Moderated Discussion Areas
ContinuousWave: Small Boat Electrical
Testing my boat's Ground
|Author||Topic: Testing my boat's Ground|
posted 04-14-2007 10:53 AM ET (US)
Is there a way to test or verify the quality of my boat's electrical system ground?
posted 04-14-2007 02:11 PM ET (US)
Dave--I am not sure if you are asking about the vessel's 12-volt negative bus or about a 115-Vac shore power system.
On most boats the 12-volt negative bus is the common point or zero voltage reference for any measurement. If you want to check on this distribution, I suggest the following:
--use a high-quality digital voltmeter (DVM)
If you find any places where the negative distribution wiring has appreciable voltage drop between it and the battery negative terminal, inspect those branch circuits for corrosion, bad connections, or damaged conductors.
The usual practice in a vessel is wire the 12-volt negative branch of the primary power distribution as a common with the engine block. The engine block is usually in electrical contact with the sea via the propeller shaft.
If there are any stray or parasitic currents in your boat which are driving current into the engine block, they can cause corrosion problems.
posted 04-14-2007 08:32 PM ET (US)
That's just what I was looking for (12v system).
posted 04-15-2007 09:52 AM ET (US)
Some DVM's have a peak-and-hold function. That is a good way to capture the voltage drop between the battery and the engine when the starter motor is cranking.
posted 04-15-2007 10:16 AM ET (US)
Mine does. I'll have to give it a try.
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