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Wiring a new head to my shore cable


ALmunk

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Anytime I install a new plug once complete I use silicone to seal as best I can where the rubber cord enters the plastic. Of course they are not absolutely water tight, but the silicone may still help. Often at a camp site I might take steel wool or my pocket knife and shine and brighten the plugs terminals, my buddys make fun but that's just how I'm wired lol

 

John T

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Anytime I install a new plug once complete I use silicone to seal as best I can where the rubber cord enters the plastic. Of course they are not absolutely water tight, but the silicone may still help. Often at a camp site I might take steel wool or my pocket knife and shine and brighten the plugs terminals, my buddys make fun but that's just how I'm wired lol

I'm with you, John. There are some electrical plugs in older parks that are in really sad condition. I'm also one who looks for signs of any melting of the power outlet and if present I ask for a different site.

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When I had to replace mine the old connections were not visible so I downloaded the instruction page of how to wire it up. For the last 2 years, I have had the neutral and ground reversed, according to the diagram included above. This brings up 2 questions:

 

1. Will I have caused any harm by having the ground/neutral reversed?

2. Should I re-wire according to the diagram shown above?

 

I realize that ground and neutral are not the same, but my Progressive EMS has never given me an error except once when a RV park had an open ground, and it worked OK...

 

John

 

On edit: looking at the picture in the prior post, the ground is on the bottom contact. Looking at the wiring diagram, the ground is the top contact, which is the way I have it wired. ????

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The ground is the rounded post. Neutral is on the straight post. There is no top or bottom.

 

Got that. But look at the picture in the prior post and the circuit diagram in the same post. If you can accept that the cable always exits on the down side of the connector then the picture of the connections and the wiring diagrams are exactly opposite.

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Assuming we are still talking about Kirk's diagrams, the wiring diagram says nothing about which is up or down, nor does it show where the cable connects. It is just a wiring diagram. The cable could go straight out the back or anywhere else. It's location is irrelevant. A wiring diagram shows the "logical" connections, not the "physical" connections.

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John - In Kirk's post #5 (Top Picture) if you notice the bottom connector (rounded in the picture) and the schematic bottom ground they are the same.

 

In the other (lower) picture (schematic), the ground is in the top of the connector.

 

Both pictures are correct, just orientation is backward

 

Another way to think of it --- the ground is always the first to connect and the last to disconnect. It is always the longer 'blade'.

 

If you have the ground and neutral reversed - it does matter. And YOU SHOULD CHANGE IT. If (and the protector should catch this), a floating park neutral would put the unbalanced voltage on the MH. You've just gone to good places. My guess - yours to check out - you did it right and all is well. I'm ???? miles from you though. Another thing, you could use your ohmmeter to check between the rounded ground connecter and the MH frame. Just for giggles also check the neutral and make sure that is not connected to the trailer frame.

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My plug is wired correctly, no need to change it. It's my fault for starting this part of the discussion, I reacted to looking at the picture Kirk posted and not the schematic. Most people here would buy something like the Camco 50A replacement connector, which is always mounted with the wire outlet down. And, Camco correctly identified that Ground is the top, round, green colored terminal.

 

But if you were to look at the picture (not schematic) Kirk posted, and assuming the cable outlet is still down, then it shows ground to be in the bottom spot, where Neutral should be. My only contention is that Kirk's picture, no matter how well intended, would be confusing. Like it confused me at first glance.

 

No harm done. Everyone is right, it's just that the picture was misleading. At least it was to me.

 

John

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But if you were to look at the picture (not schematic) Kirk posted, and assuming the cable outlet is still down, then it shows ground to be in the bottom spot, where Neutral should be. My only contention is that Kirk's picture, no matter how well intended, would be confusing. Like it confused me at first glance.

If you ignore the pin shapes, then I suppose that you are correct, but I still thought that the pin shape would make it pretty clear. It is true that most RV plugs do configure physically as a mirror image to that one, but both configurations exist and the pins are what is always the same. It did cross my mind that it would have been preferred to show it the way most RVs are physically manufactured, but I was unable to find a picture that did so and that was the reason for showing the schematic as well, just to be sure it was clear................. :huh:

 

Here is the only alternative picture that I was able to locate, but the image does not show pin shapes and so I don't consider it a good alternative. You should always connect by pin shape and you will not go wrong.

50FFR-wiring-diagram.jpg

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If you want to see pictures and wiring diagrams for that NEMA 14-50 Plug, here's more then you will ever need:

 

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=nema+14+50+wiring+diagram&qpvt=nema+14+50+wiring+diagram&qpvt=nema+14+50+wiring+diagram&FORM=IGRE

 

Of course, as correctly posted by many above, the round prong/terminal is for the Bare/Green Safety Equipment GroundiNG Conductor. As far as life safety, its the most important blade on those plugs and when your little barefoot grandkids on wet ground (imagine that ever happening) are contacting your RV frame, you want that Safety Equipment GroundING conductor well bonded to the frame BUT YOU DO NOTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT want the GrounDED Conductor (Neutral) also bonded to the frame or any part of the Equipment Ground Buss in the RV's distribution panel, which is UNLIKE your homes panel where the Neutral and Equipment Ground Busses ARE tied together. If the Grounded Conductor (Neutral) was tied to the RV frame and your grandchild touches the frame, their little bodies are in a possible parallel path with a hot live current carrying (Neutral) conductor. I don't like the sound of my grandchild being a part of a current divider network as it only takes something like 30 to 50 milliamps of current to cause the heart to fibrillate (why GFCI trips at 5 to 6 milliamps). Would you strip the insulation off the Neutral conductor and let your grandchild touch it ???? NOOOOOOOOOO (its insulated for a reason, its a live current carrier) but if they touch the outer metal frame of say some kitchen appliances or power tools supplied by a 3 conductor grounding Plug/Receptacle they are indeed in effect touching the Bare/Green Equipment Grounding Conductor as designed and intended for life safety. The Bare/Green Safety Equipment GroundING Conductor is designed to provide a dedicated low impedance current return path FOR FAULT CURRENT ONLY while the insulated Grounded Conductor (Neutral) is to carry normal return current.

 

In this post and some others I've observed possibly some confusion about the terms FLOATING NEUTRAL. I think there's confusion between a LOOSE OR OPEN NEUTRAL and a FLOATING NEUTRAL. In the typical 120/240 volt Single Phase Three Wire AC Distribution in BOTH the HV Primary and the LV Secondary the Neutral is bonded to a Grounding Electrode (like driven ground rod) at the Utility Transformer PLUS the Main Distribution Panel (or riser or meter base) to protect against surges and spikes plus maintain the grid at one common low voltage reference MOTHER EARTH. In a portable or RV genset the Neutral may be FLOATING or bonded where its tied to the gensets metal case/frame. REGARDLESS if the Neutral is floating or bonded, that DOES NOT affect L1 or L2 voltage with respect to the center tap Neutral. HOWEVER if there's a bad or loose or open or resistive connection of the Neutral conductor to the panels Neutral Buss or in a plug or receptacle or the parks power pedestal etc., that LOOSE/OPEN NEUTRAL can cause voltage problems. FLOATING NEUTRAL OR GROUNDED NEUTRAL IS NOTTTTTTTTTTT SAME AS A LOOSE OR OPEN (more common problems) NEUTRAL. Floating or not Floating, Grounded to earth or not grounded to earth, neither affects Line to Neutral Voltage, but if its Open or Loose THEREIN LIES THE PROBLEM.

 

I hope this helps and doesn't confuse, but its impossible to take what may take books or volumes to describe and condense it down to a paragraph lol but hey I try

 

John T

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John T, the only thing I would add is that in your home, just like at the park, ANY load center AFTER the first one (which has the neutral and ground bonded together) must have the neutral and ground separate. That often happens in older homes where someone has added an additional box to an outside workshop or garage and think that they can "ground" it at the garage with a ground rod or that they only need three wires to the secondary load center. Same condition as you have at a park and you noted above. Any load center after the primary one needs to have the bonding screw removed and separate the neutral bar from the grounds.

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Georgia,

 

YES that's exactly correct. While the homes main service entrance panel has the Neutral and Equipment Ground Busses bonded, in what I call downstream "Sub Panels" they are separate and isolated from each other just as you indicate. Of course, still the sub panels metal tub/frame, same as other non current carrying conductive enclosures (junction boxes etc) is bonded to the Equipment Ground Buss (but NOT Neutral). In the jurisdictions where I practiced the Neutral bond to a Grounding Electrode (via the Grounding Electrode Conductor) could be at a) The Service Entrance Weatherhead riser B) The Meter Base, c) The main service entrance. Under the old Code when you ran a 120/240 Service from your homes panel out to a remote outbuilding you could get by with three wires (2 Hots and Neutral) but under the later Code you had to carry 4 wires (2 Hots, Neutral, Equipment Ground) Clear as mud lol

 

John T

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Anytime I install a new plug once complete I use silicone to seal as best I can where the rubber cord enters the plastic. Of course they are not absolutely water tight, but the silicone may still help. Often at a camp site I might take steel wool or my pocket knife and shine and brighten the plugs terminals, my buddys make fun but that's just how I'm wired lol

 

John T

I carry a few Emory Boards in my tool kit. The are handy and just the right size to "buff the plugs".

 

What type of silicone do you use and where do you get it?

 

Thanks!

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Mike & Claudia, you ask "What type of silicone do you use and where do you get it?"

 

If I have it handy I like that automotive type of silicone gasket/sealant (any auto parts house, I think blue is regular while orange has a higher temp rating), but if not I might use whatever I have laying around lol

 

I'm talking about where the rubber cord enters the plastic plug and again its NOT any perfect water tight seal (nor is the plug assembly), but I just like the idea of rainwater not being able to run down the cord directly inside the plug even if without extra sealant its a fairly tight connection. I just like bright shiny plug blades and keeping water out of the plugs internals as much as possible. If plugged in in long periods at a site I might even use a plastic bag and rubber bands if a plug is exposed to the weather. IM WIRED THAT WAY

 

John T

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Kirk, the www.doityourself.com picture in your post #5 shows the correct wiring but the cable is mislabled as 6/3 when it actually shows 6/4. I imagine there would be some serious head scratching trying to wire 6/3 cable as shown. I always appreciate your willingness to offer sound advice to all who ask. Godspeed, Charlie.

 

Both Kirk and the picture are correct. Electrical wire counts do not include the ground wire. Normal 120V wire is labeled a 12-2, 14-2 or whatever. That means one hot wire, one neutral and one ground. The 240V wire in a 50 amp plug include two hots, one neutral and one ground. It is labeled 6-3.

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Indeed, I have seen some typical residential, what's referred to as Romex ,cable labeled 12/2 which has an insulated Black Hot, an insulated White Neutral, PLUS a bare Equipment GroundING Conductor. HOWEVER I have also seen it labeled "12/2 w Ground" which would make more sense to a non electrician.

 

John T

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