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Old 12-08-2018, 00:03   #16
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Re: Boat Voltage 110/220?

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Originally Posted by Ubifig View Post
My wife and I are beginning our search for our retirement live-aboard catamaran. For sale are boats equipped with 110V systems and others with 220V systems. Our plans are to sail many years throughout the Caribbean, then venture to South America and Asia Pacific Regions. What is the recommended and best voltage system for our sailing plans, or does it matter when hooking up to shore power? Thank you.
Reality is the idea to set up a multi-voltage charger and a large inverter solves the issue...but other than keeping an eye on the issue, it's too far down the line to make a big issue about it.

Buy the boat that serves your current needs not the "ultimate" boat. Most people doing that spend a lot more money and never take advantage of it. I'm betting 95% of people who buy a boat to sail around the world never do a multi-day offshore passage. You might be the exception but if you are playing the odds...good chance you never leave the Caribbean.

I would make one exception: If you are buying a boat to keep locally for years, getting it to match the local power makes a lot of sense as over those years, you will need repairs and replacements and it's easier to go to the local shop and pick up pieces and parts. But if you are going to be on the move wandering, you will deal with inconsistent power no matter which option you choose.
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Old 12-08-2018, 00:06   #17
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Re: Boat Voltage 110/220?

I found this article interesting and the map useful... https://www.worldstandards.eu/electr...andard-voltage
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Old 12-08-2018, 00:07   #18
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Re: Boat Voltage 110/220?

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If you have 110V it is very easy and inexpensive to change your Boat to 220V
The other way, 220V to 110V not so easy.
Comes down to wattage required through the cabling. 110V requires twice the current for equivalent wattage as 220V. So if the boat is wired for 110V new cabling is not required for 220. However 220V wiring usually includes separate conductors for earth, neutral and live whereas some 110V wiring does not include the earth conductor. Also 220V wiring has polarized sockets and non polarized are often used with 110V. Also the AC voltages vary quiet a lot from place to place even in the same countries. It's usually the maximum voltage the system is regulated to which causes the problem.

Going the route of using an inverter and a good, high output battery charger will probably work out simpler in the long run.
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Old 12-08-2018, 00:09   #19
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Re: Boat Voltage 110/220?

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For the same power consumption, amperage at 240v will be half the amperage at 120v.



Amperage determines wire sizing. Higher amps require bigger wires. So if you want to convert an existing boat, going from 120v to 240v, the wiring is typically big enough to accommodate the 240v amperage without being replaced. So in theory, you just need to swap out the breaker panel and the outlet/plugs.



Going the other way 240v to 120v, the wires may need to be replaced if they are not large enough.



Of course the really expensive part of a conversion is the major built in AC appliances.


Thanks. That part I understand.

I was thinking stepping up 110 to 220 or stepping down 220 to 110?
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Old 12-08-2018, 00:16   #20
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Boat Voltage 110/220?

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Originally Posted by valhalla360 View Post
Reality is the idea to set up a multi-voltage charger and a large inverter solves the issue...but other than keeping an eye on the issue, it's too far down the line to make a big issue about it.



Buy the boat that serves your current needs not the "ultimate" boat. Most people doing that spend a lot more money and never take advantage of it. I'm betting 95% of people who buy a boat to sail around the world never do a multi-day offshore passage. You might be the exception but if you are playing the odds...good chance you never leave the Caribbean.



I would make one exception: If you are buying a boat to keep locally for years, getting it to match the local power makes a lot of sense as over those years, you will need repairs and replacements and it's easier to go to the local shop and pick up pieces and parts. But if you are going to be on the move wandering, you will deal with inconsistent power no matter which option you choose.


Good advice!

And then upgrade to LifePo4 batteries and max out solar and you very seldom need to be connected to shore.
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Old 12-08-2018, 03:52   #21
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Re: Boat Voltage 110/220?

No one has mentioned using an insulating transformer between the shore power and the boat's 220 or 110V system.


If you install a transformer made for 50Hz it will also handle 60Hz, but not 50Hz. You have to choose one with sufficient amp handling to our anticipated use. Such a transfomer should have both 110 and 220V input and output winding. The extra benefit you get is a far better protection against stray currents and a safer system
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Old 12-08-2018, 04:13   #22
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Re: Boat Voltage 110/220?

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Thanks. That part I understand.

I was thinking stepping up 110 to 220 or stepping down 220 to 110?
If you simply step the voltage (up or down) with a transformer, you don't change the frequency (50 vs 60hz). For some devices, it doesn't matter.
- Most newer electronics don't care (look for the UL sticker...if it shows 120-240V 50-60hz it doesn't matter what you plug it into). If the UL sticker doesn't show universal voltage, you might fry the item in seconds.
- Most resistance loads (like a toaster), as long as you get the voltage right, it's not going to matter much.
- Motors (like an air/con compressor) is where the biggest issues come in. They may or may not be OK and they may seem to run fine but slowly cook the wiring.

The battery charger/inverter option does the same job as a transformer but it does it better because it not only changes the voltage, it also changes the frequency. It's a good quality one, it will put out better quality power than you get from the plug.
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Old 12-08-2018, 04:18   #23
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Re: Boat Voltage 110/220?

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No one has mentioned using an insulating transformer between the shore power and the boat's 220 or 110V system.


If you install a transformer made for 50Hz it will also handle 60Hz, but not 50Hz. You have to choose one with sufficient amp handling to our anticipated use. Such a transfomer should have both 110 and 220V input and output winding. The extra benefit you get is a far better protection against stray currents and a safer system

To my understanding transformers care less about Hz. They only
step up or down voltage. The frequency on the grid will be the one that comes in to the boat.
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Old 12-08-2018, 05:00   #24
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Re: Boat Voltage 110/220?

On the issue of tranformer and voltage frequency in my previous post:


The iron core in such low frequecy transformer has to be designed and made for efficient transfer between the primary and secondary winding. The lower the frequecy the more iron is needed. Normally a 60Hz designed tranformer will have a poor 50Hz handling, but a 50Hz transformer will handle 60Hz with ease.



There is certainly no AC freqency change inside a tranformer. 60Hz in will be 60Hz out and 50Hz in will be 50Hz out.



I would assume the usual payloads (equipment) will work equally well on both frequencies unless they contain internal transformers not intended/designed to handle 50Hz, though I would think most supplier make their products able to handle both frequencies, anyway I would check just to be sure if you plan to visit countries with 50Hz. My last comment applies whether you use an inslulating tranformer or not.



The main benefit for my own boat is to be galvanicly insulated from the shore power and potential stray currents harming exposed metal parts under the boat and wear off the sacrificial anodes far too fast.
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Old 12-08-2018, 09:29   #25
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Re: Boat Voltage 110/220?

Re: Boat Voltage 110/220?
Hate to complicate this question further for you but 220/240v come in 3 and 4 wire configurations from a dock depending where in the world you are. In North America typically you will find 220v only with 50amp service.
A 75ft 50amp 4 wire shore connect cable weighs at least 55lbs!!
You will also need 50amp boat side receptacles.
This is because NA (Canada Mexico and the US) marina’s typically use two hot 110 wires to create 220v and use the ground wire in a 3 wire cable as a neutral.
The 50amp plugs are 3 pin with a ground connected to the outside of the plug, but the cable is 4 wire. Hence the weight.
Other countries with native 240v utilise the usual hot, neutral and ground needing only 3 much lighter wires.
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Old 12-08-2018, 12:20   #26
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Re: Boat Voltage 110/220?

Just add another inverter and wire a few outlets to it for whatever voltage your boat is missing. We did and it makes life so much easier.
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Old 15-08-2018, 12:41   #27
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Re: Boat Voltage 110/220?

a multi-voltage charger, a set of adaptors for your shorepower plug and a good inverter should cover all the bases. Unless you have a high output wind generator or a high amp alternator you may have difficulties charging a large battery bank when not connected to shore power.
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Old 15-08-2018, 13:35   #28
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Re: Boat Voltage 110/220?

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Originally Posted by valhalla360 View Post
For the same power consumption, amperage at 240v will be half the amperage at 120v.

Amperage determines wire sizing. Higher amps require bigger wires. So if you want to convert an existing boat, going from 120v to 240v, the wiring is typically big enough to accommodate the 240v amperage without being replaced. So in theory, you just need to swap out the breaker panel and the outlet/plugs.

Going the other way 240v to 120v, the wires may need to be replaced if they are not large enough.

Of course the really expensive part of a conversion is the major built in AC appliances.
And the hot water element probably.
As you say 110v to 220V is pretty much flicking a switch. The power sockets in the boat can easily be changes to suit the country but a simple travel
adaptor for each socket does the trick.
Going the other way 229V to 110V is far more complex and costly.
BTW what self respecting yachty who invariably chooses to anchor would dream of having aircon?
Just asking the question.
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