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Old 04-21-2019, 08:43 AM   #1
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Quality Of Electric Outlets

I was not aware of the quality of the outlets that Airstreamairstream installedClick image for larger version

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ID:	338705 in the Interstate. I removed this outlet completely as I am making room for additional cabinetry. I can’t be certain, but this may be responsible for some intermittent problems that some users may have with the outlets in their Interstate. I will be changing all of mine out to better quality plugs in the near future.
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Old 04-21-2019, 10:14 AM   #2
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In my 5 Airstreams over the years, I have had multiple instances where I replaced one or more outlets with regular outlet boxes from HD or Lowe's. I use the repair boxes that mount much like the RV boxes I removed.

For instance, I replaced the single outlet just inside the door of my trailers with a quad outlet so that I could keep a voltmeter and a neon indicator permanently plugged in and still have an outlet available.

In every case, there has been plenty of wire length for any changes I made.

The RV boxes are designed for fast and cheap assembly and leave much to reliability.
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Old 04-21-2019, 11:56 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pahaska View Post
In my 5 Airstreams over the years, I have had multiple instances where I replaced one or more outlets with regular outlet boxes from HD or Lowe's. I use the repair boxes that mount much like the RV boxes I removed.



For instance, I replaced the single outlet just inside the door of my trailers with a quad outlet so that I could keep a voltmeter and a neon indicator permanently plugged in and still have an outlet available.



In every case, there has been plenty of wire length for any changes I made.



The RV boxes are designed for fast and cheap assembly and leave much to reliability.


Thank you for the input. I was contemplating solutions but had not yet arrived at a good fix. Those repair boxes sound like a good idea.

Yes; the outlets that airstream installs are clearly for reduced cost and speed of installation.
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Old 04-21-2019, 06:20 PM   #4
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Looks like another cheaper labor saving device made to fail. I'd replace everyone with a good quality outlet and save a lot of future frustration.
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Old 04-21-2019, 07:02 PM   #5
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Yup. Surprised? Nope.

Wake me when an American Manufacturer does something that actually increases reliability and longevity and manufacturing costs.
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Old 04-21-2019, 07:07 PM   #6
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That’s going to be a seriously long nap....
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Old 04-21-2019, 07:08 PM   #7
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I swapped all of mine out for boxes and commercial plugs.
Here is my blog posts

http://www.airforums.com/forums/blog...nd-boxed-2989/

http://www.airforums.com/forums/blog...on-boxes-2988/
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Old 04-21-2019, 07:33 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GMFL View Post
I swapped all of mine out for boxes and commercial plugs.
Here is my blog posts

http://www.airforums.com/forums/blog...nd-boxed-2989/

http://www.airforums.com/forums/blog...on-boxes-2988/
I tried to use a residential box and there was not enough depth between the inner and outer walls. Then I tried a "shallow wall" box - still a no-go. I ended up getting a replacement "RV" outlet which is an outlet and a box combined. They are difficult to install well in that they just pierce the insulation and I can imagine that the connections do not withstand vibration well.

Al
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Old 04-21-2019, 08:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al and Missy View Post
I tried to use a residential box and there was not enough depth between the inner and outer walls. Then I tried a "shallow wall" box - still a no-go. I ended up getting a replacement "RV" outlet which is an outlet and a box combined. They are difficult to install well in that they just pierce the insulation and I can imagine that the connections do not withstand vibration well.

Al
You can use the Carlson oldwork 1 1/2 deep shallow boxes or the slide in pop in boxes.
See photos
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Old 04-21-2019, 08:05 PM   #10
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Here’s photos from blog post
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Old 04-21-2019, 08:06 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3bcamper View Post
I was not aware of the quality of the outlets that Airstreamairstream installedAttachment 338705 in the Interstate. I removed this outlet completely as I am making room for additional cabinetry. I can’t be certain, but this may be responsible for some intermittent problems that some users may have with the outlets in their Interstate. I will be changing all of mine out to better quality plugs in the near future.
Same situation with us in our EB .... and the cut outs in the inside alum skin are also horrible !!!
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Old 04-21-2019, 08:11 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GMFL View Post
You can use the Carlson oldwork 1 1/2 deep shallow boxes or the slide in pop in boxes.
See photos
I must have been doing something wrong or in an odd part of my trailer. The one with the curved back (for rotating into the wall?) wouldn't go in. I tried the "shallow wall" box like you showed on the right. I couldn't get it in either. This was on the front wall of a 2001 Safari 25.

Al
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Old 04-22-2019, 05:41 AM   #13
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Wow, I can tell from this thread the same thing I've noticed elsewhere - that a few of us techie old-timers have reduced our use of, or stepped away from, this forum. (In my case, it's because I'm working on a public service project that has vastly curtailed my usual van-related activities for the time being.)

Those ^^ comments and those ^^ pics -- and not one retort about the suitability of the wiring shown therein.

Quoth one of our electrical engineers, "Solid core residential wire has no business on an RV."

In other words, the quality of the outlets (thread topic) is the barest tip of that particular iceberg (which one of the other techies would have pointed out sooner if they were actually here as often as they used to be). The argument has made that, because of the application, that wiring is not the safest to start with. It is subject to constant vibrations in a moving vehicle, which can lead to stress failures over time, which can lead to short circuiting and maybe even fires. Stranded wire, properly installed, would reduce those risks.

If you are interested in that line of discussion, you can pick up a previous sidebar via this permalink here.

My husband and I have replaced all of our rig's accessible wiring with stranded. IIRC, we have one OEM line that is buried beneath appliances and cabinetry that we have not been able to reach yet.
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Old 04-22-2019, 07:01 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by InterBlog View Post
Wow, I can tell from this thread the same thing I've noticed elsewhere - that a few of us techie old-timers have reduced our use of, or stepped away from, this forum. (In my case, it's because I'm working on a public service project that has vastly curtailed my usual van-related activities for the time being.)



Those ^^ comments and those ^^ pics -- and not one retort about the suitability of the wiring shown therein.



Quoth one of our electrical engineers, "Solid core residential wire has no business on an RV."



In other words, the quality of the outlets (thread topic) is the barest tip of that particular iceberg (which one of the other techies would have pointed out sooner if they were actually here as often as they used to be). The argument has made that, because of the application, that wiring is not the safest to start with. It is subject to constant vibrations in a moving vehicle, which can lead to stress failures over time, which can lead to short circuiting and maybe even fires. Stranded wire, properly installed, would reduce those risks.



If you are interested in that line of discussion, you can pick up a previous sidebar via this permalink here.



My husband and I have replaced all of our rig's accessible wiring with stranded. IIRC, we have one OEM line that is buried beneath appliances and cabinetry that we have not been able to reach yet.


I’m not sure what your comment means about the “techies having stepped away” from this forum, but I have 41 years experience in the electric industry as a power plant operator, a controls designer and installer and energy consultant. It is my opinion based on my years of experience in the industry that these types of outlets are not the safest. The RV industry is not subject the NEC, which in my experience provides the greatest level of safety. These outlets that airstream has installed would not pass NEC inspection in any type of application, stationary or mobile. In these outlets that Airstream has installed, there is minimal contact between the wire and the outlet conductor, and the application torque is not controlled in anyway. Both of these reasons can lead to high resistance, intermittent contact, and failure. Quality outlets in motorhomes is especially important because the greater the current draw, the more important good contact between the conductor and the outlet. In many cases, motorhome owners are plugging in electric space heaters, probably the highest current draw device that you can install an outlet.
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Old 04-22-2019, 09:09 AM   #15
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Replaced EVERY power outlet in both our 2014 Classic and 2015 23D International Serenity with commercial grade Hubbel 20 AMP GFI duplex outlets. When that is done, the blanked half of the stock refrigerator receptacle is operational and provides a power outlet on the other side of the trailer for an air compressor or whatever with no long extension cord needed.
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Old 04-22-2019, 10:34 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by 3bcamper View Post
I’m not sure what your comment means about the “techies having stepped away” from this forum, but I have 41 years experience in the electric industry as a power plant operator, a controls designer and installer and energy consultant. It is my opinion based on my years of experience in the industry that these types of outlets are not the safest. The RV industry is not subject the NEC, which in my experience provides the greatest level of safety. These outlets that airstream has installed would not pass NEC inspection in any type of application, stationary or mobile. In these outlets that Airstream has installed, there is minimal contact between the wire and the outlet conductor, and the application torque is not controlled in anyway. Both of these reasons can lead to high resistance, intermittent contact, and failure. Quality outlets in motorhomes is especially important because the greater the current draw, the more important good contact between the conductor and the outlet. In many cases, motorhome owners are plugging in electric space heaters, probably the highest current draw device that you can install an outlet.
Those outlets used by Airstream in the Interstates are from the Mobile Home industry. When I needed a replacement I found them at a local mobile home parts shop.

They are cheap and quick to install. Mobile homes are not generally know for high quality construction. Not sure if mobile homes are required to meet NEC standards, much like RVs.

https://mobilehomepartsstore.com/parts/230215.html
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Old 04-22-2019, 12:39 PM   #17
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I think this is a great post and contains invaluable information. I’m someone who tries to maintain my house electrical system and to keep it running as best as possible. The house was built in 1960 and still contains some two-wire, although I have upgraded the system. I always choose professional grade plugs which typically cost 5 dollars versus 79 cents. The contact is much more secure when plugging anything into the wall.

I have an Ideal 61-164 SureTest Circuit Analyzer which I use to measure voltage and voltage drop in the plugs throughout my house, my Interstate, and most recently my Yeti Goal Zero 3000 lithium battery. I plan to use the Yeti to power my fridge and freezer in the Interstate when the solar is not working and in cooler months and locations where air conditioning is not needed overnight thus eliminating the need for a campground on some nights.

My hope is for those of you with much greater experience than me to weigh in regarding voltage drop, appliance performance and longevity. I just went out to my Interstate which is not plugged in but is getting about 10 amps of incoming solar. With the inverter turned on, I plugged in the SureTest Circuit Analyzer and measured two plugs, the one under the TV behind the driver’s seat, and the one in the overhead compartment. Here are the results: under TV- 120.6 volts and 49.2% voltage drop; overhead compartment- 120.9 volts and 63.3% voltage drop. Without the solar input, the voltage drop is approximately 66%. The Goal Zero 3000 is currently fully charged and measures 118 volts and 22.5% voltage drop. With the Interstate plugged into 30 amps and the Inverter off, the measurements are much better and similar to what I measure in my house with voltage in the 125 range and a voltage drop of about 5.5%.

What do you think about the voltage drop using the inverter, and also using the Goal Zero 3000 to power the fridge and freezer? The GZ has a 280 amp hour lithium battery and its own built in 1500 watt inverter. I recently saw where one user was able to power his RV for about 2 mights using the GZ. I plan to position the GZ directly behind the driver’s seat on the floor. The fridge and freezer have a 110 plug inside the lower end of the pantry. If you reach into the pantry and unplug the fridge and freezer, the cords are long enough to route out through the port under the table where the TV plug comes out. I can use the 12 volt during the day to power the fridge and freezer, and either 30 amp grid power or the GZ when boon docking. The TV can just plug in to the bottom of the pantry. I just did a weekend test with the GZ powering the fridge and freezer after the solar stopped working around 6 pm. The two house batteries kept the RV working (lights and hand washing) at about 95% on the readout. I normally park in a small town and go out exploring and taking photos. I usually don’t start to look for a campground until about 11pm. Without the Goal Zero, the house batteries start to reach their limit about this time. With the Goal zero, I am confident about going overnight and maybe two in this scenario without a plug in. But what about the voltage drop?

I paid $2600 for the GZ purchased at REI with a 20% off coupon. At the end of the year, REI also has a member rebate.

Any thoughts and comments are welcome. Thanks.
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Old 04-22-2019, 01:08 PM   #18
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. . .
. . . Yeti Goal Zero 3000 lithium battery. I plan to use the Yeti to power my fridge and freezer in the Interstate when the solar is not working and in cooler months and locations where air conditioning is not needed overnight thus eliminating the need for a campground on some nights.
. . .
Any thoughts and comments are welcome. Thanks.
Thank you for the informative post.

Would you consider adding your information to the Goal Zero Yeti 3000 thread? It "currently" has a discussion underway about using the 3000 in a similar fashion.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f240...-a-177828.html

Thanks,

Peter
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Old 04-22-2019, 03:17 PM   #19
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Thank you for the informative post.

Would you consider adding your information to the Goal Zero Yeti 3000 thread? It "currently" has a discussion underway about using the 3000 in a similar fashion.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f240...-a-177828.html

Thanks,

Peter
I just posted. Thanks
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Old 04-22-2019, 03:25 PM   #20
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Saw it thanks.

We want to use a Yeti 1000 or 3000 in our tow vehicle van, for similar reasons, and look forward to learning more.

FYI there is also a Yeti 1000 thread with some good info in it:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f448...co-163149.html

. . . and "Goal Zero" units have been discussed in many other spots FWIW:

https://www.google.com/search?q=Goal...=airforums.com

Peter
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