Burnt Power Connectors

A combination of high current draw and poor contact between male and female electrical connectors results in excessive heat. This results in a drop of voltage drop and when the heat becomes comes intense enough, melted connectors and fire. In addition to the risk of fire, the voltage drop can seriously damage electrical components and appliances.

Many people assume this condition is caused by an overload on the power supply. All RVs should be equipped with a circuit breaker and another should be installed on the power pedestal. An overload needs to trip only one of these and the power supply is interrupted.

Overheating can occur when less than the full 30 or 50 amps, the system is designed for, is being drawn. When the connection between the male and female electrical connectors is loose or corroded, heat is generated, causing the female terminal to expand further, generating even more heat. This results in a runaway situation that ends in fire, melted connections or both.

This can occur with 30-amp and 50-amp connections but it seems to be more prevalent with 30-amp receptacles. This is mostly because 30-amp receptacles have been around longer and they are generally subject to more frequent use. In addition to more frequent use, 30-amp receptacles supply a maximum of 3600W and are more often used at or near their limit. 50-amp receptacles supply up to 12,000W and are used at capacity less frequently. It is largely a matter of mathematics that more problems would be found with 30-amp receptacles.

A surge protector or EMS (Electrical Management System) does not protect you from this condition but an EMS can warn you of low voltage, one of the symptoms of an overheating connection. The best way to protect your RV and electrical system from this is by inspecting and taking care of your connector each time you plugin. If the prongs are corroded, clean them with a contact cleaner and if the connection feels loose or there is any sign of scorching, notify the campground staff and minimize electrical use until repairs are made.

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