Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > Home Improvement > Electrical

CLICK HERE AND JOIN OUR COMMUNITY TODAY...IT'S FREE!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 08-12-2012, 09:23 PM   #1
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 49
Rewards Points: 0
Share |
Default

Pier Wiring Leaking


Hello all,
I recently installed an old elevator winch onto my pier to use as a boat lift. It's wired as 220v and it only draws 6 amps under full load. There are 3 wires supplying the winch, two hot wires and a ground / neutral. As you can probably tell, I'm not an electrician...

Well, I finished wiring it all up and tested it out. It worked great. When it got dark, I started pulling my aluminum ladder out of the water and I noticed that the cable coming off of the winch was lightly arcing on the ladder as they touched. I unplugged the winch and the arcing went away. Something is obviously wrong and needs to be fixed. I can touch the winch and cable without feeling any electrical shock, but I'm standing on a wooden pier deck. I guess since the ladder was still partly in the water, it was acting as a ground. What can I do to stop this? Can I add a ground rod? Will this ground rod have to be on land? Will a ground rod even solve the problem, or is it more like a band-aid? Can anyone tell me what's causing the problem? I'd like to swim in the water, but I'd prefer to stay alive...

If you guys need any more info to help me out, I'll be as quick as possible. I'd like to get this boat lift safe before I use it or swim.

Thanks,
Patrick

gookinp07 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2012, 09:59 PM   #2
Member
 
biggles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Long Island
Posts: 3,630
Rewards Points: 0
Default

Pier Wiring Leaking


that would be a ground wire in the 3 wire feed is it grounded from the source,anfd that control switch are you breaking both HOTs of that 220V.if your only breaking one side the other might be leaking on the winding of the winch looking for a ground that the ladder gave it...just throwing this out to you for others to tweek

biggles is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2012, 10:03 PM   #3
Electrical Contractor
 
kbsparky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Delmarva
Posts: 3,368
Rewards Points: 0
Default

Pier Wiring Leaking


Put that motor on a GFCI breaker! IF it trips out, repair the unit, and/or replace the motor! Your life could depend on it!
__________________
-KB

Life is uncertain -- eat dessert first!!
kbsparky is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to kbsparky For This Useful Post:
jbfan (08-13-2012)
Old 08-12-2012, 10:07 PM   #4
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cairns Australia
Posts: 2,498
Rewards Points: 8
Default

Pier Wiring Leaking


You said the winch has an earth correct ?
Where does this earth go to ?
Does it just go to the frame of the motor ?
If so run an earth wire from the steel frame of the winch
and connect it to the motors earth.
dmxtothemax is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2012, 10:26 PM   #5
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 49
Rewards Points: 0
Default

Pier Wiring Leaking


I originally wanted to install a GFCI. However, at this time, I don't have the money for doing so. I understand GFCIs save lives, but if you can't afford one, you can't afford one.

As a shortcut, I extended the 220v 50 amp circuit that I use for my welder. I added another ~75 ft of 10/2, then ~25 ft of 12/2 to power the winch. If I add a GFCI breaker to my main panel, it'll pop every time I try to weld something. I can add a sub-panel near the welder outlet, but that'll cost even more.

On another note, if I knew how to rewire the winch for 110v, which is possible, then I could easily and cheaply put a single pole gfci breaker on the circuit. The problem is that the winch is probably 30 or so years old and there's no panel for info on how to rewire for 110.
gookinp07 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2012, 10:33 PM   #6
Lic Electrical Inspector
 
electures's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: The Great Police State of New Jersey
Posts: 1,670
Rewards Points: 0
Default

Pier Wiring Leaking


Then make sure your will is up to date.
__________________
All responses based on the 2011 NEC.
If you live in New Jersey click here. All other states click here.
Please check with local, county and state officials as laws may vary.
Sizing motors here. Online motor calculator here. Online calculators here.
electures is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to electures For This Useful Post:
jbfan (08-13-2012), stickboy1375 (08-13-2012)
Old 08-12-2012, 10:41 PM   #7
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 49
Rewards Points: 0
Default

Pier Wiring Leaking


Don't get me wrong, I'm going to install a GCFI as soon as possible. In the mean time, I would like to fix the issue. I assume that even if I had a GFCI at this point, it would pop almost as soon as it was turned on and the issue would be harder to fix. Until I fix the issue, the winch will remain unplugged and unused.
gookinp07 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2012, 10:44 PM   #8
Licensed Electrician
 
k_buz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: SE Wisconsin
Posts: 4,340
Rewards Points: 0
Default

Pier Wiring Leaking


Is the motor sealed?
__________________
__________________________________________________ ______________
Answers based on the National Electric Code. Always check local amendments.



Last edited by k_buz; 08-12-2012 at 10:46 PM.
k_buz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2012, 10:53 PM   #9
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 49
Rewards Points: 0
Default

Pier Wiring Leaking


The motor was sitting in a barn for 20 years already wired. I didn't change any wiring on the motor or controls. I simply plugged it in and these are the results. I understand biggles comment and now I have something to check. I'm trying to understand what's wrong with the wiring. I completely understand that it is unsafe. I do not plan on using it until it is safe. If it remains unsafe, it will not be used. If you can give me any hint as to what's wrong, I would appreciate it. Otherwise, I don't need to be constantly reminded that something is wrong. I know that part already. I would like to solve the issue on my own if possible. However, if I cannot resolve it in a timely / safe manner, I will get an electrician to check it out, which means I'll have to wait longer to put a GFI in the circuit. The winch will not be used without a GFI except for minor testing like today.
gookinp07 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2012, 10:56 PM   #10
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 49
Rewards Points: 0
Default

Pier Wiring Leaking


I'm not sure what you mean by sealed. If you're worried about the weather affecting the wiring, I've got that covered. Once it's wired and working corectly, I plan on building a structure under and around it to protect it from the elements. It has been under shelter until today when it was installed and has not been rained on.
gookinp07 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2012, 10:58 PM   #11
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 49
Rewards Points: 0
Default

Pier Wiring Leaking


Also, I'm not 100% where the earth goes to on the winch assembly. Like I said, it was already wired and was working when put away. I can check tomorrow, but I assume that since the entire assembly is steel and is all bolted together, that the ground should carry throughout it.
gookinp07 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2012, 11:01 PM   #12
Licensed Electrician
 
k_buz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: SE Wisconsin
Posts: 4,340
Rewards Points: 0
Default

Pier Wiring Leaking


Take the motor in for scrap...its toast.
__________________
__________________________________________________ ______________
Answers based on the National Electric Code. Always check local amendments.


k_buz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2012, 11:16 PM   #13
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 49
Rewards Points: 0
Default

Pier Wiring Leaking


How did you come to that conclusion? I'm not questioning it or anything, I'm just interested in your logic. I've always wanted to know why something did or didn't work. I'm assuming that a dry motor has no reason to have a ground fault. It's only when a motor is wet or bad that a ground fault occurs? Is this correct?

Also, what made this motor bad? Did some of the internal wiring decay and cause a short? Can an old electric motor be rebuilt easily, or would it be bestto find a new one (if possible)?

Thanks for the replies.
gookinp07 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2012, 11:28 PM   #14
Mad Scientist
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 766
Rewards Points: 0
Default

Pier Wiring Leaking


I think you should take k_buz's advice and scrap the motor. It sounds like one of the windings is faulted to the motor case and shaft, energizing the attached winch cable. I really recommend that you scrap the whole setup, wiring included, until you can re-do it all safely. You have that 6 amp load, and the 12 gauge wire feeding it, and the 10 gauge wire feeding that, all protected by a 50A breaker? In the event of a major overload, such as the motor stalling, that #12 wire is extremely likely to glow red-hot and start a fire before the breaker trips. Likely the #10 will as well.

I really don't want to sound condescending, so I hope you don't it that way. But respectfully, if you can't afford to install this right, you can't afford to do it at all. Circuits like this kill people easily, and frequently. There's been a rash of electrocutions just recently, in fact. Google "boat dock electrocution" and you'll surely see what I mean. Anytime electricity and water come in close proximity, safety needs to be taken very seriously. Just a relatively small amount of current leaking to the water could kill you, or someone else. If you had been in the water while moving that ladder, it is very likely that you would be dead.

I won't harp on that point anymore, because in the end, you'll do whatever you decide, but please, give it a bit of thought. We're all here to help you figure out the best and safest thing to do.
McSteve is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2012, 11:45 PM   #15
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 49
Rewards Points: 0
Default

Pier Wiring Leaking


McSteve, I appreciate the candor and the advice. You and k_buz are absolutely right. The winch will be scrapped. Safety is my number 1 concern. My last post was to satisfy my curiosity of why this is happening. I happen to have an identical winch laying around that I'll test out later to see if it's any better, although it probably won't be.

The wiring I've done so far is more for testing the setup than anything else. I intend on adding a sub panel with a seperate GFI breaker specifically for this circuit as soon as possible. How does a two pole, 30 amp GFI sound? Is the 12 gauge still too thin? How about if I upgrade the 12 gauge so that it's 10 gauge throughout? I only ran 12 gauge because I ran out of 10, had the perfect length of 12 laying around, and I found out the voltage drop wouldn't affect the motor.

The reason I'm asking about a 30 amp breaker is because I've found hot tub setups that consist of a sub panel with a 30 amp GFI built in. I figured this might be my cheapest path (and hopefully best). I'm also having trouble finding 15 or 20 amp 2 pole GFIs.

gookinp07 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
pier


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Unusual three way switch wiring help r1racer Electrical 9 11-11-2010 08:49 PM
Leaking Box Window Omeleto Building & Construction 9 02-19-2010 04:40 PM
leaking roof couchguy Roofing/Siding 1 02-13-2010 04:43 PM
Knob & Tube wiring - How concerned should we be? hotdiggitydog Electrical 6 04-11-2006 07:52 PM
Garage - Protecting wiring installation eastment Electrical 4 11-26-2005 11:52 AM




Top of Page | View New Posts

Copyright © 2003-2014 Escalate Media. All Rights Reserved.