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Old 10-07-2013, 11:54 AM   #1
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Power cord reel

My 50 AMP power cord is on a powered reel that by flipping a switch I can unroll just the length that I need to plug in to the pedestal. Then unhook and flip the switch and roll it back on the reel. But I noticed on another thread on a different subject that someone stated that you should actually unroll all of the power cord before connecting to the pedestal because in a rolled position the power cord can over heat and possibility cause a fire.
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Old 10-07-2013, 12:14 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by adonh View Post
My 50 AMP power cord is on a powered reel that by flipping a switch I can unroll just the length that I need to plug in to the pedestal. Then unhook and flip the switch and roll it back on the reel. But I noticed on another thread on a different subject that someone stated that you should actually unroll all of the power cord before connecting to the pedestal because in a rolled position the power cord can over heat and possibility cause a fire.

There *is* inductive heat generated in a coiled power cable. Is it enough to cause cable insulation failure and a subsequent fire? Well that depends on a number of factors that is outside of members of this forum to analyze. If your cord reel manufacturer's instructions are to extend the cord fully, I would heed that advice.

Cable insulation type and thickness, tightness of the coils, load presented, etc, are all factors.

For me, I plugged mine into a 50A pedestal that was very close and left it coiled up as it usually is (loose, not very consistent coils) and turned on everything I could in my coach and measured the heat change with an infra-red thermometer. I don't remember the exact readings, but I was convinced that nothing I could ever be doing in my coach would cause enough load to make inductive heating in my coiled power cable a danger, and if there ever was enough load to cause a problem, it would be caused by problems elsewhere that would present more imminent (and obvious) danger than inductance heating in the coiled entry cable.

In short, YOU need to test and measure YOURSELF to come to a happy place, but in general, cord reels like yours present the perfect environment for inductance heating in supply cables. But under normal circumstances, and under normal use, you won't be drawing enough power for a long enough period of time to cause a problem.

After all, if it was EASY to do, those cord reel manufacturers would be having legal problems, right?
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Old 10-07-2013, 03:13 PM   #3
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There *is* inductive heat generated in a coiled power cable. Is it enough to cause cable insulation failure and a subsequent fire? Well that depends on a number of factors that is outside of members of this forum to analyze.
How do you know what members of this forum know how to do or analyze. Are you saying we are all stupid or something.
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Old 10-07-2013, 03:15 PM   #4
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Another thread popped up today with the same subject.
Power Cord Reel

Although the OP was wanting information on how to better reel in his power cord the "danger" of overheating the cord on the reel is brought up and it is suggested to to unroll all of the power cord and lay it on the ground. I have never seen this in an RV park with Class A motor homes.
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Old 10-07-2013, 03:28 PM   #5
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How do you know what members of this forum know how to do or analyze.
Because we don't have access to the OP's coach to perform the tests and analysis required to determine if HIS cord reel is in danger of overheating based on HIS usage patterns and HIS equipment.
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Are you saying we are all stupid or something.
Are you serious?
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Old 10-07-2013, 03:44 PM   #6
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I pulled out the paperwork on the Glendinning Cablemaster RV power cable storage system in my coach. The manual states "in actual usage of your Rv-Cablemaster, you will find that the power cable is seldom played out completely" Another section says "play out the length of cable you need" "turn power switch off when desired cable length is achieved"
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Old 10-07-2013, 04:00 PM   #7
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I pulled out the paperwork on the Glendinning Cablemaster RV power cable storage system in my coach. The manual states "in actual usage of your Rv-Cablemaster, you will find that the power cable is seldom played out completely" Another section says "play out the length of cable you need" "turn power switch off when desired cable length is achieved"
My money is on you never having a problem. If you DO have a problem it'll be during peak consumption; both ACs and fridge struggling to keep up with the summer heat, DW baking a casserole, daughter blow-frying hair, son watching satellite with surround sound bumping, all lights on, etc. I would be interested to go feel the side of the reel and the connector at the pedestal for excessive heat under those circumstances.
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Old 10-07-2013, 04:15 PM   #8
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My money is on you never having a problem. If you DO have a problem it'll be during peak consumption; both ACs and fridge struggling to keep up with the summer heat, DW baking a casserole, daughter blow-frying hair, son watching satellite with surround sound bumping, all lights on, etc. I would be interested to go feel the side of the reel and the connector at the pedestal for excessive heat under those circumstances.
Just me and the DW and she does not bake. So peak consumption is on hot days with both AC's running. We are heading out to enjoy the Texas fall weather next week and I will feel the side of the reel and storage bin for the cord in the heat of the day and see what it feels like. Thanks
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Old 10-08-2013, 01:44 PM   #9
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In reference to the mention of an issue stated on another forum I believe the issue there was not so much that the cord was coiled, but further investigation reveled that the step down adapter used to connect a 50AMP cord to a 30AMP outlet was what actually failed and caused the fire.
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Old 10-09-2013, 01:01 PM   #10
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In reference to the mention of an issue stated on another forum I believe the issue there was not so much that the cord was coiled, but further investigation reveled that the step down adapter used to connect a 50AMP cord to a 30AMP outlet was what actually failed and caused the fire.
I posted pretty heavily in the thread you were talking about and I remember the discussion about cords on a reel. I personally do not see it becoming an issue. I have seen several threads in this forum about adapters being the cause of a fire or a bad connection and the most common is norcross refrigerator I have not seen anyone that has said they had a fire start because of the heat generated from having the power cord rolled up. I would not worry about it as a matter of fact I have my power cord on a reel and I do not worry about it. I pull out how much I need and go from there
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Old 10-09-2013, 02:00 PM   #11
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I posted pretty heavily in the thread you were talking about and I remember the discussion about cords on a reel. I personally do not see it becoming an issue. I have seen several threads in this forum about adapters being the cause of a fire or a bad connection and the most common is norcross refrigerator I have not seen anyone that has said they had a fire start because of the heat generated from having the power cord rolled up. I would not worry about it as a matter of fact I have my power cord on a reel and I do not worry about it. I pull out how much I need and go from there
+1

Inductance heating due to coiling should never (by design) be able to cause the insulation to fail as long as the conductors are not overloaded.
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Old 12-13-2013, 05:55 PM   #12
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inductive heat

Yes, you could be getting inductive heat generated from wrapping a wire around in a coil - But... In our motorhomes a cable with four wires is wrapped around the coil. The electricity on one wire going in the opposite direction as in another wire - thus cancelling out any (or most) inductive affect.

I may not be very good at explaining this and I hope some can understand what I am saying. I have been an electrician for a good many years and from experience and schooling this is how I understand the situation.

Tom
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Old 12-13-2013, 06:16 PM   #13
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Your explanation was fine Tom...
translation - don't worry about it

I don't either.... but it is easy to unroll and roll, so do what you feel comfortable with !
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Old 12-13-2013, 07:24 PM   #14
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This is a bad JOKE! A powercord is BIFILAR (spelling?) The current going in in the black wire is the same as coming out of the white wire. That means there is NO induction. So there is NO problem!
JMHO,Siggy
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