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Old 06-15-2011, 09:24 AM   #1
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Loose grounds

On a recent trip, strange things started happening to the 120volt circuits. The converter would go on and off and a 120v lamp that I installed would do the same. The microwave display would flicker.

I laid my hand on the breaker box and found that it was almost too hot to touch. Poking around inside, I drew sparks from two of the white wires at the ground buss bar. Looking closer, I found that the insulation had burned and melted back for about an inch on these two white wires.

I found that I could tighten the screws for these wires almost a full turn. That solved one circuit, but the second circuit (microwave) would still spark a bit. We didn't use the microwave for the last two days of the trip.

After arriving home, I cut off the ends of these wires, stripped them, reinserted them, and firmly tightened all connections. The breaker box stays cool now.

What is interesting is that these wires had not been touched in all the time and miles since the trailer was built in 1955. It may pay for folks to check the tightness of wires in the breaker box using the obvious precaution of unplugging the trailer from outside AC power.
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Old 06-15-2011, 09:27 AM   #2
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Thanks for the heads up!
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Old 06-15-2011, 09:28 AM   #3
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If these are braided copper wires, you might try tinning them before you reinsert them. A wire that has been tinned is much more stable and not as likely to loosen up over time and movement on the road.
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Old 06-15-2011, 09:50 AM   #4
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If these are braided copper wires, you might try tinning them before you reinsert them. A wire that has been tinned is much more stable and not as likely to loosen up over time and movement on the road.
The wires are all solid #12 copper. The only stranded wire in the whole breaker box is associated with the one GFI breaker. That wire is only a ground reference wire for the GFI and carries no significant current.
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Old 06-15-2011, 10:57 AM   #5
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I think you'll find that the white wire to the GFCI does in fact carry current.

You may want to consider applying antioxidant grease to the affected wires. Though it is marketed for use with aluminum conductors, it does help with copper as well.
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Old 06-15-2011, 12:50 PM   #6
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I am confused

not touched? 1955? microwave? GFCI? white wires=neutral, not ground. old stuff mixed bare grounding conductors and white, grounded conductors. just sayin' ol' bill
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Old 06-15-2011, 01:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
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not touched? 1955? microwave? GFCI? white wires=neutral, not ground. old stuff mixed bare grounding conductors and white, grounded conductors. just sayin' ol' bill
I think 2005 is what he should have said. Lets see if he corrects himself.
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Old 06-15-2011, 01:29 PM   #8
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I think 2005 is what he should have said. Lets see if he corrects himself.
You are correct, it is a 2005. I don't know how I made that fat finger error and didn't notice it before I posted. The trailer is a 2005 Classic 28.
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