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Old 11-11-2016, 11:51   #1
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Need straight answer for how to add AC grounding

Perhaps my search mojo isn't up to it's usual level but I just can't seem to find a good, straight answer for this.

What do you use for a ground when you have an outboard motor instead of an inboard?

I have a Cal 27 that I acquired about six months ago. It has an outboard. It currently has a decent DC system but as far as I know there has never been an AC system and I've seen no sign of grounding plates.

The batteries are currently charged by an onboard battery charged powered by a shore power cable with the adapter to allow a standard plug. (like the plugs at home)

I'd like to go ahead and add a proper AC system but can't seem to get a straight answer for the green wire. Some say connect it to the battery ground, other's say no way in hell.. IDK there has to be a common answer

If it helps I'm sailing in freshwater, no plans for an inverter, only use shorepower AC while in the slip for batter charging, laptop, and a portable AC unit during the summer;
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Old 11-11-2016, 14:06   #2
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Re: Need straight answer for how to add AC grounding

the green line comes on board. goes too all the plugs / appliances. same as a house. and goes to battery neg. this is ABYC requirement.

impoper AC on a fresh water boat will kill swimmers. so do it right. and get an ELCI main breaker.
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Old 12-11-2016, 08:00   #3
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Re: Need straight answer for how to add AC grounding

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Originally Posted by smac999 View Post
the green line comes on board. goes too all the plugs / appliances. same as a house. and goes to battery neg. this is ABYC requirement.

impoper AC on a fresh water boat will kill swimmers. so do it right. and get an ELCI main breaker.
How does having the AC green connected to the Battery negative help prevent killing swimmers? its usually the Marina AC that kills swimmers not the Boat.
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Old 12-11-2016, 08:48   #4
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Re: Need straight answer for how to add AC grounding

Not sure which charger you are using, does it have a chassis ground connection point, such as inverter/ chargers use ? This set-up backs up the safety aspect of the white wire purpose in the normal black/white wire circuit loop. IF I'm reading correctly.
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Old 12-11-2016, 08:51   #5
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Re: Need straight answer for how to add AC grounding

The green wire from shore should pass through a galvanic isolator and then from the isolator go to all the grounds in all the outlets. It should not pass through any circuit breaker. The ABYC says to connect the green wire on the boat side of the isolator to the D.C. negative bus. This is an attempt to prevent anyone accidentally connecting a black hot AC wire to a black negative D.C. wire. If they do it will trip the ground fault or a breaker.

In Europe they do not recommend the AC ground and D.C. ground be connected as they have different color schemes for wiring.

Connecting AC ground to D.C. ground does not protect swimmers. In fact, it makes things more dangerous for swimmers.

Be sure to install a ground fault device either where AC comes into the boat or at the shore connection. This will protect swimmers and may prevent some corrosion problems.
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Old 12-11-2016, 12:17   #6
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Re: Need straight answer for how to add AC grounding

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How does having the AC green connected to the Battery negative help prevent killing swimmers? its usually the Marina AC that kills swimmers not the Boat.
no boats do by leaking AC current through their rudders / props / through hulls.

if you do not have the AC - DC ground bond, and a AC hot line makes contact inside the boat to your engine, bonding system, dc ground wires etc. the whole boat goes hot, your through hulls, prop and rudder go hot, and the water around your boat goes hot.

if you have the AC to DC ground, you now have n AC short circuit from the AC hot, to DC ground, to AC ground, back to AC panel, and it will trip the AC breaker. without it no breaker will trip and you are left with a very dangerous boat. unless you have an ELCI main breaker but very few boats do. or an isolation transformer will prevent current flowing back to shore.
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