Feeling smart

Shore power. Everything’s great as long as it works.  When it doesn’t (best case scenario), you have to go up to the dock panel and reset the breaker.  Worst case, your boat catches fire and slowly sinks to the bottom of your slip (along with all your worldly possessions).  Not smart.

marine power cord

shore-power connection

Hopefully, we are somewhere in between with our situation.  As you can see, the shore power cord that came with our boat has seen better days.  More so, the factory boat inlet that feeds the breaker panel, has definitely seen better days.  Not to mention the 1970’s Taiwanese wiring job hidden amongst the rat’s nest of colorfully jacketed copper conductor directly behind said inlet.  We’ve been living aboard now for about a year and a half, and most of our systems run on 12 volt DC. But, like most people trying to maintain some semblance of a civilized existence, we still rely on 120 volt power from our dock-side connection (computer, coffee maker, water heater, hair dryer, etc.).  I’ve read horror stories and seen pictures of bad boat electrical fires and definitely don’t want that to happen to us.

AC wiring
Most of the DC wiring has been upgraded to marine grade wire over the past year.  The AC circuit running down the port side of the boat has also been upgraded, and the first outlet in the series is GFCI protected.  I still need to run the starboard side AC and get that new Blue Seas breaker panel installed and hooked up but electrical projects have taken a back seat lately, with most of our focus on topside improvements.  The other day Jeni mentioned that the vacuum had tripped the GFCI.  Knowing the “current” state of our shore power system (‘scuse the pun), I figured it was time to fix the weak link.      Compass Marine Service has a ton of great DIY articles on his page, and one that recently grabbed my attention was about shore power cords.  Terrifying pictures and video of what can happen to your boat when something goes wrong with your dock connection.  That was about all it took, so we marched right up to the marina office and ordered our new Smart Plug cord and boat inlet (gotta love Port Supply prices).

smart plug
smart plug

The whole thing took about as much time to install as it did to type up this post and stick in a couple pictures.  Even the cruddy boat wire got a new strip and clean-up before connections, but that wire will get changed out when the new panel goes in.  This summer I intend to cut a new hole for the shore inlet into the outside starboard cockpit coaming and run the cord out of the cockpit.  We “currently” (ha, two electrical puns in one post!) keep tripping over it when getting in and out of the boat.  New Smart Plug is hooked up, breakers are on, and the GFCI tester is reading correct polarity in the AC circuits.  I’m going to hit “publish post” now, and go blow dry my hair…

White Trash Bimini redux.
More fun with rope

1 comment

  1. Loved all of your videos. The new top is fantastic. You guys live a great life.

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