Detachable Power Cord

by Greg Zimmerman

Upgrading to a detachable power cord has a few advantages.  The connection is weather and bug proof.  The cord can be coiled up and kept elsewhere or stuffed back in the original hatch.  The 30 amp twist plug is a standard RV/marine cord, so you can buy different length cords or even extensions.

First we need a 30 amp (3 prong, not a 4) twist lock outlet.  There are cheap ones on Amazon under $20, or you can go with a name brand such as Park Power, Furrion or Mighty Cord for more.

You can convert the old cord with a new plug with this kit that includes the outlet for even more savings.

For not much more you can buy a new cord that will be weather sealed, plus it’s less work!

The conversion is straight forward, follow along.

First step is to throw away the instructions. They want you to drill too big of a hole. You only need a 2 1/8″ hole saw (double check on your outlet). Having a smaller hole will give more room for the mounting screws in the next step. I use masking tape to protect the gel-coat from shattering. Before drilling, check on the backside of the wall with your hand to avoid cutting anything you don’t want to!

Pro-Tip:  After the pilot bit goes through the fiberglass, reverse the drill and let the saw teeth score the gel-coat.  Switch to forward again and drill through the fiberglass.  Once through, reverse the drill agai and let the saw cut through the foam and carpet.  That will keep the drill from snagging on the carpet and make a perfect hole.  

Pull the power cord through the hole and cut it a few inches outside the hole. Cut the insulation back and strip the 3 wires to expose 1/2″ of wire. The outlet is marked (W) for white, (B) for black, and surprise, (G) for green. Put the gasket into place, insert the wires and tighten the set screws. Push the outlet into position, mark and drill the 4 mounting holes with a 1/8″ bit and mount with #10 stainless sheet metal screws.

If you bought a new power cable, congratulations, you’re done!  If you are going to convert the old cord, read on… However you’ll see it’s well worth the extra $20 to just buy a new cord.

 

Push the cut end of the power cord through the weather boot, the back of the plug housing, and strip the ends.  You may have to adjust the length of each color of wire to get it all to fit.  It’s a fiddly process to get the wires into their positions and tighten the screws, assemble the outlet, and wrestle the boot in place.

Pro-tip: Do NOT loosen the terminal screws too much, or the clamp will fall loose inside the plug and require disassembling and reassembling all the pieces and verifying the correct pins are in the correct slot. It’s a major pain to correct.

Once complete, plug in the Casita and I would recommend using a plug in a circuit tester on an outlet to verify all three wires are correct.

 

Here’s a good circuit tester.  You want the center and right amber lights to illuminate, otherwise something is wrong.

4 comments

Frank Yake April 18, 2020 - 8:47 am

Greg…..
Thanks for a great how-to…… When I’m sheltering at home this spring and summer, this’ll be a positive project.

Frank 🙂

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Robbie April 18, 2020 - 11:20 am

Thanks Greg, great directions!. I’m going to do this but higher up and to the left and replace the small Electrical access door with a bigger door for storage access.

Love your Site but, “Go Air Force!”

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Susan Farrington April 18, 2020 - 11:23 am

Thanks so much for the tips!

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Alan Day April 18, 2020 - 11:23 pm

Hi, Greg! Great guide to a simple, useful mod…Thanks for sharing!
A more-expensive, but similar connector is the SmartPlug…shaped so it plugs in only one way, even in the dark, and provides better electrical connections. But, can’t be easily replaced if you lose it on the road…to each his own. Cheers!!!

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