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.
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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.

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