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Detachable Power Cable

Most pop up campers I have seen come equipped with a "pull out" 30 amp power cable.  This has bothered me from the first day I owned my pop up because you need to keep the majority of the storage area under one bench seats clear of all storage because this is where the shore power cable is stored away.  It is very easy for a small item to fall into the coiled cable and "stop up the works" when you try to pull out the cable through the "mouse hole" on the side of your camper.  Something I never thought about was theft.  I received the following e-mail:

Our campground storage area was invaded with copper wire thieves. All the land lines were pulled out of the mouse holes and cut off. I wasn't sure what I could do until I read your article. I will be installing the kit in our camper.

           Thanks again, Michael New Richmond, Ohio

Well, I guess that says it all!  In this day in age we need to worry about having our shore cords stolen...

While the parts used in this conversion are standard marine (boat) application parts and are readily available at boating stores I decided to buy a "kit" from Camping World.  The cost savings between the individual parts and the kit were minimal when you factor in my Presidents Club 10% discount and a coupon Camping World sent.

The kit consists of a weatherproof 30 amp power inlet which is attached to the side of the camper and conversion parts to turn the 30 amp cable which is attached to your converter into a removable cable which plugs into the power inlet.  The Marinco part number for the 30 amp kit is "30ARVKIT"

Now, when I traded in the 2001 Santa Fe this was one of the things I wanted to keep, so I removed it.  When IP0002466.JPG (99627 bytes) went to reinstall it in the new 2005 Niagara I discovered that the adaptor ring had rusted badly.  Now as I discuss later on this page this ring is not available as an individual part, only as part of the full RV kit so I was kind of bummed out.  I sent an e-mail to Marinco and within a day I had a reply that they were sending me a new ring free of charge. I must say, great customer service.  I would highly recommend this mod for anyone who thinks it may help them out.

Plug.jpg (2536 bytes)

All photos are thumbnails, click to see an enlarged version

Romex.jpg (38234 bytes)As with most of my projects, I decided that I needed to "improve" the kit I purchased.  The instructions in the kit wanted you to cut a 2 to 3 foot section out of your plug cable to run between the RV power converter and the new plug installed on the side of the camper.  I purchased a 4 foot section of #10 romex for this connection.  This will give me a longer plug cord.  Note: To clearly show which steps are part of my optional addition to the plans I have changed the background color of those steps to blue.
Plug1.jpg (8476 bytes)

Plug2.jpg (7917 bytes)Included in the kit is a plug end that will be placed on the end of the cord once it is disconnected form the RV converter.

Plug4.jpg (24791 bytes)LockRing.jpg (14678 bytes)The socket to the left will be installed in the side of the camper and connected to the RV converter with the romex shown above.  The weatherproof cover to the right will be installed on the plug end above to keep rain water out during use.
Plug5.jpg (22791 bytes)The photo to the right shows the weatherproof cover plugged into the socket.  The plug end is "keyed" so that it can only be inserted one way, and once it is inserted it turns 1/4 turn to keep it from accidentally falling out. The weatherproof cover has a lock ring which locks the two parts together
RearBench.jpg (51999 bytes)Under one of your bench seats probably looks a little like the photo to the left.  When you pull it out or push it in it probably takes 2 people to do it (1 inside and 1 outside).
MouseHole.jpg (13144 bytes)To begin this project pull your power cord entirely out of the mousehole.
Step1.jpg (25737 bytes)This is where the entirely optional part of my project begins. Following the directions provided with the kit you can just cut the original shore power cable to length to stick out the mousehole. For some pop ups, the converter is not readily assessable and you should not consider the use of romex like I did.   Move inside and remove the wooden cover from over the converter.  Note some manufacturers may not cover it in this manner.  You need to get to the converter wherever it is located.
Step2.jpg (32136 bytes)Look at where the wires enter the converter.  There should be an access panel in this area.  Open up the converter access panel and note where the 3 wires from the shore power cord are attached.  Normally these wires are green (ground), white (neutral) and black (power) but may be other colors. Disconnect these wires and remove the shore power cord.
Step3.jpg (11651 bytes)After removing the cord, remove the plastic mousehole cover and the side of your pop up should now look like the photo to the left.  Do not throw away the three screws that held it in place.  You will need them to attach the plug later.
Step4.jpg (11807 bytes)Run the romex you purchased (or cutting a portion off the end of your power cord if you follow the written directions) between the outside of the pop up and the converter.  While I started wiring at the converter and worked to the outside, I think it would be easier if you wired the plug on the side of the pop up first and then wired it to the converter.
NewMouseHole.jpg (23028 bytes)Here is what the new plug looks like installed on the side of the pop up.  If you look closely, there is an adaptor ring between the plug housing and the side of the pop up.  This adaptor is included with the kit.  Had I purchased the parts individually I may have been hard pressed to find this ring on my own.
RearBench2.jpg (12950 bytes)The photo to the left shows what it looks like under the rear bench now.  Note I followed the contour of the converter and the wall with the romex.  You can also see all of the space I have now recovered for usable storage.  Do not store anything in this area which may cut or damage the wire,
WireEnd2.jpg (4855 bytes)Now it is time to wire up the shore cord.  Before you do anything, slide the weatherproof cover over the cable.  If you forget this step you will be taking everything apart to add it later. Don't ask how I know this
WireEnd.jpg (4029 bytes)You can now wire the supplied end onto your existing cable.  You may need to trim down the wires to fit them inside this connector.
WireEnd3.jpg (4689 bytes)CamperPlugWeb.jpg (23442 bytes)Slide the weatherproof cover down the cable and cover the plug end.  You should now have a cable with the factory end which will plug into the park power pole (photo to right) and the new end you have added which will plug into the side of the pop up.
Final1.jpg (13882 bytes)

The photo to the left shows how it looks in use.

When you are done be sure to check your work with a meter and polarity tester.

CordBag.jpg (27877 bytes)The only problem I had with the detachable cord was what to do with it.  Well, I discovered Marinco has a tote bag to carry their cords in.  The model number is "BAG" for the one I got and "BAG2" for a much larger one. In the 2005 RV Electrical Accessories catalog I noticed that their is a bag with the RV "ParkPower" logo with a part number of "BAG.RV"

I was surprised that the power cable weighs in at over 10 pounds!  Now when we are going dry camping we will no longer need to haul it around.  If you have a checklist of parts, remember to add this to your list so you don't forget it.

 

The project took only an hour or so to complete once I had all the parts on hand.  Before attempting to complete this project you should be comfortable working with electric.  While it is not on the scale of rewiring you whole house, it is a little more than changing a light bulb. 

Costs for this included:

$72.00 for the Marinco kit

$1.20 for the #10 romex

Comparing the "kit" price to the 3 major parts included in the kit:

1. 30 amp socket for the side of the PU $58.00

2. 30 amp plug for the end of the cable $26.00

Weatherproof cover for the end of the cable $17.00

I could not find the adapter ring that goes around the socket to fill the larger hole in the side of the pop up.  Apparently Marinco only offers this as part of the RV kit.  The individual parts can be found at any large marine store like West Marine or BoatUS.

The kit is manufactured and marketed by:

Marinco Park 
Power Systems

 

   Revised: January 13, 2008

 

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