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Boat Lift short after hurricane

Old 09-18-2017, 03:14 PM
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Default Boat Lift short after hurricane

Went to test my boat lift after the hurricane and when hitting switch to move up or down, it immediately trips the breaker.


Power was off to dock area and lifts during hurricane. Just turned power back on Friday, so everything should have had a chance to dry out.


In Stuart area, water level never came near the motors or Gem control box.


Motors are 1 year old and sealed stainless, covered by a secondary shroud.


Gem control box has some cracks on the bottom (1993 vintage), so some driven rain could have entered. Opened it up and there is no signs of water, everything was dry.


Was thinking of disconnecting the motors one at a time to see if one is shorted. Being sealed, shorting doesn't seem likely to me though.


Anyone have a similar experience and can point me in the direction to troubleshoot?


Thanks.
Old 09-18-2017, 03:16 PM
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Any chance the wires going to the lift were damaged?
Old 09-18-2017, 03:17 PM
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water in the capacitor cavity. take it off and blow it out. be careful,
Old 09-18-2017, 04:00 PM
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Does it have the GFI breakers in the cables on the inside of the covers? They crap out pretty easily.
Old 09-18-2017, 06:56 PM
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Loose ground somewhere
Old 09-18-2017, 07:43 PM
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salt crystals will conduct electricity, clean all the connection
Old 09-18-2017, 07:44 PM
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Lightning strike?
Old 09-18-2017, 08:50 PM
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You need to tell us what kind of breaker is tripped, a regular one or a GFCI type. The GFCI type will have two buttons on it (test and reset). GFCI breakers trip for a different reason, leakage of current in small quantities where it shouldn't go. Water ingestion would be a likely cause. Regular breakers just trip on high current drain.
Old 09-18-2017, 08:58 PM
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I've got a similar issue with my lift in Islamorada. An electrician buddy is going to stop by later this week and check it out. I have a GEM control box too.
Old 09-19-2017, 06:26 AM
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Default had same problem

had the same issue on my lift in Tavernier. followed the conduit from the lift to the breaker box on the house. there was a water tight junction box under the dock. it was full of saltwater, drained it out. cleaned everything out with fresh water and then soaked everything in crc. put the cover back on and everything works fine.

main thing is to disconnect the power from the lift and hit the breaker if it trips your problem is in the line running out to the lift.
Old 09-19-2017, 06:35 AM
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Thanks for all the suggestions, that's what makes this forum great.


I will check these out and post what the resolution was to potentially help the others with similar issues. Hopefully something simple.
Old 09-19-2017, 09:19 AM
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Bear in mind a neutral ground short on the load side of the GFCI will trip it too if there is any current flowing in the system. It is best to treat all wires as suspect on a GFCI problem. I agree you have water in something. The hot air exhaust from a shop vac can blow water out of raceways and boxes when you open them up. If this was salt water it might be worth removing all of the wirenuts that may have been wet, spray the wires down with WD40 and putting on new wirenuts. The steel springs in them will rust and cause problems down the road.Putting a dab of silicone grease (or using underground wirenuts) may not be a bad idea. Also point all wirenuts up so they tend to drain if they do get wet. Cluster them towards the center of the boxes, away from the sides.
Old 09-19-2017, 10:43 AM
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Guy in the commercial section is selling Pully thing to lower these without power. Worth a look.
Old 09-19-2017, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by gfretwell View Post
Bear in mind a neutral ground short on the load side of the GFCI will trip it too if there is any current flowing in the system.
That is an excellent point. Not many people (or electricians even) are aware of the Grounded-Neutral fail-safe trip feature on a GFCI module. Although that short would have to be under about 3 Ohms.
Old 09-28-2017, 06:05 PM
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So, I finally got a chance to investigate the problem further.

Disconnected one of the motors and it no longer tripped the breaker, which told me that motor was the culprit. Fortunately, it was the motor closer to the dock.
Removed the motor, disassembled and cleaned/dried the internals. Found the contactors were burned so cleaned them with sand paper and sprayed everything with WD40.

Reassembled the motor and installed it and it now works fine.

Simple fix once I had a chance to dig in.

Greatly appreciate the help and ideas from fellow THT'ers.
Old 09-29-2017, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by OneOnTheHead View Post
So, I finally got a chance to investigate the problem further.

Disconnected one of the motors and it no longer tripped the breaker, which told me that motor was the culprit. Fortunately, it was the motor closer to the dock.
Removed the motor, disassembled and cleaned/dried the internals. Found the contactors were burned so cleaned them with sand paper and sprayed everything with WD40.

Reassembled the motor and installed it and it now works fine.

Simple fix once I had a chance to dig in.

Greatly appreciate the help and ideas from fellow THT'ers.
Well done and glad it was simple. WD 40 is great stuff but for marine applications CRC 686 is longer lasting.
Old 09-29-2017, 11:14 PM
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Good deal. I had a similar experience with my lift but it was a snake in the motor. Once I got the dead snake out and straightened up the start contacts it was good as new.

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