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Old 09-10-2009, 06:16 PM   #1
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Angry Where's The Power?

I was going to post this as I returned from 2 months with the Gkids touring the southwest. However, I decided to wait and see if I settled down. Well, it's been a month + and I'm not settled down. The issue is power (the electric kind). This trip I lost the circuit board on the W/D and a start/run capacitor for the rear HVAC unit. It was because of low power. Consistently, from New Mexico to California back to Utah. Almost every CG we stayed at had low power. I realize this is summer in the desert and the A/C was always running (it seemed that way). However, the CGs were no more than 20% occupied, really. These CGs were having a bleak year. If it were not for me and the Europeans renting all the class C coaches, there would have been nobody at these CGs. When inquiring inquiring about low power most staff were quite helpful. Several of the parks, where I was tripping their main panel breaker for the section we were in showed me their master panel (please understand, with all my high draw appliances running I can draw only about 52 AMPS). In every single case I counted the main CG breakers. To make a long story as short as possible how can a 150 + site CG have only 800 AMPs coming into it? Are these people just cheap or totally ignorant? Is this a way to lower the electric bill? This was the trend, not a single incident. I also received the usual comments like "we have this problem all the time". In each case, I put my cheater cable on the line and I was drawing 37 +/- AMPs. This popped their section main breaker or my site breakers! This is on a supposedly 50 AMP service!

The cure? I did something I've said I'd never do. I purchased a voltage regulator. So, I am out the $s for the broken appliances and I'm out $600+ for the voltage regulator. I'm also out all the aggravation and suffering to work through all this. If you want some excitement, get on your coach roof, in the desert, in the summer.

I forgot to mention, throughout all this my Surge Guard was cutting power to the coach, from time to time. And turning off the A/C is not the answer in the desert with consistent 110+ F temps.

If there are any CG owner/operators reading this, I'd like to know your view of buying the correct size electric service for your CG. Do you? If not, why not.

I rarely sound off, but his really has me irritated. Thanks for listening.
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Old 09-11-2009, 07:27 AM   #2
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Gary
When we were in CA we had the same type of problem, but we were there over the winter months. While we were there the temperture did go into the upper 80's low 90's a few times. We just blamed it on CA as not having enough power and we were having brown outs. NM and AZ temps were 70's so really did not notice problem.
Remember DW asking a couple of times if we had 30 or 50 amps.
Texas ate the surge protector Hmmm.
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Old 09-11-2009, 07:49 AM   #3
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Gary, Itís the old saying you get what you pay for. The cheaper costing camp groundsí are charging less for a reason.
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Old 09-11-2009, 08:12 AM   #4
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Hi Highplains Drifter,
Why do you assume I was staying in cheap CGs? From New Mexico through southern AZ, to California and back through Nevada, northern AZ and up into Utah the CGs we stayed at had quite a variety. From family operated CG along the Interstates to KOAs, casino sponsored and such long established CGs as 29 Palms. It mattered not the brand or cost of the site (over $60/nite at Gouldings). The problem was the same.

For me, it is obvious CG owners put in 50 AMP pedestals and advertise 50 AMP service. Unfortunately, they did not purchase a larger electric service to compliment all the 50 AMP CG infrastructure. So, now customers are stuck with, what amounts to fraud. CGs can't deliver what they advertise. The incoming electric service is the same as it was when the pedestals were all 30 AMP.

As a private citizen, I can not get away with this. When I replaced my stick house HWH with a tank less HWH the electrician said I didn't have enough power into the house! The installation would not pass the Village inspection. The bottom line I had to go to a 400 AMP service (from a 200 AMP service). It is unfortunate CG owners are not having to comply with the same kind of code enforcement.
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Old 09-11-2009, 08:29 AM   #5
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I hear ya Gary, but I have seen it many times the installers don’t speak English, but they are hard workers and cheap!
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Old 09-11-2009, 11:21 AM   #6
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There is a device called an autoformer.. A few different companies make them, Mine is a Hughes. What this does is measure the voltage and if it's low it "Boosts" the voltage but cutting in a transformer winding.

I understand there is at least one make which can also, in the event of HIGH voltage, "Buck" (Switch the same coil in in reverse)

How well do they work? Not sure

As I said, I have one.. Installed.. About 5 weeks or so ago I was plugged into a 30 amp site and the air conditinoer kept tripping it's breaker

now there are only 3 things that can cuase that

Bad AC
Bad Breaker
LOW VOLTAGE

when I moved to a a new park, Plugged into a nice NEW 50 amp outlet (less than a year old) ... No more CLICK of darkness.

(it was the branch breaker, not the post breaker, tripping)
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Old 09-11-2009, 12:01 PM   #7
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Hi wa8yxm,
There are several different brands of voltage regulators to choose from. Hughes is one of the brands. They all work the same basic way, via a transformer. Each brand has its' own way of specing out the transformer and how, when and how much it will adjust (boost) the power. Each brand also has their own way of displaying what is going on with the power.

I'm not an EE so bear with me. As best I know, they do not boost the power. They adjust the AMPS which raises the volts. WATTS remain constant because the appliance will draw the WATTS it is rated for. If WATTS is constant and volts drop, AMPS must increase. The transformer remedies this situation. Okay, any EEs want to jump in here? If you do, keep it simple for the rest of us.
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Old 09-11-2009, 12:50 PM   #8
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I think that's backwards.

Transformers either raise or lower voltage.

These units are transformers and they are used to raise the voltage, which causes the amps to drop.

Volts X Amps = Watts

From Surge Guard's website.

Quote:
The (SGVR) continuously monitors line voltage conditions and
uses a unique implementation of a special transformer to increase the
incoming voltage to an acceptable level when low incoming line
conditions exist. In the Boost mode the (SGVR) raises the output
voltage by 10% over the incoming line voltage.

From the Hughes Autoformer website.

Quote:
What it is doing is changing the voltage - amperage relationship, lowering the amperage and raising the voltage. Since appliances run better on higher voltage, lower amperage, less overall power is used from the park, and better service is enjoyed from your RV
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Old 09-12-2009, 08:07 AM   #9
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Yes, but GaryKD is correct that if you boost the voltage the current available will drop, and vice/versa. It's pure physics in the sense that you can't get something without giving up something else. At least when it comes to electrical systems.

But at least it could make a difference in damaging electrical appliances/components.
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Old 09-21-2009, 12:56 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob (WA0MQE) View Post
Yes, but GaryKD is correct that if you boost the voltage the current available will drop, and vice/versa.
Replace "available" with "required" and you have it.

In my area, 325A service is the largest "residential" pipe available. Going to 400 puts you at a commercial rate.

Which brings up a potential answer to the "why not" question. In many areas, service above certain levels (800A, maybe?) puts you into an industrial classification. In many areas, also, industrial is based on peak load - not actual KWH usage. And the load measured is the daily high. Each day's billing depends solely on that number.
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Old 09-21-2009, 06:34 PM   #11
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The one time I measured low voltage.. Was the middle of winter. Park was nearly empty. Next door was a "Wind Farm" They make electricity using wind power) 100mph "Breeze" (I am not kidding)

Another time I am sure of low voltage but I did not measure it.. About 20 feet from where I"m typing.

Some parks I have stayed at had a "NO AUTOFORMERS" Policy. I guess if you plug in an autoformer they either bill you more or ask you to leave

So.. My autoformer is installed.. where you can't see it.
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