UK 220 volt spec to US 110 volt - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 17 Old 04-01-2013 Thread Starter
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UK 220 volt spec to US 110 volt

How difficult converting the 220 v to 110 v system? It I understand correctly, it shouldn't be hard for a handy person, but I would like to check first.

1. Convert all AC receptacles
2. Reconfigure the convertor input voltage
3. Heat water heater (not sure if it runs in AC or not)

What did I miss?


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post #2 of 17 Old 04-01-2013
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Re: UK 220 volt spec to US 110 volt

well.. first off it is 120, not 110. You also need to look at the Hertz. US power runs at a standard 60hertz. I have heard of some places in third world countres running as low as 15hz and some operating rooms running at 180 (to eleminate flicker in lighting)

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post #3 of 17 Old 04-01-2013
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Re: UK 220 volt spec to US 110 volt

If you halve the voltage, you double the amperage. You might be getting into a complete rewire, especially if it's an older boat.
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post #4 of 17 Old 04-01-2013
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Re: UK 220 volt spec to US 110 volt

depending on the wiring.. if it is in good shape, it should be ok.. but everything attached to it.. Switches, Outlets, anything hardwired to the system will need to be looked at or replaced.

I am also unsure on what standards they Use in the UK.. so black might not be hot, white/silver might not be neutral, and green might not be the earth.

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post #5 of 17 Old 04-01-2013
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Re: UK 220 volt spec to US 110 volt

As Capta said the amperage in your systems goes up as the voltage comes down so at the very least you'll need to check that the wiring is of suitable gauge and that fusing is appropriate.

Simple calcualation is amps = watts / volts.

So a 1000 watt microwave as an example running on 220v will require a supply of 1000/220 amps which is about 4.5 amps.

The same microwave at 120v is 1000/120 which is about 8.3 amps

In my boat most circuits are capable of easily managing this type of amperage but because I know it doesn't bother me. If you also know then it probably won't bother you either.

FWIW, my boat is American so 120v and I live in new Zealand so domestic power is 220v but given that almost all my equipment runs on 12v I have left the 120v circuits as they are and run just 2 appliances via an inverter (microwave and hot water cylinder).
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post #6 of 17 Old 04-01-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: UK 220 volt spec to US 110 volt

It is a 2008 Beneteau, built in France. I doubt they would use the undersize wires because of the higher voltage in UK. I also believe most the A/C systems may have a multi-voltage input set up.

I will look into this becasue it becomes a PITA headache.


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post #7 of 17 Old 04-01-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: UK 220 volt spec to US 110 volt

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Originally Posted by Omatako View Post
FWIW, my boat is American so 120v and I live in new Zealand so domestic power is 220v but given that almost all my equipment runs on 12v I have left the 120v circuits as they are and run just 2 appliances via an inverter (microwave and hot water cylinder).
When you have the shore power and use it to charge your battery, do you use a transformer to step down to 115, or you have switched your boat to take 220 directly ?


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post #8 of 17 Old 04-01-2013
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Re: UK 220 volt spec to US 110 volt

Well the high voltage allows you to use everything smaller from wire to switches

In simple terms the 220 volt European boat is using two (2) 120 volt phases with NO neutral circuit at more than likely 50 Hz

The 50hz VS 60 Hz is generally not a problem

And AMERICAN dock is going to be 120 volts suppled by (1) 120 volt phase and a neutral leg


Depending on how much stuff is on the boat it could be pretty simple OR pretty complex

We have a friend Lorenzo with a 50++ some odd foot Swan that has and electric room about one step simpler than a nuclear reactor

I am NOT doing and APRIL FOOLS this boat has every darn item possible with every possible complication like and older 50 Hz refrigeration unit

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post #9 of 17 Old 04-02-2013
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Re: UK 220 volt spec to US 110 volt

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Originally Posted by rockDAWG View Post
When you have the shore power and use it to charge your battery, do you use a transformer to step down to 115, or you have switched your boat to take 220 directly ?
I never use shore power. I am to a large extent off-the-grid with high output alts and wind/solar passives so am self sufficient but I am not living aboard.

I have built a diesel genset that puts out 200 amps continuous for when we go off-shore long term.


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post #10 of 17 Old 04-02-2013
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Re: UK 220 volt spec to US 110 volt

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Originally Posted by tommays View Post
The 50hz VS 60 Hz is generally not a problem
Whilst I am not an electric boffin, I do believe that some electric motors don't like wrong frequency supply and will let you know quite fast.
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