Sunday, September 19, 2021
Sunday, September 19, 2021

RVelectricity – Just Ask Mike (J.A.M.): “Stop dragging my chains around” – Protect 7-way plug and chains

Welcome to my J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session, a weekly column where I answer your basic electrical questions. If you’re a newbie who’s never plugged in a shore power cord (or ask – what’s a shore power cord?), or wonder why your daughter’s hair dryer keeps tripping the circuit breaker, this column is for you. Send your questions to Mike Sokol at mike (at) noshockzone.org with the subject line – JAM. This week I discuss protecting the RV chains and the 7-way plug.


Dear Mike,
What can I do to keep my 7-way trailer plug clean? Seems like there’s no good way to hang it that will keep the rain and dirt out of the contacts. I’ve been putting a plastic lunch bag over it with a rubber band, but that seems like a poor solution. You, of all people, must know of something better. —Belinda from Bugtussle, KY

Dear Belinda (from Bugtussle),

What a great name for a town! And yes, I have a solution for not only your 7-way trailer plug, but for your safety chains dragging in the mud. This is an easy fix that will only take you a few minutes to install. I don’t know why this isn’t standard equipment on ALL travel trailers.

But first, enjoy this great duet from Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty: “Stop Dragging my Heart Around.” Yes, I had to change “Heart” to “Chains,” but I like it better than Fleetwood Mac’s “Never Break the Chain.” To get in the proper mood watch the video HERE.

Extra credit if you can tell me what type of microphones Stevie and Tom are singing lead vocals on, and extra-extra credit if you can tell me what microphones the backup singers (and Stevie) are using later in the video. And yes, I have those exact microphones in my own mic locker, so I KNOW…

What’s the problem?

Well, from what I can see, most travel trailers don’t have a way to keep the 7-way plug clean and dry and your safety chains out of the dirt. So you end up wrapping both of them around the trailer tongue.

Here’s the before picture with the chains and 7-way plug wrapped around the trailer tongue, which is exactly how I’ve done it for 50 years. And no, I’m too lazy to use a baggie and rubber band on the plug (just ask my wife).

Here’s the solution

And here’s how neat the chains and 7-way plug are stored using the Chain Saver and Plug Saver from GR Innovations.

I found these cool gadgets online a while back, and just now installed them on my loaner Safari Condo Alto trailer. Called Chain Saver and Plug Saver by the manufacturer, they offer a great solution.

I’m not sure why, but I really like simple engineering solutions that make my life easier, and these gadgets qualify.

Chain Saver (Stop dragging my chains around)

This neat gadget installs with a Phillips screwdriver on any standard tongue jack. It has holes for both chains, the breakaway cable, and the 7-way plug. Installation only took a few minutes with no fuss at all.

It seems to be well made with stainless steel screws and tough plastic. All in all, a solid design.

Plug Saver (Stop dragging my plug around)

And the other cool gadget is this 7-way plug cover with an elastic band to keep it attached to the cable when not in use. Installation took seconds to secure the keeper band around the cable.

Again, this seems like a solid design that keeps the water and dirt out of your 7-way plug contacts. And as you all know, I’m a big believer in keeping your electrical contacts clean and non-oxidized. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” —Ben Franklin 

That’s a (chain) wrap!

Please excuse all of my puns, but that’s what happens when I write early in the morning while exhausted. All puns aside, I think these are both great products that will make your trailering just a little bit easier.

OK, everyone. Remember that electricity is a useful and powerful force, so we all need to pay attention to safety precautions while using it.

Let’s play safe out there….

Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 50+ years in the industry. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at Amazon.com. For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.
Join Mike’s popular and informative Facebook group.
And you don’t want to miss Mike’s webcasts on his YouTube channel.

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Snayte
19 days ago

I just put the 7 way under the propane tank cover. It is 10 years old and looks as good as new.

Rich F
21 days ago
Bill
21 days ago

We use a device called Plug Guard http://plugguardstore.com/ mounted on the A-frame of our camper. It is very much like the car-end socket that your 7-pin cord plugs into, except (1) there are no electrical parts within it, and (2) the open end of the cup faces downward, instead of straight back. It has a spring-loaded door and latch on the opening, just like the car-end socket. You pull down the door, insert the 7-way plug, and release the door, which immediately snaps up, latching the cable into place – again, just like the car-end socket. The cup is a molded item with no openings, and because the open end faces down, completely shielding the plug, there is no way for water (rain, splash, whatever) to get into it or pool inside it.
If you look for this device on the Internet, be aware that several RV sites have photos showing the device mounted UPSIDE DOWN! With the cup facing up, it would collect water instead of shedding it.

Wolfe
21 days ago

Plug:
– 50 cent “grabber” clip (common)
– $8 clip from Amazon
– any rake rake clip

Chains:
– Hook one another and drape as W
– Screw/weld a hangloop on tongue

Ran
21 days ago

OK. I noticed a lot of answers for the hanging chains while parked, but what are you guy’s doing on your trailers going down the road? We made up a bunch of 1-1/2″ fire hose and slipped them over the chains. This way while traveling, the chains will not rub the ground and spark a wildfire. Make sure your chains are the proper length first. We decided to make these up in our small vacation cabin town and give them to those with trailers of all types, to reduce the risk of fire hazard. Of course, don’t forget to cross your chains when hooking up…..We don’t need any more fires out West! Just another TIP!

Lil John
26 days ago

I mentioned this before, but what the heck. To protect your electrical plug, take the male plug off the end and wire it to a female plug attached to the trailer. Make up an electrical cord with two male ends and simply plug them in to both the vehicle and the trailer. When you unhook you put the cord in the vehicle or trailer and they are always clean! The female plug on the trailer has a cap that closes. Problem solved. It’s also a deterrent against someone stealing your trailer . . no electrical hook up for lights!

Richard Hughes
26 days ago

My Outdoors RV 270RLS came with the holder on the trailer.

Last edited 26 days ago by Richard Hughes
Thom R
26 days ago

Cole-Hersee part #11750.
It’s a little gray plastic “garage” for your 7-way plug. I mounted it on the side of electric tongue jack. You just insert the plug and twist to hold it in.
11bucks on Amazon. Or your local NAPA can order it.
It’s the perfect solution.

Irv
26 days ago

Mike, do you fill the plug cover with dielectric grease?

Bob M
26 days ago

I’d reverse the power plug so the blue cap is pointed up. I’ve had water get into mine with the blue cap down.

Tommy Molnar
26 days ago
Reply to  Bob M

I agree, Bob. I had the same issue with a lock on one of my sheds at home. It was a common Master Lock but it had a slip-on cover over the key slot. Water would run down, collect in the cover – and freeze. Now I just leave the cover hanging. No trouble since.

I think as long as the electrical cord is aimed down so water can’t flow into it, life is good.

Jeff
21 days ago
Reply to  Bob M

I found the same issue with water collecting in the cap which caused a short in my system. Keep the blue cap up.

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