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Old 07-19-2021, 03:22 PM   #1
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Adding electric outlets where I want them

My boat has plenty of outlets, but there are none where we work and that means charging cables and extension cords draped across traffic areas. Adding outlets would be simple if this problem was at our dirt home, but I am far less familiar with ABYC and marine wiring.

Mariner built the boat using wood covers on the back sides of what look like standard household 120 VAC outlets. Instead of your basic Romex, they used suitable gauge individual strand braided wire. I know about terminating connections with crimp on ends and not using wire nuts.

I don't plan to build wood boxes as my woodworking skills fall well short of the Taiwanese craftsmen that built the originals. What about your basic plastic old work single gang boxes as a backer? One outlet will be in a "utility" area housing an air conditioner unit and the other will be in a rather inaccessible upper corner of a cabinet. What is the right approach?
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Old 07-19-2021, 03:30 PM   #2
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Big box store,grey outdoor plastic, spray painted white
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Old 07-19-2021, 03:53 PM   #3
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I have used the blue plastic boxes. Also use adhesive lined heat shrink connectors on the wires. It appears that the connectors on the outlet in the photo do not have the heat shrink connectors.
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Old 07-19-2021, 03:55 PM   #4
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Yes they aren't pretty but psneeld's use of box outlets works. The only problem will be hiding the wires where fingers can't touch them or use surface raceway to cover them. You don't have to use Romex cable, individual insulated wires are ok.

But you might consider adding a bank of USB charging outlets as well while you are at it. Most phones and tablets use them to charge with. These can be either AC or DC powered.

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Old 07-19-2021, 03:56 PM   #5
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Good reminder about the USB outlets. We replaced all of the outlets in our last boat and put at least one with the builtin USB ports in each room and two in the master cabin.
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Old 07-19-2021, 04:07 PM   #6
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Yep, one of the first additions I did on our boat was to add double USB outlets at both helms. Tapped into the 12v outlet circuit - using marine 16 'romex'. We use them all the time
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Old 07-19-2021, 04:20 PM   #7
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We added a 12 volt outlet but also a bunch of ones that are 120 volt with USB ports builtin.
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Old 07-19-2021, 04:22 PM   #8
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also a bunch of ones that are 120 volt with USB ports builtin.

Ditto for me, but mine were slower charging usb ports, now I get the ones with fast charge instead.
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Old 07-19-2021, 04:32 PM   #9
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I have read about the combo USB units and examined them at the hardware stored today. Might have bought a pair except they have prominent ventilation grates in the outlet rear housing and that reminded me how warm the plug in kind get. No problem dealing with the heat they produce?
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Old 07-19-2021, 04:34 PM   #10
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No problems with heat - plenty of uncluttered space behind them, and they are the fast- charge types.
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Old 07-19-2021, 05:45 PM   #11
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I used these. No problem with heat while we had the boat.

Leviton T5632-E USB Charger/Tamper-Resistant Duplex Receptacle, 15-Amp, Black, 1-Pack
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Old 07-19-2021, 06:03 PM   #12
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In the photo I posted, the left outlet has 2 USB chargers. Leviton from Lowes.


Yes they are not quick chargers, but unless we need a quick charge they are fine, if not, use the quick charge wall wart in the same outlet.
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Old 07-19-2021, 06:26 PM   #13
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One issue I ran into in dealing with outlets and such - you often need to connect 3 wires together (incoming, outgoing, and splitting off for a device, the outlet, etc...).

I guess the "proper" way to do this is with a screw terminal bus strip? Maybe use a double wide box, with a blank on one side that you put the terminal strip in, and put the outlet in the other side?
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Old 07-19-2021, 06:37 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oak_box View Post
One issue I ran into in dealing with outlets and such - you often need to connect 3 wires together (incoming, outgoing, and splitting off for a device, the outlet, etc...).

I guess the "proper" way to do this is with a screw terminal bus strip? Maybe use a double wide box, with a blank on one side that you put the terminal strip in, and put the outlet in the other side?

Usually an outlet has line and load ...what else do you need?


What "device" are you talking about?
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Old 07-19-2021, 07:12 PM   #15
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I've often seen cases where there was a line that came in that supplied power, and then a line (sometimes two) going out to the next outlet or light...

On a traditional home outlet, you at least have two terminals, so you could put the incoming line on one, and the outgoing line on another.

What I'd LIKE to do is replace all of my outlets with GFI outlets, and not use the "load" side going out. GFI outlets have one set of terminals for the input. I could crimp proper terminals on the incoming and outgoing, and technically get away with having two terminals under the same single screw (right?) - but it's tough to do...
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Old 07-19-2021, 07:16 PM   #16
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I hate how they wire houses where the first outlet is a GFI, and then there are some random number of following outlets on the "load" side of the GFI. Then any of the down stream outlets can cause the GFI to trip, and in many cases you're scratching your head wondering what tripped!

I had that happen once on a Sea Ray. The GFI outlet was on the underside of a cabinet. Took FOREVER to figure out why I wasn't getting power at some of the outlets. Happened to be working on something else - happened to see the GFI, and finally connected the dots... Hence my preference that a GFI should ONLY protect that one outlet, and NOT have downstream stuff on the "load side" where it's not obvious what's connected to what...
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Old 07-19-2021, 07:22 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oak_box View Post
I hate how they wire houses where the first outlet is a GFI, and then there are some random number of following outlets on the "load" side of the GFI. Then any of the down stream outlets can cause the GFI to trip, and in many cases you're scratching your head wondering what tripped!

I had that happen once on a Sea Ray. The GFI outlet was on the underside of a cabinet. Took FOREVER to figure out why I wasn't getting power at some of the outlets. Happened to be working on something else - happened to see the GFI, and finally connected the dots... Hence my preference that a GFI should ONLY protect that one outlet, and NOT have downstream stuff on the "load side" where it's not obvious what's connected to what...
You will probably have to run new power cables to the 2nd and successive outlets since the boat builder will power the 2nd outlet off the first. The normal method is to put the GFI on the first outlet that needs protection and then it will protect the outlets daisy chained off the GFI. This is the normal and accepted way of doing it. Nothing wrong with only 1 outlet on the GFI but you will have to add more wiring and breakers to supply the wiring. Most boats donít have a lot of extra breakers.
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Old 07-19-2021, 07:24 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by oak_box View Post
One issue I ran into in dealing with outlets and such - you often need to connect 3 wires together (incoming, outgoing, and splitting off for a device, the outlet, etc...).

I guess the "proper" way to do this is with a screw terminal bus strip? Maybe use a double wide box, with a blank on one side that you put the terminal strip in, and put the outlet in the other side?
There usually isnít 3 wires, just incoming and outgoing. The device is where they get connected. In the unusual case where you have 3 wires to connect together a bus bar or terminal strip is the correct way to connect them.
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Old 07-19-2021, 07:24 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oak_box View Post
I hate how they wire houses where the first outlet is a GFI, and then there are some random number of following outlets on the "load" side of the GFI. Then any of the down stream outlets can cause the GFI to trip, and in many cases you're scratching your head wondering what tripped!

I had that happen once on a Sea Ray. The GFI outlet was on the underside of a cabinet. Took FOREVER to figure out why I wasn't getting power at some of the outlets. Happened to be working on something else - happened to see the GFI, and finally connected the dots... Hence my preference that a GFI should ONLY protect that one outlet, and NOT have downstream stuff on the "load side" where it's not obvious what's connected to what...

Wow...you are the first person to want to do it differently than I have met. You seem to be looking for a solution for where there is no problem...and maybe making things worse as I have never heard of people doing GFIs the way you suggest.


Sure finding the offensive GFI the first time is a pain, but after that most people learn.
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Old 07-19-2021, 07:33 PM   #20
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I'm willing to spend the $10 per outlet (buying in bulk) to put one GFI at each place. Then, if something trips, the reset is right there where whatever it is plugs in.
If I did the wiring, I *might* remember where the master GFI outlet is on a circuit... But several years later (when, not if, I forget), or for guests, or if I ever sell the boat - it would sure be nice to not have to go hunting for a GFI outlet somewhere else.

But unfortunately, it does complicate the wiring.

Another place I ran into a similar conundrum was in the engine room. Incoming AC supply line, but I wanted to use that for a set of LED lights for the engine room, an engine room heater, and ideally a spare plug for power tools, pumps, etc...

The easy solution would have been to install an outlet or two, but I got mixed answers on whether or not it was ok to have outlets in the engine room of a gas powered boat.

I CLEARLY understand the risk of spark when you plug / unplug something. But I also think any REASONABLE person wouldn't try to plug something into an outlet when they could smell gas fumes. And hopefully I'd never have (unreasonable) people down in the engine room...
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