Shore power cords, and the electricity they transfer, help bring convenience and comfort aboard boats, yet can become dangerous fire and electrocution risks if they fail. Care should be taken when selecting shore power cords to ensure reliability and safety are the top considerations.
To be watertight, the cord should be totally encased in solid PVC material. For flexibility, lightweight jute filler inside the cord jacket makes cable coil neatly and lay flat. This is particularly important in colder climates.
Devices such as a strain relief bull ring alleviate stress on the conductors caused by boat movement, crew traffic and rough handling. A molded flexneck helps prevent right-angle cable damage, as well as accidental pullout of the cord.
To prevent overheating and burnout, a copper crimp barrel termination, the type used by power companies, is superior to brass. Copper barrel sleeves—when used to crimp the wires to each terminal—provide more secure connections, better conductivity and longer life.
A locking ring should be present for proper alignment of the connector to the inlet. This allows for a completely waterproof connection and prevents accidental disengagement. The shore power cord should incorporate line-up notches or a similar visual indication that the contact is locked or unlocked.
Some shore power cords utilize indicator lights to visually confirm that power is flowing. Likewise, some models also have warning lights to show that incorrect, dangerous wiring conditions exist at the power source. Any such visual indicators should be molded into the cordset connection and fully watertight.
It’s important to know when a cord needs to be replaced. If the jacket is frayed and wire exposed, it’s unsafe. Electrical shorts and a cord that’s warm to the touch also indicate it’s time to buy new. Any singe marks or discoloring around the male or female cord ends are a warning the cord must be immediately replaced.
Made in the USA, Hubbell electrical products are built with the highest quality terminations and materials. Founded in 1888, Hubbell is a multi-billion dollar, global electrical and wire products manufacturer that serves many industries. It marine electrical products include UL Listed shorepower inlets, cablesets, adapters, plugs, connectors, weatherproof plates, ground fault receptacles and accessories from 15-200 amps.
Contact Hubbell Marine Electrical Products, 40 Waterview Dr., Shelton, CT 06484. 475-882-4838
Fax: 203-783-9195. www.hubbell-marine.com