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Old 03-31-2019, 02:40 PM   #21
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2015 27' FB International
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Battle Ground , Washington
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SmartPlug, and EMS surge protector

Originally Posted by rmkrum View Post
Molded plugs and sockets tend to be a bit marginal at best. Your new ones, properly installed, are more likely to survive better. The fact that the generator end isnít toasted points real strong to just the molded connectors that melted being at fault.
There is a different system for plugs and sockets that was on display at the 2018 International. It is called SmartPlug. https://smartplug.com/rv/
They claim their plug system has 20x more electrical contact than the old twist type connector. I have two 30amp external power supply plugs on my trailer. I replaced one of them with the SmartPlug setup, and I have been happy with it. It is easier to plug in for my wife and me, and since it eliminates the securing ring, there is no risk of cross threading. The down side is how expensive it is, but I reason that the extra theoretical margin of safety justifies my decision. I travel with a standard cable/plug for the second outlet on the trailer just in case. My standard backup power cord was used at the Blackout rally (total eclipse rally in Oregon 2017), when someone had an issue with their power cord, but otherwise I have not used the standard cord since I installed the SmartPlug.
Since your connection was between the power cord, and an extension cord, you would have to do some planning on how to set it up. If you plan on using the generator often enough, I would just buy a really long power cord, so you would not have the extra connection. I think anytime you can avoid an extra connection, there is less chance for a problem.
I started out with an external EMS surge protector, but that results in an additional external connection (between the power cable, and the EMS unit). With a hardwired internal EMS surge protector, you get a much more reliable, weather protected connection. You also get to see the real time amp usage on the display. It is real easy to exceed 30 amps with the AC/heatpump, water heater, and microwave. When I am getting close to 30 amps, I quickly turn something off.
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Old 03-31-2019, 03:11 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by rmkrum View Post
Possibly the blankets and other stuff overheated the generator and reduced the output voltage, which led to excess current. However, the damage you showed is most likely to be from an overheated, bad connection. Iíd say time to replace the toasted parts and drive on. Iíd also have a few rather strong words with the bozo that darn near fried your generator by covering it up. His actions could have caused a bad fire.

Also, just because a breaker is marked 30 amps does not mean it will open at exactly 30 amps. They are rated at 30, but it may take a lot more to trip it. They have manufacturing tolerances and are not that precise. The extension cord and plug overheated, yes. But didnít draw enough current to open the breaker. That to me says the connection was marginal. Replace with a heavy duty set is your best bet. If you can get the bozo to pay for the toasted parts, that would be nicer, but highly unlikely IMHO.

Molded plugs and sockets tend to be a bit marginal at best. Your new ones, properly installed, are more likely to survive better. The fact that the generator end isnít toasted points real strong to just the molded connectors that melted being at fault. Also says your generator is rather well built...and any third party that messes with your generator needs to be stopped. I wouldnít put up with that at all.
Right as rain about breakers not opening when you would expect. When I redid the wiring in my house there was an old Western Electric breaker panel in the hall closet. Did a little research and discovered that they had the nickname "Firestarters" because after a number of years and a few trips, the breakers would just not trip out. The more times a breaker has tripped the more likely it will malfunction.
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Old 03-31-2019, 09:58 PM   #23
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My take: your ď4750Ē generator is actually a ď3800 running wattĒ generator (on gasoline)... drops down to 3420 running watts on propane... is this your genny?


You didnít say how big your A/C is or how many any what kind of lights you were running... only that it ďworked last timeĒ... what was the temp like in the two shows? A/C working harder? More lights?

A previous poster stated bad voltage wouldnít cause that melting... Iím no electrician so Iíll bow to his knowledge... but running your generator on gasoline might give you the extra oomph you need...
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Old 04-01-2019, 04:17 PM   #24
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Probably due to added insulation, high draw, resistance

Fundamentally, you were drawing very high, i.e. too much amperage through the plugs. If not seated completely, high current + resistance = added heat, and even more resistance, heating and melting, . The blanket might have allowed even more heat to accumulate, but that probably wasn't the main issue.

Long, small gauge extension cords and high draw = increased resistance, heat and possible damage to plugs. The blanket might have allowed even more heat to accumulate, but that probably wasn't the main issue.

So, add up wattage of appliances/lights, divide by voltage to get current. Check that vs. output of generator, rating of plugs, and esp, use beefy extension cords to minimize voltage drop and increased current (i.e. heat).
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Old 04-01-2019, 07:03 PM   #25
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Just an FYI, if your neighbor felt compelled to attempt to muffle the sound of your contractor generator in a trade show setting, you probably should look into finding a generator that is less than the 68 decibels of your current unit. If not, your next "neighbor" might not be inclined to merely try to make it quiet enough that they can talk to their customers without shouting.
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Old 04-01-2019, 10:31 PM   #26
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You threw a blanket & boxes over an AIR COOLED generator? Really? You are lucky if the generator still even starts and you are quite fortunate that the blanket and boxes did not ignite.
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Old 04-02-2019, 01:20 AM   #27
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Lot of threads about the difference between "contractor" generators and quieter RV ones.

Many rallys and events ban noisy generators or restrict their use to the edges of the event. Yours doesnt look to be super noisy, but is much louder than Honda's in the EU series. Being a.good neighbor in a crowd? Priceless.
Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present.
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Old 04-02-2019, 06:45 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by overlander63 View Post
You had a bad connection at that plug.
Yes, wire to blade connection needed to be tightened with a screwdriver.
The higher your expectations the fewer your options.
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Old 04-02-2019, 08:43 AM   #29
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Responding to everyone at once to clarify a few things.
  1. The extension I used is the same gauge as the trailer plug and fairly new. Rated at 30 Amp, 3750 Watt, 10-Gauge.
  2. The connection between them was tight and not near the generator. So tight that the plastic melted together without a gap.
  3. The temperature outside was in the 80's but enough to warrant turning on the A/C. The generator was in complete shade.
  4. The generator was behind our trailer, between the trailer and a wooden fence, and I had a partition at the rear of the trailer to block additional noise near our neighbor.
  5. The event owner knew we would be using our generator ahead of time and still positioned us near other vendors. A food truck with a louder generator was near the street and away from other vendors. Poor planning on the owner's part.
  6. The noise near the lady complaining was minimal. She could whisper and her customer could hear her.
  7. I didn't put a blanket or boxes over the generator. The husband of the woman running the event did. Apparently, he's an idiot.
  8. We were running an LED light string and a Coleman Mach 1 A/C, which would use around 300w (lights) + 1300w (A/C). So I don't think wattage was an issue, since the total wattage draw would be half the generator output on propane (3420w).
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Old 04-02-2019, 10:53 AM   #30
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Melted Plugs Due to Hot Generator?

So, from that, it sounds like something in the plug, possibly a bad crimp connection in the socket or blade might have been the cause. Itís real hard to pin it down without sawing the toasted cable ends apart to examine them.

Iím just glad your helpful Ďidiotí didnít cause a fire in the generator or worse that close to your trailer.

I believe you replaced the cable ends with heavier duty parts. Probably the best thing is to inspect for any overheated connections next time you are running close to full load.

Maybe get one of those infrared thermometers. They are handy for checking tire and running gear temps as well. I use mine to checking temps when Iím cooking as well. True multi-tasked tool.
Rich, KE4GNK/AE, Overkill Engineering Dept.
'The Silver HamShack' ('07 International 22FB CCD 75th Anniversary)
Multiple Yaesu Ham Radios inside and many antennae sprouting from roof, ProPride hitch, Prodigy P2 controller.
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