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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electrical Systems
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Old 10-22-2010
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Shorepower help

Hey guys I just recently as some of you know purchased my first big sailboat to live on, well I just got her in a new year slip and now that it is there I can start doing some work on her. Tipsy Gypsy is a 27 watkins 1980 and I am wanting to redo the shorepower lines on the boat as I see they are not in the best shape and go from 20 to 30a with new stuff. So where should I start? Is there any big articles on this I am sure there are I just cant find it. Which brand of products is my best option how should I setup the fuse box where the power comes into the boat. I have done house wiring but I know on a boat i need good marine grade cable and such to keep her safe. So any help or point me toward some articles would be great.
Thanks
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Old 10-22-2010
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Given that the boat is only 27', here's what I would recommend.

First, get a new shorepower inlet. The old one is likely corroded and may have other issues as well. I'd recommend upgrading to one of the SmartPlug shorepower inlets and modifying a shorepower cord to go with it. The kit shown below has the inlet connector as well as a cord end connector that allows you to convert an existing 30 amp shorepower cable.


Click photo to see product page at manufacturer's website

You'll also want a Shorepower main AC panel. A good one for a boat the size of yours is this one:


Click on image to see product over at Sailorsolutions.com

This panel has the ABYC required double breaker for the hot and neutral lines, as well as bus bars for the neutral and ground wires and allows you to have three separate circuits.

For wiring, I'd recommend buying either Pacer Marine or Berkshire Cable, as they're both far better priced and IMHO better product than the Ancor that is typically found at West Marine and such. Pacer's website has some pretty good deals on odds and ends.

You'll also want a good crimper and adhesive-lined, heat-shrink terminals to go with it. The crimper I recommend is this one:


Click to see product at Fastenal.com

You can use FTZ or KrimpaSeal terminals with it. Also, you should read Maine Sail's excellent tutorial on Marine Wiring Termination.

Don't forget to add GFCI outlets on each circuit to protect you from ground faults.



IIRC, the Shorepower panel should be within 10' of the shorepower inlet cable to be compliant with ABYC standards. This is measured along the cable, not as the crow flies.

Also, if you're going to be re-wiring the boat's DC side, try to get YELLOW insulated wire for the DC side ground wires. This makes it safer to diagnose/troubleshoot, since any black wires are likely to be HOT 110 VAC wires then... and the two will be easily distinguishable from one another.

Finally, remember to jacket or enclose the 110 VAC wiring when it is running in proximity to low voltage wiring. Cable loom with brightly colored cable ties to differentiate it from the 12 VDC wiring is a good idea.
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Old 10-22-2010
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SD - highly instructive. As usual.

The only thing I might add is that if he has a water heater, that will need a circuit breaker as well.

When is the book coming out?
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Last edited by jackdale; 10-22-2010 at 01:36 PM.
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If you look at the panel, it has a third knockout for a third circuit breaker, and you can specify what size breaker you want when you order the panel.

The one complaint I have with the panel is that it doesn't have LEDS for the individual circuits, just has them for the main breaker and for the RP indicator.

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SD - highly instructive. As usual.

The only thing I might add is that if he has a water heater, that will need a circuit breaker as well.

When is the book coming out?
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Old 10-22-2010
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The SmartPlug looks very interesting but it has not yet gotten widespread market acceptance. If you like being on the bleeding edge that is certainly fine, but if something happens to your shorepower cord and you need to replace it you'll have to go through the modification process again. I choose the more conservative route and stay with Marinco until the SmartPlug proves itself in the market. Make your own choice, but first look at the availability of inlets, cables, and accessories.

Replacing the shorepower inlet on an older boat can't possibly hurt.

The ABYC recommendation / guidance is to have a ground fault breaker (RCBO-GFCI) within 10 feet of the inlet, not the AC panel. On a small boat you can often get the breaker within a couple of feet colocated with an AC panel. That is a good idea. The GFCI outlets will only protect the outlet and anything electrically downstream. The direction implied above would leave the battery charger and nominal water heater as well as all electrical conductors to them unprotected meaning that YOU are unprotected if there is a ground fault. Further, the failure rates (usually fail-safe, but still) of the GFCI outlets is much higher than the dedicated RCBO-GFCOs. You only need the one RCBO-GFCI and the whole boat and you are protected. You choose here also. On this one, you may find you have to redo your wiring if you sell to someone someday who has a surveyor who is on the ball.

When you wire your outlets try to restrain yourself from using the little slip-in clamp connectors. Use the old-fashioned screw terminals. In fact, it wouldn't hurt to put a drop of blue LockTite or similar on each screw.

Aside from being a reasonably economic source of most kit, Defender has extracts from the ABYC recommendations spliced into the descriptions of a lot of electrical stuff now. Very helpful.

You might also want to explore bestboatwire.com (now part of GenuineDealz or something like that) for wire prices.

Nigel Calder (among others) has a pretty good book on boat wiring although it hasn't kept up with the latest in ABYC recommendations.
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Thanks for the clarification.

One thing I like about the Smartplug is that the inlet is has internal thermal overload protection built in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SVAuspicious View Post
The SmartPlug looks very interesting but it has not yet gotten widespread market acceptance. If you like being on the bleeding edge that is certainly fine, but if something happens to your shorepower cord and you need to replace it you'll have to go through the modification process again. I choose the more conservative route and stay with Marinco until the SmartPlug proves itself in the market. Make your own choice, but first look at the availability of inlets, cables, and accessories.

Replacing the shorepower inlet on an older boat can't possibly hurt.

The ABYC recommendation / guidance is to have a ground fault breaker (RCBO-GFCI) within 10 feet of the inlet, not the AC panel. On a small boat you can often get the breaker within a couple of feet colocated with an AC panel. That is a good idea. The GFCI outlets will only protect the outlet and anything electrically downstream. The direction implied above would leave the battery charger and nominal water heater as well as all electrical conductors to them unprotected meaning that YOU are unprotected if there is a ground fault. Further, the failure rates (usually fail-safe, but still) of the GFCI outlets is much higher than the dedicated RCBO-GFCOs. You only need the one RCBO-GFCI and the whole boat and you are protected. You choose here also. On this one, you may find you have to redo your wiring if you sell to someone someday who has a surveyor who is on the ball.

When you wire your outlets try to restrain yourself from using the little slip-in clamp connectors. Use the old-fashioned screw terminals. In fact, it wouldn't hurt to put a drop of blue LockTite or similar on each screw.

Aside from being a reasonably economic source of most kit, Defender has extracts from the ABYC recommendations spliced into the descriptions of a lot of electrical stuff now. Very helpful.

You might also want to explore bestboatwire.com (now part of GenuineDealz or something like that) for wire prices.

Nigel Calder (among others) has a pretty good book on boat wiring although it hasn't kept up with the latest in ABYC recommendations.
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Old 10-22-2010
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Cool Sd thanks you always seem to be on top of the game. Thanks I need a new shorepower cord cause its rather old and looks a bit coroded. Thanks
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Quote:
One thing I like about the Smartplug is that the inlet is has internal thermal overload protection built in.
Fine. Betamax is technically superior to VHS - try getting anything for Betamax. SmartPlug is at the other end of the development process but the market isn't there yet. If your shorepower cord gets melted by a bad shore connector in some NJ inlet (for example) how long will it take to get a replacement for SmartPlug vice Marinco TODAY? Sure, someone has to push the state-of-the-art, and be willing to take risks. If that's you then good on you. It won't be me and my clients.

You can talk me into it if you're just a daysailor, or if you have a nice-sized diesel generator on board. For a coastal cruiser who may be dependent on shore power (and certainly not all are) I think waiting is a better approach. Stick with Marinco.
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Old 10-24-2010
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I will be going with the smartplug because its not a big issue for me and I like the protection it gives and it doesn't take to long to get a piece so no big. However I am trying to find a place to get marine grade wiring for the inside of the boat for the A/C 110 any help?
Thanks
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