RV shore power 50 amp socket connection burned causing electrical failure
Cloverdale, California – A regular client called me to say the lights are dimming and there is no power to run the fridge or any electrical outlets.
Inspection showed a full 120 volts at the campground’s power pedestal and power to the outlet end of the shore power chord. This particular RV has a 50 amp four prong shore power inlet, but the only power available at this campground is 30 amp and three prong.
A 30 amp to 50 amp adaptor cable was used and this is mostly where electrical failures occur. A quick check at the power distribution panel showed no current coming into the RV. This particular fifth wheel RV also has a built-in automatic transfer switch. This ATS senses if there is generator power and will switch to generator supply if there is no shore power.
ATS systems also are a regular failure point. Failures occur from overuse of electrical appliances where excess current will burn out the weakest terminal inside the ATS. Usually the shore power neutral terminal.
The ATS had no signs of burning and continuity between all points appeared okay.
The next place to check was the link or terminals between the RV inlet socket and the main lead wiring just inside the RV leading to the ATS. Removing the RV side of the main power chord and inspecting the terminal connections did show some signs of overheating, but the power was getting to this end of the chord.
Removal of the RV ‘male’ side of the shore connection revealed a loose neutral wire right at the terminal connection. The terminal had been arcing and caused some burning. The risk of fire was very high! If there had been some leaves or mouse nesting, it would have caught fire easily.
The remedy was simple. Replace the RV shore power socket and for extra safety, replace the shore power chord.
It was a costly repair exercise though. Due to the urgent nature of the repair, the owner lives in this RV fulltime, we needed to source parts by the quickest possible means. This meant an overnight delivery from the only supplier who had the parts in stock and they were not the cheapest!
The new parts were installed the very next afternoon and full power was restored to this happy camper.
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