Marina Electrical Problems - SailNet Community

   Search Sailnet:

 forums  store  


Quick Menu
Forums           
Articles          
Galleries        
Chat  
Boat Reviews  
Classifieds     
Search SailNet 
Boat Search (new)

Shop the
SailNet Store
Anchor Locker
Boatbuilding & Repair
Charts
Clothing
Electrical
Electronics
Engine
Hatches and Portlights
Interior And Galley
Maintenance
Marine Electronics
Navigation
Other Items
Plumbing and Pumps
Rigging
Safety
Sailing Hardware
Trailer & Watersports
Clearance Items

Advertise Here






Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
 Not a Member? 


Like Tree5Likes
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 09-09-2014
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Mobile, AL
Posts: 28
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
last mango is on a distinguished road
Marina Electrical Problems

The marina which is also our home seems to have above normal electrical problems with their power boxes we connect to. Over the summer a couple of the power boxes have caught fire or over heated to the point of melting the box connections or cords on several boats. Last week one owner just happened to be on his and looked up and saw the box smoking and pulled his cord to find the connector burned and melted on the power cord. Today another boat had the issue where it burned on both ends of the power cord. The marina blames the boats saying they are overloading the cords. The breakers on the dock or boats are not blowing which is the worry. Can see several dock boxes burned. Looking for thoughts on how we decide if this is a marina issue or a boat issue as quite a few have had this issue off and on. Know my boat I'm conscious of not running the AC with hot water heater, microwaves, ladies with the hair dryers and such together. Not sure how to check to see if the dock box is adequate for what it supplies or more fault from the boats. Stayed at other marinas and never saw this many issues. Any thoughts appreciated

thanks
__________________
Another Day
Endeavour 38
Mobile, AL
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #2  
Old 09-10-2014
bgeddes's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 59
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 5
bgeddes is on a distinguished road
Re: Marina Electrical Problems

Loose connections or dissimilar metals not properly treated. Corrosion of the connections is another possibility. Doubtful a marina wide load issue, more likely a connection unable to handle the loads.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #3  
Old 09-10-2014
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: South of Albuquerque
Posts: 455
Thanks: 5
Thanked 17 Times in 15 Posts
Rep Power: 2
desert rat is on a distinguished road
Re: Marina Electrical Problems

how about a temperature sensor at the connector ends?
__________________
Zen is a matter of recognizing reality.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #4  
Old 09-10-2014
Classic30's Avatar
Once known as Hartley18
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 4,622
Thanks: 38
Thanked 55 Times in 55 Posts
Rep Power: 9
Classic30 will become famous soon enough Classic30 will become famous soon enough
Re: Marina Electrical Problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by last mango View Post
The marina which is also our home seems to have above normal electrical problems with their power boxes we connect to. Over the summer a couple of the power boxes have caught fire or over heated to the point of melting the box connections or cords on several boats. Last week one owner just happened to be on his and looked up and saw the box smoking and pulled his cord to find the connector burned and melted on the power cord. Today another boat had the issue where it burned on both ends of the power cord. The marina blames the boats saying they are overloading the cords. The breakers on the dock or boats are not blowing which is the worry. Can see several dock boxes burned. Looking for thoughts on how we decide if this is a marina issue or a boat issue as quite a few have had this issue off and on. Know my boat I'm conscious of not running the AC with hot water heater, microwaves, ladies with the hair dryers and such together. Not sure how to check to see if the dock box is adequate for what it supplies or more fault from the boats. Stayed at other marinas and never saw this many issues. Any thoughts appreciated

thanks
What brand/model power boxes are the marina using? Or are they custom jobs? How old are they (ie. when was the marina built)? Do you have a photo of a burnt one??
  1. It's quite possible it's a loose connection/corrosion issue... but I'd expect that if only one failed - not a few of them, unless
  2. If they're custom-made, they could contain either poor quality electrical gear or gear that is not marine-rated and thus shouldn't be there in the first place.
  3. It could also be a design issue: The people who did the power distribution system design didn't make adequate allowance for earth fault or phase imbalance, meaning high currents in dockside cables and connections that aren't designed for it.
It's highly unlikely to be a 'boat' issue.. it sounds like more of a 'many boats connected at once' (marina) issue to me.
__________________
-
"Honestly, I don't know why seamen persist in getting wrecked in some of the outlandish places they do, when they can do it in a nice place like Fiji." -- John Caldwell, "Desperate Voyage"

Last edited by Classic30; 09-10-2014 at 03:11 AM.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #5  
Old 09-10-2014
SVAuspicious's Avatar
Mermaid Hunter
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: on the boat - Chesapeake
Posts: 3,766
Thanks: 0
Thanked 139 Times in 124 Posts
Rep Power: 9
SVAuspicious will become famous soon enough
Re: Marina Electrical Problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by last mango View Post
The marina which is also our home seems to have above normal electrical problems with their power boxes we connect to. Over the summer a couple of the power boxes have caught fire or over heated to the point of melting the box connections or cords on several boats. Last week one owner just happened to be on his and looked up and saw the box smoking and pulled his cord to find the connector burned and melted on the power cord. Today another boat had the issue where it burned on both ends of the power cord. The marina blames the boats saying they are overloading the cords. The breakers on the dock or boats are not blowing which is the worry. Can see several dock boxes burned. Looking for thoughts on how we decide if this is a marina issue or a boat issue as quite a few have had this issue off and on. Know my boat I'm conscious of not running the AC with hot water heater, microwaves, ladies with the hair dryers and such together. Not sure how to check to see if the dock box is adequate for what it supplies or more fault from the boats. Stayed at other marinas and never saw this many issues. Any thoughts appreciated
A little of this and a little of that most likely.

The 30A twist lock connectors leave a great deal to be desired, especially as oxidation builds up. Oxidation increases resistance which increases heat which leads to scorching of the connectors. This is a very frequent problem with boats that run their A/C a lot.

Add to that the possibility of loose connections inside the power pole and the heat can get rather high, all without blowing any breakers.

As noted above the power distribution systems in many marinas aren't all they could be. Most are wired by electricians who don't frequently deal with the corrosive environment, large temperature swings, and high vibration environment of a marina. Look for signs of overheating inside the power pole. Terminations should be in accordance with NFPA guidelines for marinas.

Boaters don't help. "Hot-plugging" cord sets is tough on them. Breakers on the power pole should be off while plugging in and turned on only after everything is connected. Those spiffy cord covers trap heat in the cord which isn't good.

Marinco advises: "Look for signs of corrosion or overheating. Examine ends of cord set, face of inlet on boat, and receptacle on dock. Look for corrosion, discoloration or melting. If evidence of corrosion or overheating is present, DO NOT USE AFFECTED ITEM. Replace item or seek qualified help."

I suggest reaching out to the marina management in a collaborative fashion and try to get everything - infrastructure, procedures, inspections, and usage - improved.
__________________
sail fast and eat well, dave
S/V Auspicious
AuspiciousWorks.com
beware "cut and paste" sailors.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #6  
Old 09-10-2014
JimMcGee's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Barnegat Bay, NJ
Posts: 1,501
Thanks: 37
Thanked 34 Times in 32 Posts
Rep Power: 10
JimMcGee is on a distinguished road
Re: Marina Electrical Problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by last mango View Post
The marina which is also our home seems to have above normal electrical problems with their power boxes we connect to. Over the summer a couple of the power boxes have caught fire or over heated to the point of melting the box connections or cords on several boats...

...The marina blames the boats...
We had similar problems at our marina after hurricane Sandy submerged the whole marina for several days.

Same thing, the marina blamed the boats, didn't want to spend the money.

Let me ask you this, have you ever seen a fiberglass boat burn? Now imagine trying to get out of your boat, your home, at 4AM while its on fire and burning with the ferocity of a fiberglass fire.

That's the image that kept going through my mind. That's why we moved. It's hard changing marinas. You get attached, you have friends. Now re-read the previous paragraph and decide if it's worth staying. Online threads speculating long distance on what might be the problem are a waste of time.

If you're living in a fire trap common sense says get the hell out.

And if the owners had any shred of moral responsibility there would have been an electrician looking at the problem after the first electrical fire. Their actions tell you everything you need to know.
L124C likes this.
__________________
95 Catalina 30 Island Time

ďOnly two sailors, in my experience, never ran aground. One never left port and the other was an atrocious liar" - Don Bamford
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #7  
Old 09-10-2014
ehmanta's Avatar
Sailing Junkie
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Virginia
Posts: 296
Thanks: 1
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 9
ehmanta is on a distinguished road
Re: Marina Electrical Problems

I'll second what Jim just stated.....get out before disaster strikes. We had a huge marina fire nearby at Colonial Beach, something like 70 boats were lost. Once these fires start, there's not much to stop them, they burn fast and spread fast because of the fuel and fiberglass.

If you're in Alabama, has the marina piers ever been underwater because of a hurricane or other? Salt water will wreak havoc on the electric pedestals.
__________________
"Tortuga's Lie"
Tartan 37-C, #59
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #8  
Old 09-10-2014
Maine Sail's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Maine Coast
Posts: 5,580
Thanks: 13
Thanked 154 Times in 120 Posts
Rep Power: 16
Maine Sail is just really nice Maine Sail is just really nice Maine Sail is just really nice Maine Sail is just really nice
Re: Marina Electrical Problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by last mango View Post
The marina which is also our home seems to have above normal electrical problems with their power boxes we connect to. Over the summer a couple of the power boxes have caught fire or over heated to the point of melting the box connections or cords on several boats. Last week one owner just happened to be on his and looked up and saw the box smoking and pulled his cord to find the connector burned and melted on the power cord. Today another boat had the issue where it burned on both ends of the power cord. The marina blames the boats saying they are overloading the cords. The breakers on the dock or boats are not blowing which is the worry. Can see several dock boxes burned. Looking for thoughts on how we decide if this is a marina issue or a boat issue as quite a few have had this issue off and on. Know my boat I'm conscious of not running the AC with hot water heater, microwaves, ladies with the hair dryers and such together. Not sure how to check to see if the dock box is adequate for what it supplies or more fault from the boats. Stayed at other marinas and never saw this many issues. Any thoughts appreciated

thanks
Sadly this has more to do with the piss poor wiring standard we use in the US for shore power. Owners DO often overload these plugs/sockets and the reality is that once they are beyond new pushing most 30A services to more than 20A - 24A can result in tremendous amounts of heat and potential fires. Corrosion and poor plug socket design both lead to high resistance. There could also be corrosion in the pedestal connections. The voltage issue needs to be addressed but it could be caused by corrosion, undersized wire feeds or simply worn out sockets etc.

Circuit breakers trip on 'overload" but you CAN start a fire at well below "overload" due to high resistance.

Smart Plug vs. 1938 (LINK)
__________________
______
-Maine Sail / CS-36T


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




© Images In Posts Property of Compass Marine Inc.



Last edited by Maine Sail; 09-17-2014 at 04:15 PM.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #9  
Old 09-10-2014
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Corpus Christi, Tx
Posts: 1,201
Thanks: 27
Thanked 33 Times in 32 Posts
Rep Power: 9
ccriders is on a distinguished road
Re: Marina Electrical Problems

As above, if the circuit breakers are not tripping and you are getting fires and charred connectors, it is not a amperage problem, but a resistance problem. I can't imagine a marina not addressing the problem immediately as the danger is very high. I like the idea posed above about a cooperative system analysis to ensure all elements are to standard, power mains, panels, switches, connectors, cables, users procedures, etc.
I recently moved to a new slip and found that the connector on the panel was charred. I walked over to the marina office and told them about it. That afternoon an electrician was there, diagnosed the problem and told me it would be fixed the next day. He then Put a big red and yellow danger sign on the panel and disconnected the other power cord. Now this is a city marina and they normally don't jump right on reported problems, unless they are a fire or safety hazard.
Also, if you are on 30 amp service and are running an air conditioner and a water heater, then when the refrigerator kicks on you will probably be over amped and should be tripping circuit breakers. Add up your loads especially cyclic startup loads that are not switch controlled, with more than one in startup you could easily be overloading. If that is the case, find out why the breakers are not tripping.
John
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #10  
Old 09-10-2014
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: San Francisco Bay area
Posts: 2,336
Thanks: 4
Thanked 49 Times in 49 Posts
Rep Power: 4
MarkSF is on a distinguished road
Re: Marina Electrical Problems

I was lucky to be on the boat when the shore power connector at the boat end melted down. It was a very rainy day, which I do not think is a coincidence! It would not come as a surprise that the same thing can happen at the dock end.

As others have said, the problem is older connectors with a buildup of oxidation. Add damp conditions to the mix, and bob's your uncle.
__________________
1984 Bristol 31.1
Alameda, California, USA
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

By choosing to post the reply above you agree to the rules you agreed to when joining Sailnet.
Click Here to view those rules.

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.
User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.




Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

 
Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may post attachments
You may edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Solving Difficult Electrical Problems Prescinding Electrical Systems 9 11-26-2011 10:29 PM
1976 P30 Mast Electrical Problems Uberbigun P30 1 05-28-2009 03:11 PM
Marina Problems OhioSailor General Discussion (sailing related) 22 05-13-2008 10:33 AM
Major Problems With Marina hamiam General Discussion (sailing related) 33 11-28-2007 05:33 PM
electrical circuit problems petergumbrell Gear & Maintenance 7 10-02-2007 12:57 AM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 01:11 AM.

Add to My Yahoo!         
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.1
(c) Marine.com LLC 2000-2012

The SailNet.com store is owned and operated by a company independent of the SailNet.com forum. You are now leaving the SailNet forum. Click OK to continue or Cancel to return to the SailNet forum.