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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electrical Systems
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Old 05-01-2013
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Rewiring a 220-240v boat to 110v?

Hi, all- I have a conundrum about this, and it's more complicated than just the prospects of rewiring a Euro-built boat to meet US specs. I have not yet bought the boat, so this is all fact-finding, and at least one acquaintance suggests not buying a 220/240v boat at all to avoid the headaches of rewiring the entire thing to meet 110v needs here- just buy a boat that was originally built for that purpose. Since we live in the US, but plan to cruise fairly extensively in the next several years we have been looking at all sorts of boats, but are settling more and more on an aluminum hull design made in France. There are just two in the US on the market now, and the one we've seen so far is wired for 220. I would never really dream of re-wiring a boat like this, but are there better options out there, like adapting to 220?

Any help is appreciated-

Ray
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Re: Rewiring a 220-240v boat to 110v?

First of all, I'm NOT an electrician.
I would say, it depends on what/how many 220v appliances are on board because everyone will have to be replaced with a 110v model.
If there are few, if any 220v appliances other than a battery charger and electrical outlets, they would be easy to replace. I'm guessing the wire that is there (220v) will certainly carry 110v. Again, I'm no electrician, but I don't see any reason to replace the wiring. (Maybe there is a reason and wiring can be too heavy - I'm sure someone will chime in on this)
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Old 05-01-2013
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Re: Rewiring a 220-240v boat to 110v?

It would be a job to re-wire a boat to 120 volt. Any hard wired item for example the battery charger and hot water heater would have to be replaced. The wires may have to be replaced as the amperage at 120 volts is approximately twice for the same load at 220. All the receptacles would have to be replaced with 120 duplex receptacles and that would probably require changing the device box as well. The shore power connection receptacle would need changing and probably the wire to the distribution panel. The breakers in the distribution panel may have to be changed. Any appliance or electrical item that plugs in would also have to be replaced.

It is possible to get a 120 to 220 volt transformer but anytime you need replacement parts they would be difficult to find on this continent.

Of course if you have your heart set on this boat your offer could always reflect the cost of re-wiring.
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Old 05-02-2013
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Re: Rewiring a 220-240v boat to 110v?

I guess I shouldn't have mentioned re-wiring- as I'm sure it would be so expensive (because I certainly wouldn't do it) to undermine the whole reason for buying a used boat. I would be more interested in how people from the US, with all of the electronics we like to live with, deal with living on a 240v/50hz boat... besides just plugging in adapters for hair dryers and razors. I'm thinking about the bigger issue of when it comes time to replace nav equipment, solar panels, winch motors, etc... I'm sure all of that stuff is easy to source in Europe, but over here, I don't think so. The other issue is finding qualified help when I get in over my head. I'm fine doing all sorts of minor repairs, but tackling something major might be challenging to find someone local to do the work.
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Re: Rewiring a 220-240v boat to 110v?

Winches and nav equipment will run off your house batteries, typically at 12 volts DC. Only the charger will require the 220v.

If you are going to be predominantly in the US or areas with 110v 60hz service, it is a significant inconvenience to have the wrong set up. Even receptacle adapters don't work well at all.

Converting over to 110v is not the most significant project, its buying all new appliances, but how many do you actually have? Lighting, refrigerators, radios, nav equip, etc are all going to be DC and not an issue. It's the generator (which may be convertible too), battery chargers, invertor, receptacles, microwave, etc.
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Re: Rewiring a 220-240v boat to 110v?

Yep- the wife want's a microwave... Thanks, Minne-- the more I think about it, the more I'm likely to not look in Europe.
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Rewiring a 220-240v boat to 110v?

The wire size for 220 is much smaller. If you convert you must rewrite. Suggest that you'd stay with 220, as its used in most of the world, and get a step up transformer. Consider A 50/60 hertz 120/240 battery charger with a separate 120 v feed with breaker to it if your going to be in the states. If overseas your need a 220 to 120 step down transformer. The microwave won't work on 50 hertz, so buy one overseas.

Last edited by mikerayburn; 05-02-2013 at 10:09 AM.
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Re: Rewiring a 220-240v boat to 110v?

Yup- lesser diameter wire for the lower amperage- I get that. I just received an email from the folks at Alubat, and they do indeed offer a 110 option for the US. Unfortunately, my French lessons came via Saturday morning cartoons (Pepe Le Pew) so I would be at a loss to order a new boat and instruct them from all the way over here on the few modifications we would like to do. Used boats with 110 are perhaps my only real option, so I'm broadening our search to the few Allures and Boreals out there that may have been outfitted with 110 from the start. Luckily, we have a few years for combing the planet!
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Re: Rewiring a 220-240v boat to 110v?

Irun... there's an SNer (Hannah? Hannah2?) who, I think, has a Boreal on order. You might talk to him on the logisitics of dealing with the French builder. I would hope that a major builder would be set up to communicate with any nationality regarding customers' needs.
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Re: Rewiring a 220-240v boat to 110v?

Yes- that was Hannah2, on this loooong thread started by Paulo- Full or fin keel?

I'm hoping I can dodge a new purchase and find a used boat in good condition as several people have pointed out to me. Knowing that there is at least some interest in building these designs there for the US market gives me some hope...
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