how to match 220 vt to 110 boat?

Half Moon

New member
Joined
4 Oct 2009
Messages
23
Visit site
Forumites,
Can you help me with this situation? My "new to me" Endeavour cat 36 has a 110 vt shore based electrical system designed for US waters (marinas). In two years, I hope to be sailing my way through the canals to the Med. My understanding is that the EU zone uses 220 Vt. Suggestions about transformers that reduce 220 to 110. Is there a "magic box" that can be used with the locking three pin 30 amp fixture between the shore cable and the boat? If such a thing exists, where can this device be purchased? What kind of adapters are necessary to hook up to shore side electrics in each country (France, Italy, Croatia, Greece and Turkey) My 110 system runs the battery charger, hot water, AC and two circuits on board. I don't want to ruin those systems with a burst of 220 power.........
:confused:

Half Moon, still on the hard in Maryland till April.....
 

crisjones

Active member
Joined
5 Apr 2005
Messages
418
Location
Liveaboard, currently Caribbean Islands
Visit site
You need a transformer that can convert 220V to your 110V. A proper marine isolating transformer from companies such as Victron or Mastervolt (probably also other makes in the US) will give you all the facilities you need.

An isolating transformer will "isolate" the shore earth sytem from your boat earth system and will greatly reduce any likelihood of galvanic corrosion below the water. More important for you is that these transformers will accept 110V or 220V input and will output 110V or 220V depending on how you fit some links when you fit the unit. Hence you can set it to have 110V in and 110V out for the US and then change to 220V in and 110V out when you get to Europe.

There are many different connectors around Europe for shore power, probably the most common is the round blue 3 pin 16A CeeNorm type, however many marinas use different connectors to make sure you pay for the electric by having to hire the appropriate plug. It is probably best to wait until you get here and buy the connectors as you need them - get them from a hardware shop not the marina!!!

You will slowly build up a nice variety of plugs and sockets to cover nearly all eventualities - you will also need to do the same for water pipe connections!!!
 

AndrewB

Well-known member
Joined
7 Jun 2001
Messages
5,856
Location
Dover/Corfu
Visit site
You might like to consider if this is going to be worthwhile. If you have no immediate plans to return to the Americas it may not be. When we left the US, loaded up with 110v equipment we had bought, we purchased a converter to enable us to run it with the 220v, 50Hz supply that most of the rest of the world uses. The converter wasn't cheap, and packed up on us almost on day 1 of use. It proved cheaper to replace all the 110v appliances with 220v than to buy a new converter - including fitting 220v sockets throughout in place of 110v. The cabling could stay the same because the current load is less with 220v.

The most tricky item was the immersion heater in our hot water system. However, enquiry to the manufacturers produced (after much debate) a 220v version of the thermostat for the princely sum of $170. We were also able to get a 220v motor to fit in our sewing machine.

The reason the converters are expensive is because the frequency as well as the voltage has to be converted. You can get much cheaper voltage converters, but many appliances are distinctly unhappy at being run at a lower frequency AC.
 
Last edited:

GSL

Member
Joined
8 Mar 2008
Messages
513
Location
Me Cheltenham, boat Sant Carles de la Rapida
Visit site
When I bought a Sea Ray in Florida in 2007, I shipped it to the UK with the intention of converting it to 220 volts.

After much research, I fitted two (it has two shore power leads coming into the boat) 220 -100 volt stepdown tranformers in the transom locker, and have used it like that ever since. These transformers are rated at 3.6 KV each, the boat is fitted with a 7.6KV generator, so that was how I decided the size of transformers needed.

The only item on the boat (a 1997 model) that would not work on 50hrz was the battery charger, which I changed for a 100 volt Victron invertor / charger anyway. Everything else has worked fine without worrying about the cycle difference.

I am very happy with every aspect of the conversion, and would do it the same next time if the occassion arose. Interestingly, the two transformers weighed less than the very thick 100 volt shorepower cables, and take up about the same space in the locker.

Graham
 

alawadhi

New member
Joined
6 Jun 2014
Messages
1
Visit site
220 to 110 converter

When I bought a Sea Ray in Florida in 2007, I shipped it to the UK with the intention of converting it to 220 volts.

After much research, I fitted two (it has two shore power leads coming into the boat) 220 -100 volt stepdown tranformers in the transom locker, and have used it like that ever since. These transformers are rated at 3.6 KV each, the boat is fitted with a 7.6KV generator, so that was how I decided the size of transformers needed.

The only item on the boat (a 1997 model) that would not work on 50hrz was the battery charger, which I changed for a 100 volt Victron invertor / charger anyway. Everything else has worked fine without worrying about the cycle difference.

I am very happy with every aspect of the conversion, and would do it the same next time if the occassion arose. Interestingly, the two transformers weighed less than the very thick 100 volt shorepower cables, and take up about the same space in the locker.

Graham

can you give the name of the converter you are using it for your boat please
 

rustybarge

Active member
Joined
9 Aug 2012
Messages
3,665
Visit site
When you have recovered from the shock of a quote from mastervolt et al, why not go down to your nearest HSS tool hire place and buy a secondhand step down transformer from them; all building sites must use 110 volts outside, it's the law!
 

superheat6k

Well-known member
Joined
10 Jan 2012
Messages
6,715
Location
South Coast
Visit site
Forumites,
Can you help me with this situation? My "new to me" Endeavour cat 36 has a 110 vt shore based electrical system designed for US waters (marinas). In two years, I hope to be sailing my way through the canals to the Med. My understanding is that the EU zone uses 220 Vt. Suggestions about transformers that reduce 220 to 110. Is there a "magic box" that can be used with the locking three pin 30 amp fixture between the shore cable and the boat? If such a thing exists, where can this device be purchased? What kind of adapters are necessary to hook up to shore side electrics in each country (France, Italy, Croatia, Greece and Turkey) My 110 system runs the battery charger, hot water, AC and two circuits on board. I don't want to ruin those systems with a burst of 220 power.........
:confused:

Half Moon, still on the hard in Maryland till April.....
If you tried to run the 110v equipment 'in bursts' of 240v there wouldn't be too many before the things start burning out or simply going bang. The frequency is less of an issue for most kit, motors simply run slower at 50 hz.

As suggested a site transformer of suitable KVA rating. KVA is similar to kilowatts, aftyer all Ohms law states Watts = Volts x Amps, but kVA takes account of power factor (this thread is too short to explain this one), so a simple rule of thumb is that KVA from a genny or transformer = KW used by appliances x 1.1

So work out the kW rating of all your kit and add it up then add 10% for the kVA rating.

For the immersion if you fit a 2kW 240v heater at 110v it will heat at around 1 kW. But putting 240v on a 110v immersion wil simply burn it out.

Note that the standard UK voltage is 240v, in Europe it is 230v. Generally most 230v or 240v equipment is not affected by running on the opposite voltage, but some kit does not like it. All Eu power supplies are 50hz. The US runs at 60 hz, and as an aside so do North Sea oil rigs and the Royal Navy. Changing frequency requires use of an Inverter, a transformer will not do this.
 

charles_reed

Active member
Joined
29 Jun 2001
Messages
10,413
Location
Home Shropshire 6/12; boat Greece 6/12
Visit site
When you have recovered from the shock of a quote from mastervolt et al, why not go down to your nearest HSS tool hire place and buy a secondhand step down transformer from them; all building sites must use 110 volts outside, it's the law!

Smart guy - only one thing missing, how does he ensure the change in cycle-rate from US 60/min to European 50/minute?
Most brushless motors don't like the change and many "smart" appliances won't work. Perhaps not a problem for his equipment.
 

AndrewB

Well-known member
Joined
7 Jun 2001
Messages
5,856
Location
Dover/Corfu
Visit site
can you give the name of the converter you are using it for your boat please
Alawadhi, welcome, hope you find what you are looking for.

If you revive an ancient thread to ask a supplementary question, you'll find that everyone starts re-answering the original question and yours gets ignored. It is much better to start a new thread, with a link back to the original. Or perhaps a private message to the person who faced the same problem as you do (click on the person's name).

This is standard advice on forums of this type: it's unfortunate that the YBW forum, unlike most, does not make this clear.
 

rustybarge

Active member
Joined
9 Aug 2012
Messages
3,665
Visit site
Smart guy - only one thing missing, how does he ensure the change in cycle-rate from US 60/min to European 50/minute?
Most brushless motors don't like the change and many "smart" appliances won't work. Perhaps not a problem for his equipment.

If you have the 110v transformer onboard, you can take the 240 volt 50 hz feed to power all the computer stuff........you'll need to buy 240 adapters for your iPad ect....not too expensive.

Afaik all 60hz motors are quite happy with 50hz, but remember a USA TV won't work in Europe, it's a different colour system to pal.
 

charles_reed

Active member
Joined
29 Jun 2001
Messages
10,413
Location
Home Shropshire 6/12; boat Greece 6/12
Visit site
If you have the 110v transformer onboard, you can take the 240 volt 50 hz feed to power all the computer stuff........you'll need to buy 240 adapters for your iPad ect....not too expensive.

Afaik all 60hz motors are quite happy with 50hz, but remember a USA TV won't work in Europe, it's a different colour system to pal.

I'm afraid you're wrong - suggest you bone up a little on the theory and you'll find the solution is not as simple as you appear to think.

But a good try which will probably work for 75% of boat equipment. The difficulty is in the detail - which bits will burn out?
 

Cariadco

Active member
Joined
19 Jan 2007
Messages
869
Location
Back where I belong... Corfu
Visit site
Transformers?

I'm afraid you're wrong - suggest you bone up a little on the theory and you'll find the solution is not as simple as you appear to think.

But a good try which will probably work for 75% of boat equipment. The difficulty is in the detail - which bits will burn out?

Charles is spot on here. There's a lot of complexity in matching 240 (yes I'm that old, and I know I should be saying 220or230) to 110 Volts AC Circuits (and vice versa)
Ok Transformers to change 240 to 110 or vice versa are everywhere, and apart from the previously mention load/supply voltage changes, Transformers will not change the frequency ie same out as in.
Some electrical gear will run between 50 to 60 HZ, and it will state so on the equipment itself. Some will not!! and those are the ones that will go bang....!
Go read the labels or info plates on your electrical equipment/gear.

Regards,
 

RichardS

N/A
Joined
5 Nov 2009
Messages
29,236
Location
Home UK Midlands / Boat Croatia
Visit site
Some electrical gear will run between 50 to 60 HZ, and it will state so on the equipment itself. Some will not!! and those are the ones that will go bang....!
Go read the labels or info plates on your electrical equipment/gear.

We have had problems with charter boats in various countrues being unable to charge the batteries via shore power. I was informed that although the correct transformers were fitted, the incorrect frequency eventually caused something on the charging side to burn out. Of course, it might be rubbish but as these weren't my boat I wasn't that bothered either way!

Richard
 

Marsupial

New member
Joined
5 Jul 2004
Messages
2,025
Visit site
I lived in Saudi for 2 years and we had 110 and 240v AC in the same house! Both were 60hz, I can confirm that the 60hz bit is the showstopper for some 50hz appliances. Predicting which would burn out is a lottery in the end we employed the Darwin principle - it works or it blows! Often the manner of the failure was such that I would be uncomfortable on a boat, but still its your boat.
 

GSL

Member
Joined
8 Mar 2008
Messages
513
Location
Me Cheltenham, boat Sant Carles de la Rapida
Visit site
can you give the name of the converter you are using it for your boat please

I do not remember the name of equipment, the transformers were Yellow and looked like slightly larger versions of the transformers you see builders using on site.

I think I may have ordered and collected them from this company, I do recall it was only a couple of days from order to collection.

http://www.jmstransformers.co.uk/pages/about-jms.php

Despite everything you will read on here, it worked perfectly, only the battery charger would not work.

Graham
 

Jeannius

Member
Joined
30 Jan 2004
Messages
597
Location
Worcester, U.K.
Visit site
Forumites,
Can you help me with this situation? My "new to me" Endeavour cat 36 has a 110 vt shore based electrical system designed for US waters (marinas). In two years, I hope to be sailing my way through the canals to the Med. My understanding is that the EU zone uses 220 Vt. Suggestions about transformers that reduce 220 to 110. Is there a "magic box" that can be used with the locking three pin 30 amp fixture between the shore cable and the boat? If such a thing exists, where can this device be purchased? What kind of adapters are necessary to hook up to shore side electrics in each country (France, Italy, Croatia, Greece and Turkey) My 110 system runs the battery charger, hot water, AC and two circuits on board. I don't want to ruin those systems with a burst of 220 power.........
:confused:

Half Moon, still on the hard in Maryland till April.....
I put a 220v-110v transformer on my boat and used it successfully for several years without damaging any equipment. My boat had 3 air con units and obviously, as they are expensive, I checked with the manufacturer. They said they'd be fine on 50Hz as long as I ran the fan motors on high speed. They were correct, they were a bit less efficient but ran well. All equipment such as laptop chargers also worked without problem. The only thing that didn't work well was the microwave.

Where are you in Maryland? I have friends in the Maryland Yacht Club and spent some time there in Pasadena two years ago.
 

JumbleDuck

Well-known member
Joined
8 Aug 2013
Messages
24,167
Location
SW Scotland
Visit site
When you have recovered from the shock of a quote from mastervolt et al, why not go down to your nearest HSS tool hire place and buy a secondhand step down transformer from them; all building sites must use 110 volts outside, it's the law!

Yellow site transformers aren't 110V: they are 55V two-phase, with the two phases 180 degrees apart. That's so that nothing on site is at more than 55V (rms) - which will hurt you, but probably not kill you. Using it to feed a 110V boat is not necessarily a clever idea, as you would have both live and neutral at 55V. American domestic wiring is 110V single-phase for most things but 220V two-phase for heavy appliances like cookers, so systems on an American boat may get all upset if they find significant voltages in neutral.
 

rustybarge

Active member
Joined
9 Aug 2012
Messages
3,665
Visit site
Yellow site transformers aren't 110V: they are 55V two-phase, with the two phases 180 degrees apart. That's so that nothing on site is at more than 55V (rms) - which will hurt you, but probably not kill you. Using it to feed a 110V boat is not necessarily a clever idea, as you would have both live and neutral at 55V. American domestic wiring is 110V single-phase for most things but 220V two-phase for heavy appliances like cookers, so systems on an American boat may get all upset if they find significant voltages in neutral.


Could you just connect two phases together to make single phase 110v ?
 

EugeneR

Well-known member
Joined
21 Aug 2009
Messages
1,225
Location
Hamble
Visit site
If you really cannot replace/convert equipment to 240v, then go for a toroidal autotransformer. Autotransformer means that 110v/220v share the same windings, so a lot smaller and a lot less weight. Also, same ground which is good. Not useful for isolation, which is unlikely to be needed where you'd use this. Toroid has less losses and less humming. Airlink Transformers is a good source, go for hardwired units. Microwaves won't work because of the frequency difference, though.
 
Last edited:

JumbleDuck

Well-known member
Joined
8 Aug 2013
Messages
24,167
Location
SW Scotland
Visit site
Could you just connect two phases together to make single phase 110v ?

Not in the live = 110V, neutral = 0V relative to earth sense, because the transformer dictates that both live and neutral are at 55V to earh, I suppose you could divert the transformer's earth lead to the boat earth and accept the transformer casing at 55V, but this does not seem like a wholly sensible solution to me.
 
Top