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Old 01-04-2015, 01:36 PM   #15
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Are you using an extension cord to reach your hook-up?
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Old 01-04-2015, 01:38 PM   #16
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When voltage is low, the amperage must go up and this creates heat build up.... or so i am told.

I was plugged into a 50 Amp circuit which had less than 104v on one leg, about 104v on the other side. It created problems for me in my moho, eating a transformer in the inverter, about a $2800 part, installed. Fortunately, I was able to have it repaired by a factory service center, cost about $600.

Now, I was able to see the low voltage on my meters in the moho, but failed to understand the significance of this. Should have moved to a different location in the RV Park.
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Old 01-04-2015, 02:22 PM   #17
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All it takes is near a full amp load with a little chunk of sand stuck between the socket blades.. 19 times out of 20 when I have seen this happen it was due to careless handling of the cord plug ends and getting dirt and or sand in the plug while connecting.. Don't just drag the cord ends on in the dirt while handling the power lines..

I have even seen a build up of corrosion heat up a plug and a little steel wool and elect. cleaner fixed the problem.. ( if its the male plug) Sodbust
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Old 01-04-2015, 02:35 PM   #18
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There are two parts to the connection to a 30 amp outlet, the male plug on the trailer end, and the female socket on the campground end (duh). Either or both can be a problem and either or both can cause damage to the other part.

If the campground end is loose, cracked week contacts etc. it will cause heating when a heavy load is applied. The trailer plug may become overheated and melt, when it was good to begin with. If the trailer plug was poor to begin with, loose pins, corroded blades, it can be the cause of the overheating further damaging it and the campground socket it is plugged into.

Cleaning blades on the trailer plug may help but in general once the socket it is plugged into is damaged or worn nothing but a new one will fix the real root of the problem. If the plug wants to fall out of the socket it will never make good enough connection to transfer the full 30 amps without further heating and damage, even with a bungie cord holding it place.

Once the contacts in the outlet have been overheated they usually lose their spring and can no longer grip the blades of the trailer plug tight enough for full power transfer.

So, usually the problem is on the campground socket side of the ownership, due to the heavy use and number of times the socket is used in a year. But it is also possible that the plug from a trailer can cause early failure of the socket, so the RV owner is not always blameless (well, SOB owners are the problem, never an Airstream owner (giggle)...).

If you are using your RV's electrical system hard (AC or heaters on, water heater etc) go out and feel the plug where it goes into the socket. It should never feel more than slightly warmer than the surrounding objects and air. A 30 amp plug/socket system is designed and built to have virtually no heating when fully loaded. If it does, there is a problem brewing.

I recently had a washer-dryer problem in my home. I put my hand on the dryer plug/socket and it was warmer than the air and walls surrounding it. It all felt tight. But I went out and got a new outlet anyway. When I pulled it out for replacement, one of the terminals on the old socket did not have any spring left so it did not grip the plug blade very well. That was the cause of the heating. It had not damaged the dryer cord or plug yet, but there was no way to re temper the brass in the terminal so it would ever grip properly. It had to be replaced. Had it gone on, the dryer plug itself would have become hot enough to melt where the blade went into the molded part of the cord set. The same thing can happen in an RV situation, plug or socket.
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Old 01-04-2015, 03:05 PM   #19
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I've lost two plug ends. They replaced the receptacle one time and the screw for the wire was all corroded but I think the real cause is hot connections and disconnections. If the power was always off when you connect or disconnect then no sparking and surface erosion leading to higher resistance connections and heat. So I try to always connect with the pedestal circuit breaker OFF.

I also check the plug end once in a while for heat. Feels hot, better check.
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Old 01-06-2015, 03:22 PM   #20
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Additional Question re: melt down 30A

We had a 30A Cable melt down a couple weeks ago. It was the end of the cord that attaches to the trailer and twists on. The back side of the receptacle that it attaches to on the trailer actually melted and the end of the cord attached to it was molten. Could it have been the campground post that caused this at the far end of the cord? I was thinking that we had a short on the back side of the recepacle on the trailer.
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Old 01-06-2015, 03:54 PM   #21
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Cords do wear out. When the prongs start to oxidize, replace the cord. You can replace the plug only but I replace the cord because of the possibility of wear and corrosion on the female end which is not as visible. All the suggestions about tight connections are good as well as the one about using a 50 to 30 adapter.
If the problem persists with a new cord and tight connection, something is not right inside the trailer and it is time for the technician.
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Old 01-06-2015, 05:33 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by dominicjohn View Post
We had a 30A Cable melt down a couple weeks ago. It was the end of the cord that attaches to the trailer and twists on. The back side of the receptacle that it attaches to on the trailer actually melted and the end of the cord attached to it was molten. Could it have been the campground post that caused this at the far end of the cord? I was thinking that we had a short on the back side of the recepacle on the trailer.
That twist lock plug and outlet damage at the trailer would not have been caused by the campground post outlet. It was caused by some problem with the twist lock system on the trailer or the cord which was connected to it.

I doubt it was any short which caused it, more likely just a poor twist lock connection (maybe not inserted fully and not twisted in place possibly).

Older Airstreams had permanently connected power cords and this kind of damage could not happen. By going to a completely detachable cord, a second set of plugs and outlets was introduced. I am not convinced it was a good change but it is what is used now, so we have to deal with it.
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Old 01-06-2015, 06:31 PM   #23
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I agree with idroba. The fewer detachable connections the better.
Always turn the circuit breaker off before plugging in or unplugging your coach. There will be arcing otherwise.
Even when the power is off. Use the palm off your hand to push the male end into the female end. Do not grip the male end.
Filing or sanding corrosion off is not a good idea since it removes some metal creating even more clearance between the male and female connection. It also makes the surface rough reducing the contact area of the prongs.
Carry a replacement plug with you. And only replace it if you have the knowledge to do so.




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Old 01-07-2015, 06:55 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by idroba View Post
Older Airstreams had permanently connected power cords and this kind of damage could not happen. By going to a completely detachable cord, a second set of plugs and outlets was introduced. I am not convinced it was a good change but it is what is used now, so we have to deal with it.
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I agree with idroba. The fewer detachable connections the better.
As someone with the non-detachable cord, I wish it WAS detachable, because it'd be much easier to replace when the cord wears out. As it stands, I have no idea how hard mine is to replace because the cord disappears into the body of the trailer. I don't know if it's hooked directly to the main breaker panel or if there's another box, but either way it's likely to be difficult to replace because of access issues for the box and/or being secured to something inside a wall. I'm hoping it's easier than I think for that day when I have to replace it.
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Old 01-07-2015, 07:29 AM   #25
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My first SOB had a permanently mounted cord. While I agree with the "fewer the better" connection practice, when the cord goes through the wall, the ants come marching in. Even with sealing attempts, the flexing and weight, etc. eventually the seal opens up and you have a potential issue. Been there done that. I installed a Marinco setup years before they started selling them at RV places.
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Old 01-07-2015, 11:27 AM   #26
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As someone with the non-detachable cord, I wish it WAS detachable, because it'd be much easier to replace when the cord wears out. As it stands, I have no idea how hard mine is to replace because the cord disappears into the body of the trailer. I don't know if it's hooked directly to the main breaker panel or if there's another box, but either way it's likely to be difficult to replace because of access issues for the box and/or being secured to something inside a wall. I'm hoping it's easier than I think for that day when I have to replace it.
Yes, they are much more difficult to replace. When I finally had to replace mine on my '74 Argosy I spliced the new one to the old one where I could get to it, but it had not worn out. But going all the way back to the power panel would have been extremely difficult.

I must also say that it was over 30 years old when it did need replacing though, so I didn't complain.

My general feeling is that there will be more wear, problems and need to replace things with the detachable cords over time than with the permanently attached ones. This is mainly due to the weight of the cord at the wall outlet and the additional set of contacts and resistance plus heating they cause. Probably the very very best quality ones might not have issues but the plastic ones that Airstream supplies will be much less rugged and will fail more often, over time, than permanently attached cords.
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Old 01-07-2015, 12:12 PM   #27
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I have no idea how hard mine is to replace because the cord disappears into the body of the trailer. I don't know if it's hooked directly to the main breaker panel or if there's another box, but either way it's likely to be difficult to replace because of access issues for the box and/or being secured to something inside a wall. I'm hoping it's easier than I think for that day when I have to replace it.
I have a 1994 30' trailer. If I remember correctly I believe there is a junction box that can be seen in the left rear compartment of the trailer. This should be where the shore power cord termination point can be accessed.

I changed out the male end of the power cord last year with the Camco replacement cord end 55245. The old one looked like it had experienced many low volt/high amp situations.

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Old 01-07-2015, 12:13 PM   #28
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If they're installed snugly with the screw ring, there is NO vertical pressure on the prongs and terminals. My old one was 17 years old and never had a problem. Remember, they are designed for the marine industry...=belt and suspenders and way over-engineered, as is everything else Coast Guard Approved.
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