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Author Topic:   Helm Console Electrical Accessory Connector
Smithsm posted 06-25-2008 12:30 PM ET (US)   Profile for Smithsm   Send Email to Smithsm  
I just went out to test what I thought was a cigar lighter-style electrical connector on my Boston Whaler OUTRAGE 20 helm console, only to discover it is instead a unique two-pole receptacle. What is this and how is it intended to be used ? Is there some kind of special [mating] plug that is made by Boston Whaler?
Buckda posted 06-25-2008 12:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
That is a Perko plug and it was pretty ubiquitous on boats in the 80's. It is easy to swap out for a cigar lighter if you wish. You may have one to connect your stern lamp as well. Mine also has one added by an earlier owner in the splash well area (on the gunwale) to plug in a trolling motor or some other electrical accessory.

I advise swapping it out for convenience sake when powering various other electrical devices, however, these plugs are less prone to corrosion in saltwater environments, so it may work better for your in your situation.


Smithsm posted 06-25-2008 12:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for Smithsm  Send Email to Smithsm     
If people still use these I imagine they would need a Perko to cigar lighter conversion to use for most items that use a standard cigar lighter-type plug. [Seeks more] suggestions.
kwik_wurk posted 06-25-2008 01:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for kwik_wurk  Send Email to kwik_wurk     
Yes the 2-pole-to-cigar lighter adapter does exist, but, if you need a cigar lighter, then why not remove the two-pole receptacle and replace it with a cigar lighter? Why carry an adapter around? I think this is what Buckda was saying.

My boat has a couple 2-pole plugs, mainly because the pins are brass and copper. Most cigar lighters are made with cheap metal and will corrode in a few years on saltwater. And I would have to say the most marine products are not designed to use cigar lighter sockets. Cell phone, or laptop different [situation].

Chuck Tribolet posted 06-25-2008 08:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
Marinco makes a nice marine-grade, locking, cigar lighter.
The original (not Marinco) on my boat lasted maybe a couple
of years. The replacement is coming up on nine years now,
salt-water 70 days a year. The Marinco has a matching plug,
and the socket comes with a rubber plug.

Boater's World has the Marinco. West Marine used to, but,
like way too many things now, carries a West-branded device
that looks very similar, but who knows? When I needed another
plug for another device on mine, I went down the street to
Boater's World.

One downside of the Marinco is that the socket is a smaller
diameter than what Whaler used.

Now, those Perko plugs, are about 1/2 - 5/8" diameter? If so,
they truly [disappoint]. I went through a couple for the antenna
mast on mine, had to clean them every time I wanted to use
them. Finally fished a single length of 18 gauge boat cable
from the socket on the mast to the switch. NO more problems
and it's been about 8 years.


jimh posted 06-25-2008 09:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
[Moved this discussion about an electrical connector to the SMALL BOAT ELECTRICAL discussion.]
jimh posted 06-25-2008 09:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I have seen several Boston Whaler boats which have an electrical accessory connector mounted on the helm console. The connector is a two-pole socket. It provides 12-volt power for an accessory device. A common accessory device is a spot light. The spot light usually had a curled cord that stretched, and a matching 2-pole plug.

The electrical accessory socket was wired to a high-current branch circuit, typically fused at about 20-amperes.

On my Boston Whaler boat the accessory outlet is installed atop the helm console dashboard area, above the instrument cluster. It has a flexible plastic or vinyl cover that helps to keep water out, which is needed because the connector is pointing straight up.

I would not have installed the connect in that position, and right now it is just filling the hole there, as I have disconnected the branch circuit from it.

If your connector is in an area that is more protected, changing it to a cigar lighter style connector might be handier. Many devices these days come with a cigar lighter plug. Chuck's endorsement of a particular brand is good advice to follow; his boat sees a lot of time at sea.

jimh posted 06-25-2008 09:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Boston Whaler was most likely not the original equipment manufacturer of any of the electrical plugs or sockets on their boats. They did make a few customized navigation lamp fixtures, but otherwise most of the electrical hardware was from off-the-shelf vendors and OEMs.
jimh posted 06-26-2008 09:09 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
A link to the Marinco website and the SEALINK connector and plug mentioned above: php?loadItem=12VPK_Marinco%20Shore%20Power

andygere posted 06-26-2008 01:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
I made a short pig tail connector that converts the 2-prong Perko to a standard cigar lighter type outlet. It works fine for charging the cell phone and things of that nature, and I didn't have to adulterate my OEM switch panel in any way.

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