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Old 06-26-2011, 04:15 PM   #1
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campground electrical etiquette

We camped at a State Campground last weekend, and had some electrical issues...essentially the GFI kept tripping and the only way we could get electric was to use a cable that the campground gave us with the ground pole removed! Made me very nervous. That was given to us by the camp host...he said that he suspected that the issue was with our coach...it wasn't....we have since set it up elsewhere and everything runs beautifully.

My question....can we expect/ask for a different site if we suspect that the electrical supply is going to damage our coach? We're pretty easy-going folks, don't get too fussy or demanding, but I just don't want to damage our coach.

Any wisdom or suggestions? Thanks!

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a good man who puts up with me, and Buck and Bull the wonderdogs.
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Old 06-26-2011, 04:31 PM   #2
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The CG electric had a problem. Do you have a surge protector? Assuming that the electric service was bad, that would have tripped and told you what the problem was. Never use electric with the ground removed. It is just asking for somebody to get a shock. With the right conditions, it could be fatal. If the CG does not investigate and fix the problem, do not go back there. I would write a letter to the CG manager/ranger and tell them about it.

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Old 06-26-2011, 04:32 PM   #3
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Damage to your coach or electrocution could be the consequence of no ground. Something is seriously wrong if the ground has to be removed.

You should insist on a different site.
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Old 06-26-2011, 04:36 PM   #4
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Asking for a different site is certainly an option...............whether it will be obliged is another issue.
IMHO I would suggest that you keep a volt / ohm meter on board and learn how to check EVERY electrical supply BEFORE you hook up. You should know that what you are attaching your expensive electrical system to is wired correctly and is safe to hook to. Hooking up without a ground connection can potentially hurt you and / or your rig.
Don't wait to learn how to check a hookup ......it may be a very costly wait.
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Old 06-26-2011, 04:45 PM   #5
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If you are not satisfied with your site you can request another, if they refuse leave and go to another campground or park. When it comes to electrical issues do not accept any equipment to use on your rig if it's not standard. The cable you were offered is dangerous not only to your equipment but to your life. You should always take voltage measurements at the electrical pedestal before you plug in. I suggest you install a surge protection device which can be found here.
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Old 06-26-2011, 05:07 PM   #6
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I would demand the fix it because if you fry your electrical and it cost your hundreds of dollars to repair do you think they will pay.
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Old 06-26-2011, 05:12 PM   #7
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I am very glad that you asked this question. We had an almost identical situation last week. The first site that we were at had 20 amp service but was not working properly. We asked to be moved to any available 30 amp or higher spot. They then found us a 30 amp service and when I tried to plug in using our portable surge guard, we could get no power. The campground electrician explained to me that we could not use our surge guard because all of the shore power stations had been upgraded to GFI protected service and that when I used my own surge guard, I was cancelling out all service to our coach. I removed my surge guard and we did get juice to out coach. I was worried all week because I have been heeding the warnings on this site about always, always using a surge protection device.

This particular campground is a state park and it is right on the ocean in Massachusetts. I have heard that many others have had problems with their electrical service including a report from a mobile RV technician who gets at least 100 calls a year from visitors to this park.

I hope that this thread can be continued and discussed more fully.

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Old 06-26-2011, 05:15 PM   #8
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If I was told to use a cord with an altered conductor to accomodate the campground faulty wireing I would leave. No ifs ands or buts
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Old 06-26-2011, 05:31 PM   #9
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Just another vote for an "EMS or Surge Protector". Otherwise you are simply playing with fire and it is definitely just a matter of time until you get burned. Only question is just how bad. Might be equipment damage. Might be human damage to you or another. "Never go without the ground or let anyone convince you to remove it".
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Old 06-26-2011, 05:52 PM   #10
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First.. Understand a few things about me: One, I"ve been knocked on my....er... pride... by a Dishwasher where the repair techinician did more or less exactly what the campground host did to you.

Second: I also happened, a few years after that, to earn a bit of wall paper.. Certified Electronics Technician. type paper. One of two minor "Degrees" I have. The othe one qualifies me to sweep floor in some places by the way in case you wish to know how minor. (I do admit they pay floor sweepers there better than in many places, though I've never set foot in that place)

Now; You said "This made me very nervious" as well it should have.. It is highly dangerous. There is a problem with the park power,,, What it is I do not know but ther eis a problem.. Could be a white/green swap.
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Old 06-26-2011, 06:09 PM   #11
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Surge Protector vs Brown Out

Surge protectors proctect from a "surge" or "high voltage". Many people are sold a surge protctor thinking that they are protected by this device. You are protected from high voltage, but, the bigger problem is low voltage.

Low voltage causes your equipment to draw more amperage. More amperage causes wiring to get hot, motors to overheat, etc. This is the one that causes fires, not a voltage surge. Low voltage usually occurs when the campground is full, everyone is using their air conditioners, and the wiring in the campground can't keep up. Or the more usual conditon, bad connections.

Check your own plug, is it burnt, very dark, or corroded. That probably happned when you plugged into that campground that had a bad outlet, burnt, very dark, corroded. Plug a new cord into a bad outlet, and guess what you get, a bad cord/ plug on your rv.

It's kind of like a kid with a bad cold, he passes it on to the next kid who passes it on to another, and so on. Check your plug and cord often. Change it when it looks bad. Save yourself a fire or damage equipment.
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Old 06-26-2011, 06:12 PM   #12
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Electrical Supply shops also sell "foolproof" plug in testers which will diagnose your outlet. Simply plug in your adapter and plug this unit in!!

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Old 06-26-2011, 08:49 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Nuge View Post
Electrical Supply shops also sell "foolproof" plug in testers which will diagnose your outlet. Simply plug in your adapter and plug this unit in!!

Home Electrical Guide: How To Test an Electrical Outlet - ACME HOW TO.com
Back when I was using 30 amp for my trailer, I made an electrical hookup that tested the CG power before plugging my rig in. I started with a 30 amp to 20 amp adapter plug. Then plugged in the tester you referenced into the adapter. That told me if the plug was wired correctly. Then I removed the tester and used a AC meter to test the voltage. Most of the time everything is OK, but every once in a while, somebody has replaced the outlet and screwed up the wiring.

For over/under voltage and a secondary wiring check, I have a surge protector installed in the trailer.

It is a little more complicated testing the wiring on the 50 amp circuits. But, on my HitchHiker, the 50 amp surge protector will catch any problems.
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Old 06-26-2011, 09:07 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Mike Thomas View Post
Surge protectors proctect from a "surge" or "high voltage". Many people are sold a surge protctor thinking that they are protected by this device. You are protected from high voltage, but, the bigger problem is low voltage.

I think "surge protector" has been used as a generic term to reference devices which really provide a much more comprehensive set of features than simply protecting against surges. These include low voltage.


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