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Solid state relays are very quiet, They have been used in most industrial applications since the 1980s. Oldfashioned mechanical relays are a thing of the past.

I ordered two of these a few months ago but returned them due to the need for massive heat sinks. That was for a much higher current application though. These are perfect for this fix. Thanks for the reminder. Not sure why I didn't think of it. Exhausted from the build most likely. Must. Take. Vacation.

Cheers.

Update: looks like pretty much everything on Amazon is DC to AC or AC to AC. I may try an AC to AC since the current (a buzzer) is so small and 13.8Vdc nominal is also very low; at least one page says the AC output can be 5-60Vdc so it should be fine. But more likely I'll just pony up and get a quality device from digikey. I really like this buzzer idea though. Thanks @brío
 

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I ordered two of these a few months ago but returned them due to the need for massive heat sinks. That was for a much higher current application though. These are perfect for this fix. Thanks for the reminder. Not sure why I didn't think of it. Exhausted from the build most likely. Must. Take. Vacation.

Cheers.
For low amperage loads you need minimal heatsinking, Mounting it on sheet metal is enough.
 

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For low amperage loads you need minimal heatsinking, Mounting it on sheet metal is enough.
For a buzzer I probably wouldn't even use a heat sink. I doubt it even gets warm without any real current, although I'd need to verify that. But using a quality AC to DC relay that controls the break shift interlock on the van as others have suggested sounds like the winning ticket. That's probably just a few mA as well. The metal on the back of the relay is probably more than enough for that.

Cheers.
 

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Update: looks like pretty much everything on Amazon is DC to AC or AC to AC. I may try an AC to AC since the current (a buzzer) is so small and 13.8Vdc nominal is also very low; at least one page says the AC output can be 5-60Vdc so it should be fine. But more likely I'll just pony up and get a quality device from digikey. I really like this buzzer idea though. Thanks @brío
I didn't think you could use a SSR for a DC load: Solid-state Relay: DC Load and AC Load | FAQ | Singapore | Omron IA (omron-ap.com) unless you've found one that is designed for a DC load?
I should mention that this discussion is over my head a bit 🤣

My current plan is to take one of the old cell phone usb charging bricks out of my junk drawer, plug it into the shore power extension cord coming into the van so it will generate a 5V DC signal when shore power is plugged in, and then have that 5v dc signal operate a NC relay module that's tapped into the brake shift interlock as detailed here.
 

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Once I drove away with the shore power extension cord attached. Luckily the only damage was to my ego, when a motorist alerted me to the cord trailing behind down the roadway. Now I loop a telltale around the steering wheel which interferes with steering if I try to drive away. I store the telltale on the shore power cord making it difficult to forget to set it up.

I did install an inexpensive power relay/contactor that shuts off my inverter-charger when shore power is interrupted. Details here. It works fine with no buzzing. These are available for 120V (or 12V) coil signals and could be part of a warning system tied to engine run.

Cheers.
 

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I didn't think you could use a SSR for a DC load: Solid-state Relay: DC Load and AC Load | FAQ | Singapore | Omron IA (omron-ap.com) unless you've found one that is designed for a DC load?
I should mention that this discussion is over my head a bit 🤣

My current plan is to take one of the old cell phone usb charging bricks out of my junk drawer, plug it into the shore power extension cord coming into the van so it will generate a 5V DC signal when shore power is plugged in, and then have that 5v dc signal operate a NC relay module that's tapped into the brake shift interlock as detailed here.
Digikey says the opposite. Omron must not have a good output driver:

"In general, the AC output SSRs can also be used for DC."

And I found one DC to AC on Amazon that specified 6-60Vdc as a suitable output voltage, in addition to AC of course. It looks nearly identical to all the others.

I ordered an AC to AC to test, but may not get around to it anytime soon.

Cell charger idea is nifty too. Just need a 5v input 12V output relay. I'd want to wire it directly into my AC box on the shore input so I'd also need a cut end of an extension cord. At that point an AC to AC SSR is less kludge, assuming it works.

Cheers.
 

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At that point an AC to AC SSR is less kludge, assuming it works.
🤣 Totally Agree; less kludge would be a good thing.
I think I'll pick up a couple of the relays @tthrsn recommends for my 120V AC signaling and call it good as they're cheap but effective it sounds like.

I did install an inexpensive power relay/contactor that shuts off my inverter-charger when shore power is interrupted. Details here. It works fine with no buzzing. These are available for 120V (or 12V) coil signals and could be part of a warning system tied to engine run.
Thanks for this, I'm stealing your idea :)
 

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I know this is going to sound ridiculously simple - but hey, I have a ridiculously simple mind. Have a regular old fashioned AC plug on the inverter output and another on the charger power cord. Only one of them can be plugged into the socket at a time and the inverter is only plugged in when using it, so you KNOW you are not on shore power. It's like keeping a toaster (in this case the inverter) unplugged when not in use and when the inverter is not in use, the breaker can be open &/or have a plastic cover on the prongs.

I haven't driven off with an extension cord still plugged in YET, but with the plug in the back bumper cover I'm pretty sure it'll just unplug, even if at an angle.
 

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🤣 Totally Agree; less kludge would be a good thing.
I think I'll pick up a couple of the relays @tthrsn recommends for my 120V AC signaling and call it good as they're cheap but effective it sounds like.


Thanks for this, I'm stealing your idea :)
I ended up canceling the amazon order and going with this:


Cheers.
 

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Our planned version is a sorta a mash-up of @natecostello's and @Alan D's efforts... We're still in the prototyping phase (thus the 1/8" cheapie MDF laser cut to confirm sizing and spacing, Fusion 360 novice alert). Our goal was trying to limit complete crawling around on the ground, but still a little bit recessed.

Not a fan of the SmartPlug, it's proprietary design and costly - instead we're using an industrial "pin-n-sleeve" 30A/120V input. This is 1/3rd the cost in the surplus market and offers similar key features, with slightly better weatherproofing (rubber gasket is notched down when closed). The downside is the connector and plug are giant, it's dorky - who cares.

We did pick the same Journeyman NEMA-15 output, along with Neutrik D series jacks (think XLR jacks) for ethernet (we're nerds) and an Anderson PowerPole 12VDC output (popular in the amateur radio community). Probably will end up nuking the spare + air ports in the final design, mounting level, and maybe placing a small bend to follow the bumper curves.

Rectangle Slope Plot Font Line


Automotive tire Wheel Tire Yellow Audio equipment


Sewing machine Automotive tire Gas Automotive wheel system Machine


Thought I'd share how I'm going about my shorepower connection.
 

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Solid state relays are very quiet, They have been used in most industrial applications since the 1980s. Oldfashioned mechanical relays are a thing of the past.
I tried a solid state relay to delay the automatic start of my vehicle powered inverter which did not work. I did not want the inverter to be powered until after the engine was running. The Samlex inverter remote has a terminal that when 12v is applied the inverter will start. Used 12 volts from a "user defined" switch which is powered in the key accessory position and when the engine is running, so a delay was required so inverter starts after the engine is running.

Installed the solid state relay but did not get a delay. Thought relay was bad so installed another one. Still did not provide a delay. After talking to the manufacturer I learned that a solid state relay has a small leakage of power output at all times. That leakage was enough to initiate the inverter terminal so delay did not occur.

Manufacturer said I needed a time delay relay with old fashioned mechanical contacts. Bought one and that worked.
 

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I am increasingly torn between the reliability of a twist lock type solution and the reality that at some point, someone in the family is likely to drive away with the van plugged in.
Not IF but WHEN. Orton's advice to locate near driver door is solid. But, the more obvious, the better.
 

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I posted this on another topic so sorry if you've already seen it. I watched this video about a year ago and I recalled they talked about installing a plug on the plastic siding, I'm not sure if it's the same on a Transit but it might be worth watching? They talk about the shore power around the 15 minute mark if you want to fast forward.

Here's my 30 Amp plug.
Font Camera accessory Circle Fashion accessory Camera lens
Body jewelry Silver Automotive lighting Wedding ring Wedding ceremony supply

Watch Analog watch Clock Font Jewellery

I added a TV cable outlet too.
Wheel Tire Automotive tail & brake light Automotive lighting Automotive tire
 

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Not a bad idea from a KISS standpoint:
Now there is the real fire hazard, Those cheap molded black plastic plugs that many people install. Sooner or later someone will try to run more then 15 amps through them and they will melt and catch fire, All it would take is a space heater and a coffee pot running at the same time.
 

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I did a simular install but not as clean as yours. I used the square factory gromit hole for my 30 Amp instead. With a little grinding the hole fit my 30 AMP plug that came with a rubber gasket. Painted the grinded area, connected wires, pre-drilled and installed. I won't use the 30 AMP much, so I don't mind getting on the ground to plug in. Also, I use an old sun shade as a ground mat to keep clean and dry. I found this insulated and foil covered sun shade also worked well for installing snow chains on the old car.
 
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