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Thread: Shore Power and Portable Generator

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    Default Shore Power and Portable Generator

    All,

    I just bought a 2005 Trophy 2359. It's set up with Shore power. I've never had shore power, but I'm looking at using it. Here's what I want to do, let me know recommendations or concerns.

    I want to buy a small generator (1200W) and put it on the back of the boat. While anchored in a cove overnight, I want to connect the shore power to the generator so we can run TV, heat, etc. Will this work or does shore power require something specific?

    Thanks,
    Kyle
    TIGHT LINES...ALASKA!!
    2005 Trophy Pro 2359
    "Nut-N-Honey"

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    Being it's a new boat to you I would have the electrical checked out by a marine shop that follows ABYC standards. You don't know what has been done to a boat electrical system in the last 9 years.

    If the boat has a AC reverse polarities indicator it will tell you there is a problem with the generator and need to be fixed.

    Just because the generator is on the back of the boat does not mean you are safe from CO add a CO detector.

    The AC cord must be made for use in a marine environment.

    You also need a GFCI wire to protect the boat, do not use a GFI.

    When you say you are going to use the generator for heat can you explain what you are doing a 1200w is a very small.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MacGyver View Post
    Being it's a new boat to you I would have the electrical checked out by a marine shop that follows ABYC standards. You don't know what has been done to a boat electrical system in the last 9 years.

    If the boat has a AC reverse polarities indicator it will tell you there is a problem with the generator and need to be fixed.

    Just because the generator is on the back of the boat does not mean you are safe from CO add a CO detector.


    The AC cord must be made for use in a marine environment.

    You also need a GFCI wire to protect the boat, do not use a GFI.

    When you say you are going to use the generator for heat can you explain what you are doing a 1200w is a very small.
    OPP! my post should have read.

    If the boat has a AC reverse polarities indicator it will tell you there is a problem with the generator and needs to be modified.

    You also need a GFCI wired to protect the boat. The generator needs to be modified for the GFCI to work properly. Do not use a GFI it will not protect you in a marine application.

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    Member Rod in Wasilla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacGyver View Post
    You also need a GFCI wire to protect the boat, do not use a GFI.
    I don't understand the above comment. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission documents certainly suggest that a GFI is the same as a GFCI. Here's a quote from their informational fact sheet on the subject:

    A ground fault circuit interrupter, called a GFCI or GFI, is an inexpensive electrical device that can either be installed in your electrical system or built into a power cord to protect you from severe electrical shocks.
    So... what am I missing?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle Snider View Post
    I want to connect the shore power to the generator so we can run TV, heat, etc.
    I did that exact thing for years, with no issues. You can get a short whip (i.e. adapter) that threads into the shore power plug on the boat, and has a regular 3-prong grounded plug on the other end into which you plug a standard household heavy-duty extension cord. That lets you place the generator on the roof, bow, or wherever it is secure and downwind so the noise isn't as irritating in the cabin.

    Since you mentioned running a heater, I assume you mean powering the fan on an oil or propane heater, rather than running an electric heater? Small gennies won't give you enough juice to run even a small electric space heater with anything else drawing juice.
    "Money may not buy you happiness, but it will buy you a big enough boat that you can get close enough for a look."

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    The difference is a GFCI for a house trip around 30ma a marine GFCI trip around 5ma the difference of 25 Ma can kill you.

    There reasons you need to use items that are design for marine use.

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    We hung a little Honda on bungee cords (kept from vibrating the deck) from the bow rail for years while offshore, it worked great.

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    We spend close to 40 nights on the boat from April through September comfortably, never needed a generator to do that. If you want to watch TV buy one of them 12 volt RV ones, they're pretty inexpensive on Amazon and they have a built in DVD player. The only time I plug in the shore power is when the boat is parked in my driveway.
    Jay
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    Thanks for all the info. I guess I don't have to run the shore power cord from the generator. I can just run and extension cord from it. I was just thinking of the shore power so I didn't have to run an extension cord into the window or door. I'm clueless when it comes to electricity, so I didn't realize a small generator could not run a small space heater. What are some good heaters to run that can be used inside of the cuddy while we are sleeping overnight?
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    Member Rod in Wasilla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacGyver View Post
    The difference is a GFCI for a house trip around 30ma a marine GFCI trip around 5ma the difference of 25 Ma can kill you.
    Sorry, but can you please provide a citation for that statement? Everything I can find states that the standard Class A GFCI used in typical residential and commercial construction must trip when a ground fault current exceeds 5 milliamps. (There is also a Class B GFCI that trips when a ground fault current exceeds 20 milliamps, but it is only to be used only for protection of underwater swimming pool lighting fixtures installed before adoption of the 1965 National Electrical Code (NEC). So... that pretty much makes those irrelevant in this discussion.)

    There may be other reasons one would choose to spend extra money to buy GFCI's at a chandler (the possibility that marine GFCI's have tinned terminals may be one), but as far as I can tell, those reasons have nothing to do with the trip amperage.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle Snider View Post
    Thanks for all the info. I guess I don't have to run the shore power cord from the generator. I can just run and extension cord from it. I was just thinking of the shore power so I didn't have to run an extension cord into the window or door. I'm clueless when it comes to electricity, so I didn't realize a small generator could not run a small space heater. What are some good heaters to run that can be used inside of the cuddy while we are sleeping overnight?
    I have the exact same boat, and there's no way in heck I would run a space heater down in the cuddy. First, where would you put it where it wouldn't get knocked over...or melt sleeping bags....or start a fire? Secondly, space heaters in small confined spaces like the cuddy are a sure recipe for carbon monoxide poisoning. Nice warm sleeping bags are the safe way to go.

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    Frostbitten,

    Does your boat have heat from the motor? I was told that it does really well while operating the boat. As for the sleeping bags, what do you think about electric blankets? I'm not sure sleeping bags will work on those cold nights. Have you spent many nights sleeping on your boat? Since you have the same boat, what are some other things you would recommend?
    TIGHT LINES...ALASKA!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rod in Wasilla View Post
    Sorry, but can you please provide a citation for that statement? Everything I can find states that the standard Class A GFCI used in typical residential and commercial construction must trip when a ground fault current exceeds 5 milliamps. (There is also a Class B GFCI that trips when a ground fault current exceeds 20 milliamps, but it is only to be used only for protection of underwater swimming pool lighting fixtures installed before adoption of the 1965 National Electrical Code (NEC). So... that pretty much makes those irrelevant in this discussion.)

    There may be other reasons one would choose to spend extra money to buy GFCI's at a chandler (the possibility that marine GFCI's have tinned terminals may be one), but as far as I can tell, those reasons have nothing to do with the trip amperage.

    No I can't!

    When I said a house GFI trip at 30 ma I was using information over 20 years old and on several marine forums members say to not use a Home Depot GFIC. No one ever questions information they agree with. Should have knows better.

    Too answer your question.
    I looked up the GFIC outlets sold by Home Depot (Leviton) all through I could not find out what the trip time was (marine GFIC 6-7milsec) there trip current was 5ma the same as a marine GFIC.
    Leviton does make a weather resistance GFIC and I see no reason to not use it. The one I looked at also has stainless steel screws.

    What everyone you buy make sure it's has 5ma trip current.

    BTW thank you, I learn something.
    MacGyver

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    So are you guys saying to put the gfci between the generator and shore power cord.
    2007 Kingfisher 2825 - Stor Fisk

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle Snider View Post
    Frostbitten,

    Does your boat have heat from the motor? I was told that it does really well while operating the boat. As for the sleeping bags, what do you think about electric blankets? I'm not sure sleeping bags will work on those cold nights. Have you spent many nights sleeping on your boat? Since you have the same boat, what are some other things you would recommend?
    Yeah, the cabin heater works well. We camp on the boat a few times a year, and good sleeping bags are definitely the way to go. A generator and electric blankets sound like waaaay more trouble than it would be worth. Where will the generator ride when it's not in use?

    I find that 3 guys is the max for overnighters...two in the cuddy and one in the cabin. Remember that all the gear stashed in the cuddy has to go somewhere in order to make room to sleep. Drybags are mandatory for storing everything.

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    Forget the electric blankets, a small diesel heater would serve you well, Espar seems to be the heater of choice around here....bought one over the winter but have not used it yet, There were a couple of deals on CL recently, they show up now & Then.......Advanced Diesel in Anchorage can set you up...expect to spend 2K or so for the parts....you will need a diesel tank.....

    Personally running a gen on the deck would get old quick.........some do, TV...maybe a laptop or 12V if you gotta have one....
    “Nothing worth doing is easy”
    TR

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    Quote Originally Posted by JR2 View Post
    So are you guys saying to put the gfci between the generator and shore power cord.
    You NEVER put any cord between a shore power lnput and your generator...unless I am missing something. Your generator should always be independent and stand alone.
    "...and then Jack chopped down the beanstock, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and vandalism charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you're a hero, because no one asks the inconvenient questions." Terry Pratchett's The Hogfather

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    Quote Originally Posted by JR2 View Post
    So are you guys saying to put the gfci between the generator and shore power cord.
    Your question is very confusing to me.


    This is just my opinion and I have nothing to gain. On a Aluminum boat you are surround by metal, water on the generator, connector or power cord or wet hands can cause a ground fault.

    It just make sense to me do everything possible to keep me and my family safe from being electrocuted and if that mean putting a GFIC on my portable generator so be it.

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    Oh I am with you that is why I was asking. Just to sort it out. I want to bring my generator on the longer trips we take as the Espar+ my cpap and the other stuff can drag down my house battery after full day at anchor. I have just been running one outboard for a couple of hours a day to help but that is not that effective. It's only really a problem in the early spring and late fall when we are not chasing fish daily.
    2007 Kingfisher 2825 - Stor Fisk

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    Are you using the generator to run a battery charger to charge the batteries?

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