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Old 04-18-2021, 12:28 PM   #1
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SmartPlug Removable Power Connector

I'm considering making a build request to change my 5.0 trailer's primary power input to a 30-Amp SmartPlug setup. They're commonly used in marine applications but RV's are listed too. Before I do that I was wondering if anyone has any direct experience with them (RV or boat). Other than the cost factor I can't find any real cons. Everything I read gives them a big thumbs up and it seems like a much easier to connect and a more positive fool-proof connection than the standard ETI screw-mount for the removable power cord. They definitely aren't cheap but considering the overall trailer value it seems like it could be wise investment for the long-haul. Thoughts.
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Old 04-18-2021, 12:54 PM   #2
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First, the twist lock system used on Escape works fine. Yes, they can be a pain but you can replace the piece that thread onto the connection with the one that has twist lock prongs.
If you are somewhere in the middle of Nowhere, you are more likely to find an RV dealership or an RV parts outlet than you are a marina that has a Smart Plug in stock. What happens if the cord’s contacts wear to the point of arcing, or some lowlife steals it for the copper it contains. Since they are more often used on boats, I will be nautical here and say you may find yourself “up a certain creek without a paddle,” or in this case, no way to supply 120 vac to your trailer. Personally, I would purchase a spare plug (the part that attaches to the trailer) because most every hardware store and Walmart typically have 25-foot 30 amp RV cords. I am not suggesting that your intention is bad. I would just suggest you consider the availability of a replacement in the event of an unexpected loss or an emergency when you are on the road. Just my opinion.
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Old 04-18-2021, 01:33 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C&G in FL View Post
First, the twist lock system used on Escape works fine. Yes, they can be a pain but you can replace the piece that thread onto the connection with the one that has twist lock prongs.
If you are somewhere in the middle of Nowhere, you are more likely to find an RV dealership or an RV parts outlet than you are a marina that has a Smart Plug in stock. What happens if the cord’s contacts wear to the point of arcing, or some lowlife steals it for the copper it contains. Since they are more often used on boats, I will be nautical here and say you may find yourself “up a certain creek without a paddle,” or in this case, no way to supply 120 vac to your trailer. Personally, I would purchase a spare plug (the part that attaches to the trailer) because most every hardware store and Walmart typically have 25-foot 30 amp RV cords. I am not suggesting that your intention is bad. I would just suggest you consider the availability of a replacement in the event of an unexpected loss or an emergency when you are on the road. Just my opinion.
Thanks for the input. All valid points. With a non-standard RV connector it would become my responsibility to make certain I had a spare short adapter cord that could be used in a pinch to connect a more traditional 30 amp or even a 15 amp cord should a theft or failure occur. (However, I'm a bit paranoid about having backups for key systems due to having a "locked" trailer hitch stolen while boondock camping in our previous travel trailer. That episode cost me a 4 hour trip to Steamboat to purchase a replacement hitch and ball). As for cord wear, I've seen more online evidence of the standard RV 30 amp cords wearing and arcing than the SmartPlug (perhaps more because of it's newer date of origin). I did notice that on one of the ETI 5.0 videos even Carl struggled for a moment to connect the twist cable. It just got me wondering if there wasn't an easier and more fool-proof connection option. I did find a previous thread on this forum about this plug dating back to 2019 where it stated ETI would NOT install. Don't know if this has changed but figured it was worth an ask. I do like the simpler, secure design of the SmartPlug.
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Old 04-18-2021, 02:00 PM   #4
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My cord is attached inside the trailer. I just shove it in the hole, where it resides. No worries.
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Old 04-18-2021, 02:13 PM   #5
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I'm with Glenn,
Keep it simple, the stock set up works fine with out any changes....
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Old 04-18-2021, 02:34 PM   #6
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Removable cord refurbishment

Quote:
Originally Posted by C&G in FL View Post
First, the twist lock system used on Escape works fine. Yes, they can be a pain but you can replace the piece that thread onto the connection with the one that has twist lock prongs.
If you are somewhere in the middle of Nowhere, you are more likely to find an RV dealership or an RV parts outlet than you are a marina that has a Smart Plug in stock. What happens if the cordís contacts wear to the point of arcing, or some lowlife steals it for the copper it contains. Since they are more often used on boats, I will be nautical here and say you may find yourself ďup a certain creek without a paddle,Ē or in this case, no way to supply 120 vac to your trailer. Personally, I would purchase a spare plug (the part that attaches to the trailer) because most every hardware store and Walmart typically have 25-foot 30 amp RV cords. I am not suggesting that your intention is bad. I would just suggest you consider the availability of a replacement in the event of an unexpected loss or an emergency when you are on the road. Just my opinion.
The threads on my removable cord are worn. Where can I get a replacement for just the ring with a twist lock?

thanks in advance
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Old 04-18-2021, 02:57 PM   #7
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The threads on my removable cord are worn. Where can I get a replacement for just the ring with a twist lock?

thanks in advance
Sorry, I can’t say for sure. Don’t remember where I got the two I have. Camping World maybe. Or an RV Parts store near me. I will check Amazon and if I find it I will post it.

OK. Edit: Available from Amazon but made by Marinco.
Do an Amazon search for “ParkPower by Marinco 30 Amp Easy Lock Sealing Ring.” About $10.

When replacing rings, it might help to run the plug and ring under hot water for 4 or 5 minutes to temporarily soften the plug material. It makes it easier to slip the threaded ring off and the ring with bayonet lugs on. They work great. No cross threading and fast connection.
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Old 04-18-2021, 04:55 PM   #8
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Thanks - it is in the cart!
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Old 04-18-2021, 04:57 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by gjsheldon View Post
I'm considering making a build request to change my 5.0 trailer's primary power input to a 30-Amp SmartPlug setup. They're commonly used in marine applications but RV's are listed too. Before I do that I was wondering if anyone has any direct experience with them (RV or boat). Other than the cost factor I can't find any real cons. Everything I read gives them a big thumbs up and it seems like a much easier to connect and a more positive fool-proof connection than the standard ETI screw-mount for the removable power cord. They definitely aren't cheap but considering the overall trailer value it seems like it could be wise investment for the long-haul. Thoughts.
Yes ! And what I installed on our 19 . Very easy and the Best connection there is . The twist lock is from 1938 and caused many fires on boats . The Smart Plug is a positive connection . I changed out our trailer tether and make another cord out it what remained . Also we like the stainless , dresses up the trailer too. First became aware watching a fellow change out on his Airstream . Highly recommend ! Pat
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Old 04-18-2021, 05:07 PM   #10
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I wouldn't worry about replacement availability - either system will last decades, and the SmartPlug will likely last longer due to better contacts and the greatly reduced chances of either an improper connection or weather exposure. Why live with a clearly inferior system just to make it easier to find a replacement so you can have more years of it?

A Google search for SmartPlug in this forum shows a few relevant discussions, in 2017, 2018, and 2019. gklott and Patandlinda each installed one, ReagentGrade considered it, and Craig Walsh has one on a boat.
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Old 04-18-2021, 07:58 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
I wouldn't worry about replacement availability - either system will last decades, and the SmartPlug will likely last longer due to better contacts and the greatly reduced chances of either an improper connection or weather exposure. Why live with a clearly inferior system just to make it easier to find a replacement so you can have more years of it?

A Google search for SmartPlug in this forum shows a few relevant discussions, in 2017, 2018, and 2019. gklott and Patandlinda each installed one, ReagentGrade considered it, and Craig Walsh has one on a boat.
My sentiment exactly! I believe I read recently that the SmartPlug is standard fare on Airstreams now.
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Old 04-19-2021, 08:43 AM   #12
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I decided to go the opposite direction. Since 30 amp hookups are only needed when using a/c and we seldom need it 90% of the time. I went with a 15 amp set up for non air conditioning use.
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Old 04-19-2021, 08:48 AM   #13
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I decided to go the opposite direction. Since 30 amp hookups are only needed when using a/c and we seldom need it 90% of the time. I went with a 15 amp set up for non air conditioning use.
And that makes total sense if that is a 90% use-case scenario to avoid having to keep a 30-15 Amp adapter floating around. I can personally attest that those are hard to keep track of!
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Old 04-19-2021, 09:06 AM   #14
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And that makes total sense if that is a 90% use-case scenario to avoid having to keep a 30-15 Amp adapter floating around. I can personally attest that those are hard to keep track of!
Mine is always in the streetside rear compartment where is is being used....
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Old 04-19-2021, 09:25 AM   #15
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My reasons are several. I have the stock attached 30 amp power cord because I did not want to leave home without it. I also do not like using the 30 amp cord, thus the 15 amp hookup scenario. Using an extension cord is lot easier than dragging out the 30 amp wire. I had the removable power cord in my prior Escapes and this took a lot of forethought when ordering and downsizing to the 15 amp set up. I like having options....
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Old 04-19-2021, 09:54 AM   #16
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Old 04-23-2021, 04:03 PM   #17
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Well, just to update where this request stands, I too got a denial for adding the SmartPlug 30 amp power connectors to my 5.0 build. I have sent ETI some YouTube video references for their engineering department to review and have expressed that I believe this would be an appreciated upgrade option (at a cost obviously) so that will have to stand for now. I am still planning to add this to my 5.0 using the option of a hardwired power cord routed out the rear hatch for ETI to test and will then add in the SmartPlug outlet once I have taken delivery. It's not that I think there are any major problems with the ETI removable power cord option, rather this just appears to me to be a superior long-term option. YMMV! Thanks for all the input and feedback and thanks to Patandlinda for the suggestion about routing the hardwire power cord out the hatch to make the SmartPlug option viable for my installation without having to "patch" a hole.
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Old 04-23-2021, 05:07 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gjsheldon View Post
Well, just to update where this request stands, I too got a denial for adding the SmartPlug 30 amp power connectors to my 5.0 build. I have sent ETI some YouTube video references for their engineering department to review and have expressed that I believe this would be an appreciated upgrade option (at a cost obviously) so that will have to stand for now. I am still planning to add this to my 5.0 using the option of a hardwired power cord routed out the rear hatch for ETI to test and will then add in the SmartPlug outlet once I have taken delivery. It's not that I think there are any major problems with the ETI removable power cord option, rather this just appears to me to be a superior long-term option. YMMV! Thanks for all the input and feedback and thanks to Patandlinda for the suggestion about routing the hardwire power cord out the hatch to make the SmartPlug option viable for my installation without having to "patch" a hole.
You are welcome ! And if you just go with their attached cord , then you cut it off and buy one Smart plug end and you have made yourself another cord . Like you said already there and you will just wire it up . If you get the stainless you can do what I did buy stainless nuts , bolts and washers at least on 2 of the holes . That way someone canít easily remove the stainless connector on your trailer . It is very high quality and a beauty . I got to the back of connector under the bed . Buying their complete kit includes a bag and you will notice their supplied 35 ft cord will have a led light when working and attached . Whole set up is very high quality and in my opinion worth it . Pat
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Old 04-23-2021, 06:11 PM   #19
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You are welcome ! And if you just go with their attached cord , then you cut it off and buy one Smart plug end and you have made yourself another cord . Like you said already there and you will just wire it up . If you get the stainless you can do what I did buy stainless nuts , bolts and washers at least on 2 of the holes . That way someone canít easily remove the stainless connector on your trailer . It is very high quality and a beauty . I got to the back of connector under the bed . Buying their complete kit includes a bag and you will notice their supplied 35 ft cord will have a led light when working and attached . Whole set up is very high quality and in my opinion worth it . Pat
Thank YOU! I have already ordered the stainless steel receptacle and will also now order their plug conversion kit too so I can take the ETI power cord and turn it into a SmartPlug cord as well. I've watched a number of online videos and really prefer the stainless option over the other non-metallic receptacles. In addition, I'm also trying to convince ETI to install the SmartPlug stainless steel single and dual coax connectors for TV, and cellular booster antenna connection locations on the outside of the trailer. The normal TV coax receptacle location would have two coax lines into a single SmartPlug outlet and another single coax line would be located at the rear of the trailer. Good times ahead!
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File Type: jpg SmartPlug Dual Coax.jpg (28.8 KB, 5 views)
File Type: jpg SmartPlug Single Coax.jpg (29.0 KB, 3 views)
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Old 04-23-2021, 07:17 PM   #20
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Thank YOU! I have already ordered the stainless steel receptacle and will also now order their plug conversion kit too so I can take the ETI power cord and turn it into a SmartPlug cord as well. I've watched a number of online videos and really prefer the stainless option over the other non-metallic receptacles. In addition, I'm also trying to convince ETI to install the SmartPlug stainless steel single and dual coax connectors for TV, and cellular booster antenna connection locations on the outside of the trailer. The normal TV coax receptacle location would have two coax lines into a single SmartPlug outlet and another single coax line would be located at the rear of the trailer. Good times ahead!
Hi Gary . Very good looking too! I changed out our plastic cable connection to what else , Stainless too ! Pat
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