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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Marine Shore Power Cord - SmartPlug

SmartPlug Shore Power System
SmartPlug Shore Power System

Marine Shore Power Cord - SmartPlug is a Smart Choice

Let's talk about one of the banes of a boater's existence: the heavy, ungainly shore power cord.

Thanks to the folks at SmartPlug who do all of the critical thinking on shore power for the rest of us (who are too busy drinking at the dock to ponder the greater wisdom of dockside electricity),  I've recently learned that while most of us believe the #1 cause of shore power failure is electrical shorting, it's actually overheating due to poor electrical conductivity. 

Well, who knew?

I've written on some deadly potential situations in boating before, but one situation that frightens me is the prospect of electric shock from wayward electricity.  When it comes to that unwieldy yellow cord, the First Mate and I take no chances; we treat it with respect, and never let it near the water.

We'll consider best practices of shore power cord usage in a future post, but for now, we can certainly consider the risk of shock or fire from the overheating issue that SmartPlug has identified.  According to them, "Traditional plug designs are notorious for burning out as a result of loose connections and corrosion. The SmartPlug is a revolutionary shore power system designed to replace the outdated and problematic twist-type design in use today."  I don't know about you, but if someone wants to talk preventing-my-beloved-vessel-from-catching-fire, I'm listening.

If you want to read more about SmartPlug's features, including its 20x more contact area, sleeve design, and other features that only marine geeks would appreciate, visit their website at the end of this post.  But I'll do the hard work for you with this summary: 

Instead of twist-locking, this cord plugs straight in with more contact area, which produces less overheating because the pins of the cord aren't subject to the excessive strain inherent in twist-lock systems.  Instead, the body of the plug bears the weight.  Plus, the SmartPlug has silicone gaskets that keep moisture out, which reduces water-related overheating.  Finally, there are locking caps that can be closed for a weatherproof seal in-between uses.

When a smart company makes a smart marine product like this, part of me jumps for joy and part of me is a bit depressed.  Why depressed?  Because if you look at what the SmartPlug is, it's not rocket science - these are common-sense design fixes that took way too many years for someone to implement.  If inventors were smart, they'd hang around their local docks and just listen to all of the lamentations of a market yearning for more intelligent product designs.  Opportunity abounds.

In the meantime, I celebrate and applaud the efforts of SmartPlug for delivering a better mousetrap.  Now - if it could reduce the size and weight, or help me wrangle and un-wrangle the cord, that would be even better.

What about it, SmartPlug?  Do you accept the challenge?

SmartPlug is available in 30A and 50A versions at dealers. 
www.smartplug.com; www.facebook.com/SmartPlug; twitter.com/smartplugs
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