Circuit Breaker bad connection melted Electrical Panel - Fiberglass RV
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Old 09-30-2022, 08:08 AM   #1
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Name: Ned
Trailer: 2017 Scamp 13D & 2016 Highlander
Iowa
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Circuit Breaker bad connection melted Electrical Panel

I purchased my 13' Scamp Deluxe new from Scamp in January of 2017. Occasionally I would notice an odd burning smell over the years inside the camper. I looked for the problem, tightened connectors in the electrical panel, but couldnít figure it out.


I finally figured out the problem. One of the circuit breakers was arcing with the bus bar and melted the housing. It was the circuit breaker for the water heater which I donít use often. I will replace the complete electrical panel and the bad circuit breaker.


I thought I would post this to help others, if you have an unknown burning smell pull all of the breakers to check for problems.
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Electric Panel.jpg   Curcuit Breaker 1.jpg  

Curcuit Breaker 2.jpg   Melted Panel.jpg  

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Old 09-30-2022, 06:46 PM   #2
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What brand it the panel?
I have used the Progressive dynamics unit with no problems.
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Old 09-30-2022, 07:48 PM   #3
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Iowa
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Originally Posted by redbarron55 View Post
What brand it the panel?
I have used the Progressive dynamics unit with no problems.

It is the stock panel from Scamp and it looks to be a Progressive Dynamic # PD50B2T2GP. I have never changed or removed any part of this panel. I think the problem was actually the Siemens circuit breaker, but don't know for sure.


Visually all of the circuit breakers were flush with each other and appeared to be fully seated to the bus bar.
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Elec Panel best.jpg   panel Number.jpg  

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Old 10-03-2022, 06:24 AM   #4
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Push on circuit breakers of all brands have been prone to that type of failure, In a residential building, I generally install panels with bolt-on breakers, a bit more expensive, but peace of mind for me.
One hing to watch for, if you regularly flip breakers on and off, you should check to make sure they are seated solidly at least once a year.
With the power off a good firm push towards the centre of the breaker panel (to the side where the handle goes in the on position) should re-seat it, without having to open the cover.
Joe
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Old 10-20-2022, 04:45 PM   #5
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Name: Charles
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Georgia
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I think Progressive did the aluminum stab thing in these panels. Had they used copper or tin plated copper (for corrosion resistance), this would not have happened.

I have seen aluminum stabs burn up in several panels. That is why in my shop where it is exposed to humidity and temp swings, I went with a panel with copper buss bars/stabs.

A good noalox grease sparingly coated over the whole of each stab would provide corrosion resistance without affecting conductivity. A few new breakers come pre-greased, but the stabs need more than that.

Charles
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Old 10-21-2022, 01:06 PM   #6
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Name: Gordon
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Like the others have said, this is a fairly common problem.. and with all the shaking the trailer goes through it is not really surprising. Check your smoke detector battery and operation, keep good insurance, be alert for smoke or electrical burning smell, and (important)... put your hands on the breaker's once in a while to check for unusual warmth. Best time to check is maybe 20 minutes or so after setting up camp at an electric site, and whenever you use a heavy load such as A/C. It also would not be a bad idea to have a electrician check it annually and reset and retighten the breaker and wire connections (DIY if you are sure you can do so safely and properly, but that is not my advice).
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Old 10-21-2022, 01:18 PM   #7
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Name: Kelly
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a light coating of dielectric grease on the aluminum or copper is a good corrosion preventative on an electrical connection. I always have some in my electrical tool kit.


Maybe Noalox is a brand name for it but I have never heard of that brand. In the USA hardware stores I frequent it is known by the generic name "dielectric grease" which is what is on the labels.
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Old 10-21-2022, 08:10 PM   #8
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Name: Ned
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Iowa
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Thanks to all the responded to my problem. I believe the buss bar is aluminum on the old unit and the new one.

I purchased a new panel and fuse from Scamp and have installed these. Not a bad job if you don't hurry. I will pull all of the circuit breakers and put a light coating of dielectric grease on each one. I will also check this area occasionally for heat and burnt smells. And will add to my checklist to check the breakers and wire connections.

This forum is amazing and I really appreciate the help and good ideas.
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Old 10-25-2022, 06:56 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k corbin View Post
a light coating of dielectric grease on the aluminum or copper is a good corrosion preventative on an electrical connection. I always have some in my electrical tool kit.


Maybe Noalox is a brand name for it but I have never heard of that brand. In the USA hardware stores I frequent it is known by the generic name "dielectric grease" which is what is on the labels.
Noalox is used when joining copper and aluminum conductors to prevent galvanic reaction (dissimilar metals), it does also help prevent oxidation
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Old 10-25-2022, 09:17 AM   #10
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Name: Jack L
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe MacDonald View Post
Noalox is used when joining copper and aluminum conductors to prevent galvanic reaction (dissimilar metals), it does also help prevent oxidation
Yes, Noalox is a grease with small particles of metal, mostly zinc, that acts as an abrasive to clean oxidation from aluminum connections. The grease protects from future oxidation.

You can buy it at your local building center. There are other brands too. I keep some in the tool box because it works great on automotive connections, especialy car battery connections.
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Old 10-25-2022, 10:25 AM   #11
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Name: Ned
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Iowa
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Question for this group: In your opinion, can I use the Permatex Dielectric Grease that I have which appears to be designed for automotive applications or do you recommend Noalox or other designed for 120v housing applications. Noalox is available at my local Home Depot.
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