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Hertz

Discussion in 'Electronics' started by Kafue, Jul 11, 2012.

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  1. Kafue

    Kafue Senior Member

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    Some advice please.

    My Hatteras has the US electrical system, 110v mains 60 Hertz.
    While I was in the US finalising the purchase of the boat, I had an Acme Transformer installed which allows me to plug in the 230 volt power in Australia and it operates the 110v appliances on the boat.
    Australia has 230volt 50 Hertz. Whenever I moored at a marina the fridges and appliances worked fine but not all the Aircon units, which I assume is due to the single phase feed.

    I have been on a swing mooring for 18 months and only occasionally have used shore power.
    Finally I have been able to install a large mooring pontoon at my home and will have permanent shore power.
    Here is the problem I discovered:
    I found that when I use the shore power to charge the batteries, the charger runs up to about 25 amps for a short time and then automatically shuts down. The batteries are not getting charged.
    When using the generator, the batteries are getting a full charge.
    Also, this could be co-incidence, but the galley fridge compressor has seized and I am about to replace it with a new one from the US, it was very old (1978). The freezer works fine.

    1. Is it a problem with the charger or is it the Hertz and if so, is there a remedy?
    2. Does the difference in Hertz shorten the lifespan of appliances even when only used occasionally with shore power?

    On my previous boat, I had a similar set up with no problems.
    Thanks for your time.

    Attached Files:

  2. Liberty

    Liberty Senior Member

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    Australian 50Hz causes all US appliances/motors/air-conditioning to run 16% slower.

    This can cause all sorts of idiosyncrasies including engines to run hot and trip-out from thermal overload. The reason is that they are not designed to run at the slower speed (pulling the same load) and the fan/cooling design won't expel heat fast enough.

    You can fix the problem by getting your transformer replaced with one that does both 110/240V and changes frequency to 50/60 Hz.

    Will cost money though ... sorry.
  3. Kafue

    Kafue Senior Member

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    Hi Liberty,
    Thanks for the response. I expected the transformer I had installed in the US would handle the voltage and the hertz, should have double checked. I'll get the guys on email and see if they can sort something out for me.
    Regards,
    G
  4. Fishtigua

    Fishtigua Senior Member

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    Modern transformers are a lot smarter than the old ones. This expensive, top of the line one from Mastervolt gives you an idea of how much more efficient they are now.

    Aquafax » Marine & Industrial Equipment
  5. Kafue

    Kafue Senior Member

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    Hi Fishtigua,
    The guys who suggested and installed the transformer I bought said it was the ONE that was best/latest, used for boats going overseas. I will check if it may need some adjustment. It cost US$2,300 plus installation, in 2011, so it should be up to handling the Hertz.
    However I have a feeling I didn't do enough research on this before giving the okay. I know I didn't mention the hertz, I assumed it would do that like the last one I had installed.
    Let you know.
    Thanks.
    george
  6. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    You have been hit by a problem that used to cause lots of problems till the advent of the solid state shore power units.

    As mentioned previously the 50 Hz power will cause your motors to run slower and overheat. It will also cause problems with anything that uses frequency for timing - Microwaves etc.

    You will find that many fridge compressors are rated to run 50/60 hz which is why you might have got lucky last time and still have a working freezer.

    The long and the short of it is you either need to install some type of converter , get things that can do both frequencies or change the boat to 230 V 50 Hz.
  7. Kafue

    Kafue Senior Member

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    Hi K1W1,
    PM sent but your mailbox is full.
    Cheers.
    George
  8. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    It is now empty and ready to be refilled :)
  9. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    Like K1W1 said, you need a frequency converter. There is no transformer in the world that will change frequency.

    I suspect that you will discover it is far more economical and practical to either change your consumers to 50Hz or 50/60Hz units.
  10. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    I used to live on st Barth and had the same issue as power was euro 220v but 60hz. Euro appliances would run fine (excEpt some clocks) as well as most US 120v appliances incl fridges when hooked up thru voltage transformer. When i built my house I designed the electrical with a big 5kw transformer to feed 110v to US outlets thru out the house

    The one thing which didn't work on that set up were US 220v appliance like dryers. Euro 220 is one 220 hot and one neutral whereas US 220 is two opposing 120v. One way around that was to take two 220v hits and step each down to 120v using 2 5kw transformers...
  11. Kafue

    Kafue Senior Member

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    Thanks to you all for the advice and time.
    Here is the model number of the transformer on board:
    Acme Electric
    TF-2-79267-S
    I checked on the website and it states it is an:
    Export Model
    190/208/220/240 x 380/416/440/480 Primary Volts - 120/240 Secondary Volts - 1Ø, 50/60Hz

    I am told a frequency converter is approximately $20,000.

    Here is what I think I may end up doing, at least until business is better and I can change all the compressors:
    Use the present transformer when on shore power for lighting and fridges, I have just bought a new compressor in the US for the fridge and it is 50/60 hertz, the rest will get replaced as they die out.
    Use the existing battery charger via the generator and find a 230volt 32v charger which I will power directly from the shore outlet when needed. In other words leave the existing charger running off the generator and add one using the local voltage when on shorepower.
    When we need microwaves, ovens etc. then the generator will be used.
    We don’t use the boat at the marina or on our pontoon much, but use it a lot for cruising/fishing so the generator is the main source.
    Your thoughts?
    Thanks again guys.
  12. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    Inverters.
    Was working on a 60'r awhile ago. The owner had dual inverters that made 220vac tied together. I'm sure in bypass mode it passed what freq came in, but they were programmable to output either 50 or 60 Hz while inverting. Darn thing ran 3 a/c units and the rest of the boat. There are a lot of gaps in my understanding of how the whole system worked but it's all electronic and programmable to output what ever you need,,,, AND, it may be a better plan on le$$ money.
    Just another thought.
  13. Kafue

    Kafue Senior Member

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    Good point.
    The only reason I try to avoid inverters is it adds more battery maintenance and costs etc. But worth looking into this.
    Cheers
  14. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    I think you have a good economical solution to your current problems there.

    Is that Charger 220 or 110V?

    Given it's vintage I wouldn't think that it has too much in it that will be cooked by 50 Hz supply.
  15. Kafue

    Kafue Senior Member

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    I believe it is 110V, probably 10+ years old.
    There is plenty else needing upkeep on the boat now so its priorities!
    Cheers
  16. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    If it has run on the Shore Power you have fed it so far and not fallen over I would say just keep on feeding it the same as it doesn't look like a charger is a cheap option either at this stage.
  17. chesapeake46

    chesapeake46 Senior Member

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    The 50/60 Hertz rating on the transforemr means that it will accept 50 or 60 Hertz and still operate, it won't change the frequency as Marmot pointed out.
    Acme has been around a long time and they are good transformers.
    And they are recommended Wile E Coyote......
  18. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    That might be but it doesn't seem to have helped him catch that pesky critter does it?

    I haven't seen those cartoons for years, are they still on TV occasionally in the US?

    We used to see them at the movies before intermission.
  19. chesapeake46

    chesapeake46 Senior Member

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    I believe they are still on the " cartoon network ".
    I didn't really appreciate them as much as a kid as when I got more
    edu-ma-cated.
  20. Kafue

    Kafue Senior Member

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    Agree with that. The batteries seem to charge up quick enough off the generator (although they are new).
    Meantime lets see how long and how much a 230volt 32v charger is?
    Cheers K1W1