Will 240v tools cor­rode my hull?

Canal Boat - - Back Cabin: - WIL­LIAM CUM­MING, via email TONY REPLIES…

I am fit­ting out a steel-hulled boat us­ing an ex­ten­sion lead from a shore power base for 240-volt hand lamps and power tools. Will this cause hull cor­ro­sion as the boat is in the wa­ter at the har­bour? It has 24 large an­odes.

QDoes ‘har­bour’ im­ply salt wa­ter? This has more dan­gers be­cause of its lower elec­tri­cal re­sis­tance. Twenty-four an­odes sounds like a sub­stan­tial

Aseago­ing boat. If you are us­ing mains ex­ten­sion leads to power your tools di­rectly with no boat wiring, you need to be sure an RCD is fit­ted.

You should also use 110-volt (build­ing site stan­dard) lamps and tools via a proper site trans­former to re­duce any dan­ger from wires be­ing dam­aged on steel­work or wa­ter/damp get­ting in. As long as the in­su­la­tion is not com­pro­mised there should be no dan­ger to your hull, be­cause no cir­cuit can ex­ist be­tween the hull, wa­ter, land and the elec­tric­ity com­pany’s earth pro­tec­tion. But if you are us­ing per­ma­nent shore­line mains wiring in the boat, safety re­quires at least one RCD. For that to op­er­ate, you will need a sin­gle mains earth bond to the hull.

This re­quires pro­fes­sional ad­vice and ideally fit­ting by a qual­i­fied per­son who can dis­cuss whether an iso­la­tion trans­former (pic­tured, right) or a gal­vanic iso­la­tor (left) would best suit you. Us­ing nei­ther could re­sult in hull cor­ro­sion.

Re­mem­ber, mains elec­tric­ity can kill so you should take pro­fes­sional ad­vice.

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