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Old 07-07-2013, 10:15 AM   #1
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Electrical problem confirmation

So I've spent the better part of the morning searching topics and reading answers here on our wonderful forum and I believe I've found the answer but I wanted to get y'all's opinions and confirmation of my suspicions and/or corrections.

On our last two outings, we've been kicking the main breaker on the CG pedestal. I first noticed it 2 trips ago with the AC running and I turned on the water heater (electric). Didn't take it long at all and the main breaker tripped. Didn't think much of it and was in a hurry, so I just switched the heater to LP and went on about my business. On our most recent trip it did it again when I tried to turn the water heater on electric. Breaker tripped almost immediately, and again the AC was running. Reset breaker and tried again. As you can guess, tripped again. Set heater to LP and reset breaker.

Somewhat later in the day, DW was preparing goodies for the kiddos and using the microwave. There goes the power AGAIN. Back to the pedestal to reset. This time I took a little more time to investigate and noticed that there was a "warm" smell around the pedestal area. Felt the plug in and noticed that the plug itself was warm to the touch as well as several inches down the wire seemed to be warmer than it should be. 8 inches from the plug the wire was cool and felt as it should (at least as I guess it should feel). Turned off the pedestal breaker, unplugged, and examined the plug in. Blades were somewhat discolored and the plug appears to be slightly deformed like it was overheating and melting ever so little.

I am assuming that I need to replace the plug and/or the entire cord and that should fix my woes. Or could it also be a problem with the water heater as well? I know that I can't expect to run everything in the camper with the AC running but I should at least be able to run the AC and keep the water heater on, right?
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Old 07-07-2013, 10:54 AM   #2
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We never had problems running the electric water heater and the A/C together but not the microwave and A/C or the microwave with hair dryer
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Old 07-07-2013, 03:43 PM   #3
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If the blades on your plug are only discolored a bit, you can use sand paper to clean them up, as good as new.

A poor connection at the plug-receptacle interface can cause some of the problems you described. You can control the condition of your plug, but the receptacle state-of-repair is the responsibility of the CG. I've been at one or two CG where the receptacle really should have been replaced. We just limited our current draw at those places. A pain yes, but at least I didn't burn up my plug.
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Old 07-07-2013, 04:20 PM   #4
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Your dealing with 30 amps... A/C+waterheater or A/C+microwave PLUS the converter running is taking you over the 30A Some breakers are "touchier" than others and pop quicker.
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Old 07-07-2013, 05:09 PM   #5
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I would check my water heater element. It's possible that the element is going bad, or already is. If the element is burned into the current can rise. Sanding the plug leads is a good idea, but you may have to eventually change it.
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Old 07-07-2013, 08:55 PM   #6
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Are you using a 30 amp receptacle??
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Old 07-07-2013, 09:35 PM   #7
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Re: Electrical problem confirmation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce and Becky View Post
I would check my water heater element. It's possible that the element is going bad, or already is. If the element is burned into the current can rise. Sanding the plug leads is a good idea, but you may have to eventually change it.
Thanks for the tip. I'll check the element the first chance I get.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mainenebula View Post
Are you using a 30 amp receptacle??
And yes, it is a 30 amp plug.
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Old 07-07-2013, 09:39 PM   #8
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I have heard about this and experienced it ourselves last week. It is a poor connection at the pedestal. Because the 30 amp plug are used more frequently, they become worn and give you a poor connection. We showed our plug to a friend (electrician) and he confirmed that poor connection was indeed the problem. A way around is to buy a 50 amp to 30 amp dog bone connector and you can plug into the 50 amp side which are used less frequently and typically less worn.

(example): http://www.amazon.com/Voltec-16-0050...+amp+to+30+amp
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Old 07-08-2013, 05:40 AM   #9
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FWIW, I have started using a fiber emery board (used for fingernails) and slide it into the receptacle a couple of times to clean those contacts before plugging in. If the 30 amp receptacle is very loose I use a 50 to 30 amp dog bone and use the 50 amp receptacle.
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Old 07-08-2013, 06:53 AM   #10
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X2 on the wife's emery board. I have several of those in my RV tool box...

This is a worse case photo of the 30AMP plug which most likely started out just getting warm like you have found...


I always inspect the 30AMP Receptacle at each camp ground pedestal before plugging into them. As stated by others they get used big time at the camp grounds and will start making "loose" connection to your shore power cable. I have thought about getting a RV50A to 30AMP dogbone adapter so that I can use the 50AMP receptacle at the camp grounds. These of course are not available at alot of camp grounds we tend to go to but are usually found to be in excellent condition as I guess most users are still plugging into the 30AMP receptacles...

Also as stated by others here your high current appliances add up to more than 30AMPs which makes you keep it in the back of your mind to try not use these high current appliances at the same time.

The heavy duty 120VAC roll around vacuum usually does us in hehe... I have also tripped the breaker using the portable 120VAC OiL FILLED radiator looking type portable heaters as well. More recently we have started running a separate HD extension cord from the camp ground 20A Service at the camp ground pedestal. This is on its own circuit breaker at the pedestal and will not trip the 30AMP breaker. You might want to consider doing this as well for you portable high current items you may want to use like the vacuum, extra heaters, hair dryer, etc...

just some of my thoughts
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