Sunday, 30 July 2017

220 Volt Boat Systems, In A 110 Volt World

Charge Master Multi Voltage / Multi Frequency
Sailing the Eastern Coast of the USA for the past couple of months, we've learned to be careful with our AC power management.  Crystal Blues is of course a 220volt /50cycle boat, basically incompatible with the 110volt/60cycle power supply typically available in the USA.

We have friends who plugged in to local shore power this year, thinking all would be well, only to find they destroyed a set of house batteries in just a few days - the battery charger was not actually charging. Other friends blew up a perfectly good air conditioner. Both boats thought the dual phase 220 volt service that many US marinas offer would be OK - an expensive mistake. It's actually two phases of a 110 volt service, without a neutral conductor (which is kind of dangerous) and it runs at 60 hertz - be real careful with that.  Even a transformer won't save the day - sure it can convert the voltage, but does nothing to correct the frequency problem.

So the number one item for sailboats cruising in the USA, Caribbean and South America, is a battery charger that will deal with all voltages and frequencies. We upgraded ours specifically for this task, when we arrived in the Caribbean. This allows us to keep the batteries charged from shore power whilst at the same time running the systems on the boat from the inverter. More detail on that topic in a recent post here.

But what happens when something fails - when a frequently used electrical device stops working?  Traveling north through the Caribbean I worried about our microwave oven, which was starting to make nasty noises. So we replaced it in St. Martin, almost the last place (heading north) with 220volt 50 cycle appliances for sale. I definitely did not want to have it fail here in the USA, where I could not replace it.

A Quiet Beer To Celebrate The Installation!
Then, as we cruised through US waters, we were dismayed to hear warning signs - bad noises again - coming from our washing machine. Now we were in trouble!

However our friend Steven Shaw was absolutely sure we'd find 220 volt / 50 hertz products for sale in the USA - check the internet he said. Sure enough, we came across a supplier who specialises in 220 volt / 50 hertz products, based in Illinois. 220 Electronics had four different washing machines in stock, one of which was a perfect fit in the space we had available.

It was ordered last week, arrived on  Monday and is now installed and working - I'm pleased to say the Admiral is a happy lady again. The folks at 220 - Electronics have everything from power tools to refrigerators, kitchen appliances and gensets, all running 220 volt 50 hertz, and they ship anywhere.

1 comment:

  1. so glad it worked out for you. just too bad about the summer weather you're having


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