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Old 28-07-2021, 09:19   #1
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Would You Buy a European 220V Boat for Use North America

Hello Everyone,

I'm looking for some advice regarding buying a European 220V boat that will mainly be used in the US, Bahamas, and down the line in the Caribbean. would we be able to utilize standard 110V shore power when in a marina to run AC's, fridges, battery charger, etc. If so, would that shorten the life span of the appliances?

Anyone who is currently or has in the past had a 220V boat in the US, I'd really appreciate any input you could provide.

Thanks for any help,

M
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Old 28-07-2021, 09:24   #2
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Re: Would You Buy a European 220V Boat for Use North America

In a word no. The cabling will be under rated and the systems line fridges etc will be expecting 50 hz

Conversion is possible or changing to an all dc boat and installing a 110 invertor for misc mains appliances.
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Old 28-07-2021, 09:35   #3
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Re: Would You Buy a European 220V Boat for Use North America

I wouldn't either. There are global energy systems that will run the boat anywhere on any current (Atlas being one) but it's complex and expensive.

I knew a guy, an architect, who got a deal on a 43 foot european motoryacht from one of his clients. It was a well made boat but no one would work on it. Finding parts was impossible. Adding circuits was difficult. Never ending source of issues. As if owning a boat doesn't have enough issues.
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Old 28-07-2021, 09:38   #4
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Re: Would You Buy a European 220V Boat for Use North America

My friend bought a 43-foot Beneteau... a 2006 Beneteau Cyclades 43, I believe. He bought it in St. Lucia and it was 220V. He had it for a good 5-6 years. It was okay... not easy, but not really the end of the world.

Would "I" do it? Probably not. But is it doable? Sure... anything is. But as mentioned, there's going to be issues you may not think of yet.
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Old 28-07-2021, 09:44   #5
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Re: Would You Buy a European 220V Boat for Use North America

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Originally Posted by Cool Hand Luke View Post
My friend bought a 43-foot Beneteau... a 2006 Beneteau Cyclades 43, I believe. He bought it in St. Lucia and it was 220V. He had it for a good 5-6 years. It was okay... not easy, but not really the end of the world.

Would "I" do it? Probably not. But is it doable? Sure... anything is. But as mentioned, there's going to be issues you may not think of yet.
Sounds like he sold it? Did the electrical system affect resale, either in price or length of time to sell?

Peter
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Old 28-07-2021, 09:52   #6
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Re: Would You Buy a European 220V Boat for Use North America

We have a 220V/50Hz Euro boat and have had it in 110/120V/60Hz land for a few years now. Our boat is “energy light”, i.e. we don’t have extensive power needs, no air conditioning, etc.

We added a second 30A inlet for 110V (with appropriate protections, etc.) that feeds a battery charger. Everything on the boat is run from the 220V inverter (the fridge/freezer already run from a dedicated inverter anyway). Very easy for us, but it all depends on your energy usage, appliances, etc.
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Old 28-07-2021, 14:29   #7
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Re: Would You Buy a European 220V Boat for Use North America

I should add that the boat has been in the US as a live aboard for the past 7 years and has been able to use shore power, step down transformer, I think
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Old 28-07-2021, 15:00   #8
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Re: Would You Buy a European 220V Boat for Use North America

Depends on the boat. Mine was 220v and was mostly converted. The reefer was 12v, so no issue there. The oven/stove is propane. The power inlet was converted, so were the receptacles. The battery charger had a simple jumper change. The water heater element was apparently changed. However, the 2.5mm power inlet wires were missed and I changed them to awg10. I replaced some 220v labels with 120v in various places. The a/c units were added after the conversion.
Some work, but not a huge effort.
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Old 28-07-2021, 17:43   #9
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Re: Would You Buy a European 220V Boat for Use North America

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Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
In a word no. The cabling will be under rated and the systems line fridges etc will be expecting 50 hz

Conversion is possible or changing to an all dc boat and installing a 110 invertor for misc mains appliances.
It really depends on the boat when it comes to wiring size. The Mahe 36, for example, is wired the same for U.S. and European boats so it's simply a matter of changing circuit breakers if you want to put the same amount of watts through a circuit as the 110v version of the same boat. I converted my Mahe from 220 to 110 in an afternoon by changing out circuit breakers and the hot water heater element as well as installing U.S. style outlets, although I could just as easily kept the European ones and used conversion plugs and even the water heater would have been fine with the old element just much slower.

As far as the frequency issue, again it depends what you have installed. No AC electric motors and the frequency is really a moot point. You can easily step voltage up or down with most isolation transformers.

One idea I've heard if you do have 50 hz motors on AC or other equipment is to buy two large inverter/chargers. Usually the charger can take either voltage or at least is insensitive to frequency. You feed it's dc output directly to the 220v 50hz inverter which powers the boat with it originally intended power source.
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Old 28-07-2021, 18:55   #10
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Re: Would You Buy a European 220V Boat for Use North America

I bought a Beneteau 40 CC that was sailed over from EU. It was all 220v and the PO did some intermediate steps to get it able to connect to NA shore power. I believe she installed a Victron Centaur 10v|60a battery charger that had a switch to take in 110v or 220v, which is nice. She had a 16/32a receptacle that used an adapter to take power via the NA 50a shore power. This allowed her to run the boat 220v inside while getting shore power. She did convert some systems to 110v, mainly a microwave and Dometic AC unit, but outlets and water heater are still 220v while the refrigerator is ?? (It died so I am replacing it now).

What I did was make it a dual voltage boat. I installed a separate NA 50a circuit outside, got rid of the battery charger and replaced it with a Victron Multiplus 12v|120a|3000w inverter. I ran new 110v AC outlets all over the boat and kept the original 220v outlets. So it’s now running 220v or 110v, depending on which outlet I plug into. This way when sailing around the world, I can use any shore power or appliance, while making most of the boat 110v ready. I now have 2 ac panels, one for 110v outlets and original for 220v.

I think the only thing I’d want to do later is connect that original 16/32a shore power circuit to a battery charger or something so it could charge batteries while plugged into the EU shore power, but I still need to investigate that.
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Old 28-07-2021, 18:55   #11
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Re: Would You Buy a European 220V Boat for Use North America

So many people are so quick to say it canít be done, but they donít know much about it, apparently.

As somebody who sails a 220V Euro boat in North America I am here to tell you it can be done.

There are issues to be aware of, but it is not as black and white as some people thinkÖ. Keeping the boat as 220V is the way to go, converting it to 110V is a nightmare, and basically means the whole boat needs rewording since amp draw of every thing doubles.

Can you plug a 220V boat into 110V shore power? Yes, actually you can, and have 220V in the boat, no need for a transformer even. It takes a bit of fussing, but you basically use the two hot wires in a 50Amp 125/250 outlet that are 180 degrees out of phase and you have 240V (which is fine).

To do this safely requires that the boat be outfitted with double pole breakers, which most modern boats from premium builders are.

Yes, that does leave you with 60Hz power instead of 50Hz. Most things actually do fine. Everything on our boat runs fine on either frequency except the microwave and the clothes washer. Our AC units work fine on 220V/60Hz, as well as all our portable appliances.
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Old 28-07-2021, 21:08   #12
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Re: Would You Buy a European 220V Boat for Use North America

If your going to sit on a dock in the USA ...its certainly doable with a transformer but youd be better off sticking with a 110v system.

Please keep in mind that if your going to cross oceans and travel most of the rest of the world is on 220v....better system actually and you'll need a transformer to operate your 110 volt system if you were using it. So for world traveling the 220v is a better choice but like 220v in the USA a 110v system is doable world wide by simply using a transformer.

Small 12 volt inverters using 110v or 220v are easy to come by and they will charge all your toys from cameras to laptops and everything in between. The only thing you need a transformer for is to be able to charge your batteries.

We have used a 220v system for 10 years and it really wasn't a problem...in many marinas for longer stays they will get you 220v no problem...I certainly wouldn't let that determine which boat I bought.
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Old 29-07-2021, 06:39   #13
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Re: Would You Buy a European 220V Boat for Use North America

Pedantry switch on : most of the world is nominally 230VAC and the US is nominally 120 VAC
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Old 29-07-2021, 06:51   #14
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Would You Buy a European 220V Boat for Use North America

Quote:
Originally Posted by BillKny View Post
So many people are so quick to say it canít be done, but they donít know much about it, apparently.



As somebody who sails a 220V Euro boat in North America I am here to tell you it can be done.


Brill , a person that has done the conversion is about to tell us all. !!

Quote:

There are issues to be aware of, but it is not as black and white as some people thinkÖ. Keeping the boat as 220V is the way to go, converting it to 110V is a nightmare, and basically means the whole boat needs rewording since amp draw of every thing doubles.
Huh , I see itís simple to convert by not actually converting anything , ok......


Quote:
Can you plug a 220V boat into 110V shore power? Yes, actually you can, and have 220V in the boat, no need for a transformer even. It takes a bit of fussing, but you basically use the two hot wires in a 50Amp 125/250 outlet that are 180 degrees out of phase and you have 240V (which is fine).



To do this safely requires that the boat be outfitted with double pole breakers, which most modern boats from premium builders are.


Iíve not been in a boat recently where the MCBs are double pole , the main RCBO is double pole of course

Without all breakers being double pole you essentially have a very dangerous situation with split phase

I presume your insurance company is fully appraised , of course it is , as you say , you clearly know itís all so simple

Quote:
Yes, that does leave you with 60Hz power instead of 50Hz. Most things actually do fine. Everything on our boat runs fine on either frequency except the microwave and the clothes washer. Our AC units work fine on 220V/60Hz, as well as all our portable appliances.

Everything works fine except some things donít work fine. ... I see

To summarise

Itís all simple , donít actually convert anything , then engage in a very dodgy practice of running split phase into a system designed for single phase. A random list of equipment may or may not work.


Letís hope someone following your concept doesnít have protective earth ever connected to neutral !!


Thatís alright then so.
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Old 29-07-2021, 07:31   #15
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Re: Would You Buy a European 220V Boat for Use North America

If really comes down to the boat builder's decisions on wire size. If they went the cheapest route and sized all the wiring near the amp draw of appliances at 220 you will need to replace it or,,, use newer appliances with an equal amp draw at 110 volts.


It REALLY comes down to amperage on any given circuit. You could even replace all circuit breakers with half the ampacity. Example: a 20 amp circuit becomes a 10 amp circuit. Keep in mind, the circuit breaker is there to protect the wiring, not the appliance.
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