SmartPlug

Shore power cords have been around for over 70 years without much change.  But here’s a new idea called the SmartPlug which has improved shore power connections for boats and marinas by making both sides safer.  Due to its sleeve and secure locking mechanism, SmartPlug’s patented design protects against the common causes of marine fires and electrocution – loose connections, overheating, stray current and corrosion. To securely lock the plug into the inlet and prevent loose connections, SmartPlug incorporates two side locks, a cover lock and a unique sleeve connection. And SmartPlug’s straight-in connection allows the electrical pins to be ...

13th July 2009.
By Zuzana Prochazka

Shore power cords have been around for over 70 years without much change.  But here’s a new idea called the SmartPlug which has improved shore power connections for boats and marinas by making both sides safer.  Due to its sleeve and secure locking mechanism, SmartPlug’s patented design protects against the common causes of marine fires and electrocution – loose connections, overheating, stray current and corrosion.

To securely lock the plug into the inlet and prevent loose connections, SmartPlug incorporates two side locks, a cover lock and a unique sleeve connection. And SmartPlug’s straight-in connection allows the electrical pins to be straight – with greater contact area than the thin curved pins found on the legacy-style connectors. There is a positive connection – all with no twisting required and you won’t need to get down on your knees to orient it, even in the dark.  To release, just squeeze the two side levers.  When fully secured, SmartPlug can withstand a substantial amount of vertical force.

To prevent corrosion of internal electrical components, SmartPlug uses a compressed front seal, a rear seal and a flanged cord seal that allows for flexibility.  Multiple flanged cord seals are included to fit common cord sizes.  SmartPlug includes a trip thermostat built right into the receptacle to automatically shut off electrical current in the event of overheating.

Installation is easy as well.  To replace an existing inlet, remove the legacy-style round inlet, connect the wiring to the SmartPlug inlet, and fasten using the original hole pattern. To replace a plug on an existing cord, just cut off the old round plug, strip the wires and fasten to the SmartPlug.  Once the SmartPlug inlet is installed on the boat side, snap the SmartPlug into the inlet. On the dock side, an adapter allows connection of the SmartPlug to the legacy-style round outlet.

The SmartPlug is available for 30 amp applications but the rumor is that they are working on a 50 amp version.  The plug and inlet assembly comes with a 5 year warranty and retails for $225.  There are numerous adapters available so check pricing on individual components.  Look for a dealer listing at www.smartplugsystems.com.


About the author:

Zuzana Prochazka

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Zuzana Prochazka is a writer and photographer who freelances for a dozen boating magazines and websites. A USCG 100 Ton Master, Zuzana has cruised, chartered and skippered flotillas in many parts of the world and serves as a presenter on charter destinations and topics. She is the Chair of the New Product Awards committee, judging innovative boats and gear at NMMA and NMEA shows, and currently serves as immediate past president of Boating Writers International. She contributes to Boats.com and YachtWorld.com, and also blogs regularly on her boat review site, TalkoftheDock.com.
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