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Old 02-15-2017, 02:46 PM   #1
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Breakers

Hi TFers,
reading some threads one question came to my mind.
Why can we not use AC or DC breaker made for house aboard a boat?
I know that boat ones are ignition protected but does it matter that much? Let me clarify my point. My trawler is diesel so no dangerous gasoline vapor that can ignite, and my breakers are on my distribution panel not in my ER anyway or near any tank or fuel line or anything that could ignite so easilly. So why is that the ignition protection is so important aboard?

Would be happy to get input from you experts!

L.
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Old 02-15-2017, 02:58 PM   #2
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Greetings,
Mr. L_t. Just a guess but house breakers may not be designed to work in a damp marine environment. Possibly not a big deal in fresh water but ocean side there is a lot of salt in the atmosphere. As I said, just a guess.
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Old 02-15-2017, 03:11 PM   #3
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I agree that house breaker may not be as waterproof or as corrosion proof as boat ones, but if mounted in a waterproof box it should not matter much I guess.
I am just looking to understand if there is any reason I am not able to see or if this is just because we are just looking at boat as a whole and gasoline and diesel makes no difference so same breaker everywhere and everybody is happy
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Old 02-15-2017, 03:40 PM   #4
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Search "ABYC E-11", there is a pdf of the spec in a paneltronics result for the search.

Read down a page or two, there is a discussion of exceptions for diesel power that you will find interesting as I did.

Sorry, I'm bad at passing over links with the fruit computer!
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Old 02-15-2017, 03:49 PM   #5
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Well, this is the third liveaboard boat I have purchased with a second AC or genset panel straight out of a big box store with not a peep from the surveyor.

If not ABYC compliant...I may change mine this summer...probably more because it is getting rusty than because it doesn't work just fine.
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Old 02-15-2017, 04:04 PM   #6
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Pretty sure the single breaker box that is attached to my Genset is household style. Professionally installed.
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Old 02-15-2017, 04:20 PM   #7
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This is only a wonder... But I don't think your house vibrates at the rate your boat does underway. I have thumped house breakers before and tripped them. I don't know if they have better vibration protection, but that is my guess.
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Old 02-15-2017, 04:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoneFarrell View Post
Search "ABYC E-11", there is a pdf of the spec in a paneltronics result for the search.

Read down a page or two, there is a discussion of exceptions for diesel power that you will find interesting as I did.

Sorry, I'm bad at passing over links with the fruit computer!
Thank you. I did read it before but did not notice the exception!
Lesson learned: good to read ABYC again and again, a refresher is never a bad thing!

So in my case considering the exception for disel as well as the place where it is I could rebuilt my distribution panel using household breakers
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Old 02-15-2017, 04:27 PM   #9
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My boat made in 1970 has a Square-D panel with QO breakers.
I did take it out and epoxy coat it and repaint 10 years ago.

It is in excellent shape. One issue is screws bearing directly on multi strand wiring.
My box has these flat clips on the screws so the screw bears on the clip which presses on the wire. You can crimp on sleeves to wires and then your good.

Another thing is dual 30 amp power, do not share the neutrals, Neutrals from each main line only connect to neutrals for distribution breakers on each side. I have twin 30 amp power and prior owners had simply put all the neutral on the one neutral buss, so I split them apart.

So in my 8 breaker panel, 4 take power from one incoming 30 amp line, and 4 from the other incoming line, and the outgoing stays on the respective 30 amp neutral wire.

I could get these slim line thin breakers and get more circuit out of the box, but I dont need to do that. And I did put in a Square-D 20 amp GFCI breaker in the box for the galley-microwave.

I put in 30 amp main dual pole GE breakers in a water resistant GE box for the main disconnect. Back in 1970, I guess they did not do main breakers. Main breakers must disconnect hot and neutral wires together.

And the box never gets wet, and nothing in 40 years damaging breakers in that Square-D box. I think most are original.
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Old 02-15-2017, 04:38 PM   #10
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Residential circuit breakers are manufactured to UL 489 standards, whereas abyc requires them to be UL 1077.!077 requires them to be tested to the conditions that they will be installed. ie- marine environment.
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Old 02-15-2017, 04:49 PM   #11
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That is not to say that UL 489 breakers are inferior to UL 1077,but the marine market is too small to justify these large companies to go after additional certification.
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Old 02-15-2017, 04:55 PM   #12
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I don't understand why you would want to use residential breakers on your boat. Save money? How much? What percentage of your boat's value?
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Old 02-15-2017, 05:00 PM   #13
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I don't understand why you would want to use residential breakers on your boat. Save money? How much? What percentage of your boat's value?
I agree, the money saved is not substantial, along with the fact that residential panels don't have the capability to add extras, such as indicator lights, gauges, etc.
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Old 02-15-2017, 05:03 PM   #14
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When Is A Circuit Breaker Not A Circuit Breaker?
UL1077 are not really 'circuit breakers' but 'supplementary protectors' HaHa, who would have thought it.
Quote:
So what are these devices for? As noted in Sec. 240-10, supplementary protectors are not intended as a substitute for branch-circuit overcurrent devices. As the name implies, their purpose is supplementary, or additional, protection to the branch-circuit overcurrent device.
I get by somehow. Somehow it all changes when it becomes a 'boat'.
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Old 02-15-2017, 05:28 PM   #15
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I agree, the money saved is not substantial, along with the fact that residential panels don't have the capability to add extras, such as indicator lights, gauges, etc.
Yes, you can not easily add in those things yet I have seen it done.

I created my own separate monitoring panel which measures amps and volts for each 30 amp AC line, and also DC amp and voltage.

My boat does not have the space available for a typical marine large panel with lights and breakers out in the open. So I found a smaller space near the helm for a remote display.

All my power circuits are controlled by 35 amp 4PDT power relays using toggle switches. No rotary gen selector etc... I can switch between shore, gen, inverter with the toggles, so yeah I created my own box containing the two 4PDT relays also.

My breaker panel is behind a door and flush mounted in a frame low down near the floor.

The little wood switch I made is a low volt toggle that runs on my secondary inverter which I use to run the Nav PC. For the big inverter it is mounted below that, a standard remote switch.
The panel I made shows the holes where toggles go to control the shore on - off relay, center one is the gen start-stop, third one lets me switch all outlet circuits between one power source to the backup secondary inverter. At far left are 2 neon red lights for reverse polarity indicators.

A basic schematic showing the flow to visualize the power flow .

My electric system is tight, I have less than 5ma leakage, I can run the whole boat from a GFCI without tripping, if I wanted to.
When I plug into shore power, if the first toggle is on, the relay energizes and power flows into the boat automatically. Additionally I have a 2PDT power relay that switches automatically the converter - charger, so if shore power is available it comes on without me doing anything, if it goes off, then it switches over to gen power side, but I don't leav gen on auto start but I could.
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Old 02-15-2017, 05:34 PM   #16
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Sure you can add anything with a drillbit, and a file. I was only trying to point out that a marine panel (blue sea) is customizable to your needs, whereas a residential panel off the shelf is not.
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Old 02-15-2017, 06:06 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tinped View Post
Residential circuit breakers are manufactured to UL 489 standards, whereas abyc requires them to be UL 1077.!077 requires them to be tested to the conditions that they will be installed. ie- marine environment.
Sorry but this is not true from what I see from ABYC E11:

11.10.2 FOR AC SYSTEMS 1.10.2.1 Circuit breakers shall meet the requirements of UL 489, Molded Case Circuit Protectors For Circuit Breaker Enclosures, or UL 1077, Supplementary Protectors For Use In Electrical Equipment,
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Old 02-15-2017, 06:14 PM   #18
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I don't understand why you would want to use residential breakers on your boat. Save money? How much? What percentage of your boat's value?
I am looking at them because I like Din rail mounted breakers in a nice waterproof box with a glass lid as a distribution panel from which clean wires sheats are going out to control panels. Price well depending of what breaker you want but can be from 50% less expensive for themost simple ones to almost the same price for others.
Regarding light and meters again, if you look at din rail breaker some offer led indicator built in and it is very easy to find all the meters you want for din rails as it is a very common standard in the industry.
Nothing to see with my boat value as I would not do it if it would put my boat or my security in jeopardy, that is in substance the reason for my question
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Old 02-15-2017, 07:41 PM   #19
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Sorry but this is not true from what I see from ABYC E11:

11.10.2 FOR AC SYSTEMS 1.10.2.1 Circuit breakers shall meet the requirements of UL 489, Molded Case Circuit Protectors For Circuit Breaker Enclosures, or UL 1077, Supplementary Protectors For Use In Electrical Equipment,
Hmm, I didn't catch the or part, thankyou.
After reading the abyc specs, I went on blue sea to see if I could figure out the answer to the op question about residential breakers. Every blue sea breaker is built to the 1077 spec, and I couldn't find any mention of the 489.
So I called my distributor, and he explained that all breakers must conform to the 489 specs, and the 1077 ,when it relates to c.b.'s,is a more stringent test involving environmental conditions (such as marine,chemical,etc.)
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Old 02-15-2017, 07:47 PM   #20
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They were/are used in boats all the time.

No big deal if common sense is used at the time of install. Just looks cheesy if no thought is put into the install.

Browards are full of home style panels and breakers.
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