Our plug melted at a Wisconsin state park campground. We thought someone was burning plastic plates. We could smell it. No idea it was our plug. Image our surprise when we saw this. So lucky we didn’t burn down our camper. Everything still works in our camper, the only thing that got damaged was our decorative outside lights (we use Christmas lights).
The questions I have for you: Can my husband fix our cord with a new end (see photo of what we bought) and what do you think caused this meltdown? FYI, it did pour rain on us that weekend. Could it have been a surge, or something else?
Any answer would be really helpful. I am really paranoid now of what could happen to us. Our camper is a 2012 FunFinder, 30-amp.
Glad nothing really bad happened, and thanks for the great pictures. We’re all going to learn something today….
Yes, this can be a DIY project if you’re careful
Yes, he can replace it himself as long as he’s careful to follow the instructions to make sure the correct color wire is terminated in the right terminal. And be careful not to over-tighten the screws or leave any wire strands hanging out.
However, you’ll most likely need to replace the male inlet on the side of your RV, as well, since there was so much heating from the plug contacts. That amount of heat likely damaged the matching male connector and then it will be déjà vu all over again.
Did you lock it up?
There is no locking ring on this plug. Hopefully you were able to salvage the existing cover with the locking ring. So, if there was no external locking ring on the original plug it won’t be weatherproof and can twist out of the inlet. Both things can cause this failure.
Have you been twisting the plug properly to lock it into place? If you don’t do the final 1/8” twist to seat the plug it won’t have full electrical contact area and can overheat.
Keep it clean (and non-oxidized)
Also, did you use contact cleaner on the connectors at the beginning of the season? That’s needed for all RV connectors that are exposed to the weather. I highly recommend DeoxIT D5 for all RV connections. Yes, it’s a little pricey but you only need a spritz of it to clean off existing oxidation and prevent future corrosion.
It’s not a surge
Finally, a power surge from a nearby lightning strike would not cause that type of damage and leave everything else in your RV operational. The failure was most likely caused by oxidation of the contacts. But it could also be caused by loose screws in the plug, plugging it in wrong by not twisting the plug to lock the contacts, or excessive current from running air conditioners constantly (which shouldn’t be possible if you’re connected to a properly installed 30-amp circuit breaker).
Look for signs of trouble
I would also suggest that everyone periodically inspect their shore power connections to make sure nothing is overheating, especially if you’ve been running your air conditioner nonstop. If the plug or wiring feels hot to the touch, then something is wrong. You need to address the problem immediately or you could cause a fire.
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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