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Old 05-19-2017, 01:28 AM   #1
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Bonding

Hey guys, tried searching for bonding but nothing came up. Need some wisdom and advice. Got a 79 34 mainship which has a zinc attached to the back which suggests at one time it was bonded as per NYCG guidelines. Problem is now there is nothing connecting to it and both thru hulls dont connect to anything. After reading several articles including 1 on West Marines website. I get the impression its better to go unbonded and have just your shaft as the single point of common contact with seawater because while a bonded boat will protect you from your own stray current it will not protect you from someone else's or a marinas bad electrical current. I'm trying to decide if i want to go ahead and run a new bonding wire from the stern and connect everything metal to it or just leave it as it is. Any advice,concerns,reading material would be greatly appreciated. Is leaving everything isolated up to code or do i need to bond? Thank you in advance.
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Old 05-19-2017, 06:34 AM   #2
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I would do a proper bonding system. The article is misleading as it will protect you from others stray current, but you will go through the anode very quickly. That simply goes back to the point about checking anodes on a regular basis as opposed to trying to guess when they're spent. In the cost of boating, anodes don't register.

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Old 05-19-2017, 06:51 AM   #3
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To me there is no correct, simplistic answer.

The West article is just a tiny bit of light on a dark subject.

The systems that often overlap in this sort of discussion are bonding, grounding and lightning protection.

After reading hundreds of detailed experienced based, scientific and engineering articles on the subject........I still see differences in what a person might consider the right approach....especially the lightning protection as it is somewhat heavily weighted in risk msnagement...not an absolute.

I think bonding is overkill for singular, isolated underwater metal of one metal type. Such as a bronze thru hull, forward and not within say 5 feet of another. The "European" approach as I have heard it called.

I have seen diagrams where bonding and grounding are tied together at many points, but as I keep reading, I don't believe this is the best way, but certainly the cheapest and easiest. Thousands of boats were built this way through the years with no ill effects, but I don't think it's a best practice.

Some ideas can be argued either way....but ultimately it is how your boat is done as a "whole".....meaning improper overlaps or omitting something might have a negative effect.

So if your boat has survived well enough so far, be careful of changing things till you have read up a lot more than one article.
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Old 05-19-2017, 08:53 AM   #4
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I've been reading "Your Boat's Electrical System" By Conrad Miller. Which goes into great detail about bonding, grounding and lightning protection. Which is how i was planning to wire the boat up until i read a couple different articles elsewhere. As for what works....... when i bought the boat 1 valve at the thru hull was just a shell. So after fitting with new thru hulls I would like the best possible protection i can give it. 30 ft of 8 gauge green jacketed ground wire with legs attaching along the length where ever there is metal touching water. At least that wad until i got confused.
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Old 05-19-2017, 09:07 AM   #5
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I'd get a hold of an ABYC Electrical Tech and have a corrosion analysis done. You might be ok but without one you won't have any way of knowing if there is any stray current that could be eating a thru-hull or your prop. It shouldn't take more than 2 hours and that includes some talking time.
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Old 05-20-2017, 07:04 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alaskasbear View Post
I've been reading "Your Boat's Electrical System" By Conrad Miller. Which goes into great detail about bonding, grounding and lightning protection. Which is how i was planning to wire the boat up until i read a couple different articles elsewhere. As for what works....... when i bought the boat 1 valve at the thru hull was just a shell. So after fitting with new thru hulls I would like the best possible protection i can give it. 30 ft of 8 gauge green jacketed ground wire with legs attaching along the length where ever there is metal touching water. At least that wad until i got confused.
8 for the legs, but 6 (or even bigger) for the trunk. That way it can double as lightning protection.
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Old 05-20-2017, 07:29 AM   #7
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Somehow I have a hard time believing any guage wire we run on out small boats will help with the average or above lightning strike.

Plus, I am led to believe that static electricity is a surface runner, so guage is only helps incrementally, not as in current carrying ability.

Then there is where you lead it without blowing a hole in your hull.

That's why I say all the lightning research takes a student in all different directions with no real, solid answers what works, truly helps.
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Old 05-20-2017, 07:40 AM   #8
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I suspect the anode was installed then disconnected by a PO for some reason.

Agree with psneed that lightning is still an unknown. Even the big cables in buildings are too small but probably serve as a starting path that the current will follow along the surface. Massive voltages and currents are unpredictable yet somehow I don't remember ever reading about lightening blowing a hole in a boat.

My hope was that the boat be wet before a strike. Fortunately I never got to test that theory.
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Old 05-20-2017, 08:28 AM   #9
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Excellent advice. Thank you.
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Old 05-20-2017, 10:30 AM   #10
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Interesting site.

http://marinelightning.com/

Pretty decent article.

http://www.proboat.com/2016/04/3530/

good reference.

http://newboatbuilders.com/pages/electricity14.html
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Old 05-20-2017, 11:10 AM   #11
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I suspect the anode was installed then disconnected by a PO for some reason.

Agree with psneed that lightning is still an unknown. Even the big cables in buildings are too small but probably serve as a starting path that the current will follow along the surface. Massive voltages and currents are unpredictable yet somehow I don't remember ever reading about lightening blowing a hole in a boat.

My hope was that the boat be wet before a strike. Fortunately I never got to test that theory.
Have read of several sailboats with keel stepped masts where the lightning apparently traveled down the mast and the shortest way to ground was through the bottom of the boat.
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Old 05-20-2017, 03:54 PM   #12
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Lightning protection is an interesting, but dark subject. Don't think of ordinary bonding systems for lightning protection: too many variables, the small conductors are nowhere near the size required; getting the lightning to actually go where you intend is a science including conductor size, connections, radii of turns, size of grounding pad.

Bonding is another interesting but dark subject. Both our 1970 Dutch-built sailboat and our 1984 TT were thoroughly bonded and with generally similar materials: glassed-in or tabbed-in copper straps, brass screws, copper wires to the various metal items in the water. Where the copper straps and brass screws were in periodic contact with salty (bilge) water there's a fair bit of corrosion (much worse on the sailboat because of locations and heeling).

I will be restoring the continuity and completeness of the TT's bonding system, it's mostly there and only a few replacement throughhulls were left unconnected. I added bonding wires to the stainless steel swim platform brackets because they were corroded where they extended below the waterline. Too easy to do and I was already in pain from excessive time kneeling in the Lazarette.
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Old 05-20-2017, 04:45 PM   #13
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Shoot, I thought this thread was about getting naked and painting your body blue and having drum circles. Poop.
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Old 05-20-2017, 07:58 PM   #14
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Well TT, verdigris green, perhaps.
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Old 05-20-2017, 08:37 PM   #15
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My previous boat was left unbonded and I never had a problem with corrosion or lightning, current boat is bonded and after three years no sign of corrosion and lightning free.
Side note, a friend has his boat hit by lightning and list all his electronics and it blew a hole in the bottom of the hull, lost boat. His next boat everything was bonded, all thru hulls, railings, ladder to bridge, electronics, everything. When lighting was imminent he had a heavy anchor chain with a large electrical clamp welded to one end, that end got clamped to the ladder to the bridge and the chain went over the side. He claims he was hit after this and the chain would shake and straighten some but there was no damage.
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Old 05-20-2017, 08:53 PM   #16
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I have the perfect lightning protection strategy. When I see some storm forecast, I move my boat to tie near a sailboat with a 40 feet mast that will take all the strike in case of lightning. Best protection is not to get stroked

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Old 05-20-2017, 09:03 PM   #17
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The largest boat manufacturer in the world, Beneteau, does not bond its boats. Three company has a large data base of boats to track and sees no value added.
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Old 05-20-2017, 09:09 PM   #18
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Lou

I just rented dock space to a 47' catamaran for just that reason, thee feet from my boat.
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Old 05-20-2017, 10:45 PM   #19
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Lou

I just rented dock space to a 47' catamaran for just that reason, thee feet from my boat.
I already knew you were a wise man
L.
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Old 05-21-2017, 06:25 AM   #20
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While there are many opinions on, and often a gross misunderstanding of, bonding systems and whether or not to bond, the advantages are, with one exception, in my opinion, very clear.

A bonding system mitigates both galvanic and stray current corrosion, in addition to reducing the effects of (not preventing) a lightning strike, while also potentially reducing the likelihood of electrocution.

From a corrosion perspective alone, bonding systems provide a low resistance direct path for stray current back to its source, making it less likely that it will travel through the water, where it is far more likely to rapidly result in severe damage.

The classic example, for stray current corrosion, is a bilge pump wiring connection that is immersed in bilge water. The current from this wire travels though the bilge water, where it reaches a through hull, it exits the boat and re-enters at the prop shaft, which is grounded, and in doing so causes the prop to corrode. If the through hull were bonded, the path back to the battery (electricity always seeks its source, not ground) would be far more direct, which would either cause the bilge pump fuse to blow, or CB trip, or the current flow would be high enough to cause the wire to corrode very rapidly, which would stem the flow of electricity. Without a bonding system this sort of fault can result in a prop being completely destroyed in a matter of days.

The other scenario, for galvanic corrosion, involves protection of underwater metals, some of which may be of question alloy content. If they are borderline, containing too much zinc for instance, a scenario that was discussed on this forum not long ago, then bonding and maintaining anodes will reduce the likelihood of dezincification. Of course such metals should never be knowingly used for raw water applications.

Most lower cost propellers by the way, are manganese bronze, which is a type of brass, rather than bronze. These require cathodic protection, zinc or aluminum anodes, and/or connection to the bonding system via a good quality shaft brush.

The exception involves wooden vessels. Cathodically protected, i.e. bonded, underwater metals generate an alkaline solution which is harmless to fiberglass, however, it does cause delignification in wood, which compromises its integrity. The risk to the wood is essentially too high to otherwise justify the benefits of bonding.

This article covers in detail the advantages and disadvantages of bonding systems http://http://stevedmarineconsulting...on-prevention/
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