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Old 04-03-2021, 12:21   #1
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Why do you have a shore power socket?

Almost every small and moderate sized boat has a socket on the side where the shore power cord plugs in, and then connects to shore. These sockets and plugs are frequent sources of problems up to and including fires. Other than "that's the way it is done," Why???

You probably store the cord in a deck or cockpit locker, why not just have the boat end of the cord hard-wired into the boat's electrical system in the locker? You remove a problematic, high resistance connection, and it is easy to design a waterproof lid for the edge of the locker where the cord exits.

Almost all larger boats with very high amperage connections work this way.

My boat was set up this way from the factory, and it works without issue. Granted, when it is time to replace an aging or damaged cord there is a little bit more work to do. Other than that--what is the advantage of an external plug and socket?
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Old 04-03-2021, 12:24   #2
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Re: Why do you have a shore power socket?

Sometimes it's just down to practicality of where you'd want the cord to attach vs where there's a good storage spot for it.



In my case, having 2x heavy 50A (3 wire) cords at 40 lbs each, if we're just going out for the day or going to be anchored out overnight, we'll just unplug at the boat end and leave the cords on the dock at our home slip. We only coil them up and take them with us if we're actually going somewhere. Couldn't do that with a hardwired cord and we don't have a good spot for one of those fancy power cord reels to make it easy.
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Old 04-03-2021, 13:35   #3
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Re: Why do you have a shore power socket?

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Originally Posted by rslifkin View Post
...............if we're just going out for the day or going to be anchored out overnight, we'll just unplug at the boat end and leave the cords on the dock at our home slip.... Couldn't do that with a hardwired cord ...

I leave my cord on the dock all the time. I have a second one I bring with me. Much easier. Of course, I'm not a full time cruiser, I have a home dock where the boat normally resides.
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Old 04-03-2021, 13:38   #4
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Re: Why do you have a shore power socket?

I bet a shore power cable that is plugged into the socket and then locked on with threaded lock is way more secure that a hardwired cable would be.
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Old 04-03-2021, 14:28   #5
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Re: Why do you have a shore power socket?

It's partly for convenience - in many cases, like rslifkin's, you might just unplug the boat end and coil the cord on the dock rather than hauling it all back aboard.
It's partly because some people only want a 50' cord, while others want a 150' cord.
It's partly so that when the cord goes bad from UV, or from corrosion, or from being jammed in dock hinges too many times, it's easy to replace it.
As far as I know, there's nothing technically wrong with having the boat end be hardwired (provided there's a strain relief, water-resistant seal, etc.), and the RV market does this all the time, it's just not very common on boats.
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Old 04-03-2021, 18:49   #6
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Re: Why do you have a shore power socket?

I hardwire my shore connection which allows me to snake shore cable via vent directly to Engine Room

Terminates in an easily accessible covered junction box which feeds via 60a breaker to Victron Isolation transformer.

Connections remain like new in this warm dry enviornment after years of use, solid and visible thru clear cover.

Another advantage is if I need to work on main board, I can easily bypass with a temporary feed from junction box.

The original cockpit shore outlet has been repurposed to a waterproof 30a cockpit outlet, which is handy for welders or outside use of turbo roast and portable induction.

Now with ample solar/multi invertor giving us independence from shorepower, plugging in is no longer an immediate priority so I don't see the need to have quick but vulnerable deck shore plugs
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Old 05-03-2021, 09:50   #7
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Re: Why do you have a shore power socket?

Some years ago right AFTER I bought Rosy, the surveyor noted the need for upgrades or repair of the onboard connection. To satisfy any concerns from my insurance agent, I just removed it. The only need I have for shore power I supply with an extension cord and a power bar. I only plug in the battery charger and sometimes a space heater while on board. No AC or fridge. Of course, I’m not a liveaboard or cruise to other marinas.
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Old 05-03-2021, 09:51   #8
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Re: Why do you have a shore power socket?

People, PLEASE - those who unplug the boat end and leave the cable on the dock, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE make sure to also unplug the shore end of the cord (preferably, first. A live plug sitting on the dock can create a serious (i.e. fatal) shock hazard if it was to fall in the water. People have died.


To those who will say "I already do, why even mention it", thanks.
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Old 05-03-2021, 09:57   #9
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Re: Why do you have a shore power socket?

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People, PLEASE - those who unplug the boat end and leave the cable on the dock, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE make sure to also unplug the shore end of the cord (preferably, first. A live plug sitting on the dock can create a serious (i.e. fatal) shock hazard if it was to fall in the water. People have died.


To those who will say "I already do, why even mention it", thanks.

Most I know don't unplug the shore end, but do turn the shore breaker off. I also keep my cords tied down to the dock and make sure they're tied in a way where if they get kicked, the plugs can't reach the water.
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Old 05-03-2021, 09:58   #10
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Re: Why do you have a shore power socket?

We use a SMARTPLUG for our shore power inlets. Much more secure than the 'standard' twist lock type and better electrical connection too.

IMHO Being able to disconnect the boat from the cord is easier when coming back than having to disconnect the boat from the pedestal and stowing the cord every time you want to go out.
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Old 05-03-2021, 10:04   #11
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Re: Why do you have a shore power socket?

Redline has it right. NEVER leave a live wire on the dock unless it absolutely NEEDS to be live. Pull the shore end first, then the boat end. Just common sense.

TP.
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Old 05-03-2021, 10:12   #12
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Re: Why do you have a shore power socket?

Depends how much power you pull from the dock. My shorepower cable connects to the battery charger so is relatively low power and well up to it. If I was using it to power things like A/C may be concerned. I either case the plug should e in a protected place, either a watertight closable recess or in the cockpit. I regard these sockets as splash-proof not able to withstand direct wave impact or submersion.
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Old 05-03-2021, 10:39   #13
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Re: Why do you have a shore power socket?

It truly amazes me how many shore power cables are left live on the dock and also the Y connectors with one end open. Its either lack of knowledge or laziness. More amazing is how few accidents happen. Maybe its because newer marinas have GFI breakers in the pedestal or upstream.
One accident is still one too many and GFI breakers can fail.
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Old 05-03-2021, 11:26   #14
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Re: Why do you have a shore power socket?

Power cord connection on deck is a potential source of �� At least once a year I check the wiring on the back of the receptacle on the boat for tightness and any discoloration of the wire. I have seen people replace cords that show heat damage on the female plug and ignore the receptacle and wiring on the boat. For anyone not comfortable with inspection get a professional to check and explain the procedure. Smart plugs are fine but regular inspection is always best for the whole ac system. The receptacle has a useful lifespan just like your rigging and engine oil, if your boat is decades old and it is original consider replacing with a quality receptacle from an electric supply house not some cheap junk.
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Old 05-03-2021, 12:25   #15
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Re: Why do you have a shore power socket?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pelagic View Post
I hardwire my shore connection which allows me to snake shore cable via vent directly to Engine Room
Using a vent to run the cord sounds like a good idea. But where do you store the cord when sailing? Do you pull it all back down into the engine room? Seems like that could be difficult job for one person.

Or do you coil it up around the vent and secure the coil to deck? But that would mean the dock end plug is always exposed to salt weather.

In any case, I think the new type of sockets are so much better than the old ones that it's less of a problem to have the external socket on the boat.
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