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Old 05-06-2012, 01:21 PM   #1
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Generator/ Shore Power switch

After arriving back at the slip late yesterday I plugged in the shore power, then switched off from the generator. There was a brief moment before my voltmeter showed 120 VAC. Being concerned, I removed the switch and found a couple of the wires had arced, possibly then, and will correct for these concerns. I am going to take the switch to my shop and disassemble and clean it as well. Has anyone gone through one of these? I suspect if the contact tips are in good shape I can file them flush? Should I add dielectric grease to the tips?

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Old 05-06-2012, 01:35 PM   #2
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Greetings,
Mr. Forklift. Can't really help you with the switch but I've been told that one should make/break shore power connections from the circuit breaker in the pedestal to minimize arcing in the boat's switches. I'm sure you already know this but when taking the switch apart be wary of internal springs that can sproing into oblivion. On occasion, I've done the initial tear down inside a clear plastic bag.
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Old 05-06-2012, 04:05 PM   #3
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We had the same switch and it almost started a fire. Fortunately we were on the boat at the time and we able to disconnect the shore power. We were told it is a replacement item. They don't last forever, it's mechanical.

Throw the thing away and replace it with a Blue Sea. You'll sleep better.
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Old 05-06-2012, 06:27 PM   #4
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I have the same switch and was able to rebuild it. It was not hard at all. I used grease and corrosion protection spray. I have also made sure to never cycle it while it's charged. I found a few welds and minor burns and used emery cloth and light filing to knock them down. I plan to replace with a Blue Sea switch eventually to have an inverter selection, but am not in a place where I can do it yet. Maybe next year.
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Old 05-06-2012, 07:24 PM   #5
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As part of my new generator install, I recently added a BlueSeas lockout slide source selector panel.

I like the simplicity of the switching and the panel looks well put together.

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Old 05-06-2012, 07:29 PM   #6
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As part of my new generator install, I recently added a BlueSeas lockout slide source selector panel.

I like the simplicity of the switching and the panel looks well put together.

JohnP
Got the same one on our boat.
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Old 05-06-2012, 08:12 PM   #7
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I have something similar (top-left portion of panel) although I've no genset aboard.

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Old 05-06-2012, 08:18 PM   #8
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Greetings,
Mr. Forklift. Can't really help you with the switch but I've been told that one should make/break shore power connections from the circuit breaker in the pedestal to minimize arcing in the boat's switches. I'm sure you already know this but when taking the switch apart be wary of internal springs that can sproing into oblivion. On occasion, I've done the initial tear down inside a clear plastic bag.
Great info all. RTF, common sense would tell you never to switch it under a load. Which is probably why I never really considered it. . I did always kill the AC's to save the compressors. I will sure look at it a differently now. Budget dictates that I try to rebuild this one. Any idea what the replacement would be in case it's a no go, or maybe I should consider the upgrade mentioned??
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Old 05-06-2012, 09:14 PM   #9
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Greetings,
Mr Forklift. I certainly had NO intention of casting aspersions in the direction of your common sense. The switching technique may have not been familiar to other members.
My Larry M has described HIS near disaster and IMHO, I would take his advice and switch the switch. I'm not familiar with the Blue Sea equipment he and others mentioned but look upon it as cheap insurance.
I'm pretty sure I'm going to burn eventually, I just don't want to experience it on the boat.
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Old 05-06-2012, 10:25 PM   #10
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Greetings,
Mr Forklift. I certainly had NO intention of casting aspersions in the direction of your common sense. The switching technique may have not been familiar to other members.
My Larry M has described HIS near disaster and IMHO, I would take his advice and switch the switch. I'm not familiar with the Blue Sea equipment he and others mentioned but look upon it as cheap insurance.
I'm pretty sure I'm going to burn eventually, I just don't want to experience it on the boat.
RTF, I was just cutting up. But you brought a great point up. I suppose what I usually do is switch the main breaker off, then switch from Gen to shore power, then flip the main breaker back on- followed by the AC units if they have been shut off a couple of minutes. This always seemed the best approach to me? Any suggestions?
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Old 05-06-2012, 10:58 PM   #11
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Greetings,
Mr. Forklift. I am by no means anywhere near an expert, but this is my drill. I normally don't run with the genny on. I have, but not normally. If I was and was preparing to plug in, I would shut down AC's or whatever load items were on, shut down the genny, switch the distribution switch on board from gen to shore and with the pedestal breaker off, plug in shore power, flip on the pedestal breaker then go back on board and turn on load items again. My inverter would carry fridge etc. in the interim. It sounds like we may be using the same technique but different terminology.
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Old 05-07-2012, 06:28 AM   #12
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All switches wear as they break loads. Usually DC is the hardest on the contacts but AC also switches also die in time.

My way is to use a 240v50a range plug that is all the boat loads.

It is simply plugged into the socket for shore, noisemaker (1 or 2) or inveerter.

This gets rid of the problem with neutral/ground combinations, and is inexpensive to create or replace in time.

Usually mounted in a closet , no rain proof equipment is required.

KISS

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Old 05-07-2012, 08:10 AM   #13
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Here's the switch we installed.

AC Rotary Switch Panel 30 Ampere 2 positions + OFF, 4 Pole - PN 8386 - Blue Sea Systems
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Old 05-07-2012, 09:18 AM   #14
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30 amp double pole from Lowes. Designed to be switched under load.
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Old 05-07-2012, 09:34 AM   #15
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I had the exact same problem over the weekend. Our switch got so hot that we were smelling melting plastic. A new switch is about $100 from Blue Sea. For me, we don't have a generator on our boat, so I rewired directly into the panel for the shore power, bypassing the switch. Here is a link to a replacement.

West Marine
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Old 05-07-2012, 10:15 AM   #16
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30 amp double pole from Lowes. Designed to be switched under load.
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Old 05-07-2012, 10:16 AM   #17
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Nice set up. I'm gonna need to check my available space.
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Old 05-07-2012, 10:40 AM   #18
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It is recommended by ABYC that there is a breaker between the boat shore power plug in and the main selector switch. Many boat only have a breaker after the selector switch which leaves the main selector switch taking the load and unprotected.
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Old 05-07-2012, 02:20 PM   #19
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It is recommended by ABYC that there is a breaker between the boat shore power plug in and the main selector switch. Many boat only have a breaker after the selector switch which leaves the main selector switch taking the load and unprotected.
Phil, mine is set up that way.
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Old 05-12-2012, 06:20 PM   #20
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Larry,
Would the 8386 be what I need? I guess I better check the dryer and AC voltages??
I finally opened my old one up today. as mentioned, it was an accident waiting for the worst time to happen.
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