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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Alright guys, this is one of the most widely asked questions I get when Spring and Fall start to come around:
"Do you have any way I can plug my boat into my house electric?".

Sure they sell the nice pre-made adapters, but I have always been about saving customers the most money I can. You can build your own adapter in less than 15 minutes, for under 25 bucks.



Here is what you will need:
1. Nice heavy extension cord. I use a 15' 12 gauge cord that was about 7.50. Just be sure it is outdoor rated, for 20 Amps.

2. Female twist lock connector. You can get these for around 15 bucks at the Depot or Lowes. The one you need will be labled as "L5 - 30R". Be sure you get the right one, else you will be in for a return trip.

3. Tube of silicone. If your like me, you have a few lying around that never get fully used. Now is a good time to get at one.

4. Razor knife.

5. Philips screwdriver.

6. Wire stripper.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Start with cutting the female end off the extension cord. Be sure it is the female end!! Seperate the twist lock connector, and slide the outer sleeve up and onto the wire.



Now using the razor knife, strip about 6" of the outer jacket off the extension cord. You should be left with three conductors (Green - Ground, White - Neutral, Black - Hot).

Cut the wires down to a 3" length. Why bother striping them to 6" if we cut them to 3" you might ask? Try striping them to 3" to start with and let me know how you make out!! :thumbsdown::thumbsdown:

Using the wire stripers, remove the outer jacket of each wire about 1/2".





On the sides of the body of the twist lock connector, you will see "W", "B", "G". Insert the green wire into the "G" space and tighten it down. Be sure you are not tightening down on the insulation of the wire. Repeat for "W" - White, and "B" - Black.

 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Now that the wires are in and tight, tug on them to make sure they are all secure, and won't come loose. Once they are all set, slide the connector body into the outer body that we slid on the wire earlier. It is a keyed fitting, so it should only go one way.

Now that the connector is mated back together, you can start tightening the screws that hold the main body and outer body together.


Once all three screws are secure, all that is left is to fill it full of silicone, and tighten the cable clamp on the connector. Fill the body as best as you can with silicone, it will help secure everything, and keep out any possible water. Then move on to the cable clamp. It might be hidden under a rubber boot at the end closest to the extension cord, but it is there. Tighten the two screws and verify you have a good bite of the extension cord, and not the individual wires.

 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Now once the silicone is all dry (24 hrs), enjoy your new adapter. Use caution with this setup. It's only rated for a max of 15 amps, and cannot run your AC unit, big deck lights, or ice maker. It can run your interior lighting, and battery charger no problem though. You should also run this setup off of a GFI, which most outdoor outlets are required to be by code anyway.

As usual, if you have any questions, feel free to contact us at any time.
 

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Joe,

I think your intentions are good here but this whole process IMO is a BAD idea. I know you've made the proper comments about it only being rated for 15 amps, but people don't read and sometimes don't understand.

First, that plug is rated for 30A, and as such the NEC requires that the wire handle the draw, therefore that would require your "extension cord" to be 10 gauge. I don't think so in your case.

I know the risk of fire is low, but I can see some yo-yo connecting his/her boats shore-power to this rig. So let's say the boat has a 20 amp AC draw. This extension cord is likely 14 gauge and therefore only capable of supporting 15 A. This yo-yo now connects the male side to his house GFCI (20Amp, 12 gauge) home wiring and your extension cord is now a fire problem.

Maybe it's the electrical engineer in me (and my knowledge of the NEC), but all wiring must handle the load that could (worst case) be placed on it, and in this case that is 30 Amp. and you need at least 10 gauge wiring all the way to the main circuit panel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Thanks for the concern. I am using a 12 awg cord, which is rated correctly, and the largest GFI you will find is a 20A. There is absolutely no way that this is any different than the UL approved connectors on the market.

People can make mistakes with anything, and I have seen more than a fair share of them from other "pro's"
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Except you take the novice error out of using the WRONG extension cord by building your own.

To each is own - I've said my peace!
Thanks, your concern is noted, and I have edited the original post to clear up any confusion.

Let's hope that the "novice's" that pick up the wrong cord will also get the wrong adapter. :D
 
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