NEARLY BURNT DOWN THE BOAT

Aug 11, 2011
662
O'day 30 313 Georgetown MD
I had installed a Blue Seas ELCI unit as suggested by the Surveyor, to meet the AYBC codes. It worked fine for nearly a year. Two weeks ago, I was down at the boat and it was cold, so I was running two heaters. After a while, the cabin was filling with electrical smoke. I manually flipped the breaker on the ELCI and shut down shore power. Luckily I caught it. The breakers didn't trip. I think I'll send it to Blue Seas for them to take a look.
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Johnb

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Jan 22, 2008
1,296
Hunter 37-cutter Richmond CA
If the overheating was on the line side you can’t fault the ELCI. That could be overheating caused by poor connections carrying a high load.
Are you sure you understand what you are doing?
 
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Likes: eherlihy
Feb 6, 1998
11,436
Canadian Sailcraft 36T Casco Bay, ME
Max continuous load on a 30A shore service is 24A per NEC/NFPA code. Two typical electric heaters and you’re already pushing the safe limits of a 30A shore service.. Unbundle that loom and you’ll likely find the source of high resistance..
 

Ward H

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Nov 7, 2011
3,131
Catalina 30 Mk II Barnegat, NJ
An overload caused by the heaters should have tripped the local breaker for that circuit. If that failed then the ELCI should have tripped. Failing that the shore power breaker should have tripped.
As Johnb noted, it does appear the overheating was on the line side. A loose or poor screw connection where the line side connects to the breaker could overheat like that and not trip the shore side breaker.
 

walt

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Jun 1, 2007
3,454
Macgregor 26S Hobie TI Ridgway Colorado
A wire carrying 30 amps I believe should be minimum 10 gauge. Cant tell from your picture.. but it looks like the wire that got hot might be smaller than 10 gauge? Ie, there are some smallish looking wires in that picture.. Iike 12 or maybe even 14 gauge??? Just a perception.. cant really tell from a picture.

The ECLI part of that wont trip for too high of current. The current from two space heaters might be under the 30 amp breaker trip rating and not have blown the fuse.

But if the wire carrying the current for two space heaters is too small.. wires would get hot.
 

Ward H

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Nov 7, 2011
3,131
Catalina 30 Mk II Barnegat, NJ
For comparison, here is a photo of my ELCI breaker as wired by Blue Sea. I bought the AC panel, not just the breaker. The only wires I had to connect were the line wires.
The black wires inside of the loom are small gauge wires for the LED indicators.

I forgot to completely tighten a load wire screw to a breaker when installing my panel. (phone call interrupted me) The heat from the resistance melted wire loom and another wires insulation causing a short circuit. It can happen
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Likes: Will Gilmore