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Old 02-02-2013
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Re: Power Outlet Sizzle - Help Please

Ok, as someone who has changed out more than my fair share of outlets.... And trouble shot more connectors than most folks, I'll drop my two cents.... We have several factors involved. The reason we use stranded cable in a moving vehicle is due to the vibration and flex. Otherwise, standard Romex cable would be fine. A problem with stranded is the point of connection from the conductor to the device. I don't know how many times I've seen someone cut out a few strands to make the conductor fit into the connector.... Bad idea. Regardless, a stranded conductors weakness is the connecting point. Usually the device is designed for a solid wire, not a stranded conductor. New outlets allow an electrician to strip a #14 solid and slip it into a quick connector. It makes things faster for the electrician but is killer on the device. The end of a stranded conductor needs to be made solid. We do this by tinning the end of the conductor. It can then be connected safely and securely to the device. It also reduces the bimetallic action shown in the photo of the shore plug. Contamination between types of metal = problem. GFI in a water environment they make a lot of sense. It can be done two ways and must be installed correctly or it does no good. It uses a few cycles to determine a variance between the neutral and the ground. That split second kills the power before it kills you. It does notice ally mean it will prevent fires though. Breakers... Hmmmm breakers are a different monster completely. They are designed to trip fast on a fault but slowly on an over current. I don't recall the specifics and as years go by things have changed as the industry learns more about electricity and protection.

Conductor. In the early years the ground wire was smaller than the neutral and phase wire. Things change for a reason. The old way often saw a ground wire fuse before a breaker tripped on a fault... Hence all wires are now the same size.

All that said, make sure it's done right. Make sure the ends are tinned or a "squeeze on" is put on the stranded conductor. Ok.... Unless the device is specifically made for stranded conductor. NO off the shelf outlet from Home Depot is going to be made for stranded.....

Good luck
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