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18 amp breaker for Penn Elec. Downrigger?

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18 amp breaker for Penn Elec. Downrigger?

Old 01-26-2003, 10:29 PM
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Default 18 amp breaker for Penn Elec. Downrigger?

Santa brought me a Penn Electric Downrigger for Christmas! I finally get around to taking a look at this thing and is says I must use an 18A breaker/fuse with this unit. Ok, no problem....WRONG! ever try to find an 18A breaker or even a fuse?? I can't find one anyplace I have looked. Plenty of 15A and 20A fuses and breakers but no 18A that I can find. Any suggestions on this? Thanks, Joe.
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Old 01-27-2003, 05:01 AM
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Default 18 amp breaker for Penn Elec. Downrigger?

should be fine for the installation.

You won't find an 18-amp breaker anyway, so it becomes a choice of slightly larger or slightly smaller. In the first case you might worry if you are adequately protecting the equipment (I believe yes), in the latter case you will likely overprotect and trip the breaker too frequently.

Breakers are fairly inexpensive, and not too hard to change (depending on the access to the electrical panel), so you could buy both and try the 15-amp first..

Good luck,
Brian

2002 GW Islander 270 - 2001 Yam 250 OX66. Fishin' & cruisin'
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Old 01-27-2003, 05:25 AM
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Default 18 amp breaker for Penn Elec. Downrigger?

Careful with that 20A breaker. It may be enough to cause serious problems. It would be in your best interest to contact the manufacturer and get their opinion.
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Old 01-27-2003, 07:54 AM
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Default 18 amp breaker for Penn Elec. Downrigger?

I would go with the 20 Amp breaker Vs fuse. I would also be very sure that the wire size is proper size for the length you'll need. The breaker is there, firstly; to protect the wire from over heating...secondly the down rigger. Does the rigger itself have a breaker on it?

"Never enough time to do it right; ALWAYS enough time to do it over." Boston Whaler, "MUMBLER", 24' Outrage (1996), twin 175 HP Evinrude Ocean Pros.
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Old 01-27-2003, 12:39 PM
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Default 18 amp breaker for Penn Elec. Downrigger?

Yeah, I'd go with a 20 amp breaker myself but I'd be awfully careful on the wire size and clean connectors, all that stuff. You know, by the time you get up to 20 amps you actually have enough power there to start a fire easily. When you're passing power through just a 1-, 3-, or even 5 amp protected cirucit on a boat if you short something out its really probably only going to smoke a wire on you and not really do any damage, but when you get up t 20 amps if one of those puppys shorts out you are going to be melting stuff and its likely the smoke is going to be more than wire insulation. So, be real careful on your wire runs and size on these downriggers.

As for breakers, Blue Sea Systems makes their T-1 Series of high amp breakers. These things are nice because they can be mounted into any bulkhead without a panel and they come in amperages from 20 up to about 100. They are a bit on the expensive side and the only place that I know of that carrys them is West Marine, but they are very substantial breakers that are easy to install. I use them comming off of the Battery swith in the feedline to the console in my boat - in that and other applications they can also be used as an Off/On switch as well. Pertty nice ......

Thom

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Old 01-27-2003, 05:48 PM
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Default 18 amp breaker for Penn Elec. Downrigger?

Thom and others...have you ever looked at www.paneltronics.com These are the 'big boys' in this stuff. More than you'll ever need. Their circuit breakers panels are sold at BoatUS. Very interesting!

"Never enough time to do it right; ALWAYS enough time to do it over." Boston Whaler, "MUMBLER", 24' Outrage (1996), twin 175 HP Evinrude Ocean Pros.
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Old 01-28-2003, 02:31 AM
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Default 18 amp breaker for Penn Elec. Downrigger?

Well not to disagree with the panel experts here. But you really should contact Penn. There may be a reason unknown to you and everyone here for their choice.

Your boat, your fire.

By the way, if the Coast Guard determines the fire was because you over rated the circuit breaker, the insurance will not pick up the tab, and Penn is off the hook as well.
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Old 01-28-2003, 11:27 AM
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Default 18 amp breaker for Penn Elec. Downrigger?

18 amp breaker does sound strange.
I installed a pair of Scotty's this past summer and their instructions are just as strange.
In the installation manual, it calls for a 30 amp fuse. When you open the package that has the power plug ( female end), there is a single sheet installation paper in there that says to use a 20 amp fuse
The unit itself has a self resetable 15 amp internal breaker, so I went with the 20 amp fuse and have'nt had any problems so far.
Definatly strange thou.

Cheers... Tyee.
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Old 01-28-2003, 12:16 PM
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Default 18 amp breaker for Penn Elec. Downrigger?

Mumbletone,

Yep, I use Paneltronics and Blue Sea stuff pretty much interchangably. They are suprisingly similar, even down to the interchangability of some parts between the two. For whatever its worth Consumer Marine Electronics is also a dealer in Paneltronics equipment, and they are virtually always less expensive than Boat U.S.

Thom

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Old 01-28-2003, 01:47 PM
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Default 18 amp breaker for Penn Elec. Downrigger?

quote: and they are virtually always less expensive than Boat U.S.

Sadly that statement holds true for almost everything I have ever priced at BoatUS. It's hard to be loyal like that.


I did happen to notice the two Penn electrics online have schematics available for viewing. Both had built in circuit breakers.
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Old 01-28-2003, 03:30 PM
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Default 18 amp breaker for Penn Elec. Downrigger?

Tyee

I had the same confusing info with my new Scotties, and installed the 20 amp.

It held until I caught bottom and tried to pull the boat backwards with the rigger motor. Must be big enough.

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Old 01-28-2003, 04:10 PM
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Default 18 amp breaker for Penn Elec. Downrigger?

Just before the end of the season we installed five Walker downriggers on my brother's 28' Rampage. One for the color camera only! Walker said to use 30 AMP fuses on each one. (150 AMP!) The old setup, with SpeedTrol, needed 15 AMP fuses per rigger. The existing 15 AMP circuit breakers are pop'en sometimes. Will upgrade in the spring. I'll have to get some of that Ancor tinned battery cable! The real power comes in when you have to raise them all quick, if you know what I mean.

"Never enough time to do it right; ALWAYS enough time to do it over." Boston Whaler, "MUMBLER", 24' Outrage (1996), twin 175 HP Evinrude Ocean Pros.
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Old 01-28-2003, 09:38 PM
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Default 18 amp breaker for Penn Elec. Downrigger?

Well, First let me thank everyone for offering their help with my questions. I called Penn and talked to a very helpful guy named Tom McNamee about the DR fuse/breaker situation. Tom explained to me that the DR has a built in re-setable breaker, that breaker will trip at around 18-20 amps. He suggested that I place an 18 amp breaker or 30 amp fuse as close to the battery as possible. This will protect the wires (which must be 12 or 10 gauge) from damage. He explained that some people foolishly use ONLY the breaker that is inside the unit but doing so increases the risk of a possible fire along the wires path from the battery . I didnt like the sound of that so I will be placing a 30amp fuse as close to the battery as possible. Thanks again, Joe.
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Old 01-29-2003, 04:35 AM
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Default 18 amp breaker for Penn Elec. Downrigger?

Joe...thanks for getting back to us. Good luck with the fishing!

"Never enough time to do it right; ALWAYS enough time to do it over." Boston Whaler, "MUMBLER", 24' Outrage (1996), twin 175 HP Evinrude Ocean Pros.
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Old 01-30-2003, 04:56 PM
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Default 18 amp breaker for Penn Elec. Downrigger?

Here is some follow up information for those that are interested. Here is some information I got from a professional electrician on my electric Penn DR situation.

QUESTION : Can someone please explain this to me? I have a device (electric fishing downrigger) in which the manufacturer has stated the following..."a 30A fuse or an 18A circuit breaker must be installed as close to the battery as possible" Ok, I do not understand this. There are 12AMPS of difference here, so how can they both protect equally? Thanks, Joe.


ANSWER: The (non time delay) fuse is oversized to permit inrush (starting) current to flow without blowing it. A thermal circuit breaker has an inherent ability to overcome inrush.
BTW,
It must be a special CB if it is available at 18 amps

Just thought it might of some interest to somebody.
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Old 01-31-2003, 10:03 AM
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Default 18 amp breaker for Penn Elec. Downrigger?

Joe, I can understand the confusion. Your Penn guy is basically correct, but he may have left off a few details.

1) The fuse or circuit breaker is in there to protect the boat wiring and not necessarily the device it is feeding. CB's do handle "start-current" overloads better than fuses, although you can get SLO-BLOW fuses that do the same thing.

2) I would go with the 30Amp standard fuse and use #12 wire off of the fuse to the DR. The #12 can safely handle 40 amps before seriously overheating and that is more than enough to take down the fuse.

3) At the maximum DR current of say 20A, the voltage drop in the #12 wire will be about 3/10's of a volt if the length of the run is up to 5 feet, and 1.2 volts if the length is up to 15 feet. These lengths are cable lengths (both conductors together).

4) Frankly, the DR probably draws between 10 and 15 amps and when it reaches 18A, the internal thermal overloads probably shut down the DR anyway, at least they should.
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