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Old 20-09-2009, 17:12   #1
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Shore Power Help

I just bought a boat and had it to a slip for the first time. I plugged in the shore power and expected the charger to turn on. It didnt.
I have a 110v master panel, I have switches labeled master, outlets, charger, and I dont remeber the other 2, and the boat is 70 miles from here.
It looks like this

Should I have to turn a switch after plugging in?
master is on.
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Old 20-09-2009, 17:17   #2
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my first question would be is there electric present at other locations, such as outlets
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Old 20-09-2009, 17:19   #3
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Typically, yes. The shore power cord plugs into a socket on your boat and from there runs to a GFI device and then to the 110 master switch before it runs anyplace else. If that master is off--everything should be disconnected from the 110 supply.

There's no telling what a PO did, they might have wired up a charger directly. You might have a blown fuse, a disconnected power lead, a breaker that has tripped and needs to be reset...all sorts of reasons why you got no charging. You'd need to check the wiring from the 110 socket downstream to see what's really going on.
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Old 20-09-2009, 17:21   #4
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The last time someone described this scenario to me, the input fuse was blown - I assume you checked?
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Old 21-09-2009, 21:03   #5
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The extent of my check was plug in the shore power, check for lights on the charger, no lights, check the switchs, no change, Un plug shore power, go home. Will check for fuses and outlet power when I go back.
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Old 21-09-2009, 21:58   #6
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don't forget to check to see if the breaker is on at the shore power box and then work your way out from there checking everything for power. good luck.
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Old 21-09-2009, 22:48   #7
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Get a good voltmeter.
Fluke if you can afford one. Go on ebay, there are a lot there.
Check to see first if the shore power connection has power. There should be a breaker there to turn it on. If not power there, call the marina for help.
If there is power there, plug the cable in, making sure its the appropriate cable for that connection. There are many types of shore power connections, and they do not interchange. Check the power at the boat end of the shore power cable. If ok, plug into the boat. Ensure the connections are tight, are corrosion free.
Then go into the boat to your 110 volt panel. Do you have a voltmeter ? if so, it should show volts coming in. If not check for a main breaker. Turn it on. Now again check for voltage. If none, open the panel up and check for votlage at the ac main breaker or fuse. If you have a fuse, check to see if its blown. if it is replace, if no fuse, check breaker for proper operation, it should snap when you operate it.
Be very careful around a/c currents. If you are at all unsure of what to do, hire a marine electrician. Don't mess with it.

One question... did it work during the survey? You did get a survey before buying a boat didn't you ?
Ouch 70 miles.... mine is 7 minutes and thats with one light to go thru...
Good luck.
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Old 22-09-2009, 05:43   #8
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Luckily I do have a fluke. There was no visual corrosion on the plug ends or inlet. I have a lot of 12 volt expereince, And I have a fair amount of 110 experience. Im gonna need to spend some time down there and map it out to se ehow it is wired. What kind of fuses do they use for shore power on a boat? Screw in fuses like an old house panel?
I did not get a survey, I decided to roll the dice I could not justify 20% of the purchase price to get a survey. If I end up with serious problems Ill chauk it up lesson learned.
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Old 22-09-2009, 09:42   #9
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does it have an inverter/charger or just a plain old charger? you may need to throw a switch or press button (on the charger) to get it to start charging. then monitor it and make sure it works ok and doesn't over charge the batteries.
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Old 23-09-2009, 21:06   #10
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So I went down to look at the boat today.
Has a master switch at the top of the panel.
Then has switchs labeled outlets, power, charger and one not labeled.
With shore power plugged in master switch on everything is fine. The charger is actualy plugged into an outlet, When I turn on the outlet switch I hear sizzel in the siwtch. If I unplug the charger and turn on the outlet switch, I have 120v at all the outlets. I though ok charger is bad. I plug the charger into the invertor and the charge comes on normaly. I also tried pluging a florescent lamp into a diffent outlet and get the same sizzel and no power with the outlet switch on.

There are no screw in fuses or breakers unless they are internal to the panel and self reseting.
There is a large orange button that says reverse poliarity /test on it. Im guessing that has something to do with my problem, I presss it and nothing happens what should it do.
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Old 23-09-2009, 22:03   #11
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Pretty sure this is just a minor problem

The “sizzle” sounds like a loose connection between the outlet breaker and the outlets, or even an old breaker that is failing.

Maybe even ants have made a home there and are shorting out.

When a draw is put thru the line, it just sizzles creating heat, rather than conducting power.

It is not unusual in the tropics for some types of electrical connections to slowly work their way loose due to large temp fluctuations and just the vibrations on the boat

Since the boat is new to you and if you are comfortable to work safely with electrics I strongly recommend opening up the panels, to inspect and test all connections for tightness and condition.

Fire is an ugly thing on a boat
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Old 24-09-2009, 08:55   #12
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I am leaning towards Pelagic's deduction.

With nothing plugged into outlets you read 110V - The current draw of the volt meter is the square root of nothing.

Anytime a "load" is applied to any outlet you get sizzling.

I am guessing a loose or corroded connection somewhere very upstream in the 110V circuits - probably near the "outlet switch" wiring in the panel.

go slow, be methodical - you'll find it.

The one thing that I am not clear on is the part about plugging the charger into the inverter and the charger working fine? Does this mean the inverter is "hard wired" to the DC system and provides 110V from the battery banks? If so does that mean you were driving the charger off the 12V powered inverter? If so then I think that is not really meaningful as it's not part of the 110V shore power system.
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Old 24-09-2009, 16:57   #13
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" hear sizzel in the siwtch. "
That sizzle means DANGER WILL ROBINSON! It is, literally, electricity arcing across contacts (dirty, worn, corroded, etc.) and the arcing brings heat and fire danger. Sometimes you can "polish" the contacts either by physically accessing them, or by working the switch back and forth (with the power connection unplugged) for a few minutes so they self-clean if the problem is small.
But if they don't clean up & stop sizzling real fast & real well, it is time to replace the switch/breaker ASAP before the problem gets worse. Call it cheap insurance to be proactive about replacing things that sizzle.
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Old 24-09-2009, 17:53   #14
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I have a new breaker, plan on installing this weekend. The 12v charger is not hard wired to the boat, it is just plugged into one of the 110v shore power outlets. I plugged the charger into the invertor to see if the charger was working at all and it was. So I suspect that it is the breaker itself, or since it would appear that all 3 outlets are on the same breaker, one of the outlets may be due for replacement I will problay just do all 3 while I am at it . They all look original and none are gfi, not even the one in the head. Will update with the results
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Old 24-09-2009, 20:29   #15
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While it is easy enough to make the new outlets GFI, IIRC the codes call for a "master" GFI to be installed within a couple of feet of the point where the AC is brought onto the boat. You might want to check on that, it could make your insurer happy as well as work better. And save you the trouble of updating the outlets, if they're otherwise working OK.
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