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In the process of getting to know my boat electrical systems I have found a couple of instances where my boat does not seem to comply with some electrical standards, even though it is a fairly new boat built by a reputable builder. (2011 Jeanneau)

For example, it is my understanding that DC negative connections and AC ground are supposed to be tied together and bonded to the engine and running gear. On my boat it is not. There is no continuity between my shorepower ground and the dc system negative or engine. I have confirmed with other Jeanneau owners that this is the case on their boats too.

Another anomaly is my DC system. I am told that in the USA at least, it is not permitted to have a negative isolation switch on the batteries, rather it must be continuous. My boat was designed with both positive and negative isolation switches. My boat was built in the USA, (although there is some doubt about that!), and sold in Canada.

So I am wondering what standards boat builders use when designing and building boats, and what happens if they do not comply with standards in the country they are being built and sold in.

Regarding these 2 discrepancies, I wonder what their reasoning is for doing it the way they did.

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In the process of getting to know my boat electrical systems I have found a couple of instances where my boat does not seem to comply with some electrical standards, even though it is a fairly new boat built by a reputable builder. (2011 Jeanneau)

For example, it is my understanding that DC negative connections and AC ground are supposed to be tied together and bonded to the engine and running gear. On my boat it is not. There is no continuity between my shorepower ground and the dc system negative or engine. I have confirmed with other Jeanneau owners that this is the case on their boats too.

Another anomaly is my DC system. I am told that in the USA at least, it is not permitted to have a negative isolation switch on the batteries, rather it must be continuous. My boat was designed with both positive and negative isolation switches. My boat was built in the USA, (although there is some doubt about that!), and sold in Canada.

So I am wondering what standards boat builders use when designing and building boats, and what happens if they do not comply with standards in the country they are being built and sold in.

Regarding these 2 discrepancies, I wonder what their reasoning is for doing it the way they did.

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In he US, Code of Federal Regulations Title 33 and Title 46are the legal requirements covering pleasurecraft, however these are pretty thin gruel.

Most insurance companies (and the courts) recognise ABYC Standards as "Best marine practices" and require compliance. Send an email to [email protected] and I'll respond with a copy fo the ABYC Standards.

The discrepancies you mention do not meet ABYC or NFPA standards.

Very few boats meet ABYC Standards and many don't even meet the legal requirements of the CFR's (33 &46). Take a look at Stoopid Boatbuilder Tricks.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
In he US, Code of Federal Regulations Title 33 and Title 46are the legal requirements covering pleasurecraft, however these are pretty thin gruel.

Most insurance companies (and the courts) recognise ABYC Standards as "Best marine practices" and require compliance. Send an email to [email protected] and I'll respond with a copy fo the ABYC Standards.

The discrepancies you mention do not meet ABYC or NFPA standards.

Very few boats meet ABYC Standards and many don't even meet the legal requirements of the CFR's (33 &46). Take a look at Stoopid Boatbuilder Tricks.
Regarding battery isolation, I have to wonder why Jeanneau designs their boats with full battery isolation capability if it does not meet ABYC standards. I can't see it as a cost saving measure, because it would cost more to install the extra high amp disconnect switch to the system. Presumably their engineers had some reason for wanting to do it. What is so terrible about wanting to completely isolate the batteries from the rest of the electrical system?


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Regarding battery isolation, I have to wonder why Jeanneau designs their boats with full battery isolation capability if it does not meet ABYC standards. I can't see it as a cost saving measure, because it would cost more to install the extra high amp disconnect switch to the system. Presumably their engineers had some reason for wanting to do it. What is so terrible about wanting to completely isolate the batteries from the rest of the electrical system?


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The AC/DC ground preferred by ABYC, Transport Canada and NFPA provides an alternate/backup safety ground for AC faults. A DC neg disconnect would defeat that.

Many of these issues involve a choice between corrosion and crew safety. As a matter of policy ABYC and NFPA always give preference to the safety aspects.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The AC/DC ground preferred by ABYC, Transport Canada and NFPA provides an alternate/backup safety ground for AC faults. A DC neg disconnect would defeat that.



Many of these issues involve a choice between corrosion and crew safety. As a matter of policy ABYC and NFPA always give preference to the safety aspects.
Except that the battery isolation switches only disconnect the batteries themselves from the system. All other negative connections remain intact. In the event of a ground fault on the AC system, what is the value of ensuring that the batteries can be subjected to that AC current?

And, from what I can see, the DC negative system and the shorepower ground are not connected anyway.



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ABYC wants for AC/DC bonding, but EU standards wants not to bond them. I suspect your boat followed EU standards.

There are pros and cons of both approaches, and neither is right nor wrong.

I don't see the problem with a negative cutoff switch on the battery in either case. The DC would be bonded to ground (generally the engine or ground plate) downstream of the battery, as would the AC if it is bonded to the DC. Why would cutting the battery out of that bonding circuit be an issue?

I can see a potential problem cutting the negative at the battery, but not the positive. That should be a double pole switch, where both are cut with one action.

Mark
 

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ABYC wants for AC/DC bonding, but EU standards wants not to bond them. I suspect your boat followed EU standards.


Mark
Interestingly enough many folks are shocked when they learn that the ISO/RCD standards are very, very, very similar to the ABYC in regards to the AC/DC bond as well as generator neutral to ground bond when operating away from shore power etc..

Sadly you only read on the forums that it is the ABYC which is the sole out-liar on the AC grounding to DC grounding bond but the ISO is right there with the ABYC on this point except the ABYC is a voluntary standard and the ISO/RCD is law.

The only point where they vary is that the ISO/RCD allows an exception to the AC/DC grounding bond, if a whole boat RCD or isolation transformer is installed. The ABYC requires an ELCI main breaker, plus the AC/DC bond, and does not allow an exception.....

ISO Small craft — Electrical systems — Alternating current installations

"4 General requirements

4.1 The protective conductor insulation shall be green or green with a yellow stripe. Neither colour shall be used for current-carrying conductors.

NOTE The equipotential bonding conductor of the d.c. electrical system (see ISO 10133) also uses green, or green with a yellow stripe, insulation and is connected to various exposed conductive parts of direct-current electrical devices, other extraneous conductive parts and the d.c. negative ground/earth.

4.2 The protective conductor shall be connected to the craft's d.c. negative ground (earth) as close as practicable to the battery (d.c.) negative terminal.

NOTE If an RCD (whole-craft residual current device) or an isolation transformer is installed in the main supply circuit of the a.c. system (see 8.2), the negative ground terminal of the d.c. system need not be connected to the a.c. shore ground (protective conductor)."

As can be seen the AC to DC bond is a requirement under the ISO standards, which are actually law, but they do allow for an "exception" if a whole boat RCD is fitted (an RCD is just like an ELCI) or an isolation transformer.

Unfortunately, I can literally count on one hand the number of EU boats we work on that actually have an RCD fitted. We are seeing more and more newer boats show up with an RCD's, but not all.

ABYC is a voluntary standard, not Federal law, yet does not allow for an exception even if a whole boat ELCI is fitted (very similar to an RCD). This is because the ABYC decided the failure rate of such devices was just too high to allow for such an exception.

So in Europe ISO 13297, and the rest of the ISO standards, are Federal law that requires the AC/DC grounding bond, but yet the voluntary standards of the ABYC are typically incorrectly pointed to as the only ones that require this bond.
 

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Not a good guy or bad guy issue, if it's EU law, why isn't it followed on boats sold in the US? I can't imagine it's particularly expensive to bond the two.
 

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So in Europe ISO 13297, and the rest of the ISO standards, are Federal law that requires the AC/DC grounding bond, but yet the voluntary standards of the ABYC are typically incorrectly pointed to as the bad guys on this point.
Good information. I didn't mean to isolate ABYC - it was being mentioned as one body that wanted AC/DC bond, and I just used it as one side of an example. I certainly did not point to them as bad guys, as I said there were valid reasons for doing things both ways and neither was right nor wrong - just solutions to different problems.

4.2 The protective conductor shall be connected to the craft's d.c. negative ground (earth) as close as practicable to the battery (d.c.) negative terminal.
This I didn't know, and am not sure I understand why. Can you explain the importance of proximity?

On our previous boat (built to ABYC by a company that really strove to meet requirements), the connection was made on the main panel, where it was easy to do with a jumper across the relevant bus bars. On our current boat (who knows what they were thinking), the connection is made immediately before a hull bonding plate put in for this purpose.

Both boats were equipped with RCD's, and have no electrically connected underwater metal like thruhulls, drive trains (except for the bond plate on the current boat), although I don't think that had any bearing on the decisions in this.

Mark
 

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Not a good guy or bad guy issue, if it's EU law, why isn't it followed on boats sold in the US? I can't imagine it's particularly expensive to bond the two.
No one is watching the boatbuilders, they do some Stoopid Boatbuilder Tricks

People also forget that ABYC has been around about 30 years longer than the Euro standards and that those standards were to some extent political and designed to shut NA boats out of their market. They largely copied the ABYC Standards and made a number of changes to accomplish the political goal. One example was escape hatch size, they made theirs a few millimeters different and that alone shut out NA boats for several years.

The ABYC Standards were put together by small committees who knew a thing or two. In Europe it was committees from 18 different countries with 11 different languages trying to sort out imperial and metric.There are some significant holes in their standards although they did make them law whic I see as a plus.
 

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No one is watching the boatbuilders, they do some Stoopid Boatbuilder Tricks
I checked out your link. I didn't understand what was wrong with using a household GFCI outlet on a boat? You even stated that if this was used in a house, the installer would lose his license. Was it something about that particular GFCI brand? I'm not aware of any "marine-specific" electrical outlets, and don't see what is wrong with using common household ones. At least, pretty much every boat I've owned, and every boat I've seen uses common outlets.

Maybe it was something I didn't see, like not being contained in an electrical box or something?

One other thing. I've had a combination DC/AC main panel from Paneltronics and while it had both services on one panel, the back of the panel was divided by a 1/4" acrylic barriers that one would have to go through measures to defeat or mix. I've seen lots of combination panels like this. Maybe Canada is just overly-conservative in this regard.

Mark
 

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I checked out your link. I didn't understand what was wrong with using a household GFCI outlet on a boat? You even stated that if this was used in a house, the installer would lose his license. Was it something about that particular GFCI brand? I'm not aware of any "marine-specific" electrical outlets, and don't see what is wrong with using common household ones. At least, pretty much every boat I've owned, and every boat I've seen uses common outlets.

Maybe it was something I didn't see, like not being contained in an electrical box or something?

One other thing. I've had a combination DC/AC main panel from Paneltronics and while it had both services on one panel, the back of the panel was divided by a 1/4" acrylic barriers that one would have to go through measures to defeat or mix. I've seen lots of combination panels like this. Maybe Canada is just overly-conservative in this regard.

Mark
The outlet is fastened directly to the plywood without a junction box.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I checked out your link. I didn't understand what was wrong with using a household GFCI outlet on a boat? You even stated that if this was used in a house, the installer would lose his license. Was it something about that particular GFCI brand? I'm not aware of any "marine-specific" electrical outlets, and don't see what is wrong with using common household ones. At least, pretty much every boat I've owned, and every boat I've seen uses common outlets.

Maybe it was something I didn't see, like not being contained in an electrical box or something?

One other thing. I've had a combination DC/AC main panel from Paneltronics and while it had both services on one panel, the back of the panel was divided by a 1/4" acrylic barriers that one would have to go through measures to defeat or mix. I've seen lots of combination panels like this. Maybe Canada is just overly-conservative in this regard.

Mark
From what I recall Transport Canada allows combination panels as long as tools and further effort is required to expose the line voltage terminals.

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