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Old 12-06-2017, 01:11 PM   #1
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12v short. “Hot” hand rail.

I’m currently on the hard having my hull painted. As I climbed up to the flybridge I noticed the hand rail was hot to the touch. Since my mast is down one of the ss shrouds was touching the stanchion base and was sparking. I immediately turned off the 110v AC but the problem persisted. I checked my amp meter and it was showing -10a. My first thought was a short in the mast but checking with a VOM showed that the rail was hot not the mast. I have a 12v crane for the dink and found the wires are run through the rail tubing and must be shorting out. After turning off the breaker all is well. It will take some work to re-wire the crane.
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Old 12-06-2017, 01:38 PM   #2
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Good job running it down and getting the hazard secured.
I have a friend with a sailboat that has an electric cattle fence wired to the life line cables around the boat. The previous owner used it as a security measure in Venezuela. Shocking!
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Old 12-06-2017, 02:27 PM   #3
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I worked on a 50' trawler yacht in the Galapagos Islands years ago. It had been locally built in the islands. The forward head was notorious. If someone had recently showered in there, meaning that water was all over the place, you'd get the cattle prod treatment if you sat on the toliet!

The owner's answer was to restrict the forward head to crew only...the passengers used the much larger aft head.
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Old 12-06-2017, 06:16 PM   #4
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Any time wires pass through metal, it's important to protect them with a bushing of some sort (usually plastic). Your wires enter the rail through a drilled hole and exit through another. Buy and install bushings. You may have to make the holes bigger to accommodate the bushings but that's OK. The rails are pretty much conduit so running wires through them is fine.
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Old 12-07-2017, 06:42 AM   #5
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"I have a friend with a sailboat that has an electric cattle fence wired to the life line cables around the boat. The previous owner used it as a security measure in Venezuela. Shocking!"

An ancient solution that still works!
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Old 12-07-2017, 07:20 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FF View Post
"I have a friend with a sailboat that has an electric cattle fence wired to the life line cables around the boat. The previous owner used it as a security measure in Venezuela. Shocking!"

An ancient solution that still works!
"Mikey doesn't like anything." Send Mikey up there to cut the wire then we can strip the boat clean as Mikey is flailing around on the ground.
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Old 12-07-2017, 10:00 AM   #7
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Well! That's astonishing! How much of that rail was hot to the touch? Besides the SS shroud, where else was it grounded? Why didn't the breaker trip? Why didn't the wire burn through? (Yeah, I know you can have faults that are just bad enough to be sparking or get things hot but... Such faults are more usually in line, I think, rather than to ground.)
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Old 12-07-2017, 10:32 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DHeckrotte View Post
Why didn't the breaker trip? Why didn't the wire burn through?
My thoughts as well. The wiring is for the crane, I assume that must be fairly large gauge wire and a large fuse/breaker. I was initially surprised the crane wasn't manifesting problems, but when I re-read, he also said he is on the hard, so I doubt the crane is being used.
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