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  #1  
Old 01-05-2012
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European Electricity needs

What do I need in the European countries to work with our 110V system? Is there a dual voltage transformer or some item we buy...Obviously lots of others on here have dealt with this.

Thanks
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Old 01-05-2012
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You have two three problems to consider - one is to switch from 220v to 110v, two is to be able to be able to plug into the outlets you find and three is to determine whether the power you get is 50 cycle or 60 cycle.

Problem #1 is solved by using a transformer. I have a built-in one in the boat so have not had to pursue the portable solution. I have been told that power tools in Europe are 110v so it is easy to buy a fairly, inexpensive portable transformer at the hardware store. In Australia the portable power tools are 220v so this option is not there.

Problem #2 - Your transformer will plug into the local 220v but may not plug into the ones in another country. I have run into this in the Pacific. The plugins for French Polynesia are completely different from those in Australia, so you may need to buy or more likely make pigtails as you go. You also will need a pigtail to link your boat's shorepower connection to the transformer's output.

Problem #3 - the power you are getting is likely 50 cycle so some of your electical gear may not be too happy. It is beyond my expertise to suggest which items will have a problem, but I was told not to use my battery charger very much because of this.
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Old 01-07-2012
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Thanks Killarney....What do other Americans traveling in Europe do? I don't have built in transformer, and surely I will want access to AC power when we are at marinas. I can't run my generator at the dock.

Anyone?
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Old 01-07-2012
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Voltage conversion (from 240VAC to 120VAC) isn't much of a problem, as a transformer can do that easily.

Frequency conversion, however, is more difficult (from 50 cycle European to 60 cycle U.S.).

If you have a healthy size inverter aboard, one strategy would be to run everything off your batteries, and to get a 12VDC battery charger which is capable of handling 240VAC/50 cycle shorepower. One such charger is the Sterling ProUltra series (ProMariner has almost identical ones, too) which will take "world power", i.e., just about anything you can find out there, and will work well with it.

Such a charger isn't cheap ($300-500 street) for a 20A, 40A or 60A very smart charger. But, these are by all accounts wonderful little chargers and can do that conversion job plus a lot more for you.

BTW, these chargers would also work well with your 120VAC generator, and they're power-factor corrected so are quite efficient when run from generators.

Even if you already have a good battery charger aboard, it might make sense to add one of these new ones to give the needed flexability and backup. Probably wouldn't cost much more, if any more, than other alternatives if you count materials and time.

Bill

Last edited by btrayfors; 01-07-2012 at 12:00 PM.
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Old 01-07-2012
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Isolation transformer to prevent Galvanic corrosion

will help you...for most loads the cycles will not be an issue, however any expensive gear I would protect with an appropriate UPS/Backup device

Price goes up with watts $10.95 for something to run a small boombox to several hundred $$ for 2K watts, and a transformer approved for the UK marine, may not be in the canaries...unlike the US, many countries mind the approvals.

Killarney's #2 is very important,
and I would add the purchase of a "wiggy" or wiggington style electrical tester...they are not prone to ghost voltages like a lot of digital multimeters are. They don't lie. I would not trust the marina to reconfigure things, without checking their work.

Best of luck.
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Old 01-07-2012
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If you want to run your AC devices directly from shore power, you have all those considerations. But if you can also run it all off your batteries using an inverter that you may already have, then you can keep on using it the same way, and just add a 220V battery charger to keep your batteries charged up.

If the entire EU goes black next year, can we assume you plugged in your 110 hair dryer with the wrong adapter? :-)
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Old 01-07-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by killarney_sailor View Post
I have been told that power tools in Europe are 110v so it is easy to buy a fairly, inexpensive portable transformer at the hardware store.
You have been mislead on this, Power tools use the same voltage as other equipment!

Quote:
Originally Posted by killarney_sailor View Post
Problem #3 - the power you are getting is likely 50 cycle so some of your electical gear may not be too happy. It is beyond my expertise to suggest which items will have a problem, but I was told not to use my battery charger very much because of this.
some of the electrical equipment you can buy in Europe can run on 110v 60 cycle and 220v 50 cycle

Your electrical equipment would have the requiremnet stamped on it?

In Europe you will also find diferent plugs.
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Old 01-10-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
If the entire EU goes black next year, can we assume you plugged in your 110 hair dryer with the wrong adapter? :-)
Yes, either that or we popped popcorn in the microwave.

Ok, it sounds like I just need a 220 charger. We have a Freedom 20 (Xantrex) Inverter charger.
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Old 01-10-2012
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Actually, the only things we can't run off of the inverter are the AC and water heater. So that will remain an issue. But lights, TV, etc will be fine with the inverter.
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