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120v wiring failure & good news on fridge outlet


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Last night I heard the fridge gas ignitor kick in, which shouldn't happen because we're on shore power and the fridge was on Auto. This morning I went looking for the 120v fridge plug and didn't find it behind the kitchen drawers. It's actually under the drawers in our 2022, away from the water hose, so that's a design improvement.

The fridge was plugged in. (There was even a big ziptie to hold the plug in, but nobody at the factory bothered to actually connect that.) My multimeter said the outlet was dead.

Tracked the wire back to a junction box on the water heater and found this inside:

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Best guess from looking at it is that the fridge wire (top in photo) pulled partially out of the splice connector and overheated. There's no strain relief entering the j-box. I was lucky enough to find another splice connector lying in the bottom of the hull (dropped at factory) so I cut off the burnt wires, restripped them, and used the "spare" connector to reconnect them. Then I tied the two Romex cables together with a zip tie just outside the j-box to add some strain relief for the connectors. Seems to be OK now.

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Stephanie and Dudley from CT.  2022 LE2, Hull #1150: Eggcelsior.

Tow vehicle: 2016 GMC Sierra 6.0 gas dually 4x4.

Our Oliver journey: Steph and Dud B's RV Screed

Where we've been RVing since 1999:

ALAZCACOCTDEFLGAIDILINIAKYLAMDMAMIMNMSMOMTNENVNHNMNYNCNDOHOKORPASCSDTNTXUTVTVAWAWVWIWYmed.jpg.e6391b9064a3f8f0951751f985664135.jpg

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😮 That’s the connectors they use in the factory?? That can’t be to any kind of code. Yikes!

Even wiring the simple AC electrical system I adde to my tiny squaredrop I used terminal blocks! Same with the DC side. 

 

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Steve - Northern Ohio, USA
Wandering around on occasion, always lost.
2021 Toyota Land Cruiser - 5X8 Hiker Highway Deluxe Squaredrop Trailer
2023 Oliver Elite II Twin on order - due March 28, 2023

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Thank you Steph & Dud!  I really appreciate posts like this one, because it gives me an opportunity to figure out a better solution before I experience a similar problem.   I’m disappointed that it is necessary, but it comes with owning any RV (or boat), even an Oliver.   John Davies mentioned the shortcomings of AC Romex and the residential junction boxes in a recent post.   This prompted me to make a note on my task list to inspect all AC wiring that is accessible, and improve the installations if feasible.   This post confirms that concern.   I did a quick check on RV best practices and came up with a good article and reference to marine codes.

120V Wiring for Campers

WHAT Type OF WIRE IS NEEDED FOR 120V OUTLETS In a Camper?

ALL wire in a camper must be stranded wire. This includes circuits for 120V outlets. Wires in a camper must be stranded wire because solid core wire (like the Romex used in the walls of your house) will, when subjected to the vibrations of rattling down the road, will work harden and break over time. For this reason, solid core wire like Romex is EXPLICITLY forbidden in marine applications (boats) by ABYC E-11.

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“Ramble” - 2021 Legacy Elite II #797;  2020 Ford F-250

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14 hours ago, Steve and Deb said:

That’s the connectors they use in the factory?? That can’t be to any kind of code. Yikes!

Those are Wago lever nuts.  They are NEC approved as an alternative to wire nuts for 120V connections. 

They are easier to use than wire nuts, but are much more expensive.  They make it easier to see if you have a solid connection during assembly (because they have a clear plastic window through which you can see if the wire is fully inserted) , unlike wire nuts.   When properly installed, I believe they are also more reliable, and less likely to shake loose from vibration (such as when towing) than a wire nut connection, as they have a lever than locks the wire into the connector.

I am not an electrician, but have done all of the electrical work on the 4 existing homes we have owned for the past 40 years, along with the new home we moved into in 2020.   I have had to troubleshoot dozens of shorts caused by loose wire nut connections over those years.

Neither type of connector is foolproof, and as illustrated by this thread, all require attention to detail by the installer to avoid problems.  I suspect the wire that shorted was not fully inserted, and visually verified through the clear plastic window in the lever nut, during the build at the factory.  Sloppy wire nut connections also cause shorts, but they are harder to detect during installation because wire nuts don't have clear plastic windows.

I like Wago lever nuts so much I used them when wiring our entire new home.  No issues yet after 2+  years, but I checked all of my connections to ensure full insertion during installation.  I prefer Wago lever nuts over wire nuts.  I am pleased to see Oliver using them.

 

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Hull #?

Central Idaho

2022 Elite II with expected delivery November, 2022.

Tow Vehicle:  2019 Tundra Double Cab 4x4, 5.7L with tow package

 

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Thanks, @Rivernerd I'd never heard of those before. Learn something every day!

I avoid wire nuts whenever possible, too. And I can't think of any time I've used them with stranded wire, which is what should have been used in the trailer. That's why I used crimped terminals with heat shrink insulation in all of the above connections, and anchored them to fixed terminals.

I'll look into the Wago lever nuts for possible home use. Thank you.

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Steve - Northern Ohio, USA
Wandering around on occasion, always lost.
2021 Toyota Land Cruiser - 5X8 Hiker Highway Deluxe Squaredrop Trailer
2023 Oliver Elite II Twin on order - due March 28, 2023

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Again, I have to wonder if the speed of production is the culprit. I know Oliver has been ramping up production numbers in the last three years, which puts more pressure on the line workers. With that pressure I think it would be easier for the person(s) installing the wiring to miss something, resulting in this post. A sharper focus on quality control will benefit OTT, and I hope they're discussing this on a daily basis.

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2021 Elite II #841, 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4, 3.0 diesel

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I will be picking up my trailer in a few weeks and all of these issues I've been reading about are concerning. I'm happy there was not a fire associated with this poor workmanship.

David & Kim | 2017 Ram 2500 Laramie 4x4, Hemi 6.4 | Legacy Elite II, Hull# 1213

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4 hours ago, Cameron said:

A sharper focus on quality control will benefit OTT, and I hope they're discussing this on a daily basis.

Service told me they were forwarding this incident to the Engineering and Quality departments for review.

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Stephanie and Dudley from CT.  2022 LE2, Hull #1150: Eggcelsior.

Tow vehicle: 2016 GMC Sierra 6.0 gas dually 4x4.

Our Oliver journey: Steph and Dud B's RV Screed

Where we've been RVing since 1999:

ALAZCACOCTDEFLGAIDILINIAKYLAMDMAMIMNMSMOMTNENVNHNMNYNCNDOHOKORPASCSDTNTXUTVTVAWAWVWIWYmed.jpg.e6391b9064a3f8f0951751f985664135.jpg

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2 hours ago, Ollietime said:

all of these issues I've been reading about are concerning.

Olivers aren't perfect, nor are any other RVs. Just looking at other owner forums and watching YouTube will show you that. I'm still hopeful that the overall better design and materials used in Olivers will make this trailer our favorite eventually. I will say that the Service department has been responsive to our problems so far.

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Stephanie and Dudley from CT.  2022 LE2, Hull #1150: Eggcelsior.

Tow vehicle: 2016 GMC Sierra 6.0 gas dually 4x4.

Our Oliver journey: Steph and Dud B's RV Screed

Where we've been RVing since 1999:

ALAZCACOCTDEFLGAIDILINIAKYLAMDMAMIMNMSMOMTNENVNHNMNYNCNDOHOKORPASCSDTNTXUTVTVAWAWVWIWYmed.jpg.e6391b9064a3f8f0951751f985664135.jpg

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