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Old 27-02-2012, 08:57   #1
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Why We Don't Leave Our Boat Plugged In

Many in the marine trades in our area have referred to the marina where we keep our boat as "The Battery". Now I know why. I decided to plug in the corrosion meter to see how mu zincs were holding up as I knew to be on the look out at this place. The two photos show what I found. The first one is with the shorepower disconnected and shows that my zincs are just about done. The second is with the shorepower cord plugged in. I suppose there is some good news in that got exactly the same readings no matter where I connected the meter on the boat; chainplates, grounding plate, prop shaft etc. With our solar panels now operating I dont plug the boat in much at all anymore but Im thinking of getting one of those big zincs with the wires to hang over the side for the rest of the winter so I can run the electric heater when working. I have never been one to leave my boat plugged in. I will let the battery charger run till the batteries are floating then unplug.
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Old 27-02-2012, 09:29   #2
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Re: Why we dont leave our boat plugged in

I just burned through two zincs in two months. My short-term solution is to wire the bilge pumps straight to the battery, so I can shut off the DC system when I'm not there, but I don't have any solar, so I'm too scared to unplug from the shorepower.
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Old 27-02-2012, 09:33   #3
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Re: Why we dont leave our boat plugged in

How often and for how long is your bilge pump running that you need a battery charger to stay on top of things? We have deck stepped masts so there is never any water in our bilges. I would image your boat should be fine all winter long without being plugged in except maybe once or twice running the battery charger to top off unless you are having to run the pumps often.
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Old 27-02-2012, 09:57   #4
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Re: Why we dont leave our boat plugged in

If it's rainy in Houston, I don't think my batteries would last a full week. My instrument panel and cockpit lockers drain straight to the bilge -- it's just the way they engineered the boat.
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Old 27-02-2012, 10:00   #5
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Re: Why we dont leave our boat plugged in

Whoa sounds like you need a cover for your boat? Your instrument panel drains to the bilge? Cockpit lockers too? Surely there is a way to remedy that?
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Old 27-02-2012, 10:32   #6
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Re: Why we dont leave our boat plugged in

Why not utilize a completely separate circuit for the winter heater?

Most electric heaters do not require a ground. As such you can run them on a two element conductor. I would think that you could get one or two high quality exterior rated 15A extension cord, and plug them into the shore power. Then have one or two electric heaters installed on the boat. You would have to secure the extension cables securely to make sure they don't knock over the headers when someone trips on them.

This should be the same as keeping your boat neutral by keeping your boat from using the ground, while at the same time providing you with the required heat in the winter.
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Old 27-02-2012, 10:39   #7
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Re: Why we dont leave our boat plugged in

I thought about doing that. Even easier would be to just run the 30amp shorepower cord onto the boat and plug in the heater to the cord with an adapter. I already have the adapter male 30amp to female 15amp. I use an oil filled raidiator heater 1500watt. I also have a propane heater when its really cold. Fortunatley winter in Annapolis this year has been very mild so far.
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Old 27-02-2012, 20:21   #8
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Re: Why we dont leave our boat plugged in

May I ask where you got that meter?

I have a steel boat...you can figure out why I'm asking.
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Old 27-02-2012, 20:39   #9
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Alchemy I'm sorry but the meter was given to me by my father. Not sure where he picked it up. It's great though. Silver nickel half cell on one end and alligator clip on the other. I'll try and ask the old man next time we are together.
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Old 27-02-2012, 20:59   #10
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Re: Why we dont leave our boat plugged in

Here's just one place you can get a corrosion Test Meter. Sterling Power Products: Yacht Corrosion Test Meter and Workbook Here's another Southeast Marine Services :: Corrosion Control/Isolation Transformers :: Portable analog corrosion test meter Google it and you'll find others. Most Marine electricians have one and a lot of marine surveyors have them too, so they are readily available.
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Old 02-03-2012, 13:41   #11
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Re: Why we dont leave our boat plugged in

Quote:
Originally Posted by S/V Alchemy View Post
May I ask where you got that meter?

I have a steel boat...you can figure out why I'm asking.
I believe any good quality digital meter will work.

http://assets.fluke.com/appnotes/ele...r/B0269b_u.pdf
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Old 02-03-2012, 14:27   #12
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Re: Why We Don't Leave Our Boat Plugged In

If anyone has a steel boat with corrosion problems may I suggest that you buy at least 2 very large zinc anodes and suspend them overboard by a stainless steel wire,bolt them to a stanchion or lifting eye and ensure there's a good electrical connection.
This will protect your fixed anodes and stop the metal dezinctifying.
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Old 02-03-2012, 15:23   #13
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Re: Why we dont leave our boat plugged in

Quote:
Originally Posted by DotDun View Post
I believe any good quality digital meter will work.

http://assets.fluke.com/appnotes/ele...r/B0269b_u.pdf
Nice! Thanks
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Old 03-03-2012, 23:13   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DotDun

I believe any good quality digital meter will work.

http://assets.fluke.com/appnotes/ele...r/B0269b_u.pdf
Any idea where I can get a Reference electrode ?
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Old 03-03-2012, 23:37   #15
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Re: Why We Don't Leave Our Boat Plugged In

I have heard that boats with copper sheathing copper bottom paint cause all kinds of increased electrolysis for all the other boats in the marina's,,is there any truth to this???
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