Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 08-25-2014, 12:59 PM   #1
Veteran Member
 
the getaway's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 25
AC voltage protector help!

Hello all, throwing out this question hoping for some help with this horrible shore power we have here in New Orleans. Just had my air conditioner compressor die from what I think is the voltage fluctuation at my marina. Read a post from Capthead about a voltage protector he hardwired in for $30. I searched and found some but they are all around $220 to $500. I'm not an electrician by any means, I'm just a boat owner that has turned into a jack of all trades since living aboard for the last 4 years. I need a solution to the low voltage situation we have here from time to time and protect the stuff that doesn't like it! Saw some tripp lite line conditioners that could possibly be rewired to fit my needs, but that is getting out of my comfort zone of amassed knowledge. I also saw the EMSHW30C that looks like what Capthead was talking about but that goes for $220. What is the best solution to my problem before I install the new AC unit next week? I have learned so much from y'all that i'm eternally grateful.
__________________
Advertisement

the getaway is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2014, 01:39 PM   #2
Guru
 
psneeld's Avatar
 
City: Avalon, NJ
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Freedom
Vessel Model: Albin 40
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 15,913
I'd love to see something worth a dang at $30...will be interested to see what pops up.

Usually the only thing I say I trust is a really nice transformer with voltage boost....everything else just doesn't seem to be likely to help IAW their claims and engineering. Plus you get stray current protection thrown in....

Maybe someone can post something that will change my mind....even the nice, expensive surge protector strips seem like a scam to me...they could make them out of modeling clay, buy group insurance and probably come out ahead just paying claims rather than actually manufacture an inexpensive product that does what it claims.

Just too many out there with people going WTF.????.."The reason why I bought the thing was to protect my computer/TV"....typical answer "don't worry the check is on it's way" is really not what you want to hear at that time.
__________________

psneeld is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2014, 02:20 PM   #3
Guru
 
City: North Charleston, SC
Country: USA
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 4,390
Nothing is going to protect your equipment from low voltage except a transformer that will automatically boost it as necessary. You won't find this for anywhere near $30, probably more like $300. A computer surge protector is nothing like this and will not help you.

The other option is to install something that will shut your equipment down if the voltage is too low for safe operation.
rwidman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2014, 03:11 PM   #4
Veteran Member
 
the getaway's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 25
I would rather have something that would keep the AC running since it's 100 outside, but would also take something that just shut the system down to protect the compressor
the getaway is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2014, 03:16 PM   #5
Guru
 
caltexflanc's Avatar
 
City: North Carolina for now
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Small Incentive
Vessel Model: Boston Whaler 130 Sport
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 3,801
Do you want best or do you want cheap?

Does the voltage fluctuate or is it consistently low ? How many amps? 240 or 120 volts?
__________________
George

"There's the Right Way, the Wrong Way, and what some guy says he's gotten away with"
caltexflanc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2014, 03:25 PM   #6
Veteran Member
 
the getaway's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 25
Found something called the surge guard 30amp that is used for RVs, would this work? It would have to control my 30amp line that feeds both 16000 btu ACs.
the getaway is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2014, 03:30 PM   #7
Veteran Member
 
the getaway's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 25
Would like to have the best and cheap!! But realistically I know it's gonna cost, but so does replacement ACs. 120v 30amp is the line that feeds them, never seen spikes just low. We have complained to the marina (several people have had problems) but they say not their problem!
the getaway is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2014, 03:34 PM   #8
Veteran Member
 
the getaway's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 25
I think it stems from mostly undersized wires feeding the pedestals, it has gotten worse since more boats/liveaboards have come to the marina and at peak times like summer with all the ACs running.
the getaway is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2014, 04:06 PM   #9
Guru
 
psneeld's Avatar
 
City: Avalon, NJ
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Freedom
Vessel Model: Albin 40
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 15,913
Sounds like undervoltage which is a whole nother animal from spikes/surges.

Suppressors are relatively cheap..good marine transformers aren't.

Some have actually paid to have a new line run to their slip because it was cheaper than replacing compressors or buying a transformer.
psneeld is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2014, 04:32 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
City: Anacortes
Country: USA
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 301
I probably don't have the answer your looking for, but like others here I deeply suspect that a "cheap" solution is going to be elusive. The one caveat to that is whether you will be upgrading other electronics soon, such as your inverter.

One of the reasons I bought my Victron unit was that it can take a variety of inputs and deliver proper voltage. It essentially "reproduces" the wave form and sits between the line in and your AC panel. Since I have a 48 foot boat and only a 30 amp outlet at most of the marina's I've berthed at, it also helps be being able to handle occasional AC loads that are larger than I can get from my shore power cable. It does this by phase matching with an input source and if I'm temporarily pulling more than my 30 amps, the inverter will make up the difference. Most inverters will automatically switch between shore and inverter, but will not "make up" for a few extra amps when an AC unit or heating unit spikes as it comes on. It's one of the reasons I installed a somewhat oversized battery bank to "buffer" the average load needs.

Is this worth converting to just for these benefits. Maybe not. If you were getting close to replacing inverter/charger, then this would be a good time to consider solutions that could handle this issue at only a couple hundred more than the usual off the shelf gear.

Not all the inverter mfg's have produced phase matching or co-generating systems that will do this, Victron is one and I believe Mastervolt does as well. There are a number of isolation transformers that can handle this task, but again you are not in the couple hundred dollar category. This used to be rather rare, but as off grid systems are gaining popularity, this stuff is becoming more available.

Another creative thought, along the same lines through a different mechanism would be to look for an AC compressor that ran natively on DC. Your house batteries then become the low voltage buffer to the compressor. Battery chargers are a bit more forgiving to lower input voltages, but you would need to be capable of charging at a rate to keep up with the average AC load. That might not be my first choice, but again, its an option. Getting the line voltage up itself may not be in the cards, marina's don't upgrade wiring until they are forced kicking and screaming.
ghost is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2014, 04:42 PM   #11
Guru
 
City: North Charleston, SC
Country: USA
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 4,390
Quote:
Originally Posted by the getaway View Post
I would rather have something that would keep the AC running since it's 100 outside, but would also take something that just shut the system down to protect the compressor
I worked for a large school system and many of the large systems had protection that would shut them down if they were in danger of being damaged by low voltage. These systems cost a lot more than your boat's AC compressor. A lot more.

You might do some Internet research or check at an electrical supply house. It's even possible that the maker of your system sells or could recommend such a shut down device.
rwidman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2014, 04:47 PM   #12
Veteran Member
 
the getaway's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 25
Thank you for the idea ghost, I was going to upgrade to a magnum 2812 before we leave to go down island in 4 years but was going to wait awhile. My question is I was going to have the magnum handle only a couple smaller items, wasn't even going to try running the AC off it. I just liked the big charging capabilities. Would I need 2 I/C? One to run the smaller stuff while on hook and one monster one to "condition" the voltage while still a dock queen for 4 more years? Or just use it for the AC now and rewire it when ready to cut the dock lines?
the getaway is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2014, 04:50 PM   #13
Veteran Member
 
the getaway's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 25
Do they even make an inverter charger that can handle the 30amps that it would have condition? Or does it only have to kick in that little bit to bring the voltage back up?
the getaway is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2014, 04:54 PM   #14
Guru
 
caltexflanc's Avatar
 
City: North Carolina for now
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Small Incentive
Vessel Model: Boston Whaler 130 Sport
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 3,801
Find an electrician who can measure you voltage, evaluate your load and install a proper size buck boost transformer at your pedestal, or better yet in your boat before your panel (will need a switch so you can switch it off when you travel to places with good power. These apply a constant boost percentage, so good only in situations where the voltage is low, but fairly stable. Do you have just one 30/120 line feeding the air cons?

Does your boat have an isolation transformer? If so, on many of them you can wire in a switched circuit that will boost as well. A lot of Hatteras guys do this. I was lucky, a PO installed two Charles IsoBoost transformers in place of the OEM. This is the deluxe $olution , and was a real selling point for us.

We have a daughter who lives in NOLA, her office probably isn't far from your marina (Causeway @ the lake). We were down there a few weeks ago, I can see how'd one could get desperate.

Sounds like you could use a copy of Calder's "Boat Owners Mechanical and Electrical Manual" , and a good marine electrician.
It is very unlikely an inverter will solve the issue at hand in any practical way.
__________________
George

"There's the Right Way, the Wrong Way, and what some guy says he's gotten away with"
caltexflanc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2014, 05:08 PM   #15
Veteran Member
 
the getaway's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 25
Looked at some buck booster models, looks like a possible fix as well. Calder is my bible/nightly read as every job/repair I do on this 1973 43' gulfstar trawler is the first time I have ever done it! God New Orleans is hot right now, plus I'm a night line haul driver that is trying to sleep during the hottest part of the day. Anyhoo, South Shore Harbor Marina is not going to fix anything in my lifetime, been round and round with them already, so i guess its up to me.
the getaway is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2014, 05:11 PM   #16
Veteran Member
 
the getaway's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 25
Speaking of sleep, I gotta get my butt in front of the fan and try to get some. Thanks for all the input guys, I'll check back in the morning when I get home.
the getaway is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2014, 05:15 PM   #17
Senior Member
 
City: Anacortes
Country: USA
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 301
I looked up a Victron 3600 isolation transformer that is capable of boosting low input voltage. Looks like it costs around a boat unit. Ouch. That's what it needs if you have low voltage though. Boosting and cleaning dirty power does not come cheap.
ghost is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2014, 05:40 PM   #18
Senior Member
 
City: Anacortes
Country: USA
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 301
Quote:
Originally Posted by the getaway View Post
Thank you for the idea ghost, I was going to upgrade to a magnum 2812 before we leave to go down island in 4 years but was going to wait awhile. My question is I was going to have the magnum handle only a couple smaller items, wasn't even going to try running the AC off it. I just liked the big charging capabilities. Would I need 2 I/C? One to run the smaller stuff while on hook and one monster one to "condition" the voltage while still a dock queen for 4 more years? Or just use it for the AC now and rewire it when ready to cut the dock lines?

98% of the time I run my whole boat off a single 30 amp shore power cable and all the circuits go through the Victron unit, not just a couple circuits. It gets a bit complicated from there, but to do this safely I have automatic load shedding so if all of a sudden I am not connected to shore power my inverter does not try to generate 30-50 amps of power all by itself (which it will happily do otherwise) and become a sudden massive drain of my house batteries, overheats or both.

Victron is not the most easy company to work with, so if i were to do this again I would seriously consider other companies such as Mastervolt which I think coincidentally is another Dutch company. I had to design the load shedding as Victron did not deliver in the box what their marketing stated ( and I think maybe still states). But in any case, when you have it working its a pretty amazing system. You would want to find an electrician that is familiar with these concepts. Most of the people I talk with on the dock actually think "Oh yeah, mine does that too", probably 80% of the people I talk with on the dock would say that. Trust me, almost none of them have it. It's got to be pretty hard to sell when most of the people have no idea, including the sales people!
ghost is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2014, 05:49 PM   #19
Guru
 
City: North Charleston, SC
Country: USA
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 4,390
Quote:
Originally Posted by the getaway View Post
............... Anyhoo, South Shore Harbor Marina is not going to fix anything in my lifetime, been round and round with them already, so i guess its up to me.
Moving to another marina might be the least expensive solution.
rwidman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2014, 06:03 PM   #20
Guru
 
Mule's Avatar
 
City: Fort Pierce
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Florita Ann
Vessel Model: 1982 Present
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 1,786
Truly, if it were a perfect world a device would track and record low amperage conditions so the marina insurance company would be liable. Would not take many claims to force correction.
__________________

Mule is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off





All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:38 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
Copyright 2006 - 2012