Today I am going to share with you something I would rather not be sharing. But as we told you we would share the parts of the adventure that may not be so good.
Some of you may remember me suggesting that with your RV it is a good idea to keep all of your senses active as you go through the daily activities of living.
Late last night as I walked past our Power Control Center I caught a whiff of something strange. It reminded me of the Ozone smell that you get when something is hot.
So I put my hand up on the breakers and they were hot -- not burn your hand hot but just hotter than I thought they should be.
Today Nanette and the kids went into town for the day and knowing I had to cut all the power to the motorhome to check out the power panel I decided to do it this morning after they left. It is 20 degrees and windy after all -- didn’t want them getting cold.
So I cut all the power -- 120V and 12V feeds.
I started at the breakers -- I noticed a little discoloration at the main breaker but nothing I would have really done anything about. I checked all the compression screws for every wire going to the breakers and the grounding blocks. Still nothing wrong there.
So...I decided to pull the entire panel -- not an easy job let me tell you -- but I just had this nagging feeling.
I pulled the panel -- still nothing obvious. I then decided to pull the cover off the Transfer Switch.
What I saw when I removed that cover caused me to have that butterfly in the stomach thing.
Let me just say we are very lucky to still have a motorhome.
I think pictures will tell the story best. I couldn’t get a picture of the problem while everything was connected but I did take pictures of the components.
This is a wire nut that I saw first -- it connected the wires from the main power feed coming from shore power to the transfer switch hot side.
If you look closely you will notice the wire nut is melted.
This is the wire from the main shore power feed -- that black on the right end -- that is tape that is melted into the insulation. It gets better just hang on!
This is the wire that comes out of the hot side of the transfer switch. Notice the amount of wire that is exposed on the right side? This 3 inch piece of wire should only have about 1/4 inch of wire showing. The rest should be covered with insulation.
I found this strange -- until... Take a close look at the next and last picture.
I found the insulation. That blob on the bottom right -- that is the wire insulation from both wires and melted electrical tape. Also notice how the inside of the connector is burned and I mean really burned.
I should tell you that it took about 10 minutes for this wire nut to cool off enough for me to touch it. The plastic was molten and when I opened the panel there was smoke coming from this connection!
This was a fire in the making.
Now you may wonder how this happened.
The most likely cause of this is due to the the connection working its way loose inside the connector due to the vibration of the MH while moving. Once loose there was arcing where the wires were not securely touching each other but rather having an air gap.
There have been many discussions online regarding connections coming loose over time due to road vibration. The most common sign of this happening is heat being felt near the connection or the outlet.
So I went to work replacing every single connection in the Control Center -- cut off old ends and made new connections -- double checked each connection again.
I re-energized the panel -- turned on everything I could find -- to really put heavy load on the panel --and the panel stayed cool to the touch.
The amount of heat at this connection must have been intense since it was being transferred to the front cover of the control center.
We were very lucky!
I will suggest again never dismiss those smells or things that look or feel strange to you. Either have someone check it out or if you feel qualified do some investigation.
Now to Nanette the Cover Stealer!
Nanette has made stealing the bed covers an Art Form!
She is cold natured -- make that VERY cold natured.
When she gets cold -- nothing else but a heat source matters. I know I have seen this personally.
It isn't pretty!
So apparently last night she got cold!
I should also tell you that in regard to Ken losing the covers -- It is a tag team thing.
Banjo the dog has figured out that when he lays down at the foot of the bed -- if he leans up against the covers and then kind of slides down the bed he can pull himself some covers down on the floor to sleep on.
So I have them being pulled off me by the dog in one direction and then by Nanette in the other.
The only loser in all of this is me.
Last night I ended up with no cover!.
Let me tell you the LAST THING a person ever wants to do....
Try to take the covers back from Nanette when she is asleep and cold!
She will take your birthday away from you!
She does not tolerate -- at all -- having her slumber disturbed let alone losing her heat layer.
She can wake up very...well...unpleasant -- of course she is probably really still asleep. So she is sleep cranky I guess.
You see what I am looking for here is -- sympathy.
I hope someone feels bad for me having to contend with the stinkin’ cover stealin’ dog and the “Don’t you EVEN wake me up to take the covers that I just stole from you back!” Nanette.
Ken and Nanette