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View Poll Results: How many amps do you lose just due to system loss...
<1 26 96.30%
2-3 1 3.70%
4-5 0 0%
>5 0 0%
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Old 22-03-2013, 23:12   #1
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How many amps are you leaking with nothing switched on?

I am in the middle of sorting out my own electrical gremlins, just wander if losing 2 amps with nothing switched on is normal.
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Old 22-03-2013, 23:34   #2
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Re: How many amps are you leaking with nothing switched on?

How do you know? How is it measured?

Something IS "switched on". It probably is more normal than it should be only because of the typical terrible condition of boat electrical systems. I would find it just so you know what it is.
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Old 22-03-2013, 23:45   #3
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Re: How many amps are you leaking with nothing switched on?

could it be marina leakage in your ground
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Old 23-03-2013, 01:21   #4
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Re: How many amps are you leaking with nothing switched on?

Quote:
Originally Posted by earthbm View Post
I am in the middle of sorting out my own electrical gremlins, just wander if losing 2 amps with nothing switched on is normal.
Before I re-wire any boat, or work on one for that matter. I test all current load with all circuits off.

My worst offender in 30 years was a 1948 50 ft. with the original cloth wire. It had a 1.4 amp current leak between the house pos.cable and the house bat pos.post, with all circuits turned off.

It would drain both the start, and the house bats if neither had a charge source.

It also had stray current corrosion so bad that the owners had lbs. of zinc on the rudders, shafts, and struts.

The zinc errosion of both shaft logs was so bad I could reach my whole hand into the shaft log timber, and pull out bark.

Lloyd
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Old 23-03-2013, 04:30   #5
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Re: How many amps are you leaking with nothing switched on?

Are you using a battery monitor to show the current drawer.
By 2 amps, is that 2 amps/hour. If its a real loss, something is wrong. I have all my consumers going through a two battery monitors, and with all circuits off, the current drawer indicated on the monitors is between 0.0 and 0.1.
Also have a clamp type current meter which can be placed over cables which will measure the current in that cable, they are cheap, and a useful tool to track down problems.

Pelagic, I 'm always looking to be educated in things electrical, what do you mean by
"could it be marina leakage in your ground".
Would that be an earth leakage from the marina power supply to the water, then into the boat, and being registered on a battery monitor.
I'd be straight around to the marina office to let them know and have them do something about it.
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Old 23-03-2013, 04:40   #6
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Re: How many amps are you leaking with nothing switched on?

I had a few gremlims when I first got my boat. 2 Amps is a bit much. Are you measuring that directly using a meter or are you using using a battery monitor that is measuring the current from a shunt? With everything turned off and you have a battery monitor such as a Link2000 it should only be drawing about 0.1 Amps. If you have an electronic bilge monitor you may be a bit higher.

The previous owner for my boat had several small circuits directly off the battery such as the memory circuit for the radio. The first thing I would do is disconnect the power cables from the going to/from batteries such as to the DC panel, inverter windlass and alternator. Now look at the connections that are left and check those circuits for leakage.

If those are good then add back the cables you disconnected one at a time checking for leakage (save your DC panel for last). Check the power to the DC panel with your DC Main off and your battery switch off. Then turn on the switch and then the main checking for leaks each step of the way.

Good Luck
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Old 23-03-2013, 10:45   #7
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Re: How many amps are you leaking with nothing switched on?

Thanks guys. This is 2 Amps with the panel Amp-meter. Now I see that it's more than normal. Next step are to test it off-shore (to test marina leakage theory)

What would be a good clamp current meter that can test 12V DC at low amps? I thought those were for high amp AC applications.
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Old 23-03-2013, 10:59   #8
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Re: How many amps are you leaking with nothing switched on?

Quote:
Originally Posted by earthbm View Post
Thanks guys. This is 2 Amps with the panel Amp-meter. Now I see that it's more than normal. Next step are to test it off-shore (to test marina leakage theory)

What would be a good clamp current meter that can test 12V DC at low amps? I thought those were for high amp AC applications.
sorry I can't recommend a meter for you. If it is your panel meter then there is a very good chance that it is not properly zero'd. My gauge over reads, but I use my Link2000 for an more accurate indication. If you get a good clamp meter you should be able to reset the panel meter.
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Old 23-03-2013, 11:08   #9
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Re: How many amps are you leaking with nothing switched on?

Panel amp meter could be out. I managed to get a good second hand clamp meter off ebay, but looked today and saw this one, good for up to 4 amps
SE-06 AC/DC Clamp Meter | eBay
If you are looking for current loss, may be OK
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Old 23-03-2013, 11:53   #10
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Re: How many amps are you leaking with nothing switched on?

I assume you are talking about your DC system. Someone posted about a marina leakage to ground, that is your ac system, don't get confused between the two. There are a number of things that can cause current flow in your dc system that is not normal. The normal things are your electronic devices that require standby power, indicator lamps on your dc switch panel and some inverters. The things that shouldn't cause currents but on occasion do are usually related to a fault such as wires in the wet bilge for the bilge pump float switch that are not quite insulated well enough, shorted alternator diodes, and any wet connection to any piece of equipment. As others have stated use a good meter than can measure milliamps, shut everything off assuming you have individual breakers for all your loads and start re-energizing one load at a time. Clamp on meters for measuring current in the low ranges are not that accurate. Break open up your circuit and insert the dc ammeter in series with the loop you are measuring. Start off on a higher scale so not to blow the meter fuse.
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Old 23-03-2013, 12:04   #11
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Re: How many amps are you leaking with nothing switched on?

If it is an analog ammeter, it could need to be zero'd. If it is digital, it could still be off but unlikely that much. Any panel lights, indicators, etc. might be taking some current but the odds are you will need to check each branch circuit to see which one has power running on it. Depending on the physical setup that may be easy, or not so accessible.
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Old 23-03-2013, 12:17   #12
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Low amp clamps probes. are available and are quite accurate , ranging from fluke expensive to chineese cheap
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Old 23-03-2013, 12:21   #13
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Re: How many amps are you leaking with nothing switched on?

Clamp probes?

If fuses, remove fuses. If breakers, shut breakers. Drop the panel if necessary to access the terminals. Place the probes from a conventional DMM across the terminals, set in amp mode, and if there's any current flowing it will show up on the ammeter. Even the cheap ones handle 2 amps, so even a cheap $10 DMM ought to work for this one.

Might be just as much work trying to finesse a set of clamp jaws in there, anyway.
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Old 23-03-2013, 18:55   #14
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Re: How many amps are you leaking with nothing switched on?

I agree with pulling fuses and shutting off breakers. When the draw drops, you know which circuit is causing the draw, but no guarantees of what is on (or has been added to that circuit). A good rule of thumb for current draw is about 50mA for things like radio memories and the like.
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Old 23-03-2013, 19:26   #15
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Re: How many amps are you leaking with nothing switched on?

Most boats these days have some residual draw for things mentioned above.
Mine runs about 200 ma, but that's for the radio memory, refrigerator thermostat readout and the MPPT controller backlight.
The fridge stays on as I always have sufficient solar, and the backlight makes a great companionway nightlight.

Steve
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