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Old 09-09-2019, 07:49 AM   #1
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RV electrical outlets. Any difference?

Noticed the electrical outlet where our microwave is plugged in had a burnt area around one of the plug holes.
I'm going to change the outlet out with one from Lowes unless someone tells me there is something different about the outlets in a RV.
Is there any difference?
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Old 09-09-2019, 08:06 AM   #2
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yes, there is a difference. However, as long as the box in the wall is deep enough, you can get a residential outlet and re-wire it.

be sure your inverter is off and shore power off or unplugged. You can get a good jolt if not careful.
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Old 09-09-2019, 08:09 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Letsgoagain View Post
Noticed the electrical outlet where our microwave is plugged in had a burnt area around one of the plug holes.
I'm going to change the outlet out with one from Lowes unless someone tells me there is something different about the outlets in a RV.
Is there any difference?
It depends, but generally, yes, there is a difference. Once you pull the old outlet you will know, but the RV outlets are shallower and usually have insert connections rather than screws on the side. They need to be shallow because of the narrow clearances found in RV walls and cabinets. Electrically, they are of equal capability of a household outlet, but the physical form is different. RV outlets do not require a box because there is no exposed electrical connectors around the perimeter surfaces. A household outlet will have hot screw terminals on the sides which would need to be taped over/insulated if used in an RV situation.


Here's a photo of a typical RV outlet. There are other variations and the back cover has been removed to show the connectors.


They also are held in place by spring clips on the side rather than the "ears" and screws used in household outlets. All of this is not to say a household outlet cannot be used, but you will need to check clearances to tell if it will work and make the needed safety changes.
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Old 09-09-2019, 08:22 AM   #4
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Okay I see the difference, The existing plug is in a self contained box with a snap off back. A residential receptacle from Lowes would require me installing a box and then a receptacle inside the box. That is unless they carry something similar to the existing one.
Thanks for your help.
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Old 09-09-2019, 08:47 AM   #5
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They are also rated for 15 or 20 amps. You need one rated for the breaker supplying that outlet.
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Old 09-09-2019, 09:11 AM   #6
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They are also rated for 15 or 20 amps. You need one rated for the breaker supplying that outlet.
twinboat,
You brought up a good point. The existing one is rated 15amp- 125 Volts. It is a dedicated single plug receptacle in a cabinet for the microwave only. Has me wondering if a 20 amp shouldn't be there. Guess I will go and look at what the circuit breaker size is on that leg. I don't really know to tell otherwise. Any suggestions?
Thanks.
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Old 09-09-2019, 09:22 AM   #7
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They make shallow boxes that will fit in the RV wall and work with a conventional outlet. I installed one behind my MW so I could put my outside outlet on the MW circuit. The RV style outlet with its funky push down connectors did not want to hold the wire I was adding for the downstream outlet, so I replaced it.
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Old 09-09-2019, 10:13 AM   #8
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twinboat,
You brought up a good point. The existing one is rated 15amp- 125 Volts. It is a dedicated single plug receptacle in a cabinet for the microwave only. Has me wondering if a 20 amp shouldn't be there. Guess I will go and look at what the circuit breaker size is on that leg. I don't really know to tell otherwise. Any suggestions?
Thanks.
Most houses only have 15 amp going to the microwave. No special requirement for a larger amperage outlet that I know of.
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Old 09-09-2019, 10:36 AM   #9
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twinboat,
You brought up a good point. The existing one is rated 15amp- 125 Volts. It is a dedicated single plug receptacle in a cabinet for the microwave only. Has me wondering if a 20 amp shouldn't be there. Guess I will go and look at what the circuit breaker size is on that leg. I don't really know to tell otherwise. Any suggestions?
Thanks.
What is important is the amp rating of the breaker, and that the outlet is rated at that amperage or greater. If the breaker is 15, then a 15 outlet is fine and 20 would be "overkill" as the circuit is protected only to 15 amps by the circuit breaker. Never use an outlet that is rated lower than the circuit breaker that protects it.
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Old 09-09-2019, 10:43 AM   #10
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Most houses only have 15 amp going to the microwave. No special requirement for a larger amperage outlet that I know of.
My home, built in 1977, has 2, 20 amp lines, and outlets, per code, in the kitchen and dinning room.

GFCI-Protected Small Appliance Circuits

Requirement: Provide at least two 20-amp, 120-volt circuits to supply power to GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter)*receptacles for countertop*and eating areas.

Why: The 20 amps are required (vs. 15 amp) for the higher power requirements found in kitchens. Think*toaster ovens, blenders, and mixers. The "two" part of this requirement spreads out the coverage area, though not the total load, as both can be on the same circuit.*Providing frequent plug-in points has long been a mainstay of the NEC so that homeowners are not tempted to stretch power cords too far.
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Old 09-09-2019, 08:28 PM   #11
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Well that was fun. Got the receptacle changed out. Took me a while to figure out that I had to drive the wires into the pinch points so it would cut through the insulation to make contact with the copper wire. Used a flat blade screwdriver and hammer to tap them in. I don't think I've ever dealt with that kind of wire connection before.
I think I lost 5 lbs sweating it out in the afternoon heat in the motorhome. Wife asked why I didn't start the generator and turn on the air conditioner.
I explained that I didn't particularly like the idea of getting electrocuted.
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Old 09-09-2019, 08:42 PM   #12
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Did you determine why the original outlet had the burned spot? The burned area is an indicator of excessive heat. It's replaced now but I'd keep an eye on it for a while.
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Old 09-09-2019, 08:57 PM   #13
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Well that was fun. Got the receptacle changed out. Took me a while to figure out that I had to drive the wires into the pinch points so it would cut through the insulation to make contact with the copper wire. Used a flat blade screwdriver and hammer to tap them in. I don't think I've ever dealt with that kind of wire connection before.
I think I lost 5 lbs sweating it out in the afternoon heat in the motorhome. Wife asked why I didn't start the generator and turn on the air conditioner.
I explained that I didn't particularly like the idea of getting electrocuted.
I take it your DW knows your life insurance is paid up


Did you use an outlet similar to the original? If so the caution by arcaguy is appropriate. Your old outlet was scorched because of heat.


Heat happens for 2 reasons: resistance (a bad connection) or arcing - the separation or mating of a connection while under load.


What is the condition of the microwave plug? Melted anywhere? Carbon or scorch marks on the metal? If it's good then your problem was likely with the insulation displacement termination (yeah, that's a thing) used on the outlet and monitoring it for heating would be a good idea. If it gets hot you'll need to open it back up and double check the punch down.
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Old 09-09-2019, 09:55 PM   #14
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Quote:
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My home, built in 1977, has 2, 20 amp lines, and outlets, per code, in the kitchen and dinning room.

GFCI-Protected Small Appliance Circuits

Requirement: Provide at least two 20-amp, 120-volt circuits to supply power to GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter)*receptacles for countertop*and eating areas.

Why: The 20 amps are required (vs. 15 amp) for the higher power requirements found in kitchens. Think*toaster ovens, blenders, and mixers. The "two" part of this requirement spreads out the coverage area, though not the total load, as both can be on the same circuit.*Providing frequent plug-in points has long been a mainstay of the NEC so that homeowners are not tempted to stretch power cords too far.
When I built my house, they made me put in 20 amp t slot gfci plugs in the kitchen counter area. These were supposed to be for new higher amp appliances that were coming out. 13 years later, and I have yet to see any of these appliances. My microwave has a built in garage in the cabinetry for it. It only required and has a 15 amp circuit.
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