We found it!

Annapolis, April 2013
Saint-Paul-de-l'Ile-aux-Noix, October 2015. Looks familiar?

While installing the radar arch was quite exciting, our biggest achievement over the past week was something much more discrete. After two and half year of unsuccessful troubleshooting: we finally isolated the source of the stray current we were experiencing when the shore power was plugged in. The quest started a few days after we bought Water Music back in April 2013. We were working on the cutlass bearing at the time and kept taking small electrical shocks on the engine shaft.

Since then, I’ve looked everywhere for the loose ground, the cut wire or the bad connexion. While the search allowed me to discover and fix a lot of other issues with the electrical systems, the initial problem never went away. It wasn’t ideal, but as we never plug in at the dock we could live with it. But now, with a failed solar controller and dying batteries, plugging in was not optional anymore. It’s getting cold up here and we needed to get the diesel heater going to complete some of the work. Plus, we like it warm and toasty.

So, we connected the shore power and almost immediately, the breaker on the post started to trip. Another complete review of the 110V system was in order. We were getting some strange reading on the AC panel main switches and attributed them to the galvanic isolator. It had been acting suspiciously for a long time and was now indicating it had an internal failure of some sort. For a second we thought we had the culprit. We removed it and… the readings on the voltmeter were exactly has they were before.

As we were about to give up and tear apart all the switches, we went back to the port lazarette, opened up the AC main circuit breaker and found THE disconnected ground wire. I screwed it back in, moved the box a little lower to give it some slack, tested it and… no more stray current! I didn’t think it was possible to get this excited over a piece of wire, but believe me it is!

The AC circuit breaker box looked so neat and recent, we never suspected it.

See that green wire I'm holding? Probably not, it's so insignificant. But this is it.