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Old 09-14-2016, 12:10 PM   #21
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I understand that. Some times you see ground and neutral tied together.

Ted
That should never be. The ground and neutral should only be connected together at the source. In the case of shorepower, that would be at the marina's or in this case the home's entrance panel. The point where the power company's service ends and the business or homeowners equipment is connected to it.

If the boat has an inverter or generator, this is the source (only when connected and supplying power) and in this case, the ground and neutral are connected together here but only when this is the source of the boat's power.
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Old 09-14-2016, 12:13 PM   #22
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Do you have a galvanic isolator on the boat?
A galvanic isolator only connects in series with the ground wire and should not affect a GFCI breaker's operation.


A GFCI breaker compares the current flowing in the hot and neutral conductors and if they are not the same, it shuts off the circuit. If the current is not the same, it must be flowing to ground.


As I posted above, some, possibly most or all reverse polarity indicator systems, by their design are a ground fault (the green or "OK" lamp is connected from hot to ground). Mine is.
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Old 09-14-2016, 03:35 PM   #23
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I have a 2002 novatec sundeck trawler.
Have never had a problem with plugging into shore power.
Just had my home dock rebuilt and new wiring code requires a ground fault breaker (in house at breaker box)
Now when I plug in, ground fault blows immediately.
This is with the power selector (in the boat between gen and shore power) turned to off and all breakers in the boat turned off.

Temporarily replaced the new ground fault breaker with a regular one and back to normal.

Thoughts and help appreciated!
Thanks
If you haven't encountered this problem before, you would have soon if you stay at marinas. Now's the time to get an electrician and get your boat wiring compliant. Rather than fight the problem accept it as a warning.
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Old 09-14-2016, 04:17 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by WesK View Post
That should never be. The ground and neutral should only be connected together at the source. In the case of shorepower, that would be at the marina's or in this case the home's entrance panel. The point where the power company's service ends and the business or homeowners equipment is connected to it.

If the boat has an inverter or generator, this is the source (only when connected and supplying power) and in this case, the ground and neutral are connected together here but only when this is the source of the boat's power.
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Originally Posted by WesK View Post
A galvanic isolator only connects in series with the ground wire and should not affect a GFCI breaker's operation.


A GFCI breaker compares the current flowing in the hot and neutral conductors and if they are not the same, it shuts off the circuit. If the current is not the same, it must be flowing to ground.


As I posted above, some, possibly most or all reverse polarity indicator systems, by their design are a ground fault (the green or "OK" lamp is connected from hot to ground). Mine is.
Wesk, I addressed this in post #7. Not condoning this, looking for alterations to the original wiring that could cause the problem.

Ted
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Old 09-14-2016, 04:23 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by O C Diver View Post
Wesk, I addressed this in post #7. Not condoning this, looking for alterations to the original wiring that could cause the problem.

Ted
Sometimes things have to get posted several times before anyone pays attention. For example, my comment on the reverse polarity indicating lights.

It's pretty easy to check to see if the ground and neutral are connected together on the boat with nothing more than an ohm meter or continuity tester.

Anyone who can't figure how to do this should get on the Internet and start looking for a good marine electrician.
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Old 09-14-2016, 04:50 PM   #26
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Thanks for all the info
Have not had a chance to trouble shoot yet
But to clear up a few things.
The GFI is in the house at the main panel, it was just installed by the same company that wired the house, very well known co in this area.
I do have a reverse polarity light, and galvanic isolater
New magnasine inverter with neutral switching installed by a pro.

Yes it trips with gen/shore power selector turned to off and main double pole breaker turned off on boat panel, (trips as soon as it is plugged in). That's the weird part as you would think with it off no current would flow?

I suspect my problem lies with the selector switch as it does not appear to change the neutral wire (very hard to see where it is located)
Will dive into it more when I have time.

For now just replaced the breaker in the house with a non GFI unit. (It's been this way for 14 yrs with no problems)
Have a pro scheduled to come out in a week or 2
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Old 09-14-2016, 08:19 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Panacea123 View Post
Yes it trips with gen/shore power selector turned to off and main double pole breaker turned off on boat panel, (trips as soon as it is plugged in). That's the weird part as you would think with it off no current would flow?

I suspect my problem lies with the selector switch as it does not appear to change the neutral wire (very hard to see where it is located)
Will dive into it more when I have time.
While I'm not the wire code expert in this thread , the neutral needs to be switched as it may now be tied to the generator neutral and possible the boat bonding system.

Ted
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Old 09-14-2016, 08:31 PM   #28
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About reverse polarity indicators, they need to be 25,000 ohms minimum
I had to change mine and leave off the buzzer.
Wiring a reverse-polarity alarm - Ocean Navigator - January/February 2003
You can not just stick a pilot light in there, a neon light will work.

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Answer 1: The proper way to wire a reverse-polarity alarm is as describedbetween the neutral and the grounding wire. The American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) standards specify that such a device should have a minimum resistance of 25,000 ohms. The reason for this is that if we apply Ohm's Law, assuming a 120-volt circuit, we find that, if the polarity is reversed, activating the device, the current flow will be 120/25,000 = 4.8 milliamps, which is just below the tripping threshold of U.S. Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs); they trip at 5 milliamps. This way the alarm will alert the operator without tripping the circuit. With such a high resistance in the circuit provided by the 25K-ohm resistor, there is no need to worry about leaks to ground, galvanic corrosion, etc.
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Old 09-15-2016, 06:59 AM   #29
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If you haven't encountered this problem before, you would have soon if you stay at marinas. Now's the time to get an electrician and get your boat wiring compliant. Rather than fight the problem accept it as a warning.
+1 on this.
When we stayed at Fort Pierce City Marina, they had you come to the fuel dock for "testing" before they would allow you to use the new floating docks with the new electrical pedestals referred to in this thread. They had you plug in with all circuits turned off, then flip each circuit on, one by one. We were thankful that we passed.
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Old 09-15-2016, 08:03 AM   #30
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+1 on this.
When we stayed at Fort Pierce City Marina, they had you come to the fuel dock for "testing" before they would allow you to use the new floating docks with the new electrical pedestals referred to in this thread. They had you plug in with all circuits turned off, then flip each circuit on, one by one. We were thankful that we passed.
We stayed at a marina which the dockmaster proudly told me had recently installed a very expensive electrical management system which could pinpoint any problem, down to which outlet on which pedestal.

When I expressed concern that my boat was built before GFCIs were common, he couldn't wait to try out his new toy. He reported back that we were "100%" OK according to his system.

Actually, there was one problem outlet that did trip a GFCI at another marina, but I wasn't using it at the time.
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Old 09-15-2016, 10:10 AM   #31
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About reverse polarity indicators, they need to be 25,000 ohms minimum
I had to change mine and leave off the buzzer.
Wiring a reverse-polarity alarm - Ocean Navigator - January/February 2003
You can not just stick a pilot light in there, a neon light will work.
That's pretty much what I have been trying to say. The inherent design is a ground fault and the only way to deal with this if there is a GFCI feeding the boat is to make sure the reverse polarity circuit doesn't draw enough current to trip the GFCI.

The simple test, of course, is to disconnect the reverse polarity circuit (or lamps) and see if that solves the GFCI problem. If it does, neon or LED lamps with the appropriate resistors is your solution.

Neon lamps draw very little current and work (with a resistor) in this application, but as the article states, they don't have a long service life. The ones in my boat were dead (the green one) when I bought it at eight years and the replacements I installed are pretty much gone now, eight years later. Long ago, part of my job was servicing equipment that used neon indicating lights and replacing these was something I often had to do.

If I can find an LED light to fit my panel, that's what I will do. It's a small rectangular fixture with both red and green lights in it.
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Old 09-15-2016, 10:29 AM   #32
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If the selector switch does not toggle the neutral too that could be your problem if the generator is grounded as it should be. It will be providing a leakage path to the grounding/bonding system into the water due to the neutral ground connection there. Must be a little more to it than just that though. If it is 120 volt you need to check polarity is correct on shore power switch. If hot and neutral were switched that would shut it down quick (hot to neutral grounded at generator) If 240 volt maybe an issue elsewhere on the boat.

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Originally Posted by Panacea123 View Post
Thanks for all the info

I suspect my problem lies with the selector switch as it does not appear to change the neutral wire (very hard to see where it is located)
Will dive into it more when I have time.

For now just replaced the breaker in the house with a non GFI unit. (It's been this way for 14 yrs with no problems)
Have a pro scheduled to come out in a week or 2
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Old 09-15-2016, 01:15 PM   #33
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That's pretty much what I have been trying to say. The inherent design is a ground fault and the only way to deal with this if there is a GFCI feeding the boat is to make sure the reverse polarity circuit doesn't draw enough current to trip the GFCI.

The simple test, of course, is to disconnect the reverse polarity circuit (or lamps) and see if that solves the GFCI problem. If it does, neon or LED lamps with the appropriate resistors is your solution.

Neon lamps draw very little current and work (with a resistor) in this application, but as the article states, they don't have a long service life. The ones in my boat were dead (the green one) when I bought it at eight years and the replacements I installed are pretty much gone now, eight years later. Long ago, part of my job was servicing equipment that used neon indicating lights and replacing these was something I often had to do.

If I can find an LED light to fit my panel, that's what I will do. It's a small rectangular fixture with both red and green lights in it.
I discussed this on the 'all about circuits ' forum regarding connecting LED's to mains voltages using resistors and it was soundly condemned as a bad idea.
I went to Radio Shack and they sell red and green small neon pilot lights, they have been fine. I don't recall exactly the reasoning behind their responses on connecting LED lights to high voltage AC. At the time was looking to replace a pilot light on my AC Raritan charger using an LED bulb with resistors in series with a diode. May have had something to do with AC has these high peak to peak inverse voltage spikes.
The few LED I made up to work on 120 vac, all eventually burned out in a few weeks.

A neon light used as a reverse polarity indicator will almost never actually be on. My boat from 1970 last year finally burnt it's original light out on the Raritan charger which likely was on for 90% of those decides. I assume it was a type of neon light. It was red, and about 3/8 wide with a flat top and a translucent cover. It's 2 leads connected directly to mains voltage.
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Old 09-15-2016, 02:52 PM   #34
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Found out the selector switch does not change over neutral wire
The neutral and grounds are hooked together on the boat some where.
Of course all the wiring is extremely difficult to access
Have a pro comming out
Will post result
Thanks
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Old 09-15-2016, 03:48 PM   #35
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I wonder how many of us have this issue, and we don't know it. We went to a marina with the new system and sure enough we could not keep the dock breaker on. The boat works great with all the non new system marinas. So if you do not have a new system is there a way you can run this down without going to a new system marina? It would be great to know that you have the issue and fix it before you have guest on the boat, go to a marina with the new system and no power. Not the time for trouble shooting. IE 100 degrees, everyone is READY for AC and oh crap. Anchor out and run the Gen. Anyone have a surefire way to test the system???
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Old 09-15-2016, 11:31 PM   #36
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Some times you see ground and neutral tied together.

Ted
Apparently so....
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Old 09-16-2016, 05:40 AM   #37
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I installed a Charles IsoBoost transformer, which eliminates the need for a polarity indicator. It also reduces the likelihood of stray voltage hazards and galvanic corrosion from other boats. A not inexpensive way of reducing some of these issues. Next up will be updating outlets.
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Old 09-16-2016, 05:50 AM   #38
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I wonder how many of us have this issue, and we don't know it. We went to a marina with the new system and sure enough we could not keep the dock breaker on. The boat works great with all the non new system marinas. So if you do not have a new system is there a way you can run this down without going to a new system marina? It would be great to know that you have the issue and fix it before you have guest on the boat, go to a marina with the new system and no power. Not the time for trouble shooting. IE 100 degrees, everyone is READY for AC and oh crap. Anchor out and run the Gen. Anyone have a surefire way to test the system???
Absolutely, just plug your boat into a GFCI protected outlet, if it trips you have a problem of current leakage.
GFCI come in 240 volt versions too. My own boat, I have a 15 amp 120vac adapter to 30 amp socket, so easy for me to test it plugged into a GFCI extension cord. My boat does not trip a GFCI.

I have stove, oven, heat pump, charger, heaters, lights, many outlets, tv, vacuum cleaner, fridge, microwave, etc... It is possible some device plugged into a boat's electric could be the problem. So start a test by having all breakers off, then turn them on, then turn on each device.

You could have a wet outlet, or a salt encrusted wire causing a trip, a poorly made splice, water soaked wire, a crushed pinched wire can have a hole. A lot of wires have cloth or paper or strands of plastic inside the sheath that can wick water into them.
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Old 09-16-2016, 06:04 AM   #39
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That is the problem in checking it. Most marinas and my home dock don't have the 50 amp GFCI outlets. Only one in our area that I am aware of.
Short of going to that marina any other method?
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Old 09-16-2016, 06:54 AM   #40
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I discussed this on the 'all about circuits ' forum regarding connecting LED's to mains voltages using resistors and it was soundly condemned as a bad idea.
I went to Radio Shack and they sell red and green small neon pilot lights, they have been fine. I don't recall exactly the reasoning behind their responses on connecting LED lights to high voltage AC. At the time was looking to replace a pilot light on my AC Raritan charger using an LED bulb with resistors in series with a diode. May have had something to do with AC has these high peak to peak inverse voltage spikes.
The few LED I made up to work on 120 vac, all eventually burned out in a few weeks.

A neon light used as a reverse polarity indicator will almost never actually be on. My boat from 1970 last year finally burnt it's original light out on the Raritan charger which likely was on for 90% of those decides. I assume it was a type of neon light. It was red, and about 3/8 wide with a flat top and a translucent cover. It's 2 leads connected directly to mains voltage.
There should be both a green and a red reverse polarity light. The green will always be on if there is a ground present and will fail in a few years if it's neon. No green light? Missing ground, a dangerous situation.

West Marine sells 120 volt AC LED pilot lights with the resistor built in.

And if you asked for technical advice at Radio Shack, that was your first mistake. The sales people are not engineers, they are not technicians, they are people who scan items and tell you how much you owe. Nothing more.
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