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Old 02-28-2021, 08:14 AM   #1
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Smart Plug Shore Power Inlet

I have been reading that Airstream is now installing the Smart Plug shore power inlets on new Airstreams.

This got me thinking about all of the shore power electrical problems that I have had over the years. I have had at least three power cord ends melt from overheating. I have also had one inlet on the trailer start to melt, which I had to replace.

I am thinking about replacing both of Lucy's Furrion shore power inlets with Smart Plugs. This upgrade will cost me about $300 for two power inlets and two 30 amp, 30 foot power cords.

In reading the information about the Smart Plug, it claims that it has a positive power connection that prevents overheating.

What do you guys think about this upgrade?

Brian
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Old 02-28-2021, 08:39 AM   #2
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Smart Plug Shore Power Inlet

Well worth the effort...here is my front ‘Generator Inlet’. The old shore connector was also replaced. Fairly easy job save the gobs of caulking that had to be cleaned out to get to the wires.

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And you can get less expensive kits that include the plug that you can install on your current shore cable. It does take a lot of effort and a rich vocabulary to get the wire into the strain relief part, plus some wire lube.

These connectors are beefy, well sealed against weather, and very easy to plug in. ‘Push and wiggle’ is all it takes to get a very solid lockup and connection. Well worth the time and money.
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Old 02-28-2021, 09:21 AM   #3
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I have already replaced the Furrion 30 amp power inlet on Lucy's street side. I opted for the stainless steel one which was about $100. Of course, it still has the same plastic screw-on ring. I guess since I was able to change out the Furrion inlet, I could install the Smart Plug inlet.

Thank you for your assessment of the Smart Plug.

Brian
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Old 02-28-2021, 09:37 AM   #4
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Smart Plug Shore Power Inlet

I found the OEM twist lock connector with a plastic ring to be a PITA. You have to be sure to twist it to lock the contacts, then hold it in place whilst tightening the ring, which often tried to cross-thread itself.

I’m getting old and irritated with stuff that’s hard to hook up. It also got warm, which was a strong indication it wasn’t making solid contact. The swap-out was a lot of effort, but I like the way the new SmartPlug setup locks up easily and solidly, with one hand.

I also bought the clear plastic cover for the end of the shore cable. Keeps it dry snd clean in storage. I like the fact that it comes with a lanyard to keep it from walking away.

I also carry a 15 foot conventional extension cord, and went to a 30 Amp replacement plug on the pedestal end. It’s easier to repair should it get toasted by a bad receptacle. I carry a spare.

I’m also going to a magnetic EZconnector for the umbilical cord. It has flat, gold-plated contacts. It locks in place by simply opening the cover and lining up the key on the plug. Takes a lot of force to pull it out. No more ‘iffy’ connections. Have a look at the EZconnector stuff. Also not cheap, but far more reliable than the usual 7-way junk.
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Old 02-28-2021, 11:46 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmkrum View Post
Well worth the effort...here is my front ‘Generator Inlet’. The old shore connector was also replaced. Fairly easy job save the gobs of caulking that had to be cleaned out to get to the wires.

Attachment 389534

And you can get less expensive kits that include the plug that you can install on your current shore cable. It does take a lot of effort and a rich vocabulary to get the wire into the strain relief part, plus some wire lube.

These connectors are beefy, well sealed against weather, and very easy to plug in. ‘Push and wiggle’ is all it takes to get a very solid lockup and connection. Well worth the time and money.
Love the generator port. Do you have any info on how you wired it?
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Old 02-28-2021, 12:01 PM   #6
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I helped a friend install the Smart Plug 30 amp on his Airstream. His was an early 2000's and was hard wired, no external power connector. The install was pretty straight forward just a PITA to get the internal cable over to the rear quarter panel.

The additional contact surface area of the Smart Plug is significant compared to the Marino 'type'. (I was a sailor for a long time and they'll always be Marincos.) The only thing holding me back from doing a Smart Plug on my AS is the weight of the 50 amp connector and a lack of a 90 degree cable/adapter. The shore power inlet on mine is held by nothing but the aluminum skin and even with a 90 degree Marinco the bulge on the skin is noticeable. I guess some 'overkill' engineering for support might be workable but it's not in the top ten of my current punch list!

Like the job on the gen hook-up!
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Old 02-28-2021, 01:09 PM   #7
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Smart Plug Shore Power Inlet

Quote:
Originally Posted by pdavey View Post
Love the generator port. Do you have any info on how you wired it?


I ran a fresh 10 gauge power wire from the generator port back to my rear bathroom wall. That wire is run in blue corrugated conduit (Smurf tube) under the roadside cabinets and wardrobe from under the front bed to protect it from stuff stored under the bed.

Pulled a new wire from the rear shore port back to the same location and moved the original line to the OEM power panel into the same area. More protective Smurf tube added to these wires.

I installed a Blue Sea System manual 30 amp transfer switch with power and polarity led indicators to control which port feeds the power panel. Did have to make a small square hole in the wall next to the kitchen sink that considers depth from the wet bath shower forward wall to safely accommodate the switch. I did not go with an automatic transfer switch because they are bulky and prone to failures, and I could not figure out where to mount it.

The blue sea system switch comes with a wiring diagram.
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Old 02-28-2021, 02:18 PM   #8
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Thanks very helpful. Assuming you have 30 Amp service for your shore power hookup?
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Old 02-28-2021, 04:24 PM   #9
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Smart Plug Shore Power Inlet

Yup. The Airstream is a 2007 22’ International CCD with 30 amp service only.

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I have a Champion 3400 watt dual fuel inverter generator that rides in the back of my Tacoma. I only run it on propane and adapted it to run off the Airstream tanks. The generator barely gets off economy idle when the air conditioning compressor cuts in.

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Modified OEM regulator for the generator and propane hoses. Absolutely necessary for the generator to run properly off propane.

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3/8 quick connect and required shut off valve I added.

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Running on propane from the trailer during testing. Nice and quiet, as you can hear...
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Old 03-01-2021, 09:30 AM   #10
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Our 20' 1966 Globe Trotter has a hard wired 20 amp cord that must be strung out from the side storage compartment, through a 4" plastic pipe on the underside. I'd like to install a Smart Plug or other external plug-in receptacle, and switch to a standard plug-in cord. Anyone done this? If possible, I'd like to install it in an inconspicuous spot, to keep the exterior as "uncluttered" and vintage as possible.
Our water connection is also inside the access door, requiring the hose to be threaded through the same plastic pipe on the underside, and connected inside. I'd like to replace that with a reasonably inconspicuous external water connection, Again, I'd like to hear from anyone who has done this type of conversion. Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-01-2021, 09:56 AM   #11
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Smart Plug is an awesome upgrade that virtually eliminates a failure point.
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Old 03-01-2021, 10:00 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmkrum View Post
Yup. The Airstream is a 2007 22’ International CCD with 30 amp service only.

Attachment 389562


I have a Champion 3400 watt dual fuel inverter generator that rides in the back of my Tacoma. I only run it on propane and adapted it to run off the Airstream tanks. The generator barely gets off economy idle when the air conditioning compressor cuts in.

Attachment 389559

Modified OEM regulator for the generator and propane hoses. Absolutely necessary for the generator to run properly off propane.

Attachment 389560

3/8 quick connect and required shut off valve I added.

Attachment 389561

Running on propane from the trailer during testing. Nice and quiet, as you can hear...
Where did you find the fitting to connect the regulator to the quick connect? I've been looking at exactly the same thing, draw off the regulated LP on the trailer.
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Old 03-01-2021, 10:16 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moosetags View Post
I have been reading that Airstream is now installing the Smart Plug shore power inlets on new Airstreams.

This got me thinking about all of the shore power electrical problems that I have had over the years. I have had at least three power cord ends melt from overheating. I have also had one inlet on the trailer start to melt, which I had to replace.

I am thinking about replacing both of Lucy's Furrion shore power inlets with Smart Plugs. This upgrade will cost me about $300 for two power inlets and two 30 amp, 30 foot power cords.

In reading the information about the Smart Plug, it claims that it has a positive power connection that prevents overheating.

What do you guys think about this upgrade?

Brian
We installed the Smart Plug about 5 years ago on our trailer . The best upgrade we ever did . We had a attached cord and yes the plug end melted once on that. The Smart Plug was invented originally for boats . Because your boat will bob , around the connection can loosen , lots of fires ! The Smart Plug was then also available for RV’s . In our opinion should be on all RV’s . The other connectors are back to 1938 . Worked but now better and easier connectivity. Also ordered the end to make another cord after I cut it off trailer . Have the included 30 ft in kit and another 23 ft from original cord . Completely waterproof and positive , easy connections. Very easy to install , great instructions . We got the stainless and happy , happy . Pat
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Old 03-01-2021, 10:32 AM   #14
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Smart Plug Shore Power Inlet

Quote:
Originally Posted by xyzabe View Post
Where did you find the fitting to connect the regulator to the quick connect? I've been looking at exactly the same thing, draw off the regulated LP on the trailer.


It’s a combination of standard brass pipe parts from the local big box home improvement stores and 3/8” propane quick connect fittings and 12’ hoses from Amazon.

I documented the quick connector install and generator propane harness modifications on the “Which Generator” thread on Airforums. The details are scattered on that thread. I went with the 3/8” quick connector size to be sure I can get enough flow through my two 12’ hose assemblies. I wanted to be able to get the generator about 20 feet away for noise control, and that implies bigger fittings.

Others have used 1/4” quick connects successfully. Whatever you do be sure to use YELLOW Teflon tape on the propane pipe joints and check carefully for leaks.

Here are pictures of the A-frame propane modifications after the flexible hose from the regulator in the tank cover.

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This is the 3/8 quick connect and shut off valve for the generator. The Champion generator needs a shut off valve to kill it when running on propane. It will not shut off just by turning off the main switch. This is not a design bug. It makes sure the hoses and OEM regulator to the generator input fitting are safely clear of gas pressure when you shut down.

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It’s a little hard to see, but I added a master shut off valve to be able to quickly shut off all propane to the inside of the Airstream in case of a leak after the tank regulator. It’s hard to get to the propane tank valves under the cover if you are in a hurry.

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As a side note, I added a main battery cutoff switch for extended storage or emergency shut off for the 12 volt electrical system from the batteries. That is a Blue Sea Systems battery switch inside a modified dual duplex waterproof electrical cover. I had to bulge the cover a bit using a heat gun and a stick to make the cover clear the knob. One twist snd the batteries are disconnected. There is an 80 amp MRBF fuse and dual fuseholder bolted to the battery positive post to protect the wiring.

Being able to quickly cut off propane and 12 volt power from the outside of the Airstream in an emergency is priceless.
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Old 03-01-2021, 11:00 AM   #15
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My 2004 has the umbilical cord hard wired into a surge protector inside the back driver side corner. There is a door and cable management drawer on the bottom side.

Is there any reason/advantage to change this arrangement?

Thanks, Dave
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Old 03-01-2021, 11:34 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AirGT65 View Post
Our 20' 1966 Globe Trotter has a hard wired 20 amp cord that must be strung out from the side storage compartment, through a 4" plastic pipe on the underside. I'd like to install a Smart Plug or other external plug-in receptacle, and switch to a standard plug-in cord. Anyone done this? If possible, I'd like to install it in an inconspicuous spot, to keep the exterior as "uncluttered" and vintage as possible.
Our water connection is also inside the access door, requiring the hose to be threaded through the same plastic pipe on the underside, and connected inside. I'd like to replace that with a reasonably inconspicuous external water connection, Again, I'd like to hear from anyone who has done this type of conversion. Thanks in advance.
Hey AirGT

I put the Smartplug on my 1959 Tradewind. Here's a couple pictures, I also installed the TV/Sat cable plug next to it.
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Old 03-04-2021, 07:19 AM   #17
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Hey AirGT

I put the Smartplug on my 1959 Tradewind. Here's a couple pictures, I also installed the TV/Sat cable plug next to it.
That looks great, Tony. The trailer looks like it was built that way.

Brian
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Old 03-04-2021, 07:15 PM   #18
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My 2004 has the umbilical cord hard wired into a surge protector inside the back driver side corner. There is a door and cable management drawer on the bottom side.

Is there any reason/advantage to change this arrangement?

Thanks, Dave
We have an '05 with the same setup. Can't think of a single reason to change the present setup.
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Old 03-05-2021, 08:14 AM   #19
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That looks great, Tony. The trailer looks like it was built that way.

Brian
Thanks Brian, that was one of the reasons I wanted to go with the Smartplug, and they are really well built. Many others seemed to be pretty happy with them, so it seemed like a no brainer.
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Old 03-05-2021, 10:21 AM   #20
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I think that I am about ready to pull the trigger on the Smart Plug. Lucy is a 2015 Flying Cloud with two power inlets. Now that I've seen the cable/satellite inlet, I am going to spring for one of those also.

It appears that the best way to buy the Smart Plugs is in the kit form with both the power inlet and the power cord end. I was originally going to buy the unit with the gray plastic cover door. I am thinking now that I will pay the extra for the stainless model just for the looks factor.

The best price that I have found so far is on Amazon.

Brian
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