In our recent post It’s Stupid Cheaper, I told the tale of how we came to purchase a galvanic isolator for Eagle Too. One thing I forgot to mention is that because we didn’t previously have one, we were providing a free ride to anyone in the marina who couldn’t or wouldn’t keep up with their own bottom maintenance. Since every boat here is tied together electrically through the shore power system’s safety ground circuit, anyone who wasn’t maintaining their zinc anodes to keep the stray current gods at bay were actually being protected by ours. Probably a good deal for them, but not so much for us. And probably the biggest reason our zincs would vanish in a month. There are boats here that we’ve never seen a single person on in the more than a year that we’ve been here. so what are the chances that they’re having their zinc anodes replaced on a regular schedule?
But we are no longer the generous neighbor. We’re now the “what’s ours is ours, and you can take care of yourself,” slipmates. Because this week we installed and activated our cloaking device. We’re now electrically isolated from the neighborhood ground circuit, and those who can’t or won’t replace their zincs are no longer getting a free ride on ours.
It was a pretty straightforward job that took about 90 minutes. For you other Hunter 376 owners out there, here’s how we did it.
The unit itself went into the lower aft end of the line locker, and we accessed the wiring through the forward corner of the port lazarette.
When you remove the shore power breaker panel in the aft lazarette and pull it free, you can easily reach the green ground wires. There are two—one for each shore power circuit. While the black (hot) and white (neutral) wires feed through the two breakers, the green safety ground wires are continuous feeds from the shore power inlets to the main breaker panel at the nav station. All you have to do is cut these two green wires, and then attach pigtails to each freshly cut end (four total) that are long enough to reach the isolator in the bottom of the line locker, about 18 to 24 inches.
This shows the wiring after I’d cut the ground wires and crimped on the pigtails.
The other side of the partition above is the aft end of the line locker. After reinstalling the breaker panel, we pulled the pigtails down and attached them to the isolator, and then mounted it to the aft end of the locker. I took this picture after I put some split loom over the four pigtails to keep them organized.
Because the partition between the line locker and aft lazarette is only about 1/4″ thick (probably more like 3/16ths, actually) and there were wires and hoses on the other side, I knew I didn’t want to use self tapping screws to mount the isolator. The sharp points would probably end up puncturing something, probably at a bad time when whatever got punctured or shorted out was needed most. So Instead, I used the shortest machine screws that would do the job, and then put acorn nuts on them to keep them from rubbing a hole in anything vital.
The extra hole to the right of the acorn nut below is where I removed the wire tie that was holding this bundle of stuff in place. You can see it pushed out of the way to the lower right. I remounted everything once the job was done.
A quick pass with the shop vac and few more minutes to put everything back it their respective places, and I was done. Which leaves me wondering why I didn’t do this job about a dozen zinc anodes ago. But this was just one of those jobs where I really didn’t know how I was going to do it, so I kept putting it off. But once I finally bought the parts and had them in front of me, it was one of those “well of course, this is the way to do it, obviously,” tasks. I’m sure you’ve all had one or two of those. 🙂