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Isolated Transformers

06Rinker27006Rinker270 Member Posts: 1,277 ✭✭✭
There has been quite a few articles and talk about galvanic corrosion on here.  I have been heading in the direction of doing more to protect my boat and those on my boat.  Boat US seaworthy magazine has an article on Isolated transformers.  What is everyones opinion of these?  The article gives a lot of positives and one negative, the weight.  

http://www.boatus.com/seaworthy/magazine/2015/july/isolation-transformers.asp


Patrick
06 Rinker 270

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    Black_DiamondBlack_Diamond Member Posts: 5,439 ✭✭✭✭✭
    An isolation transformer will give you a very clean power curve, it will not solve the galvanic corrosion issues though.  What you need is a galvanic isolator.

    http://www.farwestcorrosion.com/marine-products-division/galvanic-isolators/

    Past owner of a 2003 342FV
    PC BYC, Holland, MI
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    Handymans342Handymans342 Member Posts: 10,375 ✭✭✭✭✭
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    LaReaLaRea Member, Moderator Posts: 7,627 mod
    The BoatUS article says it will "prevent galvanic corrosion".  The author seems to really like them.  (A skeptic would say the article is merely advertising a product sold by West Marine, but I'm okay with that.)  

    It's the size of a basketball and weights 60 pounds, so it would need a stout surface to support it.  I'm not sure there's room for one on my boat.  
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    Dream_InnDream_Inn Member, Moderator Posts: 7,594 mod
    Funny, I just got done reading that article as well.  I agree with BD, it will provide clean power, but not solve galvanic corrosion.  If your boat is on a lift, then it's not as much concern.  Also, if you are trying to protect your family when swimming around your boat, well, in a marina you still have to worry about all the other boats (although swimming around a marina is not the smartest thing to do).  & swimming off your boat in an anchorage, you won't have any different protection cause that will be off your generator.  I don't know, it doesn't have me going out to buy one.  I guess I'd love to hear more opinions.

    Dream 'Inn III -- 2008 400 Express

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    Black_DiamondBlack_Diamond Member Posts: 5,439 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Yup, those transformers are big and heavy and really only affect anything run by AC power - they are basically a power conditioner/surge protector, everything DC is off your battery(ies) and they should be giving you clean power, you can add one for DC power too, but unless you have some crazy dirty power problem, I would not bother for the cost.  I added a galvanic isolator to mine a few years ago, easy install. 

    ++ to DI about swimming in the marina! 

    Past owner of a 2003 342FV
    PC BYC, Holland, MI
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    06Rinker27006Rinker270 Member Posts: 1,277 ✭✭✭
    edited July 2015
    On my list is to add a second Mercathode Controller.  Would this be doing the same thing as a galvanic isolator?

    And no, swimming around the marina is not an option.   
    Patrick
    06 Rinker 270
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    raybo3raybo3 Administrator Posts: 5,469 admin
    An isolation transformer will help with low voltage problems when going to different marina's. Most marina's are 250/120 volt however some are 208/120 volt and with a voltage drop could be a little lower. A transformer will help clean up the voltage and prevent problems due to low voltage. Remember low voltage will cause higher current in most cases and higher current will cause burn up's.
    2002 342 Fiesta Vee PC Point Of Pines YC Revere MA. popyc.org     raybo3@live.com
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    Black_DiamondBlack_Diamond Member Posts: 5,439 ✭✭✭✭✭
    A second Mercathode or just upgrading it (the colors are different strengths) only helps for drive corrosion prevention. This would help if your marina/slip was 'hot' from stray currents from other boats. 

    The galvanic isolator prevents AC current from 'leaking' backwards through your boats ground which would mean going into the water from your boat. 

    Hope that helps. 

    Past owner of a 2003 342FV
    PC BYC, Holland, MI
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    06Rinker27006Rinker270 Member Posts: 1,277 ✭✭✭
    Sounds like a second mercathode and galvonic isolater is needed? overkill?  My drive is starting to show corrosion(which I am getting ready to take care of in the coming weeks. 

    @Black_Diamond did you add a second Galvonic Isolation since the boat comes with one?  


    Patrick
    06 Rinker 270
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    Black_DiamondBlack_Diamond Member Posts: 5,439 ✭✭✭✭✭
    the Mercathode and the galvanic isolator are totally seperate things.  You can move upto the black (verify though) Mercathode, that is the strongest one I believe.  You are actually better off to by a reference electrode to verify your Mercathode impression system has the correct voltage for your slip/area.

    I added another galvanic isolator.

    Past owner of a 2003 342FV
    PC BYC, Holland, MI
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    Michael TMichael T Member Posts: 7,227 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I looked at installing an extra set of Mercathode units and was told by Mercury that was a total waste of money. We also tried to use a reference electrode to check the performance of my Mercathode system but this has to be done in an almost totally still water situation - which was not happening at my marina. Mercury confirmed that these reference electrodes were very hard to get a reading from in uncontrolled situations - read that moving water - which meant using them where, a swimming pool???? They did say that many  Mercathode systems on boats do not work because of a lack of maintenance. They advised to check the wires for damage/connection at least once a year and to check the small plastic unit under the drive at the transom as if that gets damaged the system will not work. As we all know, if you do not have the correct anodes installed on your drives and tabs and do not replace them as required you are asking for trouble. Regarding Galvanic Isolators: They will not "clean-up" or stabilize your on-board power. What they will do is protect your boat's metal fittings from improperly grounded shore power pedestals or that crappy old Bayliner or Carver with 60 amp power mleaking electricity near your slip. Rinker has been installing one of the best brands of galvanic isolators on its boats for years now - the ProMariner Fail Safe 60. This is a small lightweight unit that has been top-rated as having superior protection from galvanic corrosion induced by stray electrical currents. BTW if it fails it fails without compromising your boat's AC ground - unlike the older models. I'm sure everyone knows this but stray current travels further in salt water - good news is the current is diluted bad news is it travels further. In fresh water the stray current doesn't travel as far but is far more concentrated - making for a more dangerous and corrosive situation near your boat particularly if the old tub next to you or an older shore power system is leaking.
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    YoullbefineYoullbefine Member Posts: 12 ✭✭

    BD:  Can you tell us where you installed the Galvanic Isolator?


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    06Rinker27006Rinker270 Member Posts: 1,277 ✭✭✭
    Also how can I tell if the system is working properly?  Besides checking the wires and checking the plastic unit under the drive?
    Patrick
    06 Rinker 270
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    rasburyrasbury Member Posts: 8,285 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Al, sounds like for most of us, Rinker has provided what is needed. I dry store my boat, but, I do have some corrosion on the out drive. I replaced the anodes and I think they were the original from 10 years ago- my corrosion seems to be mainly on the foot and it does concern me and I don't want it to get any worse. Do you think I need to check anything as you described above or was it probably just the old anodes?? I am mainly fresh water and store on the trailer...
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    Black_DiamondBlack_Diamond Member Posts: 5,439 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I installed my isolator right at the dockside power input on the boat. Mounted it right to the back of the port side seating. Easy to run the jumpers from the isolator to the back of the plugs. 

    Past owner of a 2003 342FV
    PC BYC, Holland, MI
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    06Rinker27006Rinker270 Member Posts: 1,277 ✭✭✭
    Is this something I can test myself or do I need a technician?
    Patrick
    06 Rinker 270
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    frenchshipfrenchship Member Posts: 1,079 ✭✭✭
    Some Infos on how to check your isolation transformer not really complicated if you know how to use a multimeter.
    http://www.pbase.com/mainecruising/galvanic_isolator
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    Cableguy GregCableguy Greg Member Posts: 5,016 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Some Infos on how to check your isolation transformer not really complicated if you know how to use a multimeter.
    http://www.pbase.com/mainecruising/galvanic_isolator
    Good read!!! I will have to test mine. I keep a Fluke multimeter on my boat.
    2008 280 Express Cruiser, 6.2MPI, B3, Pittsburgh, PA "Blue Ayes"
    Go Steelers!!!
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    06Rinker27006Rinker270 Member Posts: 1,277 ✭✭✭
    Appreciate the info Al and Frenchship.  I have a multimeter, yet to use it.  Maybe something I get the tech to test during his next visit.  

    I need to learn how to use it however.
    Patrick
    06 Rinker 270
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