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Stray Current Corrosion

Stray Current Corrosion is similar to Galvanic Corrosion, except the voltage and current flow is created by an outside electrical source rather than spontaneously in nature, and normally with much more force than galvanic action.

Stray Current Corrosion can deteriorate a significant amount of boat metal in a very short period of time. (Commonly called Electrolysis - a misnomer.)

A problem with the boat's own D.C. system, own A.C. system, the dock A.C. system or other boats on the dock - can cause Stray Current Corrosion.

Common Stray Current sources are:

  • AC polarity reversals

  • Improperly installed polarity alarms (low resistance polarity indicator circuits should include a normally off, momentary test switch).

  • AC shorts from hot to case.

  • Frayed, cut or waterlogged insulation.

  • Wire in bilge water.

  • Salt bridges on terminal strips or junction blocks.

  • Staples, nails or screws through wires.

  • Improperly grounded equipment.

  • DC equipment using bonding system for return wire negative.

  • Loose connections, etc.
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