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TOPIC: Portable Generator

Portable Generator 17 Jun 2017 20:28 #26

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CptCrunchie wrote:

smitty477 wrote:

CptCrunchie wrote: I'm confused by the comments on this topic. There is a HUGE difference between the power on a dock and a portable generator when it comes to ESD, and it has to do with the grounding.
A generator also has a limited source of power, not like a dam or nuclear dynamo feeding it an endless charge from miles away that needs to find its way back to its source to complete the circuit.
I have no issue with anyone swimming near my boat if I am on the hook running my genset. Moreover, I have a computer running my heart, and I would still go swimming in this case. But plugged into a leaking dock? No way!


Perhaps read the links above, here is a quote from one of them.....

"What does "minute" mean exactly? Lethal amounts are measured in milliamps, or thousandths of an amp. When flowing directly through the human body, these tiny amounts of current interfere with the even smaller electrical potentials used by our nerves and muscles. Captain David Rifkin and James Shafer conducted extensive testing of all aspects of ESD for a Coast Guard study in 2008, including exposing themselves to low-level currents in fresh water. "Anything above 3 milliamps (mA) can be very painful," Rifkin said. "If you had even 6 mA going through your body, you would be in agonizing pain." Less than a third of the electricity used to light a 40-watt light bulb — 100 mA — passing directly through the heart is almost always fatal"


Yes, I read it. The computer in my chest running my heart uses less than a milliamp to trigger my heart, so I am very aware of what the tiny yet lethal amounts of electricity are. And somehow you put that to plugging a generator in on a boat?

Now, I am not a moderator, though I believe one could have stepped in here. Many times I have read where the moderators suggest a new thread to someone making a contribution to that thread that isn't on point or is a related question - or statement - of their own. Such is the case here.

Even if the posts were about what kind of generator we are using, ESD still has no part of that thread.

AS it stands, the topic of this thread reads, "Portable Generator" and the first post was about melmartin connecting one to his boat. YOU introduced ESD in post #10, and the link was all about swimming off a dock. And if you read the linked articles you posted, they ALL refer to dock power, simply because those issues don't exist with using a generator onboard a boat. Then you attempt to fortify it in post #14. Personally, your post #17 was 95% unrelated misinformation about using a generator on a boat. Further along you have boaters reluctant to use their generators on their boats while people are swimming. IMO, I needed to step in.

IMHO, I suggest you start a new thread for your link, because ESD has nothing to do with the OP's question, much less using a generator on a boat.


Hello CptCrunchie,

Here is the OP's post #1....

"Hi all. Being a newbie I have only been on short day trips around our lake but am planning on spending a few nights on board. I have bought a small portable generator which I intend fitting on the swim platform for when I am moored up on the lake to run the tv and lights. Am I right in assuming I can plug the generator with the correct lead into the shoreline power socket on the boat?"

He says the following in this post:
- Points out he is a newbie
- Says he wants to place portable genset on swim platform
-Asks if he can just plug it in as is.

I pointed out a few things to the new boater with a portable genset:
- be cautious with Co
- gensets owners manual will tell you not to operate near a wet environment
- How will you wire the extra green ground on the genset
- no marine electrician would be involved in wiring a portable marine genset
- ESD is a real threat on board especially in fresh water areas
- your insurance company will not cover a portable genset on a boat

Please post any portable genset manual that gives directions on how to use a portable genset on a boat. Please post any major magazine article from any boaters magazine, or any online boaters resource, or a marine parts store that will sell a potable gesnet designed/labeled for a boat.

I also pointed out that those who are reasonably knowledgeable and careful have used these onboard but to always be careful.
I hope everyone is safe and happy boating every season.......

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Portable Generator 17 Jun 2017 20:39 #27

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Ya think these two may be made in the same plant?

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Last Edit: by CptCrunchie.

Portable Generator 17 Jun 2017 21:06 #28

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melmartin wrote: Hi all. Being a newbie I have only been on short day trips around our lake but am planning on spending a few nights on board. I have bought a small portable generator which I intend fitting on the swim platform for when I am moored up on the lake to run the tv and lights. Am I right in assuming I can plug the generator with the correct lead into the shoreline power socket on the boat?


*shakes head at smitty477*

melmartin, yes, you can set it on your swim platform when you want to run it, as many of us do. Just don't mount it permanently so you can bring it in while underway or when not in use. Most of us put it on the swim platform to avoid inhaling CO. Yes, you can plug it directly into your shore power plug, and as stated in post #2, with the proper adapter. Depending on the size of your generator, you may have to shut some 120v items off like chargers or a fridge. Otherwise, you are good to go. More importantly, you can run it on your swim platform AND go swimming. Even if the unit gets wet, you will not be electrocuted. In fact, the only way you will get a shock off of it is if you are in the water, the unit is plugged into your boat so the outdrive will act as a neutral, and you touch a hot lead, ....which even a 6 year old knows not to stick their finger in an outlet or light socket. Unless you have a direct connection to that hot lead, you cannot be electrocuted.

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"B on D C", is a 1989 2459 Trophy Offshore HT, OMC 5.7L, Cobra OD, Yamaha 15hp kicker. Lots of toys! I'm no mechanic, just a blue water sailer and woodworker who loves deep sea fishing.
MMSI: 367637220
HAM: KE7TTR
TDI tech diver
BoD, North Olympic Peninsula Puget Sound Anglers, Sequim, WA
Kevin
Last Edit: by CptCrunchie.

Portable Generator 18 Jun 2017 01:59 #29

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CptCrunchie wrote:

melmartin wrote: Hi all. Being a newbie I have only been on short day trips around our lake but am planning on spending a few nights on board. I have bought a small portable generator which I intend fitting on the swim platform for when I am moored up on the lake to run the tv and lights. Am I right in assuming I can plug the generator with the correct lead into the shoreline power socket on the boat?


*shakes head at smitty477*

melmartin, yes, you can set it on your swim platform when you want to run it, as many of us do. Just don't mount it permanently so you can bring it in while underway or when not in use. Most of us put it on the swim platform to avoid inhaling CO. Yes, you can plug it directly into your shore power plug, and as stated in post #2, with the proper adapter. Depending on the size of your generator, you may have to shut some 120v items off like chargers or a fridge. Otherwise, you are good to go. More importantly, you can run it on your swim platform AND go swimming. Even if the unit gets wet, you will not be electrocuted. In fact, the only way you will get a shock off of it is if you are in the water, the unit is plugged into your boat so the outdrive will act as a neutral, and you touch a hot lead, ....which even a 6 year old knows not to stick their finger in an outlet or light socket. Unless you have a direct connection to that hot lead, you cannot be electrocuted.

The majority of your post is correct however Smitty is correct on the risk as per the links he provided. Replace the shore power with an onboard generator with the same conditions on the boat and the result is the same.



How does that electricity get into the water in the first place? In a properly functioning electrical system, all of the 120-volt AC current that goes into the boat through the shore power cord returns to its source — the transformer ashore or on the dock where it originated. For any of that current to wind up in the water, three things have to occur.

Electrical fault. Somewhere current must be escaping from the system and trying to find another path back to its source ashore.
AC safety ground fault. The AC grounding system must be compromised so that stray current cannot easily return to ground through the ground safety wire. Any stray electricity then has only one path back to its source — through the water.
No ground fault protection. Any current returning to its source through the water will create a slight but detectable difference between the amount of current traveling to the boat and returning from it through the shore power cables. Ground Fault Protection (GFP) devices, like Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) required in bathrooms ashore, are designed to detect differences measured in milliamps and to shut down the electricity within a fraction of a second. If the circuit does not have one, then electricity will continue to flow into the water.

If all of these conditions exist, then some or all of the boat's underwater metals, such as the propeller, stern drive, or through-hull fittings, will be energized, and electricity will radiate out from these fittings into the water.

If the boat is in saltwater, the current will dissipate without doing damage unless a diver grabs hold of the energized metal. In fresh water, 120-volt AC will set up a dangerous voltage gradient that will pass through any swimmer who bridges it.

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Portable Generator 18 Jun 2017 02:15 #30

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CptCrunchie wrote: Ya think these two may be made in the same plant?


I can assure they are NOT. One is a Jap model and the yellerun' is a Chi knock off.

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Portable Generator 18 Jun 2017 03:15 #31

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Wow, bobmorgan! How is he going to connect to shore power if he has his generator plugged into his shore power outlet?

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"B on D C", is a 1989 2459 Trophy Offshore HT, OMC 5.7L, Cobra OD, Yamaha 15hp kicker. Lots of toys! I'm no mechanic, just a blue water sailer and woodworker who loves deep sea fishing.
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HAM: KE7TTR
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Portable Generator 18 Jun 2017 03:24 #32

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CptCrunchie wrote: Wow, bobmorgan! How is he going to connect to shore power if he has his generator plugged into his shore power outlet?

WOW CptCrunchie read the posts ! The same principle applies if you use a generator that "generates" the 120 volts AC and the same fault conditions exist in the boat. The current returns through the metal on the boat to ground . This is not difficult take the shore power pedestal away and put the generator on the dock in its place if it helps you visualize it.

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Portable Generator 18 Jun 2017 04:02 #33

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bobmorgan wrote: WOW CptCrunchie read the posts ! The same principle applies if you use a generator that "generates" the 120 volts AC and the same fault conditions exist in the boat. The current returns through the metal on the boat to ground . This is not difficult take the shore power pedestal away and put the generator on the dock in its place if it helps you visualize it.


How about you read the OP. He's putting it on the swim platform.

Indeed, power leaking into the water from shore power through a line on a dock needs to get back to its origin, whether it be through the grounding on a boat or through the water and the earth. If someone is in its path, they will get zapped. However, if someone is in the water even 10' from that path, they will not be effected.

HOWEVER, .....even if the outdrive was connected to the neutral, since there is no live feed entering the water, there is no power making the loop back to the generator. Furthermore, since electricity will ALWAYS take the shortest and easiest path, even if the boat was leaking current from the generator, it will return through its easiest path, its wiring. The water is safe.

Here's a test for you. You are on the hook in some bay. Run a positive wire from the generator to a light bulb. Connect the other side of the light bulb to the engine. Ground the neutral side of the generator to the outdrive. Fire up the generator and the bulb lights up. Now go for a swim, dive under and touch the outdrive. I GUARANTEE, YOU WILL NOT GET A SHOCK!

You want to equate the leakage from shore power to the the same thing happening to a generator sitting on a boat, and it just isn't so. You just need to look at its return path to see that. It doesn't need to enter the water to get home, where shore power leaking into the water does.

BTW, if a portable generator is sitting on the dock or on the shore, unless it uses an 'earth ground', the power will stay within the loop. Hydro dams and nuclear power plants use an earth ground.

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"B on D C", is a 1989 2459 Trophy Offshore HT, OMC 5.7L, Cobra OD, Yamaha 15hp kicker. Lots of toys! I'm no mechanic, just a blue water sailer and woodworker who loves deep sea fishing.
MMSI: 367637220
HAM: KE7TTR
TDI tech diver
BoD, North Olympic Peninsula Puget Sound Anglers, Sequim, WA
Kevin
Last Edit: by CptCrunchie.

Portable Generator 18 Jun 2017 14:01 #34

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CptCrunchie wrote:

bobmorgan wrote: WOW CptCrunchie read the posts ! The same principle applies if you use a generator that "generates" the 120 volts AC and the same fault conditions exist in the boat. The current returns through the metal on the boat to ground . This is not difficult take the shore power pedestal away and put the generator on the dock in its place if it helps you visualize it.


How about you read the OP. He's putting it on the swim platform.

Indeed, power leaking into the water from shore power through a line on a dock needs to get back to its origin, whether it be through the grounding on a boat or through the water and the earth. If someone is in its path, they will get zapped. However, if someone is in the water even 10' from that path, they will not be effected.

HOWEVER, .....even if the outdrive was connected to the neutral, since there is no live feed entering the water, there is no power making the loop back to the generator. Furthermore, since electricity will ALWAYS take the shortest and easiest path, even if the boat was leaking current from the generator, it will return through its easiest path, its wiring. The water is safe.

Here's a test for you. You are on the hook in some bay. Run a positive wire from the generator to a light bulb. Connect the other side of the light bulb to the engine. Ground the neutral side of the generator to the outdrive. Fire up the generator and the bulb lights up. Now go for a swim, dive under and touch the outdrive. I GUARANTEE, YOU WILL NOT GET A SHOCK!

You want to equate the leakage from shore power to the the same thing happening to a generator sitting on a boat, and it just isn't so. You just need to look at its return path to see that. It doesn't need to enter the water to get home, where shore power leaking into the water does.

BTW, if a portable generator is sitting on the dock or on the shore, unless it uses an 'earth ground', the power will stay within the loop. Hydro dams and nuclear power plants use an earth ground.

Thanks for the offer but I prefer you test it and get back to us on the results. ;)
!. we are talking about a system that has a Ground Fault in it.
2. Portable Generators like the EU 2000 are not bonded they have a floating bond http://noshockzone.org/generator-ground-neutral-bonding/
3. Bonding: A separate system electrically connecting all metal fittings on the boat that are in contact with the water, including the sacrificial anode(s), and connecting them to the earth ground, so they are all at the same voltage potential, zero. There should never be any current in the bonding system. The resistance of this circuit should be less than one (1) ohm.
4. Ground Fault: A ground fault is an AC hot wire, either black or white, inadvertently touching something it isn't supposed to be touching such as a metal case. It is not the same as two hot wires shorting to each other. It is wires shorting to ground. This can occur due to a breach in the insulation, a broken wire, or a loose connection. Chafing on a sharp edge or rough surface can abrade the wire and cause a break in the insulation. http://newboatbuilders.com/pages/electricity14.html
5.If the generator is not bonded or the boat is improperly wired on the AC side with the green and white electrically connected then current will leak into the water causing a shock hazard. http://www.cruisingworld.com/grounding-bonding-and-deadly-neutral-ground-link


For those who do not wish to simply follow Smitty477's advice and just shut your generator off while swimming I would follow Capt Crunchies advice and forward all legal claims should a tragedy happen to him ;)

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Portable Generator 18 Jun 2017 14:17 #35

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On a boat, the neutral and ground should only be connected at the power source: shore power at the dock, built in generator, etc. The reasons that ABYC does not recommend using portable generators on boats is the open or floating neutral that exists in many of these units. Here's a good article explaining the issue: www.proboat.com/2011/10/demystifying-the...o-ground-connection/

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Portable Generator 18 Jun 2017 14:29 #36

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Norton Rider wrote: On a boat, the neutral and ground should only be connected at the power source: shore power at the dock, built in generator, etc. The reasons that ABYC does not recommend using portable generators on boats is the open or floating neutral that exists in many of these units. Here's a good article explaining the issue: www.proboat.com/2011/10/demystifying-the...o-ground-connection/

Exactly Thanks

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Portable Generator 18 Jun 2017 15:30 #37

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How about a real example then. Goeduckers. Metal boat. Portable generator running. Everything on the boat is neutral grounded to the generator. Electric air compressor. Electric water pump supplying high pressure water for the stinger. (In fact, many have a portable generator sitting beside the compressor and water pump on their roofs.) Divers don an umbilical fed mask, some with a light. A few of the cold water divers also have hot water fed from an electric water heater running into their wetsuits to keep them warm. How then are they safe?

Or navy divers diving off a ship with massive generators running?

Or commercial salvage? What about them? Many of the smaller companies use a portable generator either on their deck or on the roof.

Or gold dredgers in Alaska, diving off a barge with compressors, pumps, underwater lights and heaters all fed off - or somehow connected to - a portable generator?

In the many tech dives I have done off of all kinds of boats (including charters and live-aboards), never is there an issue with portable generators running while we dive. In fact, in a few cases, I've dived with an umbilical diver with boat fed electric lights run off a portable Honda generator.

Shore power? Absolutely! But never when using a portable generator. And I have already staked my life on it.

BTW, everyone I listed - including me - carries insurance.

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HAM: KE7TTR
TDI tech diver
BoD, North Olympic Peninsula Puget Sound Anglers, Sequim, WA
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Portable Generator 18 Jun 2017 18:22 #38

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CptCrunchie wrote: How about a real example then. Goeduckers. Metal boat. Portable generator running. Everything on the boat is neutral grounded to the generator. Electric air compressor. Electric water pump supplying high pressure water for the stinger. (In fact, many have a portable generator sitting beside the compressor and water pump on their roofs.) Divers don an umbilical fed mask, some with a light. A few of the cold water divers also have hot water fed from an electric water heater running into their wetsuits to keep them warm. How then are they safe?

Or navy divers diving off a ship with massive generators running?

Or commercial salvage? What about them? Many of the smaller companies use a portable generator either on their deck or on the roof.

Or gold dredgers in Alaska, diving off a barge with compressors, pumps, underwater lights and heaters all fed off - or somehow connected to - a portable generator?

In the many tech dives I have done off of all kinds of boats (including charters and live-aboards), never is there an issue with portable generators running while we dive. In fact, in a few cases, I've dived with an umbilical diver with boat fed electric lights run off a portable Honda generator.

Shore power? Absolutely! But never when using a portable generator. And I have already staked my life on it.

BTW, everyone I listed - including me - carries insurance.


All good examples of a situation where an electrical fault did not exist and no tragedy occurred. Thanks for sharing :)
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Portable Generator 19 Jun 2017 02:57 #39

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CptCrunchie wrote: How about a real example then. Goeduckers. Metal boat. Portable generator running. Everything on the boat is neutral grounded to the generator. Electric air compressor. Electric water pump supplying high pressure water for the stinger. (In fact, many have a portable generator sitting beside the compressor and water pump on their roofs.) Divers don an umbilical fed mask, some with a light. A few of the cold water divers also have hot water fed from an electric water heater running into their wetsuits to keep them warm. How then are they safe?

Or navy divers diving off a ship with massive generators running?............................................


Most heavy duty generators used in the types of operations you mentioned have the ground and neutral bonded internally.

Having the neutral bonded to ground is required for circuit breakers to trip in a hot-to-ground fault. This is why houses have the neutral and ground bonded.Boats also need a neutral to ground bond for circuit breakers to work properly. When shore power is connected this bond is at the shore power source. When running an on-board generator the bond is at the generator or generator bus bar. Unfortunately, many of the portable generators used on boats (inverter-type Honda, Yamaha, etc.) do not have the neutral and ground bonded. If a hot to ground fault never occurs, nothing bad will happen. Unfortunately, if a hot to ground fault does occur, the breaker for the circuit in question may not trip. Portable generators do have built in breakers, but they are sized for the output of the generator. A hot to ground fault in a low amperage branch circuit may not trip the generator's breaker. The result is a hot to ground fault that may shock or electrocute someone.

The internet has a number of examples of people that have made ground to neutral bonding plugs for their generators. In theory, this should work OK on a boat and should provide the required ground to neutral bonding.
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Portable Generator 19 Jun 2017 06:07 #40

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So, Norton Rider, in my 'test', would I be safe or electrocuted?

> Here's a test for you. You are on the hook in some bay. Run a positive wire from the generator to a light bulb. Connect the other side of the light bulb to the engine. Ground the neutral side of the generator to the outdrive. Fire up the generator and the bulb lights up. Now go for a swim, dive under and touch the outdrive. I GUARANTEE, YOU WILL NOT GET A SHOCK!

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HAM: KE7TTR
TDI tech diver
BoD, North Olympic Peninsula Puget Sound Anglers, Sequim, WA
Kevin

Portable Generator 19 Jun 2017 10:54 #41

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CptCrunchie wrote: So, Norton Rider, in my 'test', would I be safe or electrocuted?

> Here's a test for you. You are on the hook in some bay. Run a positive wire from the generator to a light bulb. Connect the other side of the light bulb to the engine. Ground the neutral side of the generator to the outdrive. Fire up the generator and the bulb lights up. Now go for a swim, dive under and touch the outdrive. I GUARANTEE, YOU WILL NOT GET A SHOCK!

You keep posting this false scenario which does not constitute a ground fault condition. Please do not ask people to test your erroneous theories. As I indicated in your post with your list of examples none of which showed a ground fault condition, meaning the generators in question were either bonded or you have been extremely lucky to this point. At the end of the day for others reading this post please DO NOT FOLLOW CaptCrunchie's advice. If you're on a portable generator and you plan to go swimming, play it safe and shut the generator off while in the water.

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Portable Generator 19 Jun 2017 11:28 #42

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"DO NOT FOLLOW CaptCrunchie's advice. If you're on a portable generator and you plan to go swimming, play it safe and shut the generator off while in the water."

+1 - please.

- Read your owners manual for the portable genset , follow the manual
- Or ask a marine electrician about losing the ground and not having the earth connection to genset
- Or google 'how to hookup a portable genet on a boat' and see you get no 'positive' results

You will get to read a bunch or articles like this....
www.boats.com/how-to/portable-ac-generat...-boats/#.WUWSUE02zb0

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Portable Generator - terrible accident 19 Jun 2017 11:42 #43

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Just yesterday a terrible accident - girls wearing life jackets and under adult supervision but one was electrocuted while swimming nest to a boat lift.
Such a terrible and unnecessary loss , unfortunately we read about these each week in the summer months.

www.nydailynews.com/news/national/n-girl...me-article-1.3257912

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Portable Generator 19 Jun 2017 13:13 #44

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CptCrunchie wrote: So, Norton Rider, in my 'test', would I be safe or electrocuted?

> Here's a test for you. You are on the hook in some bay. Run a positive wire from the generator to a light bulb. Connect the other side of the light bulb to the engine. Ground the neutral side of the generator to the outdrive. Fire up the generator and the bulb lights up. Now go for a swim, dive under and touch the outdrive. I GUARANTEE, YOU WILL NOT GET A SHOCK!


If you read my post you will notice that I did not specifically address shock or electrocution in the water. That's a different issue altogether. My concern, and that of ABYC is having inop circuit breakers due to the lack of ground and neutral bonding. I mentioned shock, but a potentially more serious issue could be the overheating, sparking, and/or fire of a shorted component without circuit protection.

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Portable Generator 20 Jun 2017 17:51 #45

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Let's start this all over. This is what I know, and it is an actual incident that happened with me and 11 tech dive buddies.

The dive charter we went on was an older boat, with room to sleep all 12 of us, plus had lots of space on deck for our gear. The day we arrived, on the roof was an older portable generator running. Not knowing anything about marine electrical - though I was a general contractor for over 20 years - I asked him, “Can we get a shock when we dive if it is running?”

The captain's response was (paraphrasing from memory), “The unit is neutral grounded to the engine block, so it is a closed system that doesn’t rely on an earth ground.”

When pressed for more information later that night at dinner, this is what he told us. “If I connected the positive lead from the generator to a light bulb, the other side of the light bulb to the engine, the neutral wire from my generator to the prop shaft, and turned the generator on, I could dive into the water, touch the prop and not get shocked.”

He went on to describe his ‘closed loop system’. “If I was connected to shore power, this wiring method would be dangerous. But because I’m connecting to a generator sitting on the boat, the power doesn’t have any reason to enter the water to return to the generation source. This creates a closed loop system, so the power is contained on the boat. Therefore, it is safe to dive while the generator is running.”

We spent a week diving off that boat. One member even reached out and grabbed his prop just to see if he was correct. We never had an incident, and we are talking about a lot of people, multiple dives, climbing up a steel ladder, .....we did everything on that boat without incident.

Now, I've read your linked articles, and since I am no electrical techno geek, much of it is a haze. There does seem to be a common reference to equating the neutral ground of the generator with the neutral ground of shore power. I understand how the green wire and neutral ground are linked with shore power, but the captains description contradicts how you are describing the use of a portable generator on a boat.

What I experienced was real, relatable and well explained. Again I ask, were we safe or should we have been electrocuted? Or has something changed between the older generators and the newer ones? As I said, I and 11 others put our lives at stake on this, so I know it works.

And smitty, all your linked articles - including this last one - are about shore power and have nothing to do with what I'm talking about. The girl touched a metal boat lift that was connected to shore power. I think we all acknowledge that grounding EVERYTHING on a dock is mandatory to prevent this. As I stated, I won't dive on a boat to clean it or replace zincs if it is connected to shore power, whether the power has been turned off or not.

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Portable Generator 20 Jun 2017 21:11 #46

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CptCrunchie wrote: Let's start this all over. This is what I know, and it is an actual incident that happened with me and 11 tech dive buddies.

The dive charter we went on was an older boat, with room to sleep all 12 of us, plus had lots of space on deck for our gear. The day we arrived, on the roof was an older portable generator running. Not knowing anything about marine electrical - though I was a general contractor for over 20 years - I asked him, “Can we get a shock when we dive if it is running?”

The captain's response was (paraphrasing from memory), “The unit is neutral grounded to the engine block, so it is a closed system that doesn’t rely on an earth ground.”

When pressed for more information later that night at dinner, this is what he told us. “If I connected the positive lead from the generator to a light bulb, the other side of the light bulb to the engine, the neutral wire from my generator to the prop shaft, and turned the generator on, I could dive into the water, touch the prop and not get shocked.”

He went on to describe his ‘closed loop system’. “If I was connected to shore power, this wiring method would be dangerous. But because I’m connecting to a generator sitting on the boat, the power doesn’t have any reason to enter the water to return to the generation source. This creates a closed loop system, so the power is contained on the boat. Therefore, it is safe to dive while the generator is running.”

We spent a week diving off that boat. One member even reached out and grabbed his prop just to see if he was correct. We never had an incident, and we are talking about a lot of people, multiple dives, climbing up a steel ladder, .....we did everything on that boat without incident.

Now, I've read your linked articles, and since I am no electrical techno geek, much of it is a haze. There does seem to be a common reference to equating the neutral ground of the generator with the neutral ground of shore power. I understand how the green wire and neutral ground are linked with shore power, but the captains description contradicts how you are describing the use of a portable generator on a boat.

What I experienced was real, relatable and well explained. Again I ask, were we safe or should we have been electrocuted? Or has something changed between the older generators and the newer ones? As I said, I and 11 others put our lives at stake on this, so I know it works.

And smitty, all your linked articles - including this last one - are about shore power and have nothing to do with what I'm talking about. The girl touched a metal boat lift that was connected to shore power. I think we all acknowledge that grounding EVERYTHING on a dock is mandatory to prevent this. As I stated, I won't dive on a boat to clean it or replace zincs if it is connected to shore power, whether the power has been turned off or not.


Okay let's see if I can explain it again.
Although there are exceptions, typical AC wiring installations aboard boats up to about 75′ (23m) are single phase. This means, for 120V service, that the wiring configuration has three colored conductors:

hot (black)—analogous to DC positive, it has more voltage and is alternating current and potentially lethal;
neutral (white), sometimes referred to as grounded—analogous to DC negative;
safety grounding (green). Note the “ground” terminology ending in “ing” versus “ed.” Normally this conductor is not considered a current carrier unless and until there is a fault.

The green AC safety-grounding conductor is often part of a larger onboard ground system that consists of the bonding system and the DC negative system. If ABYC guidelines are followed, these other “ground” systems are interconnected. This means connected or grounded to the engine and drives.

If the pedestal you connect to on shore is properly wired a fault or short will trip the breaker at the pedestal. If it is not then the electricity will follow the grounding wire through the engine and drive and into the water ending in Electrical Shock Drowning (ESD).

Portable generators are not required to have an electrical bond from the neutral to the frame so-called "floating neutral generator". Honda's and others have floating bonds. In open frame models, like the ES6500, you can simply add a Neutral Bond jumper from one of the generator winding leads to the frame (as pictured) In an EU series inverter generator, bonding the Neutral to Ground requires removing the main panel and inverter module to get behind the breakers, switches, sockets etc. - not easily done or undone. According to the Honda Service Bulletins, it should only be done by a qualified Honda service technician.

Honda portable generators have a system ground that connects generator frame components to the ground (Green Wire) terminals in the AC output receptacles. The system ground is not connected to the AC neutral wire. If the generator is tested by a receptacle tester, it will not show the same ground circuit condition as for a home receptacle.

So in a fault or short condition the electricity is carried into the water via the engine and drives.

The Green wire as indicated above is attached to the frame on the generator. By using a plug such as posted in previous posts you can "bond" the Neutral and Ground so should a short occur the Neutral will be grounded to the frame and trip the breaker. It should be noted however that this is not a permanent fix and comes with its own risks should the plug not be fully engaged or you forget to use it. Just shut the generator off when going in the water.

The fact that you were able to swim and not get electrocuted indicates only that you were lucky that a fault or short did not exist, not that the Captain was correct or that it was safe.

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