European spec boat in the US

Discussion in 'OnBoard Electronics & Controls' started by Stumble, Aug 2, 2011.

  1. Stumble
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    Stumble Senior Member

    I am in the process of buying a new boat (to me), and while i found one the boat is wired for 220/50hz. Obviously in the US I need 120/60.

    I have a quote to rewire the boat assuming the current wire is not large enough which comes in Around $5,000. This is what I will most likely do.

    However I am curious what you guys think about installing a transformer and just using the 220v system that's already installed?
     
  2. powerabout
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    powerabout Senior Member

    depends on the kit on your boat
    anything that will not like running at 60hz?
     
  3. Stumble
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    Stumble Senior Member

    As far as I can tell (I haven't had a chance to have it surveyed yet) everything on the boat is currently specced for 220-50hz. Assuming I use a transformer I would add it for the current equipment, and have a second panel for power tools and US stuff before the transformer.
     
  4. DCockey
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    DCockey Senior Member

    A transformer will change voltage for AC power, but not the frequency. Europe uses 50 Hz and the US uses 60Hz. Most but not all electrical items will be fine on either. You need to check the tags on each item to see what frequency is called for.

    Replacement parts may not be simple to come by in the US for some 220 volt / 50 Hz items.
     
  5. pistnbroke
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    pistnbroke I try

    Things like TV etc look at the input and say hey 60 hz I am in the good old USA so that will be NTSC then.....anything with a switched mode power supply will be ok anywhere in the world.. A normal double UK socket is rated for 26A as its on a ring main...if that is the case on your boat you have 5 mm sq cable to each outlet ...why can you not change the outlets ?? I thought your 110 sockets were rated at 10 A ?? Insurance I suppose is your problem
     
  6. CDK
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    CDK retired engineer

    It all depends on the equipment installed or to be installed.
    Starting with a 240/120 step down transformer is not a bad idea because it frees you from the much discussed current leakage/corrosion issues. But if the equipment includes a microwave, boiler, dishwasher and a/c unit, the transformer is quite bulky and heavy. And some of these devices are not as powerful as they should be because the 50/60 hz difference makes them draw less current with increased rpm.

    If the boat is delivered with just wiring I would replace the wall sockets and install US products. Yes, the current drawn will double, so a 25W light bulb will draw .2 Amps instead of .1, no big deal. Any appliances drawing 2 KW or more may require a new cable; European standard wiring is not suitable for currents over 16 Amps.
     
  7. daiquiri
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    daiquiri Engineering and Design

  8. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    America is still 120V???

    Thats shocking--And they blame their inability to export on child labour.

    Making something they could sell would be a start,--sorry normal service will now be resumed.
     
  9. DCockey
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    DCockey Senior Member

    Normal 100V North American outlets are 15 amp which is the standard for almost all household portable appliances. There is a 20 amp socket which also accepts the 15 amp plugs but it is not common in residences.

    The usual UK 3 flat prong receptacle for 220 V is rated at 13 amp, not 26 amp. The power it can supply is equivalent to 26 amp at 110 volt. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AC_power_plugs_and_sockets (This reference is incomplete. It does not include the standard North American 220 V receptacles and plugs.)
     
  10. Santa
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    Santa New Member

    There ARE frequency converters

    You did not provide any information about the boat your are looking to purchase making a concise answer difficult. What is the hotel load that you will need for your boat (how many KVA)? If it is a large vessel yet under 150' are you going to require a 220 VAC 60 Hz supply? Have you checked out where you plan to berth the boat and the power available there? Are you going to keep the boat in the US all the time or are you making trips to Europe with it?
    If you are staying in the US the simple answer is to ripout all the 220 VAC 50 Hz equipment and replace it with 60 Hz equipment. If the vessel's hotel load is low enough that you can operate on 115 VAC then ripout all the 220 VAC wiring (as the wires would be too small) and replace it with the proper size and type wire.
    If you are making trips outside the US consider a frequency converter such as http://www.shorpower.com/products.htm from Atlas, or a similar product from ASEA http://www.aseapower.com/en/products/ and there are many other manufacturers of marine frequency converters and voltage transformers.
     
  11. goboatingnow
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    goboatingnow Junior Member

    Before you go ripping out all the wiring, lets dispel some myths here.

    European sockets are rated for between 13 and 15 amps, however the wiring will be at least 2.5mm sq behind this, which is rated for 19 amps, often you will get anything between 2.5 and 5mm sq cable behind the sockets, hence good up to 30 amps.

    So it might just be an option to replace the sockets and uprate the breakers. ( in some cases, or they may be large enough as it is).

    Then is a question of the existing appliances, if you have a small number its a toss up between transformers or replacing them. usually on a small to medium boat is the fridge and water heater, but you good have AC etc etc.

    Dave
     
  12. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

  13. goboatingnow
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    goboatingnow Junior Member

    in practice rewiring yachts can be a lot of work, sometimes its very difficult to remove the old cables and even more difficult to pull new ones.Its easier said then done.

    In my experience, rewiring is not necessary
     
  14. CDK
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    CDK retired engineer

    Not quite true Dave.
    I don't know about Ireland, but standard installation material in Germany and surrounding countries is rated at 250V/15 amps for sockets and 10 amps for switches, but the most popular 3-wire cable is only 1.5mm sq.
    A few years ago that was still 2.5mm sq., the price of copper caused a major shift there.

    Of course the heavier wires like 2.5 and 4.0 are still available but demand has dropped considerably.
     

  15. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    Yes indeed.. rewiring a boat is a nightmarish proposal. For STumble, the original poster, it would be wise to carefully inventory the electric equipment onboard... expensive battery chargers and other systems.... to see if its suitable for US power then carefully survey the wiring diagram to make sure the copper cross section is up to the task.

    On a simple, modern, boat copper content should be no problem.

    What is the AC shorepower input rating on the boat ...16 amp, 32 amp, multiphase ?

    If the boat is complex with multi phase power, electric induction cookers, ovens, air con., ac pumps etc....be alert.
     
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