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Old 27-10-2016, 22:26   #1
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Buying boat w/ 230v power. Good idea?

As I continue my search for a cruising boat, I'm trying to decide if I should consider European boats with 230v electrics if I plan to cruise in the Florida area and the Caribbean, at least to start.

First of all I presume that rewiring the boat and changing systems to 110v is not a good idea and it's better to leave the boat running 230v. Is that correct?

What about shore power in marinas in Florida and the Caribbean? Any problems getting power? Special shore power cables required?

Getting electrical repairs, or troubleshooting electrical systems? Special expertise required?

Purchasing components or parts for electrical systems? More expensive or hard to get from Europe? Or commonly available in the U.S.?

Any other issues or concerns to think about? The bottom line, should I consider a boat with 230v?


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Old 27-10-2016, 23:40   #2
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Re: Buying boat w/ 230v power. Good idea?


We have the opposite scenario. 'Spirit of Sobraon' is a 240v 50hz boat and we are now cruising in Japan and Korea on our way to Alaska.

Japan predominately has only 100v 60hz available and Korea 220v 60hz.

We haven't had too many problems. If you have a reasonable solar array and a 240v genset it is very manageable.

A suitably sized voltage transformer is normally enough to handle battery charging which in reality is all you really need. Most of the boat will be powered by 12v.

No matter where you go getting expert help to fix and repair is always an issue. No matter what the voltage.

If you want to run AC that is a different problem but manageable.

In the past 6 months we have only needed to run the genset a hand full of times when no power was available in anchorages and marinas. We only do it to run our Mastervolt inverter charger to charge the house bank to float. This keeps our batteries conditioned.

If you intend to go off shore you are continually going to be changing plug ends and adapting to different power supplies any way.

Good luck with your search.. Don't discount Malaysia and Thailand. A lot of boats have backed up there and there are some good bargains.

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Old 28-10-2016, 11:56   #3
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Re: Buying boat w/ 230v power. Good idea?

Besides replacing all the devices, the wires are likely only half the gauge required for 120V so the whole boat would need to be rewired. Cheaper to get the converter and stay with 230V.
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Old 28-10-2016, 12:14   #4
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Re: Buying boat w/ 230v power. Good idea?

We have a 230V/50Hz boat and spend our time between 120/60 and 230/50. Connecting to 120-50A service in US (which offers 240V differential) , thtough a galvanic isolation transformer, works well. The only problems are that appliances must be 230V (not 120V) and some things require 50Hz. Some of our A/C units have 50Hz only compressors. I decided I would replace with 50/60hz compressors when these die, but they haven't died yet and seem happy at 60Hz.

First us. The 129 vs 230 isn't a huge deal

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Old 28-10-2016, 18:50   #5
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Re: Buying boat w/ 230v power. Good idea?

If you get that boat and need a generator, I have one for sale. It's a Honda eu20i. 240 volts, 50 Hz, 2000 watts.
Just like the Honda 2000 but 240/50 instead of 120/60.
I'm currently near Jacksonville FL, but headed to Bahamas soon.
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Old 28-10-2016, 19:32   #6
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Re: Buying boat w/ 230v power. Good idea?

110 volt is common only in the Americas, pretty much everywhere else in the world is 220 volt. If you are going to go voyaging then your better off with 220 volt but if your hanging around home 120 volt is handier. As others have said if you have a good charging system most things on a boat are 12 volt and with an inverter you can have either 120 or 220 v or both for that matter.
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