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Old 01-01-2012, 08:51   #121
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Re: Neighbor dumping raw AC into water?...what to do?

First of all, Hummingway is right. I apologise for my boorish comments concerning the OP and would welcome him back as he contributes to this forum.
Second, there seems to be quite a bit of confusion as what is needed to protect your boat from stray currents. Galvanic Isolators and Isolation transformers are two very different beasts, at least in price and heft. I understand how Isolation transformers work, but do galvanic isolators do the same with less $$. What have been the experiences out in the field?
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Old 01-01-2012, 08:53   #122
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Re: Neighbor dumping raw AC into water?...what to do?

I would think that since verbally informing both the marina owner and boat owner of the problem to no avail you need to do it in writing establishing a paper trail and timeline to support your case should you need to down the road.
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Old 01-01-2012, 08:58   #123
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Re: Neighbor dumping raw AC into water?...what to do?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gene :^) View Post
I am really let down with many people posting in this thread... Even some that I normally respect on this forum.

While there is 50% good advice there is also 50% bad or incorrect advice.

Running to lawyers and trying to bring a lawsuit is about the worst approach to this problem and only leads to more and more boating restrictions or laws. We are supposed to be a boating community, and supposed to support each other and keep boating fun.

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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Um ... NO ONE suggested a lawsuit.I did suggest a LETTER. Good lawyers try very hard to AVOID lawsuits. I have used a reasoned letter from a lawyer several times to very good effect. It never led to a lawsuit. It DID lead to the early resolution to a problem that could have become more complicated.
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Old 01-01-2012, 08:58   #124
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Re: Neighbor dumping raw AC into water?...what to do?

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Originally Posted by DotDun View Post
If the leakage is to boat ground, i.e. salt water, the return is not via the green ground. The meter will see this.

After all it's leakage to the water the OP is worried about.
The green wire may have current running through it because of leakage currents in the water from other boats, or the boat being tested. Knowing that there is current in the green wire tells you that there is a problem, but not whether it is from the boat being tested, or others.

The only way to know if a particular boat is leaking is to compare the current in to current in to current out via the neutral. Any difference, a value greater than zero, is leakage.
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Old 01-01-2012, 10:20   #125
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Re: Neighbor dumping raw AC into water?...what to do?

First off, I am not an expert but I have had this problem in various marinas, and it is only compounded by cheap marina owners and lousy electricians who were the low bidder and have happened to survive their installations, and then the individual subcontractors working on the boats for the owners and captains. It like playing Whack-em to find the culprit, and a waste of time and money.
1. Zincs are sacrificial and are cheaper than stainless motor shafts and rudder shafts that will deteriorate just as fast as thru hulls. Buy them in great numbers because you will need them wherever you go. Have your diver clean and inspect them monthly and replace as necessary. Two on you shaft are recommended by most professionals, and one on the hub of your prop. One member recommended hanging zinc outside the boat. I do this as well however you should use two: one from the bow attached to the forestay and one from the stern attached to the backstay. This puts interrupts the stray current path to the shafts, which are the path to least resistance.
2. Galvanic isolators will stop stray ground current from the dock AC system and keep it from affecting the DC bonding system, as I understand it. They will not stop the deterioration of your zincs. I know this because I have them on my boat. Isolation transformers will isolate the problem more effectively if you have continuity on your own electrical systems, AC/DC. However they weigh roughly 200 to 300 lbs and cost about $3,000 for 50/250 amp units. I know because I have looked into the possibility of installing them on my boat.
3. Phase as it is called in the electrical business, is having continuity on the AC system where no wires are crossed. Most dock systems are supplied with three phase voltage from the line. That is 2 110V lines and one ground. At the breaker box on your dock these two 110 lines can get crossed, and it can happen in your home as well. Keep the red going to the same lug on all hook ups and the white the same. Even though there are 2 110 volt wires, it is important to keep them supplying the same terminals, it can create problems like voltage drops and surges if the dock islands are not wired the same. Home depot sell a little AC Plug that can check this at each receptacle on your AC system. The lights will come on in a certain pattern for in in-phase or out of phase conditions, costs about 20 bucks and is good investment.
4. Power Lines in the water can be a major problem in a marina. Some will drape the line into the water to get the power to the dock and account for the tide swing. In New England this can be major swing in tide. My marina in Florida does it in a 2 foot tide swing and I complain to the all the time. Have you ever been under a high tension power transmission line and heard the lines singing? Enough said.
5. Your problem is your problem. Be proactive and protect your boat because wherever you go the problem will exist and you must take care of yourself and you cannot afford to sue everyone along the way. I moved my boat after complaining numerous times. It costs the marina money to fix and they don’t want to let go of any of it until the place starts to empty out. In lieu of the fire bomb idea which would be messy and perhaps hurt some innocent bystanders, try making a sign that says “dangerous swimming area stray current in this area”. Or get congress to pass a 10,000 page bill to protect us from mistakes.
Oh yeah, I keep my AC running along with my refrigerator system while I am away from my boat, and it really pisses me off when people open my breakers or run high aperage devices on my electrical island. I don't advise that be done without boat owner approval or life and death case. Power surges can do a lot of equipment damage.
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Old 01-01-2012, 10:26   #126
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Re: Neighbor dumping raw AC into water?...what to do?

Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Beth View Post
First of all, Hummingway is right. I apologise for my boorish comments concerning the OP and would welcome him back as he contributes to this forum.
Second, there seems to be quite a bit of confusion as what is needed to protect your boat from stray currents. Galvanic Isolators and Isolation transformers are two very different beasts, at least in price and heft. I understand how Isolation transformers work, but do galvanic isolators do the same with less $$. What have been the experiences out in the field?
Your right they are two different beasts. The transformers as others have stated isolate the shore hot and neutral from the boat hot and neutral so they have to be sized to carry the full boat current load. This makes them expensive and heavy. This prevents reversed power leads in the shore supply from causing problems on your boat. The galvanic isolator is basically diodes arranged in a configuration to block dc but allow ac through. That way your ground wire is still effective as a protective device for ac but stops the possible dc rider current from circulating from shore ground through your metal on the boat.
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Old 01-01-2012, 10:48   #127
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Re: Neighbor dumping raw AC into water?...what to do?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FlightPlan View Post
3. Phase as it is called in the electrical business, is having continuity on the AC system where no wires are crossed. Most dock systems are supplied with three phase voltage from the line. That is 2 110V lines and one ground. At the breaker box on your dock these two 110 lines can get crossed, and it can happen in your home as well. Keep the red going to the same lug on all hook ups and the white the same. Even though there are 2 110 volt wires, it is important to keep them supplying the same terminals, it can create problems like voltage drops and surges if the dock islands are not wired the same. Home depot sell a little AC Plug that can check this at each receptacle on your AC system. The lights will come on in a certain pattern for in in-phase or out of phase conditions, costs about 20 bucks and is good investment.
I suspect most docks do not have 3 phase for the simple reason that most of the regular sized cruisers can't use it and it is more expensive to install. 3 phase is actually 3 conducters and a ground. As the alternating current goes from negative to positive 50 or 60 times (phase) the 3 currents are made to overlap. Regular US juice is single phase which only has 2 conductors. In 220 volt systems each conducter is 110 and we only use one of these in standard outlets in the US. The current returns through a neutral. It's all here.
Three-phase electric power - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 01-01-2012, 11:44   #128
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Re: Neighbor dumping raw AC into water?...what to do?

Thoughts on how to resolve the matter - - - -

Leakage currents that are causing zincs to disappear rapidly are likely to be a serious safety hazard. Some leakage current is not unsafe, and is thought to be normal by regulatory officials, and marina operators may dismiss the information presented by the OP because of it. The key is to know how much leakage there is to get the proper people to react to it. I have experienced this, and obtained the equipment to measure it (see earlier posts). In my case the leakage was found to be 3500 ma, which is clearly in the lethal range of risk. 20 ma is the level where lethality is an issue. I had the cooperation of the marina management in taking measurements at the shore power connections of vessels in the vacinity.

Once the size of the leakage is known, I would go to people in the following order to advise the nature of the issue and risks to anyone who may be in the water. I would stop with the first one who gets the matter resolved. I would also offer the boat owner assistance in isolating the source of the problem on their boat. With the meter connected, turning various circuits off at the boat's AC panel will quickly isolate the source:

1. The boat owner.
2. The marina management.
3. The power company.
4. The electrical safety agency that has jurisdiction.

If leakage currents are measured in the lethal range, it is morally compelling to correct the matter before a diver enters the water, or someone falls in. If such a condition exists, I expect that by the time it got to #4, the marina would be red tagged, and made safe by shutting the power off.

The bottom line is none of this can be done without knowing the size of the leakage.
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Old 01-01-2012, 12:08   #129
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I'm in the process of buying an isolation transformer. Does anyone have any suggestions of a good unit? Right now the Charles unit is at the top of my list. Are there others that would survive in a marine environment?
I'm looking at this one:
ISO-G2 Isolation Transformer
3.6Kva, 120VAC, 60Hz, 30 Amps
11"W x 9-1/4"H x 8"D 60# $536 before what I'd expect very expensive shipping.

I thought I'd ask since several of us are looking at this issue.
SC
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Old 01-01-2012, 12:17   #130
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Re: Neighbor dumping raw AC into water?...what to do?

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Originally Posted by sailcruiser View Post
I'm in the process of buying an isolation transformer. Does anyone have any suggestions of a good unit? Right now the Charles unit is at the top of my list. Are there others that would survive in a marine environment?
I'm looking at this one:
ISO-G2 Isolation Transformer
3.6Kva, 120VAC, 60Hz, 30 Amps
11"W x 9-1/4"H x 8"D 60# $536 before what I'd expect very expensive shipping.

I thought I'd ask since several of us are looking at this issue.
SC
For a couple hundred more I would get the Victron transformer. First rate gear. I think the Charles G2 would do the job OK but have heard some complaints about them, including they have a loud hum.
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Old 01-01-2012, 12:33   #131
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Re: Neighbor dumping raw AC into water?...what to do?

Maybe phase is not the term. Try swapping neutral and current and you will see what I tried to say. Try running red to black on one of your stereo speakers, you still get sound, but it is not clean.

I am forced by size to docks that often have several large yachts that run huge power loads, and many times the voltage is drawn down to as low as 112 volts. In those cases, it is usually an undersized transformer on the 3 phase supply. I tried to make the point that one island powered improperly can have an effect.

Don't confuse me with the details, I have to be part mechanic too. This subject can have so many variables as to cause and effect that I just shut up and listen.
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Old 01-01-2012, 12:46   #132
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Re: Neighbor dumping raw AC into water?...what to do?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FlightPlan View Post
Maybe phase is not the term. Try swapping neutral and current and you will see what I tried to say. Try running red to black on one of your stereo speakers, you still get sound, but it is not clean.

I am forced by size to docks that often have several large yachts that run huge power loads, and many times the voltage is drawn down to as low as 112 volts. In those cases, it is usually an undersized transformer on the 3 phase supply. I tried to make the point that one island powered improperly can have an effect.

Don't confuse me with the details, I have to be part mechanic too. This subject can have so many variables as to cause and effect that I just shut up and listen.
I think that's called reversed polarity.
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Old 01-01-2012, 13:03   #133
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Quote:
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For a couple hundred more I would get the Victron transformer. First rate gear. I think the Charles G2 would do the job OK but have heard some complaints about them, including they have a loud hum.
Thanks Skipmac. There aren't too many Victron dealers in the US that I have found besides Jamestown Distributors. I agree Victron is a good product. Their instruction manuals are lousy at least with the at the battery charger I installed last year. It appears their equivalent unit is ~$250 more and 10# lighter. Some older threads reported noise from these nits too. SC
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Old 01-01-2012, 13:52   #134
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Re: Neighbor dumping raw AC into water?...what to do?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailcruiser View Post
Thanks Skipmac. There aren't too many Victron dealers in the US that I have found besides Jamestown Distributors. I agree Victron is a good product. Their instruction manuals are lousy at least with the at the battery charger I installed last year. It appears their equivalent unit is ~$250 more and 10# lighter. Some older threads reported noise from these nits too. SC
The Victron units are much better and silent. The have a toroidal transformer inside.

Victron has reps in the US. I know Marine Warehouse sells them from Miami too.

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 01-01-2012, 14:35   #135
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Re: Neighbor dumping raw AC into water?...what to do?

Red and black on a home stereo are likely to mean that someone took "automotive" 12-volt wiring and used it for the speakers. In low voltage DC red is positive and black is negative, and since black is also the lethal HOT 100/120V wire in home AC systems, boats now typically use yellow instead of black to avoid confusing the systems.

But for home stereos, the wiring and color codes "end" when the AC line enters the box and have nothing to do with what's going to the speakiers. In a 110/120VAC home wiring system, balck is the lethal HOT wire and RED is actually an alternate, usually a switched hot or some other connection (i.e. a 3-way switch) on the HOT wire.

There's no reason you'd ever see a red wire in a 110/120VAC wiring going to a dock outlet, just black, white, and green. Unless the wiring was done by a guy in matching red nose and red fright wig.

FWIW, a utility company usually will tell you their responsibility ends at the bulkhead or other entrance point to the private property. After that--it is private property and your "landlord" has to deal with it. All the utility company can do is say there's a gross danger and CUT OFF THE POWER so be careful what you wish for. (That's been my experience with a major electric supplier dealing with ground faults in building wiring.)
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