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Old 07-05-2016, 10:03 AM   #1
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Melted power plug and dead refrigerator

Well we got our A/C fan motor repaired, and packed up for a weekend of camping only to find our refrigerator had quit working! We had replaced the cooling unit on it shortly after we purchased our 1999 Sunline Solaris in 2009 because it quit working then as well.
All was going well until this weekend. Thank goodness we had a couple of coolers and an extra electric frig on hand.
So summers are hot in Florida, but this weekend it was in the mid 90s with high humidity. Our A/C ran almost constantly the whole weekend, and thank goodness we had air!
But then on the Fourth of July, I was cooking breakfast and noticed this odd smell - like burning plastic. A number of campers had already left and I figured it was just someone's fire smoldering. Then I went to our water hookup, where we have a y-connector with an extra faucet for washing hands outside, and then I noticed the burnt plastic smell really strong. My husband asked if it was coming from the electrical box, and it was! Our plug had melted!
So it was turn everything off and sit in the heat while he repaired it. This is the second time this has happened to us. The last time was a little over a year ago. My question is has anyone else had this happen to them? If so, what was the cause?
Thank you in advance for reading this and for your comments!
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Old 07-05-2016, 10:39 AM   #2
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And the refrigerator problem . . . I usually turn the refrigerator on the night before we leave and put bottles of frozen water in them with a few cans of soda as well. (This would have been Thursday evening) Went out to start packing on Friday, and noticed the refrigerator light was not on. Looked down at the power control panel and noticed I had switches one, two and four on and not the others. Which would have been the main one and two and the appliance galley switches. Not sure why I did that except I thought I was keeping the a/c off, but the power converter switch was off and the appliance galley switch was on.
So I turned the refrigerator on, and put more ice bottles in. AFter four hours I loaded it full of food. But it didn't get cold, or even cool. So after six hours, we transferred everything to coolers. I am wondering what happened.
My husband thinks the cooling unit blew the ammonia again. I am wondering if it is electrical, because of the things that happened prior. Any thoughts?
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Old 07-05-2016, 12:53 PM   #3
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Wendy,

If you melted the shoreline plug at the campground's power pole, you've got a combination of causes.

1. Sounds like the power pole's circuit breaker did not kick at 30 amps like it should have.
2. Current draw from the trailer of fridge on 110, hot water heater on 110, and A/C on 110 plus any other 110 usage could easily put you right at the 30 amp max, and maybe beyond if your breakers in the trailer trip on the high side.
3. Running the spare fridge and other appliances just increases the draw that much more.

Pulling that much current for an extended period of time could well heat up the plug enough to melt it. Poor contact at the plug can be an issue. The smaller the actual contact surface, the easier it is to heat up beyond what it should. It could be bad contacts in the power pole.

In hot weather, I always recommend running the fridge and water heater on propane to ease the load on the 110 system to ensure that A/C will perform to peak capability. I know a lot of folks complain about the "cost" of the propane, but I don't see that as a reason to overload the 110 side, especially when I hear about experiences like yours.

One other point. If you're still using incandescent lights, that increases the current draw through the convertor, and that also adds to the total current draw through the shoreline to the power pole. Converting to LED's saves a bunch of current as they pull 1/8 to 1/10 of what incandescents do.
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Old 07-05-2016, 03:25 PM   #4
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Thanks Steve! The refrigerator wasn't working (a separate problem now) but we did run the water heater and the A/C. Never thought to switch it over to propane. We have plenty, so that would not have been an issue. I will do that next time!
My husband said the wires had melted inside the plug, and he stripped and reattached them on our end. Not sure about the box. Then he scraped each prong to ensure a better connection besides.
After he re-stripped the wires, the plug seemed to stay cool. We turned the water heater off after we were done with dishes and showers, so that was not running too. We got through our last night, and now have to take a closer look at the problems at hand.
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Old 07-05-2016, 03:26 PM   #5
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And we will have to change out those bulbs as well. Thanks for the info! Things I never would have thought of!
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Old 07-05-2016, 04:08 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wendydahle View Post
And we will have to change out those bulbs as well. Thanks for the info! Things I never would have thought of!
We dry camp quite a bit so conservation of battery power is a priority issue for us. The LEDs make a huge difference.

One other thing comes to mind in regards to your refrigerator problems. My Cougar has a fan located on the fins on the back side of the fridge, and controlled by a thermal switch. When the temperature back there exceeds a certain threshold, the fan comes on and cools that area. As I recently pointed out to another member here, there are aftermarket fan kits that can be installed in the refrigerator vent on the roof of the trailer. This increases the chimney effect of air flow behind the fridge and helps it run more efficiently and safely during very warm weather.
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Old 07-05-2016, 07:08 PM   #7
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Wendy....do you use a surge protector when camping? Progressive is a good name and I would suggest you invest in one, if you don't currently use one. It may have shut down your power if there was in fact a problem at the pole.....
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Old 07-05-2016, 07:17 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wendydahle View Post
.., but the power converter switch was off ...
If the converter switch was off the 12 volt battery may have been dead or low. The fridge needs 12 volts for the control board.
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Old 07-05-2016, 08:33 PM   #9
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Another thing to watch out for are loose wires and loose plugs! This also will create a larger draw on the plug which causes lots of problems and melted connectors! If you added a extention cord to reach your cord and its not large enough this could cause problems like you described too.
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Old 07-06-2016, 04:00 AM   #10
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I have installed a 30Amp outlet here at home and keep our 2363 plugged in all the time. Because of distance I use the camper pigtail and then a 25 foot extension. What I have noticed is that molded plug wires at the exposed connection tended to rust in the plug to cause open circuits. I replaced the entire first cord and then put a plug fixture from Home Depot the next time. Now I try to keep moisture from the plugs. Just covering the plug with anything to stop rain, morning dew, from entering and keeping plugs off the ground seems to help.
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Old 07-06-2016, 08:15 AM   #11
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There have been quite a few issues covered in this short thread. It's good info for all of us. We need to remember that even when operating on shore line (110vac), some of the appliances and fixtures in our units need 12vdc. The newer convertors work fine without a battery, but the older ones probably should have a battery in place and connected.

One other point for now... Our shore lines connect to the campground (or home) power pole. We don't have a lot of control over the quality of socket on the cg power box, but we do for our home installations. This connection between the shoreline and the power pole needs to be clean and tight. As Gliden07 pointed out, a loose connection is a recipe for problems.

Jim mentioned clean in the previous post and this is just as important. If there is rust, corrosion, whatever on the contacts, this will increase the electrical resistance of the connection. Added resistance creates heat. (Remember that toasters and light bulbs use resistance to create heat and light. HOT!!!) Added resistance also drops the voltage going through your shoreline and into the trailer. The lower the voltage, the less efficient your appliances are. If you've got a high resistance shoreline connection and you are using many of the 110vac items in the trailer like the A/C, microwave, water heater, and fridge, the increased current draw creates even more heat. This is why I recommend balancing your energy consumption when on shore line. I've never run my water heaters on 110vac. When I had the Sunline, the fridge was always on gas.
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Old 07-06-2016, 08:20 AM   #12
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If it cooked the plug it most likely was a bad connection that will not trip the camp ground breaker because it's not an over load. It could have been the plug it's self or even the camp ground outlet when you are draw a lot of current things get hot fast if the connection is poor.
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Old 07-06-2016, 08:24 AM   #13
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Thank you everyone! A lot of great ideas of where to look for problems and how to solve some of these issues. Might have to consider a surge protector.
We also keep our trailer plugged in at home as we have a 30-amp outlet on the outside of our house. Never thought about the Florida humidity and rain affecting it since we are originally Midwesterners. We will have to keep a closer watch on that as the heat and humidity seem to affect everything here in Florida!
Before we invest in another cooling unit, I have asked my husband to check the refrig circuit board just to be sure that is not the problem too, as I had the other switches on and not the converter. It just seems suspicious that the refrig died after that.
The reason this happened is because of my eyesight. Not as good as it used to be, and I thought I was turning off one switch, and because I could not see it clearly, obviously turned off the wrong switches in the control panel.
The reason we started turning off the one switch in the control panel is because the A/C kept trying to start by itself, even when it was in the off position. The A/C fan would try to start, but would not start. We would just get this hum of the capacitor trying to start. So when we are not using the a/c we just started turning the switch off in the control panel. I usually would do this when I started things up a few days before leaving on a trip. Unfortunately, hit the wrong switch.
Thanks everyone for your great input! It is always a BIG help!! Always gets us going in the right direction!
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Old 07-07-2016, 05:11 PM   #14
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Now I see!!! The old "human error" problem. I haven't found a foolproof way to control that, yet. ...... Seriously, problems caused by how we use these things will always happen. That is why I carry credit cards, cash, tools and insurance. Just like a boat is a hole in the water that money is thrown into, our campers are portable rooms we throw money out of. We can only hope we get more pleasure for those dollars.
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Old 07-08-2016, 06:20 AM   #15
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Jim-Bev
Coat the exposed plug prongs with dialectic grease (automotive parts store) that will help with rust and corrosion.

Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk
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Old 07-08-2016, 08:34 AM   #16
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A few problems here and there never discourage me from camping! I would be a full timer if I could!
Waiting for the weekend to investigate the dead refrigerator, and to replace the melted plug.
I thank everyone who responded to this post. This website is a wealth of information for Sunline owners, and RV owners are as well. We have found the answer to many a problem on this site and I can't thank enough the people who put this together and collected all of the information!
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Old 07-08-2016, 04:54 PM   #17
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Jim-Bev
Coat the exposed plug prongs with dialectic grease (automotive parts store) that will help with rust and corrosion.

Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk


Jim, I had thought about doing something to "waterproof" the plugs and on the New fixture I could see no problem with using dielectric grease inside on connections. I do use it on my hitch ball.

I had a problem on the molded end of the pigtail where the plug is fused to the metal prongs. I could see the rubber falling from the prongs because of chemicals (It is bad enuff with the high amperage heat). Might not happen but in my mind I could see chemicals doing more damage than good. that is why I chose to apply nothing and attempt to keep plugs from sitting in water/chemicals. also, I could see greases in the open hold sand/dirt when I dropped the ends on the ground.

So far my protecting the plugs from direct immersion in water has kept things from rusting and holding dirt.
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Old 08-20-2016, 01:06 PM   #18
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We are in the process of re-doing the cooling unit on our refrigerator. We just purchased a refurbished unit. I am trying to take photos to show what we are doing. Not the best photos, but I hope you can see what we are doing.
First my husband removed the panel at the top of the doors, and then proceeded to take the doors off. There were bolts on each door that he needed to remove.
Then he had a couple of screws at the top that were in sideways that he removed before pulling the entire refrig out. There are tracks on the bottom of the refrig that make it easy to slide in and out. That is where we are so far and here are some photos.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg refrig redo 8-20-16 005.jpg (56.5 KB, 5 views)
File Type: jpg refrig redo 8-20-16 006.jpg (56.9 KB, 5 views)
File Type: jpg refrig redo 8-20-16 007.jpg (73.8 KB, 5 views)
File Type: jpg refrig redo 8-20-16 008.jpg (53.1 KB, 6 views)
File Type: jpg refrig redo 8-20-16 009.jpg (65.9 KB, 4 views)
File Type: jpg refrig redo 8-20-16 011.jpg (83.4 KB, 5 views)
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Old 08-21-2016, 10:20 AM   #19
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Here are a couple more photos. The box has been turned on its back to expose the cooling unit.
The first photo shows the old cooling unit.
The second photo shows the cooling unit off of the box and how it looks.

I am also including the directions that we received when we initially did the first install of the refurbished cooling unit.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg refrig redo 001.jpg (95.6 KB, 2 views)
File Type: jpg refrig redo 002.jpg (79.0 KB, 2 views)
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Old 08-21-2016, 10:25 AM   #20
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The install instructions did not upload. Not sure what I have to do to get it to upload. says file is too big
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