A reader recently wrote in with a question about ELCI devices . Here's Jim's letter:
I'm trying to make sense out of the ELCI/RCD stuff. Very difficult. In the marine marketplace, what's actually available? Blue Sea Systems seems to have units available now. The Hubbell/North Shore/Airpax-Sensata/Techsol solution does not seem ready to go yet. Blue Seas is physically large. Hubbell/NS/Sensata is better. Legarnd and the EU solutions appear to be a current transformer and breaker in a single unit. Based on your experience and your industry knowledge, can you provide a list of manufacturers and products that are actually available and meet ABYC, E-11, 2012 for retrofits - not new construction - retrofits to existing boats, as of 1Q-2013?"
ANSWER: The bottom line here is that the newest version of ABYC E-11 standard that addresses this whole ELCI device issue is very open at this point to allow a variety of products that are indeed available to be used. To quote E-11 directly it now states:
An Equipment Leakage Circuit Interrupter (ELCI) or Type A Residual Current Device (RCD) shall be installed with or in addition to the main shore power disconnect circuit breaker(s) or at the additional overcurrent protection as required by E-126.96.36.199.3 whichever is closer to the shore power connection.
_EXCEPTION: Installations where an isolation transformer is installed within 10 feet (3 meters) of the shore power inlet or the electrical attachment point of a permanently installed shore power cord and supported according to _188.8.131.52
"184.108.40.206 The trip level shall be a maximum of 30mA. The trip time shall be a maximum of 100ms.
220.127.116.11 This device shall meet the requirements of UL 1053 Standard for Safety for Ground-Fault Sensing and Relaying Equipment and the requirements of UL 943 Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters with the exception of trip level and trip time, or
18.104.22.168 IEC 61008 Residual current operated circuit-breakers without integral overcurrent protection for household and similar uses or IEC 61009 Amendment 1 - Residual current operated circuit-breakers with integral overcurrent protection for household and similar uses and IEC 61543 Residual current-operated protective devices (RCDs) for household and similar use - Electromagnetic compatibility
1. Trip levels of less than 30ma and times of less than 100ms may result in nuisance trips in certain environments.
_2. If included, the circuit breaker must also meet the requirements of _E-11.10.2_ Overcurrent Protection._
3. IEC compliant RCD’s must be rated for 125, 250 V 60Hz applications
22.214.171.124 The ELCI or RCD shall be readily accessible."
All of the above parameters allow fairly broad latitude at this point. To my mind the only glaring issue is with 100 amp shore power systems, but I do firmly believe at that point the boat is large enough so that not installing an isolation transformer in the shore power is absolute foolishness. The exception above eliminates the ELCI requirement if said transformer is installed.
So, we are now narrowed down to 30 and 50 amp service considerations. Between Blue Sea and Marinco (Northshore) I think we are covered at both the 30 and 50 amp levels. As for the European gear, I believe a call to Ward's Marine Electric in Ft. Lauderdale will get you what you need. www.wardsmarine.com