I found this thread interesting because I just started to consider buying a boat in Europe because what I want is rare in the US but common there. I found one in the UK which makes the process, hopefully, a bit easier than in a country where the language is an issue. I appreciate having the contact info for broker and surveyor that was posted. Thank you.
One person talked about the issue of 220 volts. That was an issue with the one Elan 434 that I found in the US that I liked but sold before I got to see it. Here is what I believe are the issues.
One option, and by far the easiest, is to leave the 220 volt system alone. The advantage is that you will not have to deal with things like microwave (if it has one) and hot water
heater that is 220. The down side is that all you "appliances" must be 220 or do some combination of the following.
It is possible to buy 12 volt appliances
which have the advantage that they can be used at anchor
without an inverter
. An alternative, for small appliances
is to use step-down transformers (they are not expensive) but they are known to fail so a spare is wise to have.
My plan was to leave the 220 volts alone and in time add a 110 volt system to use at the dock
. This is pretty simple. I might also add a 12 v to 110 v inverter
to give me the best of both worlds.
If you truly want to convert the boat to 110 volts, then you need to do the following at a minimum:
1. New dock
cord and hull
2. New sockets throughout.
3. New appliances, e.g. microwave or TV.
4. New hot water
heater coils or replace whole unit.
5. New fuses
6. New inverter.
But here is the really crux of the conversion. When you cut the voltage in half you double the current
. The question you must answer is whether the wiring
in the boat was designed as universal in that it could be used for either 220 or 110? Boats are low volume so they may save a little money
by using smaller diameter wire on 220 v models.
I contacted the Elan factory and they gave me the limits on the wiring
if I was to convert to 110 v. It that case the max wattage was marginally okay to run high current
appliances such as a microwave. That's why I decided to go with simply adding a parallel 110 v system.
The nice thing about the parallel system is that you have the best of both worlds. The cost for the parallel system is only marginally more expensive (wire, receptacles, and electrical
panel). But at dock you need two hookups that might be problematic.