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Old 02-29-2016, 10:48 AM   #21
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Good point WesK.

And, back to the OP, the whole discussion started because the "name brand" cords are over-priced. The Smart Plug is not helping this problem.

Competition is good for consumers. Manufacturers want to avoid it by developing proprietary stuff they can sell for a premium.

A new, safer design that is compatible with existing connections would be worth paying more for.

An incompatible, higher-price design going up against an entrenched standard with a huge installed base is, IMHO, more about profit than safety.
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Old 02-29-2016, 11:09 AM   #22
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Competition is good for consumers. Manufacturers want to avoid it by developing proprietary stuff they can sell for a premium.

A new, safer design that is compatible with existing connections would be worth paying more for.

An incompatible, higher-price design going up against an entrenched standard with a huge installed base is, IMHO, more about profit than safety.
Sorry Captain Tom, the above is hilarious. Almost sounds like Bernie Sanders.

It almost sounds as if you would prefer that the marine industry stop immediately at trying to innovate. Don't come up with new products, simply have more folks try to improve the existing products and make them cheaper.

I would imagine that the innovators behind the Smart Plug are doing it exactly for profit reasons. Why else would they risk coming up with an "incompatible, higher-price design going up against an entrenched standard with a huge installed base" if it wasn't to make money!

Maybe you can help me think of any product or service found in and around the marine industry that doesn't exist to make a profit? (The USCG doesn't count)

I am perfectly happy that there are folks with new ideas willing to risk their capitol to bring new ideas to market. If the product or service is worth it to me, then we both win. I get a product or service that I find useful and they get to go out and buy that bigger boat they always have wanted.
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Old 02-29-2016, 11:40 AM   #23
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I think resistance is that marinas replace power sockets as they fail....unless insurance companies forced the changeover all at once (the Government could but I think the gain/pain for them isn't worth it yet)...we are stuck in the half-way dilemma.

And what do you change? I agree that a plug that hangs from it's prongs is dumb...but the 50A doesn't and for the first time in my boating...I don't have little brown rings forming around my shore power prongs. So no push from me to switch to a 50A smart plug as I see little or no advantage because of the much better design over 30A plugs.
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Old 02-29-2016, 11:41 AM   #24
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It might have been better if they had focused on a way to make the standard better.
I couldn't agree more but the fact is that they didn't! The old style, with it's fine threads, 90 degree turn and hard to connect in the dark, was a royal PITA to me. Over the years, when I was in a hurry, I can't count the times I started to cross thread the connection at the boat. The point that has been made about needing to borrow a spare is valid! The solution that has been noted in post #8 is really the only fool proof way to protect you from not having a SmartPlug when away from home.

Epilogue: The SmartPlug or similar connections are the wave of the future. They are far superior (albeit expensive) to the existing connectors and anyone who has intimate knowledge of the product fully agrees!

It's kinda like "wet cell batteries vs AGMs"...they both work but the AGMs are clearly the batteries with the least amount of maintenance required. (Albeit they are much more expensive.)
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Old 02-29-2016, 11:56 AM   #25
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It's kinda like "wet cell batteries vs AGMs"...they both work but the AGMs are clearly the batteries with the least amount of maintenance required. (Albeit they are much more expensive.)
That is the point I was trying to make above. I think AGMs are superior in many ways. However for me, the advantages didn't outweigh the costs when I change out my battery bank this year, so I went with the old technology, wet cells. In the case of the Smart Plug, the advantages were worth the added cost, to me.
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Old 02-29-2016, 08:20 PM   #26
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Sorry Captain Tom, the above is hilarious. Almost sounds like Bernie Sanders.

It almost sounds as if you would prefer that the marine industry stop immediately at trying to innovate. Don't come up with new products, simply have more folks try to improve the existing products and make them cheaper.

I would imagine that the innovators behind the Smart Plug are doing it exactly for profit reasons. Why else would they risk coming up with an "incompatible, higher-price design going up against an entrenched standard with a huge installed base" if it wasn't to make money!

Maybe you can help me think of any product or service found in and around the marine industry that doesn't exist to make a profit? (The USCG doesn't count)

I am perfectly happy that there are folks with new ideas willing to risk their capitol to bring new ideas to market. If the product or service is worth it to me, then we both win. I get a product or service that I find useful and they get to go out and buy that bigger boat they always have wanted.
I sound like Bernie Sanders? Now that's a low blow.

I didn't mean to suggest that innovation or profit was a bad thing, or that I'm not willing to pay extra for a better product.

I guess it depends on your definition of "better". If it means trying to create a monopoly through extensive spending on marketing, without concern for the customer's best interests, then I guess Smart Plug is better.

To me, a way to make it safer for EVERYONE, even those who are not in a position to rush out and replace their 3-4 power cords, 2-3 "Y" adapters, assorted pigtails and connectors, along with all the associated dock wiring and boat power connectors, would be "better."

My thought was that a truly "smart" plug would work with the old style outlets and inlets, and could be phased in over time as things are replaced.

But smart isn't rewarded.
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Old 03-01-2016, 07:44 AM   #27
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Good point WesK.

And, back to the OP, the whole discussion started because the "name brand" cords are over-priced. The Smart Plug is not helping this problem.

Competition is good for consumers. Manufacturers want to avoid it by developing proprietary stuff they can sell for a premium.

A new, safer design that is compatible with existing connections would be worth paying more for.

An incompatible, higher-price design going up against an entrenched standard with a huge installed base is, IMHO, more about profit than safety.

I started this thread because all I could find when I searched was discussion of Smart Plugs...and that is pretty much what I got. Thanks to those of you who answered my original question.

I ended up buying a used Marinco cord from a boat down the dock that I will use when I need to extend my existing cord.


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Old 03-01-2016, 08:08 AM   #28
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Sorry Captain Tom, the above is hilarious. Almost sounds like Bernie Sanders.

It almost sounds as if you would prefer that the marine industry stop immediately at trying to innovate. Don't come up with new products, simply have more folks try to improve the existing products and make them cheaper.

I would imagine that the innovators behind the Smart Plug are doing it exactly for profit reasons. Why else would they risk coming up with an "incompatible, higher-price design going up against an entrenched standard with a huge installed base" if it wasn't to make money!

Maybe you can help me think of any product or service found in and around the marine industry that doesn't exist to make a profit? (The USCG doesn't count)

I am perfectly happy that there are folks with new ideas willing to risk their capitol to bring new ideas to market. If the product or service is worth it to me, then we both win. I get a product or service that I find useful and they get to go out and buy that bigger boat they always have wanted.
Dude! Is there seriously no way that you could disagree with someone without being a jerk about it?

You are so certain that you have all the answers and everyone else is wrong?

I'll be you're a real piece of work in person.


BTW: The word is "capital", not "capitol".
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Old 03-01-2016, 08:21 AM   #29
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I think resistance is that marinas replace power sockets as they fail....unless insurance companies forced the changeover all at once (the Government could but I think the gain/pain for them isn't worth it yet)...we are stuck in the half-way dilemma..
Do we really want the government getting involved in this? Favoring one manufacturer over another? Forcing marinas to spend thousands of dollars (each) replacing effective electrical sockets with arguably better ones? And forcing boaters to spend hundreds of dollars replacing effective and safe cordsets?

Perhaps the government could subsidize adapters like they did for the conversion to digital TV.

The current (no pun intended) system has worked well for many years. It helps if the boater used a little common sense like securing the boat end of the cord to a cleat or rail to take the strain off the connector and doing the same at the power pedestal by looping the cord around the hanger a time or two.

Trying to deal with two different "standards" would be a nightmare and the widespread use of adapters could make the situation worse.
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Old 03-01-2016, 08:27 AM   #30
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I couldn't agree more but the fact is that they didn't! The old style, with it's fine threads, 90 degree turn and hard to connect in the dark, was a royal PITA to me. Over the years, when I was in a hurry, I can't count the times I started to cross thread the connection at the boat.
If that 90 degree turn bothers you, you can buy a 90 degree adapter. Me, I strap the cord to a rail with a Velcro strap to take the strain off the connector.

As far as connecting in the dark, glue something to the connector on what will be the top side when it's plugged in. Some cords have this molded in. You'll be able to feel which side is up. Or, carry a flashlight.
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Old 03-01-2016, 09:05 AM   #31
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There is a standard. It's NEMA (note NMEA), and any vendor can built plugs and receptacles that meet the specs, so lots of competition.

NEMA Twist Lock Reference Chart
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Old 03-01-2016, 09:25 AM   #32
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I regularly clean my contacts with a Dremel tool. Apply an anti-oxidant m & f. Monitor the load. Support cables when they leave the boat (adjustable re-usable yellow zip tie). Support pedestal end either on dock line running near pedestal or around pedestal. No problems man.
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Old 03-01-2016, 10:52 AM   #33
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If that 90 degree turn bothers you, you can buy a 90 degree adapter. Me, I strap the cord to a rail with a Velcro strap to take the strain off the connector.

As far as connecting in the dark, glue something to the connector on what will be the top side when it's plugged in. Some cords have this molded in. You'll be able to feel which side is up. Or, carry a flashlight.
Thanks, Wes! All that sounds good but I don't have those problems anymore!
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Old 03-01-2016, 11:02 AM   #34
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Dude! Is there seriously no way that you could disagree with someone without being a jerk about it?

You are so certain that you have all the answers and everyone else is wrong?

I'll be you're a real piece of work in person.
You are right WesK, sorry that my post came across as it did. I will try to be more careful. It honestly wasn't my intent to be rude to Capt Tom.

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BTW: The word is "capital", not "capitol".
Yet another of my many many failings. I really can't spell my way out of a wet paper bag. I will continue to work on that also, but after 57 years, I don't think there is much hope for me.
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Old 03-01-2016, 11:33 AM   #35
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Good discussion, and no offence taken Dave; I've got a pretty thick skin. The important thing is we've covered quite a few pros and cons in a fairly small number of threads, so everyone can gain perspective.

Who knows, maybe this discussion has motivated someone brighter than I to find a way to meet the existing NEMA standards and improve safety. We already know there's a market for it, with considerable room for profit.
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Old 03-01-2016, 04:17 PM   #36
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My 50 amp smartplug lasted about a year. The neutral prong burned just the other day. The 50 amp does not have the heat sensor. I went back to the standard plug because they are common and less expensive and I did not experience an improvement with the smartplug.
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Old 03-01-2016, 05:49 PM   #37
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Like in so many other areas, maintenance is important here. Check for heat when the boat's AC has been running for an hour, check for burnt or corroded pins and sockets and use a cleaner made for electrical contacts followed by a coating of dielectric grease (on the blades and in the sockets).


With luck, you can expect your boat to outlive several power cords so buy a new one when it's time.
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Old 03-01-2016, 07:24 PM   #38
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My 50 amp smartplug lasted about a year. The neutral prong burned just the other day. The 50 amp does not have the heat sensor. I went back to the standard plug because they are common and less expensive and I did not experience an improvement with the smartplug.
Thank you....I rest my case....
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Old 03-01-2016, 08:31 PM   #39
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Never had a problem with the standard cord.

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Old 03-02-2016, 07:36 AM   #40
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I prefer to pay a bit extra and purchase a power hose where the ends are not sealed on.

It is impossible to do much with these ends , except hack saw them off and install a Hubbel.

Cheaper to get the Hubbel first.
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