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Old 15-07-2011, 05:07   #1
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GFCI Outlet in an Engine Room in a Sealed Metal Box with Watertight Cover ?

This outlet is up high. I was wondering if this is a go or no.
The 20 amp GFCI is made by Leviton.
The metal cover is a spring loaded foam sealed type.
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Old 15-07-2011, 05:16   #2
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Re: GFCI outlet in an engine room in a sealed metal box with watertight cover?

The coverplate won't be water-tite, nor even weather-tite in use, but should be ok, nonetheless. The outlet should probably be 15Amp.
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Old 15-07-2011, 05:52   #3
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Re: GFCI outlet in an engine room in a sealed metal box with watertight cover?

thanks, the wire is 12 gauge and the breaker is 20 amp so should be ok.
It wont get wet where it is, unless the boat takes a dip.
The only concern I had was a spark, but it is sealed in a box.
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Old 15-07-2011, 06:51   #4
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Re: GFCI outlet in an engine room in a sealed metal box with watertight cover?

You didn't say whether or not your boat is gasoline or diesel. If it's gasoline, I'd be very wary about a GFCI outlet in the engine, for the very reason you mentioned. I would not have one.

Another reason to be wary of GFCI outlets in engine rooms -- gasoline or diesel -- is if they are ever to be used for heaters in wintertime. Again, I wouldn't use one there, because in the event of a nuisance trip you could lose heating, engines could freeze, so could seacocks, and you could lose the boat. I've seen this happen.

On the other hand, the GFCI specification is there to protect YOU, since you could be electrocuted by equipment with a faulty ground. If this sounds contradictory to the above, it is!

My preference is to use an extension cord to get power into the engine room if needed, plugged into a GFCI outlet outside the engine room if you need it for lighting or tools, or to a non-GFCI outlet for critical winter-time heat.

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Old 15-07-2011, 07:14   #5
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Re: GFCI outlet in an engine room in a sealed metal box with watertight cover?

Firstly, if sparks are a concern due to a gasoline leak, I would unplug the boat from shore power at the pedestal. Secondly, I believe that NFPA & USCG, requires liquid tight A/C circuitry in engine rooms....on INSPECTED vessels. Which as Gord mentions, a common metal "outdoor" damp location box does not qualify. However, I don't believe there is such a regulation for pleasure vessels.

I'm no Snipe, but have many hours in engine rooms of commercial vessels... And most every one has an outlet (or several) fully exposed. HYMMV
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Old 15-07-2011, 08:30   #6
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Re: GFCI outlet in an engine room in a sealed metal box with watertight cover?

Per ABYC 11.5.1.3.1
"Potential electrical sources of ignition located in spaces containing gasoline powered machinery, or gasoline fuel tank(s), or joint fitting(s), or other connection(s) between components of a gasoline system, shall be ignition protected."

As far as I know, there are no GFCI receptacles with “ignition protection”.

Plugging in or unplugging an appliance to/from a receptacle can generate sparks. The use of portable power tools in such spaces is also very dangerous because of brush arcing in the universal motors.
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Old 15-07-2011, 08:39   #7
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Re: GFCI outlet in an engine room in a sealed metal box with watertight cover?

In practicality, I have seen plenty of 120 volt outlets in engine spaces. I think that you will be fine by installing one made for outdoor use just in case it ever gets sprayed. I'm sure you will have plenty of ventilation going while working in the machinery space and will not leave devices plugged in while you are not down there.

Also, a 20 amp GFCI outlet with 12 gauge wire protected by a 20 amp breaker on your AC panel will work. On a boat all your outlets should be GFCI protected.
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Old 15-07-2011, 08:40   #8
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Re: GFCI outlet in an engine room in a sealed metal box with watertight cover?

Are liquid tight electrical outlets even possible, especially if they are in use?

I always wondered why the outlet was there as it does not get any use except that there are branch circuits running from this box to the other outlets to make all outlets GFCI protected. It is dry and up high and has never been any trouble. If i were to change anything, I would maybe buy another GFCI outlet to protect the outlets on the port side and this one would have to go in the cabin starboard side, and the new outlet on the port side, which would perhaps be slightly better from a nuisance trip point.

Or I could move this GFCI up to the cabin and put a standard outlet in there. I never used it but maybe it was for engine room heaters. I will think about it. All the outlets on the boat are on a single 20 amp circuit. There is little reason for more than one circuit and it makes it easy to switch them all to my inverter which is running off a DPDT transfer switch so I can switch from one power source to another. That DPDT switch is wired so that power comes from either shore (generator) or inverter and then the power goes out to all the outlets. The refrigerator and computer is not on the GFCI outlet load side, so no GFCI protection for them.
Yes the boat is gas powered.
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Old 15-07-2011, 08:41   #9
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Re: GFCI outlet in an engine room in a sealed metal box with watertight cover?

What Gord May has said; then install the GFI (use separate circuit - not GFI breaker [they're susceptible to stray shore power fluctuations] but GFI outlet) just outside the engine compartment.
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Old 15-07-2011, 09:56   #10
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Re: GFCI outlet in an engine room in a sealed metal box with watertight cover?

Something to keep in mind, A GFCI outlet has a small button that will trip in case of a ground fault. This will generate a spark and ignite any gasoline vapors in the engine compartment.

I would relocate it to an outside outlet. and run all outlets including the one from the engine room from it.

A splashproof cover is good, locating the outlet above waterline is good, just remember if the outlet is not being used no sparks, but if something is plugged in, the movement of the cord can cause the tangs to slide generating spark. Having electricity in engine space is a risk, use carefully, and wisely.
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Old 15-07-2011, 10:37   #11
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Re: GFCI Outlet in an Engine Room in a Sealed Metal Box with Watertight Cover ?

I can easily move the GFCI up out of the engine room.
I have a central chart table cabinet and I can just cut a hole and put in a fiberglass electric box and use a standard cover plate.
I will leave the outlet box with a standard outlet and that cover in the engine room.

Not sure whether to keep it GFCI protected or no as you dont want something plugged in to nuisance trip off.

For years, I put a 60 watt trouble light in the bilge to keep things from freezing and it worked well.
What would eventually happen is the bulb burns out. I suppose that is considered very unsafe from an explosion point of view..
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Old 15-07-2011, 10:44   #12
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Re: GFCI Outlet in an Engine Room in a Sealed Metal Box with Watertight Cover ?

We have GFCI's in all of the AC circuits aboard our boat, mounted at locations that are easily accessable--in the main salon and in the cabins(hair-dryers for the girls). Even with mositure protection, why would one want one in an engine space? Anything needing an AC connection would only be used while one is working in the space, in which case the covers/enclosures would be open, such that an extension cord would be all that's necessary for tools, lights etc. No?
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Old 15-07-2011, 11:04   #13
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Re: GFCI Outlet in an Engine Room in a Sealed Metal Box with Watertight Cover ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sdowney717 View Post
I can easily move the GFCI up out of the engine room.
I have a central chart table cabinet and I can just cut a hole and put in a fiberglass electric box and use a standard cover plate.
I will leave the outlet box with a standard outlet and that cover in the engine room.

Not sure whether to keep it GFCI protected or no as you dont want something plugged in to nuisance trip off.

For years, I put a 60 watt trouble light in the bilge to keep things from freezing and it worked well.
What would eventually happen is the bulb burns out. I suppose that is considered very unsafe from an explosion point of view..
All my stuff is GFCI protected, I haven't had a big problem with "nuisance" trips with new well maintained clean dry electrical appliances plugged in and placed where they won't get wet, or condensate.

You just have to weigh the relative risk, of having a bulb break while you have a gas leak to having the boat sink because something froze.

Where I am the biggest risk of fire occures during a cold winter, because most homes don't have central heating, people use space heaters, that tend to tip over and burn the carpet.

Be safe, A GFCI will save your life if you accidently drop that trouble light in the bilge water.

Get an explosive fumes detector and check it before plugging anything into that outlet.
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Old 17-07-2011, 20:55   #14
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Re: GFCI Outlet in an Engine Room in a Sealed Metal Box with Watertight Cover ?

Why not mount a standard non GFCI outlet in the engine compartment, but feed it from a GFCI outlet elsewhere, or a GFCI breaker (if there is such a breaker for marine use)? Eliminates the chance of the spark from a trip.
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Old 18-07-2011, 08:53   #15
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Re: GFCI Outlet in an Engine Room in a Sealed Metal Box with Watertight Cover ?

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Originally Posted by US1Fountain View Post
Why not mount a standard non GFCI outlet in the engine compartment, but feed it from a GFCI outlet elsewhere, or a GFCI breaker (if there is such a breaker for marine use)? Eliminates the chance of the spark from a trip.
If one's worries about an engine room spark, ANY outlet can produce this effect regardless if it's a GFI or not. Having any type of spark producing equipment goes against standards however an appropriate vapor detector can offer some protection.
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