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Old 13-11-2016, 16:08   #1
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The riddle of the flickering "shore power connected" LED

Good evening all, I'm hoping someone on the forum has seen this one before.

I have a 30A/120V AC distribution panel with LEDs for shore power connected and reverse polarity. Just today the shore power connected LED started flickering. The flickering intensifies when I turn on a big AC load like the water heater (draws 12A when heating up), but is always there regardless of if there is a load on the panel. AC volts drops about 1V when the water heater comes on too. Beyond the small drop in volts and increase in current, nothing changes when the water heater turns on and it looks like the volts/amps are steady. I have checked the shore power connections and all is clean and tight. There haven't been any big storms or waves that would make me think there was a loose connection that just popped up.

So I'm not suspecting the connections to shore power, and I don't see any fluctuations in voltage that would tell me I have a bad shore power box. Has anyone ever seen anything like this? I'd be nervous about a potentially corroded connection, but why would it happen so suddenly?

Sorry for the long post, and thanks in advance for any info you can send our way!


-Shawn
S/V Firefly
Chesapeake Bay, US.
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Old 13-11-2016, 17:24   #2
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Re: The riddle of the flickering "shore power connected" LED

Are you sure they are LED and not Neon? My panel has neon lights that look an aweful lot like LED lights. Neon lights have a limited lifespan and as they age they require more voltage to stay lit. When you turn on a lot of loads or heavy loads they may flicker because the voltage drops.
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Old 13-11-2016, 18:17   #3
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Re: The riddle of the flickering "shore power connected" LED

Are the batteries flat ??
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Old 13-11-2016, 19:45   #4
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Re: The riddle of the flickering "shore power connected" LED

I'm going to bet it's an issue with the cord or the plug, or the shore power inlet plug.

Simple test is to try another known good cord. I started having exactly the same behavior as you with my old cord; a good cord fixed the issue, so went out and bought a new one.

I SHOULD remove and check the inlet power plug. It's on my to do list. It's impossible to examine without pulling it, and they do melt if there is an overheat from a poor connection.

Also this article of Mainsail's is worth a read (even if you don't run out and buy a SmartPlug).
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Old 13-11-2016, 23:35   #5
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Re: The riddle of the flickering "shore power connected" LED

zboss: turns out your right. On closer inspection the bulbs aren't LED, they just have a red cap that makes them look like LEDs. I'm going to make a guess that they are neon indicator lamps. The old age theory also sounds good because that light is lit all the time (we are living abord) and the panel was built in the late 80's.

Thanks for the input!

-Shawn
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Old 16-11-2016, 21:13   #6
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Re: The riddle of the flickering "shore power connected" LED

Same type lamps in my panel,try tapping on the bulb if nothing happens substitute one of the other AC bulbs if now tests ok then it's the bulb, if not start tracing back from there (a cheap little AC circuit testing light,neon,works well for this).As said before,a faulty connection would be the usual suspect,but be careful,if not with AC it could turn into a shocking experience.
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