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Old 04-09-2022, 11:23 AM   #1
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Anodes wearing out FAST

Hi ,I have a Marine trader 40 ,Usually I get 12 to 18 months out of a set of Anodes. Recently moved to another marina and hauled for a wash ,the Anodes were almost completely gone in 5 months, Nothing has been changed on the boat . I asked the marina to check for stray currents but I bet they will say there wiring is ok . What do I check next ?
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Old 04-09-2022, 12:03 PM   #2
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The boats next to you. Eating of anodes in a marina is often the result of a neighboring boat leaking current into the water.

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Old 04-09-2022, 12:20 PM   #3
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Yes adjacent boats can leak current into the water, but the bigger problems with adjacent boats is leaking current into the ground wire of their shore power which gets back to your boat and wrecks havoc with your zincs.

A shore power isolator installed on your boat can solve this. Also keeping your shore power cord disconnected will too.

You can check if you have a problem with the shore power ground with a meter but it takes some skill. A marine electrician can do it in a few minutes as well as check your boat for leakages to ground which can cause the same symptoms.

I presume that your marina doesn't have GFCIs on its shore power outlets. Marinas are slowly adding them which can be a pita but also solves the problem of other boats affecting yours.

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Old 04-10-2022, 10:51 AM   #4
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even though you say nothing has changed on your boat, you should get someone with a silver half cell to check your underwater metals and be sure that nothing is going on with your own equipment. things can happen with your on-board electrical equipment that can cause leakage to ground.
hopefully that's not the issue, but it's good to know for sure. you'll also be able to easily see if you're having issues with the incoming shore power. then you can take that information to the marina staff.
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Old 04-10-2022, 11:40 AM   #5
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Quote:
even though you say nothing has changed on your boat
Confession. After reading this my mind went to.....
The boat that was moored next in his previous marina is trying to figure out why his anodes are now lasting longer.
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Old 04-10-2022, 12:27 PM   #6
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The other boats in the marina are depleting your zincs via the ground wire connecting all the boats together.

Installing a galvanic isolator on the ground wire would be one solution.

Installing an isolation transformer would be the best solution. The IT creates it's own ground so it does not use earth for ground, which elliminates other boats ground connection to your zincs.

The transformer, not having a physical connection to the incoming shore AC, alleviates reverse polarity and other AC issues on docks, prevents electrocuting swimmers and allows shore connections to ELCI equipped marinas without tripping the breaker.

My license plate zinc last 10 plus years with minimal wear. I test all underwater metal twice per year using a silver oxide probe and a multimeter.

I am a dealer for Victron isolation transformers.
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Old 04-10-2022, 12:39 PM   #7
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You can also use a clamp on meter to check for leakage too. It must be one that is sensitive in the mA range. You clamp it on your shore cord with everything turned on, OR mostly everything. If you read more than 20 to 30 mA you have current going somewhere else.
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Old 04-10-2022, 12:48 PM   #8
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Iggy,
Thanks for that. I was wondering if I had to build a jumper to break out the conductors to check each branch of the circuit. I think I'll dig around on the boat side to check there too.

I may have a "problem boat" on the other side of my pedestal. It hasn't moved for over 3 years! Thinking to briefly open the breaker on that side and see if that changes anything on my side.

My marina does dockside checks at least once a year, no GFCI's. Haven't been approached by them.
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Old 04-10-2022, 01:05 PM   #9
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Iggy,
Thanks for that. I was wondering if I had to build a jumper to break out the conductors to check each branch of the circuit. I think I'll dig around on the boat side to check there too.

I may have a "problem boat" on the other side of my pedestal. It hasn't moved for over 3 years! Thinking to briefly open the breaker on that side and see if that changes anything on my side.

My marina does dockside checks at least once a year, no GFCI's. Haven't been approached by them.

Opening the breaker only breaks the neutral and hot. The ground is still connected.

You need a break out cable. Clamping around the shore cord, all three wires, will not measure current. The clamp is placed around a single wire to measure current.

The clamp is placed around the ground wire to measure leakage in or out of your boat. I would open up the pedestal that the problem boat is plugged into and place the clamp around the ground wire in the pedestal to verify if it's the leakage offender.

The GFCI does nothing for the ground wire corrosion issues. It breaks when there is a difference between the hot and neutral amperage.

You can also disconnect the ground connection from your boats AC ground to the boats bonding to see if zinc consumption is reduced. This method creates shock hazards on your boat so do it when not aboard.
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Old 04-10-2022, 02:12 PM   #10
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Water flow across the zinc makes a difference. My zincs only last about 6 months but I am in constant tidal current of about 3 knots.
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Old 04-10-2022, 03:08 PM   #11
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Remind me again why a stray current travels through the anode via the ground wire back to the originating boat that is leaking AC or DC.

Is it because ABYC says to bond the AC ground to the Bonding system which is bonded to the DC negative, which connects anodes and metal on the water side? Is to protect you from an AC shock off the engine or or metal parts.
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Old 04-10-2022, 03:19 PM   #12
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Syjos
Thanks, that's the way I learned to hunt for leakage as well. Gonna build a breakout cable, got the parts laying around.
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Old 04-10-2022, 05:55 PM   #13
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Is this one of those situations where you should not be swimming in the water because of the risk of electro-shock drowning ?
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Old 04-10-2022, 08:09 PM   #14
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Clamping around all the wires/shore cord will work. What will happen is in a perfect world with everything on you should read zero. The hot and neutral will cancell each other out.

Or cut into the shore cord and clamp each wire. The difference between hot and neutral would be leakage providing ground measures zero.

But you will need a meter that can read low mA current.
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Old 04-10-2022, 08:32 PM   #15
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Iggy,
I have a good meter. It sees the mag flux from our planet.
I move it into position then zero it before clamping. Usual noise level 2 or 3 milliamps.
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Old 04-10-2022, 08:36 PM   #16
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Is this one of those situations where you should not be swimming in the water because of the risk of electro-shock drowning ?
When it comes to electrical, always error on the side of caution but I would say no. Quite a few boats out there leak some current back through the ground per my discussions with marina managers and marine electricians. There are hundreds of divers in the ocean every day and I can’t recall a single electrocution. Fresh water risk is likely higher.

New marinas in SoCal are getting the ELCIs with very sensitive ground fault trips.

I am having an electrician install Victron isolation transformers this week. I had them on our previous boat. The lack of a physical connection to the docks electrical system is a good thing. EMI.
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Old 04-10-2022, 08:39 PM   #17
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Water flow across the zinc makes a difference. My zincs only last about 6 months but I am in constant tidal current of about 3 knots.
I also have zincs that almost disappear in 6 mos. I convinced myself that I had an electrical problem on my boat or that other boats neaby were the problem. I have done numerous checks on my boat and everything is fine. I have found that other boats in the area have the same (problem). My boat is in a river with very fast tidal currrents at times. I now believe that is the root cause and I no longer worry, just replace zincs each season. I personally think that although it's possible, neighboring boats are rarely the cause. Before you convince yourself that your boat or neighboring boats have a problem, check with others nearby and see how long their zincs last. You might be surprised.
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Old 04-10-2022, 08:44 PM   #18
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A lot of variables involved, but My zincs also last about 6 mos.
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Old 04-10-2022, 09:09 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syjos View Post
The other boats in the marina are depleting your zincs via the ground wire connecting all the boats together.

Installing a galvanic isolator on the ground wire would be one solution.

Installing an isolation transformer would be the best solution. The IT creates it's own ground so it does not use earth for ground, which elliminates other boats ground connection to your zincs.

The transformer, not having a physical connection to the incoming shore AC, alleviates reverse polarity and other AC issues on docks, prevents electrocuting swimmers and allows shore connections to ELCI equipped marinas without tripping the breaker.

My license plate zinc last 10 plus years with minimal wear. I test all underwater metal twice per year using a silver oxide probe and a multimeter.

I am a dealer for Victron isolation transformers.
After I installed an isolation transformer, my anode erosion went to almost zero. In my case, it's a Charles unit.
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Old 04-11-2022, 05:53 AM   #20
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I also have zincs that almost disappear in 6 mos. I convinced myself that I had an electrical problem on my boat or that other boats neaby were the problem. I have done numerous checks on my boat and everything is fine. I have found that other boats in the area have the same (problem). My boat is in a river with very fast tidal currrents at times. I now believe that is the root cause and I no longer worry, just replace zincs each season. I personally think that although it's possible, neighboring boats are rarely the cause. Before you convince yourself that your boat or neighboring boats have a problem, check with others nearby and see how long their zincs last. You might be surprised.

There could be a wire in the water from the marina that is causing the problem. It is does not need to be another boat.

Most states have passed laws that any new docks with power stations need GFI breakers and each boat must be tested before plugging in. If that boat reads more than 30mA leakage, than that boat can not plug in until fixed. The code is NEC 555.35 which is very interesting read.
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