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andrewalexander 01-26-2013 12:46 AM

Battery Charger AC Wiring Question
I am installing a new battery charger (Guest Intelligent Charger) on the boat (Irwin 25). The new charger has an AC Plug and the instructions recommend plugging into an AC receptacle protected by a GFCI breaker. Is there any good reason or regulation, ABYC or other rules that would preclude me from removing the AC plug from the charger and terminating those wires directly to a dedicated breaker in my AC distribution panel. The bulkhead where I am locating the new charger does not have a whole lot of room and I can save wiring real estate if I do not install an outlet. The run from the new charger to the AC distribution panel is no more than 2. Thanks in advance for any responses.


marcusc130 01-26-2013 10:25 AM

Battery Charger AC Wiring Question
That will definitely void the warranty. You could make an extension with a female plug end that would connect to the breaker panel.

chucklesR 01-26-2013 11:12 AM

Re: Battery Charger AC Wiring Question
Find the real estate and wire a GFCI outlet.
# 1 cause of boat fires is owner wiring not being up to standards.

hellosailor 01-27-2013 03:20 PM

Re: Battery Charger AC Wiring Question
Rules and regulations? No, feel free to hack away. Although if your boat is insured and your hack results in a fire, they may walk away from you because the job is not "up to code".

Look, your charger is saying it is UNSAFE unless it is plugged into a GFI protected source. A GFI is basically a $10 device. If your life is worth ten bucks, go find one and install one. The correct way to do that is to install it as close as possible to the AC inlet on your boat (if you have shore power connection). If you've got no shore power, wire one up at your breaker panel. Whether you buy a GFI-protected outlet, or a short power cord with a GFI in it, or a "box" with a is cheap protection.

On moving the generator output from the genset to the breaker panel? I can't see the point in hardwiring it unless, really, spending ten bucks is such anathema to you. Leave the genset alone, leave the warranty alone, leave the genset able to be used off the boat if you had to. Like marc said, buy a two-dollar male plug, wire it up to your AC breaker panel as the *sole* input, and plug it into the genset. You've got more options that way and you've only spent two bucks to do it.

In which case the GFI will have to be in the AC panel, and your charger will have to be plugged into that as well?

andrewalexander 01-27-2013 09:36 PM

Re: Battery Charger AC Wiring Question
Marcus/Chuckles....thanks for the suggestions!

Hellosailor...unless someone can reference a code....I am hacking away thank you very much :rolleyes:


hellosailor 01-27-2013 11:29 PM

Re: Battery Charger AC Wiring Question
Andrew, the ABYC code calls for a GFI within ten feet of the shore power connection. But as I said--there's no code that binds YOU as a recreational boat owner. ABYC binds builders. Now, if your insurance policy has any language about how modifications have to be made, it might reference ABYC or other codes. And since the charger says it should be plugged into a GFI protected source, again, if you don't do that you are violating the manufacturer's installation instructions, so you are placing yourself at risk. From your insurer, or from a general negligence suit if someone else gets zapped by it.

Tossing the safety warnings and "best practice" recommendations in order to save ten bucks? Feeedom of choice. Having been shocked by 120VAC, I'd spend the ten bucks or do without AC onboard. I don't care about "code" per se but I've learned it often reflects a lot of experience with accident and safety issues.

Wait till you come to grounding your AC equipment, and the questions of what to do with neutral versus ground.

SimonV 01-28-2013 03:52 AM

Re: Battery Charger AC Wiring Question
I cut the plug and wired direct to the circuit breaker, make sure you have a GFI at the first point of boat AC.

Minnewaska 01-28-2013 05:51 AM

Re: Battery Charger AC Wiring Question
Do you know why the manufacturer recommends plugging directly into a GFCI receptacle?

The last boat fire I know of here in RI was about three months ago. Word is, it was caused by faulty electrical work, as most boat fires are (55%). The fire took out the three boats around it as well.

boatpoker 01-28-2013 08:26 AM

Re: Battery Charger AC Wiring Question
Food for thought ....
Some Irwin 25's were made with Atomic 4 gasoline engines. The battery charger you reference does not appear to be "ignition protected".

If your boat has a gas inboard you cannot install a non-ignition protected battery charger or an AC outlet in The same compartment as the engine or gas tank.

R.Jones 01-29-2013 11:01 AM

Re: Battery Charger AC Wiring Question
The GFI is to protect you! Install it and make sure you also ground the charger case. I find more chargers not case grounded during surveys. The issue is if the charger shorts in the case and is not grouinded you will get zapped. Remember not to install the charger over the batterries as this will destroy the charger with fumes.

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