Shore Power FIXED Port Louis Marina, lets turn it off

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After 7 days of rebuilding our own power cords, plugs, outlets we have finally found the source of the problem. There was an incorrect wiring installation in the brand new dock power poles. I found this problem when measuring the shorted out ground wires. I had been saying to them since day one, that it was not my boats problem, they kept showing me that I had 120 volts on Green to Black, so I did think it was my problem. What I did not know was that you really want to see 120 volts ALSO between Black to White and zero volts on Green to White. Well, they had 10-50 volts Green to White and 20-60 volts on Black to White. I said they had a grounding short and they said my boat had a problem. So there we were.

Christmas Presents for Radeen, two new shore power cords! I spoil her so much! $144 USD each. In the USA, these are $75

What is gong on?

With the marina electrician coming to my boat every day and showing me that he was delivering 120 volts between Green and Black to my boat, (and that was all he would measure) he kept telling me that my boat had a problem, Mon. It is not the marina. So with me seeing his volt meter presenting 120 volts, I thought it was my gear. So, we proceed with cutting off all 4 shore power cords and installing new cord ends at $30 to $60 each. This cost about $250.

Cut off the old, on with new power cord ends $$$$

With all new cord ends…

We still measured a short on the green side and the white neutral. Next we started to read up in shore power systems and looked into the Nigel Calder book as well. We read more than we ever needed to know about shore power. Oddly enough, we never really use shore power while cruising, but we came here to this dock 7 days ago to use the shore power for two things: #1 Equalize the battery bank, #2 Run air conditioning to dry out the boat. Now, after 7 days, we are still without shore power and we show them the problem daily….a short in their green ground wire to white.

New cord ends on our two shore power cords COST $ 250 Done….still the same problem!

Here is the Voltmeter Measured PROOF

After a few days of study on shore power systems and cords and plugs and with a lifeline support back to Reuben (IP380 PRIORITY) and Jeff (IP35 IP420 LUCILLE) we all three continued to say, it was the dock and they have a problem. We learned that when looking at a 30 amp shore power plug, the notched plug is GREEN/Ground and to the right is WHITE neutral and to the left is BLACK hot. A proper AV voltage on these should be:

  • Green to White = 0 volts for safety
  • Green to Black = 120 volts ( this is what the electrician was always showing me)
  • Black to White = 120 volts (this is your actual circuit that you will be using. The dock electrician never measured this)

Here are the measurements on our brand new cord ends after job one trying to fix this….

Green to White, should be ZERO, look it is 40 volts indicating a short!
Green to Black showing 120 volts….see, you have power to your boat. Yes….but what about Black to White????
Black to White showing 83 volts here. This is NOT 120 volts. Houston, we have a problem. It is not my cords, it is the dock power.

Meanwhile, Life goes on

Who needs power? We do have solar and wind power and also a working alternator and regulator, so we can keep the battery bank topped up and we can keep the beer and freezer cold. So, life goes on. Radeen is cooking some great beef chili and we gave a boat tour of Island Spirit to engineer Abby, friend of Butch and Fran of SMARTINI motor yacht. Abby and Butch came over to see what a sailboat is like, and Island Spirit did not disappoint. She is a great boat!

Cooking up some chilli, the best recipe of all. Radeen publishes all here recipes at http://boatrecipes.com/149-charmed_chili
Drop off laundry services will make any admiral happy, then to the pub for a cold one 🙂

Abby the Engineer visits Island Spirit

Engineer ABBY makes the blog on Island Spirit, what a SMART Lovely girl, we really enjoyed her visit.
Abby, Blue Eyes and Radeen on Island Spirit

Getting Serious now with Power

On Day #7 the dock electrician and dock master came out to investigate this power problem one more time. This time they took apart the power pole and looked into the brand new wiring job. These poles were made in Dubai and then shipped here to Grenada.  An English contractor arrived and connected it all together. It was reported that it never worked for 30 amp since it was set up, but it worked fine for 50 amp, so no worries. It is a well know fact in the marine supply store, Island Water World that boaters were coming in and buying power wires, plugs, splitters, etc. for months as everyone has had 30 amp power problems on this new dock. NOW, with the pole apart, the electrician FOUND THE PROBLEM! The green is connected WRONG and that is why it will short out the 30 amp splitters but not the 50 amp. The 50 amp uses both legs but the 30 amp uses one leg. The 30 amp side would short out and not work!. They moved one wire and POOF, we had proper power that now measured right. We connected our boat and POOF, our AC and Charger worked normally like always. FINALLY after 7 days on the dock, $580 spent, we now have power and we can EQUALIZE and run AIR CONDITIONING. Yahoo.

The dock electrician looks into the power pole wiring and find that they pole is wired wrong!

OK, LET’s Equalize the battery bank…Hold on MON!

Well not so fast sailor…..you are on ISLAND TIME MON…..WHAT? I get up on day one with power at 0630. I set up my equalization charge at 15.4 volts on my battery bank, and all is going well. Finally I can get this job done. Lifeline battery banks need to be equalize, or “have a conditioning charge” once a year, look it up on Lifeline site, they recommend this. I now have this started and I am 30 minutes into this 4 hour job…..KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK…..Hey Island Spirit, we need to turn off the power to check the dock. WHAT???? NO WAY, I JUST GOT POWER ON and now you want to turn it off. Yes, but for only be off for 15 minutes. OK, so I shut down my equalization charge and I unplug.

Now, four hours later, the power is STILL NOT ON, and they are not sure if it will be turned back on. So, after waiting for 7 days to get my power fixed, I showed them the problem, they fixed it and NOW, they turned off the power to look into the problem even more. I am getting very frustrated! Rightfully so.

I had it all set up and working, I was equalizing and THEN, they shut off the power on me. OMG!

OK, Drop Back, Calm Down, Chill Out, its Christmas Time

I am trying to remain calm. I have been at this dock now 8 days, all for the reason of setting up the boat, equalizating the battery bank and hopefully running air conditioning to dry out the boat. Instead I have spent $580 on new shore power cord plugs and two new power cords. I have not accomplished my two primary goals, but we are at a dock with a pool and a pub and an easy walk to town. So, we remain positive and focused and we accept that this is typical island time work and processes. Heck, I have been trying for days to get an alternator or a Balmar 614 regulator as a spare and I am told 6-8 weeks to ship one in. FORGET that, we will sail out and deal with it up north, like in Martinique where they have supplies and can ship items into the island in a few days.

Grenada Flag, I love the Red, Green, Yellow colors
Island Spirit with nearly all the shade up to help cool the boat. It is HOT HOT HOT in dock
Merry Christmas to all, look at the typical landscaping.

We are in paradise and the weather is beautiful, the people are kind and we are at a dock. Like we said….who needs power? Oh, and don’t ask about water, that is another story. 

YOLO, our moto

YOLO = You Only Live Once, and that is how we are looking at all. Let’s get the most out of every day and live with a positive attitude and an Attitude of Gratitude.  Carry on!

Our local YOLO Sushi Bar

 

 

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8 Replies to “Shore Power FIXED Port Louis Marina, lets turn it off”

  1. Bravo Zulu Hayden and Radeen! That was an impressive troubleshooting.

    I am guessing you are collect a fairly substantial electrical engineering consulting fee from the Marina? If not you will, hopefully, get your slip for free since you did the leg work they were too lazy to do and you have now restored power as required so that their future customers will not complain and black ball the marina

  2. Hayden
    Don’t look at the costs of the new power cords and connectors as an expense but rather as an investment in your education on all things electric power and on the safety of your boat (and by the way, I have a bridge I can get for you cheap).

    I wonder if all the dock pedestals were wired incorrectly….probably

    So, when do you head North?

  3. Think of ALL the money that the local chandlery made selling cords and supplies to the score of cruisers before you.
    The alternator problem is a separate issue from shore power conundrum???

  4. Hi Reuben, John Knight here! Do you remember sailing down the Patapsco one late October on Priority, escorting Larking About as we left for the Islands? Say hello to Molly!
    Of course all the pedestals were mis-wired! That’s probably why they had to turn off the power again! Just goes to show, once again, you can never know too much, and you can never trust a Caribbean “expert”! Hayden, I admire your equanimity (at least that’s what your writing implies.) I would be probably under arrest for murder!
    Best JFK

  5. Like I said previously my Jim would have pulled his hair out with way too much troubleshooting! Tell me at least that they reduced your nightly rate! Loretta s/v Plan Sea

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