Bus Conversions dot Com Bulletin Board
October 21, 2014, 06:28:36 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: If you had an Online Subscription: It will not get torn up or crushed if you back over it with your bus.
   Home   Help Forum Rules Search Calendar Login Register BCM Home Page Contact BCM  
Pages: [1] 2 3 4 5   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: We'll be boondocking more to short-circuit electrical problems on the road.  (Read 7210 times)
plyonsMC9
Global Moderator
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1160


Big Wheels Turnin'


WWW
« on: January 27, 2007, 12:09:26 PM »

So, there we were, going through Oklahoma.  Late night.  We want a place to pull over.  We see a campground in the guidebook.  Says it is being renovated.  If we pull in, we don't need to run the generator all night to keep furnace running, batteries charged. etc. 

Power pole looked suspect.  No matter.  "We've never had a problem before." I thought to myself.  Hahaha.  In retrospect, many times I wonder what was going through my head to think such thoughts.  Anyways, I can't find my 50 amp cable, so I plug in the 20 amp cord (no 30 amp service - what was that about?)  to keep the batteries charged up. 

In the morning, all is good, but I decide to plug in to the 50 amp service so I can run the electric heaters & save some of our propane, and some of the $$ to buy the propane. 

Within 5 minutes of plugging into the 50 amp service, we all smell smoke.  Electrical smoke.  What could be going on?  We've never had an electrical problem before.  Finally, I see the connectors to the water heater have melted.  Smoking. ?  OK.  Maybe it was time for the water heater to die.  I switch the water heater to propane.  So much for saving on propane. 

My wife turns on the blow dryer.  Sparks shoot out.  YIKES!  Turn OFF the blow dryer.  Unplug.  Then I decide enough is enough, and unplug from the campground power.  A few minutes later, I notice the furnace doesn't seem to be igniting as it should.  Hmmm.  Interesting.

Later we had a mobile RV repair guy come to the bus down in Texas.  Still no furnace ignition.  Diagnostics show the circuit board was ka-put. 

So, during that stay, within 5 minutes of plugging in to the power, we lost a blow dryer, water heater board, furnace circuit board.  (replaced with a dino, so not all bad there). 

Looking back, the generator looks pretty inexpensive.  Nothing wrong with a truck stop overnight.  I like the sound of the generator.

I know there are surge protectors for 50 amp service, but they seem very pricey.  $500+.  I don't know if we'll go that route.

We are going to stick with boondocking unless we are going to stay at a well-known campground, with good ratings. 

My thoughts on campground power.  Be careful!

Of course, I'm eager to hear what other folk are doing to protect themselves from problems with external power problems - especially of the 50 amp variety.

Kind Regards fellow-busnuts,

Phil


« Last Edit: January 27, 2007, 12:46:39 PM by plyonsMC9 » Logged

Northern Arizona / 1983 - MC9
gumpy
Some Assembly Required
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 3261


Slightly modified 1982 MC9


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2007, 01:34:28 PM »

Well, all this is well and good, but you don't indicate if you found out what the problem was that caused all this. Maybe it was the RV park wiring, maybe it's something in your coach. If it were the RV park, and you could prove it, you might have a case for their insurance to pay for your damages.

I guess, though, that one thing I'd do first is invest in a digital multimeter, and learn how to use it to determine if the shore power
box is wired properly BEFORE I plugged in. You can get a really cheap on for $4 from harbor freight. It's good enough to tell you if you have a problem, and if you screw up and fry it, you're only out $4. I suggest you get 2 or 3. Consider them disposable tools.

craig
Logged

Craig Shepard
Located in Minnesquito

http://bus.gumpydog.com - "Some Assembly Required"
plyons
Administrator
Jr. Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 56


Bussin' in Tennessee



« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2007, 01:46:29 PM »

Hi Craig,

You are absolutely correct.  We had to be on the road early the next morning, so no chance to diagnose the park wiring we had hooked up to.  Plus,  I'd need to learn how to read / interpret themultimeter output for a 50 amp service.

Best I could do was make an educated based on:

* 3 years with no electrical problems
* within 5 minutes, 3 failures on 3 different units after plugging into campground 50 amp service.

BUT - I cannot tell for sure-  I have plugged in the little diagnostic lights into the bus before, as well as a multi-meter, and have not spotted anything out of the ordinary. 

One thing I did think was unusual at the campground was I did notice the voltage meters in the bus showed A/C power at 129 volts.  Normally this is at 117-120 volts using the genset or shore power. 

I do have an analog multi-meter.  I can get a digital unit.  I'll need to learn what it should read for a correctly wired pole.  Sounds like a good skillset.

Best Regards, Phil

Logged
ChuckMC8
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 288


1977 MC8 and 1993 102C3 Temple Ga #322 F&AM




Ignore
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2007, 01:58:12 PM »

I've got one of those little yellow 120 volt diagnostic LED hickeys that I think Phil was refeing to: It has 2 yellow and 1 red light, tells of ground is open, black & white wires switched, etc.
   What we need is one of those that work with 50 amp receptacles....tell if votlage is correct and ground is right, etc.
It would be EZ to check the park recp b/4 plugging in the coach.
Anyone know of one?
Logged

Far better is it to dare mighty things,to win glorious triumphs,even though they may be checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much,because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.  Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919)
Dreamscape
Guest

« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2007, 02:26:03 PM »

Question regarding 50 amp service related to Phil's probem.
Isn't it two 120v legs with a gound and a neutral? Or what does it consist of?
This is scary stuff. I guess the main thing is to NOT TRUST the sites for proper voltage coming into the coach. Looks like I will have to invest in a surge protector at some point in time, between the pole and the coach.

Phil, it could have been a lot worse than losing a hair dryer and a couple of boards. Glad you are all safe and sound. How did your wife's hair turnout, curly. Grin

Happy Trails,

Paul

Dreamscape
Logged
plyonsMC9
Global Moderator
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1160


Big Wheels Turnin'


WWW
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2007, 02:45:00 PM »

HaHaHa - Paul. Veerrrry FUNNNY! 

Curly Hair.  Ahem, of course, you would NOT see me laughing when it happened.   Shocked   'Cause THAT would have been REALLY BAD for my health.   Cool   I'll take my chances with the electrical circuits.   Cheesy

Best Regards, Phil
Logged

Northern Arizona / 1983 - MC9
DrivingMissLazy
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2634




Ignore
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2007, 03:59:46 PM »

Phil, I think all you need is a good voltmeter. Analog is great for the voltages we are working with. What you need, in my opinion is a 5 minute lesson in how to use it and what to actually check for before you plug into a campground circuit. The 129 volt reading is very suspicious.
Paul, it is two 120 volt legs to neutral/ground. Since Phil has apparently plugged into 50 amp outlets at other campgrounds, then I strongly suspect there was a wiring error at the location where he had the problem.
Logged

Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body. But rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, a good Reisling in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming:  WOO HOO, what a ride
Len Silva
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 4086


Angle Parked in a Parallel Universe


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2007, 04:43:59 PM »

Here is my attempt at showing what to expect at a CG outlet, trying to keep it as simple as possible.

Len
Logged


Hand Made Gifts

Ignorance is only bliss to the ignorant.
Gary LaBombard
"Rustless Money Pit"
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 944


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2007, 04:50:53 PM »

I saw a more experienced camper last year that had a sensor that plugged in similar to what ChuckMC8 is talking about.  He has all kinds of adapters and to check on 50 amp service or 30 amp service before connecting up he connects up the adapters to each other necessary to be able to plug in this little OLE 3 yelllow 1 red led connector that will show if the system is copesitic to use.  I did see something similar at the Daytona RV show last year but this cost abut $400 If I remember correctly.  This little contraption that Chuck is talking about is much less but just as effective for those not having a volt meter and when you do have a meter, are we using it correctly if we do not really know how  to check.  Not sure where to get it, maybe camping world but we got to find out as a quick check aparatus to have on board.

I will get the adapters I mention above and connect the ones I need together to use this 120 volt led device that lights up if everything is connected right and the lights show it as such.  This may help in a pinch until another busnut here knows of something better but affordable that will share with us.

Glad Phil you guys are alright, just think if it had not happened as quickly as it did it could of happened while you slept, then good grief what a thought.  Another lesson learned here, lets get infomation on something affordable to help us all out and make sure these cut price campgrounds are running their power to our rigs correctly.   Thanks Phil for posting this for us.  Now we got to make an (After trip check off sheet), man there is no end and that HELP section will surely get filled with information but so useful to us all.  

Don't just jump out of your rig, open up your shore power cable access door and plug in, check it out first for good and proper connections before we sacrifice our bus, our equipment and perhaps our lives.
Gary
Logged

Gary
Melbo
Hero Member
*****
Online Online

Posts: 1070


MC8 under construction




Ignore
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2007, 04:53:33 PM »

Yes len those are the basic six tests

1. 220-240

2. 110-120

3. 110-120

4. 0 NO READING

5. 110-120

6. 110-120

these six tests will show that the ground and neutral are good and that there is the correct voltage at each leg.

Melbo
Logged

If it won't go FORCE it ---- if it breaks it needed to be replaced anyway
Albuquerque, NM   MC8 L10 Cummins ZF
Gary LaBombard
"Rustless Money Pit"
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 944


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2007, 05:01:27 PM »

Awsome information from you guys, thanks Len & Melbo, this is what we need more of. Appreciate this.
Gary
Logged

Gary
plyons
Administrator
Jr. Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 56


Bussin' in Tennessee



« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2007, 05:46:00 PM »

Awesome information guys.  Thank you!!!!  This is very helpful.

Hey everyone - make sure to click on Len's picture with the left mouse button to get the image to enlarge to full size.

Best Regards, Phil

Logged
TomCat
It's 4:20 somewhere...
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 411



WWW

Ignore
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2007, 06:29:45 PM »

Yes len those are the basic six tests

1. 220-240

2. 110-120

3. 110-120

4. 0 NO READING

5. 110-120

6. 110-120

these six tests will show that the ground and neutral are good and that there is the correct voltage at each leg.

Melbo

Out here in the country, the voltage at my shore power pod runs a bit higher than the recommended. My digital reads out at 119-126 VAC. Usually at 122-123 VAC.

Jay
87 SaftLiner
Logged

On The High Plains of Colorado
Gary LaBombard
"Rustless Money Pit"
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 944


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2007, 05:11:27 AM »

Additional help on copying this valuable information from Len Silva & Melbo,
Left click as Phil has suggested on the schematic that Len Silva made, it will become enlarged, then right click and select "COPY", then go to your computer office program and make a document labeled to corrrespond to this schematic, (CampGround Power connectins) etc, then ("Paste") this same schematic in your office program.  Print out a hard copy for your bus files to keep onboard incase you forget what to do and what the readouts should be per Melbo's information as well.  If you do not select just this schematic of Len's you will print out the entire thread post and you don't have to do that.  I did and it is about 7 pages!!  Another lesson learned, I hope you benefit from it. And the schematic was small as the post you first see.

Do the same with the information from Melbo's post, this is valuable stuff as Phil can tell you and perhaps many others that experienced it, I am so glad that he shared this with us to think about, it can sure ruin a great trip if you don't check your campground power connections to your conversions or RV's like me right now, from here on out. 

NOTE: Save this information after in a file special with this infomation that you can find later on.
Man I love getting this information I did not really think about 4 years ago, I will be a real pro by the time we go on our first camping trip with the Eagle!  Whenever!!
Gary
Logged

Gary
mikeH8H-649
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 129




Ignore
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2007, 05:41:25 AM »

Gary,in my opinion you are allready a pro with all you do to help others,Thanks  Mike
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 3 4 5   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!