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Old 30-04-2012, 07:38   #46
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Re: Will my boat catch fire?

On a boat, any time we can eliminate even one electrical connection, it is deemed a good thing. Why not eliminate the boat end of this shore power cord problem by simply hard-wiring the shore power cord into the boat, in a very seamanlike manner, with proper weather sealing, strain relief, etc.? Do away with the twist-lock plug and receptacle entirely. The shore power cord could be stored in a deck box, for example, and the entry point into the hull could be inside that box.
What does ABYC have to say about such an installation?
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Old 30-04-2012, 07:38   #47
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Re: Will my boat catch fire?

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Originally Posted by IslandHopper View Post
Apologies for the off topic but would that have been one of Nick Paspaley's Mallards ??
I have literally spent hundreds of hours inside Nick's Mallards but as it is way off topic, perhaps you could PM me to discuss this more (along with stuff about the NW shelf O&G) if you are interested.
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Old 30-04-2012, 08:29   #48
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Re: Will my boat catch fire?

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Originally Posted by nitpik View Post
On a boat, any time we can eliminate even one electrical connection, it is deemed a good thing. Why not eliminate the boat end of this shore power cord problem by simply hard-wiring the shore power cord into the boat, in a very seamanlike manner, with proper weather sealing, strain relief, etc.? Do away with the twist-lock plug and receptacle entirely. The shore power cord could be stored in a deck box, for example, and the entry point into the hull could be inside that box.
What does ABYC have to say about such an installation?

It's a thought, the downside would be, when the shoreside connector fails you have to cut out the old cord to replace it.

The asumption is, most people can plug in a toaster without killing themselves, fewer can rewire a main power connector correctly every couple of years.
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Old 30-04-2012, 08:39   #49
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Re: Will my boat catch fire?

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While I am agreed that greasing connectors is a good idea in general, I don't understand the use of a "dielectric" grease. Dielectric means non-conductive. There are, however, conductive greases which should do the job much better while helping repel water and lubricating mechanical connections.

Jim
I use No-alox, It is widely available, water resistant, and contains corrosion inhibitors that even stop aluminum from oxidising. I've discussed this with several master electricians, and they agreed that this type of grease is a good product to use for any electrical contact.

I use it everywhere, and have found the copper clean and shiny in connections several years later.
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Old 30-04-2012, 19:41   #50
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Re: Will my boat catch fire?

Nitpik's idea of "hard-wiring" one end of the shore power cord to the boat is fine - except - the shore power cords weather and the sun eats them, especially in the tropics. Also the cords take considerable abuse on concrete docks and with dock carts rolling over them.

So as Capn Billl says, you would be removing and re-hard wiring a new cord fairly frequently.
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Old 30-04-2012, 19:50   #51
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Re: Will my boat catch fire?

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Originally Posted by Wotname View Post
I have literally spent hundreds of hours inside Nick's Mallards but as it is way off topic, perhaps you could PM me to discuss this more (along with stuff about the NW shelf O&G) if you are interested.
Sounds like a great topic for a thread. Plenty of interested parties.
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Old 30-04-2012, 20:20   #52
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Re: Will my boat catch fire?

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Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
Nitpik's idea of "hard-wiring" one end of the shore power cord to the boat is fine - except - the shore power cords weather and the sun eats them, especially in the tropics. Also the cords take considerable abuse on concrete docks and with dock carts rolling over them.

So as Capn Billl says, you would be removing and re-hard wiring a new cord fairly frequently.
I hard wired my shore power cord to the boat years ago (completely within ABYC Standards) and Have I think twice replaced the shore end. Never had a problem with the boat end. When we are off the dock the cord is in a locker. This makes a lot of sense to me as it reduces the number or connections being "worked".

I'm surprised that no one has raised the issue that many cord faliures are due to arcing over time because few people trip the boat & shore breakers before pulling the plugs. This causes rapid fire arcing which not only shortens the life of the cord connections but can also shorten the life of chargers and inverters.
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Old 01-05-2012, 07:42   #53
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Re: Will my boat catch fire?

Nothing posted so far changes my opinion on this one, 'though I am quite open to reasonable input. I have lived with both hard-wired and Marinco for many years, and hard-wired wins hands down for safety, reliability and durability. I like the looks of the SafePlug system, but hard wiring is, to my mind, even better, since it eliminates most of the problems associated with this connection. Only the shore end may now need occasional replacement. I am not an electrician, yet I find connecting to the main power disconnect is rather straight forward. I don't wish to sound flippant, but surely someone who would find this to be difficult, would find the many other tasks associated with being a competent skipper to be challenging also. One could also have a friend do this install, or hire an electrician. Unless you really abuse your shore-power cord, you are not going to have to do this very often.
I like BoatPoker's advice to trip the breakers before disconnect, to prevent arcing at this time.
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Old 01-05-2012, 08:10   #54
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Re: Will my boat catch fire?

hard wiring sounds good. the issues i can think of are: exiting the boat and having weather resistant thru holes, strain relief, and the inability to quickly disconnect in the event of ???
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Old 01-05-2012, 08:33   #55
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Re: Will my boat catch fire?

Good points - strain relief and weather resistance are easy enough to accomplish, and electrical disconnect is by flipping the main breaker, which is faster than unscrewing the retaining ring and twisting out the plug on the Marinco.
Of course, if the boat departs the dock before you are ready, and the shore-power cord is still connected, you have much the same problem whether you are hard-wired or plugged.
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Old 04-05-2012, 18:31   #56
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Re: Will my boat catch fire?

Most RV's are hard wired, and one could install the same rv cover on a boat. Not completely watertight, but close enough.
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Old 04-05-2012, 21:41   #57
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Re: Will my boat catch fire?

So far, so good. I don't smell or see any smoke out of the Smart Plug. I wonder how many people on this site are linked to ABYC, UL, or some other regulatory body? I ask this because for me, as a Weekend Warrior, hardwiring is not a friendly option. Just untying the boat to get out of the slip is enough effort.

I was thinking that perhaps a better solution would be a double pole/double throw relay on L and N with a bimetallic thermal reset switch with a selector switch for auto or manual reset and an green LED on the plug for power and flashing RED for fault. Iím sure I could build something like this in my garage. I donít know how big it would be or if it was commercially feasible.

I tend to kind of a safety nut. I bring this up because Iím not sure I want an Auto-reset electrical device on my boat. I can deal with this because it is just I, but for the unaware, it could be a ďshockingĒ experience.
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Old 07-05-2012, 05:34   #58
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Re: Will my boat catch fire?

So, three 20 amp butt connectors is too technically difficult but installing a relay and thermal overload isn't? Might as well just buy a contactor (size 2?) with magnetic overload, but I believe you are over thinking this.
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Old 07-05-2012, 09:34   #59
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Re: Will my boat catch fire?

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Originally Posted by Windseeker View Post
[COLOR=black][FONT=Verdana][FONT=Arial]So far, so good. I don't smell or see any smoke out of the Smart Plug. I wonder how many people on this site are linked to ABYC, UL, or some other regulatory body? I ask this because for me, as a Weekend Warrior, hardwiring is not a friendly option. Just untying the boat to get out of the slip is enough effort.
Why is hardwiring not a friendly option? With a conventional cord you have to remove both ends before leaving the dock, dock end first. With it hardwired you only remove the dock end.
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Old 07-05-2012, 09:39   #60
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Re: Will my boat catch fire?

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[COLOR=black][FONT=Verdana][FONT=Arial]I was thinking that perhaps a better solution would be a double pole/double throw relay on L and N with a bimetallic thermal reset switch with a selector switch for auto or manual reset and an green LED on the plug for power and flashing RED for fault. Iím sure I could build something like this in my garage. I donít know how big it would be or if it was commercially feasible.
The shorepower has to go to a double breaker after the inlet, nothing else in between with the exception of a galvanic isolator in the ground and a separate breaker if the run is more than 10' to the main panel. Your relay idea wouldn't meet ABYC and adds unnecessary complication and more connections.
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