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Old 31-07-2021, 11:35   #1
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GFI failure rate on boats

We've had two GFIs fail on our boat, each GFI was less than one year old.

The failures happened months apart and on different circuits.

There were no other electrical failures on the boat in this time period.

Sometimes a GFIs would switch off sometime between switching off shore power and later switching onto generator power. It would require a reset but this doesn't surprise me.

How often have you had to replace GFIs on your boat? Thank you.
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Old 31-07-2021, 12:08   #2
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Re: GFI failure rate on boats

While 2 in short succession suggests you should be checking grounding verses neutral and bonding the fact that you plug into shore power without a major fault would indicate that the plugs may be the culprit.
There is no real marine gfi simply repackaged residential grade outlets.
A half step better is a MR rated outlet *stamped on face) full step is industrial/hospital quality (green dot on face).
Also switching the shore/genset switch with a load on the circuit can be enough interruption to trip the gfi.
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Old 31-07-2021, 12:13   #3
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Re: GFI failure rate on boats

What Causes GFCI Receptacles to Go Bad?
https://www.fluke.com/en-ca/learn/bl...ected-circuits
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Old 31-07-2021, 12:53   #4
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Re: GFI failure rate on boats

Quote:
Originally Posted by vpbarkley View Post
We've had two GFIs fail on our boat, each GFI was less than one year old.
How did they fail? Or what are they doing that leads you to say they failed?
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Old 31-07-2021, 21:51   #5
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Re: GFI failure rate on boats

I,ve seen a couple bad ones out of 1000’s of boats...

Very rare.
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Old 01-08-2021, 08:36   #6
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Re: GFI failure rate on boats

Average GFCIs are notoriously unreliable. In over thirty years of installing those mostly in houses and a few on boats I have replaced dozens. the units I replaced were faulty as merely replacing them fixed what at first glance seemed like a ground fault. The new units did not trip. There was reference to higher quality units in a post above but I have never encountered those at the electrical equipment supliers.
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Old 01-08-2021, 08:59   #7
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Re: GFI failure rate on boats

As a Brit, I'm not familiar with the term 'GFI' or 'GFCI', could someone enlighten me, please?
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Old 01-08-2021, 09:20   #8
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Re: GFI failure rate on boats

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As a Brit, I'm not familiar with the term 'GFI' or 'GFCI', could someone enlighten me, please?

You lot call 'em RCD's ! They are Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters.
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Old 01-08-2021, 09:25   #9
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Re: GFI failure rate on boats

Consider using GFCI rated for outdoor use since basically a boat is a very wet and humid place:



https://www.homelectrical.com/which-...d-where.6.html
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Old 01-08-2021, 09:26   #10
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Re: GFI failure rate on boats

Aah, a reverse current detector (RCD).. Thanks :-)
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Old 01-08-2021, 09:32   #11
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Re: GFI failure rate on boats

GFI is the acronym for ground fault interrupter. Operationally it is a safety device that trips very quickly if it measures a ground current.

GFIs are usually integrated into an electrical outlet. There is a test and a reset button. Some have a tiny light indicating that the GFI has tripped.

If a GFI unit cannot be reset this is an indication that the unit has failed.
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Old 01-08-2021, 09:39   #12
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Re: GFI failure rate on boats

I have replaced RCD on or boat only to find indeed there was a shorted heating element in the hot water heater. So my suggestion would be to carefully checked your AC circuits one at a time to see if one of them trips the GFCI.
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Old 01-08-2021, 13:24   #13
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Re: GFI failure rate on boats

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martkimwat View Post
Aah, a reverse current detector (RCD).. Thanks :-)

No, it is a Residual Current Detector
Residual current is current that flows in the Line but not in the Neutral conductor as it leaks to ground elsewhere.
RCD units in Europe and UK are rated to trip at 30mA phase to neutral imbalance.
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Old 01-08-2021, 16:16   #14
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Re: GFI failure rate on boats

Its not clear, are you talking about GFI breakers in your main switch panel or GFI outlets around the boat. GFI breakers in the main panel boxes are BS on your boat and BS in the new houses where the required by the building codes.

I have four off-the-shelf GFI AC outlets in my boat and have had one failure in twenty plus years. The first new rental house I built under the new code had failures within the first two months. I ripped them out of the main panel and replaced the outlets with off-the-shelf hardware store GFI outlets which were still working fine five years later when I sold the property.

Not everything in the new, cool, regulated and woke world works.
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Old 01-08-2021, 16:18   #15
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Re: GFI failure rate on boats

Quote:
Originally Posted by foufou View Post
Average GFCIs are notoriously unreliable. In over thirty years of installing those mostly in houses and a few on boats I have replaced dozens. the units I replaced were faulty as merely replacing them fixed what at first glance seemed like a ground fault. The new units did not trip. There was reference to higher quality units in a post above but I have never encountered those at the electrical equipment supliers.
I've had even worse luck with the combined arc/ground fault breakers, they're like 50/50 within a year out of a dozen I've installed. Put a new one in and the fault goes away, so definitely a bad breaker.
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