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Old 01-26-2010, 11:51 PM   #1
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Bad Main Cord or Fried AC Electrical?

Hey Guys,

I'm relatively new to the forum, and I'd say new to Airstreaming in general. I just bought a 2003 22ft CCD International in October and have been attempting to follow the sun ever since (hard to do with the "Arctic Blast" going on). But, that's all besides the point. Tonight I was watching a movie on my laptop when the power shut off and I heard a "crackle/sizzle" sound(much like you would hear when you stand really close to the really big power lines) and it was pretty intense and lasted for a while or about 30 seconds or so. I thought I had just blown a fuse(which has happened before) or blew the fuse from the shoreline power. So, after checking and resetting the inside fuses and the shoreline fuse several times I decided that I would unplug the main cord from the shoreline and then from my airstream. When I went to unplug the main power from my airstream I heard the same sizzle/crackle sound that I heard on the inside only this time coming from where the connector meets the airstream. So, I unplug it and I smell smoke(kind of like the beginnings of an electrical fire). Luckily, my laptop didn't fry so naturally this is the first place I come to. So, my question is while I am slightly paranoid that the AC electrical system is fried, is do you think it's "just" a bad power cord or is it something else going on?

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated as I'm very weary of plugging the power back in right now.
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Old 01-27-2010, 12:04 AM   #2
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More information needed.

Hi, we need more information about what happened and where. Were you in a campground? Were you plugged into a 30 Amp circuit? Were you running items that draw a lot of power? [A/C in heat mode, micro-wave, electric heaters, hair dryers, Etc.] My first guess and a common problem is a loose connection at the point where you are plugged into. Next would be a poor 15 Amp adapter or extension cord. Take pictures of the burned parts and tell us more.
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Old 01-27-2010, 04:56 AM   #3
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As Bob states, more information would be very helpful as it could be a number of things that caused the issue.

Welcome to the forums by the way!

Kevin
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Old 01-27-2010, 07:08 AM   #4
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Cords fail more often than other stuff. Start there.

Sometimes the cord can be repaired. The Marinco end that plugs into the Airstream is the expensive part, and if you disassemble it (unplug the other end first, obviously, then there are two screws) you can probably see what happened. Sometimes tightening the screws inside is all that's necessary. Otherwise you might be able to cut off an inch or two from the cord and restrip it. On the other hand, the plastic inside the connector might be melted in which case you'll at least need a new end, which is most of the cost of the cord, so you might then just want to replace the whole thing.

If there's nothing obvious once you get the cord apart, it's probably the wiring in the inlet, though that's rare.
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Old 01-27-2010, 07:45 AM   #5
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Did you check the polarity at the hook up? Sometimes they are wired wrong and can screw things up in your coach.
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Old 01-27-2010, 08:21 AM   #6
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

First off, welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

My first suspect would also be the cord. Last year in Quartzsite, I had one melt the male end that plugs in at the campground. I replaced the male end, and I am still using the same power cord.

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Old 01-27-2010, 08:53 AM   #7
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Thanks everyone for the prompt replies! I'm at Southern Comfort RV Park in Homestead, FL (If anyone's near this area). Plugged into 30 Amp electrical. At the time of the incident I was running laptop, LED monitor, fridge, and space heater on Eco mode.

From your insight I'm thinking it was the space heater that threw it all over the edge(Considering I've been here for a couple of days and that's what was new to the overall equation). Inspected the inside outlets where the appliances were plugged in and there was no signs of smoke or heat damage(So that's a bonus!)

So, I went out this morning to inspect the cord in the light and I saw some browning due to last night's incident, both on the cord and the access point to the airstream. Pics are below:










It doesn't look like a lot of damage was caused by the incident, but still I'd like your opinions on how where to go from here. Also, this morning I'd thought I'd try and plug the cord back in to see what happened(Probably not the smartest idea I've had) and the sizzle/crackle noise did start back up at the point where the cord meets the rig. So, I'm assuming and please correct me if I'm wrong, but sounds like I'll be needing a new cord?

I tried unscrewing the screws in the part that attaches to the rig and there is some browning that happened(not sure if you can see in the pics or not).

Since I am new to all of this I appreciate your guidance and patience with a newb. And, sometimes it's hard to tell if I'm overreacting or placing the right amount of importance on this. So, reality checks are appreciated too!

Thanks for all of your help with this!
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Old 01-27-2010, 08:54 AM   #8
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Looks like the pics didn't show up. You can see them here:http://picasaweb.google.com/matthew7...cs?feat=email#
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Old 01-27-2010, 08:58 AM   #9
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Welcome Aboard....

My experience only...

We boon-dock a lot, about the only time plugged into shore power is at home.

Have a dedicated 20a line with a circuit breaker in the outside receptacle and the basement panel. In wet conditions the trailer breakers would intermittently trip. When we started using the trailer as an occasional "guest house" plugged in for an extended period I decided some extra protection would be warranted.

Decided on an EMS-PT30C from Progressive Industries. Has worked very well, in isolating the trailer. If you are on the road a lot and unsure of your power supply you might consider it...or something comparable.

After reading above description sounds like a problem at the trailer connection, male end or cord, was the heater still on?
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Old 01-27-2010, 09:13 AM   #10
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i don't know if SC has a store but Wallyworld is here:

Wal-MartSupercenter
South Dixie Highway
Florida City
(305)242.4447


and there is a RV shop here:


K&K RV and Trailer Supply
23215 S. Dixie Highway
Miami/Homestead FL
(305)258-1212
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Old 01-27-2010, 09:15 AM   #11
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I would still guess that the problem is in the connector on the cord.

Be sure it is unplugged at both ends so you don't get a shock or burn, then remove the three screws in the white part, and pull the boot back. Let us know what you find. Send photos.

It shouldn't be necessary to replace the cord.
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Old 01-27-2010, 09:20 AM   #12
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I failed to mention in the previous posts that all the AC power went off, so laptop shut down, TV went off, and Heater went off. What perplexed me a bit was the fact that none of the breakers inside or at the shore power tripped. All were just fine. I just got the sound once the TV, Laptop and heater went off the second time. So, there were actually two incidents of power failure. First time, I just turned everything back on(no breakers were tripped). And then the second time they went off is when I got the sound and started to inspect breakers and found the cord and sound on the outside(but still no tripped breaker). I don't know if that helps clarify a bit.

Thanks for the suggestion about the surge protector, I'm definitely going to look into that!
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Old 01-27-2010, 09:26 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
We boon-dock a lot, about the only time plugged into shore power is at home.

Have a dedicated 20a line with a circuit breaker in the outside receptacle and the basement panel. In wet conditions the trailer breakers would intermittently trip. When we started using the trailer as an occasional "guest house" plugged in for an extended period I decided some extra protection would be warranted.

Decided on an EMS-PT30C from Progressive Industries. Has worked very well, in isolating the trailer. If you are on the road a lot and unsure of your power supply you might consider it...or something comparable.
Now, everyone is entitled to choose for themselves, but...

Trailer wiring is not voodoo and surge protectors are not a magick amulet.

Things like the EMS-PT30C will provide a) some degree of lightning protection and b) protection against certain specific kinds of problems with campground wiring. The campground wiring deficiencies these devices detect and protect against, once fairly common, are increasingly rare; many of them do not affect appliances with modern wiring.

They do not create power where none (or an insufficient supply) exists (though the Autoformer-type units can adjust for low voltage if sufficient current is available), and they do not compensate for wiring faults in the trailer or shore power cord.
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Old 01-27-2010, 09:27 AM   #14
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Thumbs up

Re-check all ac power connections, cord and trailer, good luck!!
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