A/C cord overheating and squished prong

Emily Lee

New Member
Nov 19, 2021
2
I have a 1997 Palomino TXL-SC hard sided pop up camper that I’m renovating and I just noticed the A/C cord was getting really hot after a few minutes of use. I checked the prongs and the round prong somehow got squished. I don’t know how that could have happened. How do I fix this? I tried using pliers to squeeze it back into shape but it’s not budging. Another thing to note and and I’m not sure if this contributed to it but the cord attached to the A/C unit doesn’t reach the actual outlet and the previous owner had a 20V extension cord they used to connect it to the outlet. I know I’ve heard extension cords and sources that pull a lot of power don’t mix so I’m wondering if the extension cord could be the problem or if it’s the squished prong or both.
 

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bondebond

Super Active Member
Aug 14, 2008
2,247
I see attempted clean up of the brass on those prongs. Dirty connectors is really a way to introduce resistance and burn things up. I tend to not mess around and will cut both male and female connectors off and replace with new, appropriately sized (20 amp, not 20V) connectors running across the appropriate gauge wire. In this case, how much you're pulling AND how long a cord it's going across will dictate what gauge wire you need.

I would take the opportunity to actually find a single cord long enough to go from the air conditioner to the proper 20 amp plug in the camper. Simply because I wouldn't know the history of previous usage, I would replace that 20 amp outlet with a new one as you cannot inspect the inside very well for dirty connectors.

Please do NOT try to squish that ground back into shape. Replace that plug at a minimum. Work on removing the need for an extension, and make it safe for everyone to be around it. Some things I look to reuse or put back into service. Connections that have already shown overheating issues are not something I'm willing to risk not replacing.

I am not an electrician so take my advice for what it is: unqualified and free.
 

LilRed

Super Active Member
Jan 9, 2021
1,032
Long Island NY
the round plug is ground. Short of bending with plyers back to shape, you may just have to replace the NEMA 5-20p end. As for using an extension cord with the AC, at 20A you'll need it to be 12AWG or thicker (lower numbers). Any thinner, and you will make a nice heating element. If the plug itself is getting hot, it probably is a worn receptacle (in the extension) and should be replaced too.
 

SteveP

Super Active Member
Platinum Supporting Member
May 21, 2015
2,477
I would take the opportunity to actually find a single cord long enough to go from the air conditioner to the proper 20 amp plug in the camper. Simply because I wouldn't know the history of previous usage, I would replace that 20 amp outlet with a new one as you cannot inspect the inside very well for dirty connectors.
Agreed
 

1380ken

Super Active Member
Nov 7, 2013
2,870
Mass
Your AC might also be bad. The squished ground shouldn't make any difference. You don't need the ground. Even with an extension cord the AC cord should not get really hot after a few minutes. I bet it is a bad AC
 

Emily Lee

New Member
Nov 19, 2021
2
I would take the opportunity to actually find a single cord long enough to go from the air conditioner to the proper 20 amp plug in the camper. Simply because I wouldn't know the history of previous usage, I would replace that 20 amp outlet with a new one as you cannot inspect the inside very well for dirty connectors.

Please do NOT try to squish that ground back into shape. Replace that plug at a minimum. Work on removing the need for an extension, and make it safe for everyone to be around it. Some things I look to reuse or put back into service. Connections that have already shown overheating issues are not something I'm willing to risk not replacing.
Thank you for your reply! That was really helpful. When you say to find a single cord that is long enough and avoid the use of an extension cord how do you replace the whole cord? I’ve watched videos on how to replace the plug but I can’t seem to figure out to how to replace the cord.
 

bondebond

Super Active Member
Aug 14, 2008
2,247
As LilRed states, I would go with a 12 AWG (gauge) wire. Because I am comfortable doing electrical work, I would find an appropriate 12 AWG extension or appliance cord, make sure it is long enough and cut off the female end and hard wire that into the air conditioner.

As I went looking around for legit AC cord replacements, apparently there just isn't a supply anymore, probably due to lack of market share for PUPs in the RV world. The best I could find was just a NEMA 5-20P cord long enough. Here is an example of what I'm talking about - 25' NEMA 5-20P cord. The gauge is right but it seems a bit over the top pricewise for the 25' version.

Depending on how handy you're feeling, there's always get the proper NEMA 5-20P male plug from a big box store, the proper length of 12AWG (12-3) "power cord" and do it for about $30. Be absolutely sure you know that what you're doing is safe, though.
 
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SteveP

Super Active Member
Platinum Supporting Member
May 21, 2015
2,477
Looks like the PO replaced the original power cord with one from a window unit. Probably one he had laying around.

First thing to do is measure the distance from the existing plug to the outlet to make sure you get the proper length for the new cord.

Then you need to take down the interior air distribution panel, there should be 4 screws, one near each corner. Careful not to loose the screws or the springs mounted on them.

Unfortunately that's as far as memory takes me. Once you have that down take pictures of the back of the distribution panel and closeups of where the existing power cord connects and post them here.
 




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