Shorepower connection problem

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Shorepower connection problem

Postby superchuck500 » Thu Apr 19, 2018 1:31 pm

So I went down to the boat yesterday (32 Express) and the power was off. I flipped the breaker on the dock a couple of times to make sure it was fully moving over, and then I checked the panel in the boat - no power, and no green light on the connector cable at Line 1 connection behind the transom. I thought it might be that the power source at the dock had gone out (that happened last year), so I ran the line down to the box at the next slip - but still no power.

Then I returned the power cable back to my box, and I switched to the Line 2 input, and it went green and I had power at the panel in the boat. Of course, with Line 2, that's just the right side and I can't parallel with Line 2 (as far as I know).

Any ideas why my Line 1 connection could be out? Thanks!
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Re: Shorepower connection problem

Postby ImRich » Thu Apr 19, 2018 4:31 pm

On my boat, there also is a breaker in the shore power cable locker on the stern of the boat. Perhaps you have a breaker there that is off?

I always have a volt meter on board for troubleshooting problems. Having one would help you to find out where the power is off.
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Re: Shorepower connection problem

Postby Kikaboo » Thu Apr 19, 2018 4:44 pm

On the 32 did you check the gfi type breakers for the shore power? It sure sounds like your one side must be tripped.
Located under a panel access door on be starboard side of the boat as you step into the boat from the swim platform.
Last edited by Kikaboo on Thu May 10, 2018 10:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Shorepower connection problem

Postby gofast24 » Thu May 10, 2018 9:53 am

What is "shot power"?

thanks
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Re: Shorepower connection problem

Postby Kikaboo » Thu May 10, 2018 10:10 am

gofast24 wrote:What is "shot power"?

thanks



Typo... should be “shore power”
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Re: Shorepower connection problem

Postby Chris_in_Texas » Thu May 10, 2018 7:01 pm

The boat "should" have an ELCI breaker on it, where the shore power plug plugs in at. From time to time the compressors can cause this to trip out during start or stop cycle. ELCI is very similar to a GFCI or AFCI used in houses. It monitors the power feed vs the power return and if there is an imbalance it will trip. An ELCI is rated at 30mA of power leakage before it will trip vs the 5mA for GFCI. The AFCI is used to detect arcs like when you run a nail in the wall and it pierces the cable slightly.

The ELCI is required by ABYC standards on boats now (ABYC E11.11.1). I can't remember the year but if I recall it was somewhere around 2010ish. There should be a small white test button as well by it. So similar to a circuit breaker trip it has to be reset to work again. It will also have green and red power lights too, for good and tripped status. Additionally they combine a circuit overload breaker as well in them so that is where the 30A supply breaker to the boat is also. So you can have a bunch of breakers for just power into the boat:

Shore power from marina --> Shore power breaker --> shore power outlet --> shore power plug --> shore power cable (to boat) --> shore power boat side plug --> shore power ELCI / 30A breaker --> inside boat wiring --> AC panel in cabin --> shore power breaker (30A)--> sub-feed breakers say for microwave (15A) --> cable to microwave outlet --> plug --> microwave --> fuse in microwave.

Each breaker / fuse will protect the portion of cable behind it.

If your marina has newer power feeds at the dock there will be a GFCI on the dock side as well that can trip this is required now by NEC standards. This really causes problems with the testing of galvanic isolation monitors on older boat, because it causes a ground fault every few hours to test itself. Newer boats with ELCI's don't have those anymore. Its the left hand not talking to the right hand in government circles. :mrgreen:
Thanks, Chris

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Re: Shorepower connection problem

Postby gofast24 » Tue May 22, 2018 11:17 am

Great response, you should be (or are, or was) a tech HS or college professor! Even I understood your analysis:)

Thanks
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Re: Shorepower connection problem

Postby SeekRest » Sun Aug 05, 2018 8:21 pm

Our dock has a new power management system, and indeed about 1/2 of my dockside arrivals have been to a tripped break - at the boat-side shore power breaker.
I have to update the galvanic isolator(s).
So, not yet having physically dug onto this, dock conversations with other regal owners have left me with 2 questions about my ‘00 4160:
1. Any one know if the isolators are behind the power panel or in the mid cabin closet?
2. It is expected I will have two 30 amp isolators, and it has been suggested they can be replaced with one 60 amp; is there a a good justification (other than cost) for doing so, and what issues could arise / why should it not be done?

Thank you!
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Re: Shorepower connection problem

Postby Chris_in_Texas » Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:23 pm

Can't answer number 1, however #2 no reason to swap them out, if they are working, you will replace a working system with another working system. :) The only issue is the controllers for the isolator, and the testing that they do.

However that being said if the boat side breakers are tripping that isn't good. With a boat of your "vintage" you should have standard 30A breakers for the shore power entry points on the boat. The only reason(s) that they would trip are over-current or going bad (17 years old?) The fact that the marina has changed out to GFCI's on their end you should be tripping the shore side breakers not the boat side breakers.

Here is the simple diagram:

BIG MAIN BREAKER FROM DOCK --> Dock side breaker (NEW GFCI?) --> Dock side shore power cable plug --> Boat side shore power cable receptacle --> 30A Breaker on boat --> Cabin main breaker --> misc items breakers etc...

With the promarier monitoring system powered up it will cause a ground fault upon powering it up and every 4 hours after that. That won't trip a standard breaker, but will trip a GFCI breaker, as that is exactly what they are looking for at approx 5mA of current. What this does is test the path through the actual galvanic isolators to make sure they aren't broken. If the ground wire came off of them or it broke the GFCI test couldn't work. This would also light up the "FAIL" light in the small panel for the system. However if its working correctly it would trip out the GFCI breaker on the dock, which you would loose power right away and the system wouldn't be powered up any longer...

So if you are tripping the boat side breakers where the cables plug into that isn't good. If you are tripping the GFCI breaker only 50% of the time that isn't good either, it should be 100% of the time if the monitors are plugged in and working correctly, you shouldn't be able to leave the boat as it will trip within a few seconds of being powered up. Those are typically wired on the upstream side of the main AC cabin breakers so that they are powered all the time if the power to the boat is on at the shore power entrance on the boat.
Thanks, Chris

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Re: Shorepower connection problem

Postby gofast24 » Mon Aug 06, 2018 10:10 am

Chris_in_Texas wrote:Can't answer number 1, however #2 no reason to swap them out, if they are working, you will replace a working system with another working system. :) The only issue is the controllers for the isolator, and the testing that they do.

However that being said if the boat side breakers are tripping that isn't good. With a boat of your "vintage" you should have standard 30A breakers for the shore power entry points on the boat. The only reason(s) that they would trip are over-current or going bad (17 years old?) The fact that the marina has changed out to GFCI's on their end you should be tripping the shore side breakers not the boat side breakers.

Here is the simple diagram:

BIG MAIN BREAKER FROM DOCK --> Dock side breaker (NEW GFCI?) --> Dock side shore power cable plug --> Boat side shore power cable receptacle --> 30A Breaker on boat --> Cabin main breaker --> misc items breakers etc...

With the promarier monitoring system powered up it will cause a ground fault upon powering it up and every 4 hours after that. That won't trip a standard breaker, but will trip a GFCI breaker, as that is exactly what they are looking for at approx 5mA of current. What this does is test the path through the actual galvanic isolators to make sure they aren't broken. If the ground wire came off of them or it broke the GFCI test couldn't work. This would also light up the "FAIL" light in the small panel for the system. However if its working correctly it would trip out the GFCI breaker on the dock, which you would loose power right away and the system wouldn't be powered up any longer...

So if you are tripping the boat side breakers where the cables plug into that isn't good. If you are tripping the GFCI breaker only 50% of the time that isn't good either, it should be 100% of the time if the monitors are plugged in and working correctly, you shouldn't be able to leave the boat as it will trip within a few seconds of being powered up. Those are typically wired on the upstream side of the main AC cabin breakers so that they are powered all the time if the power to the boat is on at the shore power entrance on the boat.

Yes, on our antique 2001 4160 only 30 amp "normal" breakers on the dock box and 30 amp breakers inside the cabin. In 8 years no problems with either.
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Re: Shorepower connection problem

Postby SeekRest » Mon Aug 06, 2018 1:10 pm

Chis - thank you!
It’s been an odd progression - started with the main cabin breaker, then shore power inlet breaker, not breaker at the main dock panel.
This progression mirrors most of the pre-2008 boats on my dock - though the later models in that group had only shore power inlet, then dock main panel.

I had an electrician - not a marine electrician - check draw and resistance as I started the systems in different sequences.
Nothing tripped while doing this, and he didn’t see anything unexpected.

I don’t want to just throw money at the isolator, but it seems that has resolved the others’ issue.
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Re: Shorepower connection problem

Postby SeekRest » Mon Aug 06, 2018 1:15 pm

As I thought about this more - could it be that my isolator test unit is faulty, and not testing at the regular interval?
Or, more likely than intermittent schedule change, that its fault test reaction/switch is bad?

Never had any shore power issues before the new dock power mngmt system.

And, as I’m paranoid about shore power connections, no heat, or signs of heat, on the plugs at either end.
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Re: Shorepower connection problem

Postby Chris_in_Texas » Mon Aug 06, 2018 11:14 pm

Basically I would make sure that the power to the monitor system is pulled. That will stop any GFCI tests from happening. The Isolator will continue to work just as normal. Back in that era boat builders had to install the active monitoring system. Because of the changes to the NEC (National Electical Code) that they have to use GFCI's on the shore power dock connections boat manufactures could no longer use the active testing of the isolators. If you power down your system (Pull the AC fuses in the fuse holders behind the AC power panel typically) that will power down the test part of the system only. The isolator is just a simple diode that prevents the ground from working unless the voltage is high and there actually is a safety problem with a device. Otherwise it keeps the boat's ground system floating from the docks system to prevent the galvanic corrosion from happening.

I haven't seen an isolator go bad at least, sure that happens, but a little preventive maintenance will check that yearly to make sure its still working. There isn't any reason to get new isolators unless those on the boat are bad. Again all they do is isolate earth ground between the boat and dock so current doesn't have a path normally. If say a wire comes loose in the microwave and shorts against the metal case the isolator will see the big spike and allow that through to trip the breakers if needed and allows the safety ground path to work.

There will be two fuses not far from the panel that are the fast acting type glass ones in screw together holders that Regal used. Simply take both shore 1 and shore 2 fuses out. The monitor panel will go dark, but the isolator itself will continue to work just fine.

The newer standard now is that boats must use the ELCI's on the input power (basically the GFCI but allows a higher leakage of 30ma vs 5ms for the GFCI) before they trip. You boat should just have standard 30A breakers.

When the unit tests (when first powered up or every 4 hours after that or when you PRESS the TEST button) it should cause the dock side GFCI breakers to trip. Its possible depending on how it was wired up that only SHORE 1 will trip before the unit powers down before it can even test SHORE 2.
Thanks, Chris

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Re: Shorepower connection problem

Postby Chris_in_Texas » Mon Aug 06, 2018 11:25 pm

With the breakers popping in the boat only there are only two things to cause this. Too much current at one time (sum of the total draw across all items) or the breakers are going bad. The isolator will NOT trip a standard 30A breaker only the GFCI's during the test which cause a momentary ground fault. The current needed to do this is just over 5 mA of power or 0.005 amps. You can see that its not possible to trip the 30A breakers with that. The unit would blow the fast blow fuses if it could draw that much power.

Remember that the 30A fuse needs either many times that number to blow quickly or a constant 30A for hundreds of seconds.

The other thing that might be doing that is low voltage. With lower than normal voltage the current will increase for a given load. Could be as simple as some of the screws on the breakers have come loose. I have seen that on my boats as well. Over time they come lose, cause arcing, and then have carbon build up which in turn raises the current draw which causes the cycle to get worse.

If I were you I would let things run the way you normally do and use an infrared camera and look for hot spots as well. Seek Thermal makes ones for your phones and they work very well and I highly recommend them. They can be used for all sorts of things around the boat and house and they aren't that expensive in the grand scheme of things. Good tool for the toolbox, fun for the kids to play with as well when not using it for a project. :mrgreen:

If the boat breakers are tripping its something worse, and its trying to tell you something. A IR camera and voltage meter or clamp on AC meter would be your friend to look around. Disconnect both ends of the shore power cords and look for any burn marks and then pull out the power plug coming into the boat and look behind that panel for any burn marks. The same for the AC cabin panel as well to look for any signs of damage from heat or over current.
Thanks, Chris

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