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Old 09-17-2018, 11:23 PM   #21
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Anything that is not demonstrating to work should be suspect. I have a boat with what amounts to a live aboard capability with all boating equipment fully functional. It has both DC and 120 VAC. I had to revamp the 120 VAC to bring it up to standards and therefore the boat is insured without any exclusions.


Please, email me at rolito_martinez@hotmail.com for some important suggestions.


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Old 09-18-2018, 09:19 AM   #22
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I have a Mainship 430 wth a full size fridge/freezer, ice maker, and a bunch of A/C household appliances, gadgets, lights, table lamps, etc..... All this to say AC boats have their drawbacks. Be aware.
How is this an "AC boats" issue? If absolutely everything on your boat was 12VDC you would have the same exact problem, but with a 10% buffer (most inverters run at about 90% efficiency).

Your batteries would still have died, but after 5.5 hours instead of 5.0 hours.

The reality is also that 110/220/230 volt appliances are more efficient than most of their 12VDC brethren, plus less losses in the wiring. So there is probably a 1% or 2% gain there, thus reducing that 10% gap slightly.

Having a boat 100% AC is excellent for larger boats, especially those with heavy load motors (thrusters, windlass, pumps, davits, etc.) but I agree that the OP's referenced 41' trawler is small for full AC. It really serves little purpose and was most likely home-wired. A marine electrician should survey the electrical system.
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Old 09-18-2018, 01:35 PM   #23
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From the conversation I had, I do think it was intended to be a dockside condo. And while I expect to be at a dock ALOT for the first year or two I really want something I can have the option to have at anchor alot in the future. So, perhaps this one is not the boat for me. Id have to go into it knowing I may need to upgrade to another boat in the future.
Greetings Daniel. I would be cautious HOWEVER I'm not entirely against a boat that runs primarily from shore power. You have already stated you intend to be dock bound for at least a year or two.

PROVIDED the wiring for the 120 side is okay, I would be fine with the boat. You've got time to upgrade/change how things are wired over the period you'll be at a dock.

Plan on spending money regardless.
Now I don't want your boat to burn, so be careful in checking the electrical system. However you've got time so slowly change over to what will work better when on a mooring ball or at anchor.

Side Note: Years ago the "best practice" for those that could afford it was to power exclusively via 12-volts/battery power. Now things are changing. With the addition of solar panels and inverters, plus on board generators times have changed. It is not so uncommon any more.

I know at motorsailor that has a 100% electrical galley. They anchor out A LOT. And not just for a weekend. I'm talking a month or three at a time. They even bought an electrical grill for the cockpit rail. All electric boats can be done and is being done today. (Caveat: few can power an air-conditioner without an generator.)

This is the boat with the all electric galley:

Frankly I thought it odd at first but with further consideration, they do have renewable power via their solar array and a generator. They won't run out of propane. It is a better set-up than at first glance.

And built-in generators with sound shielding are not all noisy critters. Why I hear that the sound of the water cooling genny is entirely drowned out by the air-conditioner running.

Also consider thumping the price a bit. Any time a boat is not Standard, those eccentricities come off the top of the price-tag. As for me, I would be cautious but not totally negative.

Good luck Daniel.
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Old 09-18-2018, 01:42 PM   #24
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I am all electric galley, stove and fridge, MW are all 120vac.
An inverter, you have about 90% efficiency, so you lose 10% in the conversion process.

Lights are a mix of 12 vdc and 120vac.
Of course bilge pumps, built in cabin fan vents, blowers, running lights, electric head, lectrasan, etc... are all 12vdc.
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Old 09-18-2018, 01:58 PM   #25
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I would love to see an inverter going from 12vdc to 120vac which only has a 10% loss. Everything I've read points to much higher losses.
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Old 09-18-2018, 02:03 PM   #26
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I would love to see an inverter going from 12vdc to 120vac which only has a 10% loss. Everything I've read points to much higher losses.

My thoughts exactly. I think 90% efficiency is pretty optimistic. 85% is very good for an inverter.
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Old 09-18-2018, 02:09 PM   #27
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120V is more lethal than 12V (unless you happen to actually be in the water).
Apart from previously voiced concerns about how the wiring was actually done, I would urge caution if you have a typical (older) boat with many unidentified wire comings and goings. It is much easier and safer to work with 12V, especially in a damp/wet environment. Worst case usually is a bearable shock or small burn, not a heart attack and a body bag! Personally, I would keep 120V to a minimum and only for essential items like AC, frig and water heater (while on shore power), and water maker (though 12V versions are also available).
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Old 09-18-2018, 02:23 PM   #28
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!20vac does not have to be dangerous. I have a lot of circuits GFCI -AFCI protected.
All AC systems are 120vac with raw water pumps of 120vac. You don't hear about people being killed.
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Old 09-18-2018, 02:36 PM   #29
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It is obviously better to have the GFCI-AFCI protected circuits. All I am suggesting is that less is more - the fewer 110V circuits on a recreational boat the better.
Plus you also never hear about people being killed by sharks --- till it happens!!
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Old 09-18-2018, 02:36 PM   #30
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There are strict ABYC standards to keep 120V systems safe on a boat.

Plus there are safe working practices that should be followed.

You take way bigger risks in boating than just having a properly installed and worked on 120V system and appliances onboard.

Having 120V aboard is probably safer than having a gas powered boat.... Everyone with those should give then up?
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Old 09-18-2018, 06:02 PM   #31
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Having 120/240 house current (properly done) on a liveaboard is a huge convenience. In my time on the water (about 60 years) I have found house appliances outlast DC appliances and usually have a greater capacity. I can have a large water heater with a fast recovery, a 240v windlass motor that is cheaper than 12v and lasts years longer, much smaller cabling at the higher voltage, my choice in lights is beyond a few dim 12v fixtures. Whenever I'm running the mains, an alternator keeps ahead of the inverter banks, so I never run a generator any more when moving. I'm hoping if I add solar panels, I won't use the generators except in the winter.
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Old 09-18-2018, 06:40 PM   #32
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Safety of AC power in a boat is simply a matter of keeping the current contained within the system, and if any decides to leak out, for reasons that may be beyond anyone's control, GFCI protection is a great idea.
I have my Cruisair heat pump GFCI protected, and no nuisance trips (of any significance). A couple times out of hundred times it has clicked off when running on the generator with the GFCI-AFCI combo breaker away from the dock.
I do not GFCI protect the fridge for obvious reasons.
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Old 09-19-2018, 12:34 PM   #33
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I am glad GFCI/AFCI is being brought up. This is an area I am familiar with in sticks-n-bricks, but not so much in the float-a-homes. I need to do more research and buy more study materials.
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Old 09-20-2018, 09:58 AM   #34
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Also consider thumping the price a bit. Any time a boat is not Standard, those eccentricities come off the top of the price-tag.
So true. "Eccentricities." That's a good word for them. The problem is, a whole lot of sellers think that all the non-standard stuff they did makes the boat worth just SOOOO much more, when the reality is just the opposite.
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Old 09-20-2018, 10:07 AM   #35
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I am glad GFCI/AFCI is being brought up. This is an area I am familiar with in sticks-n-bricks, but not so much in the float-a-homes. I need to do more research and buy more study materials.
It was an easy swap for me to make my AC circuits GFCI-AFCI protected.
When my boat was made in 1970, they used a QO breaker style Square-D distribution panel. QO is the same today as then. So out with the old standard breaker and in with the new AFCI-GFCI combo breaker.
Out of 8 AC circuits, 5 are now protected. I left stove-oven, fridge and the built in electric wall heaters standard breaker.

All other circuits, the cruisair heat pump, MW, all outlets, water heater, pool pump for raw washdown are AFCI-GFCI breaker protected.

The QO combo breakers also work ok with an MSW 3000 watt inverter, and an Onan generator. But if the voltage is way out of spec on the generator, they will not test trip. they must expect to see a certain close range of what is normally utility supplied power.

I rewired my entire AC system with new wiring except I left a few circuits as original. All the wiring was in pretty good condition even being that old. I just needed to configure it the way I wanted it to work.
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Old 09-20-2018, 02:55 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by sdowney717 View Post
It was an easy swap for me to make my AC circuits GFCI-AFCI protected.
When my boat was made in 1970, they used a QO breaker style Square-D distribution panel. QO is the same today as then. So out with the old standard breaker and in with the new AFCI-GFCI combo breaker.
Out of 8 AC circuits, 5 are now protected. I left stove-oven, fridge and the built in electric wall heaters standard breaker.

All other circuits, the cruisair heat pump, MW, all outlets, water heater, pool pump for raw washdown are AFCI-GFCI breaker protected.

The QO combo breakers also work ok with an MSW 3000 watt inverter, and an Onan generator. But if the voltage is way out of spec on the generator, they will not test trip. they must expect to see a certain close range of what is normally utility supplied power.

I rewired my entire AC system with new wiring except I left a few circuits as original. All the wiring was in pretty good condition even being that old. I just needed to configure it the way I wanted it to work.
Good deal. Glad that worked out so easily.
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