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Caca Cabeza

50Hz/60Hz

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Looking at boats. I'm in the US (60Hz world) and some are in Europe (50Hz world). Some of the Euro boats come with 50Hz AC systems (inverters, chargers, microwave!, other AC electronics/systems). How big of an issue is it to convert or adapt to 60Hz 'Murica?

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It's not just 50 vs 60 Hz, it's also 220 vs 110 VAC and all the outlets need to be changed.

You need to look at the specifications on each piece of installed equipment. Generally:

  • Many chargers are dual mode
  • Most inverters are single mode
  • Most inverter/charger combos are single mode
  • No idea on Microwaves

In the big picture, the costs of this stuff are small compared to the price of the boat, shipping and importing process. You might need to drop $3500 for a high-end pure sine wave 12V 110V 60Hz inverter/charger. Add $100 for a microwave. You may be able to sell the existing kit in Europe.

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A 240v system might have wiring that's too small for the same power on a 120v system. Rewiring is a big job.

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At 240 a lot of AC wiring can be only 16 awg which wont cut it for most 120V loads.  And a lot of the breakers will be around 8A which will not work for 120.

 

The actual frequency thing is not that big of a deal outside of inverters.

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Anything with a clock or other counting device will be FUBAR'd by the change in Hz. Final effect is a case by case analysis.

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FWIW, the Outback FXR series inverter/chargers can be programmed for either 50Hz or 60Hz operation using the MATE3 programmer. Note that they can't adapt to different input voltages so they need an upstream transformer for that. 

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Thanks for all of the well thought out replies. I'm thinking of contacting the builder to see if the 120/240v issue has been addressed from the outset. Also, is it a possibility to retrofit a 120v in step up to 240v to boat isolation transformer? The 50Hz/60Hz issue seems to be an easier workaround than the 240/120v wiring, breaker and related issues.

Thanks!

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Yeah, you can do a step-up isolation transformer. In a hot marina an isolation transformer, whether 1:1 or 1:2, solves a lot of problems that a galvanic isolator can't. If you've got the space and the weight and cash budget for one, it's a good investment.

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6 hours ago, longy said:

Anything with a clock or other counting device will be FUBAR'd by the change in Hz.

Good point but I think that'll be a case by case thing, too. Modern and even modernish things that count tend to use their own clocks. Each item that runs on mains and each component of the AC system would need to be evaluated.

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A step up transformer installed as a fixture to produce a 220/240v powered boat surely clashes with US regulations/standards which in turn voids insurance and liability protection? 

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Step-up. 

I'm just correcting my post that it should be step-down.

Back to my meds.

Edited by harrygee
correction

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