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Just a heads up.

Possible electrical issues for you to check. (Sorry, this is so long winded)

Check your load center (electrical panels) terminus lugs for tightness at least annually. I do this for my basement lugs twice a year. Here is a prime example as to why you should include the load centers. (Our Northern Star is an '05 model).

The last two days our coach has experienced electrical issues. One of our appliance circuits would shut off and then turn back on at random. At first I thought were related to our coffee maker (it's older and I thought it might be going bad and shorting the breakers and tripping them).

Next up, I considered that may well be the GFI outlet that the coffee maker was plugged into. I tested it and then reset it. It worked fine. I plugged the coffee maker back in and it worked for a while and then turned off again. I then tested the voltage at the outlet. 123 volts. While I had the test leads in the outlet sockets we lost power again.

Then I thought maybe the outlet had a wire loose but upon removal and inspection everything was fine. So, onto the load centers. I pulled the covers off my two load centers, located the breaker that feeds that circuit.

My thinking at this point that is was possibly a weak breaker. It happens with age. The breaker was functioning perfectly. I turned it on and started to put the load center cover back on when I noticed two things that stuck out like a sore thumb.

First, I noticed a ground wire that was meant to ground one of the two load centers was not terminated to a grounding point. Second, one of my neutral wires looked odd. On close inspection I found that it was blackened and the white insulation where the wire entered the neutral bus was brown from the bus out and up the wire two inches or so.

I was lucky to have found both problems but the neutral wire could have easily caused a fire.

What happened? This is just a guess but it sure appeared that the neutral wire was incorrectly tightened down at the factory.

The lug (screw) that holds the wire into place was cross threaded. It was visibly crooked in the neutral buss and wasn't visibly tightened down far enough that it matched the other lugs for being flush with the bus.

I think whomever wired it, placed the wire in the bus, tightened the lug, and when it got tight they thought the lug had engaged the bare wire when in fact it just tightened because it was cross threaded and left the lug just sort of the wire which was floating inside the bus itself. I had to cut the wire back two inches to find un-burned copper and then re-installed it correctly.

Second, my load centers are side by side. When the smaller of the two was installed the ground wire was fun from the small box to the larger one without ever being terminated in the ground buss of the larger one.

Once these problems were fixed the problem stopped. Check your load centers, transfer switch, bi-directional relay and battery shut offs. It will pay off.

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Marthachuck, great reminder!! If you scroll through this section you will quickly see how many don’t do that and usually up with destroyed electrical component. Common occurrence on the Transfer Switch.

Speaking of Transfer switch, did you check that also, I didn’t see it mentioned above?

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Tightening clamp screws in the breaker panels and the ATS is part of my annual checklist. These rolling earthquakes will shake things loose as they traverse our wonderfully smooth roads.

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My way is to remove all power (I don't like to be shocked), then on all connections, back off a bit then re-tighten each screw. Then turn the power back on.

Just my way of doing it. 

Herman

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Many of these devices have a torque spec for the screws/terminals. I picked up a torque T-handle screwdriver to set them to accurately. Some took more effort to get tight enough than I thought, and a couple I found I was over tightening. And yes, it's possible to over tighten - some terminals will deform if too tight, and some will crush the stranded wire.

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4 hours ago, jleamont said:

Marthachuck, great reminder!! If you scroll through this section you will quickly see how many don’t do that and usually up with destroyed electrical component. Common occurrence on the Transfer Switch.

Speaking of Transfer switch, did you check that also, I didn’t see it mentioned above?

Yes, we had a transfer switch failure over two years ago. It was the result of a an unbonded neutral. (transfer switch was mentioned in the last sentence of my write up)I have been doing  semi-annual inspections since. This one eluded me though. And, it just started acting up even though it appears to have been a 15 year old factory mistake.

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