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Old 07-04-2013, 07:19   #1
tsl
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Ground fault protector problems

I have been working on a boat for the past three years. In that time I installed inverter in line with the shore power. It has pass through capability It a Xantrex 1800.
It has worked well while I have had it powered off the factory circuits behind the shop where I rehabbed the boat and also off shore power at the marina I placed it in last fall.
But now I'm having trouble with ground fault on the wall of the marina store where the boats are being stored for the winter.

Can someone explain this and give me some help in describing the problem for the Marine electrician? I'll take on nearly anything but want do not want to take any chances on this.
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Old 07-04-2013, 17:14   #2
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Re: Ground fault protector problems

When you say "trouble" do you mean the GFI immediately and always trips, or just occasionally trips, seemingly at random? The latter is tough to diagnose. I've seen some GFIs occasionally kick off from starting/stopping power tools or appliances.

First, the GFI breakers can be quite sensitive. I've had them trip when an extension cord end got wet. (that's what it's supposed to do). So make sure your cordage and connections are dry and in good condition.

...and sometimes, GFI outlets go bad. Is there a different GFI outlet you could try?

If the cords are OK, try to isolate the problem. Start with all the boat's AC load breakers off, anything onboard with an AC plug - unplug it. If there are still trips, take the Xantrex right out of the circuit and see what you have. Hopefully you can isolate the problem down to a specific device or area.

If the above doesn't help you isolate the problem, an electrician could help you determine whether you have a more serious issue.
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Old 07-04-2013, 17:25   #3
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Re: Ground fault protector problems

Check for reverse polarity or an open ground on the marina store power supply. More likely an open ground. You cannot assume where you plug in is properly wired
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Old 09-04-2013, 08:28   #4
tsl
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Re: Ground fault protector problems

I pulled out Nigel's Boatowners Mechanical and electrical manual. I guess my post was a trick question. Of course the ground fault would trip. The Neutral and the ground are connected on board. I do not have an isolated system. That is exactly what the ground fault is intended to detect.

Thanks for the help.
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Old 12-04-2013, 15:29   #5
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Re: Ground fault protector problems

Quote:
The Neutral and the ground are connected on board. I do not have an isolated system.
Where is this connection? The only N-G bonds should be a sources such as generators, inverters, the transformer feeding your marina, etc. There should not be a N-G bond anywhere else on the vessel.
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Old 12-04-2013, 15:50   #6
tsl
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Re: Ground fault protector problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieJ View Post
Where is this connection? The only N-G bonds should be a sources such as generators, inverters, the transformer feeding your marina, etc. There should not be a N-G bond anywhere else on the vessel.
Wow , someone is awake!!! Yes, I was completely in error. Saw a diagram in Calder's Boat owners Mechanical and electrical that matched my wiring. Figure 4-23 however, he clearly states is improper if you read the text carefully. I caught it later rereading the chapter. I did not bother correcting my post since no one caught it

I have had serious previous owner difficulties. I'm hoping this is the last of it.

Thanks for saying something. I was about to give up on any advice on this forum.
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Old 12-04-2013, 16:51   #7
tsl
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Re: Ground fault protector problems

I should have know something was wrong. The shore power indicator flickered when the boat was connected to power. I was very fortunate since the boat was in the water just a few days last fall.
I don't think you will be seeing me swimming in marinas. This was a salt water boat so less danger was involved when the previous owner had it. It's now waiting to go into lake Michigan. Thanks Charlie!!!
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