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1/1/2013 | 1 MINUTE READ

PC/PBT in Larger Shore Power Connector for Boats

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WEB EXCLUSIVE: Following the success of it 30-amp SmartPlug system in marine, RV, and EMS vehicle markets, Seattle-based SmartPlug Systems decided to develop a 50-amp version of its shore power connector system. At the suggestion of its custom injection molder, SmartPlug turned to custom compounder RTP Co. in Winona, Minn. According to SmartPlug’s v.p. of manufacturing,Matt Smith, loose connections or corrosion of electrical connectors, particularly in the marine environment, can easily lead to overheating—the number one cause of shore power failure and fires. “In almost every case, the reason a boat is destroyed is the poor design of the shore power inlet on the boat,” Smith says. His father, a lifelong sailor with experience in rebuilding fire-damaged boats, realized the need for a better solution and set out to create the SmartPlug power system that minimizes the tendencies toward loose electrical connections, corrosion, overheating, and other problems inherent in other connector designs.
But going to a larger, 50A version proved challenging as the company’s original plastics supplier had difficulty achieving the combined levels of flame retardance and impact resistance that the design demanded, and his company’s team was not happy with the extra wall thickness that would need to be added to solve the problem. RTP produced an RTP 2000 Series custom PC/PBT alloy with glass-fiber reinforcement and flame retardant to meet the UL 94V-0 flame rating and a UV stabilizer to achieve a UL746C fl outdoor suitability rating.