hot power cord

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stevesauer

New member
Joined
Jul 11, 2005
Posts
2
We've recently purchased a used 30 ft travel trailer and have a few things to work on.

The most worrisome is the very warm power cord that heats up when the AC is on.  It only heats up at the plug and the first 6 inches of the cord so there is some real resistance building up there.  We are talking hot to the touch, like 140 deg F or so.

I've cleaned (with wire wheel) the plug prongs but there is not much else to do.

I'm considering cutting the cord back about 12 inches and re splicing a new plug on as I'm guessing the old plug is a bit worn from years of use and may have some damaged wires thus causing the risistance to go up.

Is this a common problem?

Thanks,

Steve
 

John From Detroit

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Apr 12, 2005
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Location
Davison Michigan
One thing that can happen with a power cord, espically if the plug is not of the molded type, is that water and other contaminates can enter the end of the wire and "Wick" up into the cord causing corrosion... I've seen it as much as a foot or more of corrosion on some wires I've checked.

I would cut back till you get good shiney copper and put on a new plug, seal it well using liquid electrical tape after assembly (You don't want that on the screws) and keep it clean and dry.

Many times RV power cords are left lying on the ground, the plug is plugged into an extension cord and left lying on the ground, it rains, a puddle forms and the plug (and the outlet end of the extension cord) are left under water. RV cords are not designed for this kind of abuse (Marine cords are, but a marine plug matching the inlet on my RV is over $100, and that is just the plug!!!!)

This is a prime setup for the kind of wicking I'm talking about sucking up that water into the cord.

One thing you can do, and in fact I did, is buy a small tool box, (Plastic) modify it so that the cords pass through it, this way you can put the plug ends INSIDE the tool box, you can then put the tool box up on a block and if you position it right, and drill weep (Drain) holes, you can more or less insure the plug stays dry.
 

Hoghauler

Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2005
Posts
6
I believe you are talking about the heavy cord from your trailer.  Sounds like John's recommendation on the idea you were already thinking will solve your problem.  Good to know if I ever have that problem.  On a similar note, last week I did not yet have an RV extension cord and used a standard construction type grounded extension cord (you know the orange kind you use for your circular saw--probably 14 guage) to plug in at my house and try things out.  I ran the air for about 30 minutes prior to my Mom and Dad stopping by to see the new trailer.  My parents have had several rigs, starting with an 8' x10' tent moving thru several to a 35' fifth wheel until sadly, a couple years ago my Dad's health (now 72) brought their trailer traveling to an end.  Luckily, one of the things my Dad had left from his trailering days was a heavy 25' RV extension cord.  He brought it to me as well as some wood jack stands with handles he had made, etc.  Well, he was just in time with the extension, my extension cord was extremely hot when I pulled it to replace it with the cord he brought me.  Unfortunately, my dear Dad's health problem affects his memory and thought process, thus my increased need for this forum, but he was timely in this instance. 

 

Carl L

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Mar 14, 2005
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Location
west Los Angeles
stevesauer said:
I've cleaned (with wire wheel) the plug prongs but there is not much else to do.

I'm considering cutting the cord back about 12 inches and re splicing a new plug on as I'm guessing the old plug is a bit worn from years of use and may have some damaged wires thus causing the risistance to go up.

Is this a common problem?

Thanks,

Steve

There is one thing to do -- replace the cord.  You are dealing with a 30-50 amp 120VAC circuit exposed to the weather in use.  Get a new, molded cord from an RV parts supply and use it to replace your old cord.  If you use an extension cord with the coupling out in the weather, seal it with tape and prop it off the ground. 

A general caution:  The prongs of a trailer shore power cord can get oxidized by plugging it into a live circuit.  RV 120VAC  circuits are always under load -- from the battery charger if nothing else.  When you plug in the cord to a live circuit, the load will cause arcing and oxidize the prongs.  Every campground I have been in has a circuit breaker controlling the outlets at the site box.  Trip the breaker off before you plug and when you unplug.
 

jus ducky

New member
Joined
Jul 18, 2005
Posts
3
If your power sorce (that your cord is plugged into) doesn't have enough amperage it will cause it to heat up.  There may not be a problem with your shore line.  If you are plugged into a regular outlet in your home it will be a 15A or 20A outlet. And running a 30A trailer off it will cause it to heat.
 

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