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Old 11-20-2013, 08:31 PM   #1
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City: San Diego
Country: USA
Vessel Model: Californian 42 LRC; Viking 43 Double Cabin
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Too Many Power Cords

My new to me Californian 42 LRC has too many power cords. On the starboard side there is a standard 30 amp yellow cord that plugs into the dockside 30 amp service. There are 2 30 amp outlets in my slip. On the port side there are 2 more 30 amp chrome caps over connectors. When I test these 2 one of them shows 120v, so it is hooked to my breaker panel and indeed when I peek inside I see 2 sets of wires connected to the breakers. There is a second chord on the boat but it has a standard household 3 prong on the male side and a 30 amp female on the other. The other port outlet shows no voltage, so it goes somewhere else. The boat has air conditioning ducted to the aft cabin and the unit is in the stern. There are also heaters in the salon and in the aft cabin. I have not been able to get heat or air to work. I suspect that the dead receptacle needs to be plugged into dock power. Any ideas what I have here? Should I change the household plug end to a 30 amp and plug in?


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Old 11-20-2013, 08:42 PM   #2
City: Carefree, Arizona
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Originally Posted by db2 View Post
I suspect that the dead receptacle needs to be plugged into dock power. Any ideas what I have here? Should I change the household plug end to a 30 amp and plug in?


Questions and comments:
  • Are you electrical savvy and know how to trouble shoot such systems?
  • Does the PO owner have a phone?
  • San Diego and you need heat right away?
  • Get a good marine electrician onboard.
  • I'd suggest you be leery of things until you know what you've got, think fire.
Don't feel you need to become an expert right away on this stuff, few of us are.

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Old 11-20-2013, 08:59 PM   #3
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DO NOT plug any of those other cords in until you figure out the wiring. I have seen several instances with two cords running to one breaker. This is usually done for convenience of docking bow in or stern in and is dangerously stupid. If the PO has done this, what other dangerous stuff has he done ? What did your surveyor say about this ?

It would seem from even asking the question that you have little electrical experience. Get a qualified (not a local electrician or dock expert) marine electrician to look at this soon. As previously noted you are playing with fire.
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Old 11-20-2013, 10:46 PM   #4
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Or a dangerous shock to you or someone personally.
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Old 11-21-2013, 04:13 AM   #5
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What you have is good. Learn to understand it.

One 30A works almost all of the boat , the second will run heavy loads seperate , heater or air cond.

A single 50A cord costs 3X as much as does the deck fittings and is a heavy PIA to drag out , usually just to run a reefer and batt charger.
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Old 11-21-2013, 06:14 AM   #6
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The fact that one of the port side inlets is "hot" means it is NOT wired to some for of selector switch/breaker. Shocking!

Do as others mention - get a professional on board to correct. You may find other electrical issues that need correction, too.
Reuben Trane
"Sunshine" - Island Pilot DSe 12m
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Old 11-21-2013, 06:39 AM   #7
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You have gotten excellent advice so far, find a marine electrician to tell you what you have before you plug this boat in.

You can probably get a good feel for what you have by looking at your distribution panel. There should be a shore power breaker or two shore power breakers.

Among the reasonable possibilities for how your boat is set up there are two which are most likely;

1 Your boat is set up for two 30 amp shore power inputs in which case there should be two 30 amp breakers for shore power on the distribution panel. The odd ball here is the why the two inputs would be on opposite sides of the boat as opposed to the more normal fashion of two on one side of the boat.

2 Your boat is set up for one 30 amp shore power input and is limited to just 30 amps. In that situation there would be only one 30 amp breaker on the distribution panel, but if done correctly there should be a source selector switch that chooses the port or starboard side input as the active input. Having duplicate inputs is convenient but the boat must be protected by the source selector switch to make sure that never are two current sources plugged in at the same time.

As to the third "outlet" which is hot (from an inverter?) this could be set up to allow use of 110 volt AC on the outside of the boat.

What you should be looking for before the electrician comes are shore power breakers on your distribution panel, a source selector switch for the port and starboard side 30 amp shore power inlets and if there is a 110 volt breaker on the distribution panel for the "hot" shore power inlet.

Good luck

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Old 11-21-2013, 08:13 AM   #8
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Without being there to test it, my first suspicion of the outlets on both sided of the boat is because the previous owner travelled a lot. Most often the shore power is on the wrong side of the boat as far as convenience is concerned - Murphy's Law.

Since you obviously have no electrical experience it would be a no brainer to get a marine electrician on board for an hour or so to explain everything to you. As others have eluded to - you may get electrocuted or start a fire if you don't understand what you have. Obviously, these arrangements are not factory standards.

An electrician wont take long to figure it out. He will probably ask for your help also in that he may require you to operate switches while he is testing the lines.

Seems like nothing major, just the previous owners little mods to make the boat more user friendly to him. After a while you will probably do some stuff to personalize the boat for you. most people do. Me personally. I like tp keep everything as standard as possible.

Enjoy your new boat

Tony B

Cruising the Eastern U.S. Inland Waterways
Presently on the Tennessee River - Joe Wheeler State Park - Rogersville, Al.
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