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Old 01-25-2007, 11:15 AM   #1
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Help With Faulty Electrical Outlet

Faulty Electrical Outlet
During the recent cold snap here in Texas, I plugged in a 1500 watt electric heater to the curbside outlet next to my couch. I had drained the plumbing system and had put antifreeze in all the drains, but because we use the trailer so frequently, I did not further winterize the system. The heater was simply extra protection.

One morning, I noticed that there was no power to the heater. Plugged in to any other outlet, the heater would work. I checked the breakers. Still no power would register at that plug where I had used the heater. I checked the bad outlet with a volt meter; it registered no voltage. I checked every other outlet in the trailer. All the other outlets worked except for this one where the heater was used. We pulled and inspected the bad outlet and could see no damage. We reviewed the wiring diagram which showed that on a “typical” Airstream, the bad outlet fed from the outlet on the street side of the couch. Pulling that outlet, we could find no damage. A continuity check between the outlets on either side of the couch showed the ground between the two outlets had continuity, but the hot leg was open. Usually there would be no reason for a wire to burn into in the middle of a run. Damage from overheating almost always occurs where there is a junction, where connections become loose, heat builds up, and damage ensues.

This trailer had not been moved for weeks when the problem presented itself. The outlet was working, and then it wasn’t. There have been no repairs made or work of any kind done on this trailer where-in a screw or drill bit might have nicked a wire. I am stumped.

A converter (the Univolt) is located behind the couch between the two plugs in question. The schematic shows that a separate circuit powers this converter; however if the schematic is wrong, then I suppose it is possible that the plug in question receives its power from a junction at the converter rather than from the plug at the other end of the couch, but to check out that possibility I’d have to pull the couch which is something I’d rather not do. Does anyone have any ideas of other things I might do to effect a repair of this electrical outlet? Is it possible that the hot leg in question just went “poof” somewhere along the middle of its run? Any help would be appreciated.

GStephens
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Old 01-25-2007, 02:33 PM   #2
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Thumbs up Be safe

there might have been a splice in the wire between the two outlets. you would be better off pulling the couch to check for damage. if no circuit breakers are tripped you might have a live wire floating around in the wall. be safe pull the couch! might just be a wire nut come loose or something worst.
Bob
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Old 01-27-2007, 03:22 PM   #3
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Any luck with this unusual situation? I hope it does not keep you from attending the Vintage Rally.

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Old 01-27-2007, 05:22 PM   #4
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We'll be at the Texas Vintage Rally no matter what happens with the trailer or the weather. It's always the most fun rally we have. No, I haven't done much more to chase down the problem other than think about it. I really doubt that the "typical" wiring schematic in my service manual is accurate. Pahaska (John Irwin) will be at the rally and I hope he might get a chance to look at it. We've already communicated about it. He's a genius at chasing down things like this and enjoys doing it. I wish I had his genes.

Are you coming to the Vintage Rally? If so, look me up.

GStephens
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Old 01-27-2007, 06:03 PM   #5
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In my '73, the roadside outlet you are talking about is the last one in the series of outlets; there is no curbside outlet (all of the outlets are on the same run of wire except the Univolt and bath outlet). The reason that you are seeing voltage every place else except here may be that it is the last one on the line and the wire has somehow shorted going to it from the roadside.

Also in my '73 the Univolt has a seperate wire that feeds it and the bathroom outlet, BUT, it feeds from the same breaker in the panel. Strange way to do things IMO.

I'm guessing that your first idea is the correct one--that the romex wire has shorted/burned between the roadside and curbside. Kinda scarry. I think I would try to ID which feed comes from the roadside outlet and goes toward the curbside, then disconnect it at the roadside outlet, just to be on the safe side.

Just my 2 cents.

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Old 01-27-2007, 06:10 PM   #6
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Can you "pull" a new romex wire bundle through using the old wire/wires? I don't know how you would test this method except to try-- find where it last works, shut off the electricity, detach the old wires, twist the new romex to the old and pull from the receptacle that doesn't work.

I'm not an electrician.

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Old 01-27-2007, 06:11 PM   #7
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Gfci?

GS,

Is the outlet in question downstream from a GFCI? It could be tripped or bad, not allowing 120VAC to flow to the downstream outlet. I've seen more than a few that did this and it appeared that there was no apparent reason for the outlet to be dead.
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Old 01-27-2007, 06:24 PM   #8
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Is Shiner Bock in season?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GStephens
... Are you coming to the Vintage Rally? ...
Why yes. Yes I am.

Kim & I have a great appreciation for the Lone Star State. This will be our first visit with my Overlander. We are really looking forward to the trip.

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Old 02-20-2007, 10:42 AM   #9
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The opposite problem

I recently encountered just the opposite issue with the electrical outlets in my 2007 19' Bambi -- only one electrical outlet works.

Seemed to happen out of the blue.

The outlet that works is near the door. The other five outlets are not "getting juice."

Breakers are fine.

Before I haul her back to the dealer, I'm curious what you folks think might be the problem.
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Old 09-29-2008, 11:29 PM   #10
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AC Outlets in 2008 19' Bambi

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Originally Posted by knicastro View Post
I recently encountered just the opposite issue with the electrical outlets in my 2007 19' Bambi -- only one electrical outlet works.

Seemed to happen out of the blue.

The outlet that works is near the door. The other five outlets are not "getting juice."

Breakers are fine.

Before I haul her back to the dealer, I'm curious what you folks think might be the problem.
Just returned from a 7-day outing in our 2008 19' Bambi SE. This was our fifth trip, mostly weekends. Same problem as you describe. All outlets worked before but this time only the one by the door functions. Others are dead. Checked all breakers and none had tripped. Reset them anyway. No change. Had to revert to inverter outlet to power my wife's small CPAP machine for breathing assist at night. Checked with our dealer today - the only one within 90 miles - and learned they went out of business in the past few weeks.

Did you ever resolve your problem?
-dlejr, San Diego
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