removing strain relief bushings - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-20-2020, 12:07 PM   #1
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Name: Deb
Trailer: 1990 Bigfoot B19
British Columbia
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removing strain relief bushings

Me again... I have a nice, new (2 year old) WFCO control panel installed, by the the PO. But it would appear that he didn't bother to take off the original bushings (nasty blue things). It would also appear that in order to get them out of the original panel, he had to break them, so they no longer seat into the entry points at the back of the panel.

I have new bushings coming, and since I will be back there adding 2 new circuits (for the ac and water heater) I will swap these old bust ones out for new. Does anyone have a neat trick to get these off without taking the chance of damaging wiring? The one going into the DC side should be easy enough - the "compression" section of the bushing is already gone, so hopefully should just pull out (after judiciously labelling all of the wires of course). The AC side - incoming main 30A and the branch circuits - still seem to be pretty much intact (except for the part that holds them in the panel).

I can get at them carefully with a wee dremel but if there is an easier way to do it, I would love to know.

My preference is to have a plan BEFORE I start dismantling everything.
Thanks
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Old 07-20-2020, 01:18 PM   #2
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Dikes pliers

How about a side cutter. There are sometimes called a dikes pliers.

https://www.bing.com/images/search?q...mageBasicHover

You can cut little pieces at a time until it is off.
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Old 07-20-2020, 01:27 PM   #3
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Thomas, I have a set and they were on my list too. Might depend on how much room there is inside, but would probably have less chance of cutting something important than a baby dremel wheel.
I have a feeling that there won’t be any “finesse” involved with it. Doesn’t matter really since these are garbage anyway. Easier and quicker with least chance of damaging something is the way I’ll go. I’ll pull the side cutters out tomorrow.
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Old 07-21-2020, 06:30 AM   #4
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Name: Gordon
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In the first photo you can see the locking insert (flat squareish piece) on the end of the attaching tail (right side of photo). To install, insert wire through the connector (grommet), insert connector into junction box or breaker panel, etc. Then after making the wiring connections, break the insert off the tail if you need to, and insert it into the slot on the side of the plastic connector (top of photo) to lock the wire in place.

To remove, pull the locking insert plastic tab out and then pull the wire through the connector. Note the ribs on the locking insert.. it is not meant to come out, so pull hard with pliers.. twist and turn a little too. So it looks like you need to disconnect the wiring and then, after pulling out the locking tab insert, pull the wire through the connector until it is free. Then you can get medieval on the connector (which now has no wire in it) if needed to get it free.

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Old 07-21-2020, 07:40 AM   #5
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pry up and away from the panel with a large flat screwdriver, they will pop out of the panel, never liked those connectors, they weren't reliable. and I always thought they were kinda cheap.
looking at your wiring, it would seem there are multiple conductors in each connector, hopefully they are not mixing 110v and 12v circuits per connector.
I would take them out, make sure they have not mixed voltages, install a new connector like this:, then sleeve the wiring in heat shrink where it enters the panel and insert through the new connector.
Joe
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Old 07-21-2020, 08:44 AM   #6
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Name: Gordon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe MacDonald View Post
pry up and away from the panel with a large flat screwdriver, they will pop out of the panel, never liked those connectors, ..
But the wire will still be locked in the connector.

What I really dont like is the plastic junction boxes with locking tabs built in. There is almost no way to release the wire without breaking it, and that means the box should be replaced. I agree, use the metal ones with attaching to metal boxes.. the screws make it easy to release the wire the next time you make a modification.

Of course the advice to follow code when applicable is the best advice, so if anyone has comments on code requirements please speak up.
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Old 07-21-2020, 08:55 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThomasC View Post
How about a side cutter. There are sometimes called a dikes pliers.
...
I wonder what the new (PC) name will be. Might need to stick to "side cutter."
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Old 07-21-2020, 10:17 AM   #8
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Name: Deb
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe MacDonald View Post
pry up and away from the panel with a large flat screwdriver, they will pop out of the panel, never liked those connectors, they weren't reliable. and I always thought they were kinda cheap.
looking at your wiring, it would seem there are multiple conductors in each connector, hopefully they are not mixing 110v and 12v circuits per connector.
I would take them out, make sure they have not mixed voltages, install a new connector like this:, then sleeve the wiring in heat shrink where it enters the panel and insert through the new connector.
Joe
Thanks Joe. They are actually already out of the panel . I think the PO removed everything "intact" from the original panel and just installed them as is into this new one. I see that he had to break them to get them out of the old panel, that's why they won't seat in the new.

The wiring is fine - It is the original set-up. I'm pretty sure these are the bushings from when the trailer was assembled - 120V going to the AC side and 12V going to the DC. He just swapped them directly from the old panel to the new (and broke the bushings getting them out)

I was wondering about the use of a metal grommet - the control panel itself is plastic (WFCO) and I thought that a metal piece might not work well with it. But I'll take a closer look once I get these out. I like the use of a more sturdy grommet, but just don't know if the panel will accept them. I also think another part of the problem is that the wiring is approaching the panel at a very sharp angle and pulling from the side. There's lots of available length, but it needs to be supported closer to the panel so that the wiring is approaching the panel more perpendicularly.

And thanks for the suggestion of the shrink tubing. I have a good selection and that may be a nice way to beef up the support.
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Old 07-21-2020, 10:26 AM   #9
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Name: Deb
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
In the first photo you can see the locking insert (flat squareish piece) on the end of the attaching tail (right side of photo). To install, insert wire through the connector (grommet), insert connector into junction box or breaker panel, etc. Then after making the wiring connections, break the insert off the tail if you need to, and insert it into the slot on the side of the plastic connector (top of photo) to lock the wire in place.

To remove, pull the locking insert plastic tab out and then pull the wire through the connector. Note the ribs on the locking insert.. it is not meant to come out, so pull hard with pliers.. twist and turn a little too. So it looks like you need to disconnect the wiring and then, after pulling out the locking tab insert, pull the wire through the connector until it is free. Then you can get medieval on the connector (which now has no wire in it) if needed to get it free.

Thanks Gordon. I figured it was something along those lines, but what I actually needed to do was where I was stuck. Pictures are awesome!! Thanks for that! Could probably figure it out once everything was disconnected, but then I would be sitting with no electrical in the trailer while I figured out what went where. I don't like that. I do like to fly by the seat of my pants for some things. But not this.

I am going to take a closer look at using the more traditional metal grommet like Joe was talking about. Would be easier (a screw to loosen - simple!) if ever needed to do anything in the future, but since the casing of the control centre is plastic, I don't know how it would stand up to a metal grommet (weight combined with vibration?). They are easy enough to come by though, and if it looks like it will work, I think I'll go that route with the replacements.
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Old 07-21-2020, 11:45 AM   #10
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it is actually quite common to use those style connectors on a plastic box, the holes are a standard size, just like plumbing. they are referred to as 1/2, 3/4/, 1 inch just like pipe.
the ones on your power center would be 1/2 inch.
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Old 07-21-2020, 12:02 PM   #11
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Name: Deb
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Perfect! Thanks Joe. I will go pick up a few. I have space for 5 branch circuits and I will be adding 2 - for the ac and the water heater - for a total of 3. The only thing that runs on existing 120V circuit right now is the fridge - and a single outlet in the kitchen that will generally just run the coffee-maker. (I managed to find a little Jensen 12V 19" TV that I can run on the 12V plug-in if I want to - and I have 2x6V Trojans for battery power, so lots of amp-hrs to play with)
When I'm travelling, and it's warm enough that I would want to use the ac, I would swap the fridge over to LP so I don't take the chance of popping the breaker on my 30A feed.
Thanks again for the help.
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