Circut Breakers

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Circut Breakers

Postby Batistick » Thu Aug 15, 2019 9:13 am

I have a 1985 GB42 that is having problems hooking up to 50 amp power in relative new marinas. I play the game of changing power cords, turning breakers on and off and finally get a connection. I am looking at several alternatives including the "nuclear" option, going with an isolation transformer. One alternative is to wholesale replace my breakers (original) with new breakers. I have contacted GB in Stuart but have not yet received a reply. Two questions; does anyone have a source for "vintage" GB breakers, and, does anyone have any ideas as to how to solve my problem without costing me my left lung.
Alternatively, I may hire a marine electrician to wring out any ground/neutral abnormalities in my system. Over the years many people have upgraded pieces of my system, and perhaps it is time for a end to end look-see.

Any coments?
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Re: Circut Breakers

Postby Cilibraise » Thu Aug 15, 2019 10:11 am

why do you think replacing the circuit breakers on the boat will solve the problem?
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Re: Circut Breakers

Postby gsholz » Thu Aug 15, 2019 10:14 am

Replacing your breakers won't fix your current leakage problem. You can install an ELCI on your boat but it too will trip until you fix the leakage issue on your boat. You can try to find the device that "leaks" by turning off all breakers and then turning them on, one at a time. E.g., with everything off on board, turn on shore power pedestal breaker. If the shore power breaker trips due to ground fault, you have a shore power cable issue or an issue in the boat wiring up to the main breaker on board. Then turn on your shore power breaker on the boat, then individual breakers. This should allow you to narrow down where your faulty device is.
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Re: Circut Breakers

Postby Tom H » Thu Aug 15, 2019 1:29 pm

Had same problem on my '76. I would not trip the pedestal breaker if I kept certain onboard breakers in the off position. Very inconvenient. Turned out the problem was loose connections on my ground bar. Had large number of stacked wires so replaced existing ground bar and added another. Cleaned connectors and the problem went away.
Best regards
Tom Hansen
1976 42' GBC #482
"Schatzi"
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Re: Circut Breakers

Postby Batistick » Fri Aug 16, 2019 9:54 am

Why did I think that replacing circuit breakers? No good reason except well wishing dockside friends. I will definitely start my trouble shooting with the ideal presented above. And looking for other leads from the boaters on this site. Thanks all. Jim
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Re: Circut Breakers

Postby gsholz » Fri Aug 16, 2019 11:14 am

The shore side ground fault breaker for 240V/50A is simply looking for all the current in the hot leads to either return on the neutral or the other hot lead and not "leak" to the ground wire or into the water. That means your neutral cannot be connected to ground while on shore power. Now, when on generator or inverter power, the neutral needs to be connected to ground. This can cause issues if not wired correctly.

The inverter is another potential issue. It takes the inverter a few milliseconds to determine that there is shore power available and disconnect its neutral to ground relay. Sometimes that is sufficient to trip the shore ground fault. If that is the case turn off the inverter before connecting to shore power.

Another potential issue is your reverse polarity indicator. It is connected to both neutral and ground and contributes to leakage but usually just a few milliamps not sufficient to trip the ground fault.
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Re: Circut Breakers

Postby FrugalWife » Sun Aug 18, 2019 11:08 am

GSHOLZ has hit the most common shore power fault - common & ground connected somewhere on the boat. Older boat, lots of electrical changes, maybe an inverter added and a new ground buss not added, etc. etc. I'd spend the money on a marine electrician - over the long haul it's probably a cheaper option.
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Re: Circut Breakers

Postby dstong » Sun Aug 18, 2019 11:28 pm

I literally had the exact same problem on my 1985 GB Motoryacht when we would stay at a brand new marina up in Newport Beach CA. I didn't really know what to do...tried different cords, different shore outlets, different order of plugging in, turning on, everything!!! Almost as an afterthought, I had a simple Home Depot outlet tester that tells you if each outlet is wired correctly or not - I believe the issue referenced directly above. Of all the outlets on my boat, I had one that needed to be "fixed"...simple swapping of two wires. Next time at the new marina I had no problem - NONE! I believe this was the problem. Check it out maybe you will get lucky as I did.

Good luck.

Dave
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