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Discussion Starter #1
So my DC rewire being complete, and working as intended, I've moved onto the shore power in my Santana 28.

I've done a bunch of reading, and have a good understanding of the intent of the reverse polarity light, as well as proper wiring for shore power systems.

My shore power setup is pretty basic, with one 30a shore power connection, and 3 circuits ending in GFCI outlets. Having bought the boat last year, and NOT doing much reading then, I used the system as-is for the season last year, primarily running small fans/ portable lights and portable radios on the system.

This year, having dug into all things electrical, I realized the system was sub par on safety components, primarily in that the junctions between the shore power and the three circuits comprised of an open box, wire nuts for connections, and some electrical tape holding it in a standard metal electrical box, see attached

No breakers, no fuses, nothing but hard wiring to the 3 GFCI outlets.

So I set about getting properly setup, and purchased a Paneltronics AC pane with 2 pole 30a main and 3 15a breakers. These come fully pre-wired, and you just connect the shore line in and loads out. All wires connected with ring connectors at panel, and bare wire at the screws at the outlets.

So to my dilemma and questions:
Having wired in the new panel, as well as replaced all 3 GFCI outlets, I am not getting power at the outlets.

Observations:
1) 30a breaker turned on, correct Green LED indicates power
2) turning any of the 3 circuit breakers on activates the reverse polarity warning light (reverse polarity light does not light up with circuits off/ main breaker on)
3) 2 times, plugging in a portable light at one of the outlets caused the main breaker to trip
4) No power at any of the outlets with power leds on (reverse polarity light on also)
5) Re checked all 3 GFCI outlets to confirm ground, neutral, hot properly wired on Line side.
6) None of the GFCI breakers will trip. Pushing test button does nothing, pushing reset button does nothing

I am at a loss at this point, but hopeful this may be enough info for folks to provide some suggestions. I used one of the simple plug in 3 light testers, but there appears to be no power at the outlets. Since the reverse polarity light only comes on when a circuit is live I am unsure if the problem may be on the shore side? I've gone over the board and all 3 outlets 3x now and am sure all wiring is clean. The 14-3 wiring has no junctions between the panel and the outlets.

Shore power is 50a at our marina, just purchased a 50a to 30a pigtail yesterday with LED indicator that does light up when breaker on the dock is turned on.

Thoughts?
 

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3) 2 times, plugging in a portable light at one of the outlets caused the main breaker to trip
4) No power at any of the outlets with power leds on (reverse polarity light on also)
There must be power at the outlets or you could not have tripped the main breaker by plugging something in.

Can you post a picture of the back of the main panel as you have wired it?
 

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Not exactly on topic but you should always use either ring connectors or captive spade connectors at the outlets. Bare wire connections are intended for solid core conductors on land, not boats and stranded wire.
 

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Get multi meter. First check power into the panel, then power leaving the panel, then power into the receptacle.

Is each receptacle on its own breaker?
 

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Assuming the schematic referenced by Tempest in the above post (http://www.paneltronics.com/technical/Wiring%20Diagrams/9972313.pdf)is correct, I believe you have your GFI outlets wired incorrectly. The panel hot/neutral/safety ground leads go to the LINE side of the GFI, not the LOAD side. In a circuit with a single GFI protected outlet the LOAD side is not used. Wiring to the LOAD side will cause the GFI to display the condition you observed. (Test and Reset non-functional)

If the pylon was wired incorrectly, the red "reverse polarity" led would be on the minute you plug in the shorepower cord as it is upstream of the main breaker.

If you check one more time, I will bet you a shot of rum you will find you have the leads from the panel connected to the LOAD terminals rather than the LINE terminals on the back of the GFI(s). Factoid to remember.... on all AC components the neutral (white) wire goes to the silver screw, and the hot (black) wire goes to the brass screw.

Reversing the LINE/LOAD connections is easy to do (it's why I know the symptoms myself) and the if done, the unit is designed to display the non functionality you described.

Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
There must be power at the outlets or you could not have tripped the main breaker by plugging something in.

Can you post a picture of the back of the main panel as you have wired it?
A bit more detail on this point. I do *think* there is/was power running, and agree, no way the main would have tripped. But tester shows no power, and the gfci won't trip. I don't have a picture, but will try to get one
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
did you make sure you twist locked your plug at both ends. . it will not work correctly if you do not. it will show reverse polarity and the interior electrical outlets will not work. ask me how i know this , after sooooo long on board and......
Are you referring to both ends of the shore power cable? I am pretty sure, but will check this. The pigtail is new, and you have me wondering if I fully twisted the cable to it. At the boat end, I am confident I'm twisting it in and it's locked.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
In reply to a couple others: Yes, the panel is the one referenced, and wired as indicated in that specific schematic. Each of the three circuits is on it's own breaker, with hot (black) on the breaker, neutral (white) to the Neutral Bus and Ground (green) to the Ground bus.

I went yesterday and rechecked that the gfci outlets were correctly wired to LINE side, and Hot to brass/ neutral to silver (also per labeling on the back). All GFCIs still have the tape on the LOAD side as there are no downstream outlets on any of the three circuits.

I will get the multimeter out and check per Minnewaska's suggestion today, and try to get a decent picture of the back of the panel.
 

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In reply to a couple others: Yes, the panel is the one referenced, and wired as indicated in that specific schematic. Each of the three circuits is on it's own breaker, with hot (black) on the breaker, neutral (white) to the Neutral Bus and Ground (green) to the Ground bus.

I went yesterday and rechecked that the gfci outlets were correctly wired to LINE side, and Hot to brass/ neutral to silver (also per labeling on the back). All GFCIs still have the tape on the LOAD side as there are no downstream outlets on any of the three circuits.



I will get the multimeter out and check per Minnewaska's suggestion today, and try to get a decent picture of the back of the panel.
If you have one circuit of outlets (one breaker turns them all on), you should have ONE GFCI as the first outlet in the string. Then the other two are standard outlets wired to the "load" side of the first GFCI. Multiple GFCI's on the same circuit can do strange things.....

If you have one GFCI per breaker then they can each be a GFCI but must be wired correctly. Sounds like you have a wire reversed somewhere? BLACK & WHITE are not interchangeable... You do have the green safety wire going to the GFCI's as well??????

A photo of the back of the installed panel and a photo of the installed GFCI's would help...

Also both WHITE/NEUTRAL and BLACK/HOT need to be broken by the main AC breaker and these can not be flip flopped..
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks Maine,

Setup is one main 30a 2 pole breaker, and individual 15a breakers for each circuit. Each circuit has just one GFCI on it, no additional outlets. I will get pictures today and post.

One additional question I have: is it OK to have the back of the panel exposed in the engine room? Boat is a diesel, so no combustibles in there, but I'm wondering about corrosion. I have actually built a box to mount it inside the cabin with the 4 wires coming through the wall between cabin and engine room as there isn't much for other mounting options that I've found
 

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Glad I found Sailnet
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Great job describing the problem.

First thing I do is use my 3-light test plug on the shorepower outlet at the dock. (We have a lot of pigtail adapters, including a 30amp to 15amp so we can plug-in a power tool on the dock.) One year I rewired the plug on the end of my shore power cord as it was wired wrong. The next year -- at a different dock -- it was wired wrong again. It turns out the slip I was in had the wires reversed at the dock outlet.

So the method is to test the connections and components down the line until you find the problem. Start at the shore power outlet on the dock. Then at the end of your power cord, then what goes into your main breaker, then what's coming out of the main breaker, etc.

Also if it were me and I had this mystery -- and as part of the above "testing down the line" method -- I'd disconnect all 3 of the non-main breakers and test the main. Then I'd connect just one non-main breaker set of wires and test those wires that go into a non-main breaker, then connect the non-main breaker and test the terminals coming out of it (with no wires atttached), then connect that breaker to it's downstream wires and test the other end of the wire while disconnected from the outlet sockets, then connect a non-GFI outlet and test the actual outlets themselves, then swap-in a GFI outlet and test the actual outlets themselves... you probably get the idea.

It's brute force, but it solves it 99% of the time. And it gives you a lot of information to come back here with.

Also, Mainesail is right (of couse), the ground wire needs to be the only one not going through the main breaker. On our boat, all breakers are 2-wire breakers, not just the main breaker. That seems a lot safer to me.

Then in the long term...

Those 3-light outlet testers are inexpensive and something to keep handy. Test an outlet every time you connect to a new marina, or even to a new slip! Put it in your procedures manual so you can refer to it. Get a sharpie and write a note on your shore power plug saying "Test if new slip".

Happy sailing.

Regards,
Brad
 

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Discussion Starter #15
It looks like Zeehag called it. My shore power cable and the pigtail just bought were not twist locked together. The waterproof collar is too wide and they won't go together with it in place. Without it they lock together fine and power is good at all points


The only odd thing now is that the power indicator LED at the main breaker is on all the time now. I checked and there is no voltage across the breaker, but I can't find where else voltage would get to that LED with breaker off...


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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The only odd thing now is that the power indicator LED at the main breaker is on all the time now. I checked and there is no voltage across the breaker, but I can't find where else voltage would get to that LED with breaker off...
Good you found the problem.

The power indicator LED should be wired between the hot and neutral on the load side of the main breaker. This is how a Blue Seas panel is wired - the light is only on when the main breaker is on.

The schematic for your panel - linked to earlier - shows the indicator light wired to the feed side of the main breaker. This means it will be on all the time if you are plugged in.

Here is the schematic of your panel.

 

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that led only means the system i s functional. dont worry about it until it turns off
On most panels the indicator light means that the main breaker is turned on and power is supplied to the individual circuit breakers feed side. Blie Seas panels are an example of this, as well as any other panel I have worked on or recall seeing.

The Paneltronics panel indicator light shows you are plugged in and lights whether the main breaker is on or not. It is easy to change if you wish. All you have to do is wire it to the other side of the main breaker, the load side.
 
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