I had eyed the adverts for this new product for some time and then my boat inlet burned out as well as the plug
on the power cord that was connected to it. I looked the product up and found out that it should fit the cutout and even current
screw holes for the fasteners so I decided to go for it and ordered both the inlet and the plug
in a kit they sell.
After unpacking I noticed a warning label on the boat inlet that said that opening the contacts too far might result in breaking it. That was a red flag right there. My current
cabling is AWG6 and I immediately realized it was not going to fit. The product specs do not list the maximum conductor size. I tried AWG8 and with effort and tricks could get it in. It is really designed for AWG10.
While opening the contacts to maximum I also noticed the tendency to turn the screw too far back, which can break plastic tabs. There is a design error, because there is a plastic guide to bring the strands into the receptacle but the contacts can't be opened far enough and restrict the opening. Stupid error. I found another error and that is the cable stripping instructions: they let you strip the conductors too far. Not a problem other than the documentation
So I ripped out the old inlet and cabling to the inside breaker and installed the inlet. It does fit the old pattern exactly.
Next was the plug; After opening it, I noticed that it can only handle AWG10 conductors which is okay because all the cables
are AWG10 (this is a 30A 120V inlet). It seemed impossible to get the cable through but using the tool supplied and liquid soap it was rather easy.
Next was connecting the conductors. This is not easy at all. There are three big plastic fingers blocking the path; these will later grab the cable to provide strain relief. The only way is to use pliers for the 2nd and 3rd conductors which works but not as nice as how Marinco connectors work.
After connecting the plug must be assembled. The cable (standard from chandlery) looks too thick for the strain relief fingers but we'll put it together anyway. There are three screws that you must insert and get started which required too much effort in my opinion. Once all three are started, you rotate around the three with a turn, so that you gradually close the plug which forces the before mentioned fingers into the cable to hold it. The two screws on one side bottom out nicely but the third screw on the other side does not; I can keep turning it. It still holds the plug together but it is not 100%
Then we inserted the plug, locked it with the cap and all worked well.
I must say that the locking mechanism is very good. Also, the stainless steel parts
are very pretty and stout. and the contacts are much better than the old system.
The question is if I would buy it again... I think I would choose the European blue plugs next time, even if that requires more work to fit the inlet to the old hole. I believe that it's contacts are as trouble free as the Smart Plug ones and the locking mechanism is good too, while it has superior connections for the conductors. The old style Marinco connectors I always used, also have better connectors for the cable conductors. The cable relief looks more high tech for the Smart Plug but I believe it assumes a smaller diameter cable which also lead to difficulties closing the plug and the screw that was overpowered by the tension.
Still, I'm very happy to got rid of that old inlet with the ever lasting burned plug problems.