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Old 31-07-2022, 12:05   #1
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110 vs 230 for universal power

Hello, I am in contract to buy a new FP Elba 45 catamaran. I am a US based. I am hoping to cruise the world with my wife and young daughter. I am taking the off grid concept very seriously and planning to have a dual 50 and 60 Hz systems. I am planning on BIG solar, BIG 48V lithium bank and considering Integrel ($$$) or other high output alternators systems. I'm ditching the genset and substituting the weight saving for the lithium and inverters weight. I am planning on having primary grid for aircons, appliances, etc. consists of 2x5kw Victron inverter chargers, and secondary grid made of one 5kw inverter charger. For shore power, I will use the chargers and work the boat straight out of the battery bank.

In my current build, the boat is 50Hz European grid. That will put my primary grid at 230 V. I chose that since all the world cruisers wish they had a 50Hz boat. I am planning on adding a secondary grid of 60Hz in order to run all my American devices (and they are plentiful) and add American outlets next to the Europeans.

Thinking about this now, after I had time to process the logic behind the build, I have doubts. It is more efficient to up convert 48 to 110 v as oppose to 48 to 230 v. It is now making more sense to me to have the secondary grid at 50 Hz for the occasional small appliance purchase I will make outside of the US and for shore power bank charging. I can imagine some will think the secondary grid is an overkill but I am interested in hearing everything you got to say. This is a big and costly decision and I hope to get it right the first time around. Should I keep the build 50Hz or change it to the good old US 60Hz?

Thanks!
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Old 31-07-2022, 13:04   #2
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Re: 110 vs 230 for universal power

Wouldn't part of the answer be what "appliances" are 50Hz and which are 60Hz?

This always seems to be the "meat" the all the various discussions, here and on other boating forums.

The largest load always seems to be air conditioning. The rest of the appliances appear to be disposables, replaced wherever they need to be in whatever jurisdiction (i.e., Hz) they are available, since importing different Hz appliances, i.e., the small guys like toasters, coffee machines, etc., is always counter-indicated for obvious cost and availability reasons.
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Old 31-07-2022, 13:40   #3
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Re: 110 vs 230 for universal power

Once you use a 230 volt electric teakettle you will never want 110 again.
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Old 31-07-2022, 15:13   #4
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Re: 110 vs 230 for universal power

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Originally Posted by hezi973 View Post
Hello, I am in contract to buy a new FP Elba 45 catamaran. I am a US based. I am hoping to cruise the world with my wife and young daughter. I am taking the off grid concept very seriously and planning to have a dual 50 and 60 Hz systems.

I honestly can't imagine why you would do that. It's extra expense and weight, more things to break, wasted space, more difficulty troubleshooting, and you don't need it. There's just no benefit.



Quote:

In my current build, the boat is 50Hz European grid. That will put my primary grid at 230 V. I chose that since all the world cruisers wish they had a 50Hz boat. I am planning on adding a secondary grid of 60Hz in order to run all my American devices (and they are plentiful) and add American outlets next to the Europeans.

Build the boat to use the standard where you will be keeping it most often. If you're USA-based, use USA wiring. Then you can get whatever appliances and equipment you need before departure. Functionally, there's no difference, except for a handful of appliances where the European version is higher wattage.



And if you really want a 220v tea kettle (or whatever) on USA boat, just put in a 220v outlet for it. It won't care whether it gets 50 hz or 60 hz. Or 220v or 240v. Most stuff doesn't care. Hz only matters for the microwave and the washing machine, and possibly the air conditioning (but probably not). If you want a 220v induction burner, get one from a restaurant supply place in the USA, and it will run on 60 hz.
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Old 31-07-2022, 16:02   #5
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Re: 110 vs 230 for universal power

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Once you use a 230 volt electric teakettle you will never want 110 again.
I couldn't stop laughing. I am really looking forward to that teakettle.
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Old 31-07-2022, 16:14   #6
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Re: 110 vs 230 for universal power

We have a UK boat in the US. We run everything at 240v/60hz. Our air conditioning runs at 230-240 at either 50hz and 60hz. I thought we'd have to replace the microwave, but so far it works fine. Our induction stove requires 230-240v and will run at 50hz or 60hz.

We plan to convert our outlets to 120v down the road by adding a small inverter, but in the mean time the only thing we've found that doesn't work at 240v is the battery charger for our Milwaukee tools.

I presume that any slips you'll be in will have 240v/50amp service in the US. I'd keep your main circuit as 230/240 50/60 ensuring your aircon etc all are multi-frequency friendly, and then use a small inverter to power your outlets at 120v/60hz regardless if you're plugged into 230/50 or 240/60.
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Old 31-07-2022, 16:16   #7
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Re: 110 vs 230 for universal power

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I honestly can't imagine why you would do that. It's extra expense and weight, more things to break, wasted space, more difficulty troubleshooting, and you don't need it. There's just no benefit.






Build the boat to use the standard where you will be keeping it most often. If you're USA-based, use USA wiring. Then you can get whatever appliances and equipment you need before departure. Functionally, there's no difference, except for a handful of appliances where the European version is higher wattage.



And if you really want a 220v tea kettle (or whatever) on USA boat, just put in a 220v outlet for it. It won't care whether it gets 50 hz or 60 hz. Or 220v or 240v. Most stuff doesn't care. Hz only matters for the microwave and the washing machine, and possibly the air conditioning (but probably not). If you want a 220v induction burner, get one from a restaurant supply place in the USA, and it will run on 60 hz.
Thank you for putting the time to write this and sharing your knowledge. I am based in the US and will keep the boat here for awhile but when it will be time to leave, if my plans works, I will be in the 50 Hz environment for longer. This is why my base alone is not the determining factor. Things like upconverting efficiency, wire gauges, and ultimately chargers (or inverter charger) for both grids are things to consider. I know it's seems like an overkill, but there is a good chance I will do most of the work so the added cost to add few outlets in the galley and an inverter charger instead of a charger only, plus the redundancy I will gain, doesn't seems that much of an overkill to me. I may be wrong. This is why I am asking. Perhaps consulting with an marine electrical engineer is in order.
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Old 31-07-2022, 16:28   #8
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Re: 110 vs 230 for universal power

I look at this another way.

The DC storage House bank / circuits are the base / backbone.

The charger(s) of that bank should be universal input, can plug in at any dock plug in the world, pretty easy so far.

Now, you have a variety of load devices. The goal is to be able to use whatever you already have, and if a given appliance needs replacing or you see a nicer one, you can buy it anywhere in the world and easily slot it into your infrastructure.

This is done by having a variety of inverters powering the AC circuits, some perhaps dedicated to specific loads. Whether 50hz or 60hz, 120Vac or 240Vac

NONE of these loads run directly off shore power, only off inverters fed from your 48V House bank.

The ONLY connection to shore power is your universal "world input" charger(s).
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Old 31-07-2022, 16:33   #9
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Re: 110 vs 230 for universal power

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Originally Posted by PaulCrawhorn View Post
I look at this another way.

The DC storage House bank / circuits are the base / backbone.

The charger(s) of that bank should be universal input, can plug in at any dock plug in the world, pretty easy so far.

Now, you have a variety of load devices. The goal is to be able to use whatever you already have, and if a given appliance needs replacing or you see a nicer one, you can buy it anywhere in the world and easily slot it into your infrastructure.

This is done by having a variety of inverters powering the AC circuits, some perhaps dedicated to specific loads. Whether 50hz or 60hz, 120Vac or 240Vac

NONE of these loads run directly off shore power, only off inverters fed from your 48V House bank.

The ONLY connection to shore power is your universal "world input" charger(s).
This is ideal presuming your inverters can support your loads and not need assist from a generator or shore.
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Old 31-07-2022, 18:09   #10
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Re: 110 vs 230 for universal power

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Originally Posted by PaulCrawhorn View Post
I look at this another way.

The DC storage House bank / circuits are the base / backbone.

The charger(s) of that bank should be universal input, can plug in at any dock plug in the world, pretty easy so far.

Now, you have a variety of load devices. The goal is to be able to use whatever you already have, and if a given appliance needs replacing or you see a nicer one, you can buy it anywhere in the world and easily slot it into your infrastructure.

This is done by having a variety of inverters powering the AC circuits, some perhaps dedicated to specific loads. Whether 50hz or 60hz, 120Vac or 240Vac

NONE of these loads run directly off shore power, only off inverters fed from your 48V House bank.

The ONLY connection to shore power is your universal "world input" charger(s).
I am concerned with the 48 V bank world charging. The 12 V DC will get topped off via 2 DC to DC via the 48 V (2 for redundancy) and the motors alternators. I will also prepare a MPPT controller on stand by in the event my 48 V bank will fail and I will need to divert solar energy to the 12 V bank. I get it the 12 volt is more important for basic function but the 48V is the heart of the energy storage.
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Old 31-07-2022, 18:19   #11
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Re: 110 vs 230 for universal power

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This is ideal presuming your inverters can support your loads and not need assist from a generator or shore.
I am planning to put big enough inverters to support the load. It is the shore power pass through and charging I am not sure will be big enough under all circumstances of world shore power. For this I will relay on a BIG 48 V bank and perhaps some degree of power rationing. I think at the end of the day, I will need to pay a professional to design my system.
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Old 31-07-2022, 18:44   #12
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Re: 110 vs 230 for universal power

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Originally Posted by hezi973 View Post
I am planning to put big enough inverters to support the load. It is the shore power pass through and charging I am not sure will be big enough under all circumstances of world shore power. For this I will relay on a BIG 48 V bank and perhaps some degree of power rationing. I think at the end of the day, I will need to pay a professional to design my system.
There is no shore nor generator pass through with the inverter only approach proposed by @PaulCrawhorn. Shore/generator power the chargers only. You then use inverters separate from the chargers. Combination charger/inverter units won't work here because of pass through and potential frequency differences.

Engaging a professional is never a bad idea!
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Old 31-07-2022, 18:54   #13
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Re: 110 vs 230 for universal power

On the primary grid I am planning to put 2 5k vicron inverter chargers in parallel. This could provide charging and pass through. The secondary grid wil consist of only one 5k inverter. Not enough to provide enough charge vs full energy usage (I could be wrong). For that I may use a separate large charger and a stand alone inverter. Unless I could use the 2 5k inverter charger for charging only without pass through via a manual selector and 2 separate programing. I still need to wrap my head around that and need to get myself familiar with the hardware capabilities and limitations.
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Old 01-08-2022, 11:07   #14
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Re: 110 vs 230 for universal power

Following. One of the boats Iím considering in the US is wired for Europe. My electrical knowledge is limited to changing 110 outlets, changing 110/220 home breakers, etc. Watching this thread with interest to help gauge my potential, should I buy that boat.
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Old 01-08-2022, 11:18   #15
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Re: 110 vs 230 for universal power

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I am taking the off grid concept very seriously and planning to have a dual 50 and 60 Hz systems.
If you are staying off grid, why muck about with a dual grid based system. Pick one and go with it.

I would pick based on the area you plan to spend more time as it will be easier to get replacement parts.

Consider getting a large dual voltage battery charger, so when you are on the grid, you can draw from any source. Then the batteries & inverter can put out the power that you need.

If you really feel the need get a small inverter of the opposite voltage, so you can run the stray device of a different voltage.

PS: We've used a variety of 120 & 240v kettles...not sure what magic 240v one does that makes it so special...We've never noticed any difference.
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