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Old 09-23-2013, 07:54 PM   #15
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Never connect or disconnect any power connection with power present. Always turn off the breaker at the source before connecting or disconnecting your power cable. Once the connection has been made, then turn on the breaker. This will prevent arcing which burns the pins. At the power post, where previous campers have connected and disconnected with the power present you will find damaged receptacles. You can not help that damaged receptacle. But, when connected to a damaged receptacle your plug will suffer damage as well. That end of your cord can be easily repaired or replaced. At least you will not suffer the same damage at the trailer end of your power cord. If you detect burned pins on your power cord, they sometimes can be cleaned with steelwool or a fine file. If the damage is too severe, the end needs to be replaced. Shame on those who leave the breaker on and connect and disconnect their power cables.
That's a very good point. Never really thought about it that way. The damage could really build up over the years.

Does anyone ever use the electrical silicone for spark plug wires? It helps to keep moisture off the connections, and current can pass through it. Could it be used on 110 vlt connections? I'm sure the heat is much lower than the temp of a spark plug.
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Old 09-23-2013, 08:05 PM   #16
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John....You noted that the plug was difficult to get the plug out. Are you aware that the 30 amp plug locks in place by a few degree turn after you plug it in? If you do not rotate it before pulling, it will not come out. If you need to replace the parts you can also check out a boating supply place like West Marine or Defender Industries.
I may be missing something, but I don't believe my plug allows for a twist. I'll have to check this out though as that would definitely be a nice design feature to hold it in place.
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Old 09-23-2013, 08:51 PM   #17
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Most generators have a twist lock receptacle, it is a 4 wire 120/240 volt unit. Depending on the generator capacity, they are rated for 20 amps and higher.
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Old 09-23-2013, 09:34 PM   #18
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Hello Uncle Bill. I completely agree regarding connecting a source while power is on a device. However, what breaker(s) are you referring to?
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Old 09-23-2013, 09:39 PM   #19
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Yes, the Marinco input recepticle uses a twist lock on the cable.
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Old 09-23-2013, 09:44 PM   #20
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Love the Marinco. I installed 30amp and generator inlets on my Trade Wind. Solid and great looking! (Duh...it must be getting late.... mine are Furrion....also a great unit....LOL)

John - you have a 110/120v breaker box with standard house-like breakers. Before you plug in to shore power, turn them off so there is no current draw. When you are plugged into shore or generator successfully, then you can flip the breakers back on.
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Old 09-24-2013, 01:38 AM   #21
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So you are saying it is SOP to turn off all breakers, hook up the 120 volt power and then turn all the breakers back on? Does hooking up this way wear out the breakers by using them as power switches? If you turn everything off before you travel and your fridge switches over to propane what his there to cause an arc on the plug when connecting it up? Maybe I'm missing something? Anyone?
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Old 09-24-2013, 02:22 AM   #22
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Hi, I'm sure everyone already does this, but connect your shore power cord to your trailer first and make sure that you make the twist before you tighten the locking ring. Then plug your shore power cord into the receptacle while checking to see if it fits fairly tight. [not feel like it will fall out] In my trailer, there will only be two thing on while this is happening; One the converter/charger and my polarity tester. Never plug in or unplug while your air conditioner is on.
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Old 09-24-2013, 06:22 AM   #23
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So you are saying it is SOP to turn off all breakers, hook up the 120 volt power and then turn all the breakers back on? Does hooking up this way wear out the breakers by using them as power switches? If you turn everything off before you travel and your fridge switches over to propane what his there to cause an arc on the plug when connecting it up? Maybe I'm missing something? Anyone?
They're talking about the breaker on the pole where you connect the cord, not all of the breakers in the camper. Turn off the breaker, plug in, turn it back on. Turn it off when removing the plug. (I generally leave it off at that point.)

Ever see a spark as you plugged in a 120 volt appliance that was turned on? THAT's what you're trying to avoid with your 30 amp plug. I wonder how large the spark would be if some high-drain device happened to be left on, like the A/C.
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Old 09-24-2013, 07:00 AM   #24
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Skater,

Ok, thanks. Of course that is what we all do, or at least should be doing and makes perfect sense. It has been a couple of years since we have been able to travel and I wasn't thinking about the park side of the power cord. I've been plugged in at home and haven't been removing power from the Airstream. Normally I'd have it in storage mode but due to the heat in Florida I've tried to have the AC connected with the air conditioner thermostat set around 80 degrees. After listening to everyone's input I believe my connection at the input was weak and caused the damage I've found. Here are a couple of photos I was able to upload from the iPad.
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Old 09-25-2013, 12:53 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by John Geisen View Post
So you are saying it is SOP to turn off all breakers, hook up the 120 volt power and then turn all the breakers back on? Does hooking up this way wear out the breakers by using them as power switches? If you turn everything off before you travel and your fridge switches over to propane what his there to cause an arc on the plug when connecting it up? Maybe I'm missing something? Anyone?
John...The person providing the information on disconnecting a breaker was referring to the breaker in the power post in the campground that you are receiving your power from. When hooking up shut off the breaker in the power post, plug your trailer power cord into the receptical and then turn on the supply side breaker in the campground power post. Not the breakers in your trailer.
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Old 09-25-2013, 07:33 AM   #26
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Bob is absolutely right: Turn off the campground breaker before connecting to it; then turn it on. Same on departure: Turn off the breaker, then disconnect.

You'd be surprised by how many bad plugs we find on RVs here, and how many have disconnected without turning off the breaker first. I don't allow folks with screwed-up plugs to connect to our power when parking rigs: I pull out my (sacrificial) pocketknife and clean the prongs first.


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Old 09-26-2013, 02:05 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Silverflames View Post
That's a very good point. Never really thought about it that way. The damage could really build up over the years.

Does anyone ever use the electrical silicone for spark plug wires? It helps to keep moisture off the connections, and current can pass through it. Could it be used on 110 vlt connections? I'm sure the heat is much lower than the temp of a spark plug.
In general silicone grease, though it is an excellent product for spark plug boots, is a poor choice for high-current connections like these. When arcing does occur the silicone breaks down and forms an abrasive, nonconducting sand-like material which can cause excessive wear and other problems.

Ordinary chassis grease will work better, but the best product to use is the antioxidant electrical grease sold at home centers and hardware stores for use with aluminum wires. There are also specialized products like "contax" available through electrical supply houses but I'm not convinced they're much better than the home center stuff.
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Old 09-26-2013, 02:19 PM   #28
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Never connect or disconnect any power connection with power present. Always turn off the breaker at the source before connecting or disconnecting your power cable. Once the connection has been made, then turn on the breaker [...]
This isn't necessary because any arcing that occurs is only one of many sources of connector wear, and because the design of the receptacle and plug is such that arcing tends to take place away from the components that carry current when the plug is fully inserted.

Pedestal connectors in campgrounds wear mainly from use, from corrosion due to weather exposure and condensation, and from thermal damage causing loss of temper to the spring components when overheating occurs when some other guy uses a failing shore power cord.

So, if you're reading this thread, my advice to you is:

- ignore all the folklore and anecdotal stories.
- keep the blades on your shore power connectors clean and bright, using a wire brush or some kind of abrasive
- if the connectors start to feel quite warm under heavy loads then it's probably time to clean and tighten everything, or replace the components if that doesn't help
- the campground end of the shore power cord may overheat because of problems at the pedestal, so try a couple of pedestals (or different campgrounds) before replacing the plug
- you can use the black electrical grease (sold for use with aluminum wire) if you want to help deal with bad pedestal connections or to prolong the life of a failing connection at the trailer end
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