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Old 30-08-2018, 14:41   #1
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Converting 220v boat to 110v technical advice needed

Hi. Yes, I scoured through previous posts regarding this topic (that seems to always be the 1st comment/advice) but since Iím dealing with a real rather than hypothetical situation, could not find what I need.
Situation: I brought a European boat over that has the 220v/16a setup suited for Europe.
This is what connects to shore power over there:
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That cable terminates inside the boat here:Click image for larger version

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And from there goes to a two pole circuit breaker:
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That (I think is rated for 16a) w/ a rated operating voltage of 230/400. Thereís also a galvanic isolator that one of the cables seems to go to bypassing the breaker altogether.
Then the wire leads to the distribution panel. I donít have anything onboard that requires 220/16 but I am a bit concerned about the wire gauge running to the AC electric outlets (which I may or may not change to US-type outlets) both my water heater and battery charger can use 110/v.
I have not yet located the AC to DC converter but there may not even be one if all DC equipment is powered directly via the batteries.
This is what I believe i must do:
1. New shore cable (120v/30a) to connect to....
2. New boatside connector Click image for larger version

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and from there...
3. A new circuit breaker rated for at least 30a (and around 110v of course)

I donít have a large power draw so the 50a route is -at this time- unnecessary.

Now, according to my research 120v has 3 wires (black, white and green) while 220 has 4 wires (red & black are hot, white is neutral and green is ground as they are with 110v as well)

So in this case do I combine the red&black wires and deal with the other two as theyíve been dealt with before or is there a trick Iím missing?

And can someone perhaps look under their hood and see exactly what make/model of circuit breaker they have? It appears that marineco has the market cornered when it comes to this stuff.

And my final question: am I missing something?

Thanks in advance)
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Old 30-08-2018, 14:45   #2
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Re: Converting 220v boat to 110v technical advice needed

For the moment.. Lets forget about all the voltages and amperages...

What is the guage of the wires involved (either AWG or mm2). The inbound shore power wire should be much bigger than the wires running to the outlets. Knowing that is crucial to someone helping.

P.S. I have converted my boat. If I had to do it again, I wouldn't convert!
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Old 30-08-2018, 14:48   #3
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Re: Converting 220v boat to 110v technical advice needed

You are confusing 220/240 volt single phase vs two phase. The Euro version is single phase, i.e. 3 wire.

Before you change over to 120v you will need to determine the wire sizes on the boat. The main maybe sized for 16amps, not the 30 you are proposing. In that case you will need to rewire.
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Old 30-08-2018, 14:52   #4
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Re: Converting 220v boat to 110v technical advice needed

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You are confusing 220/240 volt single phase vs two phase. The Euro version is single phase, i.e. 3 wire.

Before you change over to 120v you will need to determine the wire sizes on the boat. The main maybe sized for 16amps, not the 30 you are proposing. In that case you will need to rewire.


You mean the wires running to the electric outlets?
I read (on the internet) that given how short the distances are (sheís a 44ft sailboat) wire size is not a significant factor.
Is that info incorrect?
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Old 30-08-2018, 14:54   #5
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Re: Converting 220v boat to 110v technical advice needed

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Originally Posted by travellerw View Post
For the moment.. Lets forget about all the voltages and amperages...

What is the guage of the wires involved (either AWG or mm2). The inbound shore power wire should be much bigger than the wires running to the outlets. Knowing that is crucial to someone helping.

P.S. I have converted my boat. If I had to do it again, I wouldn't convert!


The shore power cable will be the usual marineco one that I can pick up at west marine.
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Old 30-08-2018, 15:00   #6
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Re: Converting 220v boat to 110v technical advice needed

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You mean the wires running to the electric outlets?
I read (on the internet) that given how short the distances are (sheís a 44ft sailboat) wire size is not a significant factor.
Is that info incorrect?
All AC carrying wires, especially from the shore power connect to the distribution panel/breakers, as well as to the outlets.
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Old 30-08-2018, 15:41   #7
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Re: Converting 220v boat to 110v technical advice needed

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The shore power cable will be the usual marineco one that I can pick up at west marine.
Sorry my friend.. That is not a adequate answer.. YOU NEED TO GO TO YOUR BOAT AND LOOK AT THE WIRE SIZES.. If you are buying wire, then figure out the wire size you need.

Based on your answers.. I really think you should hire an electrician. I'm not trying to be offensive, but I seriously think it would be prudent.



Just an FYI.. wires that are rated for 16A @ 220V are only rated for 8A @ 120V (yes in half).
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Old 30-08-2018, 15:49   #8
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Re: Converting 220v boat to 110v technical advice needed

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..

Just an FYI.. wires that are rated for 16A @ 220V are only rated for 8A @ 120V (yes in half).
You might want to look this statement up. The amount of power they can safely transfer is half, not the amperage.
So in this case to get equivalent power you start with 16a at 220v as standard input. Then you would change to 120v at 30a input. So the 16 amp wires need to be upgraded to 30 amp capacity wires.
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Old 30-08-2018, 15:54   #9
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Re: Converting 220v boat to 110v technical advice needed

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You might want to look this statement up. The amount of power they can safely transfer is half, not the amperage.
So in this case to get equivalent power you start with 16a at 220v as standard input. Then you would change to 120v at 30a input. So the 16 amp wires need to be upgraded to 30 amp capacity wires.
Yes sorry.. A fopa after a full day in the sun at sailing camp with kids. You are correct, I had that backwards (ish).

However, that still doesn't change my suggestion that a marine electrician is a good idea.
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Old 30-08-2018, 15:58   #10
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Re: Converting 220v boat to 110v technical advice needed

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Yes sorry.. A fopa after a full day in the sun at sailing camp with kids. You are correct, I had that backwards (ish).

However, that still doesn't change my suggestion that a marine electrician is a good idea.
How many volts were then kids on?
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Old 30-08-2018, 16:03   #11
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Re: Converting 220v boat to 110v technical advice needed

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How many volts were then kids on?
21 kids on Open BICs split between 3 people in a super crowded bay was a metric Sh!tt0n of volts. Sigh, lets just say it was a long day (actually week) and I really enjoyed that first cold beer! Its been over +35c here every day this week and I think my brain has been baked.
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Old 30-08-2018, 16:11   #12
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Re: Converting 220v boat to 110v technical advice needed

I'm not sure what equipment is installed, but you also need to consider frequency. Beyond the voltage change (and required connection and larger wire-gauge requirements), your changing from 50Hz to 60Hz. Not everything will appreciate the change.
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Old 30-08-2018, 17:38   #13
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Re: Converting 220v boat to 110v technical advice needed

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Originally Posted by CalmSeasQuest View Post
I'm not sure what equipment is installed, but you also need to consider frequency. Beyond the voltage change (and required connection and larger wire-gauge requirements), your changing from 50Hz to 60Hz. Not everything will appreciate the change.


True but I donít have anything sensitive on board (yet). From what Iíve read things with motors or high draw equipment are susceptible to the frequency change you mentioned. I only have a water heater and a battery charger.
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Old 30-08-2018, 17:58   #14
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Re: Converting 220v boat to 110v technical advice needed

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Originally Posted by travellerw View Post
21 kids on Open BICs split between 3 people in a super crowded bay was a metric Sh!tt0n of volts. Sigh, lets just say it was a long day (actually week) and I really enjoyed that first cold beer! Its been over +35c here every day this week and I think my brain has been baked.


I sorta had that for a month but we had wind so it didnít feel that hot.
Ahem... getting back to my problem: yes, wire changes seem to be the consensus at this time.
Or a transformer which I really donít want to add.
There arenít that many ac plugs onboard so I can do that easily enough (I hope).

How about the other stuff I think I should change?
Will that (the shore cable, boatside connector and 220v/30amp circuit breaker) do the job?
Itís sailing season so every marine technician/electrician is busy. I might have been graced with an appt for next week sometime)
Bill said ďWhen sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalionsĒ. Two of my 3 solar panels didnít survive a transatlantic AND my engine wonít crank so I have a bit of a getting-power-onboard issue.
Iím hoping the starter battery is flat although the gauge says itís at 12.7v.
Iíll check to see what kind of wires are inside. Maybe theyíre the right kind by accident. Happens!
Iím usually not the kind of sailor who just calls someone to fix stuff for him unless itís something completely outside of my lane.
Electrical stuff... itís right at the edge of my comfort zone. I feel any sailor should be able to set up/fix a basic -though uncommon it seems- issue like this.
Although I completely support -as I have often done also financially in the past- the marine-electriciansí cause and union.
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Old 31-08-2018, 09:23   #15
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Re: Converting 220v boat to 110v technical advice needed

Do Nothing!!!!!!

Put a US 220 plug in your existing shore power cord and that’s it. That or make a simple adapter.

Use 220 appliances.

Install a small inverter and a few 110 outlets if you lot need to plug in a few 110 gadgets.

That’s it.

We had the exact same question and I did the above. So glad because most of the world is 220, your marina is 220, appliences are wicked easy to get these days.

One hour then you can go sailing.
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