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.
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
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.
For information on how to support RVelectricity and No~Shock~Zone articles, seminars and videos, please click the I Like Mike Campaign