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Old 10-07-2020, 14:12   #1
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European 240v to North American 120v

I am looking at purchasing an European wired sailboat for use in the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coast and possibility someday the Med or Pacific. Europe uses 240vAC, 50HZ whereas North America 120v, 60HZ. The boat has 240V outlets for shore power. The boat has a Victron 3600 Isolation Transformer and is being sold as an automatic ďplug and playĒ where I donít need to be concerned whether I plug into a 120V AC source or if I sail to the Med to a 240V AC source. The Victron will take care of it.

I would bet the European boats have smaller wiring since the amperage would be less with the 240V. I will need to put in air conditioning and perhaps add some other electrical devices in the future

With the present setup, what do I need to be concerned about, if anything, and what questions do I need to asking and looking for.

Thanks
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Old 10-07-2020, 15:31   #2
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Re: European 240v to North American 120v

Just to be sure you understand:
1. European power is 230VAC/50Hz delivered via three conductors; L, N and G. The 230VAC is between L and N.
2. USA power in this range is 240VAC/60Hs and is called single or split phase. It is delivered via four conductors; L1, L2, N and G. In a 240VAC marina (not a 208VAC supplied marina); L1 > L2 provides 240VAC/60Hz; L1 > N and L2 > N both provide 120VAC/60Hz.

These shore power systems are significantly different.

If you already know all of this then I will sit down in the back of the room��
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Old 10-07-2020, 16:07   #3
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Re: European 240v to North American 120v

The Victron 3600 Auto Isolation transformer will automatically detect what the shore power (incoming) voltage is. It's output (boat) voltage is determined by some jumpers inside. If it is installed on a euro boat then it is set up for 230V. When you plug in to US shore power it will step up the voltage from 120v to 230v. It will NOT alter the shore power frequency of either 50 or 60Hz. There is much discussion over what effect this has on different appliances on board. I will stay away from that discussion.
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Old 10-07-2020, 18:05   #4
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Smile Re: European 240v to North American 120v

Thanks CharlieJ

I know only the basic differences so that helps so donít go to the back of the room . On a more practical level, do I need to steer away from an European wired boat with a Victron 3600 Isolation Transformer or am I concerned over nothing? I believe the boat has an European microwave in the galley and I would bet it is a 50HZ device that might be a problem but I believe most the other electronics and devices should work. Any thoughts?
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Old 10-07-2020, 18:48   #5
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Re: European 240v to North American 120v

Will be a constant source of nuisance with power adapters and such. You had better be a pretty good electrician - few electricians will know what they are looking at so will need to come up to speed on every single repair. Breakers are different, wiring different, etc.

Are you sure this is the right idea?
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Old 10-07-2020, 18:54   #6
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Re: European 240v to North American 120v

I wouldn't convert the boat to 120V, this will require replacing the harness (unless the boat is a US made). Using the 240V in the USA wouldn't work properly. The best would be to have a generator and be self sufficient in the USA.
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Old 10-07-2020, 19:09   #7
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Re: European 240v to North American 120v

Don’t let people confuse you; what you want is easy and most people don’t really understand this but feel the need to post anyway

The question is what else do you have besides the isolation transformer? Is there a Multiplus inverter/charger aboard?

If you have that, it will be a 230V/50Hz unit which is fine as you can reprogram it to 240V/60Hz as well as disable the neutral grounding relay. Then You connect the output to a Victron Auto Transformer and you get the familiar 120-0-120 US standard at 60Hz.

Yes, you may have to buy a new microwave besides the auto transformer but that’s all. You will have a much better installation than most other boats. You can also get a 240V A/C.
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Old 10-07-2020, 19:15   #8
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Re: European 240v to North American 120v

Itís a US made boat but wired for a European buyer 20 years ago. He sailed it back to the US and is now selling it here.
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Old 10-07-2020, 19:33   #9
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Re: European 240v to North American 120v

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Originally Posted by rmbriggs View Post
Itís a US made boat but wired for a European buyer 20 years ago. He sailed it back to the US and is now selling it here.
If built in the US it was probably built with conductors sized for 120V rather than the smaller guage for euro 240V
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Old 11-07-2020, 07:36   #10
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Re: European 240v to North American 120v

Thanks s/v Jedi. As I investigate more, it seems the Victron Isolation Transformer automatically transforms 120V to 240V when connected to 120V/60HZ shore power but the 60Hz is unchanged. Everything would then work except the 50Hz sensitive appliances such as a microwave or vacuum cleaner.

If connected to a 240V shore power source (whether 50Hz or 60Hz) , the Victron Isolation Transformer would automatically just pass through the voltage at whatever the Hz (it would not convert the Hz). It would seem if I installed a 240V air conditioner the Victron would take care of it regardless of the shore power voltage. I would have to check if the air conditioner would be sensitive to the Hz - it might because of the motor/blower. I do not believe the European microwave presently on the boat would work as it should. Any future devices would need to be 240V compliant.

All the AC plug outlets on the boat are European style so inexpensive adapter plugs would need to be used. Although the plug voltage after transforming shore power would be 240V/60Hz, most all North American electronic devices, computers, etc., should work and not be damaged. Am I thinking this correctly?
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Old 11-07-2020, 09:10   #11
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Re: European 240v to North American 120v

The only concern between 60hz and 50hz is how fast or slow wired motors runs. Equipment without motors doesn't matter whether it's 50hz or 60hz. such as heating elements (waterheater, oven, electric stove top, etc.)
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Old 11-07-2020, 09:22   #12
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Re: European 240v to North American 120v

We have nearly the same situation....ours is an Asian-made boat that we've brought back to the US (Caribb). Our boat was built to 230vAC, 50 Hz power, and power was not an issue in Asia or the Medd. But when we got to the Caribb, we had the power mismatch, and ended up installing a Victron Auto-sensing Isolation Transformer. We carry both EU and US shore-power cords, both with an end that matches the shore-power inlet on the boat. Which ever power we plug into, the xfmr senses the voltage and sends the correct (230v) power to the boat system....no hassle! I did install a 230v-110v transformer, and wired in a couple of 110v outlets (galley, head) so we can use 110v appliances. But all the boat sees 230v AC all the time, and it is happy. The only issue is the amps from the power pole....drawing from a 110v power pole (30 amps) means we can only run about 17 amps on the boat or we pop the pole c/b. Don't worry about the boat wiring-its designed for 230v and that's what it sees. And YES...the freqs are different. But we've run both 60Hz appliances on 50Hz, and 50Hz appliances on 60Hz. We've had no issues with that. We do have a 3/4 hp electric motor(230v, 50Hz) driving or refer system.....it runs a little faster on the 60Hz power we see here in the Caribb, but no issues over the last 6 seasons. Our watermaker uses a 3/4hp electric motor, again designed for 230v, 50Hz. We rarely run it in the marina (connected to shore power) but we have-again with no issues. Our genset puts out 230v, 50Hz power, so the microwave, toaster, etc all see 50Hz power when we're cruising, and 60Hz power when we're in a marina....again, so far, NO issues-our current microwave has been in service for 5 years now! Most AC electronics (batt chrgr, etc) are tolerent of both 50/60Hz power, but check it to be sure. With that xfmr installed, and if you carry both power cords-not an issue!
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Old 11-07-2020, 10:20   #13
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Re: European 240v to North American 120v

US240VAC/60Hs was previously a 3-wire service. Changed to 4-wire sometime between my old and new dryer.
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Old 11-07-2020, 10:34   #14
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Re: European 240v to North American 120v

I have a Euro wired boat ie 240v 50 Hz. I added another inverter for 110v 50 Hz and installed a few outlets in strategic areas such as galley and engine room. When 110v 60 Hz is available I just use that dedicated shore power plug. Unless you plan to spend most of you boat life in North America having the ability to use 240v 50 Hz is very valuable.
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Old 11-07-2020, 11:07   #15
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Re: European 240v to North American 120v

Quote:
Originally Posted by rmbriggs View Post
Thanks s/v Jedi. As I investigate more, it seems the Victron Isolation Transformer automatically transforms 120V to 240V when connected to 120V/60HZ shore power but the 60Hz is unchanged. Everything would then work except the 50Hz sensitive appliances such as a microwave or vacuum cleaner.

If connected to a 240V shore power source (whether 50Hz or 60Hz) , the Victron Isolation Transformer would automatically just pass through the voltage at whatever the Hz (it would not convert the Hz). It would seem if I installed a 240V air conditioner the Victron would take care of it regardless of the shore power voltage. I would have to check if the air conditioner would be sensitive to the Hz - it might because of the motor/blower. I do not believe the European microwave presently on the boat would work as it should. Any future devices would need to be 240V compliant.

All the AC plug outlets on the boat are European style so inexpensive adapter plugs would need to be used. Although the plug voltage after transforming shore power would be 240V/60Hz, most all North American electronic devices, computers, etc., should work and not be damaged. Am I thinking this correctly?
You see it correctly. Do you know if you have an inverter/charger aboard and what brand and model it is?

With the auto transformer I mentioned, you create 120V again and can add some 120V outlets which is very convenient.
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