Boat Wiring: How to Connect a New AC Outlet
Wiring for boats is different than house wiring, even for AC.
Question: I want to add a new AC outlet to my boat in the galley area so I can run a small coffee maker. I’ve already run the wiring to the place where I want to put the plug. I’ve even cut the hole where I’m going to mount the receptacle. I’m afraid to connect the wiring though for fear of getting it wrong. Several weeks ago you had a helpful article on receptacle orientation (Read Boat Electrical Outlet Installation) and I’ve decided to put mine with the grounding lug up based on your article. Can you help with the wire connections?
Answer: This one is easy. My book, The PowerBoater’s Guide to Electricity explains this in detail. The diagram below, from the book shows the correct connections to a typical plug assembly. The important thing to remember here is that unlike residential wiring, you will be using stranded boat cable. You are going to need to crimp on terminals that you can get under screw type connections on the receptacle. You can’t use the type of receptacle that simply wants you to press the end (of single strand house wire) into a spring loaded gate to make the connection. Select a receptacle that looks just like the one in the diagram and you will be all set.
- Ed Sherman is a regular contributor to boats.com, as well as to Professional Boatbuilder and Cruising World, where he previously was electronics editor. He also is the curriculum director for the American Boat and Yacht Council. Previously, Ed was chairman of the Marine Technology Department at the New England Institute of Technology. Ed’s blog posts appear courtesy of his website, EdsBoatTips.
Tags: AC outlet, connections, Ed Sherman, wiring