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Author Topic: Leave shore line plugged in or not?  (Read 3935 times)
thejumpsuitman
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« on: April 17, 2011, 06:26:36 PM »

We had to make a quick trip to Florida... (in the car... Sad Sad Sad Sad)

Before leaving, I figured I would unplug the shore line since the bus would be unattended for 4 days.  Was this a needless, paranoid precaution?  Or is there anything that could indeed cause a problem if left plugged in and unattended?

(By the way, it killed me not to take the bus, but we just couldn't justify the $700 in fuel for a quick 3 or 4 day trip when we are staying with friends anyway...)
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robertglines1
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« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2011, 06:31:45 PM »

Mine stays plugged in. year round. depend on elect breakers to do their job properly. LP off   Bob
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« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2011, 06:38:58 PM »

when we had a house, the bus stayed plugged in.  if it's been put together right, you need to leave it plugged in the keep batteries charged.  the inverter/charger system should maintain proper charge and operation.  you'd maybe want the occasional light on, and certainly, you'd want the frig plugged (safer than gas) cause you wouldn't want to empty it.

why not, what's it hurt?  i would leave it plugged in.
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Tom
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« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2011, 07:13:16 PM »

I leave my bus plugged in year round when it is at home.  The inverter has a three stage charger for the house batteries.  I also have a three stage charger for the starting batteries as long as I remember to plug it in.

If I completely disconnected the batteries I could go all winter not plugged in, but why bother?  The starting batteries will get drawn down by the DDEC and other stuff if they aren't either kept charged or disconnected.  My disconnect switch does not disconnect everything.
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Sean
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« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2011, 08:40:18 PM »

...  Or is there anything that could indeed cause a problem if left plugged in and unattended?

Yes, there are lots of things that can cause a problem.  How likely they are depends on what part of the country you are parked in.

A nearby lightning storm can cause serious damage to electronics aboard your coach when it is plugged in to utility power.  When we have shore power (rarely), if there is a major electrical storm in the area I go out and disconnect the shore cable, as well as any other cables such as cable TV.

If your power utility has a brown-out, things aboard can be damaged by low voltage.  And, of course, there is always the possibility that something connected to shore power, such as a battery charger, can develop a problem at the worst time, while you are away.

If you are actually counting on the power staying on, for example to keep the fridge cold, things can get worse.  A friend of ours left his bus plugged in to shore power at a service center and went away for a week or two.  In his absence, the landscapers knocked the plug out just enough to kill his power. Not only was all his food spoiled, but all the frozen items in the freezer liquified, oozed out, and ruined all his carpet.  It took him weeks and a professional cleaning to get the smell out of the bus.

That said, the chances of any of these things is low.  You need to balance the risks against the cost of having the coach unplugged for the period you are away.

... depend on elect breakers to do their job properly. LP off

FWIW, working circuit breakers would not help in any of the situations I listed above.  Circuit breakers protect wiring from rogue loads, they do not protect appliances from power-line problems.

If your fridge is the absorption type that works on shore power or LP, I would actually advise leaving the LP on, not off, in case the shore power is knocked out for any reason, up to and including the fridge breaker tripping.

JMO, YMMV, etc.

-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
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« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2011, 04:50:41 AM »

After we had had our bus long enough to ascertain things worked like they should, and to repair the things that didn't, we left it plugged in. That said, we were close enough to keep an eye on it. When we leave it for extended periods unattended {week(s)} we unplug it.  Of course, we unplug just about everything else also. Anything mechanical can and will fail. Some failures are more expensive than others.

TOM
« Last Edit: April 18, 2011, 04:00:48 PM by oldmansax » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2011, 05:35:02 AM »

My bus is equal quality to my home and stays on the grid as does my home. Yes my home has indoor plumbing and runnin water.  Bob
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« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2011, 05:44:04 AM »

Wow Sean, you know how to put the fear into the picture Cheesy

I was going to post about possible battery issues, now you raise the issue of the quality of grid power.

I leave my bus plugged in whenever possible.  We need the power for the household fridge and for heat in the winter.  The reason I can feel comfortable with full-time power is that we have a Trace 2512 full sine wave inverter with three stage charging.  I just checked the batteries yesterday and they had not boiled off the water after several months on the grid.  

There have been some real horror stories about folks leaving their buses on cheap chargers and killing the batteries.  

So, until Sean butted in Grin, I was going to say that, with the proper inverter or a good three stage battery charger, leave it plugged in.

Sean brings up a very good point.  At the house, we have pretty stable power and almost no issues with lightening - BUT it only takes once.

I am not trying to divert this thread, but I have to raise the question about the Progressive Industries products.  The one that I have tried to gather funds for is:

http://www.progressiveindustries.net/ems_pt50c.htm

Sean, the last time this subject came up, I think you said you have looked at their design and it would give good protection (but thought it was overpriced based on the components).  They have a very good reputation in terms of service.  Their design protects against voltage issues and has lightening protection via MOV technology.

I know the owner via our membership in PRVVC (Professional RV Vendors Chapter of FMCA).  I also know the major sales rep via the same group.  They seem like reputable folks.

Jim
« Last Edit: April 18, 2011, 07:59:12 PM by rv_safetyman » Logged

Jim Shepherd
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Ed Hackenbruch
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« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2011, 06:55:04 AM »

On the other hand if you leave the fridge on LP you run the risk of a fire. There is a recall out to fix the first fix that did not solve the problem on some of the fridges.  Either way there is a risk, you have to decide which one you want to take. Grin
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JackConrad
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« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2011, 07:17:15 AM »

When home, our bus is in parked in our shop and always plugged in (house type refrigerator in bus has never been shut off since installed), as well as connected to the satellite antenna to keep receiver updated.  It is connected to the same grid system as our house.  We had the power company install a whole house surge protector at our meter. Any surge damage is covered for anything beyond our meter.  About 12 years now and no problems so far. Except after Hurricane Charley. At that time we lived in the bus for about 3 weeks until grid power was restored.  Jack
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« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2011, 07:40:54 AM »


   Jack has that question answered,  WHOLE HOUSE SURGE PROTECTOR AT THE METER. That's a great idea,

  had I known that was available I wouldn't had to replace alot of electrontics over the years!

  Steve 5B......
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Mike in GA
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« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2011, 08:21:14 AM »

The electricity monitoring system from Progressive Industries, the EMS, has been on our bus for about four years, and has proved its worth several times. Won't let any 'bad power' into the bus, like excess or under voltage, open ground, switched neutrals, etc.
     Pricey, but worth it for piece of mind.
Mike in GA
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Sean
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« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2011, 09:22:05 AM »

My bus is equal quality to my home and stays on the grid as does my home. Yes my home has indoor plumbing and runnin water.

Your bus may have equal quality to your house, but it is not equal complexity.

A bus, or any RV, is far more complex than a conventional home, and thus has many more points of failure and opportunity for problems.

  • Your house probably does not have lead-acid batteries and a large charger.
  • Your house probably gets its water pressure from the (usually reliable) water company and does not have pumps to fail.
  • Your house is probably connected to a sewer system and does not have waste holding tanks which can leak or become clogged.
  • Your house is not electrically insulated from the ground it is sitting on, depending on a tiny #6 (or #10) wire for all its grounding needs.

... and the list goes on.

I can arguable say that my bus is higher quality than any house I have ever lived in, and yet I spend way more time maintaining systems on the bus than I ever did in a fixed home.  So I don't think you can really apply the same reasoning to the two very different environments.

Wow Sean, you know how to put the fear into the picture Cheesy

Just trying to give an honest answer and not be dismissive.  I did say that all these issues have very low probability.  That said, I know folks who have suffered each of them, so the probability is not zero.  The melted-fridge tale was pretty disgusting, actually, and it motivated him to get his genny auto-start working, so at least if his plug gets knocked out again, the genny will come on to cover it.

Quote
...
I am not trying to divert this thread, but I have to raise the question about the Progressive Industries products.  The one that I have tried to gather funds for is:

http://www.progressiveindustries.net/ems_pt50c.htm

Sean, the last time this subject came up, I think you said you have looked at their design and it would give good protection (but thought it was overpriced based on the components).

I was asked to evaluate it by a shop.  I think you are talking about this post:
http://www.busconversions.com/bbs/index.php?topic=7097.msg68653#msg68653

Still a worthwhile read, as is that whole thread.

-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
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« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2011, 10:14:53 AM »

  Any motor vehicle is complex, and if parked for any long period I like to disconnect the battery. Today you see a lot of battery maintainers, and while rare, they can short and set your car on fire. Multiply that complexity into a Bus or large RV.

  Murphy. That clown is your enemy. Give him an opportunity and he may take up the offer. When I leave home I shut off everything I can. I only leave low wattage lamps on, turn the heat down or off, sometimes kill some breakers, unplug computers, TV, etc., removing any source that lightning can effect.

  We were hit by lightning in 1996. It got into the house after striking a large tree. 15 feet from the ground it jumped through the air to a sister tree 20 feet away, and continued into the ground. It dug a trench over two feet deep, 10 feet over to a burried electrical PVC conduit that carried the big dish satelite cables. It blew the conduit apart, and like something in a sci fi movie, the burned wire ends and conduit stood in the air. So the only point of entry into the house ws through the reciever, AFAIK. All wires at the back of the reciever were fried. Because it was plugged into the phone line, all the phone wires were fried, all the phones were fried, all the TV's, VCRS, Microwave, Electonic board in the gas stove, garage door openers, .... if it had transistors or IC's, it was smoked. Surprisingly, the satelite reciever still worked! I have no doubt that if the RV had been plugged into power, it would have damaged things. But as such, it survived. Hard to have a home away from home if it gets wrecked when the home does.

  Shortly after that situation, I stood on Highway 10 near Anoka Mn and watched a 38 foot Motorhome burn to the ground. The most likely cause was a short in the DC convertor, which lit up the wires and, well, 15 minutes after smoke was first seen, it was burned to the ground. Simply disconnecting the batteries would likely have saved it.

  Me, the only time the rig is plugged in is when im around it. I dont trust much of anything anymore. Nice to see the MC5 has a built in battery disconnect. I'll be using that a lot.
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rv_safetyman
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« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2011, 07:37:11 PM »

Sean, thanks for the link.  Yes, that is the thread I had recalled.  Did not recall quite that negative of a review Shocked

Any thoughts on a better product?

In the post where you reviewed the Progressive unit, you make the statement:

Quote
In my opinion, this device has the potential to save the average (non-electrically inclined) RV owner a lot of hassle.

I  am perhaps half way up the ladder from the "non-electrically inclined", but I am not convinced that being knowledgeable about the issues is sufficient protection.  I am really careful to check every place I plug in for voltage and proper wiring (both legs).  What I worry about is some transient problem, or lightening.

Jim
« Last Edit: April 18, 2011, 07:58:01 PM by rv_safetyman » Logged

Jim Shepherd
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