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Old 08-05-2016, 08:08 PM   #1
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How hot is normal?

In So. Utah and its 100-105 degrees. The AC went out yesterday when the wife cranked on her blow dryer. Found out through a mobile tech we needed a new capacitor. $250 and 1 day later we wake up and smell burning wires. I kill the pedestal and start following the smell to where the shore cord comes in and connects to the romex in the trailer and is dispersed out. Pull the cover and everything is black and smoking.
After cooling cutting and reconnecting the wires I'm watching things nervously. The surge protector at the pedestal says we're only pulling 19amps. We're not running too much (we're 30amp) just the fridge and AC etc. my question is, how hot or warm should I expect those wire nuts and wires to get with anywhere from 20-30 amps coming in? They're warm but not hot now, but I'm still nervous. Last year we were in this exact camp and exact spot when we melted our shore cord. (Granted it was 115 degrees 4 days straight.) I'm running the Surge Guard top of the line protector and again only pulling 19 amps at the moment. Any electricians or experienced folks out there have any feedback or suggestions?

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Old 08-06-2016, 12:12 AM   #2
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I am not an electrician, therefore have no answers that way, but I do have a suggestion. Run your fridge on propane. Less amp draw, hopefully less problems. You do keep your air on all night, or at least start it early in the morning, right?!? Sounds like you've been through a nightmare; hope you get everything fixed. We've stayed in 100 plus degree heat before when we had only 30 amps, but as long as we started it early in the day, we always stayed cool. Good luck. And you are staying in a RV park, right? Tell your wife to go to the bathroom/showers to use her hair dryer.

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Old 08-06-2016, 12:57 AM   #3
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$250 for a $13 capacitor?!?! I'm in the wrong business.
Seriously, I'm not normally an alarmist, and I too am no electrician, but I know enough to believe that there is a real problem with your electrical system. First, I can't imagine a normal situation where turning on a hairdryer would smoke your A/C there is that. Secondly, burned wiring, especially before your fuse/circuit breaker panel, is a show-stopper in my in no longer used until checked out by a very competent R/V electrical tech. The potential for a fire is just too much for my comfort.
Also, I'm not familiar with the electrical protection you are using, but a true EMS (did I hear someone say Progressive Industries?) is never a bad investment.
Good luck and please be careful!
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Old 08-06-2016, 01:18 AM   #4
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Couple of thoughts. We're now 10 hours later and all wiring is cool. I'm thinking we just ran too much earlier in the week and it was just too hot. We melted the wiring and therefor had loose wire nuts. The combination caused things to continue to melt and smoke since the nuts were so loose. (Open for a joke here I know)
I'm going to continue to monitor things through the night.
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Old 08-06-2016, 03:34 AM   #5
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A 12-1500 watt dryer will pull 10 amps or more and you are at 19 now....correct? That puts you at 30. This will find the weak link if there is one. Your voltage could be low or gotten low. Hope you keep it going.

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Old 08-06-2016, 04:46 AM   #6
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I'm an electrical engineer. Pulling to much current should trip the circuit breaker in the Park's utility box that your plugged into long before you melt any wiring in your camper. Also, as breakers age they have a tendency to reduce their current carrying capacity making them trip sooner.

Heat in electrical circuits is caused by to much current passing through to much resistance, in your case probably the resistance of deteriorated wire splices. If the evidence of the burned wires is isolated to one spot where the camper wiring is terminated to the shore power cable, you found your problem. Those terminations are probably corroded increasing resistance. This increased resistance will incidentally reduce voltage and available current draw to the rest of the camper and is especially hard on high power devices like air conditioners.

The solution is to cut off all the burnt wire, strip the wire and re-terminate with new wire nuts. Make sure all the copper is clean. If you cut back the insulation and the copper looks oxidized (green, dirty, dull) cut back more or replace the wiring. This should fix the problem.

The wiring should not be noticeably warmer then the surrounding surfaces while in use and definitely not hot enough to blacken the insulation. If it is, too much current and too much resistance.

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Old 08-06-2016, 06:06 AM   #7
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Loose connection from're extremely lucky. Another fine example of fine craftsmanship and quality control. I was reading another thread recently where the trailer side Furrion connection melted down on a new Coachmen TT due to loose connections at its screw terminals.

I hope you reported this properly to the NHTSA? Eventually someone is going to be killed because they are evidently using workers who are either unqualified or just don't care, then the units are pushed out the door with no inspections / quality control. This is not an example of a bad component supplied by some vendor which is inconsequential regardless.

A unit getting shipped with plumbing leaks is one thing as I don't think anyone has ever drowned from one. Sending it out with loose or improper electrical connections is something entirely different. This kind of stuff is downright life threatening.

On our 2017 Roo I changed my converter guts to a Powermax Boondocker. While doing so I discovered all the 12V main connections and grounds were loose including the large gauge feeds from the battery. 12V DC can overheat or arc and cause fires also. The 120V AC connections at the circuit breakers were all over tightened to the point that they smashed the actual conductors flat. They used a square drive bit in a screw-gun to tighten the breaker lugs, and tightened the lugs to the point of stripping the square recess on the screw out. Now you can't get them loose should a breaker go bad but when they smashed the wire flatter than paper, all you have to do is move it a little and it will break right off. I had to redress the entire power center, both the AC and DC sides.

Since the same line worker usually does the same job over and over, day after day, you can bet the farm if one is done wrong, so is every other one.
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Old 08-06-2016, 06:44 AM   #8
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(Since the same line worker usually does the same job over and over, day after day, you can bet the farm if one is done wrong, so is every other one.)
Wow! What a pessimistic outlook. Why do you even go camping it's so dangerous.

To the OP- that was scary and a good thing you found the problem! If you re-did your connections with good - properly sized wire nuts that are now good and tight you should be fine.

Camping when it's 105 you guys are tough! We've done it too. Camped in Hoosier NF one time when it was 99 but the up side was they have a GREAT pool! The CG was empty and we had total piece and quiet! (And a good AC unit!).
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Old 08-06-2016, 07:08 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by KyDan View Post
(Since the same line worker usually does the same job over and over, day after day, you can bet the farm if one is done wrong, so is every other one.)
Wow! What a pessimistic outlook. Why do you even go camping it's so dangerous.
Nothing pessimistic about stating facts.

Its not as dangerous after I checked every electrical connection. Have you ever checked yours? especially the ones you can not see?
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Old 08-06-2016, 07:28 AM   #10
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you had a bad connection, and the amp draw of AC and hair dryer combined made it much worse. Sounds like you got it resolved. Luckily the results weren't worse.

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