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Old 02-27-2015, 05:55 PM   #1
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Transfer Switch burned up

Around 4 am on Wednesday, i woke up because i heard the transfer switch and surge guard relay trip, then the following noise from the inverter, then the power tripped back on, then right back off.

then silence and i fell back to sleep
I woke up a few hrs later to the odd noise from the heater as in its was not running normal speed.
like a deer in traffic i quickly checked the surge guard panel and it was dark,
the 12v panel was down to 9 volts and flickering.
i tried the genny and she started but no engagement of electrical load.
so i shut it off and checked the power panel in the rv port to see if the 50's had tripped, by now i am dressed
no tripped breakers.

now I am concerned...and click the surge guard came back on and clearly shows we have power available for use...........
but still no secondary click of the transfers switch.
now i have donned a thick coat, crunched throw the snow and open up the power cord panel...it stunk
so i quickly killed power and then opened up the transfer switch..
yep it was burned up and caused my pucker factor to increase.

ordered a new upgraded surge guard transfer switch, which arrived this morning..thank goodness for over night AIR freight.
I had bypassed the transfer switch and was able to get power to the coach, and now the rebuild continues
tomorrow i am replacing the entire main coach line to the circuit breaker box, to be safe, something caused 6 or so inches of insulation on the white return line to melt.....

so please check your transfer switch for corrosion, as i suspect this is what caused the failure.
plus the factory installed switch had 10 gauge wires inside vice the 6 on the surgeguard
so it was nominal at best
more pics tomorrow when i am all done

what gets me is an am anal retentive at checking wiring lugs for tq and corrosion.
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Old 02-27-2015, 06:04 PM   #2
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Yes does look like a loose connection and corrosion causing a high resistance
connection.
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Old 02-27-2015, 06:07 PM   #3
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Looks like you smoked the neutral. Could have been a high resistance connection or a high current. Wish you a quick and simple repair!
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Old 02-28-2015, 04:51 AM   #4
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I had the same problem in October. Mine was self-inflicted however. I have a Hughes Autoformer. My shore power cord has a female end screwed to the wall in the power compartment and the Autoformer (AF) plugs into it, then from the AF to the transfer switch. It seems during driving, the AF moved around in the cabinet & pushed against where the shore power cord's plugged in. Causing that connection to push loose. That plug was cooked as was the transfer switch. I did the same & made the transfer switch box a big junction box. Funny that I went to 3 electrical supply houses in Key West trying to buy just the contactor. Nobody even knew what it was. I ordered a new transfer switch & had it overnighted also!
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Old 02-28-2015, 06:23 PM   #5
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got her all done
new main feeds, new transfer switch and re-installed the surgeguard
did a load test and ran 35- 40 amps on each leg for 20 minutes with no issues, at the same time
then i loaded the genny

you know how hard it is to run total of 80 amps for 20 minutes
i had several space heaters, plus the heat pumps going

hopefully its all good now,

and i shortened the run from the surgeguard to the mains breaker inside by about 8 feet and still uses existing routes

for some reason it keeps flipping my pic when i upload it, the surgeguard is now at the top and rear of the ebay
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Old 02-28-2015, 10:02 PM   #6
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better pics pf the burned parts
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Old 02-28-2015, 10:32 PM   #7
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Thanks for the thread powerboatr, I have added it in RV SYSTEM'S & APPLIANCES forum the TECH LINK information thread.
Connections need to be check every now and than because of road vibration possibly loosening connections.
Strand type wire connections will become flat from pressure of screw holding it and they will become loose over time from vibration.
The load center connections are another good location for checking, your results could have been a lot worse but for your quick thinking.
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Old 02-28-2015, 11:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 007";2446311]Thanks for the thread powerboatr, I have added it in [B][URL="http://www.irv2.com/forums/f54/
RV SYSTEM'S & APPLIANCES[/URL][/B] forum the TECH LINK information thread.
Connections need to be check every now and than because of road vibration possibly loosening connections.
The load center connections are another good location for checking, your results could have been a lot worse but for your quick thinking.
the surge gaurd really saved our bacon, it killed all incoming power

i check these connections often...i think the wire corrosion had a big part in the failure, especially when the load wire only 10 ga.
i think the seven year itch is getting us...
new fridge, two heat pumps, tires, and now a transfer switch
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Old 05-02-2017, 08:39 PM   #9
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Just install a progressive surge protector on my 2016 CS. On mine Newmar did not use terminal ends on the 6 gauge wires. Wires are directly under screw terminals.
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Old 05-03-2017, 11:30 AM   #10
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As a quick reminder ... when checking connections, back the screw out at least 1/4 turn (counter-clockwise) before tightening. A seized screw feels tight when it may be loose but seized from heat. You will know it's seized if it can't be loosened.
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Old 05-04-2017, 11:27 PM   #11
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Just to add more to Bruce's article - if one applies plain old Vaseline on the terminals and threads you will tighten the connection properly. Also wriggle the wire at the connection when you think it is tight and the screw will turn a little more. This is how I have been doing high voltage industrial connections for the past 4 decades and none have burnt up.
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Old 05-09-2017, 09:52 PM   #12
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Hey, 8Tires.

Just some food for thought in-re using petroleum jelly (Vaseline) on HV connections. I don't think NEC or CEC forbids the use of PJ, but down here in the Southern States of America where elevated temperatures are the norm, PJ can get you into trouble. PJ has a very low melting point. It usually starts to melt and run around 95-100 degrees F. (Ask any warm baby.) It also has a nasty habit of doing something most petroleum products do - burn.

I remember seeing the aftermath of of big fire inside a large Cummins genset house, on the order of 2MW. The fire started in a big HV panel, and it wouldn't have been nearly as bad had the panel not been slathered in PJ.

From one old timer to another, I'm glad you've done well with PJ for the last 40 or so, but I'll stick with silicon dielectric grease down here.
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Old 05-10-2017, 10:11 AM   #13
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Absolutely! Use dielectric (sparkplug grease), not PJ unless you live in Alaska!!
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Old 12-01-2017, 11:45 AM   #14
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PJ (Vasoline), Dielectric grease OR what?

Hey folks, mind if I weigh in?

Art here, from Silverleaf Electronics. While I'm not as long-of-tooth as a few of you 'old timers' I have been teching for 33 years. Some of that was AF military radar stuff, some avionics, some marine, some AC (residential)...and most recently, RVs.

Here's the bottom line: PJ will catch fire or migrate when heated. Not bad in small amounts however. And, dielectric grease, by design, forms a silicone barrier to prevent electrical conduction.

That silicone grease is perfect for high voltage--say in the KV range, to prevent arcing to other components. But, its usefulness is limited to circuits where 30, 40 or even 100KV creating a corona is the norm. It WILL keep moisture out; thats good. Buts its NOT a best-choice on (relatively) low 120VAC circuits where you want to increase conduction.

A better choice is one designed for this voltage and current range. In this context you need an antioxidant, such as NOALOX for AC and DC. This helps conduction and prevents any moisture (or air) from getting to the metal surfaces.

Any time I break a connection on a coach (here at the factory) I back-fill the socket-side with NOALOX. Then thurrbbp, squish and shove it back together once the work is done, wiping away any excess. Do that and that connection will never be your heartache. I even fixed a flakey Smartwheel using this!

So, to review: Use an anti-ox paste on your DC-volts connection, AC connections at the inverter(s) and transfer switch. This stuff is designed to prevent the metal breakdown due to oxidation. This oxidation may have many causes--and a loose terminal is one and aluminum or other poor metal is another. NOALOX can't tighten your screws. But, it can keep imperfect or exposed connections from getting worse.

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