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Old 04-05-2016, 07:26 PM   #1
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Lost of all DC power

Today when I went to the boat I notice that all the DC was not working.
I check the main circuit breaker, it was good. The batteries are fully charged. My AC is working. All fusses are good.
The boat is a 45' 1990 Aquarius, with 2 30amp service, 3 12volt batteries.
Can figure it out, any ideas?

Henry
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Old 04-05-2016, 07:46 PM   #2
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Check voltage at your batteries

Start at the begining, check battery voltage at your batteries , should have 13 +volts. Check for a inline fuse , should have one with in 18" of your positive terminal on your house bank. Check and see if house battery switch is on. Check voltage through the switch. Check your breaker panel for a master switch or breaker. Check for voltage to the panel . if you have a battery combiner or isolated confirm voltage in and out. You should find your problem.
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Old 04-05-2016, 07:47 PM   #3
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How did you determine the batteries are fully charged?
Did you check the battery switch?
Doe any continuity checks twixt batteries and main panel?
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Old 04-05-2016, 07:52 PM   #4
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Greetings,
Mr. hf. Before you go all nuts, check and clean your connections particularly your grounds. You can check with a meter AS you clean connections starting at the batteries.
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Old 04-05-2016, 07:57 PM   #5
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Some boats have a breaker fuse close to the battery, and at the main power panel. Also check battery terminal.


True story

When we first bought the boat, changed fuel filter. Being a newby did not have about air in the fuel line. Well the diesel engine died. While cranking the engine lost the DC power. To make matters worse we were being blown into the lake Union police dock. We finally found the blown fuse but not a spare fuse. Well we did gey blown into the police dock, causing some excitement.

However the police where some what freindly and helpful got the boat started. Anyway that was our introduction to the lake union police.
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Old 04-05-2016, 08:35 PM   #6
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Greetings,
...check and clean your connections particularly your grounds.


Then start at the beginning (+ term) & verify V through a complete circuit.

Is this House DC - Eng Start DC or both?


Batt'y switches sometimes fail (open) operate sw several times & try different conditions. If Sw - I can probably find the link (w/ pics) of the poster that chased charging problem and finally found the problem in the 1-2-All - Off Sw

Also probably better to post this in Electrical, Electronic, Nav section vs here - maybe a Mod would move it if you asked?
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Old 04-05-2016, 08:36 PM   #7
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Follow a couple of the negative (black wires). Do they all connect through a bus (all connected to a metal bar)?
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Old 04-05-2016, 10:32 PM   #8
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Great advice above. Agree with starting at battery voltage (not the leads...the battery posts) and working out from there with the leads, bus, fuses, sub-bus, etc.

I'd suspect a main ground also.
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Old 04-05-2016, 10:54 PM   #9
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My suggestion is a bit different.

Do not even think of taking anything apart for cleaning or otherwise. The reason is simple. Anything you do introduces the chance of error.

Troubleshoot the problem using a voltmeter. Start at the batteries, and work towards the panel.
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Old 04-06-2016, 12:06 AM   #10
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It sounds like a bad ground issue to me.
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Old 04-06-2016, 12:52 AM   #11
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My suggestion is a bit different.

Do not even think of taking anything apart for cleaning or otherwise. The reason is simple. Anything you do introduces the chance of error.

Troubleshoot the problem using a voltmeter. Start at the batteries, and work towards the panel.
I agree. If I was to start taking things apart to "fix" them. I would certainly screw things up. Follow the current and find the problem. You know it has to be someplace that affects the entire DC system. So I would start with the ground connection and make sure you have continuity back to the battery, then go from there out to the DC panel.
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Old 04-06-2016, 08:03 AM   #12
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It sounds like a bad ground issue to me.
Yep, everything is a bad ground issue.

There are two parts to a DC electrical circuit, positive and negative ("ground"). A fault in either will disconnect the circuit. Since the fuses, circuit breakers and switches are in the positive part of the circuit, it's naturally more likely that the fault is in the positive side.

To the OP: As has been suggested, start with the batteries, Check the voltage there, then follow the cables and check at every connection point, fuse, circuit breaker, etc. Don't take anything apart. Wiggle the cables at the connections to determine if they are loose.

I'm guessing that you have limited electrical skills or you wouldn't have posted here so if you can't figure this out yourself, bring in a pro. Don't make things worse by disconnecting or moving wires.


BTW: There should be a fuse (usually) or circuit breaker in the positive DC cable from the house batteries within a few inches or perhaps a couple of feet from the positive connection to the batteries. This will be a large fuse, a few hundred amps. Check this. Check the voltage to ground from each side of the fuse or circuit breaker. If none of your DC appliances work, the trouble is between the batteries and the DC circuit panel or the main DC breaker in the panel. Or the ground.
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Old 04-06-2016, 08:16 AM   #13
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Yep, everything is a bad ground issue.
Well, at least you got that right.

But seriously, it could very well be a positive issue. But in my experience it's more often than not a ground problem.

Obviously you need to check both sides.
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Old 04-06-2016, 08:54 AM   #14
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Check near your panel to see if there might be a regular old cartridge fuse or two with two 30A circuits. Pull fuse and check continuity. This might be the easiest first thing to look for.
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Old 04-06-2016, 09:42 AM   #15
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Greetings,
Regarding the cleaning of connections: I am NOT suggesting Mr. hf start disconnecting wiring willy-nilly. Taking one wire off at a time and cleaning the connecting surfaces well with either sandpaper or a wire brush, coating with a dielectric grease and reconnecting is NOT rocket science.

IMO this exercise will accomplish 2 things. One: It will provide more of a familiarity with the DC electrical system that Mr. hf will most definitely benefit from and two: It will perform what may be a delayed/forgotten/neglected maintenance issue. Both good things.
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Old 04-06-2016, 10:00 AM   #16
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Well, at least you got that right.

But seriously, it could very well be a positive issue. But in my experience it's more often than not a ground problem.

Obviously you need to check both sides.
Come on Capt Bill.....

Just because all too many boats have the negative ground buss as 25 wires with various sized ring terminals to a 3/8 or 1/2 inch bolt in the bilge...doesn't mean it should automatically be suspect.

Then again...sometimes that's one of the best parts of boat electrical systems.....
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Old 04-06-2016, 10:08 AM   #17
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Check near your panel to see if there might be a regular old cartridge fuse or two with two 30A circuits. Pull fuse and check continuity. This might be the easiest first thing to look for.
Fuses for the DC power will be more like 300 amps, not 30 amps and located near the battery so as to protect the conductors feeding the panel.
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Old 04-06-2016, 10:08 AM   #18
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99% of the time the batteries are dead.


verify that is not the case before doing anything else
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Old 04-06-2016, 10:11 AM   #19
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99% of the time the batteries are dead.


verify that is not the case before doing anything else
The OP posted that they were fully charged but you are correct, they should be checked. Checked with a volt meter and a load, not just open circuit.
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Old 04-06-2016, 11:19 AM   #20
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"Fuses for the DC power will be more like 300 amps, not 30 amps and located near the battery so as to protect the conductors feeding the panel."

# 2 finger missed a "0". Thanks
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