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Old 02-23-2020, 10:22 AM   #1
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Suggestions/Help for RV Power Cord Issue due to Arthritis

I have a 30amp hardwired RV cord. My arthritis has gotten much worse over the past months, and it's doubtful to get better again. It's painful to do the 'wrap around my elbow' to store and carry my cord, esp with it hardwired and I have to pull out and return ALL of it. My cord compartment is very small on the 26A. I've been researching options. The auto-reel systems I've found are a) VERY expensive and too big for my electrical hold, which would mean a big work-around and taking up a bunch of space in my only large cargo hold and b) seem to come only with a 50 amp cord. I may have to go this route eventually, but am hoping some of you may have suggestions. I'd try a non-auto reel IF it were EASY to reel in. For water, I changed to the Zero-G fabric water hose, which has made that job much easier. But no fabric electrical cords out there haha. Thanks!
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Old 02-23-2020, 10:46 AM   #2
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Would it help if you separated (disconnected) the shore power cable and installed a Marinco Power Inlet jack? Then you would be able to handle the cable separately. If necessary, you could even ditch the longer cable and carry 2 or 3 shorter ones.
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Old 02-23-2020, 10:53 AM   #3
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Good advice on getting rid of hard-wire. I DID ask my RV Dealer when I first bought it about changing it out to not be hardwired (at that point, it wasn't due to the arthritis, I just preferred it) and the tech guy there said it wasn't a good idea. Maybe he didn't want to do the work haha. I'll re-visit that with them when I go back 3/20. I don't think shorter cords would help because it's the actual WINDING part - painful for my right hand and upper arm - that is the main issue. Movement rather than weight. Altho I suppose if I got 3 hand reels for short cords the lack of weight might make the hand-reel easier? Food for thought. Thanks.
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Old 02-23-2020, 11:12 AM   #4
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Maybe a combo of two changes? A plug to detach the cable and then one of these reels meant for air hoses, perhaps?
https://www.harborfreight.com/100-ft...kaAgOOEALw_wcB

They come in lots of different versions but I looked at this as cheap and lighter weight.

Best of luck but also the arthritis may actually get better if you make a few changes. Point I have learned is to NOT take the first advise/judgement from a doctor. I was looking at knee replacement but a change in diet and actual GAIN in weight has solved the problem for the time being!
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Old 02-23-2020, 11:54 AM   #5
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Thx! And more detail given

Thx Morich. And for arthritis advice too. I AM working that angle w/diet changes & swimming etc. We'll see. I have osteoporosis too.) I was out taking pics and measurements when you responded. I decided to add to my request with more detail. I DO have mixed feelings about detaching the cable. Sure looks like a complicated mess, but I know very little. A reel like you sent the link too, which I looked at, and like a lot, is too large for the hold and would definitely require cord detachment, and back and forth between the cord hold and wherever I kept the reel. Perhaps ok. IF it helps at all to see 'overall picture' Photos show, Pic 1: Entry; Pic 2: Left side of hold where electrical is. Pic 3: Shows inside, inc some stuff on ceiling of it; Measurements are 1.Cargo hold opening is 7x20. 2. Depth is 18.75. 3. From electric box on left to right wall is 21". 4. Height is either 13" (x about 15") or 11.5 (x about 5"). I'm aware this may be TMI, sorry if so! I suppose I could leave my cord attached inside and put one or two extension cords on a reel, leaving my cord inside when connecting and using only the reeled extension. I know it's not good practice though to make a longer cord run than necessary. Sorry! In my 'option exploring' I'm likely saying more here than anyone here truly wants to read haha
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Old 02-23-2020, 03:44 PM   #6
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Okay with me to get more info than needed. I'm really good at ignoring things!
So a second shot might look closer?
One reason we don't like to have too many connections in things like cords is that they come apart and we have to go plug them in again, but the 30 amp plugs are actually pretty hard to get plugged or unplugged, so maybe you could ignore that possible problem?
If you did that, it looks like the lower cord is the one that is now attached and you drag out to plug in. If true, perhaps not too difficult to get a bunch of the cord cut off so that it is more just a short "pigtail" inside this compartment. Then a cord to plug onto it and run to the power might be wrapped on something smaller than the reel I mentioned. There are plastic cord reels for things like extension cords that might be small enough to fit the compartment but still big enough to hold enough of the big 30 amp cord to work. Might look at some of those.
Still kind of heavy and will take some thought if that works with favoring whatever parts hurt at the time, but maybe some ideas.
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Old 02-23-2020, 04:38 PM   #7
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Okay, need a smaller reel and a simple way to set up to disconnect the cord.
Reels come in lots of different types and sizes. This is a cheap plastic that might or might not hold enough cord:
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Southwir...7201/303077511
Then fro a simple setup, maybe redo the current cord by cutting it off and adding a female end to make a "pigtail on the coach. Then add a male end on the cord we cut off so that it is male on both ends to plug into the pigtail?
Needs some checking but another idea discussion!
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Old 02-23-2020, 06:45 PM   #8
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Thanks again. I never thought of the pigtail idea (cutting off what's in there in order to leave it hardwired.) I like that. I found a reel called "Alert Stamping 7100CC Professional Wind-Up Reel" that is NOT cheap, yet it's important to me that I get a quality item that will reel in EASILY, and hold up. This one appears to have lots of legitimate positive feedback. It wouldn't be a problem to store it in my other cargo space and carry out over to plug into the pigtail when ready to use. So unless someone else comes up with a majorly upgraded suggestion (haha) I will likely go this route. Thanks again for the research and help.
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Old 02-28-2020, 10:46 AM   #9
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I don't see why a tech would advise not doing a jack for a separate cord. I had this arrangement on two trailers and made it much easier to deal with the cord. Plus I could put it wherever I wanted for storage so I didn't have to bend over or kneel to store it. I think you should get another opinion.
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Old 02-28-2020, 12:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dnta View Post
Good advice on getting rid of hard-wire. I DID ask my RV Dealer when I first bought it about changing it out to not be hardwired (at that point, it wasn't due to the arthritis, I just preferred it) and the tech guy there said it wasn't a good idea. Maybe he didn't want to do the work haha. I'll re-visit that with them when I go back 3/20. I don't think shorter cords would help because it's the actual WINDING part - painful for my right hand and upper arm - that is the main issue. Movement rather than weight. Altho I suppose if I got 3 hand reels for short cords the lack of weight might make the hand-reel easier? Food for thought. Thanks.
How about you convert it from hardwire. Then have the DW store the cord away. As a trade off you'll just have to do the dishes every time she stores the cord for you.
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Old 02-28-2020, 02:28 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morich View Post
Okay, need a smaller reel and a simple way to set up to disconnect the cord.
Reels come in lots of different types and sizes. This is a cheap plastic that might or might not hold enough cord:
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Southwir...7201/303077511
Then fro a simple setup, maybe redo the current cord by cutting it off and adding a female end to make a "pigtail on the coach. Then add a male end on the cord we cut off so that it is male on both ends to plug into the pigtail?
Needs some checking but another idea discussion!
As I was reading the thread I had the same idea of cutting the cord and adding connectors. Just like the old days when everything was not hardwired. Doing it as Morich suggested gives you the opportunity to have any type of wind-up reel, even a portable automatic, and if you have the space it could be in any other compartment. Unwind, plug both ends in and go have a cold one.

30ft reel

Other suggestions:
Storage reels

Cheap way: A 5 gallon bucket to wind the hose into by hand if the hand can do it.


Before I had the power rewind I had a hardwired cord. When I was finished using it I would wind it back into the compartment, not on my arm or any other means. I would stretch it out to the length I had just used and then hand feed it into the compartment letting it make its own coil. Next time I needed to use it the male plug was on the top of the coil and I could pull out enough to reach the pedestal. No need to pull the whole cord out. Stretching it out to its length will allow it to uncurl when pulling the cord in.


Good luck.
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Old 02-28-2020, 03:08 PM   #12
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Mention of the five gallon bucket reminded me that I used one to make a reel to fit the size space I had. I use it for the coax for Dish but it would be much the same for any cord or hose as it gives you the option of how much it needs to hold the cord versus how much space it takes to store the thing. Coax seems to have a built in coil to it and it is not fun to try to get it wrapped up neatly so the reel helps.
Basic idea is a board to lay on the ground with a bolt up for a center shaft going through the bottom of the bucket, then cut the bucket down to the size needed. Adding a handle to turn the bucket made it easy to rewind and with a couple washers as spacers between the bucket bottom and the board it turns easy.
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Old 03-01-2020, 09:30 AM   #13
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Coax and any other cord/cable is easy to roll up. First is to extend it to its fullest length or the length that was used if some is maintained rolled up. Doing this allows the cable to untwist when reeling it in. Many years ago I used the hand/elbow method of winding but that is a catastrophe waiting to happen when it is being unwound.

No I hold the end in my left hand (I'm right handed) and make a coil loop with the right holding the coil with the left hand. As I continue to reel the cable in with the right and coil it on to the left hand with a twist of the wrist the outstretched other end untwists itself. Unwinding for set up is a breeze. Just hold the end and toss the cable. It unwinds itself. (Demonstrations are only provided if you are in my area.)

Now, sometimes we use a 25 foot coax, sometimes a 50 foot and sometimes we need more. Which ever cable one uses it can be cumbersome to hold in the left hand as one gets the cable half way in.

Bicycle tire tube to the rescue. I buy a cheap bicycle tube. I cut the stem off of the tube across each side of the diameter of the tube. I now have on long piece of rubber. Next I take the scissors and cut all the way up the rubber to open the now split tube open. Next I cut 1/2, or what ever width you need, (smaller width for smaller jobs) all the way up the tube. I'll end up with 3 or 4 long lengths of rubber.

This next part is to determine on how much of a bungee cord you need. For a 50 foot coax about 8 inches of bungee so the length of cord would be 16 inches plus an additional few inches to tie a double knot in the ends of the rubber. Once the knot is tied you have a bungee cord. This rubber tube bungee cord typically will not slip when it is cinched up. I use these for all types of holding things together. Up to the imagination. I use two per coax, 180 degrees opposite each other.

Now for a 110v electrical cord, well that is another winding story, and not a coiled circle one.

Edited: When coiling the cable I place two home made bungies over my little finger of the left hand, or laying close by. As the coil is wound I'll take one, or both, and secure what I already have then coil more and repeat until I get to the end. Keeps from having to struggle hold with the left hand.
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Old 03-01-2020, 09:43 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by cdrprn View Post
I don't see why a tech would advise not doing a jack for a separate cord. I had this arrangement on two trailers and made it much easier to deal with the cord. Plus I could put it wherever I wanted for storage so I didn't have to bend over or kneel to store it. I think you should get another opinion.
I agree, most boats use this arrangement and they're bobbing up and down at the dock while your RV is stationary.

I also see that retractable air hose reels are much cheaper (including the hose). I don't see why one couldn't be adapted to work with your cord.
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Old 03-01-2020, 01:36 PM   #15
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if you look closely at the cord you will see they spliced the two cords together remove the splice and add a marine 30 amp twist plug and cap than you can remove the cord and coil into a bucket cut to size. i have two 50' cords left over from when i had my boat which i use often
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Old 03-01-2020, 04:45 PM   #16
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Figure 8 or Over 'n Under coiling

I feed mine into the compartment so it lays in a figure 8 shape. This avoids putting a half twist into the cord every time you do another circle. Could also coil it on the ground then bind it with one of those large plastic ratchet cable binders at Lowes or HD and rotate it a time or two as you lift it into the compartment. Coiling it "over and under" every other coil also avoids twisting the cable because you are putting a half twist into every other loop to offset the opposite half twist in the loop before it. Both are sailing methods to deal with heavy or stiff line or cable or long hoses.
These methods are not as easy to use as a spool, but avoid the extra space taken up by the spool.
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Old 03-01-2020, 06:54 PM   #17
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u should never do a 10/3 cord around your arm just lay on ground like u do a water hose,lay in coils then pick up 1 time
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Old 03-01-2020, 07:14 PM   #18
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I don't have trouble handling my electrical cord. But I know about the arthritis. My fingers are twisted so badly. When I point people think I'm pointing around the corner.
Of course the joints are swollen too.
I take a 500 mg pill of turmeric every day and the arthritis doesn't hurt me as badly. I've taken it long enough (a few years now) that it's in my system pretty good.
Good luck with your endeavors.
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Old 03-01-2020, 08:11 PM   #19
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Can't you lay the plug below the compartment and then just feed it in one twist at a time. I lay the plug there so it isn't dragged along and bend the male plug end. I do my 50 amp cord that way.
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Old 03-01-2020, 09:05 PM   #20
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There could be another solution.

Why don't you just politely asked another nearby RVr to give you a hand and store the power cord for you? You'll be surprised how helpful others are especially if both of you are in the same special interest group.
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