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Thread: Electrical advice - AC circuits

  1. #11
    Junior Member captrsimon's Avatar
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    There is a difference between residential and boat breakers. it was also covered here before http://www.houseboatmagazine.com/fus...threadid=13464.

  2. #12
    Super Moderator OLD HOUSEBOATER's Avatar
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    On a metal boat I would (for sure) install an isolation transfomer. I had them on my River Queens and Pluckebaum.
    The fries are cold so we gave you extra.

  3. #13
    Member Frantically Relaxing's Avatar
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    Geez, boatlover, you running a machine shop on that boat? Looks like you may have more breakers in that panel than we have running our whole house, and we DO run a machine shop (engraving biz) in our basement!

    Nice setup!
    1988 SkipperLiner 53x14
    1995 Tracker Party Cruiser 32 *for sale*
    2003 Chaparral 260 SSI
    2000 Allegro Bus 40' DP

  4. #14
    Member boatlover's Avatar
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    No Machine shop. LOL Just the work of a Great Builder. Lots of individually protected circuits. Other people on here think this is sub standard because it's not a "marine" panel with "marine" breakers. The difference in a "marine" breaker is the temperature it's calibrated at and no aluminum components. They work they same.

    Funny how we can use household breakers in a exterior panel, mount it outside exposed to rain and snow 24/7/365 and thats OK. But if it's inside the protected interior of a boat on a river or lake then it has to be "Marine". Make's real sense to me.

    Marine Applications
    Circuit breakers can be supplied
    to meet the following marine
    Specifications:
    U.S. Coast Guard CFR 46 ABS
    American Bureau of Shipping
    IEEE 45
    These specifications generally require
    molded case circuit breakers to be
    supplied with 50C ambient calibration,
    special nameplating, and plug-in
    adapter kits. When plug-in adapter kits
    Are used, no terminals need be supplied.
    Circuit breakers can also be supplied
    to meet UL489 Supplement SA
    (Marine Use) and UL489 Supplement
    SB (Naval Use).
    UL489 Supplement SA applies to vessels
    Conductors or terminals.
    over 65 feet in length
    . Requirements
    include 40C ambient calibration, special
    labeling, and no use of aluminum components.
    1991 Pluckebaum 70'
    13' Boston Whaler, 40hp Yamaha
    10' AB rib, 25hp Suzuki (for sale)

  5. #15
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    The difference in a "marine" breaker is the temperature it's calibrated at and no aluminum components. They work they same.
    That ain't necessarily so. Marine breakers are also ignition protected, and tested by UL to a different standard than non-marine. see http://www.mechprod.com/circuit-brea...-ul-standards/ As some one stated you may not need ignition protection as long as the breakers are not in an environment where gas, hydrogen, LPG, or other explosive fumes can accumulate. But it is far better to be safe than sorry.

    The major problem with home panels and marine panels is the environment they are in. Marine panels are specifically built to resist the corrosive marine environment. Also house panels often have a cross connect between the green grounding wire and the white neutral wire. This should never be done on a boat because it introduces shock hazards, and contributes to current being introduced into the water surrounding the boat, which can cause stray current corrosion, and electro-shock drowning.

    I would recommend an isolation or polarization transformer. They essentially do the same thing but some people think one is better than the other. But the main thing is to isolate the boat from the shore. This pretty much eliminates problems with stray current corrosion and shock hazards, as long as the boat is wired correctly on board.

    Yeah, you do seem to have a lot of circuit breakers in that panel. Do your really have that many circuits, or are you planning ahead for future expansion?

    PS: Sorry, Brain fart: Circuit breakers can meet either UL 489 or 1077 but both must meet SAE standard 1171, or UL 1500 to be Listed by UL as "Marine" SAE 1171 and UL 1500 are both standards for Ignition Protection and are also identical to the USCG standard for Ignition Protection in 33 CFR 183.410.
    Last edited by Ike; 02-22-2013 at 02:21 PM. Reason: Added a link

  6. #16
    Member boatlover's Avatar
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    HI Ike

    Quote Originally Posted by Ike View Post
    The major problem with home panels and marine panels is the environment they are in. Marine panels are specifically built to resist the corrosive marine environment.
    What exactly is the Marine environment? My brother in law lives in Cocoa Beach FL one block from the ocean. His electric panel is mounted on the outside of his house. How is this environment really any different from a boat setting 1 block away in the marina. Same salt air and moisture. Should he not have a marine panel also? You have to see the hypocrisy in this.

    Also this is a Houseboat forum and we are talking about houseboats. What percentage of houseboats ever get near the so called corrosive marine environment? Maybe 1/2 of 1 percent. Houseboats are mostly used on the Inland Lakes and Rivers far from the corrosive salt air and if the houseboat is maintained properly there should be very little moisture inside the boat near the panel. If the moisture inside the boat was bad enough to corrode the panel everything else would be green with mold.

    As to ignition protected breakers I have never seen a panel mounted in the ER of a gasoline houseboat. Always in the living area. If we are concerned with IP with it mounted in the living space then should we not have IP light switches, light fixtures, appliances(large and small), Etc. Maybe even a IP laptop so to not blow up the boat while posting. LOL All these things are more prone to give off a spark than a breaker. It is possible to go overboard with the need for all the Marine/IP stuff.

    It is possible to isolate the neutral and ground bars in most panels. IIRC every sub panel is required to be.

    We are in agreement on the isolation transformers. Every metal boat should have them. I have two of them.

    Yeah, you do seem to have a lot of circuit breakers in that panel. Do your really have that many circuits, or are you planning ahead for future expansion?
    Ya lots of circuits. LOL All circuits are active. The boat has very little DC loads. Running lights, bilge pumps and electronics are about all there is. Everything else is AC.
    1991 Pluckebaum 70'
    13' Boston Whaler, 40hp Yamaha
    10' AB rib, 25hp Suzuki (for sale)

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by boatlover View Post
    HI Ike

    As to ignition protected breakers I have never seen a panel mounted in the ER of a gasoline houseboat. Always in the living area. If we are concerned with IP with it mounted in the living space then should we not have IP light switches, light fixtures, appliances(large and small), Etc. Maybe even a IP laptop so to not blow up the boat while posting. LOL All these things are more prone to give off a spark than a breaker. It is possible to go overboard with the need for all the Marine/IP stuff.

    We are in agreement on the isolation transformers. Every metal boat should have them. I have two of them.
    Yes there are ignition protected lights, switches, light fixtures etc. These things should be ignition protected too. Sure you can go overboard (bad pun) LOL. But I have been in safety biz a long time and seen a lot of strange things. A recall of a whole line of houseboats back in 1995 not only cost the manufacturer his company but also took the lives of three people on the one houseboat, out of over 2000, that he missed. He used household panels, just like yours. As I said it's better to be safe than sorry. What's a life worth? I am not saying you have to change that panel, just that you need to be sure it's all wired right. I have also seen boats go boom because of some simple little thing the boat owner thought wasn't important, and figured they could save some bucks on. Electrcial systems are not the system to go cheap on.

    And as far as the "marine environment" goes, if you have water, you have a marine environment, salt or fresh. In fact in some respects fresh is more dangerous than salt, because of the danger of electric currents in the water. Also stray current corrosion is worse in fresh than salt.

    Engine rooms are not the only place explosive gases can accumulate. Engine rooms are notoriously leaky (air, not water). A leak in a fuel fitting can result in a boat full of fumes. And a weak lean mixture is more dangerous than a rich mixture. That's why carbs work better when lean than when rich.

    Fuel fittings are the number one cause of fuel leaks. Back in 78 I investigated a case where a guy was fueling his boat. He did everything by the book. After he finished fueling, and ventilating the boat, he was closing things up and checking the boat. He opened a small locker for rain gear that had a light switch that came on as the door was opened. It blew everything off the boat from the deck up, except him. He was still holding the door handle. Fortunately he was not seriously injured. He had a leak in the fuel fill fitting. The locker was no where near the engine room. An ignition protected switch would have prevented that. But it probably would have blown when he tried to start the engine.

  8. #18
    Junior Member captrsimon's Avatar
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    Also you might want to consider you insurance. If you upgrade and don't use "marine grade" and some thing bad happens will they cover it? It comes down to CYA for me. When I did some rewiring on our new to us HB I went with "marine" stuff just to cover this. Just because you can, doesn't always make it right.

    Our original box was a 2 slot sub-panel with no main breaker. Did it work yes, was it right for the time when it was built, maybe. Is it right for the newer standards, no. So what I put in was this http://www.bluesea.com/products/8467...04%20Positions. I used the 4 circuits for the new runs I was making. 2 for air, 1 for the aft battery charger and 1 for the inverter/charger. The run for the inverter, runs out of new panel to the inverter. Than from the inverter to the old box, out to lights and outlets and frig. I also made sure no neutral (white) and grounds (green) were connected any where.

  9. #19
    Member Frantically Relaxing's Avatar
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    Just to add more irony to the "ignition rated" hubbub-- My entire rear deck consists of 3 steel engine room doors, which rest on steel U-channel supports. I assume it's likely I could create a nice spark just accidentally dropping one of those heavy buggers...
    1988 SkipperLiner 53x14
    1995 Tracker Party Cruiser 32 *for sale*
    2003 Chaparral 260 SSI
    2000 Allegro Bus 40' DP

  10. #20
    Senior Member Stmbtwle's Avatar
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    yep.......
    She's a tired old barge but she's paid for... http://s71.beta.photobucket.com/user...24993.pbw.html

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