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Hull vs. line voltage

Troubleshooting, repair, and how-to's related to marine systems.

Re: Hull vs. line voltage

Postby joeman79 » Wed Jan 28, 2015 8:43 am

Same here I am trying to absorb all of this. I wish I had the brain capacity to have a 10th of the understanding of this subject as posters!!! Awesome info.
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Re: Hull vs. line voltage

Postby Scotthmt » Thu Jan 29, 2015 9:20 pm

With all this information I am attempting to begin bonding and isolating things. What is the proper way to bond the boat? All metals touching saltwater wires together including the fuel tank, and then wired to common ground? Should the engine be wired into the situation as well?
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Re: Hull vs. line voltage

Postby Crawfish » Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:04 pm

Scotthmt wrote:With all this information I am attempting to begin bonding and isolating things. What is the proper way to bond the boat? All metals touching saltwater wires together including the fuel tank, and then wired to common ground? Should the engine be wired into the situation as well?




Mast, fuel tanks, rudder, davits, poles, anchor winch, thru hulls, zinc's , engine.....

Everything except the gurdies. Smash a piece of 3/4 copper tube flat. Run this tube through your bilge and hook all ancillaries to it via heat shrink electrical fittings and stainless bolts.
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Re: Hull vs. line voltage

Postby Salty » Fri Jan 30, 2015 10:01 pm

Like Crawfish post
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Re: Hull vs. line voltage

Postby Lulu » Fri Feb 06, 2015 1:00 pm

Bonding: Simplest way to bond a boat is to run a section of 3/4" copper pipe through the boat. Flatten the ends and drill #8 or #10 holes to attach the wires with SS sheet metal screws to the things that need to be bonded; like rudder, shaft, fuel tanks, through hull fittings, the shoe, metal poles or mast, etc. Main led goes to the engine because that is the largest piece of metal on the boat. Most import detail is to keep the connections clean and dry. Heat shrink, Sykoflex, grease all work, but make it simple and easy to access so you can trouble shoot fast. Any sign of corrosion needs to be cleaned. Any white precipitate means there is current. You need to find out why and fix it. The green stuff is normal oxidation of the copper, no big deal just keep it cleaned off. Don't !!! use silicon based sealer, it doesn't hold up. A top notch installation would be a 1/0 or 2/0 wire ran through the boat connected to busses for the connections, but it is more expensive. Always use 14 gauge wire. The voltage is small, but you want to maximize the impedance (ability of the current to run uninhibited).


Al anodes: I added Aluminum anodes to the rudder two seasons ago; one 8 pounder on each side. They go fast (steel boat) and I send a diver down about once a month to scrub them. I talked with Malcolm Russell about this in Dec 2014. He told me the Al anodes burn deep into the plate. It's best to replace them several times during the season to keep them as active as possible. I'm adding two more Al anodes to the hull just above the prop this season because when I keep the zincs and Al anodes clean the boat produces better. I can usually tell when I need to send the diver down cause the trip isn't as productive as I thought it should be. Also, I add small zincs to the fins on the floppers. You'll be surprised how fast they go. My belief is they help the snooters catch better (I might be dreaming on this one.)

Thing about Malcolm is he's forgotten more about the boat's electrical field and how to manage it than most of us will ever know. I find it productive to spend an hour (or two) on the phone reviewing my readings and asking a lot of questions. More times than not I get, "Didn't I tell you about that?" The thing is he's always experimenting with the tuna and salmon boats, he has an incredible following, and doesn't know how current you are with changes he has made in his thinking based on productive changes made in the respective fleets. You have to ask questions, lots of them.
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Re: Hull vs. line voltage

Postby Crawfish » Fri Feb 06, 2015 6:31 pm

Lulu wrote:Bonding: Simplest way to bond a boat is to run a section of 3/4" copper pipe through the boat. Flatten the ends and drill #8 or #10 holes to attach the wires with SS sheet metal screws to the things that need to be bonded; like rudder, shaft, fuel tanks, through hull fittings, the shoe, metal poles or mast, etc. Main led goes to the engine because that is the largest piece of metal on the boat. Most import detail is to keep the connections clean and dry. Heat shrink, Sykoflex, grease all work, but make it simple and easy to access so you can trouble shoot fast. Any sign of corrosion needs to be cleaned. Any white precipitate means there is current. You need to find out why and fix it. The green stuff is normal oxidation of the copper, no big deal just keep it cleaned off. Don't !!! use silicon based sealer, it doesn't hold up. A top notch installation would be a 1/0 or 2/0 wire ran through the boat connected to busses for the connections, but it is more expensive. Always use 14 gauge wire. The voltage is small, but you want to maximize the impedance (ability of the current to run uninhibited).


Al anodes: I added Aluminum anodes to the rudder two seasons ago; one 8 pounder on each side. They go fast (steel boat) and I send a diver down about once a month to scrub them. I talked with Malcolm Russell about this in Dec 2014. He told me the Al anodes burn deep into the plate. It's best to replace them several times during the season to keep them as active as possible. I'm adding two more Al anodes to the hull just above the prop this season because when I keep the zincs and Al anodes clean the boat produces better. I can usually tell when I need to send the diver down cause the trip isn't as productive as I thought it should be. Also, I add small zincs to the fins on the floppers. You'll be surprised how fast they go. My belief is they help the snooters catch better (I might be dreaming on this one.)

Thing about Malcolm is he's forgotten more about the boat's electrical field and how to manage it than most of us will ever know. I find it productive to spend an hour (or two) on the phone reviewing my readings and asking a lot of questions. More times than not I get, "Didn't I tell you about that?" The thing is he's always experimenting with the tuna and salmon boats, he has an incredible following, and doesn't know how current you are with changes he has made in his thinking based on productive changes made in the respective fleets. You have to ask questions, lots of them.



What did he mean by "Al anodes burn deep into the plate" ?
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Re: Hull vs. line voltage

Postby Scotthmt » Sun Feb 08, 2015 8:54 am

Lulu, thank you for all the information you've shared here. Answers to some of these questions are like pulling teeth sometimes. I have rebonded my boat and I ran everything to a bus bar, hopefully should make it easier to clear up any future issues.
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Re: Hull vs. line voltage

Postby Lulu » Sun Feb 08, 2015 10:41 am

There are two questions: 1.) Aluminum (Al) anodes burning deep in the plate, and 2.) using a bus bar for the bonding system.

1.) The zincs or Al anodes serve the same basic purpose, in fact the zincs are technically an anode as well. Their purpose is to sacrifice free electrons produced by the galvanic activity created between two dissimilar metals. In other words the electrical potential between two different metals will create a battery like effect. You've heard of not leaving a penny (copper) on an aluminum deck, it will eat a hole in the deck? The anodes are giving up free electrons to the rudder (steel), through hull fittings (usually brass which is ~60% copper), shaft (steel or SS), etc. That is why the zinc diminish over time and need to be replaced. The Al anodes sacrifice much faster than zinc because they have an extra electron to loose (you can take my word for it or look it up on a periodic table or in a chemistry book) What was meant by burning deep is the galvanic activity goes deep into the Al plate (anode) to the point that the participate (white stuff) can not be thoroughly scrubbed off, reactivating the anode. The recommendation is to replace the Al plate instead of trying to reactivate by scrubbing with a SS brush.

2.) There is nothing wrong with using a buss bar. It actually makes it easier to monitor and clean the connections because half of the connections are in one place. One note is use at least 14 guage tin coated marine grade wire. (recommend using a standard color like green so you know which wires do what) The wire runs can sometimes be long and you do not want to restrict the electrical flow (minimize impedance). When I rewired (and the reason for rewiring) I found house grade wire with multiple splices using 16 and 18 guage wire. The battery cables were 10 guage from an auto shop; no wonder stuff wasn't working and the hull potential wasn't where it should have been. Up grading the wire and eliminating the splices (which increases impedance) solved the problem. Remember, there are two reasons for having a good bonding system. 1.) it helps protect your boat (save money spent on repairs). And 2.) it helps your boat realize its optimal hull potential which has a direct impact on the boat's productive (catch fish/make money).

Probably asking why use Al and zinc anodes? Very simply, Zinc are used to protect the boat. The Al anodes increase the hull potential. There are a couple of earlier postings on hull potential and line voltage.
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Re: Hull vs. line voltage

Postby Once and Future » Mon Feb 09, 2015 4:28 am

Lulu: You know way more about making boats more fishy with electricity than I do, and I very much appreciate your detailed lessons. But you have me a bit confused above with your use of the word "impedance".

Impedance "impedes" the flow of electricity, so I guess you mean removing the splices in the wire reduces impedance, correct? (Not trying to be a grammar Nazi, just trying to make a confusing subject less confusing.)
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Re: Hull vs. line voltage

Postby Kelper » Mon Feb 09, 2015 7:18 am

Anybody have any experience dialing in aluminum boats with nylon spood gurdies?
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Re: Hull vs. line voltage

Postby SalmonSeeker » Mon Feb 09, 2015 9:46 am

Lulu, will the addition of aluminum, in addition to your normal complement of zincs anodes, lead to the same result as over zincing the boat; especially the wood hulls?
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Re: Hull vs. line voltage

Postby Lulu » Mon Feb 16, 2015 3:27 pm

Impedance: A measurement of the total opposition to current flow. We want to achieve a low impedance for the bonding system and black box (if you use one). We want any current generated at point A gets to point B. Any restriction, like scale build up on the connectors or bad wire, increases impedance thus lowering the amount of voltage conducted. Lowering the impedance is accomplished by keeping the connectors clean and water tight, increasing the gauge of the wire (the more clean wire strands the current has to flow through the freer it will flow), illuminating splices in the wire (most connectors are made of aluminum, aluminum does not conduct as well as copper, therefore creating a restriction of the current. The more splices in a wire run the higher the impedance).

I can't answer the question of adding Al anodes to a wood boat with assurance. My experience is with steel. What little I know is the Al anodes will go fast. The forward motion of the boat while your fishing a season will lower the hull potential and minimize any negative affects on your fasteners. By the end of the season the Al anodes will be used up and should be not a concern. One nagging thought is begin careful the boat is zinced properly. The best answer I have is call Malcolm Russell, he'll know and tell you exactly how to do it. (250) 213-3440. Same with an aluminum boat.
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Re: Hull vs. line voltage

Postby Scotthmt » Sun Mar 08, 2015 5:47 pm

My black box arrived yesterday and I installed it today. Since there are no pictures online of what it looks like I figure I'll post one.
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Re: Hull vs. line voltage

Postby Lulu » Sun Mar 08, 2015 7:47 pm

Top of the line. I've tried the pulse mode, but didn't see much difference. I think it works better for silvers and pinks who like the line voltage higher than Kings. Neat thing is the digital readout is accurate and you always know what's going on with your gurdies. Don't get too "wigged out" if you have a reading when nothing is in the water, but the gurdies are wet (usually around .150-.200). Usually see this in the morning when the fog as everything wet. That is the dissimilar metal in the gurdies and the water allowing a path for the current. When everything is dry, you should read .000. If everything is dry, the gear is on the deck, and you have a reading you know your isolation has failed. Re-set the bolts after cleaning them and cover the bolt heads with Sika-Flex so water can not migrate into the threads creating an electrical pathway.

If you see your box reading changing while your fishing, look to see if your wire is shorting out around the blocks. I insulates the shackels that secure the blocks to the davits with heat shrink. I have a tee off the davit. I line the outside of the tee with rubber hose. (I found that in a turn the float wire will rub on the tee causing a short in the system.) Fish don't like things to change. 1/4" fuel line hose works great.
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Re: Hull vs. line voltage

Postby Scotthmt » Mon Mar 09, 2015 8:16 am

Sitting on a trailer in my driveway and pretty dry I have a reading of .005 I assume this is normal.
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Re: Hull vs. line voltage

Postby Lulu » Tue Mar 10, 2015 7:38 pm

Nothing to worry about. That's 5/1,000's of a volt. Start looking around when your dry and over .100
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Re: Hull vs. line voltage

Postby Salty » Wed Mar 11, 2015 10:46 pm

I attach my gurdies to the insulator board with nylon bolts. I attach my blocks to my Davits with nylon bolts and washers. It is amazing how saltwater, metal, and a bit of rust can start compromising your isolation. I also wash my gurdies and mounts with fresh water whenever I unload or tie up in my stall.
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Re: Hull vs. line voltage

Postby Lulu » Fri Mar 13, 2015 9:13 pm

Salty, you may do this: I use Sika-Flex on the bolt head.. I cover the entire bolt head and all around the gurdie base, it is not pretty. Sika-Flex holds better than silicon based sealants like 5200. Even at that, I have to watch any salt intrusion over the season. I can generally tell something is going on because the base line voltage creeps up in the morning before I through the gear in the water. And, my hull potential slips a little. It never fails, check all 16 bolts and it is the last one that failed with green stuff all over the bolt threads. Down side is Sika-Flex is tough to work with. Got to cut the stuff off and wire wheel the threads or replace completely.
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Re: Hull vs. line voltage

Postby Lulu » Fri Mar 20, 2015 6:40 am

Check your testing gear. Just hauled out the boat and checked hull potential. Potential was slightly below normal and dropping. BIG problem!! With new zincs and fresh paint, hull potential should be higher than normal and volt meter should go up until it stabilizes; usually takes 5-10 minutes. Checked testing leads and found connections corroded and exposed wire turning green; not good. Replaced with new testing terminals and wire. Guess what?! Hull potential is were is should be and moving up like it suppose to. Check your testing gear including battery in volt meter!!!! Good readings this time of year are your base line for the season, the only way you can trouble shoot problems as the season progresses.
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Re: Hull vs. line voltage

Postby Salty » Sat Mar 21, 2015 7:33 am

Lulu, no problems with the nylon bolts. I used Sika flex whenever I was using stainless bolts. I change my Aluminum anodes every 6 months. But, I fish every month.
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