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Old 07-25-2016, 09:04 PM   #1
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Electrical Shorepower Question

Hello,
I just recently purchased a used airstream and still trying to learn how to operate it. I purchased a 30-15 adaptor so I can plug it to my house outlet and use the fridge and keep the battery charged. After a couple of times of doing that, I noticed that none of the lights were coming on and I couldn't get the fridge on. The only unit with power was the microwave. I took the battery to autozone and it was low on charge. I looked at the electrical connector and one of the three places looked like it had ran hot. See picture attached. I spoke with an electrician in the phone and he said some adapters tend to cause that. Can anyone suggest what I need to do now and whether there is any significant damage beyond a new connector or possibly a damaged fuse.
Thanks
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Old 07-25-2016, 09:25 PM   #2
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I am hoping that you did NOT plug that line into a household type plug....like a dryer outlet. Those outlets are 220 and will fry your electrical system and ruin your appliances. 35 AMP RV power uses the same looking plug, like you have here. Do some checking, but I am not feeling good about this by the way the plug looks.
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Old 07-25-2016, 09:36 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Melody Ranch View Post
I am hoping that you did NOT plug that line into a household type plug....like a dryer outlet. Those outlets are 220 and will fry your electrical system and ruin your appliances. 35 AMP RV power uses the same looking plug, like you have here. Do some checking, but I am not feeling good about this by the way the plug looks.
I have never seen an RV plug that looked like that, but the pin configuration looks right for a 120 Volt, 30 Amp RV connector and if you look closely at the picture it says right on the plug, "30 A, 120 V". The burned pin on the plug could be because of a loose fitting adapter.

If the 12 Volt battery is dead the lights won't work because they run off of 12 V. The refrigerator control board also runs off of 12 V so that may be the reason the refrigerator isn't working.

As for what to do next, I would suggest rounding up a friend who knows something about RV electrical systems to have a look at it. It's hard to troubleshoot electrical problems by remote control. There's no substitute for a pair of eyes on the problem that know what they are looking at.
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Old 07-25-2016, 09:38 PM   #4
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Howdy! Welcome aboard!

Depending upon the length of the 15 amp extension cord and the "load" applied, you may be lucky you found this.

If you are NOT competent, (not comfortable and knowledgeable about a topic, electricity in this case) have a pro help you.... Here are some things to check.. Again, the risk is yours!!

Since you are dealing with a "new" Airstream, a good serious look at the electrically is in order.

The end of your cord has been replaced. Perhaps the previous owner replaced the original due to overheating... Happens.

So, the first thing is to replace the cord end... Again.

Next, before plugging in, check the junction box where the cord enters the trailer...(it is in the port aft corner accessible thru the rear storage hatch). Look for a typical steel electrical junction box... Make sure the connections are in good shape.

Inspect where the cord enters the "storage tray" then the trailer. If frayed, I would replace.

Next, check the connections inside the distribution panel (breaker box).. Make SURE the AC cord is NOT plugged in... Then check inside the box..

When electrician gets there, ask him/her to check your house side power too.

These overheat for a REASON... Let us know what you learn.

Be careful so we can read another post.
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Old 07-26-2016, 06:55 AM   #5
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If the plug pin was loose in the adapter, it would arc and do this. Also, a loose wire clamp on the plug inside can cause this as will. A very slight twist to the blades or the adapter socket conductors will help improve the connection. If your adapter is not plugged directly into an outlet, but into an extension cord, make sure that cord is rated for at least 15 amps, preferably 20 amps.

Also, when connecting to shore power, check the battery isolation switch, to ensure the batteries are online so they will charge.


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Old 07-26-2016, 07:39 AM   #6
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First thing you have to do is replace the male plug, the one in your hand, on the umbilical cord. It is toast. Get rid of the adapter as it's insides are most likely just as bad. The cheap Chinese adapters often have poor connections inside. That was caused by a POOR connection between the adapter and the plug or a POOR connection within the adapter itself. A poor connection will cause a resistance and cause heat t be produced at that point.

Do it right. Have a receptacle installed and have a disconnect switch at the receptacle. Turning the receptacle off each time before plugging in or removing the cord from the receptacle. That prevents the arcing that over time will destroy the hot prong on the cord and in the receptacle.

While it will not meet code if you only wire the receptacle with less than #10 wire as long as you have the wire fused correctly you won't burn the house down. This will support the battery charger and frig but don't ever use the AC with this set up.
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Old 07-26-2016, 08:59 AM   #7
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Reza, I agree with the post above and suggest that you replace the male end of the cord. It has been damaged and this will, no doubt, cause issues if you continue to use it.

After that, my suggestion is to get a new adapter, a good one. I had used a very cheap adapter on my older trailer. One day I noticed that it was quite warm, hot almost, after I had been using it at my house. I went out, got a new adapter and it has never acted like that again.

Putting on a new male connector is pretty easy if you have average handyman skills. If you don't feel comfortable, take your extension cord into a shop and have them put it on. Any RV shop can do this.
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Old 07-26-2016, 02:33 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Reza View Post
Hello,
I just recently purchased a used airstream and still trying to learn how to operate it. I purchased a 30-15 adaptor so I can plug it to my house outlet and use the fridge and keep the battery charged.
Welcome.

Lots of people do what you're doing. You did it right, but had a cord end that was corroded or loose. This is a common problem.

Quote:
Can anyone suggest what I need to do now
Replace the burnt connector in your photo with a new one, available at most home centers, RV dealers, and hardware stores. You'll want to strip back the wires enough to remove any corroded copper or visibly damaged insulation. It's not a difficult job, but if you're uncomfortable with it, you can get an RV tech, electrician, or handyperson to do it for you.

Inspect your adapter, and replace it too if it's damaged. They're cheap.

Quote:
and whether there is any significant damage beyond a new connector or possibly a damaged fuse.
I doubt very much if anything was damaged besides the cord end and adapter.
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Old 07-26-2016, 02:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melody Ranch View Post
I am hoping that you did NOT plug that line into a household type plug....like a dryer outlet. Those outlets are 220 and will fry your electrical system and ruin your appliances. 35 AMP RV power uses the same looking plug, like you have here. Do some checking, but I am not feeling good about this by the way the plug looks.
The OP said that an adapter was used. I don't think it's useful to make this a bigger deal than it is just because you are "not feeling good" about it. This is an electrical problem, not a psychology lab.
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Old 07-26-2016, 02:42 PM   #10
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Do it right. Have a receptacle installed and have a disconnect switch at the receptacle. Turning the receptacle off each time before plugging in or removing the cord from the receptacle. That prevents the arcing that over time will destroy the hot prong on the cord and in the receptacle.
A disconnect switch isn't necessary except for 50a outlets (for which it is required for reasons beyond the scope of this thread). It typically costs hundreds of dollars to have an electrician out to install a 30a outlet, and isn't a necessary expense or something that most Airstreamers do.
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Old 07-26-2016, 03:13 PM   #11
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You need a new plug on your trailer cord! It is very common to have overheating problems with the 30 to 15 amp adapters, try and find one that makes as good of contact with the prongs as possible. Also FIY it is asking for overheating problems to try and pull more than 10 amps through your common household outlets even though they are rated for 15 amps. It is possible to find high quality household outlets that grip the prongs tightly and minimize overheating but you will pay for it, try "hospital grade" or heavy duty power tool grade if you need to replace the home outlet you want to plug the adapter into.
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Old 07-26-2016, 10:37 PM   #12
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If the plug pin was loose in the adapter, it would arc and do this. Also, a loose wire clamp on the plug inside can cause this as will. A very slight twist to the blades or the adapter socket conductors will help improve the connection. If your adapter is not plugged directly into an outlet, but into an extension cord, make sure that cord is rated for at least 15 amps, preferably 20 amps.

Also, when connecting to shore power, check the battery isolation switch, to ensure the batteries are online so they will charge.


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Thanks. Where is the battery isolation switch. I thought the battery would charge automatically when plugged to shore power.
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Old 07-26-2016, 10:46 PM   #13
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Thanks for all the replies. Got a new battery and the lights and power jack work so I'm hoping everything else is fine once I plug in to an RV outlet somewhere.
Got an electrician to look at it and he suggested what everyone else has said which is to replace the connector plug. He could not find the circuit breaker box however which kind of surprised me. We looked in the rear driver side section and he found what may be called a junction box but not circuit breakers. He thought a previous owner may have removed them. Does that make any sense?
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Old 07-27-2016, 05:33 AM   #14
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While it is possible that a previous owner removed the circuit breaker box, it would take someone very ignorant or completely crazy to do so. Try to trace the wiring from the power cable you have and find where it goes inside the trailer. The circuit breaker panel should be the first place the power goes, so look close to the point where the power cord enters the trailer shell.
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