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Old 09-27-2014, 11:25 AM   #1
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Ted E's Avatar
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Posts: 151
Reverse Polarity

Hi all,

Recently returned from our trip to Kannanaskis (Mt. Kidd) While there, I hooked up my portable surge protection (IRC) at 2 different pedestals. The surge protection was beeping and showing reverse polarity. Went to a 3rd pedestal camp site and all was fine. Can anyone please explain reverse polarity and other than the surge alarm driving me mad, could it have been damaging to our electrical?
Thanks for the advice,

Ted E
2013 Thor ACE 29.2
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Old 09-27-2014, 01:11 PM   #2
Winnebago Owners Club
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 98
I can't give you a technical answer, but after our Parallax Power Center went out, I found that the polarity on the outdoor outlet we use was reversed. The repairman said that it wouldn't cause problems with normal lights, weedwhackers, etc. (and it hadn't), but he warned that reversed polarity will cause problems with modern electronics.

Did it cause our problem? Don't know. I had been using the outlet regularly for over a year to keep the fridge going and the batteries charged between outings. So if it did pose a problem, it wasn't immediate. But, our rig is simple. Your's being new, it undoubtedly has higher technology. You may have saved yourself a bundle.

Enjoying the simple life w/a 1994 Winnebago Brave 31RQ (A). Past RVs; RoadTrek (B), Starcraft Pop-up, Coachmen (C), MinnieWinnie (C) and an American Something-or-other (TT). Started it all off as a teenager in a 1964 Apache Pop-up we named Wag Along.
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Old 09-27-2014, 01:21 PM   #3
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Posts: 4,517
Reverse polarity in an ac service does not matter for voltage or loads as the voltage is constantly reversing...but...

The voltages are referenced to ground and the opposite side of the supply lines so one could have at a device that may have a switch on the hot and a leaky connection on the neutral that could cause problems.

One also could have issues with odd wired devices where a hot skin condition could happen.

A standard 2 wire plug type device with full isolation like a wall wart would not care but other items like an electric motor with a circuit breaker only on the hot wire could be an issue if any part of the unit is exposed.
Tony & Lori
1989 Country Coach Savannah SE
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Old 09-27-2014, 01:31 PM   #4
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Damon Owners Club
Workhorse Chassis Owner
Join Date: Mar 2009
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I assume these are 30 amp sites.

You have three wires in a 30 amp hookup
Neutral: Normally the wire is white and the screw is kind of silvery
HOT: Black wire, copper screw
Safety Ground: Bare or Green, wire, Green (painted) screw.

Reverse polarity is black/white switch.. IN THEORY this will not affect any hardware inside the RV. but ..........

Last trailer I had I bought used, the owner gave me an extension cord, I do not know if he was more color blind than I am or what but .. Well..

This was a 20 amp trailer.. The "INLET" was a twist lock.. So to make an adapter he took a common outdoor extension cord and cut the plug off about a foot from the end.. Put a new plug on the end of the cord (Hooking it up backwards, black wire to sliver screw) and then put a twist lock outlet on the short section (hooking it up the same way) so long as you used HIS cord, (Double reverse) all worked well.

But when I used my 12ga Cord.. Dang trailer like to knock me on my.....pride.... (Or something) I mean it bit big time.

So a reverse polarity will not damage the RV.. But it might kill you.
Home is where I park it!
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Old 09-27-2014, 02:01 PM   #5
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Wow, glad we moved to a site wired correctly, and will continue to do so. Thanks to all who replied and for your vast knowledge.
Ted E
2013 Thor ACE 29.2
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