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 > Burnt wires in power distribution panel

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wa8yxm

Wherever I happen to park

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Posted: 11/24/20 03:52pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

QCMan wrote:

Odds are they are all loose or were before you tightened them. Loose connections = higher resistance = high temps = burnt wires.


I will second that. I'm fond of sayinig many RVers have a few screws loose.. in fact those very screws are what I am talking about.

One of mine took over 3 FULL TURNS to tighten. I don't think they even tried at the factory.


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BeeBee

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Posted: 11/24/20 04:16pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks to everyone. I'll clean the corrosion from the buss barr and wires and coat with electrical grease as suggested.

enblethen

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Posted: 11/24/20 04:53pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If the wire is really hard to bend, you may need to cut it back to get good clean copper. You should be able to feel the difference from over-heated wire and good wire. Clean wire good if discolored with steel wool.


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BB_TX

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Posted: 11/24/20 05:09pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BeeBee wrote:

QCMan - thanks for that comment. It had not crossed my mind as a possible cause. Think I will pull and the wires, clean them, and reattach to the block. Might avert a future problem.

Not only the neutral wires but all the wiring in your load center, hot, neutral, ground, and also all the wire terminations on the 12 volt fuse panel.

Something that should be done on new RVs and periodically on older ones. Many of my wires were not properly tightened when new. A not uncommon problem.

dougrainer

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Posted: 11/25/20 07:09am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

MY rule when working on 120 volt Breaker boxes and Transfer switches, is, I tighten the screws as tight as I can get them. WAIT 30 minutes and then tighten again. Even solid core wire will "settle" a little. Stranded wire will settle a lot more. You will be surprised that you will usually get 1/2 to full turn on the screws after initial tightening. Doug

PS, the cause of neutral burning is the MAIN Neutral supply was loose and caused a heat build up and that heat build up caused the BUSS bar to heat up and expand slightly and then all Neutral wires then heated up and melted or burnt loose. ANOTHER cause is, in conjunction with loose wires, running on overloaded CG circuits that drop the line voltage. BOTH together will cause a problem, that is why it is important to tighten the wires in the Breaker box. Once done, it should not be needed again.

dougrainer

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Posted: 11/25/20 07:10am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

enblethen wrote:

Transfer switches are not common in trailers and only if equipped with on-board gensets.
I would suggest coating the wires with electrical grease. The buss bars are commonly aluminum which oxidizes causing issues. de-oxidation compound lessen this.


IF the Trailer is prepped for a Genset, it will usually have the Transfer box. Doug

2oldman

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Posted: 11/25/20 08:44am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

dougrainer wrote:

I tighten the screws as tight as I can get them. WAIT 30 minutes and then tighten again. Even solid core wire will "settle" a little.
Wiggling the wire as you tighten helps too.

frankwp

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Posted: 11/25/20 12:24pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

oops


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frankwp

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Posted: 11/25/20 12:26pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

wolfe10 wrote:

QCMan wrote:

Odds are they are all loose or were before you tightened them. Loose connections = higher resistance = high temps = burnt wires.


I agree. MUCH more likely that a random power surge causing the excessive heat that destroyed the insulation on all of them.


No, a voltage spike will not cause that damage. Properly made & tightened, those connections will not overheat at current levels below the point at which the circuit breaker will open. A voltage spike sufficient to increase current for a long enough time to overheat a connection will trip the breaker long before damage will occur.

The burning there was a result of poor connection between the wires & lugs. Most probably a result of a rushed, low paid, unskilled worker not fully tightening the screws.

The remedy is to cut back the wire & reterminate. Cleaning the wire is not required unless obviously badly corroded. Copper oxide (as in lightly tarnished) is actually a decent conductor & isn't usually an issue.

time2roll

Southern California

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Posted: 11/25/20 12:56pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator


So is it possible there was one loose wire and the heat moved on the bus to discolor the other wires?


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