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Old 06-22-2021, 10:31 AM   #1
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Austin , Texas
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Question 30 amp cord shorting out at trailer.

I've got an electrical question for the hive mind. At the end of April, I was staying at a KOA in Abiliene, TX. Thunderstorm overnight. In the morning, my 30 amp cord is stuck. Work it loose and sure enough, one of the prongs had arced and welded itself to the plug. I have a 7.5 year old FC, 25 ft. I use a surge protector. Bought a new cord the next day, thought - stuff happens.

30 days and almost 20 campgrounds later, I am back in Abiline as last stop to home. Clear skies, no storms. Get up in the morning and now my new 30 amp cord has done the same thing. Well, darn.

So my question is why? Seems to me my surge protector would protect me against, well, surges. What about a voltage drop? Could that cause the arcing. Is it a problems with the post at the KOA or do I have a developing electrical problem in my trailer and it was just coincidence that it happened twice at the same park? Any insights will be valued.
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Old 06-22-2021, 11:30 AM   #2
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First I do not understand. I plug the surge protector into the campground post and then plug the trailer cord into the surge protector. So if it melts "at the post" the surge protector will be the plug fried. How do you do it so that the trailer cord is plugged into the campground post directly? Built in surge protector? My cord is permanently connected at the trailer end.

Second. My guess is that you are dealing with a campground that has a lot of old, dirty outlets and you got unlucky twice. A poor connection is what burns out a plug.
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Old 06-22-2021, 01:32 PM   #3
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I think you are describing the "stuck" condition taking place where the cord meets the trailer wall socket (and not the cord meeting the campground pedestal) ? If so, then I think there are 2 primary candidates. The first is you have a dirty contact pin in your trailer side socket, perhaps covered in dirt, or grease, or covered in a moderate amount of corrosion. It does not take much to introduce resistance at the connection point, and resistance translates into heat, which leads to melting or otherwise binding in the attachment point. The second candidate is that one or more of the pins on your trailer side socket are worn too thin, resulting in an "air" gap where the cord contacts the trailer socket, and leading to the same general outcome (arcing across the contacts, meaning heat ... ). These are both speculative, there could be something else, but since you have already replaced the cord, that suggests it is the trailer side socket that is the source of your headache.

If you have not heard of a product called SmartPlug, I would have a look at that. I have never experienced what you are describing, but I have read a number of posts where others have suffered, and it is a somewhat known disadvantage of the furion connectors. I have already replaced my furion devices (my 30A trailer has 2 sockets) with the SmartPlug solution, it is a little expensive, but the SmartPlug is designed specifically to avoid the conditions and outcomes you have experienced. I got mine via Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/SmartPlug-30-...04PI8U5U&psc=1
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Old 06-22-2021, 01:49 PM   #4
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Hi

There are two plugs involved. The shore power cable has one end that plugs into the campground post. The other end plugs into your trailer. Both ends can have issues.

The campground post socket takes a beating over it's (short) life. A contact is damaged on one and it then fries every cord plugged into it. Eventually somebody complains and the socket gets replaced. Until then it goes on killing plugs. It's never a 100% thing, but a high percentage get damaged.

When you unplug from a damaged post, you will see problems with your plug. Black "stuff" and pitting are not uncommon. If you can find somebody to talk to, best to mention it to the campground folks. They *should* replace the socket. Your next step is to either replace the cord or go over to Lowes / Home Depot for a new plug to put on the existing cord.

Damage can also happen at the other end of the cable. In this case, both "pieces" are under your control. The best bet is for you to replace both of them at once. The "trailer" connectors are stock items at most RV stores. You might find them at some big box stores.

If you want to go crazy, you can go to the smart plug stuff. If you do, be prepared to pay $200 for a dog bone adapter than otherwise would cost you $10 .... (and be prepared for them to be out of stock through sometime in the indefinite future). Even the cost of the "raw" connectors is many times the price of the "old style" stuff. It's up to you ....

Bob
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Old 06-22-2021, 07:15 PM   #5
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be sure to clean all power contacts.

in high usage, wipe contact cleaner and anti-oxide grease on the cables on a regular basis
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Old 06-22-2021, 08:09 PM   #6
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The camper plug needs replaced
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Old 06-23-2021, 12:38 AM   #7
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Sorry I was unclear. Problem was at the trailer end not the pedestal. Thought that any issue with corrosion on the prongs would have been solved by a new cord. When the new cord shorted out, it was on a different prong. Shouldn't have that much wear on the trailer plug, have less than 250 nights total in the trailer.

I just thought it was peculiar that the issue showed up only at the one campground so thought that maybe the problem was with the electricity source.
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Old 06-23-2021, 05:07 AM   #8
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Problems like this can be caused by loose connections on the back side of the shore cord receptacle. Are you able to access the connection side? If so, unplug from shore power, turn off your inverter, and then confirm that all the connections are tight and undamaged.

There's also a remove possibility that the receptacle was mounted off center and makes occasional contact with the skin, or that some other stray piece of wire/metal is causing an intermittent short.

Certainly wise to inspect the back of the receptacle if at all possible.
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Old 06-23-2021, 08:29 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wcapps View Post
Sorry I was unclear. Problem was at the trailer end not the pedestal. Thought that any issue with corrosion on the prongs would have been solved by a new cord. When the new cord shorted out, it was on a different prong. Shouldn't have that much wear on the trailer plug, have less than 250 nights total in the trailer.

I just thought it was peculiar that the issue showed up only at the one campground so thought that maybe the problem was with the electricity source.
Hi

Once you start blasting one side of the connection, you are doing damage to the other side as well. Replace the socket on the trailer ....

Bob
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Old 06-23-2021, 09:25 AM   #10
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Wow!

One idea to resolve this - replace the whole thing with a Smart Plug cord and receiver. Expensive - yes. Worth it? For me and my new 2021 Airstream it was definitely worth it! I changed it all out very easily.

Just my two cents....
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Old 06-23-2021, 09:27 AM   #11
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Loose wires at receptacle

Quote:
Originally Posted by richard5933 View Post
Problems like this can be caused by loose connections on the back side of the shore cord receptacle. Are you able to access the connection side? If so, unplug from shore power, turn off your inverter, and then confirm that all the connections are tight and undamaged.

There's also a remove possibility that the receptacle was mounted off center and makes occasional contact with the skin, or that some other stray piece of wire/metal is causing an intermittent short.

Certainly wise to inspect the back of the receptacle if at all possible.
I agree that the likely problem is/are loose wires at the trailer receptacle.

Tighten the connections on the rear of the receptacle. Also add some dialectic grease to the cord plugs. Definitely replace any fried plugs.
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Old 06-23-2021, 09:33 AM   #12
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Just another thought: Are you plugging the cord in and then rotating it to lock? Are you also tightening the collar?

I'm guessing you already know this, but maybe?
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Old 06-23-2021, 09:52 AM   #13
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I vote with those saying replace your trailer outlet. I has likely sustained damage.

Here's my story: My cord burned up also. I removed the outlet and found the nuetral wire was not scured under a screw, but just stuffed behind it causing a dangerous arc. Luckily I had no fire, but it damaged both the outlet and cord end.

This occurred shortly after purchasing my used van. The Furion cover was broken off and I now suspect the prior owner drove away from their camp site with the cord attached. Someone reinstalled the old outlet, but missed securing one wire.
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Old 06-23-2021, 07:00 PM   #14
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My vote would be to go to smartplug. It's not foolproof but it provides a much better electrical connection than the original setup. I changed mine out a few years ago and am so impressed with the durability of this product. Expensive, yes , but you decide what piece of mind is worth.
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Old 06-23-2021, 07:43 PM   #15
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lots of votes for the SmartPlug (mine included), here is a thread from a few years back going through some install stuff

https://www.airforums.com/forums/f37...ug-200115.html
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