Generator Transfer Switch Melt Down/Fire Hazard

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NSRV

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Okay so my RV's (2018 Jayco Redhawk 22J) generator transfer switch melted down and almost caught fire last night... (Luckily I smelled the smoke and quickly disconnected power and inspected...) Found a loose connection on the board from a improperly assembled wiring bridge. One of the screws on the bridge was barely finger tight and the wire was not properly installed into the bridge so the screw would've never been able to properly tighten it down. I just got some new 10 ga. wire, heat shrink, tight crimps and bypassed the faulty bridge and replaced the wiring that burned up. No one has been in this area before (that I know of) to work or make repairs, it was faulty from the factory. The repair I made seems to be working fine, and yes I tested it very vigorously, the cause was the loose connection on the bridge.

The generator transfer switch is a Progressive Dynamics 5100 Series (PD5110610). Is this a common issue? I'm a little disappointed that something like this was so carelessly assembled, and grateful that my RV didn't burn to the ground (it would have if I hadn't immediately acted.)... I would like to know if I need to replace the generator transfer switch with a different safer model or was this just a one in a million chance fluke?
 

Utclmjmpr

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Winnebago had the same problem about two years ago and issued a recall to tighten the screws on the transfer switch,, they lost a few coaches before the cause was discovered..>>>Dan
 

NSRV

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Winnebago had the same problem about two years ago and issued a recall to tighten the screws on the transfer switch,, they lost a few coaches before the cause was discovered..>>>Dan

I looked for Jayco recalls for this but nothing found. In fact no specific information was found except for general information stating that loose connections on any generator transfer switch can cause melting/fire. I'm feeling like this may have just been a one in a million fluke, but curious if other Jayco owners have had similar issues.
 

NSRV

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Sloppy assembly at the factory is an all-too-common issue. Not just Jayco either - they all have bad days.
Sadly, I think that this all it boils down to. I worked in a Nissan dealership for some time and its the same there with cars/trucks.

Just glad she didn't burn to the ground and glad that I was home when it decided to start burning up. (Actually, I had just got home from work shortly before that...) Thank God!
 

Isaac-1

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Even if properly assembled over time vibration can cause these connection to loosen up. It is a good idea to check all the wiring lugs on the transfer switch as well as the main breaker box every year or two, and tighten them up as needed.
 

NSRV

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Even if properly assembled over time vibration can cause these connection to loosen up. It is a good idea to check all the wiring lugs on the transfer switch as well as the main breaker box every year or two, and tighten them up as needed.
Being my first RV that I've owned, this is very helpful information for sure. Ive never checked here, had I known to check before this, I would've found that the wire was improperly inserted into the bridge and would've found it before it almost burned the RV down, lol. Noted!
 

Kirk

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Being my first RV that I've owned, this is very helpful information for sure.
I don't know of any dealer who brings the subject up but it is a good practice to annually go through the RV and check and tighten pretty much anything that could get loose, especially if it is electrical. An RV is subject to almost constant vibration and I consider it to be amazing that there aren't more problems such as yours than there are. With your RV being 3 years old now, I would bet that the connection, while possibly not what it should have been, it was not nearly that loose until recently or the issue would have happened a lot sooner. Any loose connection causes an increase in resistance and pushing current through a resistance creates heat. Worse yet, as the heat damages the poor connection that resistance increases and so too does the amount of heat.

While you are doing your annual examination of loose connections, take time to also examine the power plug on your shore power cord as those also get bad over time and can melt and lose power just when you need them most for air conditioning or such. Signs of plug melting or discolored pins are an indication that it may be time for a new plug.
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Kirk

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The plug being damaged would not cause the other problem. It sounds like your loose connection was on the generator side. If it was the connection to the shore power cord and had been replaced that could have been when the problem began but a damaged plug would not cause it.
 

JayArr

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You can buy a product called Loctite that will help keep the screws from loosening over time. Find it at the auto parts store. Buy the Purple coloured stuff, the red stuff can be permanent. The Purple stuff will allow the screw to be removed later. Take every screw out, put some of the loctite liquid on the threads and put it back in. It works for all kinds of stuff, I go through a couple of bottles a year.
 

Isaac-1

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loctite and electrical connections are not a good mix as part of the connection runs through the lug screw.
 

Kirk

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loctite and electrical connections are not a good mix
The following comes from Henkel-Adhesives.com
LOCTITE® Green Threadlocker is recommended for locking preassembled fasteners, e.g. electrical connectors and set screws. The product is categorized as medium-to-high-strength for wicking. It is also available in a liquid form, cures in 24 hours and can be removed with heat and hand tools.

I have been using Loctite® sparingly since I was taught to do that as an electrician on US Navy submarines more than 50 years ago. I have been using it in my RVs since the 1980's.
 

JayArr

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My take on it was that the screw was holding the wire against the block that was the electrical connection. Since electrons always take the shortest path there shouldn't be any current through the actual screw and therefore the loctite isn't an electrical factor. Maybe I'm wrong, where did you get the idea that the current runs through the screw?
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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In practice it's not an all-or-nothing thing. Some of the current runs through every part of the available paths. Most of it follows the path of least resistance (which may or may not be the shortest path) and I suspect that JayArr is right that is typically the wire pressed against the terminal block.
 
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