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post #1 of 12 Old 10-14-2013 Thread Starter
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Shore power circuits

Hi All,

The good ship has 5 AC wall outlets installed for shore power... all on the same breaker. I have (2) spares on the AC panel. One of those is going to be dedicated microwave. I'm contemplating splitting up the existing 5 outlets into 2 breakers. We can't run the heater and make coffee at the same time.

Secondly... I was pondering a GFI outlet into the AC wiring. Does anyone have one of those, where or why not?

Dave

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post #2 of 12 Old 10-14-2013
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Re: Shore power circuits

According to the National Electrical code you can protect up to 5 receptacles downstream from 1 GFCI receptacle. They make 15 and 20 amp recepts., so just match them up to your breakers. The line side and load side will be marked on the recept.
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post #3 of 12 Old 10-14-2013
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Re: Shore power circuits

ALL outlets on a boat should be GFCI protected.


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post #4 of 12 Old 10-14-2013
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Re: Shore power circuits

I like the dedicated microwave circuit to come from the inverter.that way you can heat old coffee when unplugged. If you have two separate circuits to wall plugs (15 amps each) and blow a breaker It's in the panel. Heater alone probably pulls 15 amps so not much left on that line. Other line can run coffee maker or hot plate etc. but not both If you blow a breaker now it's on the dock at 30 amps?? A few trips out into the rain will train you to be prudent.No charging inverter? Forget my first comment.
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post #5 of 12 Old 10-14-2013
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Re: Shore power circuits

I prefer each outlet to be on its own circuit. That way the only breaker you are likely to blow will be the one on the dock. I have 3 outlets usable plus one dedicated to the microwave and all are GFI's. My other circuits are for the battery charger and a hardwired baseboard heater with thermostat.

I do not understand why even some larger boats often have all the outlets on one or two breakers.

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post #6 of 12 Old 10-15-2013
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Re: Shore power circuits

I'm not clear on the value of separate circuits for each outlet.

Auspicious has port (8 outlets) and starboard (4 outlets) circuits, a water heater circuit, and a battery charger outlet on the main 30A inlet. The A/C 30A inlet has forward and aft A/C unit circuits and an A/C circ pump circuit plus an independent electric heater outlet.

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post #7 of 12 Old 10-15-2013
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Re: Shore power circuits

ABYC "AC and DC Electrical Systems On Boats" Standard E-11 requires any outlet in installed in a head, galley, machinery space or weather deck be a Type A G.F.C.I.

but I agree with eherlihy that all outlets on a boat should be G.F.C.I. protected.

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post #8 of 12 Old 10-15-2013
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Re: Shore power circuits

Quote:
Originally Posted by SVAuspicious View Post
I'm not clear on the value of separate circuits for each outlet.

Auspicious has port (8 outlets) and starboard (4 outlets) circuits, a water heater circuit, and a battery charger outlet on the main 30A inlet. The A/C 30A inlet has forward and aft A/C unit circuits and an A/C circ pump circuit plus an independent electric heater outlet.
Because if you string 3 outlets on a single, 15 amp branch breaker, you can only run a cumulative 15 amps on all of the outlets. That means you can only run a single 1500w heater, and basically the other two outlets are useless because there is no spare capacity on the 15 amp breaker.

I only have 3 outlets on my 30 foot boat, but they are all on separate 15 amp branch circuits, and since they are all individual and not daisy-chained, they are ALL GFCI outlets. This gives me the ability to pull 30 full amps from at least two outlets and not trip the mains breaker.

Caveat:

Please understand that when I say "15 amps" and "30 amps" I'm not including the 20% safety buffer that you're supposed to build into your circuits. You're only supposed to pull 24 continuous amps through your 30 amp mains breaker and 12 continuous amps through a 15 amp branch circuit breaker.

I'm sure that Auspicious knows this, but for readers who are contemplating installing shore power, or new liveaboards, the 20% safety buffer is important to avoid wiring meltdowns that won't trip the circuit breakers. This is referred to as "boiling the frog".

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post #9 of 12 Old 10-15-2013
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Re: Shore power circuits

Quote:
Originally Posted by BubbleheadMd View Post
Because if you string 3 outlets on a single, 15 amp branch breaker, you can only run a cumulative 15 amps on all of the outlets. That means you can only run a single 1500w heater, and basically the other two outlets are useless because there is no spare capacity on the 15 amp breaker.
Sure. You have to do some planning. Ultimately you are limited by the 30A (or 50A on some boats) shore connections.

On my boat the 1200W water heater, 80A battery charger, and TVs are on the port side. Unless the batteries are low from cruising that isn't an issue. If the batteries are low I leave the water heater off until the batteries are close to topped off. On the starboard side the loads are light except in winter when a 1500W radiator runs while plugged in. The A/C 30A feeds either the heat pumps or the extra 1500W radiator.

In the end, absent electric heat the issue is usually enough outlets not enough capacity. If you are running electric heat (or a microwave or a serious tool) you have to manage the total loads. You shouldn't count on breakers to do that for you. Frankly, you shouldn't be counting on the power pylon breaker at all. If you're tripping there you have lots of other issues, most significant being why you aren't tripping aboard.

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post #10 of 12 Old 10-15-2013
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Re: Shore power circuits

IIRC the codes call for one GFI to be installed as close to the dock power inlet as possible. And if you've got more than one GFI daisy-chained in the same lines, they can cause each other to trip out for no real reason. So, one GFI, as close to the dock power as possible, should be the simplest and best solution. IIRC.
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