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Re: Battery drained

Posted: Tue Jul 09, 2024 6:52 am
by Be Free
green wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 5:46 am
NiceAft wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 7:31 pm Maybe this?

https://a.co/d/05Bb8xgY
Ouch, that's expensive. I feel like I'm going to go down a rabbit hole here, but if I need to make an expensive fix, should I give thought to a system that can accommodate solar one day if I want to add? Or is this fix independent from any solar plans I might have in the future?
It's expensive because it replaces everything except your shore power connector and your shore power cord. It is a good version of what you probably should be working toward. It's a significantly newer version of what I have with a few extra features.

I don't think you need to take a future solar setup into consideration as far as your shore power is concerned.

Re: Battery drained

Posted: Tue Jul 09, 2024 7:17 am
by NiceAft
Search for a better deal.
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Re: Battery drained

Posted: Tue Jul 09, 2024 7:23 am
by Be Free
Russ wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 5:48 am
green wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 7:23 pm Thanks Bill and others.

Is this the type of breaker I need? x4
https://a.co/d/0eLrlfXD

15a? 20a?

I’m going to have someone do an engine tune up, so I can add this replacement project to the list.
Well, that's the breaker. However, you will probably need something to mount it in.

This might be similar to what you have in a a marine version.

https://www.amazon.com/Haoguo-Circuit-P ... B0BL2FRX2T
This would address the most serious part of your electrical issues. This is a "main" breaker that will protect the line and the neutral coming in on your shore power cable. It will also warn of a line/neutral reversal upstream of your cable. You could start with this (or one like it) and then add a 2-circuit branch panel later. Something like this: https://www.amazon.com/Traditional-Meta ... 60&sr=8-15

Your branch circuits only need a breaker on the line side if they are fed by a main that is protecting both line and neutral.

Another option would be this system that will replace everything in your existing panel at a reasonable cost and give you an extra circuit to boot. There are lots of similar options out there.

https://www.amazon.com/Traditional-Meta ... 60&sr=8-35

Re: Battery drained

Posted: Tue Jul 09, 2024 7:34 am
by Be Free
I may be opening up a new can of worms here, but are you using a proper shore power inlet and cord?

Something similar to this:

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and this:


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Re: Battery drained

Posted: Tue Jul 09, 2024 9:49 am
by Russ
Be Free wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 7:23 am
Another option would be this system that will replace everything in your existing panel at a reasonable cost and give you an extra circuit to boot. There are lots of similar options out there.

https://www.amazon.com/Traditional-Meta ... 60&sr=8-35
That is certainly a lot more reasonable than the $750 model.

Shore power can be used for several things. If I had outlets, a refrigerator, battery charger, etc. I would probably do multiple breakers and separate the circuits with a similar panel like the one above.

The OP (Green) did not explain his shore power needs and/or existing setup. The fact that a residential breaker was installed gives me great pause.

I've seen very simple shore power with ONE outlet and ONE breaker. Captain plugs stuff into that single outlet so only one circuit is really necessary.
I have an A/C battery charger with a simple plug on one end that I plug into an extension cord while at home. That's all I need for shore power. If I used it in my slip, I would surely use proper shore cords, breakers etc.

Re: Battery drained

Posted: Tue Jul 09, 2024 12:16 pm
by NiceAft
Do you see the difference between the two?

Not $750, but rather $422. Maybe better if you shop around.
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$208. Obviously the better deal.
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The second one is what has been in my Mac for twenty years.

Re: Battery drained

Posted: Tue Jul 09, 2024 2:16 pm
by dlandersson
So option 3 might be midnight boat parts supply? :)
NiceAft wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 12:16 pm Do you see the difference between the two?

Not $750, but rather $422. Maybe better if you shop around.

$208. Obviously the better deal.

The second one is what has been in my Mac for twenty years.

Re: Battery drained

Posted: Tue Jul 09, 2024 2:39 pm
by Be Free
The main difference in the two is that the first one has an ELCI main breaker. The breaker in that panel costs more, by itself, than the entire second panel with a 30A main and three branch circuits.

Re: Battery drained

Posted: Tue Jul 09, 2024 2:48 pm
by green
Be Free wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 2:39 pm The main difference in the two is that the first one has an ELCI main breaker. The breaker in that panel costs more, by itself, than the entire second panel with a 30A main and three branch circuits.
If it ever cools off tonight I’m going to get in there and trace all of the wires to be able to better understand and better describe the setup.

I came across the ELCI breaker in researching a few of the units recommended. Is this needed in all cases? I’ve read a few references to distance from shore power input to the breaker as being a key factor.

Re: Battery drained

Posted: Tue Jul 09, 2024 5:53 pm
by OverEasy
Hi Green

Look, I understand that this is a forum of people that like to do things themselves on thier own boats to suit their own objectives.
I get that. But at the same time as someone with a professional background in actual design and production and technology there have been several aspects in this posting that have me concerned. This isn’t something to play at.

There are a couple things in life not to mess with if you don’t actually know what you are doing…AC electrical power is one of those!
If you are not knowledgeable about AC power circuits please don’t go screwing around with them.
***** Get a properly knowledgeable person to help you *****
You only get one go round in this life and foolishly mucking about with AC power is one primary way of shortening it for yourself and others.
I honestly want the best for you… a long, happy and enjoyable life.

AC electrical power circuits isn’t a learn as you go … virtually all the codes and standards for AC electrical are borne from injury or worse.

Several here have alluded to some of the hazards but it’s fairly obvious that what was described at the bringing of this thread was a fairly basic lack of understanding of fundamental electrical (particularly AC power) knowledge… both by the previous owner and yourself. That’s not a criticism, it is by your own admission which is to your credit.

Might I suggest that you take a simplified approach to start resolving your battery charging issue?

> START by making sure the pedestal power is turned OFF. I’d suggest disconnecting the batteries from the boat DC electrical system at this point as a precaution until you are able to charge up each battery individually. Check to see if the batteries are serviceable to carefully top up the fluids in the battery cells (CAUTION: This is sulphuric acid within the battery…use nitrile gloves and eye protection) with distilled water (if that is possible). If you can’t then you can’t.

> THEN move forward with a simple 10 or 12 gauge three wire HEAVY DUTY extension cord to run from your slip power pedestal over to and into your boat with plenty of slack. You may need to obtain a proper plug adapter to connect your extension cord to the pedestal outlet. Route the extension cord so there is NO POSSIBLE WAY for the cord to get into the water. Tie it to the pedestal, Dock cleats or your boat as required. Allow for slack so no portion of the extension cord or plug is being pulled as the boat floats or is moved about by wind or wave. Secure the female end inside the boat so the companionway can close without pinching the extension cord. Allow for a drip loop on both the outside and inside so that rain or spray will not ever get any where near the plug end. Do not have the plug end on the floor of the boat interior or where water could possibly collect.

> NEXT get a valid battery charger, it doesn’t need to be fancy but it should automatic with output good cables and clamps to fit to your battery(s) terminals, and connect the charging cables to the appropriate battery terminals of one battery. Plug in the charger AC power cable to the extension cord.

> FINALLY go back to the pedestal and turn on the breaker there for the outlet you are using. Then back to the boat to check that the charger is working. A 3 amp setting should charge up a reasonably good battery. Allow the charger to run overnight on one battery at a time. The next day when you return to check TURN OFF the AC power at the pedestal breaker. Then remove the cables from the first battery. Check the battery voltage the next day with a multimeter. If the battery isn’t charged at that point you can be reasonably sure that battery is bad and should be replaced.
Repeat the process for the second battery…Connect the charger clamps to the proper battery… Turn on the pedestal AC power breaker … Check the charger is working … Let charge at 3 amps overnight … Come back the next day, turn off the pedestal AC power breaker, remove clamps, check with multimeter to see if it charged… if not then the battery is probably bad and needs to be replaced.

That should provide you with the means to charge and check your batteries. Once you have good charged batteries (or replacements) reconnect you boat DC electrical cables the same way you disconnected them… at least for the time being….

Now, given the apparent state of the boat AC wiring as presented it is fair to say that it is suspect and should be properly evaluated by a knowledgeable electrical person, (ie: an Electrician if possible). You may be needing to replace it with a valid system.

You might be well advised to take a serious look at your DC electrical system as well to see if it is adequate. A power fuse or breaker that addresses each battery, an appropriately rated switch and fuse (or breaker) for each sub circuit… valid wire gauges and types…etc…

Also now is a good time to check that you have a valid marine grade US Coast Guard approved fire extinguisher on board and readily available as well as the other required safety equipment. There is a small vessel list and helpful information available on the US Coast Guard website .

For what it’s worth….

Best Regards,
Over Easy 😎😎🐩🐈

Re: Battery drained

Posted: Wed Jul 10, 2024 8:20 am
by Be Free
green wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 2:48 pm If it ever cools off tonight I’m going to get in there and trace all of the wires to be able to better understand and better describe the setup.

I came across the ELCI breaker in researching a few of the units recommended. Is this needed in all cases? I’ve read a few references to distance from shore power input to the breaker as being a key factor.
Second question first: ELCI is not required for anything other than new boats and even then it is only required to the extent that the manufacturer wants the "blessing" of the ABYC standards.

The ELCI is similar to the air bag in your car in that if you never get into an accident then the air bag was not actually needed and if there is an accident then it could be the difference between life and death.

The ELCI will trip if there is any imbalance in the current on the load and the neutral wires. That imbalance means that there is current flowing somewhere it is not supposed to be flowing. That may mean someone in the boat gets something between a tingle and a shock when touching the energized surface. This is the same risk that you face in your home under the same conditions.

Boats introduce a complication to the problem that does not exist on land. On land a leakage that goes to ground will either trip the GFCI or will likely never be noticed. On a boat, the identical fault can allow the leakage into the water and that may mean that a nearby swimmer could be paralyzed and drown.

Our boats are made of a non-conductive material. The only metal on our boat that touches the water is the outboard. The outboard should not be connected to the AC electrical circuits at all so there should not be a path to the water. Absent inexcusable mistakes (such as AC wires lying in water in the bilge), the only path I can think of for this to happen would be through a failure in the battery charger that connected the DC ground to the AC ground or neutral in the charger. I believe that using a GFCI outlet (or breaker) for the charger would cover this.

Whether or not it is needed is a risk assessment that only you can make.

Re: Battery drained

Posted: Wed Jul 10, 2024 8:51 am
by green
I traced the wiring today and can report back with additional details. Thanks to everyone for your patience and helpful ideas. What started as a dead battery is now an opportunity to correct some preexisting flaws. I don’t intend to do the work myself, but I do think it’s important to understand the setup better.

Here is the converter charger. The wires coming out have marine grade 2 stamped.

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The unit is mounted in the head, and the wires run to the bench at the chart table. One wire continues aft, I assume to the shore power connection on the stern. The other continues to the positive terminal on the battery sitting on the right.

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Here’s the switch also mounted under the seat at the chart table. The thickest line (blue) runs to the positive terminal on the left battery. The top line runs to the positive terminal on the right battery.

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I have a proper shore power yellow cable and I also have this adapter

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Editing to add a bit about my use case:

I don’t think I’ve ever used shore power other than to (I thought) charge the battery. The boat now lives in a slip with shore power, and I have shore power at the summer dock we visit.

I have outlets and could add an ac unit, but I have never used the outlets or ac on shore power. I don’t have plans to run a fridge/ac, but I don’t want to eliminate the option.

Re: Battery drained

Posted: Wed Jul 10, 2024 11:56 am
by Russ
It's hard to see, but I don't see fuses on those battery terminals. The charger should be fused close to the batteries.

Have you been able to see how the charger gets A/C power? It looks like the PO did some things well (marine grade wires).

Do the outlets get power?

Re: Battery drained

Posted: Wed Jul 10, 2024 6:46 pm
by green
Learned a few more things tonight.

1. Connected to shore power and verified outlets work

2. With the switch in the off position the converter/charger reads 0. With the switch in the on position it hovers around 20.

I’ll repeat tomorrow and see if the battery is able to take a charge. If so, the original post might be resolved.

That would leave me with the upgrade I need to make to the system to switch from a residential to a marine panel.

To answer the previous question about fuses, no, the wire is just on the bolt.

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Re: Battery drained

Posted: Wed Jul 10, 2024 8:45 pm
by OverEasy
Hi Be Free!

Great description of the ELCI!
The ELCI is similar to the air bag in your car in that if you never get into an accident then the air bag was not actually needed and if there is an accident then it could be the difference between life and death.
Best Regards,
Over Easy 😎😎🐩🐈