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Old 09-13-2016, 07:12 PM   #1
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Ground fault trips on shore power

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
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Old 09-13-2016, 07:48 PM   #2
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Do you have a galvanic isolator on the boat? Is your shore power ground tied to your boat's bonding system?

Ted
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Old 09-13-2016, 07:59 PM   #3
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Do you have a galvanic isolator on the boat? Is your shore power ground tied to your boat's bonding system?

Ted
What does that have to do with it ?
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Old 09-13-2016, 08:13 PM   #4
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What does that have to do with it ?
If the selector switch is to off, main breakers are off, then the neutral and positive are supposed to be open. Only not open shore power wire is the ground. Seemed like a good place to start.

What's your suggestion?

Ted
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Old 09-13-2016, 08:18 PM   #5
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gfci or elc breaker,please confirm.
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Old 09-13-2016, 08:29 PM   #6
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The design of some reverse polarity indicators (on a boat) will trip a GFCI breaker. Are your reverse polarity lights still in the circuit with the switch turned off?
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Old 09-13-2016, 09:25 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by O C Diver View Post
If the selector switch is to off, main breakers are off, then the neutral and positive are supposed to be open. Only not open shore power wire is the ground. Seemed like a good place to start.

What's your suggestion?

Ted
The ground is not in the GFI circuit. The GFI measures between hot & neutral.
A GFI or any AC outlet will work without a ground (until there's a problem
Could be a Chinese GFI, lots of fakes out there and a couple of major recalls. You never get enough info on these types of posts to offer a definitive answer.
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Old 09-13-2016, 09:32 PM   #8
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The ground is not in the GFI circuit. The GFI measures between hot & neutral.
A GFI or any AC outlet will work without a ground (until there's a problem
Could be a Chinese GFI, lots of fakes out there and a couple of major recalls. You never get enough info on these types of posts to offer a definitive answer.
I understand that. Some times you see ground and neutral tied together.

Ted
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Old 09-13-2016, 09:57 PM   #9
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I understand that. Some times you see ground and neutral tied together.

Ted
That is suicide and the cause of ESD (Electric Shock Drowning) with the exception of automatic switching within generators or inverters
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Old 09-14-2016, 05:28 AM   #10
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That is suicide and the cause of ESD (Electric Shock Drowning) with the exception of automatic switching within generators or inverters
Look BP, I'm not saying it's ok to do, I'm saying these are things you can look for that might explain it on the boat end. I'm not sure the level of experience that the OP has with regard to electrical wiring on a boat or on land. Not sure if he changed the breaker from GFI to non GFI. Not sure if he has done any wiring on the boat. I'm only asking questions to see what's there, determine the OP's level of boat wiring ability, and see if there is an easy obvious problem.

Ted
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Old 09-14-2016, 05:31 AM   #11
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The reason I asked you to identify is that a Gfci will trip at 5ma, whereas an Elci will trip at 30ma.The Gfci is not a good choice to protect the whole boat,it is designed as a single device protection, whereas the elci is designed to protect the whole boat.Also, check to see if the Elci (if used) was installed correctly as to manuf. spec's. The hot leg and the neutral should be twisted together to cancel the emf, and the ground should not be run thru the sensing unit.These will give you false trips. Good place to start, before looking for problems as suggested in previous posts.
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Old 09-14-2016, 05:33 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Panacea123 View Post
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
Before you replaced the breaker to a non GFI, did you disconnect the shore power cord from the power inlet on the boat to verify that the problem wasn't in either the dock power outlet or the shore power cord?

Ted
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Old 09-14-2016, 05:49 AM   #13
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Perhaps this will help http://www.pcmarinesurveys.com/Marin...l%20Safety.pdf
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Old 09-14-2016, 07:44 AM   #14
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GFCIs and ELCIs have only been used around boats relatively recently. Lots of older boats are configured with polarity lights, galvanic isolators, inverters or generators that will trip a GFCI. Many have the neutral and ground bonded at the panel, or elsewhere. Some boats have more than one of these issues.

If I could wave a magic wand to re-wire and re-equip the thousands of boats so configured, I would. But this is the way it was done for years, and it'll take quite a few more before every boat on the water is totally up to today's code. And by then, current codes and recommendations will be obsolete. And a new crop of experts will be telling us we're all floating around in killing machines.
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Old 09-14-2016, 08:08 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Panacea123 View Post
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.

I don't understand what you mean by this in the context of your original post?

Do you mean that even with the boat's power selector turned off, the GFI breaker still trips? If so that's probably a good clue for locating the problem.

This could be a nuisance problem light pilot lights on a galvanic isolator. Or it could be an indication of an un-safe, or potentially un-safe wiring in your boat. Either way, I think it's worth getting to the bottom of it. Wiring wears and chafes over time, and can produce an un-safe condition. Practices have evolved over time to create safer boat wiring and you might just have a boat built with old practices. And boat's get worked on and modified over time, often by people who don't fully understand grounding, neutrals, isolation and how they relate. You tripping breaker could be any of these things, and probably more. But it's an indication that you MIGHT have a serious issue, so worth investigating rather than just leaving the non-GFI breaker installed.
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Old 09-14-2016, 08:13 AM   #16
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BTW, this type of circuit protection is slowly but surely making it's way into shore power, so it's just a matter of time until we all encounter it. Plugging into a dock when you are cruising and finding you have no power is a real pain. Given the opportunity to address this at my own dock, on my own time table, I'd be all over the opportunity and wanting to fix it so I know I can then plug into any dock without surprises.
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Old 09-14-2016, 08:15 AM   #17
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Can you buy an ELCI breaker that would fit say in a GE distribution panel box?
I would like to get a 30 amp one some day.

Exceed 5 milliamp current leakage out the hot wire and a GFCI will blow open.
I had to redesign my revere polarity indicators to use neon bulbs and also remove my buzzer or it would blow a GFCI breaker open.

On my boat, the reverse polarity indicator is I think after the dual pole breakers, so if they are off they don't matter.

Once in a while I test my entire boat, plugging shore cable into an GFCI extension cord, and it works fine, so I have no current leaks. I have all outlets on GFCI and rarely they nuisance open, likely due to humidity.

I use Hubbell brand GFCI and Leviton, and square-d QO and these also do not buzz if you use an MSW inverter. Other types will buzz the GFCI on MSW inverters.
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Old 09-14-2016, 09:41 AM   #18
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first place to look is the shore power cord. test the ends and boat socket for continuity between contacts.
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Old 09-14-2016, 09:52 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdowney717 View Post
Can you buy an ELCI breaker that would fit say in a GE distribution panel box?
I would like to get a 30 amp one some day.

Exceed 5 milliamp current leakage out the hot wire and a GFCI will blow open.
I had to redesign my revere polarity indicators to use neon bulbs and also remove my buzzer or it would blow a GFCI breaker open.

On my boat, the reverse polarity indicator is I think after the dual pole breakers, so if they are off they don't matter.

Once in a while I test my entire boat, plugging shore cable into an GFCI extension cord, and it works fine, so I have no current leaks. I have all outlets on GFCI and rarely they nuisance open, likely due to humidity.

I use Hubbell brand GFCI and Leviton, and square-d QO and these also do not buzz if you use an MSW inverter. Other types will buzz the GFCI on MSW inverters.
Elci breakers are designed specifically for the marine business.They can be installed in a shore power pedestal.If you are referring to a land based sub-panel,then it would have to be a gfci breaker.The code (land) now calls for these afci kind of breakers to be installed,instead of standard.They do play nice-nice with gfci outlets.

What is the difference between and AFCI and Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI)?
There is a major difference between the functioning of an AFCI as compared to a GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter). The function of the GFCI is to protect people from the deadly effects of electric shock that could occur if parts of an electrical appliance or tool become energized due to a ground fault. The function of the AFCI is to protect the branch circuit wiring from dangerous arcing faults that could initiate an electrical fire.
AFCI and GFCI technologies can co-exist with each other and are a great complement for the most complete protection that can be provided on a circuit.
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Old 09-14-2016, 09:58 AM   #20
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great video from abyc on elci installation.
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