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AH YES THE DREADED REVERSE POLARITY!

Aug 11, 2011
469
O'day 30 Feeling Nauti GEORGETOWN, MD
I had the o'day distribution panel all set up with power to a 3 breaker panel. One for each 110V AC power outlet. Then I had the bright idea of installing an ELCI unit as additional protection. Sure, sounds great. Installed the shore power to the ELCI. Installed the distribution panel to the load side of the ELCI and hooked up the three breaker panel to the main o'day panel.
Time to test.
The reverse polarity light came on even without the breakers on the three way in use.
The 30 amp breaker on the main distribution panel flipped off and the reverse polarity came on.

Somewhere along the line I messed up. But before I pull everything apart, any suggestions from those that are more knowledgeable. Yes, Ill say it......HELP!
 
May 20, 2016
2,804
Catalina 36 MK1 Everett, WA
The reverse polarity light is not a magical device. It is just an indication you have voltage between the neutral and ground lines. This can be due to a floating ground, or hot/neutral swap.
 
Jul 2, 2016
12
Hunter Vision32 2 Barrochois
At the first of the season while on the hard, I was plugged into shore power with the battery charger switch on and using a small vacuum going. It was working fine for a minute then all stopped. I figured I tripped the breaker but the reverse polarity light was on. It was getting late so I unplugged everything till the next day, came back and plugged into shore power. No reverse polarity light.
 
Aug 11, 2011
469
O'day 30 Feeling Nauti GEORGETOWN, MD
It was getting late so I unplugged everything till the next day, came back and plugged into shore power. No reverse polarity light.
Ah, but did you use the vacum cleaner again? Just kidding.
 
Aug 11, 2011
469
O'day 30 Feeling Nauti GEORGETOWN, MD
Pulled it all apart and re installed today. Power works, all breakers stay on. So the new ELCI unit has a polarity reverse light, the primary distribution panel (load) has one also (which is the one that comes on) and the outlets are all GFI. Obviously overkill, but I'm using everything thats on the boat for the time being. Is this the souce of the issue, that there are two polarity reverse lights? The ELCI one which receives shore power is not on.
 
Aug 11, 2011
469
O'day 30 Feeling Nauti GEORGETOWN, MD
So then Les, as you said before there must be voltage between the neutral and ground lines, somewhere. Well that will have to wait till next week. Have to do that dreaded subject.....work! Thanks for your help. Standby for the rsults in a week.
 
Aug 11, 2011
469
O'day 30 Feeling Nauti GEORGETOWN, MD
Results: I had a black (hot) wire which the DPO had butt connected to a green. All I could see in the midst of the spaghetti mess of wires was the green. I had pulled all green wires to a ground buss bar. Thats where my polarity issue was. However, now I dont know where this black wire is supposed to go. So I snipped it and sealed off the end. I'm sure eventually it will come to me (most likely in the middle of the night, like a nightmare) what that hot is intended for and where it connects. As always your help has been appreciated.
 
Jan 27, 2008
2,918
ODay 35 Beaufort, NC
Can’t you trace that black wire somewhere? If you had a live AC 120 volt wire connected directly to a ground you would immediately blow a fuse, or trip a breaker. If neither of those things happened you would start a fire . Sounds like the PO used a black piece of wire improperly but not necessarily a live wire?
 
May 17, 2004
1,945
Beneteau Oceanis 37 LE Havre de Grace
Can’t you trace that black wire somewhere? If you had a live AC 120 volt wire connected directly to a ground you would immediately blow a fuse, or trip a breaker. If neither of those things happened you would start a fire . Sounds like the PO used a black piece of wire improperly but not necessarily a live wire?
Either that or there are other electrical issues going on, like maybe the ground on the boat isn't connected to the ground of the shore plug and back to ground on land. If that's the case and the AC hot was connected straight to the boat's ground it would be quite dangerous for anyone swimming. Recommend you check that black wire and see if it actually is live. If so figure out why connecting it to ground didn't immediately trip a breaker.