What would you do?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by FootballFan, Feb 5, 2018.

  1. FootballFan

    FootballFan Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Jun 20, 2012
    Marquis 59
    MTU Series 60
    Couple of weeks ago was securing the boat.

    In ten years of dealing with shore power cords, I did the unthinkable. Dropped a cable in the water.

    Had never considered what to do at that point. Never thought I would make that mistake, no idea on next step. So I gathered the collective wisdom of those standing around me. Swung the cable like a giant slingshot wind up, trying to get the water out, then liberally applied that fix all of WD40 to displace any moisture.

    Fast forward for a couple of weeks. Showed up at the boat and discovered a problem.

    This is the female end that the "got wet" plug went into (the photo I had handy), the male plug looks about the same. In that slip I was using a splitter to hook both cables up.


    OK, so that approach didn't end up too well. Shorted out, burning both the male plug on one of my Glendening cables and the female side of the splitter.

    Got the parts, technician is going over today to replace the plugs for me. Not the end of the world, I have another set up plugs on the bow and happened to have 2 50Amp cables on the boat, so plugged in for the weekend. No damage anywhere other than the cables.

    The question for this post - if this happened to you what would you have done. I didn't have a plan, never thought I needed one. My plan was - DONT DROP THE CABLE in the water - duh, that didn't work out.

    Anyway just curious if you have ever thought through or gotten advice on what to do in that situation?

  2. LTD.330

    LTD.330 Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Oct 5, 2009
    Lake Erie
    1999 Sundancer 330
    7.4 MPI
    I dropped the female end in the lake once. Grabbed a screwdriver, disassembled the connector, dried it off, and let it sit out in the sun for a couple of hours.
  3. Strecker25

    Strecker25 Well-Known Member

    Nov 20, 2014
    Rochester, NY
    1998 290 Sundancer
    Twin 5.7EFI/Alphas, Kohler 4kw
    Was the cable end that went into the water plugged into the shore power post, or into the boat?

    I always take our cable with us in the lazarette, so my process is to kill power at the boat's main shore power panel, then unplug the male end going into the post and curl it up in the boat. Lots of people at our marina do the opposite and leave the hot end just laying on the dock while they're away. My opinion is they should probably at least trip the post breaker before they unplug it from their boat.
  4. bobeast

    bobeast Dance the Tide SILVER Sponsor

    Oct 22, 2017
    Isleton, CA
    2002 310DA
    350 MPI w/V-drives
    Before I even touch the cable;

    1) Boat breakers off
    2) Dock breaker off
    3) unplug from dock
    4) unplug from boat
    5) stow cable

    If I got it wet after that I would try to disassemble, dry and clean the wet end. If unable to do that, I guess I'd replace the adaptor/cable and call it an expensive lesson.
  5. bahamabreisus

    bahamabreisus Well-Known Member

    Oct 25, 2007
    Hampstead NC
    500 dancer, previous 420,390,300 dancers
    detriot 8v92
    Mark, I think more people do this than care to admit. Trick is to pull the cover back and rinse the crap out of it with fresh water. Let it sit in the sun to dry. WD40 displaced the water, but not the salt.
    FootballFan likes this.
  6. NotHerDecision

    NotHerDecision Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Jun 28, 2016
    Houston, Texas
    2001 Sea Ray 460 Sundancer
    2014 Seadoo 155 LTD
    2105 Seadoo 130 SE
    2013 Mercury Dinghy
    Cummins 6CTA 8.3L
    Here's what I would recommend...

    First. Disconnect power. Liberally clean the connection with fresh water, salt is hygroscopic so it will alway attract the moisture, you must rinse it first and well. Then dry it as best as possible, even disconnecting if need be and spray WD40 all over. I also make sure power is off at the pedestal and clean those plugs while I am at it.

    Water/Salt can increase the resistance which heats up the cord and can cause a short or fire. One quick way is to test the cord with an infrared thermometer , if it's more then 5* higher then the ambient temp then you have some sort of issue. (check your dock while you're at it)
  7. FootballFan

    FootballFan Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Jun 20, 2012
    Marquis 59
    MTU Series 60
    Learning as I read, thank you for the comments.

    Will fill in some gaps with a couple more data items.

    This is Salt Water.

    I have 2 50 Amp/240V cables both on glendinnings. This was one of those. At the time the "drop" happened, no power on the cable. Genset was still running, was in the process of hooking up shore power to eventually switch over.

    Turning the power on, no issues. After all I had followed the collective advice of the dock crew.

    Looking at the calendar, 15 days later there were no issues. The short happened somewhere between the 16th and 18th day of connection.

    Talked to the electrical person about the issue. He was adamant about NOT using WD40. His advice in the situation was to just let it dry out, or take it apart and clean - then dry out.

    If it ever happens again, thinking I will take apart, maybe rinse with fresh water and some salt away, they dry for a day or so.

    When I went to get the new plugs, west Marine had a whole rack of plugs. Thinking I may not be the only one that had to have them.

    New plugs on both the cable and the splitter. Just got a call everything fixed.

  8. Gimme Time

    Gimme Time Active Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jan 7, 2007
    Charlottesville, VA./ Deltaville, VA
    2006 52SB, Ray Marine E120, Garmin 7612 through BOE site sponsor,
    Remove the end cover if you can & wash good with fresh water. Then place the cord ends somewhere you can get good heat on them to dry out. You may need to use a electric heat gun or hair dryer which is typically more readable available. Once you’ve dried it out well I spray Corrision Block on the ends and let or assist that to dry as well.

    Next step which already should be a habit for everyone is to apply a good dielectric grease to the male & female connections which improves the connections, decreases corrosion and helps make a good electrical connection. Use electronic digital temperture gun to check you cord temperature looking for temperature rise above 5 degrees difference you’re probably still have a problem but it may not be just your cord.

    The dielectric grease should be on both ends of your cables where it connects to your boat end as well. Safe travels
  9. Fly'n Family

    Fly'n Family Active Member

    Sep 19, 2013
    TX / CO
    2002 Cruisers Yachts 3870
    2003 Boston Whaler Sport 130 w/40 hp Merc
    Twin 425hp Crusaders
    There are those that have dropped one in the drink, and those that say they've never done it (and are most likely full of doo-doo).

    When we did it...

    - shut off breaker to my dock power supply.
    - disconnected from the de-powered plug-in
    - pulled from water
    - hang it vertically so the water drips down
    - store in a hanging down position in my dock locker
    - use a different, dry, non-dropped in the water shore power cable
    - reset breaker, hook up dry cord to power and boat

    The one that fell in is still hanging.

    Shit happens...
  10. northern

    northern Well-Known Member

    Jan 17, 2007
    West coast Vancouver to Alaska
    380 Aft Cabin 1989 GPS and Charts by Nobeltec
    Twin 454 strait shaft
    I have seen burnt cords now I know how it was done. One I got with the boat was burnt. I replaced it. The cord part has fallen in the water and got brown in small areas. Guess I should replace it also.
  11. JVM225

    JVM225 Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 8, 2008
    Farmingdale, NY
    2002 410 Sundancer, Monaco Edition.
    3126 Cats.
    Take off the ends and strip back the wires to where you have nice clean copper with no signs of black. Reinstall new ends and you have a good cordmagain. The only problem is that by the time you buy new ends you are close to whole new cord money.
    Also, remove the inlet on the boat. Inspect it carefully for signs of burnt and check the wires behind it that go to the panel and make sure they aren’t burnt either.
  12. Strecker25

    Strecker25 Well-Known Member

    Nov 20, 2014
    Rochester, NY
    1998 290 Sundancer
    Twin 5.7EFI/Alphas, Kohler 4kw
    I never thought about the shore power inlet being a maintenance item until my reverse polarity light came on one day, AC condenser shut down, and volt meter read 50v. I took it apart to find a mess. The lazarette where our shore power connections are has no sealant from the elements, so rain water would pool inside it. I've since fixed that with a canvas extension, but 20 years of moisture took its toll. The neutral lead literally fell apart in my fingers. A few new parts from west including all wiring going to the galvanic isolater and new inlet and all is well. I'll be checking this every year from now on
    IMG_2827.JPG IMG_2828.JPG
    Little Ducky likes this.
  13. fwebster

    fwebster Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor PLATINUM Sponsor

    Oct 6, 2006
    Middle Tennessee ; Panama City Beach, FL
    1996 450DA
    3116 Caterpillars

    Here are a couple of comments……First I'm not going to insult you by telling you to disconnect the power before working on the power cable. Second this is a lot like hitting a sand bar…..there are those who have, and those who will, so don't worry, you have company.

    Remember the conductors are stranded copper. Stranded wire soaks up seawater like a rope….the water runs as far up the conductor as it can before it dries out. You should remove the cable ends and cut the conductors back until you see no green and no black inside the wire strands when you strip the insulation back about an inch. Next, soak the wire ends in Salt Away or some other salt neutralizer and clean the conductors and hang them stripped end down overnight. A small stainless wire brush is helpful for this but, but clean the wire strands until you see bright pristine copper, clean the contacts in the plug and put it back together. Spray the ends with Corrosion Block and reassemble the plug.
  14. FootballFan

    FootballFan Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Jun 20, 2012
    Marquis 59
    MTU Series 60

    No need to worry, sometimes a reminder of safety things is very important.

    The previous owner had a local guy who had been maintaining the electrical systems on the boat. From conversations with people he is very highly recommended - and has been taking care of power portions of the boat for 5 years.

    I had him out to replace a breaker on the MTU controls back before Christmas.

    Picked up the parts while I was in town - he walked through exactly what I needed. I got a call last night that he had gone over and cleaned up my mess. His process was pretty well what you described. So I am back in business with the stern cables again.

    Interesting point on this is I had never really thought about what to do with salt water dropped cable. Never thought I would have to deal with it.

    I wonder what else I don't have a back up plan for.

    Thanks for your notes.
    carterchapman likes this.
  15. fwebster

    fwebster Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor PLATINUM Sponsor

    Oct 6, 2006
    Middle Tennessee ; Panama City Beach, FL
    1996 450DA
    3116 Caterpillars
    uhhh…………. a sandbar in a land cut that shoals and drains an estuary. Wanna know how I know about that one. You can't see a darned thing when the water is flowing out. Just another hidden pleasure in coastal boating.
  16. Stee6043

    Stee6043 Well-Known Member

    Jun 1, 2015
    West Michigan
    1997 Sundancer 400
    7.4L Gassers
    Just as a note - saltwater isn't the only way you can end up with cord ends that look like this. I spoke with some folks last year that suggested wear on the terminals can create gaps and then eventually arcing/heat.

    I had one cord that burned on one end last year. The end that connects to the boat, not the dock. It was quite alarming. It's never been in the water (that I know of) but was an older cord. It was quickly replaced...
  17. carterchapman

    carterchapman Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor SILVER Sponsor

    Mar 25, 2008
    Lake Chickamauga/Marietta, GA/Ft. Myers, FL
    2006 Sea Ray 58 DB
    MAN CRM V8-900s, Twin Disc Drives; Onan 21.5 Generator
    Than.ks Mark - great topic to share

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