Female socket on boat for mains connection?

MelanieC

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I've just purchased my boat and keen to plug it into mains so I can get cracking on some jobs - only the socket for mains connection on the boat is female. I did read a thread about this, but I didn't understand the solutions being suggested only that a cable with male at both ends was a bad idea. There was mention of caravan setups, but I'm not seeing how that provides a solution. I would really appreciate it if someone could explain to me if there is a solution in simplistic language.
Failing a solution, how hard is it going to be to just change the socket to a standard socket?
Also what I can't understand is how all the electrics have clearly been done to current standards.... why would someone then put in or leave a socket that is incorrect ?

Your help greatly apprecatied.

Previous thread on this subject at the following link:
Commando sockets
 

Sticky Fingers

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Be helpful if you could post a pic of the socket. Shore power connections for boats are very common and there are only a small number of standard connectors. The boat fitting should never be female.

As for your point about standards - sadly there are people who love to DIY but know little or nothing about how to do things properly. So it’s possible that your boat is a victim of a previous owner’s meddling. If you let us know where the boat is berthed, we may be able to recommend a reliable local marine electrician.
 

VicS

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I've just purchased my boat and keen to plug it into mains so I can get cracking on some jobs - only the socket for mains connection on the boat is female. I did read a thread about this, but I didn't understand the solutions being suggested only that a cable with male at both ends was a bad idea. There was mention of caravan setups, but I'm not seeing how that provides a solution. I would really appreciate it if someone could explain to me if there is a solution in simplistic language.
Failing a solution, how hard is it going to be to just change the socket to a standard socket?
Also what I can't understand is how all the electrics have clearly been done to current standards.... why would someone then put in or leave a socket that is incorrect ?

Your help greatly apprecatied.

Previous thread on this subject at the following link:
Commando sockets
The reason why a female socket on the boat , with a male plug on the boat end of the cable, is a bad idea is that the the exposed pins on the male plug will be live if unplugged while the cable is still connected connected at the shore end.

The same applies to caravan hookups.

What you need on the boat, or a caravan, is a male connector, ie with pins, with a female connector on the boat/caravan end of the cable.

This is an example of a male connectors that could be fitted on a boat or caravan. Flush fitting connectors are also available

1703136831644.png
This is an example of the female connector that could be fitted to the boat/caravan end of the shorepower/ hookup cable

1703138366814.png

(Images cribbed from Force4's website)
 
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Refueler

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Interesting to know the cable left on board for shore connection ?? Does it have 'male' connections both ends ??

A quick temp solution of course is a short male to male adaptor cable that sits plugged into boat ... then one cable end changed to female plug ...

What you do then is use the adaptor to shore cable connection as the connect / disconnect instead of the boat ...

Best solution though as others post ... change out the boat part to a male ... swap one end of cable to female ...

Just an aside ... I have 2 cables ... a short and a long both RV Male / Femal blue ... also adaptor short cables where I can adapt to UK domestic 3 pin ... another to EU domestic ..
There are still odd places where non 'Caravan RV' outlets are found ...
 

xyachtdave

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As above, a mate had a home done shore power system with a female end on the boat. If you're really careful and always unplug the pontoon end before the boat I'd say add this to your jobs list as a priority to sort soon.

If you have lots of inexperienced crew and kids, likely to unplug the lead from the boat with it still plugged in on the pontoon and then walk around with live male terminals poking out the end of the lead, I"d stop using it immediately.

If the basics like this are wrong, it's probably worth having a good look over the rest of the 240 v system sooner rather than later, a new connector for the boat should be a simple and cheap fix.
 

wonkywinch

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Most boats I've seen use the Marinco flush mounted male connector. Shore power is then a Marinco female to Commando male in 16A or 32A sizes with/without inline meter.

Screenshot_20231221_074936_eBay.jpg
 

Baggywrinkle

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Basic safety, under no circumstances should you have a male connection that is live, because on male connectors the pins are exposed and you can electrocute yourself. Do not construct a 230v cable with two male ends as it will definitely end in tears, maybe even death.

The plug on the cable you attach to the source of 230v should be male, and the other end that you attach to the boat should be female - once you have attached the cable to a power source, the cable is live.

It is the same with domestic kettle leads, the end you put in the wall (the supply) is male, the end you plug in the appliance is female (to prevent contact with the pins once the cable is live).

You never know who might disconnect your shore power when you are not looking. Leaving an unattended male-male cable in use means you could kill someone.
 

PaulRainbow

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Stemar

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Most boats, including mine, have this on board, preferably in a sheltered spot
20698.jpg


Industrial Connectors IP44

And this on the end of the cable
36175.jpg

Industrial Connectors IP44

Definitely one of the cheaper ways to improve safety on board
 

RunAgroundHard

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Agree with Paul Rainbow. Marinco have a long history of damage resulting in normal use that has lead to overheating and in some cases fires. They are poorly designed and unfit for service, despite being compliant with various standards.

I replaced mine as it was all scorched inside, I replaced it with the Ratio unit linked to by Paul Rainbow. It is push fit, no twisting of the socket, the locking ring is twist, it is a tight fit, hence good contact and it is robust design, having a very low profile unlike other round pin designs. In place for about 7 to 8 years now and remains in perfect condition.

The failure mechanism of Marinco is the twist action of the tines to lock and the low contact area loose fit and how the flex is clamped, it is simply not robust enough. In addition the tines are thin and contribute to overheating when other conditions exist. They are a common fitting but are still shit.

https://www.sailmagazine.com/cruising/how-to-avoid-shore-power-problems

More shit experiences with Marinco What is it about Marinco plugs.

Cruiser Forum also has load of posts on this subject. Just don't use them. On another forum, a charter company owner changes these out because they are poor quality and has caused him hassle and exposed his clients to risks.
 

dunedin

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I would urge you DO NOT USE. And, contrary to other advice on here DO NOT simply replace the inlet socket - or even worse fit a male to male adapter cable.
If the boat truly has a female inlet socket then whoever fitted the boat electrics had ZERO knowledge of how to do this safely.

This is only the most obvious fault. If they got that totally wrong, how many other faults are there within the system?
It is good that you knew enough to ask the question. But clearly your limited knowledge (but wise caution) vastly exceeds the fitter’s knowledge!

They are unlikely to have known how to fit an RCD breaker which should be fitted on the boat side of the socket. Would they have got the other connections and polarities correct?

Unless you have the knowledge, get a boat electrician in to inspect the whole system, before using. Funerals are very expensive these days, so an electrician for an hour is a relative bargain.
With good advice and care it is possible you can DIY fix the issues, but worth a professional check over the whole system.
 

PetiteFleur

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I fitted the camping type consumer unit with RCD & 3 sockets sold in camping shops. Connected to a male caravan socket in the cockpit, which has a spring loaded lid. The female socket plugs into it which also has a spring loaded lid which clips into position when inserted. Pictures as vicS shows earlier. Don't use Marinco plugs - as mentioned they can be dangerous!!!
 

Refueler

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Most boats I've seen use the Marinco flush mounted male connector. Shore power is then a Marinco female to Commando male in 16A or 32A sizes with/without inline meter.

View attachment 169445

I only see such on medium to large Mobo's ... most sailboats I see the typical Caravan Blue gear. Its cheaper .. it works ... done correctly - its safe. You can even get leads with Meters built in as well.
 

Refueler

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Basic safety, under no circumstances should you have a male connection that is live, because on male connectors the pins are exposed and you can electrocute yourself. Do not construct a 230v cable with two male ends as it will definitely end in tears, maybe even death.

The plug on the cable you attach to the source of 230v should be male, and the other end that you attach to the boat should be female - once you have attached the cable to a power source, the cable is live.

It is the same with domestic kettle leads, the end you put in the wall (the supply) is male, the end you plug in the appliance is female (to prevent contact with the pins once the cable is live).

You never know who might disconnect your shore power when you are not looking. Leaving an unattended male-male cable in use means you could kill someone.

I agree with you -
My Suggestion of Male to Male was a TEMP - while OP gets sorted ... NOT intended as a general fix all ...
 

RunAgroundHard

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Most boats, including mine, have this on board, preferably in a sheltered spot
20698.jpg


Industrial Connectors IP44

And this on the end of the cable
36175.jpg

Industrial Connectors IP44

Definitely one of the cheaper ways to improve safety on board

Perhaps I am misunderstanding your post, but are you not suggesting exactly what the OP has fitted now which is dangerous. A female socket on the boat. This means the shore power cable boat end has live pins that can be exposed before plugging in.
 

simonfraser

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this is what is fitted to merry fisher motor boats as standard, up to 32A
which seems massive to me :(

perhaps they are used constant at max power and then over heat / poor installation ?


1703150955142.png
 

VicS

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Most boats, including mine, have this on board, preferably in a sheltered spot
20698.jpg


Industrial Connectors IP44

And this on the end of the cable
36175.jpg

Industrial Connectors IP44

Definitely one of the cheaper ways to improve safety on board

That is exactly the wrong and potentially dangerous combination!. ........ If that really is what you have you should put changing them to the correct connectors. as illustrated in my earlier post, at the top of your "to do" list
 
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