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Old 10-20-2015, 09:50 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by ski in nc View Post
thing is, if a boat has trouble in wiring that trips the gf, then owner solves the issue by installing an isolation transformer, that removes the gf protection except for the wires between dock and transformer. Gf no longer checking boat wiring.

I could see using a gf on a boat shore cord outlet that has a higher trip threshold than one used next to a bathtub.
e.l.c.i.
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Old 10-20-2015, 09:50 AM   #22
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I am for gfi at the dock. All of our out let's on the boat and motor home either have the plugin built in or the gfi that plug in that you can buy at home or lows, which also are circuit breaks so there are no over loads. We where required by our insurance to install gfi. The easiest was the plug in.
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Old 10-20-2015, 09:54 AM   #23
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e.l.c.i.
what does that mean?
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Old 10-20-2015, 10:20 AM   #24
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When the new AK Marina electrical systems were being installed neither the engineers, contractors or marinas were aware an issue would arise. When the federal funds started flowing in the new docks built in 2010 in Wrangell had no issues. The new docks that followed at Kethikan, Petersburg and Juneau did have user issues.

Different code and design for the switchgear was cited to me as the reason. The installers and harbor masters had little warning as to issues that would arise for the commercial fleets. It took several months for the offending vessels to get ITs installed so mothballing of the older docks has been delayed.

There is currently no similar code requirement in BC, not sure about Eastern Canada. I am sure Kevin can chime in as to specifics.
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Old 10-20-2015, 10:23 AM   #25
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An isolation transformer is a great item to have on board that can solve many issues. However, they are not cheap, and as noted do not solve within-the-boat issues.. Properly GFI protecting the circuits on the boat itself is pretty cheap.
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Old 10-20-2015, 11:00 AM   #26
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Wait till you have to replace one of those breakers.

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Originally Posted by caltexflanc View Post
Do a search plenty of articles on electrocution deaths in marinas, especially fresh water. For example..

Electric Shock Drowning (ESD) Explained - Seaworthy Magazine - BoatUS

I like having isolation transformers on the boat.

As an aside, I also like that Hatteras put GFP breakers on the front of each 120v panel so all 120v outlets on board are protected, so no issue plugging an extension cord into any outlet for using a tool or other device outside or in the bilge. For boats not so equipped, it is easy enough to install a GFP outlet first in line on any master 120v circuit.
Hatteras does a lot of things that are better, the electrical systems in the 70's and 80's boats were really over the top. My shore power lines are fused at the receptacle as well as ground fault protected at the shore power main panel. That's on top of having isolation transformers. As to gfi at the dock power, if your boat trips the gfi on the dock I don't want you near my boat, keep your stray current to yourself. If killing swimmers isn't enough I'd like to keep my running gear from dissolving.
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Old 10-20-2015, 11:36 AM   #27
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As to gfi at the dock power, if your boat trips the gfi on the dock I don't want you near my boat, keep your stray current to yourself. If killing swimmers isn't enough I'd like to keep my running gear from dissolving.
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Old 12-02-2015, 04:39 PM   #28
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David- It's not leakage from neutral to gnd that trips it, it is leakage from hot to gnd. The way it does this is measuring current on both neut and hot, and if equal all is good. If more current in hot than neut, current is going somewhere else besides back up the neut. Which means leakage to gnd... somewhere. ......
That's my understanding, anyway. I think...
That's how they work and what may cause a problem on boats is the reverse polarity warning lights. One way these work is to wire a small light (green) from hot to ground and another (red) from neutral to ground. Normally, the green light is lit but that provides an imbalance of current between the hot and the neutral and trips the GFCI breaker.

Both circuits are operating as intended but are not compatible with each other (and the NEC wins). You may have to do away with the reverse polarity lights. LEDs might draw a small enough current not to trip the breakers.
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Old 12-02-2015, 09:26 PM   #29
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I am reading this thread with a lot of interest. This summer, my boat could not connect at two marinas with new power pedestals. My boat already has a Charles Iso-Boost installed, and I learned that there are two ways to wire the Iso-Boost. One way will trip the GFCI, the other will not. In talking with Charles Industries, they have another product that needs to be installed in between the shore power inlet and the Iso-Boost that solves the problem.


That does not mean my boat does not have another GFCI problem, but I do know that the Iso-Boost could be the first issue.


I am thinking of installing a GFCI in a pigtail to a 50amp plug, that I can use to test my boat.
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Old 12-03-2015, 08:37 AM   #30
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Do you have the Iso-Boost isolation transformers or just the boost module? I had the transformers on my boat and they never tripped a GFCI line on shore, even at a marina dock where others had some issues while we were there. Maybe my PO installed them right?
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Old 12-03-2015, 10:33 AM   #31
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I think that this whole problem is a case of the NEC being literally applied to dock power outlets which will have a huge effect on boaters. Any boat more than twenty years old will probably trip the very tight leakage values of current GFCIs.


The NEC says roughly that any outdoor outlet must be GFCI protected. My house has several outdoor outlets and they are all tied to an indoor GFCi outlet so they are protected. The GFCI protects the user when they are using an outdoor tool or appliance.


But dock power is different. Rarely does anyone plug in a tool to a dock outlet. Sure I have done it with a 30 amp to 15 amp adapter to power a buffer, but it is rare. Dock power outlets are mostly used to supply power to a boat, just like the wiring from your meter supplies power to your house. Houses do not have whole house GFCIa. Your house has internal GFCIs to protect wet environments such as bathrooms, kitchens and outdoor outlets. So does your boat.


But this NEC requirement which I accept is the way the code reads, causes all sorts of problems on boats, particularly older boats. Boats are wet inside, and with older wiring, they can have slight leakage from the hot to ground that will trip a shore power GFCI.


That slight leakage does not provide a safety problem for the boat users as long as the required head and gallery areas are protected by a GFCI. And to someone who said that he didn't want a boat next to him with a slight hot to ground leakage plugged in without a shore based GFCI, I just don't see it. There is no voltage on the ground as long as it is grounded properly (duh!!). And there is no corrosion potential transmitted to the adjacent boat if it is an AC voltage. It is DC that causes corrosion.


I think that what the industry should do is agree on significantly higher leakage current values for shore power outlets and then install GFCIs meeting those more liberal specs. The higher values would provide some safety but also allow older boats some leeway.


But I have no expectations of this ever happening.


David
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Old 12-03-2015, 11:09 AM   #32
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1. The NEC says roughly that any outdoor outlet must be GFCI protected. My house has several outdoor outlets and they are all tied to an indoor GFCi outlet so they are protected. The GFCI protects the user when they are using an outdoor tool or appliance.

2. Your house has internal GFCIs to protect wet environments such as bathrooms, kitchens and outdoor outlets. So does your boat.

3. they can have slight leakage from the hot to ground that will trip a shore power GFCI. That slight leakage does not provide a safety problem for the boat users as long as the required head and gallery areas are protected by a GFCI.

4. And to someone who said that he didn't want a boat next to him with a slight hot to ground leakage plugged in without a shore based GFCI, I just don't see it. There is no voltage on the ground as long as it is grounded properly (duh!!).

5. And there is no corrosion potential transmitted to the adjacent boat if it is an AC voltage. It is DC that causes corrosion.


6. I think that what the industry should do is agree on significantly higher leakage current values for shore power outlets and then install GFCIs meeting those more liberal specs. The higher values would provide some safety but also allow older boats some leeway.
1. Not only does a GFCI protect at outdoor appliances. It also protects in wet environments i.e. inside a boat or even wet hands in a dry area.

2. Not in many of the boats I survey.

3. You may want to read up on Electric Shock Drowning from such small leaks.

4. if there is a "small" or any other kind of leak from hot to ground ... of course there is current in the ground ! Where else could it go ? See "Electric Shock Drowning".

5. You may want to Google E.L.C.I. now required by ABYC.

6. That AC current does not cause corrosion has long been dis-proven. You may want to take the ABYC Corrosion Analysis course. AC electrolytic corrosion is much slower than DC but it does occur. Complicating the matter is the required AC/DC ground bond which can introduce DC current into the AC system if the system is less than perfect.
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