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Old 30-08-2011, 09:48   #16
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Re: Shore Power Cable Short Circuit ?

looks interesting, but how much do they charge for a cord? Nice looking unit, but really, it's still 3 prongs, and the contact area on the prongs appears to be less than a hubbel...? it doesnt twist lok but does appear to have a locking mechanism... how long have you had yours and does the lock system work well, easy to slide after a year in salt water and sun?

oooops..... I seee you're inthe PNW....forget the sun! :>)
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Old 30-08-2011, 10:31   #17
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Re: Shore Power Cable Short Circuit ?

I hate to do this, I usually just troll around here for improvements on my own boat but I do work for SmartPlug so I'll just throw in a couple of things on your questions.

We actually get sent quite a few burned twist lock plugs and the reasons they burn are numerous. They were made for plugging in industrial equipment (usually in the ceiling) and not really designed for the marine industry (original design 1938, put on boats in the 50's). They often fail because a lot of stress is put on the pins due to tide, wind, waves, kicking, etc. and that causes arcing, not to mention when they are pulled out when under electrical load (more arcing), and of course water intrusion. All these things lead to carbonization of the contacts which then reduces ampacity, increases resistance which makes it heat up.

We have 20 times more contact area than the twist lock, sleeve it for stabilization, have it lock automatically like a cordless battery drill and the cap locks down on top (it's not going anywhere), and use triple weatherproof seals to keep moisture to a minimum. We also have a 7 year warranty and have replaced (user admitted error) units for free.

Ok, that's it I'm going back to searching for a solution to my seafrost refrigerant leak problems.
Mike
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Old 30-08-2011, 10:39   #18
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Re: Shore Power Cable Short Circuit ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
looks interesting, but how much do they charge for a cord? Nice looking unit, but really, it's still 3 prongs, and the contact area on the prongs appears to be less than a hubbel...? it doesnt twist lok but does appear to have a locking mechanism... how long have you had yours and does the lock system work well, easy to slide after a year in salt water and sun?

oooops..... I seee you're inthe PNW....forget the sun! :>)
West Marine has the plug set (boat side and a replacement for the cord) for $200, but I didn't pay that much. I've had mine about a year and think I paid around $150 at Fisheries Supply.

It has two locks, one on each side, very secure, and then the cover also snaps down on the unit. It won't snap down unless the two side locks are correct.

The unit has weather seal inside the plugs and is much tighter and more secure than the Marinco/Hubbel designs.

The entire replacement job took me about 30 minutes, total.

I've never regretted the change.

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Old 30-08-2011, 10:39   #19
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Re: Shore Power Cable Short Circuit ?

"We have 20 times more contact area,.." Wow, that thing must be a lot bigger than it looks! How big are those prongs, an inch wide? I like the triple moisture seal. How does one attach to the dock that has the conventional system? a Hubbel adaptor?
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Old 30-08-2011, 10:45   #20
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Re: Shore Power Cable Short Circuit ?

I'll have to defer to the fellow that works there! Each prong is about 1/2" wide, I'm guessing, but they are thick and there is a lot more contact area.

For dock connections, you replace just the boat side of your cord with the Smartplug. The other side continues to be the conventional Hubbel/Marinco. I understand they're working on dock side plugs, too, but unless you're somewhere that has installed them, you remain stuck with the conventional. However, it has been my experience that the dock side plug is rarely the one to have a problem, it has always been (for me) the boat side.

One of those additional features I really like is the thermal cutout. If resistance is increasing, for whatever reason, or you're exceeding the amperage draw without tripping a breaker, the Smartplug will trip.

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Old 30-08-2011, 11:02   #21
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Re: Shore Power Cable Short Circuit ?

Someone wintering in cold climes needs to be a beta test! It was always the dock end that failed on mine from the heater draw ....the boat end had a metal screw-on ring that held it nice and tight . Not being a naysayer... it's nice someone is trying to improve the system for sure.
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Old 30-08-2011, 11:24   #22
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Re: Shore Power Cable Short Circuit ?

Living aboard I found that using the shorepower to provide a higher than normal amperage to a heater or AC unit while operating the microwave would cause the shorepower connectors to be warm to the touch.
Check that your shorepower connection is sufficirnt for the requirements demanded of it.
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Old 31-08-2011, 10:31   #23
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Re: Shore Power Cable Short Circuit ?

Yeah, a small heater on the higher 1200 watt setting still is only drawing 10 amps. I usually ran on the lower setting. But up here in the winter, as you know, it'll probably run almost continuously 24 hours. I think that's what kills the cord. In a perfect world the boat would be set up with the 50 amp service... but a new cord for those is about $300!! I think stranded wire with longer AC runs could be part of the problem too.... as I said earlier.... if you cut a bad cord apart... all the strands have turned dark, almost black in color...
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Old 31-08-2011, 11:05   #24
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Re: Shore Power Cable Short Circuit ?

my cords have lasted many years without any problems. the last one i bought was 50 ft and 50 dollars. was a while ago. have had zero problems --but i count every amp in and every amp out. religiously. i also make sure the cord is twisted into the outlet, as it should be. wont ground without the twist.
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Old 31-08-2011, 11:08   #25
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Re: Shore Power Cable Short Circuit ?

Yeah, I never had much problem in the south. Hardly used the cord except for batt charging at the dock.
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Old 31-08-2011, 11:13   #26
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Re: Shore Power Cable Short Circuit ?

iused mine in san diego for heater and boat charging and usual uses. is cold in sd in winter. is why i sailed south. now i have constant air conditioning---window unit, 5000btus---no problemat all. no heat on cord, no arcing--is perfecto. as usual. i dont allow my cords to heat up--means could be a fire. wont allow that. if i need to use another power cord--not a biggie--just wont allow any heat to pass thru cord from outlet or from appliances in use.
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Old 31-08-2011, 11:38   #27
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Re: Shore Power Cable Short Circuit ?

I installed SmartPlug on the boat last year and am fairly happy with it. It does seem to lock in well at the boat and like others have said the built in thermal shutdown seems like a good idea. I have been a little disappointed to find water intrusion inside the boat receptacle after washing the boat. Cords are expensive, but so are the twist lock cords. The difference isn't that great.

We are still stuck with the standard twist lock on the dock. For safety reasons that connection is supposed to be weak so that if a boat leaves while connected the cord pulls out at the dock connection. If it pulled out from the boat connection there would be a live wire in the water.

And weak they are! I checked the boat daily over the winter and after a windy night found the plug dangling half in to the dock receptacle--drawing power intermittently and undoubtedly arcing. Very scary. Best thing for it is strain relief at the dock. I'm tied next to a wall and had a simple cord winder attached to the wall about three feet over the receptacle. Cord goes over the winder and hangs down to the receptacle. That way the plug doesn't have to support any weight from the cord.
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Old 31-08-2011, 11:49   #28
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Re: Shore Power Cable Short Circuit ?

i loop mine and tie off with a bit of light line. works great. no stress on the cord and no extra expense to me.
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Old 06-09-2011, 09:26   #29
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Re: Shore Power Cable Short Circuit ?

the plug has been replaced with a new one. and a new power cord also
the electric AC panel has been checked and connections redone

all is right now and work ok even with the A/C on. No warming at all on the plug
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Old 06-09-2011, 12:02   #30
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Re: Shore Power Cable Short Circuit ?

What osiris said: Grease the contacts.

I'd probably use No-Alox or another contact enhancer that is basically grease heavily doped with zinc dust, rather than using plain dielectric grease though. The zinc dust is sacrificed if there's any galvanic action, so it provides some extra protection, not just blocking oxidation.
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