We need your info on shore power connector meltdowns
Mike Zimmerman (from the RVelectricity Facebook group) and I are trying to determine the frequency and cause of burned and melted shore power connections on either the pedestal (TT-30) or RV (L5-30) connectors for shore power hookups.
If you’ve had any of your 30-amp shore power connectors or adapters melt or burn up and still have pictures, please email them to email@example.com with the subject “30-amp” for analysis.
50-amp survey will be next week
We’ll do a similar survey next week for 50-amp shore power connectors. So let’s stick with 30-amp connector failures for this poll, please.
Please leave comments below
Feel free to leave any comments about what you’ve experienced with melted shore power connections below.
Thanks for your help, everyone.
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.
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Where is the 50 amp article promised for the next week? I had my 50 amp melt at the pedestal on the neutral and hot line with the hot blade being the most burnt. Breaker didn’t trip, but it ruined the 50 amp breaker and plug, park said my fault and I had to get a new cable, they replaced the plug and breaker.
I’m still gathering intel, so a few weeks more. We’re in information overload right now…
Loose wire on male plug from camper, melted plug and female connection on the surge protector.
During my eight years of snowbirding, and three years of fulltiming, I had to replace at least five or six male plugs on my 30 amp cord, and at least one or two on my 50 amp.
On top of that, I lost a convection microwave due to an older pedestal where the neutral wire was loose. The resort in Mesa AZ was good for it. Paid the bill for having my motorhome inspected, and paid for the replacement for the microwave, parts and labour.
Just last week, the 30A plug receptacle was “fatigued ” to the point where the internal pinch mechanism was so worn out, that the resistance felt when inserting the 30A plug barely would stay in place. Then under A/C load the receptacle would not transfer the power to the plug. Upon inspection I discovered one of the prongs was tarnished black. I stopped using the pedistal, and put a note at the check-in to address the problem.
My assessment here is that the duty cycle of pedistal receptacles must be much greater than normal. This should be kept in mind when using your campsite plug, and stay on mgmt. To keep failures to a minimum.
Mike, I had a 115 to 30amp dog bone melt down.
The worker at the trailer factory did a poor job of wiring the shore power receptacle. It took 5 years to finally burn up the hot leg connection. But it was obvious the way the screw was messed up that is what caused the failure.
…my 50 amp power cord connector melted and shorted out during the summer in Florida probably due to continued use. The contacts were corroded and old.
Had the junction of my rv cord and my 30 amp extension cord have a slight meltdown. I salvaged the male side but replaced the female side since I couldn’t be sure of how damaged it was.
My meltdown was an adapter that allowed connecting the 30-amp trailer to a 120VAC 15-amp cord. It was there just to keep the battery charged. After a few months, the adapter corroded and became so resistive the slight draw melted it. My best guess is the adapter had contacts with inferior metallurgy, which allowed critical corrosion.
It was in the 30a. female connector (hot leg). This was on the extension cord.
I’ve had two 30-to-50amp dogbone adapters (the last time the adapter was brand new) overheat on the neutral contact. I don’t have pictures, but in both cases the molded plastic around the neutral connector had melted and the connector was discolored. In both cases we were probably drawing, overall, in excess of 30 amps but our system was using the hybrid feature of our inverter to provide any needed excess power from our batteries. We’d set our system to limit shore power input to 30 amps and, as expected, we never tripped the 30 amp circuit breaker on the pedestal. I suspect these adapters (or at least the two I’ve bought from Camping World — different brands, though) can’t really handle extended operation right at 30 amps. Perhaps I need to set my system to draw less than 30 amps from shore power in these situations… Looking forward to getting your input on the best approach to keep my new adapter from burning up — thanks!
We recently completed a month long trip through Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah. We spent about half of our nights at Elks lodges and noted that about half of the 30 amp pedestals we looked at had signs of overheating. We passed on those and experienced no problems.
We mainly camp in more temperate regions and have never seen so many bad outlets, apparently due to air conditioner use.
So shortly after we bought our RV, a 2006 Winn Aspect we bought in April 2012, the TT-30 Plug on the end of the shore power cable was coming loose. I bought a replacement (Leviton) and installed it. It did fine for years, but was giving me some issues so a couple months ago, I replaced it again (another Leviton…I looked at other brands but was not happy with the space to work inside doing the connections, nor the cord tension setup). When I removed the old one I found a couple cracks and it must have gotten overheated some, as some of the insulation seemed a bit melted. Nothing major, but still a concern. But, not too bad for 8 to 9 years, I think,
Your timing is perfect. On Wednesday of this week we arrived at a local county campground and countered a damaged/melted 30a pedestal socket. I noted the condition but plugged in anyway. I didn’t hear my hardwired Bulldog ‘clunk’ like it should and found it lit up red with an E6 error code – Line 2 & Neutral Reversed. Odd. I noticed that the socket fit was quite loose and my plug was tipping down under its own weight. After kicking the breaker and re-plugging, the Bulldog approved, but it was clear I couldn’t trust the plug to stay in place for the long term. I happened to be carrying a bar clamp for an RV project I planned to do, so applied it to the pedestal and plug to hold everything tightly in place. Also informed the ranger who will get the socket replaced in the next few days. This is my first encounter with a damaged socket and I probably shouldn’t be using it, but I periodically feel the pedestal and plug for excessive heat. So far, so good.
Never had an issue til I got a rig with detachable power cord ‘twist-lock’ connection. Sounds great in theory, but in one year I’ve gotten one fried by lightning and one supposedly by a dust issue in the pedestal, I have my doubts. Who knows, but I really wish I had a hard-wired power cord. Tech claims it’s better the plug fries than the guts of the RV, but I hate the constant fussing with the connection.
Will send a pic or two.
When I purchased my used RV, the female end of the power cord was heavily damaged by excess current. Dealer replaced it immediately. Have had no new problems with over current. I do have a surge Protector (Thanks, Mike) (Southwire) and it has proven its value several times. Don’t leave home without it.
The original cord male plug caught fire, melted. Always inspect your electrical connectors, if they show signs of heating, clean the metal studs to allow electricity to flow. Replace the plugs to give new life to the cord. Camco Heavy Duty RV 30 amp Power Grip Male/Female Replacement Plug worked great for me.
I found I could easily put the rear A/C on separate circuit. I now have 2nd 30 amp cord and breaker box with true house wire and additional 120 outlets. Have a 50amp to two 30 amp pig tail from Amazon. Or I can use factory 30 amp at 30 amp post and my 30 amp on inverter. Or driveway on my 30amp to a 20 amp plug and only run rear A/C , rest rv on 12 volt a propane. So many options now and SAFE.