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Old 17-12-2013, 08:04   #1
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AC Wall Outlets

Hello,

I just picked up a 1982 Bertram Motor Yacht here in Hong Kong.

It has a newer Kohler 15kw generator that is 230v single phase output, and a Victron 100A Autotransformer to power the 115v cruise air units.

There are a few new 230v (UK style outlets that is standard for us here) around the vessel, but all the original USA style outlets are still in place but disconnected inside the AC panel. The last owner said the box was to small to fit the UK style outlet, so they abandoned the outlets.

The wires from the panel to the outlets are 14AWG (2.08mm2). I can't read on the original USA outlet stickers inside the box if they are rated up to 250v. I have found the same style outlet that is rated up to 250v single phase. It is easy to change my appliance plug ends to match.

I am curious if anyone has converted the circuits and outlets over to 230v (Europe/Asia power). Any Pro's and Con's

Thanks

Alan
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Old 17-12-2013, 09:17   #2
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Re: AC wall outlets

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hkalan View Post
Hello,

I just picked up a 1982 Bertram Motor Yacht here in Hong Kong.

It has a newer Kohler 15kw generator that is 230v single phase output, and a Victron 100A Autotransformer to power the 115v cruise air units.

There are a few new 230v (UK style outlets that is standard for us here) around the vessel, but all the original USA style outlets are still in place but disconnected inside the AC panel. The last owner said the box was to small to fit the UK style outlet, so they abandoned the outlets.

The wires from the panel to the outlets are 14AWG (2.08mm2). I can't read on the original USA outlet stickers inside the box if they are rated up to 250v. I have found the same style outlet that is rated up to 250v single phase. It is easy to change my appliance plug ends to match.

I am curious if anyone has converted the circuits and outlets over to 230v (Europe/Asia power). Any Pro's and Con's

Thanks

Alan
I would not use USA style 120v receptacles for 230v. Very dangerous for an unsuspecting person that plugs in an appliance expecting 120v.
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Old 17-12-2013, 09:42   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hkalan View Post
Hello,

I just picked up a 1982 Bertram Motor Yacht here in Hong Kong.

It has a newer Kohler 15kw generator that is 230v single phase output, and a Victron 100A Autotransformer to power the 115v cruise air units.

There are a few new 230v (UK style outlets that is standard for us here) around the vessel, but all the original USA style outlets are still in place but disconnected inside the AC panel. The last owner said the box was to small to fit the UK style outlet, so they abandoned the outlets.

The wires from the panel to the outlets are 14AWG (2.08mm2). I can't read on the original USA outlet stickers inside the box if they are rated up to 250v. I have found the same style outlet that is rated up to 250v single phase. It is easy to change my appliance plug ends to match.

I am curious if anyone has converted the circuits and outlets over to 230v (Europe/Asia power). Any Pro's and Con's

Thanks

Alan
The wiring will be fine.

If you have a look on some us sites you can get an American modular wall plate that's takes a Schuko 230v insert module. Then just use readily available UK to schuko travel adapters.

We should dump the weird UK at home one anyway and go Schuko !!!!

Dave
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Old 17-12-2013, 09:46   #4
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Re: AC wall outlets

I agree with DotDun that it is not prudent to use the 120VAC outlets for 230VAC power, even if they are rated for that voltage. You're probably safe doing it, but it likely would not pass an insurance (or resell) survey. I think it would also be a PITA to have to change the plug on every appliance you bring on board.
If the electrical boxes are too small for the UK outlets have you looked at surface mounted outlets? When I was in the EU with my USA-wired boat I added a 230 VAC outlet (tapped off from the shore power side of my transformer) I bought a surface mounted outlet from a local hardware store in Portugal as shown here (http://www.svsarah.com/Sailing/Atlan...ircuit%202.JPG).
Those outlets look a little clunky, but they get the job done. This was not a UK-style outlet, but I would think you could find one in that style. If not, use the Euro-style outlets and buy UK adapters for them.

John
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Old 17-12-2013, 10:26   #5
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Re: AC wall outlets

A NEMA 6-15 receptacle will fit to replace a standard NEMA 5-15 receptacle and the NEMA 6-15 is used for 208 VAC and 240 VAC circuits, so no problem plugging an appliance into the wrong voltage.
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Old 17-12-2013, 10:37   #6
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Re: AC wall outlets

Just to clarify:

The IMPORTANT FACTOR is the rating/size of the wire. If the boat was originally wired for 120 volts AC then the wire is sized big enough for 240 volts AC. However if the boat wire sized for 240 volts AC then the wire maybe TO SMALL for 120 volts AC.

The basic electrical formula is amps X volts = watts. 2 amp X 120 volts = 1 amp X 240 volts.

I installed a couple of external mount outlet that I made wood teak boxes, and used routed out rounds to cover the wire. Where I want to install the wall was not thick enough for the outlet and wire.
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Old 17-12-2013, 10:54   #7
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Re: AC wall outlets

The US outlets are barely adequate for 110V. The quality of connection is lousy, it's far too easy to touch the pins while inserting them (especially with damp hands), and there's no fuse in the plugs.

The UK outlet / plug design is the best in the world, so why not use them? What other system has the following features?

1) Fuse in the plug, so you can fuse appropriately to protect the appliance.
2) Ground pin is longer so it connects first.
3) Live and neutral pins are half insulated so it's hard to touch live surfaces.

No way would I use US outlets for 230V, they aren't safe.
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Old 17-12-2013, 11:00   #8
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Re: AC wall outlets

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No way would I use US outlets for 230V, they aren't safe.
That is incorrect.

A standard NEMA receptacle that is properly installed, properly used and not degraded will not cause safety problems.
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Old 17-12-2013, 12:09   #9
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Re: AC wall outlets

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That is incorrect.

A standard NEMA receptacle that is properly installed, properly used and not degraded will not cause safety problems.
It's still a piss-poor design.
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Old 17-12-2013, 12:19   #10
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Re: AC wall outlets

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It's still a piss-poor design.
All receptacle / plugs used in the world are dinosaurs that we're stuck w/ using.

IMO, the enormous UK plug is great, unless there is more than one appliance that needs to be plugged-in, than it also sucks, big time.
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Old 17-12-2013, 12:32   #11
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Quote:
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All receptacle / plugs used in the world are dinosaurs that we're stuck w/ using.

IMO, the enormous UK plug is great, unless there is more than one appliance that needs to be plugged-in, than it also sucks, big time.
Agree and I have to use them ! , much prefer the Schuko European standard

Dave
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Old 17-12-2013, 13:59   #12
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Re: AC wall outlets

Alan-
I would think that converting the outlet boxes and outlets themselves is simply a matter of cutting bigger holes for the bigger boxes, if needed. I'm not sure what you have in mind by changing the plugs on appliances, but would suggest that anything non-standard is a land mine waiting to be set off by the first guest, or worker, who comes on board and plugs in whatever is "standard" for the outlets you are using.

The 14AWG wire is your limiting factor, and if you know the length of the wire runs, you can figure out the proper safe current load for that wiring, and then change the fuses or breakers at the distribution box to ensure that you stay under that limit. Whatever the "usual" limit is for a particular voltage today, folks have always had to deal with older wiring and older limits and sometimes the answer is simply "You can't plug that into this, it will blow the fuses." So you live with smaller loads, unless you want to run new wire to particular outlets.
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Old 17-12-2013, 14:17   #13
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Re: AC wall outlets

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The 14AWG wire is your limiting factor, and if you know the length of the wire runs, you can figure out the proper safe current load for that wiring, and then change the fuses or breakers at the distribution box to ensure that you stay under that limit. Whatever the "usual" limit is for a particular voltage today, folks have always had to deal with older wiring and older limits and sometimes the answer is simply "You can't plug that into this, it will blow the fuses." So you live with smaller loads, unless you want to run new wire to particular outlets.
Why does the breaker capacity need to change just because the voltage changes?

15amps are 15amps regardless of 120v or 230v
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Old 17-12-2013, 14:29   #14
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Why does the breaker capacity need to change just because the voltage changes?

15amps are 15amps regardless of 120v or 230v
, just work out the watts

Dave
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Old 17-12-2013, 14:34   #15
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Re: AC wall outlets

Going from 115v to 230v, the wire size will be fine. 15A @ 230v will be twice the power - no need for bigger wires - leave it fused at 15a if the breakers are rated to the voltage.

(Maybe whoever decided on 115v for north America owned a copper mine)

But of course, use a proper outlet - Schuko, europlug, the massive British thing whatever it's called. Don't use the NEMA 5-15 socket. I guess the NEMA 6 could be used, but that would be bizzare.
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