Engine block heater plug seems to spark when plugging in extension cord - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 11-24-2013, 02:25 PM Thread Starter
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Engine block heater plug seems to spark when plugging in extension cord

Hello,
So it's finally getting cold here in Wisconsin and decided to plug in the block heater yesterday night. When I plugged in the cord it seemed to make that "sparking" type sound. Didn't see a spark but quickly unplugged it and tried again. Same thing. I unplugged the cord and the extension cord did have a burning sensation, but the plug on the truck i couldn't smell anything. Decided to try and look it over today. Tried a different extension cord and had the same result. Looked over the wiring and nothing seems cut. I did do a resistance test on the 3 wires that go into the plug on the truck and it seems i have 15 ohms resistance between the common and the neutral wire.
After doing some research it appears that should be normal. Can someone please do a Resistance test between those two wires on their factory plug and let me know if they have that as well?

Hopefully their isn't a wiring problem on it. I'm scared to keep it plugged in. I'm not sure if it'll start a fire or if it could be just because the block heater is getting energized and it's doing that just because it hasn't been used for a long time.

Only major thing that was done since the last time i used the block heater was a full EGR delete. I'm not sure if that has something to do with it or not, but i do believe that the block heater warms the coolant, and not the block. Anyone with the full EGR delete using their block heater and it's working successfully??

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Last edited by theinfamouskonrad; 11-24-2013 at 03:44 PM.
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post #2 of 16 Old 11-25-2013, 11:46 AM
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It just sparked when you first plugged it in and then it stopped? If so that is perfectly normal. The block heater draws a lot of amperage so you will get sparking when u plug it in / out.
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post #3 of 16 Old 11-25-2013, 02:16 PM
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Yep...it's normal
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post #4 of 16 Old 11-25-2013, 06:31 PM Thread Starter
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Ended up buying a new extension cord. Plugged that in, also into another outlet and it sparked once again, but this time I didn't smell the burning sensation like the other plug. So I ended up leaving it plugged in for a bit and it seemed to work. Guess it is normal for that spark to happen. Better safe then sorry asking though.

2012 F-350 supercab long bed srw lariat tuxedo black
MBRP 5" dp-back exhaust (thermal coated) with RBP 6" tip, AFE pro-dry s cold air intake, H&S mini maxx, H&S EGR delete, RBP rx3 nerf bars, RBP fender emblems, RBP rx2 grille with color matched grille surround, AMI color matched locking fuel lid
Soon to install..
RBP rear bumper, RBP front winch bumper w/ Warn 16.5ti, Icon 4.5" stage 3 suspension, Icon steering stabilizer/shocks, 35"x12.5" nitto trail grapplers, RBP Revolver 20" wheels
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post #5 of 16 Old 11-25-2013, 06:52 PM
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based on your post I'm sure you know this but make sure you have a decent gauge cord, not your old ladies extension for her candle warmers.

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post #6 of 16 Old 11-25-2013, 07:11 PM Thread Starter
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Yea I know. Book calls for a minimum of 16 gauge. I went with a 14 gauge all weather one to be safe. Shorter the cord the better.

2012 F-350 supercab long bed srw lariat tuxedo black
MBRP 5" dp-back exhaust (thermal coated) with RBP 6" tip, AFE pro-dry s cold air intake, H&S mini maxx, H&S EGR delete, RBP rx3 nerf bars, RBP fender emblems, RBP rx2 grille with color matched grille surround, AMI color matched locking fuel lid
Soon to install..
RBP rear bumper, RBP front winch bumper w/ Warn 16.5ti, Icon 4.5" stage 3 suspension, Icon steering stabilizer/shocks, 35"x12.5" nitto trail grapplers, RBP Revolver 20" wheels
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post #7 of 16 Old 11-30-2013, 02:08 PM
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What you are experiencing sounds normal. Think of the arc that is created when you screw in a light bulb when the power is on, only the block heater will draw a much larger load and thus a larger arc. Hope this helps.
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post #8 of 16 Old 11-30-2013, 02:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sterling6.7 View Post
What you are experiencing sounds normal. Think of the arc that is created when you screw in a light bulb when the power is on, only the block heater will draw a much larger load and thus a larger arc. Hope this helps.
this would be about a thousand watt light bulb

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post #9 of 16 Old 12-13-2013, 05:31 AM
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Just make sure that you seat the plug fully and QUICKLY. if you slow push it, as the plug get close to the contacts they will make make the jump. Its normal...so just push fast!

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post #10 of 16 Old 12-13-2013, 06:09 AM
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You could use a power strip or similar at the wall outlet. Turn off the strip while you plug into (or unplug from) the truck, then flip the switch on the power strip. No more sparking.

If this is a ground fault circuit (which I would suggest since you're running a cord outdoors), this will give you two benefits.
#1 - Sparking may trip the ground fault interrupter and you might not realize it.
#2 - If you use a power strip with a lighted switch, you would easily be able to see that the power in on and be sure that the circuit, or GF, is not tripped

Personally, I use a timer that has a built-in manual on/off switch that serves this purpose. Then I only have to pay to run the heater for a couple hours before I leave for work. The down side is that if I need to leave other than the morning, I need to plan ahead and manually switch on a couple hours early, but it's help on the electric bill.

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Last edited by ynpmoose; 12-13-2013 at 06:15 AM.
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