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Old 12-28-2012, 12:58 PM   #1
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50 amp neutral question

WE JUST ARRIVED AT OUR RV PARK. AFTER CONNECTING TO THE SHORE POWER, I BEGAN HAVING REFRIGERATOR (NORCOLD) FAULTS, AC - HI. BOOK INDICATES AC VOLTAGE EXCEEDING 138 VOLTS. I HAVE A 50 AMP SERVICE, AND WAS ABLE TO STOP THE FAULTS BY SUPPLYING THE FRIDGE WITH A SEPARATE 120 VOLT LINE FROM THE POWER POLE TO THE FRIDGE. AS IT TURNS OUT, THE POWER TRANSFER SWITCH SWITCHES THE TWO POWER LINES AS WELL AS THE NEUTRAL LINE. IT APPEARS THAT THE NEUTRAL CONTACT WAS NOT MAKING GOOD CONNECTION. WITHOUT A SOLID CONNECTION, THERE WILL BE SEVERE VOLTAGE CHANGES WHEN APPLIANCES TURN ON OR OFF. I CAN FIX THE RELAY PROBLEM, HOWEVER DOES ANYONE KNOW OF A GOOD REASON WHY THE NEUTRAL NEEDS TO BE SWITCHED ALONG WITH THE HOT LINES? SEEMS LIKE IT WOULD BE BETTER TO HAVE THE NEUTRAL TIED HARD TO THE RV AT ALL TIMES.

DWAYNE
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Old 12-28-2012, 01:12 PM   #2
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Has to do with the generator system. National Electric Code requires the neutral and ground be unbonded in the coach when hooked up to SP. Most generators have the Neutral and ground bonded at the generator. In order to meet both code requirements the neutral is switched. Note the neutral transfers first. JM2¢...
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Old 12-28-2012, 01:53 PM   #3
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You better go out and get you a Progressive Industries HW50C Electrical Management System ! JMHO !
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Old 12-28-2012, 02:22 PM   #4
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IT might be the switch, it might be the park.

but in either case you need to get it fixed ASAP.. from the sounds of it it is the switch by the way.

Oh, one other thing it might be.. You are gonna love this.

A screw loose.

Yup, I've found many RVers have a few screws loose.. No, not the Mental kind, (though there are some who argue that point) The METAL kind. You know, the ones you tighten with a genuine screwdriver.

One 5th weel I worked on (And I do not do this for a living so I don't see that many) had an electrical engineer for an owner (Thankfully) and when we went to trouble shoot his no power condition.... The outlet end of his shore cord fell off the cord in my hand.

There are six screws inside the cover of that outlet (and 2 more that hold the cover on)

ALL SIX internal screws were loose,, ALL SIX.
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Old 12-28-2012, 08:20 PM   #5
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Neutral gone.

Thanks guys. Yes, I know about the loose screws. On my older Allegro (84), I had a transfer relay burn up due to a loose screw. They had used sheet metal screws on the connectors rather than the machine screws that were to be used. The faster thread allowed the screw to loosen up easier and become a bad joint that then heated up real bad. Tiffen replaced the relay without a question. They are a great Co. Will look into a new transfer kit next.

Dwayne W7BDS
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Old 12-28-2012, 08:41 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by MSHappyCampers View Post
You better go out and get you a Progressive Industries HW50C Electrical Management System ! JMHO !
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Old 12-28-2012, 08:46 PM   #7
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Welcome to the forum.

I'll add my vote for getting a good EMS to protect your baby.

Best of luck.

Rick
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Old 12-29-2012, 03:48 AM   #8
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You seem to be correct, a floating ground/neutral will cause the in house neutral to rise above ground. People and appliances do not expect this.

At some point in each system the "ground" and the "neutral" are tied together. Code now generally requires this to be done at the source. Meter base or the genset are considered the "source". The code now considers connecting the cabinet of the household dryer to the neutral wire in the pigtail a safety violation. So now we have four wire pigtails instead of the old three wire pigtails.

The code deals with seperate derived systems. The power post in the RV Park is one system and your genset is another system. In some cases the ground will tie together but in no case does the code allow the hot legs or the white neutral to tie together in seperate systems. Why? you may ask.

A wire will carry voltage and current in both directions. In short your genset may try to power up the entire RV Park and beyond. I might be the electrician that is working on the parks problem while your genset is trying to kill me.

The reason that the neutral is also broken along with the hot legs you already know. Under some conditions of failure the neutral can rise above ground, high enough to cause damage to a person.

Hope this answers your question. You most likely will find a problem in your transfer switching, have it repaired. The transfer switching does the same thing that is done when you drag out the power cord for the MH and decide which system to plug it into. You transfer all four wires, two hot legs, neutral, ground.
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Old 12-29-2012, 09:17 AM   #9
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One of the fun things in this and many threads (See my comments in the "A Little Bull thread") is the line about how the neutral needs to be switched cause neutral and ground are bonded at the generator.

Actually. In many cases, they are not, My Onan Emerald 5500 they are not bonded, Most portables they are not bonded, You have to hit a specific number of kilowatts before they need bonding or you need to ground the frame of the generator (Earth ground) at which point bonding MIGHT be required.

If you understand the reason for the safety ground wire on the cord,, THEN you understand why this is, If you dont' understand, you won't understand.
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Old 12-29-2012, 11:14 AM   #10
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Glenn Allen has already given a good explanation above. Will just add the the NEC code allows for only one point of electrical connection or bonding between neutral and ground. This is always true, so whether or not your particular generator is bonded as in wa8yxm post, you must still switch the the Neutral wire. In my opinion all generators used with or on an RV should be bounded. Others will argue this point but it in my opinion it is a safety issue.
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Old 12-29-2012, 11:25 AM   #11
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I love this Thread. I started reading it feeling neutral about the neutral issue ( grounded or ugrounded). Now I feel strongly both ways.
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Old 12-29-2012, 11:40 AM   #12
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Thanks for all the good info guys. All the Positive and Negative stuff will always leave us Neutral in the end. Only if it is in complete balance however. Code will always prevail in the end. Safety first.

Dwayne
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Old 12-30-2012, 02:29 AM   #13
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The genset is a seprate derived system and as such it requires bonding at its source. (The genset)

The post in the RV Park is another seprate derived system and requires a bond at its source. (The meter base)

For life safety there can only be one bond between neutral and ground on any operating system. If you do not transfer the neutral you violate this life safety requirement. In which case make sure your insurance covers violations of law, or someone else may end up living in your MH. While you end up explaining why the guy died from your pluging into the post.

The only and stated reason for the NEC (code) is life safety and fire protection. The new code has been expanded in this area because gensets have not been wired correctly by those who use and install them.

As an electrician who carries 4 licenses plus a administrator license I figure it is my fault if I stick my hand into a hot service. I also know that just because the breaker is off that does not always mean the service is dead. There are those out there who think not transfering a neutral and is runing a genset is harmless. So long as it is them or theirs who stick their hands into a service that is not dead even though the breaker is off I am OK with that. But sadly they may get the guy in the next parking space who thinks that the code is intact and protecting them while they do some work on their coach.
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:19 AM   #14
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Where does it say an RV generator must have Neutral and Ground bonded? Please site the reference.

Fact is.. The Onan Emerald 5500 I have is not so bonded, And there is no reason to bond it either.. I understand the reason for the safety ground and on portable generators that reasons is not valid, thus no requirement in the code till you get into some very large "Whole house" type systems. (These are the big Genrac etc units you see outside of a building, NOT something you'd bolt into an RV).
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