Checking Shore Power Connections
Why should you check your shore power connections?
As summer heats up, everything onboard has to work harder; this is reflected in ones electricity bill. The air conditioner is almost nonstop, the fridge and freezer have to work more, the hot water heater is constantly working due to more showers on the swim platform and the battery charger is going constantly just because we are using the boat more.
All of this power for the most part is required to travel down the shore power cable or cables, which is no problem at all for those big wires. The problems occur at the connections due to cables getting knocked around, general wear and tear on the cords being plugged and unplugged and not to mention the horrible (for electrical connections) marine environment.
In my experience, when a shore power connection is dirty it creates resistance which in turn creates heat, whether the problem is at the pedestal end or the boat end ,the shore power cord suffers and typically the plastic melts! If this condition goes on for a while the plug and socket will weld themselves together as the molten plastic joins the two. This can make it difficult to separate the two when they cool down again which can sometimes lead to dangerous consequences. I won’t go on with a myriad of scenarios to compound this situation but I will say to try and be mindful of one’s power consumption onboard at any given time.
The shore power cord looks robust and I am sure you could tow a truck with it, but those connections are vulnerable and they should be checked frequently. To do this:
- Shut off your AC loads and the main breaker onboard.
- Then simply unplug the cord and inspect the terminals visually for discoloration.
- CAUTION- Obviously there will be power available at the pedestal socket so we don’t want to do any poking around but don’t be scared to take a look at things, the shore power cable belongs to you and it is ultimately your responsibility.
For some reason, it is rare that the Marina’s equipment suffers, as the pedestal outlets are usually heavy duty since they are governed by the NEC code.
With prevention being better than cure, if you would like us to check your shore power connections this summer prior to an event or otherwise, just give us a call at 1-888-720-4306 or 804-776-9211 and we will be very happy to arrange a service call for you.