As the third owner of my current boat
, I occasionally run across "improvements" made by the prior owners. One recent discovery I thought might be of interest to the forum.
I have a small water-cooled heat pump
in the forward cabin
. I believe that it was installed by the original owner. It was tapped into the 15A Starboard Receptacles circuit, so that simultaneous use of the heat pump
(roughly ten amps), and say a toaster (about seven amps) would trip the breaker. The solution, and the correct way to wire this originally, is a dedicated circuit for the heat pump. Here is what I discovered as I was installing a new feed.
Pic #1. This is the added receptacle serving the heat pump. The white cable to the left is the existing starboard 120V receptacle feed, installed by the factory, that serves an adjacent duplex receptacle. The metal handy box and the 20A receptacle were the work
of the heat pump installer. Note that the round black cable entering the bottom of the handy box is the feed taken from the last factory duplex receptacle - they used the "pass-thru" terminals at the existing receptacle to piggy-back onto the existing circuit. No strain clamp used on the black cable.
Pic #2. Note the terminals used. These are spade ends, and do not have the mandatory locking tabs required for marine
applications. Also the cheap insulation
has cracked from crimping and should have been remade.
Pic #3. Here is the empty handy box. If you look closely, you will see the knock-out tab has not been fully removed, just bent inward. If you look back at the prior pics you will see where the sharp edge of the tab would rubbed on the black 120V cable.
Pic #4. These are the terminals used where they tapped into the existing duplex receptacle, and where they connected to the new receptacle they installed.
Pic #5. This is the cable they used to extend the existing receptacle circuit. This is 16-3 gauge. The original receptacle circuit is 12-3, with a 15A breaker. This is a weather
resistant flexible cable. It is not boat
cable, and the wiring
is not tinned.
Pic #6. This is the re-wired receptacle, complete with new dedicated 10-3 boat cable. The bent-over knock-out tab was removed and the box rotated 180 degrees. Proper strain relief is provided at the box entry. Still doing some modifications in this area, so a "work in progress".
I was really a bit taken aback by this situation. First, I managed to ignore this situation for many years as we did not use the heat pump very often. Second, I would have expected a better installation
, especially since I think that this was done by a "qualified installer". In addition to the issues addressed above, the routing of the black 120V cable was precarious with no concerns for chafe protection, the use of non-reinforced supply and return hose for the seawater supply, installation
of the control wiring
(line voltage in this case), routing of the condensate drain, cutting of openings in the bulkhead, etc.
In all, a very poor installation. The take away from all this - don't assume that existing is correct, and that you will frequently not get what you pay for from professional installations.