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Strange Electrical Issue

Nov 18, 2010
2,270
Catalina 310 Hingham, MA
This issue has been going on since we’ve owned our Catalina 310 but I never really thought about it until recently.

We have two GFCI Outlets on the boat. GFCI Outlet #1 is at the navigation station and according to the wiring diagram should be the only outlet connected on that run. GFCI #2 is at the galley counter and should be the first in the line protecting the rest of the outlets on the boat.


Now here is where things get a little strange. When GFCI #2 is tripped, no problem. All of the other outlets are tripped down the line. But when GFCI #1 get’s tripped, it also trips all of the outlets, including GFCI #2. Further, the bottom outlet on GFCI #1 will continue to work when tripped.

Looking at the wiring diagram there is no reason why tripping GFCI #1 should disable the outlets on the leg for GFCI #2. But it happens.

Also, I don’t like the fact that the bottom outlet on GFCI #1 continues to work when tripped.

My plan is to verify the wiring is as per the diagram. I suspect that somehow the factory wired the GFCI outlets different than shown. I am also going to replace both GFCI outlets, which brings up another question.

Is there any difference between a marine GFCI outlet and a standard GFCI outlet you get in the box store?

I looked at the GFCI outlets at Fisheries Supply, which are made by Marinco. I read the info on their webpage and they call it a “marine electrical duplex GFCI receptacle” but I can’t find anything that actually makes it marine. What is the difference between the Marinco and the Leviton Smart Lock Pro 15 amp weather resistant outlet? The Leviton is less than half the price and I can go pick it up and skip the shipping charge?

I am going to cross post this on MaineSail's Musings.

Thanks for any help you can provide.

Jesse
 
Nov 8, 2010
10,732
Beneteau First 36.7 & 260 Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
I'm sure Main will have more definitive thoughts, but I'm thinking that #2 is wired downstream from #1. GFIs in series will do that tripping thing.
 
Mar 20, 2012
3,983
Cal 34-III, MacGregor 25 Salem, Oregon
you have this thread double posted....

the very first thing i would do is pull #1 out and replace it.... all gfci outlets are not the same quality and ive seen so many fail in various ways that i go to the outlet that shows the slightest sign of problems and replace it.... and almost always solves all the issues.

if #1 is tripping yet one hole is still hot, it definitely has an internal problem.... and because of the failure there, it could be back feeding and tripping the other leg,
because it takes less to trip the gfci than it does to trip the main circuit breakers.

I replaced all my receptacles with gfci outlets and wired them independent of one another... otherwise the problem can be anywhere along the hot leg and you cant tell where the problem is... if the hot leg itself has a problem, it will trip the circuit breaker on that leg.
 
Nov 18, 2010
2,270
Catalina 310 Hingham, MA
I posted the update below on Maine Sail's portion of the forum but thought I should post it here too since the wiring diagram from Catalina is incorrect on my boat. Might be useful info for other 310 owners.

Yesterday I worked on this issue and here is what I found.

I started with the outlet in the galley. This one was easily accessible and the wiring was as expected.


Existing Wiring

Old Outlet on right (Hubbell Class A UL 943). New Outlet on left (notice the TR and WR)

I completed the change on the first outlet without an issues.

When I took out the second outlet I found an issue. According to the wiring diagram provided by Catalina, this should have been a single leg outlet with only a feed line connected to the top of the outlet and nothing connected to the bottom, load side. Well it was connected on both sides. I tried to look around and figure out exactly how everything was run. However, all of the wires were bundled in wire loom and I couldn’t follow it easily. It’s a little cool out and the temp in the cabin had dipped below 55 degrees so I decided to just put the new outlet in and then figure out how the wires were run.

I re-energized the outlets and checked to make sure I wired everything correctly. I used an outlet tester to make sure I had the polarity and ground connected correctly.



I then went through all the outlets and figured out what order they were wired and what the GFCI’s affected. Here is a revised wiring diagram based on what I found.




So all 6 outlets are on a single leg of outlets and the 1st and 3rd outlets in line are GFCI. This is incorrect wiring and probably responsible for part of the strange issue I was having. At the very least it’s a redundant GFCI.

My plan is to split the outlets into two legs. I think I will have outlets #1 and #2 on leg one and outlets #3 – #6 on the other leg. This would mean running a new 12-3 wire from the electric panel to that outlet. And then disconnecting the wires that run from outlet #2 to outlet #3. I am not a big fan of keeping unused wires in place so I will remove the old wires.

But now I am wondering if this is necessary. All the outlets are fed by the single 30 amp breaker. If I split the legs, both legs would still be fed by the 30 amp breaker. So is there any benefit from separating the legs?

If not, I could just remove the second GFCI outlet and replace it with a standard outlet. I could then save the GFCI outlet for next time I need to replace GFCI outlet #1.

After replacing the outlets I ran heaters, electric tea kettle, microwave, iron and dehumidifier at various times and levels and didn’t have any of the issues I was having before replacing the outlets. I did pop the outlet breaker at the panel once when I ran the heater on high with the microwave by mistake.
 
Mar 22, 2009
355
Catalina 310 Gulfport Small Craft Harbor, MS
Trying to read through old posts on my phone without much success.

Port side AC outlets not working. Starboard working fine.

I see 3 outlets. Head, above port settee, and front berth.

3 on starboard side. Rear berth (gfci), inside cabinet above stove, and near sink (gfci).

Have tripped/reset both gfci outlets. Only affects starboard side.

Any help is appreciated.

Thanks
Jim
 
Nov 18, 2010
2,270
Catalina 310 Hingham, MA
Trying to read through old posts on my phone without much success. Port side AC outlets not working. Starboard working fine. I see 3 outlets. Head, above port settee, and front berth. 3 on starboard side. Rear berth (gfci), inside cabinet above stove, and near sink (gfci). Have tripped/reset both gfci outlets. Only affects starboard side. Any help is appreciated. Thanks Jim
Does the GFCI at the galley counter work?

The way these are wired on my boat all of the port side outlets are wired off of this outlet. From what MS responded to this post before, the GFCI outlets should be considered wear items and replaced periodically. Mine were original from 2001. Replacing them fixed my problems. He made some suggestions on outlet brands. It was far easier to find the ones he recommended online than in a local store or supply house.

I put an update on the cross post to this on the Maine Sail section and on my blog that includes an updated wiring diagram.
 
Mar 22, 2009
355
Catalina 310 Gulfport Small Craft Harbor, MS
I tripped and reset that GFCI. That outlet is working...I have a fan plugged into it. But port side still not working.

Will try again when I get back onboard after Thanksgiving.

Hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving!

Cheers,
Jim
 
Mar 16, 2007
1,334
Catalina 310 Anacortes,Wa
My fast check to see if 110 volts was on was to check if the light on Micro wave was on..

Had the same experience last year.

Bought a new GFCI outlet but have not installed it yet.

Took me awhile to figure out something was not as shown in manual.

My 110 volt procedure was... turn off 110 on AC panel, turn off aft main switch and turn off AC on dock and the reverse procedure to hook up 110 volts.


paulj
 
Mar 22, 2009
355
Catalina 310 Gulfport Small Craft Harbor, MS
The microwave outlet and the GFCI over the galley are both working...the microwave is on and the fan on the galley is running. And when I trip the GFCI in the rear berth both of them go off until I reset it. Same thing happens when I trip the GFCI in the galley.

I have a TV plugged into a power strip plugged into the outlet in the V-berth. There is also a second fan plugged into that power strip. Have tried the fan directly into the outlet and into the outlet over the port settee...neither seemed to be working. Didn't try the outlet in the head.

Will try to reset and test everything again when I get back from Thanksgiving trip.

But was hoping there was a GFCI or circuit breaker for those three port side outlets as an easy fix for the problem.

Cheers,
Jim
 
May 2, 2012
223
Catalina 310 Toronto
HI All and Happy Thanksgiving.

I just noticed this topic today on my tablet and figured I jump in. I had the GFCI outlet (starboard) in where the Micro Wave is. It kept tripping off. I removed it and placed it to the nearest outlet by the sink. (actually where it should be.) I then put an ordinary outlet in where the Micro Wave is and everything works perfectly now.

Looking at JK wiring diagram there is no GCFI outlet in the head which I find very strange. That is one place you would think there should be one. :confused: I replace the standard one in the head with a GCFI when I first got the boat. Now I can sleep.

Catalina 310 - 2003

Cheers
2 Old Pirates
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Sep 30, 2008
1,453
Catalina 310 Quincy, MA
HI All and Happy Thanksgiving.

I just noticed this topic today on my tablet and figured I jump in. I had the GFCI outlet (starboard) in where the Micro Wave is. It kept tripping off. I removed it and placed it to the nearest outlet by the sink. (actually where it should be.) I then put an ordinary outlet in where the Micro Wave is and everything works perfectly now.

Looking at JK wiring diagram there is no GCFI outlet in the head which I find very strange. That is one place you would think there should be one. :confused: I replace the standard one in the head with a GCFI when I first got the boat. Now I can sleep.

Catalina 310 - 2003

Cheers
2 Old Pirates
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The outlet in the head is probably wired downstream from a GFCI. This would protect the outlet in the head just as if it were a GFCI. From what we are seeing in these posts, though, we can't assume that Catalina wired them correctly. You might want to investigate the outlet at the microwave. There could be a reason the GFCI was tripping.
 
May 2, 2012
223
Catalina 310 Toronto
Hi Tom J ............ Funny you mentioned about investigating the outlet. When I move the GFCI I replaced it with a new one in the new location.

The one I removed did show to be faulty after checking it out later. The GFCI in the head that I installed didn't exist. I just felt very uncomfortable not having one in the head.

I checked mine thoroughly and found that the starboard side is a continuous run to the port side. The extra GFCI in the head just makes it a little more safe.

This forum is so great !!! Just learning a S**t load of great information.

Cheers
2 Old Pirates
 
Mar 22, 2009
355
Catalina 310 Gulfport Small Craft Harbor, MS
Based on 2 Old Pirates comment about "continuous run to the port side" and then looking at the wiring diagram several posts up...

Is it feasible that the forward port side 110 outlet (not a GFCI) could go "bad" and stop working and also keep any current from flowing to the downstream outlets in the main salon and the head?

Not nearly as smart on electrics as I should be.

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all.

Cheers,
Jim
 
Mar 22, 2009
355
Catalina 310 Gulfport Small Craft Harbor, MS
Turns out the outlets are fine. I had a fan that no longer works and I also tried my TV but it turns out the on/off button on the TV no longer works either. But when I tried the remote control it works fine.

Outlets are fine. Lesson learned -- never jump to conclusions.

Cheers,
Jim