As summer draws near, many boaters are planning overnight cruises. To sleep comfortably, they’ll rely on factory installed or portable air conditioners. These appliances, however, can put tremendous electrical loads on outdated, twist-type shore power electrical connections, leaving owners wide-eyed awake wondering if their older plug is going to overheat. Using the revolutionary SmartPlug not only greatly improves onboard safety, but allows cruisers the worry-free rest they need.
The amperage draw of an air conditioner can be substantial. Whether the power is 30 or 50 amp service, as the unit cycles off and on, sharp peak loads are generated. This is on top of other appliances, lighting, pumps, toilets and all the other sundry items plugged in throughout the boat.
Traditional shore power plugs have thin blades with just enough metal touching to make an electrical connection. Age-related corrosion reduces this contact further. This causes resistance, resulting in overheating and the potential for arcing and fire, especially as those massive, sudden loads from A/C units are placed on it. A common symptom that this is happening is a slight browning of the plastic around the pins in the boat-side inlet.
SmartPlug Systems’ approach is different. Its revolutionary shore power plug and inlet is a robust pin and clip design with over 20 times the metal-to-metal contact than old fashioned connections. The unique design easily—and safely—accommodates the large power loads placed on it.
Unlike clumsy twist-type connectors that require aligning both the L blade and threading the locking collar, the waterproof SmartPlug pushes straight in and clips in place. It’s asymmetrical, so it’s foolproof to use, even in dimly lit conditions with one hand.
Installing the SmartPlug is an easy DIY project with common household tools. It has the same cutout and mounting hole pattern as older, twist-type inlets. With a Retro-Fit Kit, owners can save some money by using their existing cable.
The SmartPlug meets or exceeds all current certification requirements and is available in 30 and 50 amp. The inlet cover is offered in stainless steel, or non-metallic white, grey or black to match any boat décor. A matching 30 and 50 amp Equipment Leakage Circuit Interrupter is available, as is a phone/TV/data inlet.
Contact SmartPlug Systems, 2500 Westlake Ave N., Ste. G, Seattle, WA 98109-2262. 206-285-2990; Fax: 206-285-2981. www.smartplug.com