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Old 07-08-2016, 13:16   #1
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Short From Bus Bar...

Doing some electrical today, wiring up my solar panels without them being on-line.
I am using a portable panel systen ( 2 30 watt panels with built in regulators that plug into cigarette lighter plugs) I had already run one successfully with the socket wired directly to the battery. Today I ran the second socket along with the first through a bus bar and to the battery. I ran the 2 neg wires directly to the bus bolt that takes the neg from the battery rather than to the bar screws and I put the pos wires on the bar itself. When I tried to attach the pos from its post to the terminal I got a short and I cannot figure out why this is happening.
All of the connections ate clean and tight and there are no markings differentiating pos or neg on the bus.
Any advice.
BTW The main battery switch was off and panels not connected. Checked systems evetything works and the battery is still powering eveything.

Thanks all. Any ques or input appreciated

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Old 07-08-2016, 13:35   #2
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Re: short from bus bar...

What are you calling a short? If you are talking about a good spark, no big deal. To prove this, make the connection with your finger on the terminal, it won't get hot.
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Old 07-08-2016, 13:42   #3
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Re: short from bus bar...

Thanks Guy...Just being jumpy. False alarm.

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Old 07-08-2016, 13:49   #4
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Re: short from bus bar...

Okay, tried it again. Moore than just "a good spark" and it gets hot. Voltage on the battery is fine, again systems are fine but something is up. This is not typical from my experiance with previous DC jobs. ???

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Old 07-08-2016, 13:52   #5
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Re: short from bus bar...

I am using a larger guage wire (8/12) from buss ro battery but I can't imaginnee that this would caudr a problem.

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Old 08-08-2016, 09:00   #6
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Re: short from bus bar...

Sounds more like reversed polarity than a short.
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Old 08-08-2016, 09:24   #7
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Re: short from bus bar...

"ran the second socket along with the first through a bus bar and to the battery. I ran the 2 neg wires directly to the bus bolt that takes the neg from the battery rather than to the bar screws and I put the pos wires on the bar itself. "

Do you have two separate bus bars? one positive and one negative?
Is the circuit fused?
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Old 08-08-2016, 10:14   #8
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Re: short from bus bar...

It's fairly clear to me that you don't understand electricity and are asking strangers on the Internet to figure out what you are doing wrong.


Incorrect electrical wiring can be very dangerous and being on a boat just makes it more dangerous. Even if you find a way that it doesn't spark, that doesn't mean it is correct or safe.


Bottom line - Hire a qualified marine electrician to fix your issue and inspect the rest of your DIY wiring and make corrections if necessary. You'll sleep better tonight and there's less chance of you waking up dead tomorrow.
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Old 08-08-2016, 10:43   #9
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Re: short from bus bar...

Quote:
Originally Posted by rwidman View Post
It's fairly clear to me that you don't understand electricity and are asking strangers on the Internet to figure out what you are doing wrong.


Incorrect electrical wiring can be very dangerous and being on a boat just makes it more dangerous. Even if you find a way that it doesn't spark, that doesn't mean it is correct or safe.


Bottom line - Hire a qualified marine electrician to fix your issue and inspect the rest of your DIY wiring and make corrections if necessary. You'll sleep better tonight and there's less chance of you waking up dead tomorrow.
Ron.

This is a regular thing. If people would only read a book on DC fundamentals it would save a bunch of brief.
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Old 09-08-2016, 09:21   #10
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Re: short from bus bar...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cadence View Post
Ron.

This is a regular thing. If people would only read a book on DC fundamentals it would save a bunch of brief.
Reading a book generally isn't enough.

I inspect and repair boat electrical systems, sometimes as a result of a failed survey.

The stuff I see usually scares the crap out of me, despite the DIY owner having read a book and watched youtube and full belief in their sole that the work they performed was proper and safe.

Before attempting electrical modifications, one should intimately familiarize themselves with applicable marine electrical standards, and not deviate, not one bit, unless they are wiser than the dedicated professionals who created those standards.

Then there is the matter of the ability to implement those standards with adequate skill and good practice.

Anybody can hook up anything and by trial and error make it work. If they don't hurt themselves in the process, they will likely believe it was done correctly and safely. 9 times out of 10 it is not.

For anyone planning to jump in claiming they have safely sailed around the world and haven't burned the boat to the waterline yet, my response is, "Well, there's always tomorrow."

The most important thing to know is that while your DC electrical system is not likely to electrocute you, it can still burn your boat to the waterline, about as, or perhaps even more easily, as the AC electrical system, if it is not respected and handled correctly. And then there is the issue that your safety related electrical devices may not function properly when most needed, if not installed properly.

If in doubt, hire a sparky (marine electrical professional).

If not in doubt, you either are a sparky, or should be in doubt. ;-)
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Old 09-08-2016, 10:14   #11
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Re: short from bus bar...

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Originally Posted by ramblinrod View Post
Reading a book generally isn't enough.

I inspect and repair boat electrical systems, sometimes as a result of a failed survey.

The stuff I see usually scares the crap out of me, despite the DIY owner having read a book and watched youtube and full belief in their sole that the work they performed was proper and safe.

Before attempting electrical modifications, one should intimately familiarize themselves with applicable marine electrical standards, and not deviate, not one bit, unless they are wiser than the dedicated professionals who created those standards.

Then there is the matter of the ability to implement those standards with adequate skill and good practice.

Anybody can hook up anything and by trial and error make it work. If they don't hurt themselves in the process, they will likely believe it was done correctly and safely. 9 times out of 10 it is not.

For anyone planning to jump in claiming they have safely sailed around the world and haven't burned the boat to the waterline yet, my response is, "Well, there's always tomorrow."

The most important thing to know is that while your DC electrical system is not likely to electrocute you, it can still burn your boat to the waterline, about as, or perhaps even more easily, as the AC electrical system, if it is not respected and handled correctly. And then there is the issue that your safety related electrical devices may not function properly when most needed, if not installed properly.

If in doubt, hire a sparky (marine electrical professional).

If not in doubt, you either are a sparky, or should be in doubt. ;-)
I can't disagree but some questions are just simple. It would help if some of these people have a basic knowledge, hiring someone, sparky, when away from the dock could be rough. I little knowledge could be the difference of getting home or not.
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Old 09-08-2016, 11:04   #12
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Re: Short From Bus Bar...

okay...okay. My list is long and I was moving too fast, making assumptions, "oh, two posts, one posative, one negative". Nevermind everything is set into the same connecting bar. Doh!! Slowed down and saw how ridiculous my question was went out and got a second bus bar.
I apprecate the generosity of the poster who asked the simple question about bus bar being isolated for posative/negative and deserve the assumption regarding my apparent lack of basic knowledge.
I was hoping the post would dissapear w/o having to deal with the finger wagging but...

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Old 09-08-2016, 11:50   #13
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Re: Short From Bus Bar...

Butler,

Anyone can do basic wiring (i.e.) getting the red wire and the black wires where they are suppose to go.

BUT, you must get the basics. If you want to learn get the following book:

Sailboat Electrics Simplified. By Don Casey
I took the Annapolis School of Seamanship, Basic Electrical course and this was the book they gave us. It will help you with most simple jobs on your boat. West Marine usually has it in stock at $12.00 to $15.00. Or you can buy Nigel Calder's book Mechanicle & Electrical Manual.

Next, if you have a smart phone download the Blue Sea Circuit Wizard App. With this you simply punch in the circuit parameter such as Voltage, Amps, Wire Run round trip, Duration of use ect. This will then tell you what wire gauge is safest.

Good tools are essential don't buy cheap crimpers. Get yourself a good pair of racheting crimpers. Buy a pair of heavy wire cutters. I got mine from Home Depot and they will cut up to 2/0 cable like it was butter. Buy a good pair of wire strippers.

Make sure you use good marine grade wire. Tinned is best. Shop around for the best price. WM sells 14/2 safety wire for .83 cents a foot, but I found a place that sells the same type and grade of wire for .43 cents a foot. So it pays to shop.

Don't buy automotive connectors for marine applications. And although you can find good quality stuff. What I've found is the automotive stuff is sized differently.

Plan out what you want to do and draw schematics. Then review those till you can do it in your sleep.

Good luck!
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Old 11-08-2016, 08:14   #14
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Re: short from bus bar...

Quote:
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I can't disagree but some questions are just simple. It would help if some of these people have a basic knowledge, hiring someone, sparky, when away from the dock could be rough. I little knowledge could be the difference of getting home or not.
Absolutely agreed that some basic troubleshooting and repair skills are prudent.

If the electrical systems and appliances are installed and maintained correctly in the first place, the frequency of repair requirements is far less.

For example, I recently inspected a boat to quote repairs, as a result of a failed survey.

Actually the surveyors own words, "The AC system is a mess and requires immediate repair."

The owner's position was, "Well, more electrical work needed this year."

The only reason extensive electrical work was needed was due to extremely poorly executed wiring modifications.

He swore up and down that the work he performed was safe. I had to dance the fine line (very common) indicating that the surveyor and I are obligated to work to marine standards. In the mean time, I was thinking, "This guy's work is a hazard to himself and everyone else around him".

This unfortunately seems to be the norm rather than the exception, when it comes to DIY electrical work.
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