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Old 05-29-2015, 06:41 PM   #1
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GFP vessel test

I was visiting with a previous survey customer today who mentioned that a couple marinas in south florida were installing GFP type breakers on pedestals. Some boat owners were unable to utilize these due to onboard electrical issues. He asked how he could test his own boat to insure he would not have problems. I suggested he might try using an adapter to plug into a 15 amp GFCI (5 milliamp trip) and see how his system performed. Obviously one wouldn't run too many loads while performing this test. I think it would be a hyper sensitive test that might provide some peace of mind or warning prior to running into trouble unexpectedly at a later date. If you can keep a 5 milliamp outlet happy you should be able to run well on a 30 milliamp trip point.

GFP and ELCI breakers will be coming more and more into play. In addition, on surveys where a vessel has no main breaker or defective main breaker I am recommending installation of ELCI type as replacement. They really do improve boating safety but require other areas of the system be in good working order. It might even be a good topic to have its own discussion on the TF. Nuisance trips can be generated in a lot of different ways so a checklist of practical experiences would be beneficial for those who become entangled.

Here is some info from Blue Sea Systems: https://www.bluesea.com/resources/13...our_boat_safer.

Here is another article by a blogger I suppose: https://gilwellbear.wordpress.com/20...elci-a-primer/

Hopefully these links are OK with the TF Mods...

Bill G.
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Old 05-29-2015, 07:11 PM   #2
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Greetings,
Mr. bg. I was required to install a GFCI outlet on the galley counter after a recent insurance survey. Yes, it is within 2' of the sink but is nestled behind the coffee maker and quite unlikely to be in contact with water unless we're sinking. The major problem with it is in the event of a power shut down (not a very frequent occurrence but it does happen) from the grid, it is necessary to physically reset the outlet. As I mentioned, it is nestled in quite an awkward spot to get to, behind the coffee maker. No reset-no morning coffee.
If marinas are going to a similar style of protection will the units automatically reset and pass power without a physical reset?
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Old 05-29-2015, 08:09 PM   #3
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Ft Pierce City marina in Florida was having issues last winter with older boats and their new dock electric.

Older boats were being tied up in the I new harbor to the older docks and shore power till things were straightened out.
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Old 05-29-2015, 08:18 PM   #4
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I haven't encountered that problem on many different boats I look at each week. Is it possible something else on the circuit causes the outlet to trip? Does it happen when you turn your dock power on and off or switch back and forth between power sources (if you have a generator or inverter)? If your neutral is grounded aboard you might be leaking some current through the green ground overboard versus returning all back to the pedestal. This might cause nuisance trips. Seems unlikely though unless other equipment is on the same circuit.

Two instances I know of ELCI breakers giving trouble were completely unrelated. One was caused because the vessel owner didn't realize his galley range was on so tripped from overload. The other trip was current leakage from a newer battery charger (don't know how this was resolved). I was prompted to post this evening after being queried by my survey customer.

This is exactly the kind of discussion I was hoping to raise. I am not great at theoretical explanations but I know from trolling around here a while there are some good minds lurking about. Little problems as you have raised may be keys to bigger issues that should be addressed and others may benefit from the discussion too.

BG

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Greetings,
Mr. bg. I was required to install a GFCI outlet on the galley counter after a recent insurance survey. Yes, it is within 2' of the sink but is nestled behind the coffee maker and quite unlikely to be in contact with water unless we're sinking. The major problem with it is in the event of a power shut down (not a very frequent occurrence but it does happen) from the grid, it is necessary to physically reset the outlet. As I mentioned, it is nestled in quite an awkward spot to get to, behind the coffee maker. No reset-no morning coffee.
If marinas are going to a similar style of protection will the units automatically reset and pass power without a physical reset?
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Old 05-29-2015, 08:22 PM   #5
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That is what my survey customer relayed to me. He had a newer Sea Ray so I doubt he will have trouble but he may try a GFCI outlet just to be sure.

I think older boats may be more susectible since they are more likely to have been modified inducing unanticipated problems but newly installed equipment on a newer system can also give trouble...

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Ft Pierce City marina in Florida was having issues last winter with older boats and their new dock electric.

Older boats were being tied up in the I new harbor to the older docks and shore power till things were straightened out.
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Old 05-29-2015, 08:56 PM   #6
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I think that GFCI breakers on shore power at marinas is a horrible idea. Boats get wet inside, they all do sooner or later. And when they do a shore power GFCI will trip.

What is the purpose in having your shore power protected by a GFCI. The NEC and presumably ABYC require a GFCI in bathrooms and kitchens and every boat built in the last 10-20 years has them. Those will protect users from shocks in those inherently wet working environments.

Homes don't have a GFCI on the main incoming breaker. Why should boats?

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Old 05-29-2015, 09:18 PM   #7
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Greetings,
Mr. dj. At the risk of this valuable thread, NO sarcasm inferred, being transfered to OTDE, I would submit that the trend to "protect" boats at the shore power pedestal is yet another effort to "protect" the stupid from themselves AND to transfer any liability for a shocking accident from the marina to the boater.
Further...Having the GFCI that the coffee machine is plugged into trip and stay off as a result of occasional power loss is nothing compared to what might happen if a pedestal GFCI trips and stays off and is unnoticed by marina staff. Dead batteries, thawed bait in the freezer and potential sinking if a leak develops-think power loss during a hurricane with subsequent damage and no bilge pumps due to depleted batteries.
I've seen boats sink at the dock overnight.
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Old 05-30-2015, 07:25 AM   #8
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"The other trip was current leakage from a newer battery charger (don't know how this was resolved)."

An auto style charger will frequently trip GFI breakers.

The "Arc fault " style breaker might be a better safety install on a new or old vessel.
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Old 05-30-2015, 07:42 AM   #9
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Greetings,
Mr, FF. What is the "Arc fault" style breaker and how does one distinguish this style? Is it marked as such in any way? What are the different types of GFCI units aside from "Arc fault"?
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Old 05-31-2015, 05:55 AM   #10
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Arc-fault circuit interrupter - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arc-fault_circuit_interrupter


Wikipedia


An Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) is a specific duplex receptacle or circuit breaker designed to help prevent fires by detecting an unintended electrical arc and disconnecting the power before the arc starts a fire.‎Electrical code requirements - ‎Limitations - ‎Interference with power line ...
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Old 05-31-2015, 06:21 AM   #11
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Greetings,
Mr. FF. Thank you...Wiki...Duh on me.
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Old 05-31-2015, 11:32 AM   #12
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If you could see some of the owner installed electrical improvments

If you could see some of the owner improvements I've had to fix you would know why the marinas feel compelled to cover their Butt. One example was a 35' Albin trawler that had the shore power neutral reversed. The boat had ac wiring run in red and black 10 gauge The load was wired as red the neutral black. Who ever connected the shore power to the boat connected black to black red to white. The whole boat had reverse polarity, All neutrals were switched so the outlets all were hot to ground with the breakers off. Battery charger hard wired to a outlet with lamp cord under the sink with no fuse or disconnect. All outlets just cut into panel without boxes so totally exposed on the backside under cabinets and in closets. Terminal strips unprotected and not marked so 120 volt ac, 12v ac same size and color wire for both. Worked for the previous owner.
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Old 05-31-2015, 02:56 PM   #13
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Beyond compliance issues, the number one fear for marinas is fire. As individual boat owners we fear loss of power and the many things that can result, but that just impacts our single boat. Fire can impact many boats and the marina. I don't have all the answers but that's the perspective.
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Old 05-31-2015, 08:45 PM   #14
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Bad stuff is out there...

Good post. I find some of the same stuff. Thing about AC electric is that it may work just fine but lie in wait to cause trouble. One of these would be a good tool for any boater: Klein Tools GCFI Receptacle Tester-RT200 - The Home Depot Pretty inexpensive but effective to prove some aspects of AC electric system.

If you don't have plans to travel about this thread probably not much use to you. If your boat already has a reverse polarity indicator that is functional you may not need a plug in tester to prove your system but outlets can be replaced and connected reverse polarity or otherwise wrong. AC electrical mysteries can appear innocent but at the same time they can be dangerous. One flips a switch and an appliance works but what else may be going on?

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If you could see some of the owner improvements I've had to fix you would know why the marinas feel compelled to cover their Butt. One example was a 35' Albin trawler that had the shore power neutral reversed. The boat had ac wiring run in red and black 10 gauge The load was wired as red the neutral black. Who ever connected the shore power to the boat connected black to black red to white. The whole boat had reverse polarity, All neutrals were switched so the outlets all were hot to ground with the breakers off. Battery charger hard wired to a outlet with lamp cord under the sink with no fuse or disconnect. All outlets just cut into panel without boxes so totally exposed on the backside under cabinets and in closets. Terminal strips unprotected and not marked so 120 volt ac, 12v ac same size and color wire for both. Worked for the previous owner.
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