We Installed A 30-Amp SmartPlug—Here’s What We Thought
I recently got my hands on a 30-amp SmartPlug connector, an Inlet Kit (B30ASSY-NT) and a SmartPlug Double Coax Data Port (BDCOAXCC). These items will replace my OEM Furrion power and cable inlets that were installed by Airstream at the factory.
Man, I gotta tell you… if weight is any measure of quality, these NEW SmartPlug Inlets are IT!
HEAVY and SOLID are the only way I know to describe their feel. No weak springs or rattling loose plastic covers here. The positive locking retention of the stainless steel cover gives a satisfying “CLICK” when closed. The highly polished, all-marine grade 316 stainless steel construction looks very nice mounted against the Airstream skin.
Ok, enough gushing for now…
What are the benefits of a SmartPlug?
Let’s discuss why make the swap. Why swap out a functioning factory OEM 30-amp twist-lock inlet and cord connector? RV twist-lock power delivery plugs have remained virtually unchanged since they first came out in 1938. Advancement in design and materials make the SmartPlug a superior product.
The power inlet on your Airstream has got to be the most important connection your unit has to the outside world. That’s why they call it the “umbilical”!
Why should you install a Smartplug?
Problems plague the twist-lock system. Poor surface contact of the connectors, loose wiggling connections, and don’t mention that dang threaded locking ring are just some of the reasons for making the swap. Not having to deal with that locking ring alone is worth the swap.
Side note, you are supposed to tighten the locking all the way up. This is supposed to prevent the plug from wiggling and help with keeping rain and dirt out of the connection. The problem is, if you tighten that ring all the way tight, you may NEVER get it to unscrew again.
Surface contact of the twist-lock connectors is inhibited by their curved design. The inlet pin is not flat, it’s curved. The female clip of the cord plug is also curved. These two curved surfaces (the pin and the clip) are not the same radius. This provides for an incomplete contact of the two mating surfaces, which creates a poor connection.
Now, we should not have to go into any great detail on why a poor electrical connection is not a good idea, but the short is this. Poor connections create resistance or a restricted flow of electricity. This resistance creates HEAT… and HEAT IS BAD! Also, the restriction in electricity can starve your electrical devices.
Most of us use surge protectors to protect our trailer and things from low voltage events (often called “brownouts”), but if you are going to use that type of protection, shouldn’t you make sure your trailer inlet is not the cause of the problem?
SmartPlug has developed the solution. At least 20 times more surface contact of the pins and clips and a triple sealed, weather-tight, easy-to-use, multi-locking mechanism. When you connect the inlet and plug, they lock together with a very satisfying “CLICK.” It sounds like buckling a seatbelt.
Also, the cord plug end fits deep into the trailer inlet, which once in place provides a weatherproof connection and prevents the plug from torquing up and down or side to side. This plug is easy to use at night or in low visibility. It can only line up one way, so no more fiddling around trying to line up the plug pins.
SmartPlugs inlet pins are flat and the female clips on their cord plug are also flat. This provides the two mating surfaces (pin and clips) more positive contact. Increased surface contact provides less resistance to allow electricity to flow freely. The decrease in electrical resistance means your electrical devices will be HAPPY!
How to install the SmartPlug
The SmartPlug installation was pretty straightforward—an “out with the old, in with the new” type install. The only issue I ran into during the installation on our 2014 23D was the fact that the 30-amp SmartPlug was deeper by about 1/2” than the wall. I was able to remedy this problem by cutting a hole in the interior skin on the trailer with a hole saw to allow the SmartPlug to recess into the wall unimpeded. I was able to do this with little effort and no problems because my 30-amp inlet was located behind our bathroom sink.
After speaking with SmartPlug tech support, they said that the rear cover of the plug could have been removed and left off. This would have allowed the inlet to fit within the wall without any further modifications.
The SmartPlug is provided with clear and easy to understand instructions. The rest of the installation was pretty straightforward. All the mounting holes in the SmartPlug flange lined up perfectly with the existing factory holes.
I also installed the SmartPlug matching double coax data inlet. This inlet is shallow and required no modification to the inside wall. I could not be happier with these SmartPlug products. SmartPlug is built like a tank and is truly a beneficial product.
In the RV market today, with all the corner-cutting and use of inferior components, SmartPlug serves the RV community well with outstanding service and a product that exceeded my expectations.
SmartPlug also provided this nice dust cover to place on the cord end when not in use. This will help keep the seals nice and clean and the plug free from dirt and grime.