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  #11  
Old 02-01-2013
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Re: Power Outlet Sizzle - Help Please

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Originally Posted by boatpoker View Post
While your at it (replacing outlets) you should also have the conductors looked at. The stuff shown in the photo does not look kosher. Proper boat cable is normally white, should be marked "600volts" and should be stranded wire.
That looks like a factory installation. Wouldn't Catalina use the proper wire back in 1980? (I guess GFCI wasn't part of the AYBC code back then)

The brown is just the outer jacket. It might be proper gauge, stranded wire inside of that.
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Re: Power Outlet Sizzle - Help Please

Bubblehead was dead on - and boatpoker brings up an important point, make sure the person you use is an experienced marine electrician. Boats have certain peculiarities which are not apparent to a regular electrician (e.g. crimping instead of soldering or twisting wires).

As I recall, modern code requires a GFCI for the outlets - depending on your setup, one may be able to handle two or three outlets, it does not have to be on every one (although it can be). It also requires a second at the shore power inlet (an ECLI) .

This may help explain things: http://bluesea.com/files/resources/n.../YCDI_ELCI.pdf
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Old 02-01-2013
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Re: Power Outlet Sizzle - Help Please

Delete does not seem to work... somehow I posted this in the wrong thead
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Last edited by mad_machine; 02-01-2013 at 12:48 PM. Reason: wrong thread
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Old 02-01-2013
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Re: Power Outlet Sizzle - Help Please

I'm also going to join those who suspected you simply overloaded the circuit; although if that were the case, a properly-sized circuit breaker should have tripped - GFCI or no. If the circuit is 15 amp, that translates to roughly 1200 watts load, which means the space heater alone would be all you can have on it, once you added the iron, too much. If the circuit was 30 amp, then iron + heater should have been okay (assuming there was nothing else) and I'd suspect resistance from corrosion somewhere? Electrical isn't all that conceptually complicated, its just scary because when it goes wrong, it can go wrong BIG.
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Re: Power Outlet Sizzle - Help Please

Our 1984 Catalina 25 had similar looking wiring, but the conductors were stranded (though I don't think they were tinned) wiring. I never poked at it too closely because we didn't use shore power on that boat.

I'm not surprised that a 33 year old circuit breaker might not have worked. The 30 amp breaker at the dock service panel isn't going to trip for that level of loads. Since you now know that you've overloaded that circuit you should replace all of the wiring on that circuit.
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Old 02-01-2013
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Re: Power Outlet Sizzle - Help Please

Actually most irons run between 1200 and 1400 watts and your heater if it’s the typical electric heater runs 1500 watts so you were running anywhere about 2700-2900 watts and if your shore power is 30 amps that’s 30*.8 = 2400 watts MAX that you should have been running on shore power to be safe… you were way past that… I agree with everyone else you need GFI circuits… I run my heater and everything else through a surge protector/circuit breaker strip before it goes to shore power… and I never run any component higher than 1500 watts together with any other high wattage component… unless I run the genny which gives me an extra 1800 watts (Honda 2000).
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Re: Power Outlet Sizzle - Help Please

Hire a qualified electrician. You wouldn't come to sailnet for advice on chest pains or toothaches, right?
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Old 02-01-2013
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Re: Power Outlet Sizzle - Help Please

I appreciate all the responses everyone!
I'm going to call a marine repair company today that I got the number for, their website says qualified electricians so I think I'm on the right track. It's absolutely an issue I'm not going to guess or cut corners with.

As far as I know most of the wiring is stock from the factory. There are some things around the engine that were "mickey-moused" as the surveyor put it. I'm glad this is in my sights and at the highest priority now.

Just for what it's worth. I'm always plugged into 30A shore power. Also, I used a surge protector/power strip on this outlet and consciously turned the heater from full (1500) to half (750) power before I plugged in the iron. I should have just turned it off for the couple of minutes, that's my fault. It's darn cold at 5am, though, and I've done this before without a problem. Lesson learned, that's for sure. For example if I am going to use the microwave I turn off everything except for a small low-current light.
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Re: Power Outlet Sizzle - Help Please

I would suggest you replace everything on that drop, from at least the circuit breaker to the outlet- wire included. Either the circuit breaker is oversized, or it simply failed to trip. Either way, it is not doing the job it needs to do. Circuit breakers fail just like everything else and they don't always fail open. I have replaced many that welded shut or the spring had failed, or they were frozen due to internal corrosion.

The real danger here is what you cannot see. That wire got HOT, and it got hot all along its length. You have no idea if the insulation broke down between the conductors inside the jacket. A qualified electrician can run a megger check on the wire and inspect the wire along its length (if it can be seen) but if the run is at all accessible you should replace it. It's not worth burning your boat to the waterline with you inside to save money on a wire.

While you are waiting, now is a good time to do basic preventive maintenance on your breaker box. De-energize the boat and cycle your breakers repeatedly. Everyone should be doing this from time to time. If a breaker is very hard to throw, that is a warning that it is getting frozen. Cycling it several times should free it up. It should snap smartly back and forth and stay hard at the stop in each direction.
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Re: Power Outlet Sizzle - Help Please

Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarguy56 View Post
Actually most irons run between 1200 and 1400 watts and your heater if itís the typical electric heater runs 1500 watts so you were running anywhere about 2700-2900 watts and if your shore power is 30 amps thatís 30*.8 = 2400 watts MAX that you should have been running on shore power to be safeÖ
Yes and No.. 30amps should be two legs.. so he was drawing all that power through ONE leg. It should have definatly tripped the breaker before smoking the outlet
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