110 out of 220?

Discussion in 'OnBoard Electronics & Controls' started by tropicalbuilder, Aug 30, 2012.

  1. tropicalbuilder
    Joined: Jun 2010
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    Location: costa rica

    tropicalbuilder Junior Member

    I recently became captain of an european boat that comes with all his electrical system 220V 50hz …
    now as the boat is currently in mexico it would be very useful to have some 110V outlets to use electric tools and house appliances.
    As I'm connected to shore with a 50A cable that brings to the boat two 110V wires and one ground wire ….
    could I just connect a new outlet to one of the 110V on one side and the ground on the other to get the desired 110?
    It works on the voltmeter …
    but I am not much sure if this is the correct way of doing it, or rather should I bring the neutral wire from shore to the boat and use this with one of the 110V ?
  2. CDK
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    CDK retired engineer

    There probably is a 120 degrees phase shift between the two hot wires, so you can't make 220 Volts that way. And there might also be the 50/60 Hz issue.

    The modern way to solve this is a solid state battery charger, a 24 or 48 V battery bank and a converter to 220V/50Hz. Victron in Holland makes such products.
  3. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Most places will have a single phase supply, in which case it will work. However, the difference in frequency will make some things not work right. For example, timers and clocks will run too fast.
  4. tropicalbuilder
    Joined: Jun 2010
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    tropicalbuilder Junior Member

    is it just timers and clocks that run too fast, or the different frequency will bring other problems with electronics??
  5. CDK
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    CDK retired engineer

    Except for the very cheap ones, timers and clocks generate their own stable frequency. Modern electronics works equally well on 50 or 60 Hz, some accept anything between 90 and 250 V without a glitch.

    Electric motors are less tolerant, especially the brushless ones that derive their rpm from the grid frequency, like the compressor in a fridge. When designed for 50 Hz they try to run 20% faster on 60 Hz while drawing less current. Most do not have enough reserve to cope with it, so they do not start and burn out.
  6. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    I don't understand the question --he asks if he can make 110 from 220 yet then talks of 2x 110 making 220V

    How can you do that --you have live and neutral in 110 and an earth.

    It may look like 2 110 but is is a return,--it is AC.
  7. jonr
    Joined: Sep 2008
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    jonr Senior Member

    If you have the split phase 240V that is standard in the US, you can certainly use either side to neutral/ground to get 120V. This is standard practice.
  8. bpw
    Joined: May 2012
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    bpw Senior Member

    All I can add is take your time to really study up, At my old job I had equipment with a few different voltages and phases. The more you learn the more confusing it all gets.

    US house supply is 240v that is split to 120v. But I believe it is 2 phase, where European supply is single phases 220v.

    Frosty you get 240v from 120v by offsetting the phases, think of the sine waves going opposite of each other.

    Its been a few years though, so don't trust anything I just said.
  9. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    You Americans use ground as a return, Europe only uses it as an earth ie an emergency grounding of metal appliances. In Thailand and Malaysia you dont always get one and have to make your own by driving a copper coated rod into the ground. You cant use that as a return for a phase.

    Uk uses 3 phase 380v thats 3 x220.

    110 is not available without reducers, usually for power tools, I know of no other use of 110.
  10. Grey Ghost
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    Grey Ghost Senior Member

    120 has a positive black, neutral white, and a green ground wire. Lights and everything runs on 120. Ovens, ranges, water heaters, and clothes dryers run on 240 using the two legs.
  11. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    !!!! weird.

    Thats why when American boats come in the always blow the trips.
  12. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    You folks should do some reading on the basics.

    In the USA, the green wire (ground) and the common wire (white) are attached the same bus in the panel. You have to isolate the ground, which is only found in special settings (such as a hospital's operating room) if you want a true divided return path.

    The common (neutral) and grounds are attached to the common bus bar, simply to provide an alternate path, if the common should break or lose connection. The alternative would be a return through a person, that touch the device that had a shorted neutral.

    European 220 is single phase, while the USA's 220 is 2 phase.
  13. pistnbroke
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    pistnbroke I try

    oh yes....Quote from the web
    Two phase systems are no more. They were replaced by the three phase system which is what we use today. If you are talking about drawing 220 volts from a three phase system then all that has to be done is use any two of the three phase legs. In North America a common three phase wye system is 120/208 where between the phase wires the voltage is 208 volts and between any phase leg and the star point (neutral which is grounded) the voltage is 120 volts.

    Europe is 220v single phase UK 240v single phase 3 phase is 415v
  14. CDK
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    CDK retired engineer

    The world is in constant motion. Europe now has 400 V 3 phase, so 230 V between any phase and the star point we use to call neutral. England always had the irresistible urge to do things different, so they use 415 V. Fortunately anything with a filament is banned in Europe as of today, for fluorescent lighting the 10 V difference is no issue.

    But what they did and do in Mexico is a mystery to me. When the OP says he has two 110V wires and a neutral I guess they have a 120 degrees phase shift and belong to a 190 V 3 phase system.

  15. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    Thats not what he said . He said he had 2x 110 wires and a ground.

    Thats what Im talking about he has a 110 single phase supply with a ground.

    AC has 2 wires, be it 110 or 220-- because it can kill you it needs an earth or ground.

    I think he needs an electrician or his boss will be needing a new boat.
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