230v50hz U.K.

The bottom 2 are both around 240v but very much different.
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Old 11-08-2018, 04:45   #5
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Re: Boat Voltage 110/220?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Ubfig.

Plugs/outlets and voltages/frequencies used for domestic applianceshttps://www.worldstandards.eu/electr...ge-by-country/
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Old 11-08-2018, 06:02   #6
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Re: Boat Voltage 110/220?

Ubifig, welcome to Cruisers' Forum.

Everyone else, I think the OP would benefit from a better understanding of the cruising-specific issues this raises rather than a general discussion of voltages and plugs. The OP is connecting power to a boat, not connecting power to a hair dryer, and the connectors and issues are different.

Ubifig, it matters less than you might think. The choice of wiring convention may affect two things:

1) The kind of outlets you have in the boat, that is, whether you have 220v European style outlets, or 120v North American ones.

2) Possibly, the kind of shore power connection you have, for supplying electrical power to the boat while in a marina. Some boats can accept either 120v or 220v shore power and convert the voltage if necessary. Some marinas offer both voltages.


The first one, that is, the kind of outlets you have aboard, is important because whatever appliances you buy have to match, and it is difficult to get things like electric skillets and microwaves and coffee makers that use whatever voltage isn't the local one. (Electronics are less of a problem because many are dual voltage and many on a boat are 12v or 24v)

So if you are provisioning your boat in Texas, you'll have an easier time finding a 120v frypay, for example, than a 220v frypan.


The second one matters, or not, depending on the extent to which you anticipate staying at marinas and using shore power. Many people mostly anchor out.

It's unclear to me what to what extent the non-local voltage is offered by marinas. Maybe someone who has experience in this particular area will post up.
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Old 11-08-2018, 08:13   #7
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Re: Boat Voltage 110/220?

A few comments. First of all, depending on where you are cruising you will likely be anchored most of the time so shore power is not an issue. On to plugging in, our boat was wired for 110v but also had a 230v cord fitting that was wired into a transformer (to 110v) on a boat so even if we had 230v in a particular country we had 110v on the boat. The higher voltage shore power cords are much smaller diameter than 110v ones. We made one with a 230 connector to attach to the boat and then replaced the end that connected to the shore power with an appropriate plug - these varied from country to country. We actually had two different ones in South Africa. In the Caribbean where they get boats with both systems marinas often will offer both types of shore power. In our travels we were anchored much more than 90% of the time though.
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Old 11-08-2018, 09:37   #8
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Re: Boat Voltage 110/220?

220

There you go, an easy answer ;-)
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Old 11-08-2018, 11:40   #9
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Re: Boat Voltage 110/220?

220V is more prevalent in Caribbean based on my experience, particularly the French islands. As previously mentioned, if your boat has a multi-voltage charger, then the only thing to watch out for is whether your charger can support everything on your boat - e.g. my boat cannot run the water heater from the charger/inverter.

If you have a 220 boat and live in the USA (my situation) it means you canít take advantage of the huge selection and generally better prices of electrical appliances etc in the US and shopping for esoteric items in the Caribbean can be frustrating due to limited availability.
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Old 11-08-2018, 13:26   #10
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Re: Boat Voltage 110/220?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ubifig View Post
My wife and I are beginning our search for our retirement live-aboard catamaran. For sale are boats equipped with 110V systems and others with 220V systems. Our plans are to sail many years throughout the Caribbean, then venture to South America and Asia Pacific Regions. What is the recommended and best voltage system for our sailing plans, or does it matter when hooking up to shore power? Thank you.
If you have 110V it is very easy and inexpensive to change your Boat to 220V
The other way, 220V to 110V not so easy.
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Old 11-08-2018, 17:28   #11
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Re: Boat Voltage 110/220?

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Originally Posted by mickt243 View Post
Run all your on board electrical from an on board inverter and battery bank.

Get a good quality multi voltage battery charger, then who cares what the voltage is at the docks you visit....
This does not answer the OPíS question at all. It is a different subject.
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Old 11-08-2018, 23:38   #12
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Re: Boat Voltage 110/220?

You can "make it work" with either system, therefore it should only be a minor point in the decision making process which boat to get.

Then, if you really have the perfect choice I would recommend going with the one you know and grew up with as it would make it easy to take some devices with you, like power tools and kitchen appliances, e.g. hand blender, coffee grinder etc.
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Old 11-08-2018, 23:52   #13
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Re: Boat Voltage 110/220?

220 will be much more widely used in the areas you plan to cruise in.. in fact it's what most countries use world wide..
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Old 12-08-2018, 00:04   #14
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Re: Boat Voltage 110/220?

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Originally Posted by lordgeoff View Post
If you have 110V it is very easy and inexpensive to change your Boat to 220V

The other way, 220V to 110V not so easy.


What is the difference?
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Old 12-08-2018, 00:57   #15
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Re: Boat Voltage 110/220?

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Originally Posted by Oceansailor View Post
What is the difference?
For the same power consumption, amperage at 240v will be half the amperage at 120v.

Amperage determines wire sizing. Higher amps require bigger wires. So if you want to convert an existing boat, going from 120v to 240v, the wiring is typically big enough to accommodate the 240v amperage without being replaced. So in theory, you just need to swap out the breaker panel and the outlet/plugs.

Going the other way 240v to 120v, the wires may need to be replaced if they are not large enough.

Of course the really expensive part of a conversion is the major built in AC appliances.
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