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TOPIC: Shore Power Volt Drop

Shore Power Volt Drop 29 Nov 2019 13:51 #111789

Hi Peter

Please note that I state what happens when "Out".

"Do you never want to use an emersion (presume you mean immersion) heater when on shore supply? Do you never want to use your new (presumably more than 750 watt) toaster, or do you use gas for these? "

If "out", either the main engine or the generator running every couple of days provide more than enough hot water. Summer showers tend to be "ambient tank temperature" to cool off. But yes if on a decent known supply will switch on the 1 kW immersion for an hour or two if necessary.

No rarely eat toast, don't have a toaster, but when do cook it under the gas grill. Roast food in the domestic LPG 600 wide double oven.

Washing machine / dryer for live aboard use is a necessity. So when "out" in the wild, run the Genny every two or three days for a couple of hours to, 1) top up batteries, 2) Vacuum, dish washer and washing machine at same time, still don't overload the 7kw output.

By the way - wood as a fuel is one of the "greenest", as if using "Managed Timber" planted as fuel wood, as is the case in France, all communes have their own fuel forestry, and licenced wood cutters, The carbon released in the combustion is what the tree absorbed in it's growth, so as long as its from sustainable fuel forests, with selected species replanted it's in fact carbon neutral. The majority of "smoke" you see wafting out of a chimney is in fact water vapour, This is an interesting article about burning wood.
www.wildeye.co.uk/firewood.html

Agreed, solar is a good thing and is getting cheaper. Gas BBQ, simple and easy.
Paul Hayes

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Shore Power Volt Drop 29 Nov 2019 12:43 #111788

Paul Hayes wrote: Needs and wants Peter
Needs
Fridge + freezer + trickle battery charger + LED lights. Total no more than 400 Watts or amps at 220 volt. That's not going trip anything.

All cooking and hot drinks on gas.

Wants
Washing machine dishwasher vacuum etc on generator for a couple of hours in the daytime so as not to upset neighbours (if any, we are often "in the wild" when "out") every few days. Maybe a few DVDs. Another 200 Watts, less than 1 amp.

A/C in main cabin, maybe 10 times a year when Genny running or on known 16 amp shore supply.

Nothing like tripping the supply to learn power management.
Paul Hayes


Needs:
If building from scratch, all of what you suggest makes sense, although not hot drinks from gas. A kettle is far more efficient, or better a thermo pot as I previously described that uses just 100 watts intermittently, except after re-filling which is done when plenty of supply available.

I'd love gas on my boat, but it isn't practical to retro fit and it's the least environmentally acceptable of all fuels apart from coal or wood. A very large number of owners don't like gas because of a misconceived concern over safety. A properly installed system is no more hazardous in a boat than in the home, provided alarms are included and regularly tested

I'm using LEDs in the saloon as they are on for hours and for reading lights in cabins, but ceiling lights remain with quartz halogen lamps unless they blow.

Do you never want to use an emersion heater when on shore supply? Do you never want to use your new (presumably more than 750 watt) toaster, or do you use gas for these?

Wants:
I have a washing machine, but only used 3 times in 9 years. I prefer the better machine at a service laundrette. OK, it's less convenient but does a better job. In fact we try to take 3 or 4 weeks of clothing, sheets, etc with us so don't usually need to do laundry until we get home!

AC - I can live without this extravagance and would never dream of starting a generator to power it. I never used it for the first several years, but my co-owners wanted it repaired. Just avoid the South of France in mid-summer.

A big bank of batteries with solar panels should be good for a 2 to 4 day stop in the wild, if one can use gas for cooking - we do have a well-used gas BBQ that goes some way to keeping demand low.

Peter

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Shore Power Volt Drop 29 Nov 2019 04:36 #111787

Needs and wants Peter
Needs
Fridge + freezer + trickle battery charger + LED lights. Total no more than 400 Watts or amps at 220 volt. That's not going trip anything.

All cooking and hot drinks on gas.

Wants
Washing machine dishwasher vacuum etc on generator for a couple of hours in the daytime so as not to upset neighbours (if any, we are often "in the wild" when "out") every few days. Maybe a few DVDs. Another 200 Watts, less than 1 amp.

A/C in main cabin, maybe 10 times a year when Genny running or on known 16 amp shore supply.

Nothing like tripping the supply to learn power management.
Paul Hayes

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Shore Power Volt Drop 28 Nov 2019 23:38 #111786

We purchased a 2 cup 750w kettle which works a treat although a bit slow.
We also purchased a 750 watt toaster which was useless ( for us ) and consigned to a charity shop. The toast ended up totally dry and crisp right through the slice, even raisin bread ended up like a rice cracker.

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Shore Power Volt Drop 28 Nov 2019 17:51 #111784

> The answer is simple, do as I do always assume that there is only 6 Amps when at an unknown stop and power manage accordingly manually. I have not got and do not want a combi charger / inverter.

Not that simple if, like the OP, you need lots of amps and you don't have a "supportive" inverter. I have an earlier generation combi that doesn't support the shore supply - I have to choose whether to get my power from shore OR inverter OR generator. This is a very common situation. Some shore supplies are as low as 4 A, so you may trip that, although it possibly deserves to be tripped!

Like you, I expect the shore supply to be about 6A, but it's so easy to overload that if someone thinks they want a slice of toast when I've been carefully limiting demand to 5A!

I've has to nobble my AC unit because it drew something like 10A. At its last service / repair, we disconnected one of the cooling elements so it now struggles to cool one room. Old Vetus AC (built by Mave) are rubbish!

Peter

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Shore Power Volt Drop 28 Nov 2019 17:33 #111783

Peter Cawson wrote: > You can set a limit of shore power use ( 1 - 16 amps) and if more power is needed it is tapped from the batteries

That's all very well if you know what the shore supply is rated at. Often (usually) this isn't stated on the box, so it's a matter of trial and error - error when it trips - so these "supportive" inverters are not as clever as they think they are!

Peter


Hello Peter
The answer is simple, do as I do always assume that there is only 6 Amps when at an unknown stop and power manage accordingly manually. I have not got and do not want a combi charger / inverter.

Paul Hayes

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Shore Power Volt Drop 28 Nov 2019 17:30 #111782

We also had a tester device from B&Q or similar at about that price that would e.g. detect if the system was earthed properly, and also if the polarity of the - and + cables was correct. With the continental system of wiring polarity is fairly irrelevant, but some electronic devices can be damaged if plus and minus are reversed.

Tam
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Shore Power Volt Drop 28 Nov 2019 14:52 #111780

> You can set a limit of shore power use ( 1 - 16 amps) and if more power is needed it is tapped from the batteries

That's all very well if you know what the shore supply is rated at. Often (usually) this isn't stated on the box, so it's a matter of trial and error - error when it trips - so these "supportive" inverters are not as clever as they think they are!

Peter
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Shore Power Volt Drop 28 Nov 2019 14:48 #111779

> This looks really good, but with only one on board for now, I fear the water would not get changed often enough. I will keep it in mind. But perhaps it will function OK if only half filled?

Richard. Yes it works well part filled. I travel single handed sometimes and I live on my own at home. It uses much less juice than filling a kettle, taking just a cup full and the rest goes cold. I love the fact that near-boiling water is always instantly available. I refill it on the move, so no drain on battery or shore supply. It's best to empty it occasionally to lose the loose scale.

Peter
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Shore Power Volt Drop 28 Nov 2019 14:24 #111778

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My old Mastervolt Mass Combi 24/4000-120 has the same function, in that I can regulate the shore power demand. I will lower the limit from its current 16A and see if my volt drop problem is reduced.

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Shore Power Volt Drop 28 Nov 2019 14:09 #111777

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Hello Peter
This looks really good, but with only one on board for now, I fear the water would not get changed often enough. I will keep it in mind. But perhaps it will function OK if only half filled?

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Shore Power Volt Drop 28 Nov 2019 13:58 #111776

When you have. Victron inverter you can correct for the 'impotency' of shore power, because of the power assist function.
You can set a limit of shore power use ( 1 - 16 amps) and if more power is needed it is tapped from the batteries.
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Shore Power Volt Drop 28 Nov 2019 12:19 #111775

Another brilliant but cheap power saver for those who enjoy soft-boiled eggs for breakfast or hard-boiled with picnic lunches is this. Sometimes available from Lidl under their Silver Crest name - very good

www.amazon.co.uk/Tower-Capacity-Protection-Efficient-Stainless/dp/B01AXUMKWM/ref=sr_1_6?crid=3RMSOA2KPMDLJ&keywords=egg+cooker&qid=1574939624&s=kitchen&sprefix=egg+cooker%2Celectronics%2C164&sr=1-6

Peter
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Shore Power Volt Drop 28 Nov 2019 11:53 #111774

> I need a new low wattage kettle for "Actief" when travelling since we only have a 1500 watt inverter, so you have saved me a bit of searching..

We found this clever "Thermo Pot" that uses less than 700 watts to boil, but keeps up to 3.5 litres of water hot with short bursts of 100 watts. It's pretty well insulated and is designed to be left on 24/7. I bought one with the intention of talking it to the boat, but it's so great to have 98 degree water on tap, I kept it at home and bought another for the boat. You never need to wait for the kettle to boil or worry that kettle plus toaster with upset the inverter. Excellent if travelling single handed - a cup of coffee with one short trip to the galley. Brilliant - kettles are so passé !

www.amazon.co.uk/Addis-Instant-Thermal-Dispenser-Stainless/dp/B017WIFFQ6/ref=sr_1_5?keywords=thermo+pot&qid=1574936941&sr=8-5

Peter
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Shore Power Volt Drop 28 Nov 2019 11:09 #111771

It appears you are trying to draw 14 amps. Sounds like it is excessive for your current area. Some marinas offer 16 amps, some 10 and others 6. Do you have a controller to restrict the draw to say 10 amps? When you need extra power draw it out of your battery's.

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Shore Power Volt Drop 28 Nov 2019 11:03 #111770

Richard

I thoroughly recommend one of these. Not only voltage but you can also monitor Amps and Watts and record Kw hours used from shore power.
www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Digital-LED-Monitor-Energy-Ammeter-Voltmeter-AC-100A-Volt-Amp-meter-Watt-Power/183819537749?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649

Only £10.99 on ebay. I bought three and put one on Shore power, Total ship AC and Solar feed.

Richard N Pentreath wrote: Hello Steve

Thanks for this observation. I am now going to try and call Mastervolt tech support to get their take on this! I already have a Victron battery monitor that gives me battery voltage and much else, and am now looking for a panel mount voltmeter to monitor shore power.

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Shore Power Volt Drop 28 Nov 2019 10:57 #111769

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Hello Steve

Thanks for this observation. I am now going to try and call Mastervolt tech support to get their take on this! I already have a Victron battery monitor that gives me battery voltage and much else, and am now looking for a panel mount voltmeter to monitor shore power.

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Shore Power Volt Drop 28 Nov 2019 10:50 #111768

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Thanks Paul (and also Tam, Pete, Peter and Oliver)

I don't think the problem is my own cable, as it has worked OK elsewhere, but when I get hold of a splitter I'll be able to check the voltage at source on the borne while under load. Interestingly enough, there were sometimes 6-7 users plugged into the two bornes (some using splitters) during the visitor season, and my own was puiggy-backed onto that of the residential barge I was moored to. That vessel had no stand-alone electrical system, and ran his electric heating, hot water and everything else on it. Rather amazingly, the breaker never tripped either! It made me wonder if they may have over-rated that breaker to 20 or 32 amps. But now I am the sole user on the entire pontoon; I wish I had put the voltmeter on it when I was just one of many.

For the future, I am now aware that where I find 6 or 10 amp bornes, I will need to get into my inverter/charger control screen and change the shore power demand to match it. But where you are paying 1 Euro per hour for a supply, you tend to want to make the most of it. Incidentally, the Commune seldom sees any of the money collected in these bornes because there is a thief who breaks in and steals the coinboxes before they ever get to empty them! As for using my generator to run washer, dryer, oven, hob, etc -- I would love to be able to. The snag is that I have yet to resolve the fouled Blokcooler underneath, and the water is getting colder by the day.

The thing that really worries me is the suggestion by Steve Van de Pas that low volts can cause damage and even a fire in your contacts.

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Shore Power Volt Drop 28 Nov 2019 10:21 #111766

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Thanks for the link Paul: I need a new low wattage kettle for "Actief" when travelling since we only have a 1500 watt inverter, so you have saved me a bit of searching..

The responses are absolutely right: I always used to reckon that you were lucky to get any more than 180 volts and 6 amps from the average shore power socket. Things might be better in modern marinas but that certainly always used to be the case. For that reason we never even used to think of plugging in to shore power when out and about.

We once had the embarrassment of tripping the shore supply in a small Dutch harbour on Christmas Eve, and of course the trips were locked in the HM's office. Other boats were not best pleased!

The answer now is probably a Victron Multi-Plus or Quattro, which can I believe be set to use what limited shore supply is available, but boosts the supply from battery capacity when required, then reverts to maximum charging output when other loads drop off. I have one on my Christmas list!

Recognising that even the quietest of generators are now not welcome in some towns I now have a trio of MCB's on the input line from the shore, in a separate little consumer unit to everything else, 1 x5 amp and 2 x 10 amp rating, so that I can effectively limit the draw. These are wired in parallel, so I can select a maximum draw of 5, 10 , 15, 20 or 25 amps (the latter approximating to my share of the supply to our permanent mooring and the capacity of the isolating transformer). Then at least we trip out rather than the the main shore breaker if I get the selection right.

Balliol.
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Shore Power Volt Drop 28 Nov 2019 09:19 #111764

Hi Richard

Simple answer - Yes, quite common, some places have 16 Amp breakers, but nowhere near enough capacity to supply them.

If you have no gas, try one of these 650 W Kettles. We use gas when "out" but one of these on our "home mooring".
www.amazon.co.uk/Swiss-Luxx-Stainless-Wattage-Cordless-silver/dp/B00C765DO8
Takes a little longer to boil, but worth it for power management Other high power appliances when "out" e.g washing machine tumble dryer, use generator.
Paul Hayes
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Shore Power Volt Drop 28 Nov 2019 08:17 #111760

With a 3KW load, a 1.5mm2 section is okay for a 15m cable. For a 30m cable use 2.5mm2 and for a 45m cable use 4mm2.
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Shore Power Volt Drop 28 Nov 2019 06:47 #111757

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if your cable is too thin, light or badly made contacts, but especially a very long wire, then you also have guaranteed voltage loss
this can cause serious damage to your devices, yes even cause a fire to your contacts !!!

it is just like you blow your mouth in a long water vapor, you blow hard, but at the end almost nothing comes out, if you do that with a thick tube, it will even take you no more trouble to blow hard
so for shore power at least 1.5 carre thickness or better, use more
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res non verba,
Tx for the beer :-)

Shore Power Volt Drop 28 Nov 2019 00:29 #111756

> I found that with a 3kw load, shore power volts dropped to 192 - 206v,

I think you should consider yourself lucky that your 3 kW load didn't instantly trip the shore supply circuit breaker. Often you get just 6 amps (about 1.3 kW), maybe 10 or 12 amps, but rarely 16 A. Asking for 3 kW almost certainly drains the availably supply to other users on your pontoon and you'll all suffer serious voltage drop.

Unlike domestic supplies, most marinas don't have a ring circuit, so all the load for the entire pontoon goes through one cable, rather than from taping off a ring where the supply comes from either side of the ring.

Best to try to keep your power demand to a modest level of less than about 1.5 kW for short periods (kettle boiling, etc) and much less for the rest of your stay - lights, entertainment, etc. Webasto type heaters use a couple of amps for their fans, so this shouldn't upset the shore supply, but cookers, microwaves, washing machines are likely to trip the supply.

Peter
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Shore Power Volt Drop 27 Nov 2019 23:00 #111751

I'm sure Paul is right. Suspicion of this sort of problem ten years ago, probably from comments on the DBA Forum, prompted me to keep gas on the barge I was buying for cooking, instead of going all-electric which had been my plan A. It cost a bit for a new, safe installation but we never regretted it, for the freedom from places with power supplies. I'll have gas on my next boat for the same reason.

Pete
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Shore Power Volt Drop 27 Nov 2019 22:56 #111749

Sadly this started to become a fact of life at the turn of the century when modern repro boats started appearing in ever increasing numbers. Gas was regarded as "dangerous" and there were more and more being built that were totally reliant on electricity. At Cambrai the electric power dropped out regularly at breakfast time as they all put the kettles on to boil and overloaded the system. We could take wicked pleasure in boiling the kettle on the hob and drinking our steaming coffee in full view of the poor souls running around trying to get the power back on.

Yes, it is generally the case that power is too meagre for all-electric craft

;-)
Tam
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Shore Power Volt Drop 27 Nov 2019 22:39 #111747

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Hello Paul
Yes, I am inclined to agree with you. It is a full fifty years since I last studied electrical engineering (to ONC level) but I recall it is not rocket science to size a cable for a particular amperage at long distances from the main supply. So I reckon they installed a relatively tiny cable to these fairly remote pontoons, where there are 4 off 16A outlets. But I am the only one connected! My question really was - just how common is this on the network? Does anyone else ever put a voltmeter on theirs whilst making a cuppa?

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Shore Power Volt Drop 27 Nov 2019 22:25 #111745

Hi Richard
I can't specifically comment on the situation where you are, but I can makes couple of suggestions about what may be happening.
It sounds to me that he supply cable to the Bornes may be of too small size to sustain a 3kW load at 220 volts..

This is not uncommon, when you think that many canal side electric points were installed to supply "Battery Charging" years ago, when the A.C. loads on boats was minimal. Maybe a 12 volt fridge and a bit of lighting would be the total load.
Most boats would have arrived with batteries in a reasonable state of charge after running for hours, plug in and draw an amp or two for charging at the most. Cooking, kettles were gas, washing and drying machines non existent. So the hardware canal side did not have to be heavy enough to maintain 220V at 3kW

I hope that this makes sense.
Paul Hayes
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Shore Power Volt Drop 27 Nov 2019 22:12 #111744

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I recently posted about what I at first thought was an inverter fault, but no one pitched in. As it happens, it looks like the problem is a poor shore power supply after all. I found that with a 3kw load, shore power volts dropped to 192 - 206v, Then I had to move over to the other side of the canal where the Chantier Naval operates (Saint Valery sur Somme) to get water, and while there I found that their shore power dropped to 182 - 192v with the same 3 kw load!

Can any old hands out there advise me whether this is just par for the course, and I am lucky to get anything - or is this unusual? I am paying 2 Euros for just 2 hours up here!

Richard

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