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Pros and Cons of a Traditional Isolation Transformer

A marine isolation transformer is a versatile device that can be used to provide galvanic isolation from shore power systems, to enhance electrical safety and eliminate corrosion caused by stray currents. Some isolation transformers can also be used for raising the shore voltage to deal with voltage drop. Another common use is to adapt the vessel’s internal power system voltage to a higher or lower shore power supply. If isolation transformers are so useful why is every boat not equipped with one?

Voltage Drop in Primary Distribution

Most marine electrical systems will have a DC (direct current) system as part of their electrical design, and for most boats it may form the largest and most intrinsic part of the electrical system. With lower voltage electrical systems, those below 50V, it is of paramount importance that particular attention is paid to distribution of the power and maintaining voltage drop to a minimum.

Thermal vs. Magnetic Circuit Breakers

Thermal circuit breakers respond to over-current situations, as their name implies, by the circuit generating an inordinate amount of heat causing the bimetal contacts inside the breaker to disengage due to unequal expansion. A magnetic circuit breaker responds to over-current situations by a loading coil inside the breaker lifting the contacts apart when the current flow through the coil is sufficient to overcome the spring force holding the contacts together.

Alternators

Early electrical pioneers discovered that passing a magnet in close proximity to coiled wire induced an electrical charge, and that a rotating magnet in front of coiled wire created alternating current. This electrical principle is the basis of an alternator. An alternator is a rotating machine designed to produce alternating current that can then be rectified to produce directional current that can be used, or stored for later use in a battery.

Fusing Electric Motor Circuits

Generally electric motors have their own over-current device. When this is not the case the fuse or breaker should be rated to the full load potential of the motor (provided that the wires run for the circuit are adequate). These breakers or fuses need...

Your Chassis Ground Connection: NOT Your Negative Connection

This article demonstrates the risks of doing DC wiring aboard a boat without understanding how the whole DC and AC electrical system work together. In particular, let us examine the chassis ground connection. Knowing about these situations is important so you can maintain your boat properly and also for your personal safety.

Protecting Your Boat From Galvanic Corrosion

Protecting your boat from various external elements is crucial in the long run. Our boats are made of many processed materials that want to return to their normal state by undergoing electrochemical processes - in other words, these materials want to corrode. Galvanic corrosion occurs when two dissimilar metals, for example copper and steel, are connected and submersed in an electrolyte (water) - this creates an electric charge.

Mixing Battery Types in a Single Bank

You have probably heard that it is bad to mix battery types and ages in a single bank, but you may not know why. A simplified answer is that the stronger batteries will always be charging the weaker batteries. This is true, but let's take a closer look at this problem.

Charging More Than One Battery Bank: The PYS Recommendation

Today, many recreational and leisure boats have more than one battery bank and proper charging systems can get fairly complicated. There is no one solution for every boater. It not only depends on the style of boat, but also on how the boat owner uses his or her boat.

Fuses Blowing? Why Going Bigger is NOT the Solution

We were recently on a boat that kept blowing fuses to one of its electronic devices. What is the standard mistake made in this situation? Trying some bigger fuses! There are two reasons we use fuses. One is to protect the wire feeding a device (in case of a short or too much current); the other is to protect the device/appliance at the end of the wire.

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