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  #1  
Old 10-19-2007
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shore power dumb question

sorry for the question but i'm new to sailing. just purchased a 1978 catalina 30. when the shore power is connected to the boat the and circuit breakers on the dock are in the on position, is there anything on the boat's elec. panel that has to be on to charge the batteries? (ac main switch?) it doesn't seem to be charging but i don't know if maybe the power at the dock is off?
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Old 10-19-2007
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Normally, you should have a separate AC electrical panel inside the boat, usually next to your DC panel. On the AC panel, there should be one master switch that you throw to allow AC power to the other breaker switches on the panel. One of those other breaker switches should be labelled "battery charger" and you would have to turn that switch on to send power to the battery charger.

However, and please do not take this as a put down because it's not intended that way, are you certain your boat has a battery charger? I have seen many AC panels with a labelled switch for a battery charger, but no charger was ever installed.
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Old 10-19-2007
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No such thing as a gumb question.
1 do you have a AC volt meter on your panel or any way of knowing Ac is present on the boat, plug in a fan or light in a AC outlet.
2 do you have a volt meter that you can test battery voltage with?
3 is there a breaker for the charger.
A good quality volt meter is worth the investment. AC main should be on. might be labled shore power.
hope this helps
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not sure about

the battery charger switch. i'll check it out tomorrow. i know there is a dc panel with switches and there is one switch that says ac main. i assumed there was a battery charger since the PO had the boat plugged into shore power. thanks for the info.
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Old 10-19-2007
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John's final comment paragraph hit a BIG nerve for me on this, as that was my thought exactly! IE no charger installed. My 85 Jeanneau did not have a charger, and for the life of me I could not figure out why the shore battery was not charging, only to call OO ie original owner, ask does it have a charger or is it burned out? and found out it never had a charger! So another boat unit and I now have a charger!

I would first figure out if you have a charger, then follow other direction to see if it i working or not.

marty
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Old 10-19-2007
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A quick test

I have a 1984 Catalina 30.

On my boat there is a toggle switch on the left side of the navigation table that is labeled AC Main (I think). Make sure that it is on (left)

Next, check that you have power at the AC outlets in your boat.. (V berth, head, galley, and port and starboard outboard of the settees... If you haven't got power there, then it's unlikely that you have power to a battery charger.

Perhaps one of your outlets has a GFCI (with the test / reset buttons ) which has tripped. You could reset them, or perhaps there is something wrong with the power at the dock. (Is the breaker on?)

On my boat, the charger is in the starboard locker, just aft of the wet locker.

A quick check to see if the charger is working is to turn on one of your cabin lights. Cycle your AC Main switch and see if your lights get brighter/dimmer... If so, the charger is working.

No dumb questions here... I like my Catalina 30 and expect you will too. You can get more information directly related to the boat at www.catalina30.com
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Old 10-19-2007
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Sorry... On is RIGHT, or AFT
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thanks for the reply

i know the ac main switch is in the off position now. i'll turn it on tomorrow and see what happens.
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Old 10-19-2007
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On a used boat--no matter how great the condition is--I would most strongly suggest that you buy some durable white tape (or cable labels) and some semi-fine point permanent markers, or a set of cable "tags" from a stationery or electric supply house. (Grainger & McMaster also sell them.)

Then...Risk being accused of being a bit compulsive, find each end of every wire and trace it from "here" to "there" and put labels on both ends. You will often find all sorts of screwball rotting kludges that are waiting to let you down. Or, lose connections, corroded splices, and other good things.

We did a gut rewire and ignored "that damned main engine ground bolt all the way in the back" because no one could get in to reach it, and it looked solid under 25 years of paint. Then one day notice a 1/2" long SPARK ON IT every time the engine was cranked.

Never assume the electrical system is good, much less that it has been wired properly. Making up your own labels and schematic for it, even a pencil drawing, can pay off big down in the future.
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Old 10-19-2007
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I have a '78 Ta Chaio-built boat that has a charger, but the unit is not connected to the AC/DC panel. As soon as I plug into shore power, the charger is automatically on, independent of any switches. Not quite sure what to make of that set up. On one hand, just plugging in I know my batteries are charging. On the other hand, just plugging in I know my batteries are charging...
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