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Old 04-22-2008, 12:04 PM   #1
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Electrical Hook up Question.

Hello Group,

Todays stupid newbe question deals with my recently aquired (Last Saturday) 1970 Sovereign. When I picked up the trailer, the P.O. handed me two items of particular interest. One was a bad carbon copy of a owners manual, for a 1974 Sovereign, and the other was a extension cord with, get this, two male ends. I was instructed to plug this into the outlet, outside on the right side of the trailer, just aft of the entry door, and the other end to the electrical hook up at the campground. The bad thing is I took his advice, and last Saturday night, I actually used this configuration to power the Airstream. Now, today I am reading about some plug in the rear bumper compartment that is used for electrical service. This makes sence, because the breaker box is located in the closet in the rear bathroom, on the back left side of the trailer (I know this, because I found it snooping around Saturday evening).

Now, this manual isn't exactly like my trailer, but could someone pipe in and set me strait, before I burn this thing to the ground? I believe I was actually back-powering the entire trailer through what I now believe is merely an external outlet???

Thanks for the help,

Scott
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Old 04-22-2008, 12:15 PM   #2
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Scott, you were indeed backfeeding electricity from your external outlet. That is very unsafe, since the male end of the main power cord could be touching something metal inside the trailer. Follow the big cord out of the breaker box, it should go into the lower bumper compartment, probably under all the slinkies. It then would go out a small hole in the center of the bottom of that compartment, and go to the box at the campground.
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Old 04-22-2008, 12:42 PM   #3
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Sounds to me like the PO improvised a solution to power the trailer without getting the proper adapter for the 30 amp plug. However, there is the distinct possibility that the main cord or breaker box is faulty.
I'd do a quick search of earlier posts to learn of all the problems you may find relating to the 110v wiring. Getting a shock from the skin is a common topic.
I needed a new breaker box. No big deal.

Good luck, be careful,
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Old 04-22-2008, 02:40 PM   #4
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electric cord

Hi, Gael79, not only is that cord wrong, it is illegal! When you plug that cord into a hot outlet, the other end is hot too! If you were to touch it, you would get shocked. Throw it away or put a female end on it and use it as it was intended. I'd sure check out the electrical system on your rig by shutting off all the breakers (or pulling all the fuses if that's what you have) and then turning them on one at a time. There has to be a reason that the previous owner didn't use the main power cord. Better safe than sorry!
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Old 04-22-2008, 03:48 PM   #5
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I guess the first thing I would try to determine is why they bypassed the main circuit panel. Then I'd look to see if you have a converter. Then, I'd check eBay or call Secretarial Services to try and obtain a copy of the service manual for a '70 Sovereign. While you're waiting for that, I'd enlist the services of a local electrician familiar with RV wiring, because there's no telling what's been done to it, if this is how it's being powered up. In any case, I wouldn't be wanting to plug it in to anything (or even connecting it to batteries) until you really know what you have. My gut tells me that if they haven't been using the standard 30 amp connection, then something has gone wrong, big time.
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Old 04-22-2008, 04:52 PM   #6
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Thanks all - Great advice. When I arived home from work today I opened the back cover and sure enough, under the coils of dump tube there laid the proper power cable and even the adapter. after I pull the breaker cover off and check the visible wiring, I'll switch all the breakers off, and try the "one breaker at a time method".

I think I'll also run a fused wire (1 A) from the trailer skin to the earth ground to see if the skin is indeed hot. If the fuse blows, I own a hot trailer. Of course if the fuse is good after the test, then I'll know that there is isolation between the skin and the line voltage.

I honestly think that the P.O. was just ignorant to the fact and that goofy double male cord solved his problem. I am just glad no one got hurt.

Best to all,

Scott
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Old 04-22-2008, 05:00 PM   #7
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Before you throw that double male ended cord away, be sure and cut one of the ends off so no one else trys to use it.

Good luck getting the proper power cable working.
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Old 04-22-2008, 05:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gael79
Thanks all - Great advice. When I arived home from work today I opened the back cover and sure enough, under the coils of dump tube there laid the proper power cable and even the adapter. after I pull the breaker cover off and check the visible wiring, I'll switch all the breakers off, and try the "one breaker at a time method".

I think I'll also run a fused wire (1 A) from the trailer skin to the earth ground to see if the skin is indeed hot. If the fuse blows, I own a hot trailer. Of course if the fuse is good after the test, then I'll know that there is isolation between the skin and the line voltage.

I honestly think that the P.O. was just ignorant to the fact and that goofy double male cord solved his problem. I am just glad no one got hurt.

Best to all,

Scott
Hey Scott,

Please keep us posted via this thread as to what you encounter in your tests - we'd all love to hear about it.

And congratulations on your purchase!
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Old 04-22-2008, 05:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Safari Tim
Before you throw that double male ended cord away, be sure and cut one of the ends off so no one else trys to use it.

Good luck getting the proper power cable working.
Given that it has two male ends, maybe you better cut BOTH off.
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Old 04-22-2008, 05:37 PM   #10
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All these gender issues! Somewhere there must be a power cord with two female ends. Just need to get them together. A match made in heaven!
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Old 04-22-2008, 05:51 PM   #11
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I'm lost

2 female ends--- 2 male ends, how about a innie outie cord.
click to antimate!
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Old 04-22-2008, 06:38 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gael79
Thanks all - Great advice. When I arived home from work today I opened the back cover and sure enough, under the coils of dump tube there laid the proper power cable and even the adapter. after I pull the breaker cover off and check the visible wiring, I'll switch all the breakers off, and try the "one breaker at a time method".

I think I'll also run a fused wire (1 A) from the trailer skin to the earth ground to see if the skin is indeed hot. If the fuse blows, I own a hot trailer. Of course if the fuse is good after the test, then I'll know that there is isolation between the skin and the line voltage.

I honestly think that the P.O. was just ignorant to the fact and that goofy double male cord solved his problem. I am just glad no one got hurt.

Best to all,

Scott

On the other hand, you could just plug in the trailer with the normal cord you found behind the bumper, and have the neighborhood kid that is a pain touch the trailer. It could possibly save you a 25 cent fuse .

Just kidding, of course. I like the fuse idea. I hope it works out!
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Old 04-22-2008, 08:47 PM   #13
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Scott,
Make sure you plug the shore power cord into a correctly wired and grounded outlet. Go to the hardware store and buy a tester that you can plug in and see if the outlet is wired correctly. If it is, then do your tests. Another thing that I would do would be to replace the breakers in your box in the trailer. Fresh breakers make a difference. This is not an expensive thing to do.
Tom
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Old 04-27-2008, 11:12 AM   #14
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First of all, to all who responded, Thank you very much!

As a follow up, The short version is I am very lucky. The long version is that the fuse held, and I drummed up the courage to touch the trailer with the power going in to the shore cord. All electrical is in working order. I still believe that the Previous owner spent many a weekend camping in this trailer, happily backfeeding power through the exterior outlet.

I took the exterior outlet apart and the insulation on the wires looks in tact. so I feel much more comfortable with the wiring now.

Thanks again for the support. That is what makes this group of forums such a valuable tool to a lost newbe like myself. I am prob. getting better support throught this group than the original owner got from the factory.

Best to all, and thanks again,
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