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Old 28-07-2020, 16:46   #31
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Re: Electrical Fire - Seeking Help Please

Thanks Jayh,

The 2 wires that were charred were the lone black wire running to engine ground and red wire running to B2 post on switch. This wire was bundled with and burned others.

The pictures and video of mounted charger were taken immediately after clearing the locker.

I did not touch wires on charger after it was removed.

I still have the bag of cut / burnt wires and will try to get a better idea of the original connections.

It could very well be possible that one of the wires had loosened over time and became disconnected and caused the short. Thank you for that.
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Originally Posted by JayH View Post
I missed the fact that there were two red wires and one black going to the charger. I looked at the charger manual and realized that the black had been removed before the picture was taken and that the scorched wire still connected to the charger was one of the reds.

The wire hanging down to the left of the charger must be the black. What does that end look like?

The black terminal in the charger looks clean. The wire was removed and the nut and lock washer were carefully placed back on the terminal without any mention that it had been done, which I find strange. Andy, did you do that?

I agree with Lake-Effect that there should be more damage inside the charger if it were the cause of the short.

Is it possible that the black wire had been removed from the post prior to the incident and left floating inside the charger? Then while the boat was underway it came in contact with the left red terminal and created the dead short at that burned terminal?
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Old 28-07-2020, 16:55   #32
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Re: Electrical Fire - Seeking Help Please

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Fusing, fusing, fusing. If there is a short, and wire starts on fire, then there should have been a fuse somewhere protecting it.
Those multiple output chargers normally have a fuse on the negative ! Can't see one anywhere !
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Old 28-07-2020, 16:57   #33
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Re: Electrical Fire - Seeking Help Please

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Originally Posted by APWTryfan View Post
Thanks Jayh,

The 2 wires that were charred were the lone black wire running to engine ground and red wire running to B2 post on switch. This wire was bundled with and burned others.

The pictures and video of mounted charger were taken immediately after clearing the locker.

I did not touch wires on charger after it was removed.

I still have the bag of cut / burnt wires and will try to get a better idea of the original connections.

It could very well be possible that one of the wires had loosened over time and became disconnected and caused the short. Thank you for that.
Okay! I think the source of the problem is identified then. There is no black wire connected to the charger and you didn't remove it. The negative post has the nut and lock washer on it. I think the negative wasn't on the terminal at all. Maybe it was resting against it allowing the charger to work, or maybe it was on top of the nut and vibrated off. In either case, that black wire moved and came in contact with the burned red terminal. The charger itself did not fault, but the short occurred right there at the terminal. The heat from the short caused the damage we see to the charger. Eventually the black wire fell away from the terminal and broke the short. Thankfully before starting a serious fire.
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Old 28-07-2020, 17:04   #34
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Re: Electrical Fire - Seeking Help Please

Just for future safety, a Blue Seas MRBF on each bank is a good plan, I have one on my house and my engine bank, easy to fit.
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Old 28-07-2020, 17:13   #35
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Re: Electrical Fire - Seeking Help Please

I'll jump on the bandwagon and say I didn't see any fuses in the photos nor in the circuit diagram. Also remember that some conductors need fusing at both ends as both can be current sources (eg a line from a battery to inverter/charger.

I'd also note that you seem to have cables of various voltages and polarities bundled together under P and U saddles so over heated cables may have shorted together at these constructions and become secondary incidents. I certainly wouldn't recommend having unprotected cables tied to bare copper refrigeration lines. I dont think it's a coincidence that you seem to have had numerous hot or even shorter cables at the clamp points.

Best wishes for your repairs and it's good to hear no one was injured

Take care
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Old 28-07-2020, 17:32   #36
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Re: Electrical Fire - Seeking Help Please

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So I finally looked at your excellent pix. The fact that right at the charger it was the charger's black wire that melted, not the red, suggests to me that there's no short - and possibly nothing wrong - in the charger.

Look more closely. The charger is one that has two DC outputs so that it can charge two battery banks, and is so connected. One of the red wires is still more or less intact. The other, and the black wire, burned.
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Old 28-07-2020, 17:39   #37
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Re: Electrical Fire - Seeking Help Please

Thanks to the OP for a good post. We all learn from these.
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Old 28-07-2020, 18:47   #38
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Re: Electrical Fire - Seeking Help Please

I know you know but I will say this aloud so that someone one day does not get caught in the booby trap:


The one that melted away - it may / (often will) be the one that was ... INNOCENT (unless proven guilty). It is simply that this particular wire got plenty of Amps while at the same time it had least diameter. This is to say, a short will melt the thinnest cable in the circuit, which is not necessarily the one that shorted the circuit.



The situation gets twice more difficult to judge when the burning one runs in a loom - as it may and (often will) burn thru adjacent wires which in turn may short and create a secondary mess ...


So it is very very important to look at the big picture and find (when possible) to find the short.


Except that it is very difficult task - because the melted mess may (and often will) hide the original source of the short.


I know you know, I am just saying this aloud.


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Old 28-07-2020, 19:46   #39
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Re: Electrical Fire - Seeking Help Please

Hi, thankfully everyone safe. Good advice above. I agree it’s very difficult to determine exactly what transpired, in part, because of so few fuses.
I did notice in prior years you charged from the dock. I’ve seen a case very similar...one ac charging source used routinely, the a switch to solar.
No fire, but the inverter / charger quit charging yet the inverter function worked.
Found a burned connector with several possible causes. The best guess ? Lightning. No evidence of any other damage but it’s an aluminum boat.
This vessel remained on solar for weeks at a time . The two ac chargers ran off the generator plus the inverter charger function. The lightning damage remained undetected. The solar was keeping up the battery banks. The connection that got hot enough to melt plastic inside the inverter (an Outback) did not set off any detectors and was tight, clean and properly wired. Well...I shall not divert into the subject of lightning protectors or on how to protect 220 neutrals. My point is simply that some...undetected...damage could have been present when you were charging from an ac source. Dock surge or lightning. Maybe simply vibration or ...standby...a mouse!
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Old 28-07-2020, 19:52   #40
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Re: Electrical Fire - Seeking Help Please

Proper design and circuit protection and there will be no burned conductors when something goes south. There may be no electricity (different issue), but no fire and the yacht still floating. "If there is water under my keel, I have options".


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Old 28-07-2020, 23:14   #41
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Re: Electrical Fire - Seeking Help Please

if the only wires melted are the charger wires. either the charger wires shorted againest each other, or the charger failed inside. most chargers have internal fuses that might stop that though. if the charger wires shorted against each other you likly wouldn't have damage in the charger. only between the battery swtich and point of wire contact.

the charger lines need to be fused at the battery ends. the acr really should be as well. and the solar wire at the battery. and the wire leaving the swtich to the panel.

the starter wire does not need to be, but I still would,


having the charger wires fused would have prevented the fire, and you'd just have to buy a new charger and new fuse.

there is no need to fuse at the charger end. the charger is self limiting.
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Old 28-07-2020, 23:51   #42
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Re: Electrical Fire - Seeking Help Please

Had an electrical fire myself a while back. Multiple circuits involved. Once the insulation had burned off the proximal cause conductors they melted through other circuits insulation and shorted them and they started to burn.

I see your responses are:

"My current priorities…
Fully understand what happened and how to prevent again
Salvage what is left of our holiday (we were 2 days into a 2-week trip)
Share experience with others to hopefully help prevent this from happening to others

What I have done and intend to do…
Identified and removed all wires and cleaned up the mess
Rewire the refrigeration
Replace other compromised wires (not overly significant as far as I can tell)
Never run with solar panels plugged in again"

For my part I am going to become the mad "fuser" and fuse every wire connected to a high current source.
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Old 29-07-2020, 08:52   #43
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Re: Electrical Fire - Seeking Help Please

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Originally Posted by RaymondR View Post
Had an electrical fire myself a while back. Multiple circuits involved. Once the insulation had burned off the proximal cause conductors they melted through other circuits insulation and shorted them and they started to burn.

I see your responses are:

"My current priorities…
Fully understand what happened and how to prevent again
Salvage what is left of our holiday (we were 2 days into a 2-week trip)
Share experience with others to hopefully help prevent this from happening to others

What I have done and intend to do…
Identified and removed all wires and cleaned up the mess
Rewire the refrigeration
Replace other compromised wires (not overly significant as far as I can tell)
Never run with solar panels plugged in again"

For my part I am going to become the mad "fuser" and fuse every wire connected to a high current source.
I fully agree in hindsight I should have done full inspection on all electrical after purchase. Not 100 percent sure of the history of the boat but the only system I never fully checked was the shore charger wiring. It seems to be the original wires the way they ran behind the engine to the switch bundled with other system wires - and no fuse. A lesson hard learned believe me - and it sounds as if you could relate. Thank you. I'm still on a mission to salvage the holiday by the way! We were 2 days into a 2 week holiday so I have time.
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Old 29-07-2020, 09:16   #44
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Re: Electrical Fire - Seeking Help Please

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Originally Posted by Thumbs Up View Post
In the second photo it looks like the remains of a metal clip that was used to bundle the battery cables. It looks like that clip chafed through the insulation of both cables and created a dead short.



speaking of wire clips .. plastic would be better than the sharp edged metal. sorry to hear about your problem
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Old 29-07-2020, 10:43   #45
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Re: Electrical Fire - Seeking Help Please

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Okay! I think the source of the problem is identified then. There is no black wire connected to the charger and you didn't remove it. The negative post has the nut and lock washer on it. I think the negative wasn't on the terminal at all. Maybe it was resting against it allowing the charger to work, or maybe it was on top of the nut and vibrated off. In either case, that black wire moved and came in contact with the burned red terminal. The charger itself did not fault, but the short occurred right there at the terminal. The heat from the short caused the damage we see to the charger. Eventually the black wire fell away from the terminal and broke the short. Thankfully before starting a serious fire.

+1 This seems to be what the evidence shows. Did the OP notice any anomalous behavior when using the shore power charger in the past?


Glad the "bullet" was dodged! Knew a boat that was lost due to a short in its pedestal. No fuses at the batteries ☹️
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