Ask SAIL: Bad Plug?

Do marine electronic plugs just go bad on their own? I have a GPS chartplotter that sometimes go off intermittently until I reach back and wiggle a certain multi-pin plug connection.
Author:
Publish date:
500VAC-10-Amp-3P-E-Watertight-font-b-Electric-b-font-Boat-font-b-Marine-b_0

Q: Do marine electronic plugs just go bad on their own? I have a GPS chartplotter that sometimes go off intermittently until I reach back and wiggle a certain multi-pin plug connection. Is this common?

Gene Ballard, Chicago, IL

GORDON WEST REPLIES

This is common if you leave your electronics on board during the winter. The tiny pins in the plugs may develop residue if not exercised at least once a year. How do you exercise them? With your equipment turned off and no DC voltage passing through them, plug and unplug each connection 10 times. This will help clean the connections, and you should be good to go for another year. Each manufacturer has its own favorite type of contact pin spray cleaner, so before you spray the works, check with a local dealer for their recommendation. Only do this with your gear totally turned off. Connections with gold-plated pins are usually good for many years.

Got a question for our experts? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com

Related

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com No chafe, safe stay  If you’re leaving the boat unattended for a longish period, there’s a lot to be said for cow-hitching the shorelines, as this sailor did. They’ll never let go, and so long as the ...read more

belize600x

Charter Special: Belize

It would be hard to imagine a more secure spot than the Sunsail base on the outskirts of the beachside community of Placencia, Belize. The entire marina is protected by a robust seawall with a channel scarcely a few boatlengths across. It’s also located far enough up Placencia ...read more

DSC00247

DIY: a Top-to-Bottom Refit

I found my sailing “dream boat” in the spring of 1979 while racing on Lake St. Clair in Michigan. Everyone had heard about the hot new boat in town, and we were anxiously awaiting the appearance of this new Pearson 40. She made it to the starting line just before the race ...read more

01-oysteryachts-regattas-loropiana2016_063

Light-air Sails and How to Handle Them

In the second of a two-part series on light-air sails, Rupert Holmes looks at how today’s furling gear has revolutionized sail handling off the wind. Read part 1 here. It’s easy to look at long-distance racing yachts of 60ft and above with multiple downwind sails set on roller ...read more

HanseCharles

Video Tour: Hanse 348

“It’s a smaller-size Hanse cruiser, but with some big-boat features,” says SAIL’s Cruising Editor, Charles J. Doane. At last fall’s Annapolis Boat Show, Doane had a chance to take a close look at the new Hanse 348. Some of the boat’s highlights include under-deck galleries for ...read more

amalfitown

Charter Destination: Amalfi Coast

Prego! Weeks after returning from our Italian flotilla trip last summer, I was still feeling the relaxed atmosphere of the Amalfi Coast. It’s a Mediterranean paradise, with crystal-clear waters, charming hillside towns and cliffside villages, plenty of delicious food and wine, ...read more

image005

Inside or Outside When Sailing the ICW

Last April, my wife, Marjorie, and I decided to take our Tartan 4100, Meri, north to Maryland from her winter home in Hobe Sound, Florida. This, in turn, meant deciding whether to stay in the “Ditch” for the duration or go offshore part of the way. Although we had both been ...read more

MK1_30542

SailGP: There’s a New Sailing Series in Town

San Francisco was the venue of the biggest come-from-behind victory in the history of the America’s Cup when Oracle Team USA beat Emirates Team New Zealand in 2013, so it seems only fitting that the first American round of Larry Ellison’s new SailGP pro sailing series will be ...read more