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Author Topic: We'll be boondocking more to short-circuit electrical problems on the road.  (Read 7217 times)
Gary LaBombard
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« Reply #45 on: January 30, 2007, 10:44:46 AM »

Kyle,
I agree, that is why I do believe we should have a monitor on our power line circuts after connecting up to the shore power and will research this and get the best one that is affordable that is that will keep my system being monitored and with an alarm system to alert me of a potential spike or brown out.  We have to have a safe begining at the pole to satisfy me now after phils experience and then after the connections as you and a couple of others here have suggested.   
Thanks
Gary
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H3Jim
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« Reply #46 on: January 30, 2007, 03:57:06 PM »

Jim Shepherd is correct, I added simple circuit that stays available all the time, using two of the simple 3 light indicators.   I plug into the shore power, but the switches at the entry  point stay off until I check the power quality.  Its true, at this time I'm only checking polarity etc with the three light indicators, but is very easy, and was very inexpensive (less than $12) to add.

I have a box where the main power cable attaches, and there are circuit breakers in the box that double as switches.  I added a duplex outlet on the outside of the box and wired it so its prior to the circuit breakers where all power comes into the coach. I broke the tabs on the sides of outlet, so each outlet can be wired separately, and then I wired one to each leg of the 240 volt power coming in. I plugged the 3 light indicators into this, so all I have to do is glance at them before turning on the power to the coach. 

I think that the main things that can damage my inverter are the polarity issues, while a little brownout is automatically made up for by the inverter itself from my batteries.

Jim is also correct in that these two outlets are not fused, however its the same circuit that that RV place sells for $40 and it does not have protection either.  Due to the out of the way location, and the fact that I have two detectors already plugged in, and that the RV park's breakers protect it, I am not concerned that this duplex is not fused in the coach itself.

All and all I find it to have been a very inexpensive solution to this issue.  Cost was a box, a duplex receptacle and some short pieces of scrap wire I took out of my throwout box.
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Jim Stewart
El Cajon, Ca.  (San Diego area)

Travel is more than the seeing of sights, it is a change that goes on, deep  and permanent, in the ideas of living.
Gary LaBombard
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« Reply #47 on: February 10, 2007, 11:36:16 AM »

SHORE POWER POLARITY TESTING DEVISE
Thanks to everyone posting on this subject I have assembled a shore power connecting devise per your recommendations and here is the actual devise in use and hopefully newbies to this hobby in particular will take note and consider this problem that happened to Phil which could of been deadly. Here is the information:

I wanted to show you all the fully assembled shore power polarity testing devise that I have assembled to stay that way forever in my RV / Bus power connection storage area.  Now I will be able to assure myself before connecting up to any camping ground or shore power source that before I connect my rigs power cord into the power box connector that I have good shore power source to start with to help protect my rigs electrical components.

It is advised to also have a permanent electrical voltage monitoring alarm system also installed in your rig that will sound an alarm should a electrical spike or severe voltage drop occur you will have the opportunity to hear this and take action to protect your electrical system.

 I am enclosing photos of my devise actually being used for testing on my 50 amp service box at my home as well as my 120 volt receptacle also in this power box which is a similar set up at a camp ground. 

This is just a quick assurance of the shore power source; skeptics can also check the voltage with a  volt meter for re-assurance to also be safe.  Remember what happened to Phil’s rig.  The choice is yours as usual, this information is only a reference guide put together with information submitted by other more experienced Busnuts.

I am also enclosing a photo of the small solar power battery charging devise I use which is (5 watt) and is constantly charging my two RV batteries all times or keeping them at a good level to just allow me to jump in and drive anytime without fear of having a bad battery.  The 5 watt solar power panel was purchased at Camping World, and is enough to just keep two batteries charged without the fear of overcharging.  I have been using this set up since we went to Arcadia in December and the voltage right now on a sort of ˝ sunny day at 3 PM  is 13.59 volts.  But this will drop somewhat at night and cloudy days.  Again, this is only a suggestion what to get to help you keep your batteries at a safe level and ready to go and the power source is free!!  The cost is about $65 +/- a few dollars and watch for the sale prices also.

The address for the shore power connection devise I have  assembled is sold on the internet at: http://www.boatandrvaccessories.com/PWT-ADP50-15.htm
And cost about $45 with S/H.  This was recommended by Busnuts previously on this post.  It is well made, the 50 amp / 120 volt power test receptacle is divided to monitor both legs of a 50 amp service individually for assurance incoming power lsource of both legs are functioning properly.

The 3 yellow led light / red light testing devises are purchased at Lowe’s for ($3.98 Each).  You can put this in your power connection storage space and always leave it here to use for yourself or a neighbor also questioning his incoming shore power and has no way of checking it before connecting his rig up to it.  This is very cheap price for re-assurance of good power connections to start with on you vacation trips.

Hope this information helps some of you in doubt when connecting up to shore power, this is a suggested  way as you can see how to check your incoming shore power source and  I also recommend that you search for a constant power monitor for your power system to always be used after connecting up to shore power.
Gary
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Gary
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« Reply #48 on: February 10, 2007, 11:48:12 AM »

Gary, that"s the same thing I purchased about three years ago, looks the same as yours. It sure works great, I use it before pluging in to play it safe, you will never know if the campground wiring is correct or not.

        Pete & Jean
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Gary LaBombard
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« Reply #49 on: February 10, 2007, 11:51:06 AM »

Thanks Pete & Jean,
I did not give full credit for those making this possible without reading the entire post again but know I feel good about having it thanks to you and others also and hope everyone considers having one in their connetion storage box.
Thanks to everyone one more time.  I 'm Outta here!!
Gary
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Nick Badame Refrig/ACC
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« Reply #50 on: February 10, 2007, 12:19:53 PM »

Hi Gary,

Does this device also determine if there is true 220volts or can the park slip us 2- 115volt legs but not adding up to 240v?

I had this problem in Arcadia, both legs of my 50 amp outlet were the same 115v. Hence, my inability to run both my A/C's.

Nick-
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Gary LaBombard
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« Reply #51 on: February 10, 2007, 12:40:17 PM »

Nick,
I cannot make a truthful or definite committment to answer this, and hope that Len Silva and a few others more experienced with this testing devise can comment on.  To tell you the truth I am a little baffeled by your question at first as it never occured to me this was possible also. 

Those of you that have more electrical knowledge Please correct me if wrong on this
This devise is checking each leg for good polarity only, it is not measuring the actual voltage of each leg, I do suggest because of your question to measure the two power supply live legs with a volt meter.  Now we still have to use the meter and if this can happen to us at Arcadia then it can happen anyplace.  So all we have accomplished here is that polarity is good but no true measure of voltage.  Again this can be monitored on your permanent in line alarm connection also inside your rig but the quick safe check will still be the measuring of a Volt meter. 

Thanks Nick, this was not a thought of mine to be able to happen but that is why it is good to ask questions, offer information and if it is not truly accurate others more experienced can point that out.  Polarity is important but accurate voltage also rank up there as far as importance for rigs with high tech  electrical devises as Nicks and many, many others.

Lets try get final good feed back on this post with my posted photos of this test devise and what your recommendations are for best checking of voltage and then we can put this to rest. 

Thanks ahead of time to all that post.
Gary
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« Reply #52 on: February 10, 2007, 01:00:20 PM »

Here is a pic of my built in box and testers.  Very similar, but permanantly mounted, can't loose it, although I can't lend it either.  As you can see I have my own circuit breakers before going into the couch.  I have lots of fuses and circuit brakers all over.  These are likely to only function as a switch, but you never know.

Fewer parts required.
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Jim Stewart
El Cajon, Ca.  (San Diego area)

Travel is more than the seeing of sights, it is a change that goes on, deep  and permanent, in the ideas of living.
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« Reply #53 on: February 10, 2007, 04:25:25 PM »

Nick, the circuit tester will not show if it is true 240 or just 2 legs of 120 ea., but it would be easy to add another light to indicate such. A small neon bulb hooked to each hot leg would light when true 240, and wouldn't light at all if 2 of the same 120 leg.

Ed
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« Reply #54 on: February 10, 2007, 04:33:53 PM »

Nick,
Years ago it used to be 110v then 115v then 120v, 208 to 220 to 240v, 440v, 460v, 480v. I think the reason for this is that it is not really what it says and voltages suppled by the power transformer have increased over the years. If you use a multimeter to test the voltage notice it is never acutually what the industry calls it. It can be over or under by several volts.
I may be totally wrong because I am not a certified electrician, only from my experience troubleshooting equipment in the Concrete Block Industry.

Happy Trails,

Paul

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luvrbus
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« Reply #55 on: February 10, 2007, 04:37:11 PM »

i have a power pal it  plugs into the outlet and reads both legs and preforms 7 tests and tells you if its ok to plug into never had any problems you can get a adpater for 30amps 
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Dreamscape
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« Reply #56 on: February 10, 2007, 04:37:34 PM »

I forgot to Thank Gary for sharing the photos and information regarding the volt tester Also H3Jim, thanks. I like your idea of the permanent mount, and then having a spare like the one Gary made, to use or loan out to a fellow camper.

Great Ideas Guys!

Happy Trails,

Paul

Dreamscape
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Sean
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« Reply #57 on: January 25, 2008, 11:58:09 PM »

OK, I'm really, really late to this party.  I came to this thread because Jim Shepherd referenced it in another thread that is currently running.

That said, I felt it too important not to post this:

Jim Stewart and Gary LaBombard (and anyone following their plans) -- I see a major flaw in the mechanism you are using for testing.

There is nothing at all wrong with the concept of wiring two separate outlets to the two legs, and then checking each with the three-light tester -- IF you test each outlet separately (in other words, use just one tester and move it between outlets.

If you leave two identical testers connected as you have shown, they will show "normal" (or, if you prefer, "good") even if the neutral at the 50-amp outlet is completely disconnected.  That's due to the way they are wired internally, and the fact that you will essentially be running the two hot-to-neutral lamps together in series between the two hots.  So they will both have the proper lamp lit, even though there is no neutral whatsoever.

Disconnect either tester in this circumstance, and the other one will immediately read "open neutral."

I would encourage each of you to ditch one of the two testers shown in your photos, and move the remaining one between outlets for each test.

FWIW.

-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
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« Reply #58 on: January 26, 2008, 01:42:07 AM »

Hi Phil,
I'm going to go out on a limb here and speculate that the power post you were pluged into had an open neutral. Therefore, your 120 volt appliances were getting 240 volts. Thankfully you only lost 3 items, because anything else you would have turned on would have suffered a similar fate.
Good luck, Sam 4106
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luvrbus
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« Reply #59 on: January 26, 2008, 05:25:30 AM »

Phil
« Last Edit: January 26, 2008, 05:29:48 AM by luvrbus » Logged
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