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GFCI & Cruisair

Discussion in 'HVAC' started by RichV, May 24, 2021.

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  1. RichV

    RichV Member

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    One condenser unit for the master cabin is 5 yrs old, the other two could be original (salon & forward cabin). The forward cabin is the larger unit.
  2. RichV

    RichV Member

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    Zoom in on the 3 small trigger boards on the PR8X pump relay board in post #7 (2 on left side & 1 on right side) with the red & white wires coming off of them. Why is one lead cut on the large resister on all 3 of them? You can see it clearly on the one on the right.
  3. RichV

    RichV Member

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    Tonight I disconnected the red, black, and green wires at the pump relay board and the condensing unit (power leads from panel breaker), the white wire is not connected at either board. Same result, with all breakers off, the pedestal trips instantly when I turn the A/C & Pump breaker on at the panel. Yet all the A/Cs work on a non GFCI breaker. Is the next step to disconnect the wires from the panel breaker?
  4. RichV

    RichV Member

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    Capt Ralph - The Big Dig was a mess and a pain but I can get to the airport from Randolph (the next town to Braintree) in 15-30 minutes even at rush hour. But try to go anywhere else at rush hour, forget about it.

    The last 5 years we had our 28' Cutwater at Hingham Shipyard Marina, but they didn't have a bigger slip for us. They were just building Hingham Shipyard Marina about the same time as the Big Dig. We were spoiled with all that's around Hingham. Bay Pointe Marina in Quincy is now owned by Marine Max and is their Boston hub.
  5. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    I find this thread a bit scary. Electric is not my forte. I can change a light switch and such, but I'm no electrician. The one thing about electrical systems I did learn early on was that if you don't know what you're doing hire a licensed and insured professional. The consequences of a mistake are too severe (boat burns and insurance company asks who did the electrical work that caused the fire). I'd hate to answer them by saying that I did it from advice of people on the internet.
  6. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Since these a/c units work where there's no GFCI, rather than yanking wires that were hopefully designed by electricians, have you considered splitting the load by using a Y splitter, (2) 30 amp into (1) 50 amp.
  7. RichV

    RichV Member

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    NYCAP123 - I hear your concern and share it. Although I've done a fair amount of wiring, I'm not an electrician, and believe I know when it's above my level and when to stop. I have changed breakers before and am very careful and methodical when doing anything like that. Re-wiring the panel is not something I can or would do myself. Isolating the issue safely by process of elimination I believe is doable. Repairing depending on the results is another thing.
  8. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    I whole-heartedly agree with "Isolating the issue safely by process of elimination" (troubleshooting) having seen where some electricians (and other "professionals") can go without direction and supervision. Just please be careful not to go beyond where you're certain. The consequences are just too substantial. Again not being an electrician my gut tells me that your a/c system is probably fine. It's just old and not up to today's energy star standards. 20 years ago the only place we found GFCIs were in bathrooms and kitchens to protect in case we drop a hair drier or toaster into the sink, Today it governing your whole system from the pedestal and your old a/c's probably just draw too much. I suspect you need a work-around not a repair; making it so your units strain as little as possible and possibly splitting the load between 2 GFCIs.
    P.S. I seem to remember another thread awhile back discussing the dockside GFCIs and problems they were causing for some boats. You might want to look for that thread.
  9. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    looks like you don’t understand how GFCIs work. It doesn’t matter how the boat is connected to the pedestal and whether you use 30, 50 amps, splitters or Ys... somewhere on the boat ground and neutral are connected together.

    it has nothing to do with load which is why it trips only when that breaker is flipped on and before the compressor or pump even starts
  10. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    Yep. Somewhere a wire has been cut, smashed or spliced. Something is leaking to green..
    Yes, Pull the wires off the switched side of the breaker.

    Back to basics.
    Red, Black and white wires carry voltage and current.
    The green wire carries only fault current.
    Anything on the green wire, there is a problem and it trips Ground Fault Interrupt breakers.

    I just has a wild thought, The LED in the breaker switch, how is that wired? Is there an extra post or wire coming from that breaker?
    The answer here is, Does the dock still trip after the next step above.
  11. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Or the unit is 20 years old and compressor leaking and going bad, which would be my guess.
    chesapeake46 likes this.
  12. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    The OP stated (post # 23) it was disconnected leaving just the wires past the breakers.
    Yes, Leaking compressors, I have witnessed before and was discussed earlier.
    While managing many boats in the Ortega area, our divers would report about our customers boats leaking and could near tell you witch unit was at fault & if it was fixed.
    We liked our divers to be happy.
    Last edited: May 26, 2021
  13. RichV

    RichV Member

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    Please explain about the divers.
  14. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    ACv current will flow thru water. Sometimes ACv fault current from a compressor can be felt by a diver under your boat, inlet and/or discharge.
    Leaking ACv currents have been known to kill people.
  15. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I once worked on this 85' ish foot Maora that had high bilge water (about 10" in center bilge) and none of the bilge pumps working......I went to work on one in the engine room and got zapped by the bilge water. I measured it with a multi-meter and measured 86 volts AC from the bilge water in the engine room!
  16. RichV

    RichV Member

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    Thanks again for all the posts.


    Last night I did more troubleshooting and re-troubleshooting. On Ocean Yachts they put the 230v pump on the same breaker as the salon A/C. I removed the pump leads from that breaker and put them on an open spare 220v breaker on my panel. I was able to run the (2) cabin units and the pump without tripping the fault breaker. I let them run for about 30 minutes with no issue.


    Attached is the label from the salon condensing unit which is the larger of the 3 units. There are 2 inline fuses mounted on the electrical box of that unit. I removed those 2 fuses and was able to turn on the panel breaker without tripping the ground fault. I think it's safe to say the problem is with this unit but I didn't have time to go any further.

    Capt Ralph, you mentioned the triac, and I've read these need to be a certain type.

    I have one 50 amp shore power cord. My pedestal is the only one on the dock (Bay Pointe Marina, Quincy, MA) with a ground fault breaker. I have been able to troubleshoot with other pedestals, but it is a little harder now that the marina is filling up and the pedestals are all being used.

    Attached Files:

  17. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    Did I mis read your comment in post #23; disconnected wires from the saloon condensing station?
    Now your faulting the same unit?
    You lost me in Albuquerque..
  18. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    So it s either an issue with the air con or the wiring between the panel and the air con. I don’t remember if you have a self contained or a split (condenser in the ER and air handler in the salon)

    What is really surprising to me is how a 240v air con could trip a GFCI since the neutral is not used on 240v unit. What wires do you have coming into the unit control box. You should only have two hots (usually black and red) and the ground. No neutral / white. Make sure you don’t.

    If you are sure neutral doesn’t get there then the issue has to be in the wiring between the panel and the unit
  19. RichV

    RichV Member

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    Good catch Capt Ralph; The A/C units in the engine room were mislabeled. The larger unit in the engine room is for the salon. So originally I was troubleshooting the wrong unit.
    1. Both the A/C and the pump is 240v. previously I posted a picture of the back of the original wiring on the 240v breaker for the Salon A/C & A/C Pump. The double red wires above the double black wires are coming off the right side of the breaker. There is a separate box that has the pump relay assembly board with (3) small trigger boards (it hold up to 8 trigger boards, model PR8X). I cut the red and black wires that go to the pump relay board and connected them to an unused 204v breaker.
    2. There are 3 wires that go from the pump relay board to the actual pump, black, red, and ground. One of the first things I tried was disconnecting all 3 of those wires at the pump which did not change the result.
    3. There are no white wires connected on the panel side or on any of the A/C units or pump relay board. They are there but have all been terminated (capped and tapped at each end).
    4. The larger A/C unit for the salon does not run when the (2) fuses are removed. The only change is that I can turn on the panel breaker for that unit without tripping the ground fault. With the fuses in the ground fault trips immediately when turned on.
    5. The 2 fuses appear to go to what is labeled as "Emergency Operation Control" which is a 3-position rotary switch labeled "Off - Heat - Cool" and has a large transformer attached to it. Then the leads from there run up to the connection for the pump relay board. You can see the blurry image of the rotary knob in the picture with the 2 fuses.
    6. Only 2 of the 3 heat pumps work along with everything else on the boat. The only thing that does not work is the salon A/C unit, which trips the ground fault.
    7. One thing I noticed today was that the salon unit has the black wire from the panel connected to "Line 2" and the red connected to "Line 1". The other 2 units and the pump relay board have the opposite configuration.
    Since I'm fairly certain I narrowed the issue to the one compressor unit, I plan find an A/C tech to find the issue and repair.
  20. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    Bet a cup of coffee, Bad Capacitor.

    ACv leaking from caps
    or wires in the controller box.
    ACv leaking from the compressor.
    ACv leaking from the starter relay.