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Old 02-24-2024, 12:31 PM   #1
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Close to disaster - 2005 Journey 36G Automatic Transfer Switch

Let me join the legions that are so thankful for these forums. I came across a discussion about ensuring that your wiring inside the Automatic Transfer switch were tight. Decided that I should probably check mine. The pictures are what I found. Holy crap! Only by the grace of the good Lord above did this not cause a fire. We've owned our rig for three years, and I didn't even think to check this. Believe me, it will now be part of my yearly PM!!
OK. That being said, this is the discontinued ATS 5070. Any suggestions on what to replace with? I am also wanting to upgrade my old Dimensions inverter with the victron Multiples II.
Thanks again to all of you for the advice and sharing your experiences!!
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Old 02-24-2024, 05:29 PM   #2
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That terminal block is probably available at most any electric supply house. Just copy down any numbers on it to show the counter folks, or, remove it and take it with you to the supply house.
Be sure to label the wiring locations, or take a picture of everything. Don't forget your main breaker panel too.

You sure dodged a bullet with that switches condition.
Once a year, usually each spring, I take 2 days to go through the entire coach insuring all electrical connections art tight. I always find at least 2 that require tightening.
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Old 02-24-2024, 06:18 PM   #3
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This is true with any high-draw electrical device. The high loads cause a heat and cool cycle that causes things to loosen up. We have several thermal welders at work that are 50 amp 240 volts, they are on a list to check monthly for loose connections. If not the clowns will run them until the smoke leaks out, then if we are lucky it is only $500 for a new board and terminal block. If we are unlucky it is $2500 for a rebuild. They cost about $7000 to replace. I have given up explaining predictive maintenance and maintenance schedules to our management team...

I too check all my electrical connections on the RV, Shop, and house annually. Especially things that are prone to high loading. Unfortunately these things are not routinely taught or mentioned outside of a few specialized industries.

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Old 02-25-2024, 05:45 PM   #4
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Its the fine strand cable that is the issue not the high amperage.Vibration is another factor that leads to lose connects. Heating and cooling is big deal when you have dissimilar metals in the wire and box lugs. The fine strand cables have a tendency to crush down in the box lugs. I've worked over fifty years with currents as high as 5000 amp 480 volt and below. While it is recommend to re-torque the equipment lugs its not something you see many commercial building managers do. A product offered mainly for aluminum terminations is NOALOX made by Idea industries. The fine strand cable in the OP photos is tin plated copper. A little Noalox may be helpful here.
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Old 02-28-2024, 06:30 PM   #5
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Check out RVstreet YouTube channel. Host, Martin, gives a great explanation of how to inspect, torque, and maintain the transfer switch. Great chanel anyways. He drives a 2012 Winnebago 35F
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Old 02-28-2024, 08:40 PM   #6
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Disaster avoided can be a relative thing if we think about it?
You have a problem, yes and if we had a fire it would be a definite disaster!
But then if we look at why some of this is done we can feel a little better!

This whole thing is designed so that the arcing is inside a metal box that should contain any fire chances if we use it right. See how hot things inside the box got but the insulation didn't catch fire or the arcing go out of the box?
Part of the design is to avoid that big disaster by keeping it down to "semi disaster" by not burning the RV down!

But part of the design depends on us knowing not to do something dumb like leave a bunch of knockouts open so those sparks can get out and light things on fire---outside the box!

The problem with most any tool we buy is that it is not any smarter than the guy holding it! And that leaves a lot of room for doubt!
The guy with the tool may know better but the guy with the suit wants to save money!
I saw Alaska Airlines decided to not grease the jackscrew on planes at 600 hours and decided 2500 was fine! All it did was control the elevator!
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Old 03-05-2024, 10:39 AM   #7
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Torque specs for lugs should be listed on panel cover. Should be 20 inch pounds if I remember correctly.
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Old 03-05-2024, 01:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morich View Post
Disaster avoided can be a relative thing if we think about it?
You have a problem, yes and if we had a fire it would be a definite disaster!
But then if we look at why some of this is done we can feel a little better!

This whole thing is designed so that the arcing is inside a metal box that should contain any fire chances if we use it right. See how hot things inside the box got but the insulation didn't catch fire or the arcing go out of the box?
Part of the design is to avoid that big disaster by keeping it down to "semi disaster" by not burning the RV down!

But part of the design depends on us knowing not to do something dumb like leave a bunch of knockouts open so those sparks can get out and light things on fire---outside the box!

The problem with most any tool we buy is that it is not any smarter than the guy holding it! And that leaves a lot of room for doubt!
The guy with the tool may know better but the guy with the suit wants to save money!
I saw Alaska Airlines decided to not grease the jackscrew on planes at 600 hours and decided 2500 was fine! All it did was control the elevator!
I'll expand on that a bit, every approved electrical enclosure has a stated volume in cubic inches and the conductors and devices have corresponding cubic inch allowances, so that when choosing a box or enclosure you choose one that will have ample space for what is going inside. (This is a long ongoing battle between electricians and designers who think a pancake box or an 8 cubic inch switch box is the answer to every space limitation)

Here's where it gets interesting, and especially important with plastic boxes. Boxes, like other building materials, have a fire rating. The fire rating is calculated in such a way that the available combustible material within the box will be consumed in a shorter period of time than the box is fire rated for, thus preventing the fire from spreading outside of the box.

Violating the fill limitations voids the fire rating, and there have been court cases where contractors were sued over box fill after a fire. I know of one in particular where a contractor was sued when a multistory complex under construction burned to the ground and the lawyers for the insurance company hired an expert who found one box over filled by 1 wire.

Fortunately it was proved that arson was the cause and the suit against the contractor was unsuccessful, but it shows how important it is to know and follow the minimum code, and why we get annoyed when people try and make us do it their way to suit their design with no regard to code or our liability.

Sorry, maybe a little off topic but if you're following a thread like this chances are it might be of some interest, and hopefully hep explain why those tiny boxes are not always such a good idea..
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