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Old 01-29-2011, 08:26 AM   #1
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Bonding system

I have noticed some bad connections in my bonding system, a #8*green, fine strand wire which connects the metal parts in contact with water to the transom mounted zinc. In most cases the wire end*is clamped to the fittings by hose clamps. before doing anything*I started reading up a bit on the subject and was surprised to find some*articles saying*the components should be bonded toto a common wire back to the zinc,*some say they should not be bonded at all, some say they should all be individually wired to*a connection at the transom zinc.
**Is this like the "best anchor" or "twins vs single" *topics?
I'd be interested to hear some suggestions. Maybe first hand experiences.
Thanks in advance
Steve W.

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Old 01-29-2011, 10:29 AM   #2
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Bonding system

From what the proprietor of our marine electric shop says, it's not so important how components are connected to the anodes, just that they are. Many or most boat manufactures use a common bond strap running around the inside of the hull and connected to the anodes as a convenient way to connect the various components together. Our GB is like this. But these straps have a bad habit of corroding apart as the boat ages, particularly where they cross the bilge. So when this happens it's common to fix the break with wire or to connect components cut off from the anode by the break directly to the anode with a wire. We have this as well on our boat. On the advice of the electrical shop we also added shaft wipers.

The second school of thought is to not connect throughhulls (assuming they're metal) to an anode at all but leave them isolated. If the boat is in salt water particularly, they will be connected to the anode by the water itself--- electrolysis occurs when two dissimilar metals are connected by an electrolyte. A few shipwrights on the GB forum subscribe to this practice.

But the most common practice is to connect components to the anodes using wire or straps.

Something I learned recently regarding anodes is that it's very important that their connections or mounting hardware be kept clean for the best possible contact. The amount of current is very, very small, so it doesn't take much in the way of surface contamination, corrosion, etc. to block it. So I was told it's a smart practice when replacing zincs to thoroughly clean the mounting bolts, nuts and washers with bronze wool or whatever to ensure a good connection between the bonding system and the zinc. If the current can't get through, the anode can't do its job.

-- Edited by Marin on Saturday 29th of January 2011 11:30:45 AM
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Old 01-30-2011, 09:00 AM   #3
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RE: Bonding system

I complete rewired the zinc/bonding loop about 3 years ago and added two grouper hanging zincs to the loop.* Instead of one continuous loop I made 5 separate loops, bow thruster/forward, mid/water tanks/water heat, engine room/fuel tanks/engine and engine*room/engines.** Our gen set/Perkins does not have zincs so its protection is the main zincs.* Being I can not see the main zincs or the bow thruster the two hanging grouper zincs are easy to see.*


*
I have a diver twice a year check the zincs and clean the through hulls and the larger growth off the prop/rudder.* You should ask/know how fast zincs on boats on your dock last.* On the Eagle its the small bow thruster zincs that go the fastest.*
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Old 01-31-2011, 08:31 AM   #4
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RE: Bonding system

Steve, There are good points on both sides of the issue. Which is right, well both are right and both are wrong. If you boat is currently bonded, which I am sure it is, then continue with the system you have and fix any issues. This might eliminate any problems down the road with surveys, insurance companies and possible buyers should you decide to sell at some point. Bonding is the most accepted method at this point. Whether it is best or not is open to discussion. Chuck
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Old 01-31-2011, 10:25 AM   #5
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RE: Bonding system

I can tell you right now I have a bonding system issue. My boat was hauled for a survey and one of the things that concerned the surveyor was the condition of the strut. I am kicking myself for not being present at the survey because now I am gonna have to quick haul the boat to see just how bad it is myself. Anyway, all of my below waterline metals were fine except the strut. I will soon test the continuity of the bonding circuit. It may be fine and maybe it was just a bad casting of bronze...who knows. But gotta get it and the bonding system checked out here soon...
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Old 01-31-2011, 07:29 PM   #6
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RE: Bonding system

Quote:
Baker wrote:

I can tell you right now I have a bonding system issue. My boat was hauled for a survey and one of the things that concerned the surveyor was the condition of the strut. I am kicking myself for not being present at the survey because now I am gonna have to quick haul the boat to see just how bad it is myself. Anyway, all of my below waterline metals were fine except the strut. I will soon test the continuity of the bonding circuit. It may be fine and maybe it was just a bad casting of bronze...who knows. But gotta get it and the bonding system checked out here soon...
John, you may have a problem, or no problem.* However, I wouldn't assume that because the surveyor noted an issue with the strut and not the through hulls that there is no issue with the through hulls.* Struts are a little easier see electrolytic damage than through hulls because there's more to look at.* Not to worry, just scratch up the through hull outlet side and if you don't see pink, probably no issue.

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Old 02-15-2011, 02:09 PM   #7
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RE: Bonding system

my boat has it obviously and it works fine (meaning the zincs are deteriorating at an appropriate pace)

i have to admit i understand only the bonding details partly.
can the objective and main system be explained in 10 lines or less?
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Old 02-15-2011, 04:40 PM   #8
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RE: Bonding system

PER I just got back from repairing the existing bonding system on my boat. I replaced some of the wires, and left the ones which were intact and clean as they were. It is a very confusing subject, seems most boats do have a bonding system when delivered. Some very knowledgeable and experienced boaters will insist that it is needed and should be there. Other likewise knowledgeable and experienced boaters will say it doesn't help and in fact is worse than not bonding at all.
I was tempted to remove all of the existing bonding system as some recommended. That would have been the cheapest, and easiest option, but, as some have suggested above some surveyor might view that as a fault and submit a bad report to a purchaser or insurance company.
Seems to be another topic like the "best anchor" or " twin or single engine" discussions.
If you "google" the topic you will find lots opinions even some on JAMES BOND!
Good luck,
Steve W
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Old 02-15-2011, 06:23 PM   #9
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RE: Bonding system

Per, here is the brief summary of arguments, pro and con on bonding.

If you would rather all through hull valves break off at the same time when there is a problem, bond.

If you would rather only one break off if there is a problem, don't bond.

If you bond, everything will fall to pieces later if there is a problem.

If you don't bond, some things will fall apart sooner if there is a problem.

If the wires aren't clean and the attachment isn't mechanically sound, you have opted for not bonding.

There is always a problem.
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Old 02-16-2011, 12:05 PM   #10
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RE: Bonding system

i was just wondering what the bonding theory is all about but i am sure it is not easy to explain.
will try to do some searching on the subject.
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Old 02-22-2011, 12:18 AM   #11
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Bonding system

BoatOwner Mechanical and Electrical Manual Nigel Calder
Boatowners Illstrated Handbook of Wiring Charlie Wing
The Boatowners Guide to Corrosion Everrett Collier
Metal Corrosion in Boats Nigel Warren


All have pertinent sections and the last two deal much more with the metals themselves in addition.


I ran across this site a while back and it seemed to have a good description for starters of how to do some checks and what to watch for.

http://www.yachtwork.com/report-corrosion.htm


The biggest thing, to me, is if you have a bonding system keep it in good shape, connections clean, and be carefull about the metals you install that are in contact with the water your boat floats in.



-- Edited by C lectric on Tuesday 22nd of February 2011 01:19:36 AM
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