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Old 01-10-2012, 02:57 PM   #1
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need to understand 50 amp better

Is it typical that 50 amp service in a federal campground will provide quite different voltages for the two legs on a post?

I'm consistently getting 118 volts on one and 123 on the other. Only two other campers here. At night, the volts have been running 122 and 127.

Not always 5 volts apart, but almost always 2+.

Should one of the legs exactly match the voltages of the 30 amp and the 15 amp services on the same post?
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Old 01-10-2012, 03:05 PM   #2
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Yes unless one leg feeds the 50 (one side) & 30 & the other leg feeds the 50 (2nd side) & 15. Hope that makes sense? In that case the 30 & 15 could read 118 & 123 or reverse. If the campground was wired originally for 30 amp then it's possible a partial upgrade was done to add the 50 amp outlet via a home run cable. In that rare case you would see more discrepancies.
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Old 01-10-2012, 03:17 PM   #3
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Sorry, not sure I answered your question after rereading. No, the voltages will not always match, that's normal. Even within your RV consumption you could (almost certainly) be pulling more amps from one leg of the 50 amp plug than the other. So if you test your outlets they would read with variation. The outlets fed by the left side breaker should all read very close. The right breakers (different leg) should all read very close but could read a few volts different than the left side.
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Old 01-10-2012, 03:39 PM   #4
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Thinking about it another way:
If your coach is 50 amp service and the other 2 campers were only 30 amp service then it is possible for all 3 of you to be using the L1 leg and only you using the L2 leg. That would result in a larger load on the campgrounds L1 leg therby resulting in a higher voltage drop. One of those campers could move one site over and the loading be more balanced because their 30 amp service could then be provided via the L2 leg. It all comes down to how the campgrounds loading is distributed. the 118 vs 122 represents the reduced load from daytime vs nighttime business requirements on the distribution system. Even though main transmission line voltage is a lot higher, the farther out in the boondocks one gets, the more effect one sees because of line loss due to cable run.

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Old 01-10-2012, 03:50 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wardy View Post
Sorry, not sure I answered your question after rereading. No, the voltages will not always match, that's normal. Even within your RV consumption you could (almost certainly) be pulling more amps from one leg of the 50 amp plug than the other. So if you test your outlets they would read with variation. The outlets fed by the left side breaker should all read very close. The right breakers (different leg) should all read very close but could read a few volts different than the left side.

Exactly right! Don't over think it or it will drive you crazy. The variation could be on their end or on the amps your pulling but as long as it is not extremely high or extremely low it will be fine.

I have been two places where one side was dipping below 105 (My inverter kicks in about there) and I let them know and they found a problem at their pole or in the main panel. Both times they had a loose ground or neutral.

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Old 01-11-2012, 07:18 AM   #6
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In the U.S. 120 volts +/- 5% is a normal operating range.
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Old 01-11-2012, 11:07 AM   #7
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That's great info, guys, thanks much!
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Old 01-11-2012, 12:16 PM   #8
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Normally if I saw that kind of voltage difference I"d be thinking bad neutral, However in an RV park the runs can be quite long and if that happens. resistance can add up epically if a lot of people are using power on just one leg on your loop.

Though you might talk to the park host about it, they can have Maintenance look into it later.
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Old 01-11-2012, 12:40 PM   #9
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Now that you have your technical answers...If it is a "federal" campground you could be drawing off a Democratic leg and a Republican leg.
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Old 01-11-2012, 02:10 PM   #10
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If it is a "federal" campground you could be drawing off a Democratic leg and a Republican leg.
Groan! Hmmm, red wire and a.....blue wire!
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Old 01-11-2012, 09:41 PM   #11
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