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Old 29-07-2021, 07:38   #16
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Re: Would You Buy a European 220V Boat for Use North America

One caveat to the “you can do it” is replacing 220V appliances in the US if/when you need to do so. Again, it can be done, depends in part on the appliance, and the difficulty level can be anything from easy-peasy to pain-in-the rear.
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Old 29-07-2021, 07:46   #17
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Re: Would You Buy a European 220V Boat for Use North America

Thanks for all the great advice everyone. It sounds to me like this can be done safely by a professional. Not knowing exactly what steps the current and previous owner took to be able to use standard shore power in NA. We have decided to hire an ABYA certified marine electrician to review the set up to ensure everything is up to close/standards, is safe, and will not affect any of the appliances negatively.

Again, Thanks for the assistance

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Old 29-07-2021, 09:24   #18
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Re: Would You Buy a European 220V Boat for Use North America

We did it....and it's not a big deal. First off EU power is 230v, not 220v. and the 230v EU system is a 3 wire(Hot Neutral, and ground) just like the US 110v system; 220v is 4 wire(2 hots neutral, and ground, 220v between the 2 hots, 110 between the hot and neutral). Our boat was built for Asia (same as EU pwr). When we got to the Caribbean, we ended up installing a Vicron Auto sensing Isolation transformer. We plug into a marina shore power 110v, 30 amp pole, the xfmr senses the incoming 110 and puts out 230v, and the boat knows no difference, except the frequency. So our few electric motors run a little faster while we're in a marina---which is very infrequent. Our on-board genset puts out 230v 50cps power, just as always, and the boat systems do not know the difference. I also made a pigtail so I can plug into a 230v EU power pole when we encounter it....and it just passes straight thru the Isolation xfmr automatically. We also bought a 1500w, 220/110 transformer. I wired it in, and use it to power 3 dedicated 110v outlets I installed (2 in the galley, one in the mstr head). The frequency difference has been un-noticed to us- or to our installed equipment (AC motor for the refer/50 Hz, AC motor for the watermaker/50Hz, and m/w from Walmart). Everything else does not care what the freqs are. And each of those 3 have been onboard/used for 5-10 years, so I'd guess....not an issue! Our TV, laptop power, printer power, etc all work via a small, dedicated inverter off the 12v DC system, with square-wave 110v-and they're happy. The real issue is if you try to use the installed wiring, sized and designed for 230v use, to try to get the same power (watts) out of it. Power (watts) is volts x amps; if you use half the voltage (230 to 110) you need to double the amps to get the same power out.....and the smaller wires designed for 230v will heat-or maybe catch fire-if you double the amp load they need to carry.....NOT a good plan. So unless you plan to rewire the boat circuits with heavier wire, use a transformer and just change the inlet power. I should add we've been out of the Medd and Asia(230v, 50Hz pwr standard) now since 2014, and in the Caribbean (with US 110v, 60 Hz power).
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Old 29-07-2021, 09:27   #19
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Re: Would You Buy a European 220V Boat for Use North America

Sorry...I forgot to mention....most all of the world uses 230v 50Hz power. Only the Us and a very few other locations use 110v, 60Hz power! Depending on where you intend to sail may play a part in your decision (If you have a 110v boat and sail the Medd, you have the problem in reverse!).
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Old 29-07-2021, 09:31   #20
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Re: Would You Buy a European 220V Boat for Use North America

Depends... if 220V is generated on board for on board use... why not.
But I think you will face other problems like the bloody ICE standards versus US standards.
And I think this is THE BIG problem and not the Voltage which can be converted without much expenses.
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Old 29-07-2021, 09:32   #21
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Re: Would You Buy a European 220V Boat for Use North America

It would be more accurate to say that most of the world uses 50Hz at approximately 230v. The actual situation is pretty varied within limits. Click image for larger version

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Old 29-07-2021, 09:47   #22
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Re: Would You Buy a European 220V Boat for Use North America

Converting all the systems basically means a complete rewire and replacing all the mains equipment. If the purchase price is right and reflects an electrical system at the end of its life this may be a reasonable thing to do as part of a complete systems and machinery update but you should be looking at somewhere around a 'bare hull' price.
That said there is another option. These days it is not difficult to create a US style twin phase system that converts 120v to 230v using an auto transformer. This then needs the 120v wiring added. This rout allows you to use plug in 120v equipment such as coffee makers. The frequency discrepancy is not a big issue for most equipment and it give you the option to run high power devices on 220v.

A second alternative is to isolate all the boats AC from shore power and run from an inverter. Then you use shore power only to run a battery charger. Has some good points and is the way to go for a temporary change but does not give you the 120v circuits so you cannot add locally sources equipment unless you have 2 inverters so if you want that it is better to go the transformer route.
All of these conversions require professional level electrical competence however and if you are going to pay someone to do the design and installation I doubt it would be economic.
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Old 29-07-2021, 11:19   #23
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Re: Would You Buy a European 220V Boat for Use North America

If the equipment being powered is not frequency sensitive you could use a step up transformer where shore power connects to the system.

https://www.amazon.com/www.amazon.us...language=en_US

If you have specific 110v appliances that you add to the boat you could have individual step down transformers for each one.

https://www.amazon.com/Adapter-Volta...62972612&psc=1
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Old 29-07-2021, 11:42   #24
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Re: Would You Buy a European 220V Boat for Use North America

We are on a 2009 Lagoon 440 configured for 230v 50hz.
On the US East Coast and Bahamas for the last 2 years.

I'm not going to say it "Just works" as I don't want to offend others - but with a little intelligence it can be done quite easily.

We aren't marina queens at all, but for when we are on the dock I replaced the dual shore power connectors (Boat and AirCon) with a single 50amp Smartplug.
I wired it so that both circuits feed from the same shore power cord and 50 amps is actually plenty.

The stock Dolphin 80 Amp charger did not care about the Hz and neither did our AirCon (motors are stamped for 50/60) or even our stock microwave or Dessalator Duo watermaker. We may have killed our Soba 1000 washing machine but I don't think so. It still totally washes but the cycle advance switch no longer reliably advances. So we MAY have killed that last year - but that is still only a maybe. (The pump and motor work fine)

We had a cheap Amazon 3000 Watt Sine Wave inverter that ran off our 12V bank to power our US 120v appliances we could not easily get 230/50 versions of. Our Espresso machine and InstaPot primarily.

NOW we are doing the additional solar, LiFePO4, inverter upgrades that you do once you have figured out you want to do this at least a few more years and want to make your new "home" comfortable. Since we do plan to travel the globe over time, I am glad to have the 230/50 version but have not yet bitten the bullet to buy all 230/50 appliances and pay the cost of shipping them here. Maybe as we travel we will pick them up.

So I'm installing a 230v/50hz 8000VA 24vdc Quattro that will be our primary charger/inverter. Installing a 24vdc service bank with DC-DC converters for the 12 volt only items (upgrading windlass motor and solenoid to 24 volts) and then installing a MultiPlus 120v/60hz 3000VA 24vdc so that when I am in a location that doesn't have a 50 amp 240 outlet or if I'm hauled out in the yard and have a measly 15amp 120v outlet - I can still keep my batteries charged if the solar can't maintain and run pretty much any AC appliance from the batteries.

I know you didn't ask about all that - but I did want to paint a picture of the way we are working with the 230/50 wired boat we have. We also removed the propane stove and cooktop and went induction and electric oven. So we will be relying heavily on our batteries and solar (and occasionally generator) while we travel.
I think in the long run it is right for us.

IF we were always going to be in the US/Bahamas - then it makes no sense if there was a choice.
But I would not ever tackle a conversion of the whole boat from 230/50 to 120/60 either (and that is saying a lot as my 12-24 volt DC change is such an involved process)
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Old 29-07-2021, 11:52   #25
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Re: Would You Buy a European 220V Boat for Use North America

We did. There are plenty of options without ripping out and replacing all your AC wiring to accommodate the higher amperage of a 120 volt AC system.
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Old 29-07-2021, 11:53   #26
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Re: Would You Buy a European 220V Boat for Use North America

Maybe I'm missing something here, but why so complicated? Simply get a step up 110 to 220 converter and plug it in between your shore power and the power intake on the boat. Problem solved! You will have to keep it protected from rain, but that's about it. Tell me what's wrong with that.

Now if you want to use additional plug-in appliances that weren't built into the boat, like you want to plug in your own toaster, microwave, tv etc from home then simply make sure it's dual voltage and get plug adapters. You would be surprised how much you have that's dual voltage already and you don't even realize it. Basically these days everything with an internal battery is already dual voltage. For example, the Nintendo Switch says: "Input: 100-240 V~ 50/60 Hz" so you can use it anywhere.

Many hair dryers/coffee pots have a switch that lets you do it. Lamps generally are dual voltage, but you need 220v bulbs. But honestly I have never seen anyone plug a shore power lamp into their boat.
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Old 29-07-2021, 11:55   #27
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Re: Would You Buy a European 220V Boat for Use North America

Sorry, I should have added, "without going with transformers." We tried it. They are expensive, heavy, generate lots of heat (can't be in a closed up area) and make a lot of racket.
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Old 29-07-2021, 12:06   #28
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Re: Would You Buy a European 220V Boat for Use North America

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmschmidt View Post
Sorry, I should have added, "without going with transformers." We tried it. They are expensive, heavy, generate lots of heat (can't be in a closed up area) and make a lot of racket.
Mine, a Charles Industries Iso-G2, is in a closed space and can't be heard unless you stick your head under the bed where it is (and yes, I have recently tested good hearing, you're all right to be skeptical of that). I think the noise and heat are inversely related to the quality/cost of the transformer, so while the cheap ones might not be great the quality ones are pretty invisible. They are definitely heavy though.
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Old 29-07-2021, 13:29   #29
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Re: Would You Buy a European 220V Boat for Use North America

We also bought a 230v / 50hz European boat which we’ve sailed in the US for the past 3 years. Everything works fine, and we plug in wherever we want. We don’t have any 120v / 60hz outlets or appliances on the boat, although we could easily add a 120v inverter for that if we wanted… we simply haven’t felt the need.

For us, there are three things that make this work smoothly and easily:
1) Installed Victron auto sensing transformer as mentioned above
2) Added a 120v 30 amp shore inlet and breakers that allow us to select between the 120v and 230/240v shore inlet
3) Replaced inverter with a Victron unit that has the ability to limit the amount of current pulled from shore, and supplement it with (inverted) power from batteries if A/C loads exceed the programmed shore power limit. Many boats will already have this.

With this setup, we can plug in to 120 or 240 in the US, or to 230v single phase (European std, with a plug adapter), and can run anything on the boat. Admittedly, we can’t run everything simultaneously. E.g., we have two air conditioners and two water heaters (catamaran)… and can’t run all 4 at the same time, but can usually run 3 of the four from a 30A shore connection.

It needs to be done thoughtfully, but it’s not hard, provided you work with a competent marine electrician.
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Old 29-07-2021, 13:48   #30
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Re: Would You Buy a European 220V Boat for Use North America

I know both Amel and Hallberg Rassy are 230v and there are several in the U.S.A. Frequently on SV Delos (YouTube) Bryan mentions the electrics on the boat.
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