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Old 30-12-2011, 22:51   #61
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Re: Neighbor dumping raw AC into water?...what to do?

As others have said, finding and eliminating stray current is a difficult problem. At one marina I was at there were issues with the dock electrical wiring, that once fixed saved everyone some zincs. But it took a long time for the electricians to pinpoint the problem.

Measuring voltage at an adjacent boat and cutting the breaker does not prove that boat is the problem. It could be the adjacent boat, or the dock wiring or a boat 20 slips over causing the problems. Flipping the breaker only means you've cut that boat out of the ground loop.

To put this another way, My boat is NOT bonded. That is my stays are not connected to ground or engine. So you would not get any reading off my stays. That has no correlation to if the boat has stray current problems or not.

Lots O marinas have "issues" with wiring and many boats have electrical issues. To make the problem go away, install a galvanic isolator. That is after all what they are made for.
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Old 30-12-2011, 23:39   #62
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Originally Posted by downunder

Did you really take them seriously, rather than as flustration with the Op's attitude.
Actually, I take some of it back, it is not 50/50. The majority of the advice in this thread is good.

Even joking, bad advice is bad advice. You never know who might take it seriously.

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Old 30-12-2011, 23:49   #63
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Re: Neighbor dumping raw AC into water?...what to do?

I am puzzled why the jump to legal recourse is necessary ahead of a word between two boat owners.

Why not approach the suspected vessel's owner in a less aggressive manner with a simple, "Hey I have this problem, I think it might be my boat, but lets figure it out together just in case its not. I brought my tools, a thermos of warm brandy and we both come out winners."

With live aboard marinas on the downfall, I just don't see how turning this into a huge legal mess would help anyone, especially a marina owner pondering the financial benefit of having live'aboards that involve lawyers and municipal safety inspections.
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Old 31-12-2011, 00:07   #64
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Solution!!!!

In college, a buddy had a suite mate with a loud stereo. They would not turn it down. The dean would tell them to turn it down, and he would turn it back up again after the dean left.

My solution. I cut off an old lamp cord and wired the two wires together, and taped over the shorted wires. When the stereo was too loud, my buddy just plugged in the lamp cord, blowing out his fuse, and the stereo as well. After several trips to the stereo store to get his stereo repaired (nothing wrong with it) they gave up.

The rest of the four years was very quiet
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Old 31-12-2011, 00:22   #65
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Re: Neighbor dumping raw AC into water?...what to do?

If you really think that your neighbor is dumping AC into the water, you can easily measure it by putting a clamp-on AC ammeter around his power cord. The clamp-on will measure the AC current which is being dumped in the water (and not being returned through the cord).
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Old 31-12-2011, 00:52   #66
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Re: Neighbor dumping raw AC into water?...what to do?

I stayed in Harbour Town Ft. Pierce for about 3 months one year. When I went to haul my boat my prop looked like it had been eaten by rats and had to be replaced. Zincs were gone. Main rudder hinge was toast. All this had been replaced "for safety's sake" 3.5 months earlier at considerable cost. My cruising kitty was such that I had to store her till I could make some more money and continue on. Amazing what stray current in the water will do. Lesson learned!
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Old 31-12-2011, 02:16   #67
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Re: Neighbor dumping raw AC into water?...what to do?

I have a question for those who may know- first in my experience I have never had this problem with zincs or metal corroding, the boat is now almost 6 years old and my original sail drive zincs are in very good shape, could it be that because I’m almost never plugged in to an AC outlet that I don’t experience this sort of problem??
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Old 31-12-2011, 02:43   #68
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Re: Neighbor dumping raw AC into water?...what to do?

A few things to think about before hiring Perry Mason.
Bad grounds; crappy wiring; defective AC/DC generation and components are known to be common around marinas.
There are common practices to protect boats from damage components, such as isolators.
There are common practices to mitigate damage to boats such as zincs.
Zincs cost about $12. Haul out $200 (guess), yard labor to replace zincs $50 (guess). Total around $300.
Perry Mason first 20 minutes $0. Next hour $250. Court costs $150 + Perry Mason $500.
Unless you go to small claims court and arbitration. Then the same costs.

It is going to cost you more to sue for damages than you will be paying for the next year. But, "it's the principle of the thing" you are fighting for, and that will cost you dearly.

Follow the advice of these knowledgeable posters and plan to move ASAP.
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Old 31-12-2011, 02:44   #69
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C ground

The problem is that in the US you are obliged to have the AC ground connection also grounded to the boat's ground and have it connected to the (sea)water. Usually all underwater metals (through-hulls, propeller & axle, ...) are also bonded. Hence you have the perfect condition to start galvanic corrosion with other boats nearby or indeed any part of the marina electric system leaking current into the water: your own underwater metals (of diverse nature with differenent electrochemical potentials) all bonded together and bonded to the AC marina ground - and other boats and metal structures having the same - and seawater as electrolytic fluid in between.
Solutions as named over & over again in this thread:
1) unbond all through hulls, have one dedicated underwater grounding plate and it's own zinc and of course protect propeller & axle or sail drive with ample zincs (but your engine block, propeller & axle will still be bonded to AC ground so add solution 2) or 3)
2) isolation transformer (expensive) or galvanic isolator (on the AC ground coming in)
3)or disconnect your AC ground from the ship's ground and protect (yourself & others) with a 30mAmpère differential breaker (as done in Europe - but against the law in US...)

Jan
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Old 31-12-2011, 04:03   #70
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Re: Neighbor dumping raw AC into water?...what to do?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gene :^) View Post
Disconnecting anyone else's shore power or messing with their boat is even worse advice.

If anyone disconnected my shore power or messed with my boat when I was not there, that is when there would be a lawsuit. That is malicious behavior. You don't know what is running inside someone else's boat, and it could be important like a refrigerator or more important... A bilge pump!

Disconnecting someone's shore power could cause serious damage and even sinking. Imagine a boat with a slow leak relying on that bilge pump and some idiot suspects it to be eating zincs so disconnects it. The water inside could rise several feet and even if it didn't sink, high water inside could damage everything.

If you damage my boat maliciously, you better pray I don't find out who you are.

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I appreciate where you are coming from , but my guess is that you would be one of the dock neighbours who would be very interested in fixing the problem (for self-interest if nothing else) - even if you suspect the problem is not you.

But some people simply like to learn the hard way. So, call it helping .
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Old 31-12-2011, 05:00   #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goudurix
The problem is that in the US you are obliged to have the AC ground connection also grounded to the boat's ground and have it connected to the (sea)water. Usually all underwater metals (through-hulls, propeller & axle, ...) are also bonded. Hence you have the perfect condition to start galvanic corrosion with other boats nearby or indeed any part of the marina electric system leaking current into the water: your own underwater metals (of diverse nature with differenent electrochemical potentials) all bonded together and bonded to the AC marina ground - and other boats and metal structures having the same - and seawater as electrolytic fluid in between.
Solutions as named over & over again in this thread:
1) unbond all through hulls, have one dedicated underwater grounding plate and it's own zinc and of course protect propeller & axle or sail drive with ample zincs (but your engine block, propeller & axle will still be bonded to AC ground so add solution 2) or 3)
2) isolation transformer (expensive) or galvanic isolator (on the AC ground coming in)
3)or disconnect your AC ground from the ship's ground and protect (yourself & others) with a 30mAmpère differential breaker (as done in Europe - but against the law in US...)

Jan
So the problem with an isolation transformer is that it is expensive?! I don't think so... replacing zincs with haul-outs that last a couple of weeks & paying lawyers etc. that is expensive. The cost of the transformer is quickly recovered (weeks) and it will keep protecting the boat for years and years and is 100% legal in the US while keeping you 100% isolated from all that trouble.

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 31-12-2011, 05:46   #72
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Re: Neighbor dumping raw AC into water?...what to do?

isolation transformer means no direct electrical connection
Only AC flows DC no flows

Galvanic isolator AC flows DC no flows if isolator also has builtin capacitor.

Can AC current create corrosion, supposedly it can as underwater salts can form diodes which rectify AC into DC, then possible corosion.

Leaking current wants to make a circuit out of his boat into yours then go back to source, so where will it go? Back thru the shore power ground. So disconnect your ground and use GFCI. GFCI will trip if it detects currents going where they should not so shock hazard is gone and boat cant return current so no corrosion.

No ground means if GFCI fails your a possible shock hazard. Even if your wires are good, you might plug in a device which has a problem. Supposedly GFCI will trip. I have not seen a GFCI fail to protect, anything is possible.

So we have good tech to prevent shocks and keeping ground intact helps keep you safer.

My ground is hooked up.
I have GFCI on my power, but only for all my outlets.
I have all my underwater thru hulls unbonded.
I boat in a salt water bay.
I have a galvanic isolator.
The boat 3 slips down from me suffered massive corrosion and had to replace a lot, BUT his problems were his own issues.
I have yet to see any corrosion issues on the boat.

The GFCI almost never has tripped. It has unexplainably tripped off, so I do keep the AC fridge out of the GFCI circuit.
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Old 31-12-2011, 06:04   #73
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Re: Neighbor dumping raw AC into water?...what to do?

Can you unbond your prop shaft from the coupler?
Electrically isolate this from the engine?
I believe this is the only item on my boat which could complete a circuit back to shore on someone else's fault

The thru hull, well salt water can conduct a small current, up the hose to the motor. I suppose a plastic valve in the line to the motor which you close shut might help that.
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Old 31-12-2011, 06:57   #74
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Re: Neighbor dumping raw AC into water?...what to do?

All of 2nt Dog Watch's problems have stimulated my need to address my own boat. I have been thinking about my own systems and how to protect my own boat. I just moved my boat behind a house here in Ft Pierce Florida and got a low ac reading when I plugged into the shore power. When I checked the voltage, I was getting 24 volts from the neutral. It turns out that the home owner had done a hack job of wiring his dock and had wire nuts connecting two power lines in a below ground box. The box leaked, filled with sand, and then destroyed the wire nuts so the ac was shorting to the wet sand. I fixed the problem for him since the homeowner was in his 90's and now the electrical is showing .004 volts. Now to my boat.
I don't think that I have any electrical problems stemming from my boat but I would like to trouble shoot the boat and make sure I am protected regardless of what some other boater does.
1: I do not have any type of isolator. I am in salt water so do I want a galvanic isolator or isolation transformer? Which will give me the best protection and which is the most rugged brand?
2: I have two 30 amp panels in my boat with two exterior connectors. Can I wire both neutrals into one isolator or do I need two isolators. Is the amperage rating for the galvanic isolator need to be the same as the shore power ie 30 amp for 30 amp shore power. 60 amp for two 30 amp shore power cables.
3: During my latest survey, I was told to have all my tru-hulls grounded which I do. What is the requirement or set of rules that the insurance companies require you to follow. I don't want to have a loss and then be turned down because I was out of spec.
4: I have searched the forum for a tread which will address the exact technique for trouble shooting AC/DC power leaks. Can someone post a link that will explain the procedure from A to Z?

Talking about legal is a total turn off for me so I just want to gleam information from the forum that will make my boat bullet proof. If some other boater wants to be an A..hole, it doesn't affect me.
Thanks in Advance
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Old 31-12-2011, 06:58   #75
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Re: Neighbor dumping raw AC into water?...what to do?

If you want to take this to court you need to hire an objective expert that can isolate the source of the problem. A marine electrician with credentials would be my choice. Once you have the facts written out in a report by your expert you can send a certified letter to the owner along with the report and give him say 30 days to correct the problem. In the interim period hire an attorney and set a court date at the expiration of the thirty days. Have the owner served with the set court date. You can also name the marina as a party involved as they may have responsibility as well.

Or I would just take my business elsewhere. Easier, cheaper and less headache. You will be spending at a minimum around $2500 for a legal action. If it's continued even more.
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