RVelectricity – It may be time for SmartPlug upgrades

5

By Mike Sokol

Dear Readers,
As most of us are winding down the camping season and mothballing our RVs for the winter, now is a great time to repair and upgrade our electrical systems. That way you won’t be caught off-guard in the spring when you head out on your first trip and forgot something important.

Email tales…

I’ve had dozens of emails over the last few months about shore power plug meltdown, many times during extreme hot spells. It’s obvious that running air conditioners and other appliances at the same time can stress your RV electrical system to the max. And if it’s not maintained properly you can have equipment meltdown. Of course, connectors are typically the weak link in the system, so if your shore power connectors aren’t perfect, then that’s going to be where the overheating occurs.

30-amp shore power

Something that seems to exhibit the most problems is the pedestal outlet for 30-amp shore power. Even though the plug looks much more robust than the 20-amp plug in your house, in reality it’s only rated for 50% more amperage, that is, 30 amps of current instead of 20 amps.

I’ve written many times about how the TT-30 plug’s similarity to a home 240-volt dryer outlet can cause residential electrician confusion. But today I’m going to focus on the other end of the shore power cord – the part that plugs into your RV.

Twist-lock connectors

These twist-lock connectors have been around for a long time, so they’re on millions of RVs. And they are indeed approved for use in this application. However, to function properly twist lock plugs must be connected properly using both hands, first locking in the connector itself, then spinning on the locking ring. Failure to follow these steps can result in a high-resistance connection which could lead to overheating during high-current situations (like running air conditioners and microwave ovens).

SmartPlug upgrades

Enter SmartPlug. This marine-grade inlet receptacle and matching shore power plug not only has 20 times the contact surface area of a traditional twist-lock connector on your RV, it’s also manufactured with marine-grade contacts and hooks up with a simple “push” and click. So there’s no additional alignment procedures, twisting motions to make full contact, or extra lock rings that must be spun on without cross-threading.

Live, on TV, it’s me….

Click on the picture to watch my 7-minute video where I explore the differences between the standard twist-lock and SmartPlug connectors. And if you had any type of shore power connector failure last season, now is the time to consider an upgrade. Not much stops a camping trip faster than an electrical system failure.

If you’re looking for a place to purchase a SmartPlug, I highly recommend TechnoRV. They not only produce their own educational videos about the products they sell, their customer service is top notch. You can buy a SmartPlug HERE.

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.

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

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Jim Godfrey
13 days ago

Looks like a nice product.
Would be good if they came up with a right angle cord connector.

Gary Stone
11 days ago
Reply to  Jim Godfrey

I hear ya. I installed the SmartPlug and after 2-3 seasons notice that the cord-end plug…the female end…is so beefy that there’s no worry about tension on the cord…if that was your concern.

Mel
14 days ago

A couple of years ago while wintering in Yuma, my shore plug “melted”. Thank goodness, there was no fire. Ended up replacing both ends. Wish I would have known about this new Smart Plug then.

Thom
14 days ago

Our shore power cable is hard-wired. No way to see if there are any connections hidden between entry point and electrical panel. Hopefully I only need to watch the prongs that plug into the pedestal. I clean them occasionally.

Rock & Tina
14 days ago

I consider the SmartPlug the #1 upgrade I did to my Class A. This plug should be the standard on all new RVs