GFI outlet shorted out....

Discussion in 'Electrical Stuff' started by CliffA, Feb 19, 2018.

  1. CliffA

    CliffA Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Dec 29, 2009
    Lake Norman, NC
    2001 Sea Ray 340DA
    Name: 'Happy Place'
    4.5kW West. Generator
    Purchased Nov. 2014
    Fresh Water Use
    Twin Merc. 6.2L (MPI)
    Raw Water Cooled
    V-Drive Transmissions
    this past WE I plugged in my Vornado space heater in the cockpit as we usually do this time of year to warm up the cockpit......after a few mins I noticed the heater was not working.....the Admiral had been near the heater so I assumed she bumped it with her foot and tripped the tip over safety switch....so I pushed the power button on the heater and it started working again.....a couple mins later the Admiral was in the cabin and said she was smelling something burning.....I went down in the cabin and there was a strong 'electrical' smell....I first thought it was coming from the AC/heat unit so I ripped all of the bedding off to gain access to the unit....but it checked out OK.....so I started sniffing around the power control panel and the smell was stronger in that area....I decided to touch the GFI outlet which is directly below the power control panel and it was warm to the touch.....I killed the power to all outlets and pulled the GFI out of the wall for inspection...as you see in the pic the black wire at the top had become hot to the point it melted the insulation on the wire and plastic connector cover at the connection to the outlet which is the brown 'stuff' you see.....apparently the GFI did trip once but did not fully break the internal contact....that caused the heater in the cabin to shut off since all of the outlets on my boat are on the same circuit.....this did not trip the breaker for the outlets in the power control panel......that is why I was able to turn the heater back on after the GFI initially shut it down.....there must have been a short in the GFI....

    I guess the moral of this story is it may be a good idea to occasionally exercise the GFI breakers to keep them in good order to help insure they fully pop open when called for....

    cliff
     

    Attached Files:

  2. wyrman

    wyrman Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    884
    Jul 12, 2012
    Tri-Cities, Wa
    2007 310 Sundancer
    Twin 350's, V drives
    1994 18' Bluewater bowrider
    GFCI'S do go bad. We test all of them at work every single month, and there are several hundred of them. We change quite a few, especially the ones outside.
    That almost looks like the connection may have become loose, a loose connection creates heat and can melt the wire.
     
  3. CliffA

    CliffA Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Dec 29, 2009
    Lake Norman, NC
    2001 Sea Ray 340DA
    Name: 'Happy Place'
    4.5kW West. Generator
    Purchased Nov. 2014
    Fresh Water Use
    Twin Merc. 6.2L (MPI)
    Raw Water Cooled
    V-Drive Transmissions

    thanks.....I thought the same thing but the screw was actually pretty tight on the connection.....not really sure what happened.....

    cliff
     
  4. Little Ducky

    Little Ducky Well-Known Member

    Jun 5, 2017
    Chattanooga TN/Dickson TN
    1998 SeaRay 290 Sundancer
    Twin EFI 5.0L w/Alpha 1 drives
    In looking at your picture do all 110/120v outlets use crimp on connectors?
     
  5. CliffA

    CliffA Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Dec 29, 2009
    Lake Norman, NC
    2001 Sea Ray 340DA
    Name: 'Happy Place'
    4.5kW West. Generator
    Purchased Nov. 2014
    Fresh Water Use
    Twin Merc. 6.2L (MPI)
    Raw Water Cooled
    V-Drive Transmissions

    the outlet has both screw connectors as well as 'push in' connectors where you can just push the wire into a hole in the connector......not sure why Sea Ray decided to use the screw connectors instead of the push in method....

    cliff
     
  6. wyrman

    wyrman Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    884
    Jul 12, 2012
    Tri-Cities, Wa
    2007 310 Sundancer
    Twin 350's, V drives
    1994 18' Bluewater bowrider
    You have to use them on the ground if it's stranded. Not sure why they used them on the hot and neutral, cost them more money.
    It does make for a really good connection though.
     
  7. bbwhitejr

    bbwhitejr Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Apr 14, 2013
    Lake Lanier GA
    2007 44DB
    Cummins QSC 8.3s
    Wyrman,

    For my own knowledge, the "screw connection" is better than the push in connection?

    I have always thought so, but confirmation is good.

    Bennett
     
  8. northshore

    northshore Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jan 17, 2011
    Cleveland, OH
    1989 340 Sundancer
    Raymarine E90W Radar/Chartplotter
    Twin 454 Mercruiser 340's
    Could have possibly been the crimp as well...
     
  9. CliffA

    CliffA Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Dec 29, 2009
    Lake Norman, NC
    2001 Sea Ray 340DA
    Name: 'Happy Place'
    4.5kW West. Generator
    Purchased Nov. 2014
    Fresh Water Use
    Twin Merc. 6.2L (MPI)
    Raw Water Cooled
    V-Drive Transmissions
    good point.....

    cliff
     
  10. superwa

    superwa Member

    81
    Jul 27, 2013
    Rhode Island
    2001 Sea Ray Sundancer 380
    Mercruiser horizon 8.1S
    I didn’t have them in my annual list. Thanks for the tip. Folks, reminder than in some boats they hide some of them. I two of them inside cabinets.
     
  11. Little Ducky

    Little Ducky Well-Known Member

    Jun 5, 2017
    Chattanooga TN/Dickson TN
    1998 SeaRay 290 Sundancer
    Twin EFI 5.0L w/Alpha 1 drives
    Just be thankful you were onboard.

    This could have been disastrous.
     
  12. wyrman

    wyrman Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    884
    Jul 12, 2012
    Tri-Cities, Wa
    2007 310 Sundancer
    Twin 350's, V drives
    1994 18' Bluewater bowrider
    In my opinion yes, but putting the wire behind the screw is very good also.
    They're rated for both ways.
     
  13. CliffA

    CliffA Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Dec 29, 2009
    Lake Norman, NC
    2001 Sea Ray 340DA
    Name: 'Happy Place'
    4.5kW West. Generator
    Purchased Nov. 2014
    Fresh Water Use
    Twin Merc. 6.2L (MPI)
    Raw Water Cooled
    V-Drive Transmissions

    yep.....this is one reason I don't use portable heaters on my boat during the winter while we are not there....these heaters pull a lot of amps and place a significant load on the typical 15 amp circuits in the boat and if something in the circuit is weak bad things can happen....if I had left the heater on the boat unattended this post could have taken a very different direction....the bilge heater is bad enough to leave unattended but that is a 'necessary evil' during cold nights......

    cliff
     
  14. electricaldoctor

    electricaldoctor Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor PLATINUM Sponsor

    May 14, 2008
    Thousand Islands, Rockport, Ontario.
    1988 390 EC
    454 Mercruiser Gassers
    Terminating wires under the screw is a far better mechanical connection that the quick wire method of just pushing a wire into a hole in the receptacle.
     
  15. wyrman

    wyrman Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    884
    Jul 12, 2012
    Tri-Cities, Wa
    2007 310 Sundancer
    Twin 350's, V drives
    1994 18' Bluewater bowrider
    They're not quick wire. The wire goes into a hole and the screw tightens down internally.
    Quick wire outlets suck.
     
  16. bobeast

    bobeast Dance the Tide SILVER Sponsor

    603
    Oct 22, 2017
    Isleton, CA
    2002 310DA
    350 MPI w/V-drives
    Push-in connectors require non-stranded wire which is generally a bad idea on boats. (not to mention that it violates AYBC standards)
     
  17. techmitch

    techmitch Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    May 1, 2008
    Chesapeake Bay, Middle River/Frog Mortar Creek MD.
    1999 270 DA
    Twin 4.3s W/Alpa I Gen II's
    Crimp on connectors have no business on any 110 connections IMHO and those push in connectors, other than the kind that are tightened down with a screw should be outlawed. Again IMHO.
     
  18. Bt Doctur

    Bt Doctur Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2010
    New Jersey
    Ex SRV 240 Weekender twin
    in between
    Thats bullsheet building practice to use crimps on AC circuits.
    Stranded wire is never used on the push in connection .only solid wire
     
  19. techmitch

    techmitch Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    May 1, 2008
    Chesapeake Bay, Middle River/Frog Mortar Creek MD.
    1999 270 DA
    Twin 4.3s W/Alpa I Gen II's
    I find it hard too believe that crimp on connectors are factory build on any 110/120V system.

    As far as the "push in/quick wire outlets" are concerned,...
    (including the ones that you can tighten down the screw on)

    Refer to Bt Doctuur's post.

    And as we all know solid wire has no place on a boat.
     
  20. Steve S

    Steve S Active Member GOLD Sponsor

    758
    Jun 5, 2007
    Northern IL.
    2000 400 Sedan Bridge with twin CAT 3116's

    2000 340 Sundancer - SOLD!
    210 Monaco 1987 - SOLD!
    Twin Caterpillar 3116's 350 HP straight drives
    And why is that? No solid wires on a boat?
     

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