By Russ and Tiña De Maris
With the price of scrap copper wire over $2 a pound, it’s not a wonder that some unscrupulous folks might target what’s easily available and steal it away. For RVers, a very heavy piece of copper wire containing “stuff” is that fine power cord that tethers your RV to the shore power post. While thieves would have to be pretty bold to run up and steal your shore power cord while you’re parked and using it, the same can’t be said when your rig is not in use, and simply parked someplace in storage.
For some, power cords can be completely disconnected from the rig and locked away in a compartment. But others don’t have that luxury. Our travel trailer power cord is always connected at the “RV end” of the cable, and when not in use, is simply shoved away into a hole through a sidewall port. That means when we’re not looking, any old crummy thief could run up, pull our cord out of the port, whack it off, and make off with it. Not a pleasant thought.
Enter the folks at Torklift International. Truck camper owners might immediately recognize the name – Torklift makes a great line of truck camper tie-downs. But not long ago, they came out with a product suitable for the rest of the RV community. Their Fortress PowerLock is designed to keep your stored power cord safely locked up and inaccessible to the bad guys. How does it work?
This simple but clever device is like a high impact aircraft grade aluminum vault that securely mounts to the side of your RV. With the PowerLock cover door closed and locked, there’s no way (short of cutting a hole in the side of your RV) to reach in and grab the power cord. Time to hook up to shore power? Insert your key, give it a turn, and pull open the door. Inside the cover a standard (pre-existing or owner provided) plastic cover opens, giving easy access to the power cord and plug. Yard out whatever amount of cable you need, then close and relock the door. It’s easy, and it’s decidedly secure.
We asked the folks at Torklift for an evaluation copy of the Fortress PowerLock and they obligingly set us up with one. Installation was easy. First we removed the old plastic power cord access door – take out three screws and scrape away the old sealant. Next, apply sealant tape to a new access door assembly and slide it into the PowerLock assembly. Add more sealant to the back of the PowerLock assembly and screw it right onto the side of the RV. Took maybe a half-hour and easily done with what most do-it-yourself RV proficient owners have on hand in terms of tools. We opted to replace our existing, weather-worn power cord access door with a new one – it set us back less than $10, but looks a whole lot nicer.
The Fortress PowerLock comes in your choice of two flavors – black or white powder coat. The company is so sure of the reliability of their product they give it a lifetime warranty. With a retail price of a little over $110, depending on the cable, that’s actually less than the cost of a new power cord – to say nothing of the cost of labor for the re-wiring job.
How well does the Fortress hold up? We drove the original install for a couple of years, over hill, over dale – until descending into the dale on Interstate 40 one fine morning, a blown tire just under the PowerLock reached up, yanked the door open (somebody forgot to lock it!), pulled out the power cable, and bounced the cable down the Interstate until we could get the rig pulled over. The door was, shall we say, much misaligned. We salvaged the cable with a new plug on the end, and bent the PowerLock hinges back into place. It weren’t pretty, but until the insurance check arrived, it still kept the cable locked right into place. We got a new PowerLock to pretty up the repair work.
Find out more about the Fortress PowerLock on the Torklift website here.