Mailport April 2013 Issue

Mailport: April 2013

Marinco EEL Power Cord

I would like your comment on what I believe may be a safety issue with one of the Marinco EEL 30-amp shore-power cords (PS, August 2012) now on the market.

I recently purchased the cord, and as packaged on the plastic spool, the shore end of the new 25-foot EEL cord has a very tight bend at the plug, in order to force it into the package. The bend is much tighter than I’d normally allow on a power cord, and upon inspection, I noticed what appears to be a separation of the seal between the cord and the plug. I checked other packages on the shelf at my local West Marine (one of many retailers of the cord), and found all of the 25-foot cords have the same tight bend at the shore end, and most have the same apparent seal issue. The packaging for the longer cords (50 feet) is not as tight and doesn’t appear to have the same problem. Shorter cords (12 feet) are simply coiled, not on a plastic spool, and also don’t show signs of the problem.

Here’s my concern: Is the apparent seal failure at the cord/connector joint a sign of stress on the conductor and/or plug, and over time, will it allow moisture to intrude, leading to a short and/or failure?

I contacted Marinco and West Marine about this problem in November 2012. West Marine passed me on to Marinco. Marinco showed initial concern, but not much since then. Maybe I’m being too fussy, but when it comes to electrical issues, I try to be conservative.    Chuck Rushing Anabel, Catalina 36 No. 2151 Solomons, Md.

We contacted Marinco (and parent company Actuant Corp.) about your concern with the possible cord stresses caused by the packaging. According to the company, Marinco pulled the cord for inspection after your initial complaint. Its engineers noted that the “sharp bend” required to fit the cord on the packaging spool was indeed putting undue strain on the cord, but that it did not compromise the cord’s safety or performance. Marinco explained that “actions were put into place to improve the packaging process to relieve the sharp bend.”

Marinco said that what you noted to be a crack in the cord is actually PVC flash from the molding process, along with a urethane adhesive used to bond the cable and connector together. The company determined that this does not jeopardize the conduit’s seal, cable jacket, or connector in any way. “It is our determination that there is not a safety issue due to the construction and manufacturing process of this cord set,” Marinco said in a statement to Practical Sailor.

Marinco sent PS a number of cut-away photos detailing the EEL’s manufacturing process, demonstrating how the PVC flash separation would not breech the cord jacket’s seal.

Editor’s Note: After PS contacted Marinco, the company emailed the reader, explained the findings of their investigation, and sent him a new 25-foot EEL cord that had never been coiled onto a spool.

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