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  #21  
Old 02-01-2013
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Re: Power Outlet Sizzle - Help Please

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Originally Posted by mad_machine View Post
Yes and No.. 30amps should be two legs.. so he was drawing all that power through ONE leg. It should have definatly tripped the breaker before smoking the outlet
I got that... but how many electricians wire 'two 15 amp legs' to each receptacle? If there had been a surge protector with a trip built in the unit would have tripped before zapping the wire behind the outlet... either way he needs to have a good marine electrician check all his wiring now... put some safeguards into the circuit, but due diligence in watching the electrical loads goes a long way.
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Old 02-01-2013
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Re: Power Outlet Sizzle - Help Please

Without a doubt. There is something rotten in his wiring, that is for sure.

I am also beginning to doubt his surge protector is up to snuff too. Those things are not made for the damp conditions aboard and it's trip is probably frozen as well.
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  #23  
Old 02-01-2013
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Re: Power Outlet Sizzle - Help Please

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Originally Posted by mad_machine View Post
Yes and No.. 30amps should be two legs.. so he was drawing all that power through ONE leg. It should have definatly tripped the breaker before smoking the outlet
30A shore power is 120V Hot, Neutral, Ground. It is one 30A leg not two 15's... Many boats of this vintage were poorly wired, as AC and DC is concerned. Most all of these boats use a single 15A circuit breaker to power every outlet on the boat. This means the last outlet in the chain is depending on all the connections before it to work properly. I have seen as many as NINE outlets on one 15A breaker, all daisy chained...

The MAX I like to see on any 30A shore power cord is 80% or 24A but 70% or 21 amps is even safer. We also can't forget the loads of a water heater, 1200W - 1500W, a battery charger and any other AC sources that need to be added to your heater and iron.

Running an iron and a space heater on a 30A service is a recipe for burning down a marina and I have not even added and water heater, battery charger, microwave or coffee maker.

I see LOTS of stuff melted down by overloading a boats AC system. Breakers do not always trip at face value and any resistance in the terminations or circuit, like we get on boats, can heat a wire beyond the melting point before a breaker trips. This is how boat fires start!

If you want two 1500W devices add a second 30A service to the vessel with its own main breaker and branch circuit for more outlets.. Many do this to run air conditioning but you can install them for boats that winter and heat with electric too. The only other option is to manually shut everything else off before using a high draw item.

Drawing too much current is dangerous ESPECIALLY WITH OLD WIRING ON OLD BOATS!!!



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  #24  
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Re: Power Outlet Sizzle - Help Please

I stand corrected.. I am a stage electrician.. usually when I deal with 30amp power.. it is THREE 30amp phases in one box. It is how we break up 60amp 3 phase power. You are correct.. 30amp power is Ground/Neutral/Power
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Old 02-02-2013
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Re: Power Outlet Sizzle - Help Please

Ok, as someone who has changed out more than my fair share of outlets.... And trouble shot more connectors than most folks, I'll drop my two cents.... We have several factors involved. The reason we use stranded cable in a moving vehicle is due to the vibration and flex. Otherwise, standard Romex cable would be fine. A problem with stranded is the point of connection from the conductor to the device. I don't know how many times I've seen someone cut out a few strands to make the conductor fit into the connector.... Bad idea. Regardless, a stranded conductors weakness is the connecting point. Usually the device is designed for a solid wire, not a stranded conductor. New outlets allow an electrician to strip a #14 solid and slip it into a quick connector. It makes things faster for the electrician but is killer on the device. The end of a stranded conductor needs to be made solid. We do this by tinning the end of the conductor. It can then be connected safely and securely to the device. It also reduces the bimetallic action shown in the photo of the shore plug. Contamination between types of metal = problem. GFI in a water environment they make a lot of sense. It can be done two ways and must be installed correctly or it does no good. It uses a few cycles to determine a variance between the neutral and the ground. That split second kills the power before it kills you. It does notice ally mean it will prevent fires though. Breakers... Hmmmm breakers are a different monster completely. They are designed to trip fast on a fault but slowly on an over current. I don't recall the specifics and as years go by things have changed as the industry learns more about electricity and protection.

Conductor. In the early years the ground wire was smaller than the neutral and phase wire. Things change for a reason. The old way often saw a ground wire fuse before a breaker tripped on a fault... Hence all wires are now the same size.

All that said, make sure it's done right. Make sure the ends are tinned or a "squeeze on" is put on the stranded conductor. Ok.... Unless the device is specifically made for stranded conductor. NO off the shelf outlet from Home Depot is going to be made for stranded.....

Good luck
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Old 02-02-2013
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Re: Power Outlet Sizzle - Help Please

I just bought some gfi`s , and noticed they have a slim line thats new at home depot
their thinner , those might fit .

good luck
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Old 02-02-2013
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Re: Power Outlet Sizzle - Help Please

Replace your breaker with a 20 amp. Replace all wiring with a 12 gauge stranded wire and put a 20 amp GFI next to the panel (the first plug in the series) and tie the others into the load side of the GFI. Replace all plugs in the boat with 20 amp t recepticles and terminate properly, this will protect all the rec. in your boat and also give you more amperage through out. Just one way to rectify easily and also a fairly easy DIY job.
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Old 02-02-2013
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Re: Power Outlet Sizzle - Help Please

Philzy, the other thing that many of the liveaboards do here, is run loads like the electric space heater on a separate, dedicated external (appropriately heavy weight) extension cord rather than through the ship's systems, easier to monitor. Plug in at the shore power post and bring aboard through a hatch. Further reduces the possibility of overloading your ships wiring.
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I'd like to see a photo of the plugs that were in the outlet. I think they probably need to be replaced too.

Breakers will tolerate a small overcurrent for a long time which makes poor contacts so dangerous. Those old outlets are probably all corroded inside, this leads to a warm connection which accelerates the corrosion, which makes more resistance, which heats the connection more, etc.

Don't tin the wire when connecting the new outlets-follow Mainesail's excellent advice (posted elsewhere on the forum) on terminations.
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Re: Power Outlet Sizzle - Help Please

After reading mainsails info I would follow his advice as well.... Crimping over tinning. Solder is not exactly the same as tinning. Acid is used to clean the copper in solder. It's just called flux. I might be off as its been years since I soldered or tinned but crimping is the way to go.

Rwd

Last edited by Wandersome; 02-02-2013 at 01:15 PM. Reason: iPad re-spelling
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