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Old 03-10-2012, 18:30   #1
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30a service to 50a.... read the post.

Ok, so here is the deal. My 'other' boat is a Pearson 424 (taking it to the BVI's this fall).

It has a 30a service connector which has been onboard since 1978 when it was built. There is one pin that is black, and appears to have been melted. The owner purchased a new power cord... .it has now got a melted socket where it connects to the boat...

... SO. I will be installing a new shore power socket (probably 30a). I will also purchase a new 30a shore power cord.

I know Marinco makes a replacement 'boat end' for the brand new 30a shore power cord, I also know there is a (rare) 50a 125v connector... which I suppose I could replace the 30a connector (on the boat) with.

Then there are the new "smart plugs' which are another option...

The boat has a large refrigeration unit, and air conditioning system, so the peak load is probably more like 50a, but I do not want to replace the panel are rewire it....


Any advice?
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Old 03-10-2012, 18:39   #2
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Re: 30a service to 50a.... read the post.

I like the smart plugs. Install 2 30 amp connectors and run one through a new breaker to the AC units. Run the other one to the other loads/main ac panel.

I would also check all of your ac wiring from the back of the boat connector to the main ac panel. The wiring may have been overloaded and the insulation may be brittle.
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Old 03-10-2012, 21:19   #3
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Re: 30a service to 50a.... read the post.

The typical overheating of the standard shore power plug/receptacle is caused by several factors but primarily by poor contact between the mating parts. Smart Plug offers significantly more contact area for current flow thus eliminating this problem.
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Old 03-10-2012, 22:01   #4
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Re: 30a service to 50a.... read the post.

I vote with DeepFrz. I just replaced the cables and plugs on my Pearson 422 (the better version of the 424 ) with a Smartplug. I bought a new Smartplug 30 A cable but also got a new Smartplug plug for the end of the old shorepower cable to keep for a spare.

Been using it for a year now and love it. Well made, solid connection, stays perfectly cool.

ONE WARNING!!!! Replacing the shore power connector on the boat with the new Smartplug was easy. Fit the same hole in the coaming and even the screw holes matched up with no modification at all. BUT be very careful when you loosen the screws in the plug that tighten onto the stripped wire ends. If you loosen the screw just one turn too much the clamp on the end of the screw falls off INSIDE the plug housing that is solid and glued together. It took me almost an hour of jiggling and balancing the stupid little piece inside the housing until I could get it to catch back on the threads of the screw. One really stupid design flaw but once you get the stupid thing installed it's great. Also shopped online and found a good deal.

I also have a big charger, reefer and an A/C (currently not working) but plan on getting by with just 30 A by balancing the loads and using the boost function of my Victron inverter to handle the starting load on the A/C.
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Old 04-10-2012, 04:55   #5
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Re: 30a service to 50a.... read the post.

Full disclosure: I am a SmartPlug dealer.

Quote:
One really stupid design flaw ...
Please note that there is a sticker over these screws specifically warning the installer not to back off the screws too far AND there is resistance felt as the installer comes to the end of the screw's travel when backing them out AND at 2:18 of the installation video (SmartPlug Videos) the narrator specifically cautions not to back the clamping screws back too far or the clamping plate will fall inside the connector.
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Old 04-10-2012, 05:46   #6
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Re: 30a service to 50a.... read the post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieJ View Post
Full disclosure: I am a SmartPlug dealer.



Please note that there is a sticker over these screws specifically warning the installer not to back off the screws too far AND there is resistance felt as the installer comes to the end of the screw's travel when backing them out AND at 2:18 of the installation video (SmartPlug Videos) the narrator specifically cautions not to back the clamping screws back too far or the clamping plate will fall inside the connector.
Hi Charlie. Good to hear from you.

Oh I read the sticker and was aware of the potential problem so certainly some blame lies with the technique of the installer (me).

However, even being aware and looking for some tactile feedback ie resistance to indicate when the safe limits were reached it happened to me, twice! At least in the unit I installed, the resistance was very slight if present at all. Just too easy to "screw up" the process.

I do love the product and highly recommend it but wanted to make sure anyone buying it takes more care than I did to head the warnings. I guess my annoyance with the issue is at least partly due to the fact that it would be quite easy to use a clamp that is captured on the screw and can't fall off. You see this on $2.00 home use AC switches and outlets so seems like it would be easy implement on a $60.00 marine plug.
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Old 04-10-2012, 12:13   #7
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All. Need help and advice on this topic. I have a 46' bestway (taiwan). It has a 30a AND a 50a connection. Only 30a is plugged into the dock. But i just bought a 50a/125v cable ($600!). Can I plug both cables into the dock at the same time? I tested the 50a connector and it is live. Thanks.
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Old 04-10-2012, 12:51   #8
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Re: 30a service to 50a.... read the post.

Faith, I would not recommend replacing outlets with 50 amp. A 50 to 30 pigtail at the dock will get you power but if the marina is having electrical issues this won't matter. Stay with your 30 amp and I too highly recommend the smart plug on the boat end. The problem at the dock is that the plug is not inserted tightly and actually locked when it's twisted. That's easy to check. Twist it and pull. If it unplugs then it's not connected properly. The other problem is the dock outlet. If it's worn or corroded and the prongs on your cord do not make good contact then you will get the burning. This is from arcing and is a very common problem. Hope this helps. Chuck
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Old 04-10-2012, 12:53   #9
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Re: 30a service to 50a.... read the post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wjpetersen View Post
All. Need help and advice on this topic. I have a 46' bestway (taiwan). It has a 30a AND a 50a connection. Only 30a is plugged into the dock. But i just bought a 50a/125v cable ($600!). Can I plug both cables into the dock at the same time? I tested the 50a connector and it is live. Thanks.
That depends on how your boat is wired and we would need a whole lot of information to be able to answer. Chuck
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Old 04-10-2012, 12:53   #10
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Re: 30a service to 50a.... read the post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wjpetersen View Post
All. Need help and advice on this topic. I have a 46' bestway (taiwan). It has a 30a AND a 50a connection. Only 30a is plugged into the dock. But i just bought a 50a/125v cable ($600!). Can I plug both cables into the dock at the same time? I tested the 50a connector and it is live. Thanks.
I don't think there is enough information to give you a guaranteed answer.

First, can you clarify what you mean when you say you tested the 50A connector and it is live. Do you mean the 50A socket on the dock or the 50A socket on your boat? If you mean the 50 A socket on your boat and you tested it and found it live (meaning you found 120V AC on the connectors inside the socket on your boat) while the 30A shore power cord is connected then you have a problem with your system and I would not connect another cord until you have it sorted out.

If you mean the 50A socket on the dock is live then you have one side of the connection OK.

Next question, there are two kinds of 50A connectors. The cord you bought is a 50A/125V but there is also a 50A/250V style that is slightly different. The edge of the blades in the plug bend inward on one and outward on the other. Does the plug on your power cord exactly match the socket on the boat? Look carefully.

To go to the next step you need to know how your boat is wired. You have to find out if the AC circuit breaker panel is wired to accept two different inputs at the same time or only one at a time. You could do this by checking with a meter or following the wires from the panel to the shore power plugs. If you don't know how to do this I highly recommend getting some expert advise before plugging stuff in.
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Old 04-10-2012, 13:18   #11
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Re: 30a service to 50a.... read the post.

Thank you for helping. See my responses below:


I don't think there is enough information to give you a guaranteed answer.

"I understand. I am new to boating and this was my first post"

First, can you clarify what you mean when you say you tested the 50A connector and it is live. Do you mean the 50A socket on the dock or the 50A socket on your boat? If you mean the 50 A socket on your boat and you tested it and found it live (meaning you found 120V AC on the connectors inside the socket on your boat) while the 30A shore power cord is connected then you have a problem with your system and I would not connect another cord until you have it sorted out.

"One of the guys in the marina accidentilly touched the 50A pin and got shocked. So that is how I know it was live. I know - stupid move. The 30A side was plugged in already. I keep tripping either the shore breaker or breakers on the boat when I run a heater or two. So I wanted more power and bought the 50A cable. I just didn't know if I can plug both cables into the boat at the same time."

If you mean the 50A socket on the dock is live then you have one side of the connection OK.

"yes - 50A socket on dock is good"

Next question, there are two kinds of 50A connectors. The cord you bought is a 50A/125V but there is also a 50A/250V style that is slightly different. The edge of the blades in the plug bend inward on one and outward on the other. Does the plug on your power cord exactly match the socket on the boat? Look carefully.

"I took a picture of the 50A connection and matched it up at West Marine"

To go to the next step you need to know how your boat is wired. You have to find out if the AC circuit breaker panel is wired to accept two different inputs at the same time or only one at a time. You could do this by checking with a meter or following the wires from the panel to the shore power plugs. If you don't know how to do this I highly recommend getting some expert advise before plugging stuff in.

"I have an electrical diagram - but I am not an expert. So I will call an electrical guy to check things out."
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Old 04-10-2012, 13:21   #12
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Re: 30a service to 50a.... read the post.

I would highly recommend that before you proceed any further you get a qualified marine electrician to look at your boat and answer your question. A mistake can have disastrous consequences. Chuck
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Old 04-10-2012, 13:37   #13
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Will do. Thanks.
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Old 04-10-2012, 14:40   #14
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Re: 30a service to 50a.... read the post.

.Before other comments let me second what Waterway says. You need to consult a pro here. AC electricity is dangerous any time, more so on a boat. You can electrocute someone one your boat or even on the dock or in the water next to your boat. You can also start a fire and least of your worries, fry a bunch of expensive equipment.

You admit you are not an expert here so you really need to get a pro involved, right away.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wjpetersen View Post
"One of the guys in the marina accidentilly touched the 50A pin and got shocked. So that is how I know it was live.
I think I know what you're saying but to be completely clear. The guy touched a pin inside the socket on your boat where a shore power plug would connect?

If that is the case then you have a problem. It sounds to me like the 30A circuit and the 50A circuit are connected to each other. First this is extremely dangerous if there is a hot pin you can touch when shore power is connected to the other socket. Second if the two systems are connected to each other DO NOT connect both cables until you have an expert check out the system and tell you what's going on.

I think first thing you need to separate the two systems. Having both plugs hot at the same time is very scary.
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Old 04-10-2012, 15:00   #15
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Correct. When 30a plugged into dock, 50a is hot. I will call an expert. Thanks all.
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