What's Wrong With This Picture?? - Page 3 - SailNet Community
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post #21 of 30 Old 01-09-2013
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Re: What's Wrong With This Picture??

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Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
If your boat is not wired to interrupt both BLACK/HOT and WHITE/NEUTRAL, in a fault, please get this fixed..
Maine Sail- what exactly do you mean by "in a fault"? Is that a term for a specific kind of circuit?
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post #22 of 30 Old 01-09-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: What's Wrong With This Picture??

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Originally Posted by Irunbird View Post
Maine Sail- what exactly do you mean by "in a fault"? Is that a term for a specific kind of circuit?
Any sort of "fault" that would trip the breaker such as a short, internal problem in an AC appliance, over load of the circuit or other problem...

Unlike land based applications we have many, many, many cases of reverse polarity issues on boats. Thus the white and black are both interrupted in the event of a fault and a reverse polarity indicating lamp is installed.

Muffy & Skippy fire up the new 42 foot Sea Ray toss the dock lines and proceed to yank the dock pedestal out by the roots. The marina sends Darrell and Darrell down to fix it but Darrell confuses the silver screw for the brass one. These types of issues are why we break both the hot and the neutral in marine applications.

If the pedestal or your boat are improperly wired so hot and neutral are backwards, and you have only a single breaker tripping HOT, as shown in the original pic, the neutral, NOW HOT, has no circuit protection other than the main breaker which is way larger than the wire is rated for. Also the neutral bus will always be hot with no way to turn it off short of unplugging. A turned off double pole breaker isolates the neutral bus but not when it is wired for breaking just the hot wire.

What if someone is working on your boat? They assume they have turned off the main breaker but unless they physically unplugged the boat the reversed neutral is still live due to the reversal of polarity. This is also why reverse polarity indicators are so important. A boat with an AC system should have a reverse polarity light and a double pole breaker that interrupts both hot and neutral.
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post #23 of 30 Old 01-09-2013
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Thank You Professor MaineSail! I always enjoy your online courses. I know most of the sailnet group feels the same way.
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post #24 of 30 Old 01-09-2013
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Re: What's Wrong With This Picture??

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Why couldn't they be LED's? I have a Blue Sea Systems panel that came equipped with them. They definitely are LED's, also confirmed by the spec sheet and installation instructions.
Well, I was refering to the indicator (or Pilot) lights in the picture. If they were LEDs the wires would be color coded for polarity. Polarity doesn't matter for neon or incandescent, but it does for LEDs - they will not light with reversed polarity (they're diodes, and a diode only allows current to flow in one direction).

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post #25 of 30 Old 01-09-2013
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Re: What's Wrong With This Picture??

Not so for *AC* circuits. Either way, they are in wrong half the time

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Well, I was refering to the indicator (or Pilot) lights in the picture. If they were LEDs the wires would be color coded for polarity. Polarity doesn't matter for neon or incandescent, but it does for LEDs - they will not light with reversed polarity (they're diodes, and a diode only allows current to flow in one direction).

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post #26 of 30 Old 01-09-2013
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Re: What's Wrong With This Picture??

Some panel mount LEDs have an internal diode bridge to make them non polar. This allows them to be used on AC and reverse polarity DC systems. Also, some LEDs are bright enough that even when they are only on half the time, they still give enough light to indicate acceptably. There will be a resistor or other current limiting circuit as part of the indicator.

The ones that give me fits are the ones that change color with polarity or by mulitple lead connections. I am red/green color blind and though I can usually see that the cussed thing is ON, I cannot always tell what color it is.

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post #27 of 30 Old 01-09-2013
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Re: What's Wrong With This Picture??

Thanks, guys- definitely clears it up, but also makes me glad I only have a dc system!
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post #28 of 30 Old 01-09-2013
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Re: What's Wrong With This Picture??

Kinda hard to tell but is that a neutral I see going to the bus ? another no no.

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post #29 of 30 Old 01-09-2013
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Re: What's Wrong With This Picture??

And here I thought the issue was the fact that there was no COVER over the AC. Isn't that part of the ABYC code?

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post #30 of 30 Old 01-10-2013
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Re: What's Wrong With This Picture??

I found this thread last night, while setting up a new TV with an internet browser. While I could read, and see the pix, I could not post a reply using the remote control (with only an numeric keyboard).

The things that I saw/see are:
  • Neutral should have a breaker - I can't see one.
  • There is no reverse polarity indicator - making the above downright scary!
  • ABYC Color code? - NO way does this conform.
  • The ground bus does not look to be secured to anything. This could get exciting in choppy water, while connected to AC. (For example during a storm, while secured, and connected to AC, at the dock)
  • Also on that ground bus (I would love to have seen a clearer pic of that), it appears that Green, White AND Black are all connected.

In your opinion, was this wiring done by the owner, previous owner, or builder?


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