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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 06-02-2006
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Shore Power Connecter

I'm thinking of wiring up my Cal 24 for shore power. Nothing fancy, just a couple of electrical outlets and maybe a battery charger. Just enough to run a lap top, boom box or DVD player while at the dock.

I have a good understanding of electronics and have no concerns with determining loads, reading schematics, soldering, etc. I would guess that I should probably shrink wrap all connections and use only marine grade connectors to protect against corrosian. As for wire, do I need to buy from the marine store or can I use pretty much any wire of the proper gauge?

Any thoughts on where should I mount the connector? Would it be a bad idea to mount it on the deck, alongside the cabin or is that just asking for a leak, not to mention the toe stubbing hazard?

BTW, I won't be doing this anytime real soon, in any case. Just considering my options for now. I already have an adapter and a power strip, which is really all I need.
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Old 06-02-2006
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Wire

MArine type wire has more strands and the strands are tinned. The finer strands tolerate vibration better and the tinned strands resist corrosion. It is worth it.

I have seen a rare few work boats wired with Romex solid conductor and from a corrosion standpoint it could be a good thing. One has to be careful of vibration and work hardening of copper in that case.
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Old 06-04-2006
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So there is an actual reason it's more expensive. I guess it's worth it then. Thanks for the info.
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Those grand fresh-water seas of ours - Erie, and Ontario, and Huron, and Superior, and Michigan, - possess an ocean-like expansiveness...They contain round archipelagoes of romantic isles...they have heard the fleet thunderings of naval victories...they know what shipwrecks are, for out of sight of land, however inland, they have drowned full many a midnight ship with all its shrieking crew. --from Moby Dick
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Old 06-04-2006
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I'd agree about getting properly tinned marine-grade wiring. It lasts much longer than the other stuff and the corrosion makes the other stuff more of a fire hazard.

The shore power connector should be mounted on a vertical surface, or nearly-vertical surface. It should not be mounted horizontally, unless it is mounted on the underside of something...as water can collect inside the connector and that would be VERY BAD. It could become both a fire and electrocution hazard as well as a toe stubbing hazard. Also, if it is deck-mounted, and plugged in, the risk of getting electrocuted if water pools near it is very high.

Also, place it in a location that is somewhat protected from spray, and easily accessible for plugging in the cord. The connector will last much longer, and using it will be much easier. If you normally dock stern in, then mount it towards the aft part of the boat, somewhere in or near the cockpit. If you normally dock bow in, then mount it towards the forward part of the boat.

One word of advice on using shore power. Always plug the cord into the boat, and then into the shore power outlet. Always unplug the shore power first, then the boat.... lowers the risk of getting electrocuted if you should slip and fall into the water carrying the shore power cord.

Seen it happen... doesn't take much...
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Old 06-04-2006
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Which side do you usually dock on, or have the lifeline gate in? You might want to install the poewr fitting on that side, or in the rear of the cockpit, facing inward. (Watertight screw-down cover, of course.) I think the latest specs call for a GFI to be installed within a very short run of that socket, less than a foot now. In any case, you want a GFI installed right adjacent to it if possible, but obviously in a spot where you can access it to reset it. In theory there's one at the marina's power post, but you know how reliable "theory" and other people's safety gear can be. You'll want to put a proper breaker in your panel and consider a galvanic isolator or at least proper grounding, you can find articles on that on the supplier's web sites.
If you don't plan to use it often...my friend had an old and rotting AC system on his boat. We totally rewired the DC, and just removed the AC. For the once a year it got used, it just wasn't worth doing. We're lighter and faster without it.
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Old 06-05-2006
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One other thing... there should be a separate panel for the AC circuits. The DC breakers should be on a different panel than the AC breakers. Please don't skimp and try to shortcut this, as it can be very dangerous.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 06-07-2006
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All good advice.

The outside connector alone is a hundred bucks so add the circuit panel, sockets, charger and wire and I'm probably looking at 400 or so, minimum.

At least for now, I think I'll take Jareds advice and just save the money. I probably wouldn't use it that much anyway. Thanks for the input. Helped me decide.
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Those grand fresh-water seas of ours - Erie, and Ontario, and Huron, and Superior, and Michigan, - possess an ocean-like expansiveness...They contain round archipelagoes of romantic isles...they have heard the fleet thunderings of naval victories...they know what shipwrecks are, for out of sight of land, however inland, they have drowned full many a midnight ship with all its shrieking crew. --from Moby Dick
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