It's become quite clear that a fair amount of my camping happens in chilly weather. My trips between Alaska and California often happen in winter, or on the fringes of winter in the early spring and mid fall
. And when I'm in California in the late fall/early winter months we usually get a family camping or two in and those can happen in all sorts of weather and climates from blazing hot to sub-freezing.
After a number of these trips, I decided I'm getting tired of wrestling with the 30 amp shore power cable, which, until now, was the original one that you had to pull through a small hole in the side of the trailer. In the colder months, it's a PITA to get that heavy and stiff coiled up cable through the hole. Plus, there is always a draft coming through that hole, and all sorts of dust and dirt accumulating in the water heater compartment, which shares space with the back of the converter where the cable ultimately terminates.
So last week I was roaming around my local Camping World and noticed a decent looking 30 amp inlet on sale for 30 bucks.
30 Amp Flanged Inlet with Power Smart LED - Furrion F30INS-PS - Electrical Hatches & Outlets - Camping World
The 30-foot matching cable was on sale too for $69 so I figured the planets were lining up and trying to tell me something. I bit the bullet and committed to tackling this project.
The problem is that the original door over the hole is quite a bit larger than the 3-inch square hole through the side of the trailer. Even if I could get the receptacle to just fit over the hole, there would be six unsightly screw holes in the side of the trailer.
As it turned out screw holes in the 3.4-inch flange on the receptacle were set in just far enough to miss anything the screws could bite into so I set about to figure out how to make an adapter plate.
At first I settled on some .030" aluminum sheet. But after what-iffing that to death, I went over to my local plastics supply house and dug through their scrap bin and found what I thought might be the ideal material.
It's some type of marine-grade high density plastic. It's slippery like Delrin or "engineering plastic" and you can cut, drill and route it like wood. So I bought a piece. It's about 3/16 inch thick, smooth on one side and textured on the other and it's an off-white color.
I cut a 5-inch wide by 6-1/4 inch tall piece to match the back of the original door flange exactly and used my router to round off the edges. Then I sandwiched it and the back of the old door flange together to mark the mounting holes, which I drilled and then made recesses for the screw heads using a forstner bit. The material is very easy to work with.
After the mounting holes were drilled, it was time to cut the 2-1/2 inch hole for the back of the receptacle to fit through using a hole saw. I positioned it so at least the top two screws would bite into the plywood behind the fiberglass surrounding the cable hole. The bottom ones would simply bite into the adapter plate. There were a few notches and grooves to add to the hole to clear various tabs and such on the back of the receptacle. I did these by hand with a couple small files. It took me about an hour to make the plate.
The images below show the original cable and door. The second shot is the completed adapter plate and the new receptacle that will mount to it.
Continued in next post...