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Old 08-30-2013, 08:44 AM   #1
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Another "dryer plug" nightmare

This weekend we're planning on camping with a group of friends and have been getting everything ready. One of my very good friends has had his motorhome in the shop for a generator repair and windshield replacement for a few weeks (another entire story) but got it back home yesterday. I stopped by the house on my way to church to see how it was going and was met by his wife at the front door. She said Chris wasn't very happy, that he got home and everything quit, including the generator. She said he left and she thought he was driving back to the repair shop. I told her I'd give him a call and talk him off the cliff

I got him on the phone and he said everything was working great on the drive home. Generator was running, both ACs purring along, etc. He backed into the driveway and plugged into shore power and everything went wrong. He said the generator died, then when he went inside nearly half the outlets didn't work and neither AC was running. I figured he must have popped a breaker in his garage because I knew he'd had that problem in the past since he only had a 20amp plug there. He said "no, I had an electrician come in and wire me a 30amp for the motorhome."

I said "Chris, are you sure that outlets not 220v?" He said "isn't that what it's supposed to be? That's what it says on the side of the motorhome".

I told him to pull the plug and check the voltage. Sure enough, it was wired for 240. He just shot 220v through his entire coach and the smoke got out.

He called the electrician back. The guy told me he'd never heard of such a thing and that he even looked at the side of the motorhome to make sure it required 220. I told him that it did require 220 on the 50amp plug, but the dogbone (not sure how this works) changes that and it should be wired for 120v, 30amp.

So....this is what we found. Microwave, blown. Rear TV, blown. Starting capacitor on the rear AC, blown. On the plus side, the front air, front TV and all outlets work as does the converter/inverter, fridge and water heater. He's going to try and get the TV fixed, is replacing the microwave today and also replacing the start capacitor (hopefully that will fix the rear AC). The rear AC "tries" to come on, but when the compressor kicks, it will kill the generator. When we checked the start capacitor, it had a hole blown in the end of it.

This situation is so dangerous, yet I know it happens all the time, especially to people unfamilar with the way RVs are wired.
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Old 08-30-2013, 08:52 AM   #2
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Thanks for sharing. It scares me when people talk about Jerry-rigging adapters to step up or step down voltage or current. I only deal with a qualified electrician when it comes to this stuff.
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Old 08-30-2013, 09:17 AM   #3
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That's the scary part. This was a licensed electrician.

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Originally Posted by mikebreeze View Post
Thanks for sharing. It scares me when people talk about Jerry-rigging adapters to step up or step down voltage or current. I only deal with a qualified electrician when it comes to this stuff.
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Old 08-30-2013, 09:24 AM   #4
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That's the scary part. This was a licensed electrician.
Sure hate to tell u I know 1st hand what your talking about. I had a licensed electrician too!!!
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Old 08-30-2013, 09:25 AM   #5
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Just because someone is "licensed" does not mean that they know what they are doing.

We have all seen those supposed "experts" that just do the stupidest things and then cannot understand why it caused problems and then put the blame on everything else and not on what they did cause well they are "licensed".
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Old 08-30-2013, 09:26 AM   #6
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I'm sorry to hear about your friend's problem. It does, again, make the case for never plugging your RV into any outlet that you haven't personally checked.

We have a Surge Guard. We plugged into an outlet in a campground in Meridian and the Surge Guard would not allow power to flow to the RV. There was a problem with the power post wiring. I suspect that a SurgeGuard would have saved Chris's RV, too.

I constantly hear "leave electrical wiring to the professionals". I do admit that anyone without a clear understanding of working around electricity and the proper safety measures for doing it should not attempt any sort of electrical work. But I've installed several RV outlets and never made the mistake that Chris's "professional" did. The worst part is that the professional seemed to accept no responsibility for the results. So it was Chris's fault that the electrician didn't know the proper way of wiring a ansi/NEMA TT-30R?




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Old 08-30-2013, 09:29 AM   #7
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We see this so often... even so called "qualified" electricians may not be aware of RV needs. In my opinion, the ONLY prudent thing to do is, after the qualified electrician completes his work, plug in your power management box (I use the Progressive Industries EMS PT50C) first and see what it does. Until it reads correctly, the electrician is not done.
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Old 08-30-2013, 09:43 AM   #8
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Let us be fair.

I'm thinkin we should not slam those that deliver the service.

A good electrician can do the job right, but only if is made clear that it is for an RV and must be 110V (with appropriate, accurate and detailed drawing). Otherwise, it is just another 30A dryer circuit.
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Old 08-30-2013, 10:49 AM   #9
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Let us be fair.

I'm thinkin we should not slam those that deliver the service.

A good electrician can do the job right, but only if is made clear that it is for an RV and must be 110V (with appropriate, accurate and detailed drawing). Otherwise, it is just another 30A dryer circuit.
Totally accurate post. The OP stated that his friend thought 240 was correct. There are applications that use 240 wired into a 30 amp type outlet. If the electrician was instructed to wire up a 30 amp 3 prong 240 service than that's what he did.
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:05 AM   #10
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My advice to RVers having an outlet installed, no matter how big your RV (30 or 50) is to have a 50 amp outlet installed, Yes' it's more expensive up front but if/when you upgrade well, it costs nothing to upgrade a 50 amp to a 50 amp.. If you are worried about providing 50 amps to a 30 amp rig (or if you run into limits on your service) then there is no regulation that prohibits puting in 50 amp wiring, 50 amp outlet and 30 amp breakers.

Then you use a dogbone for a 30 amp rig

or plug ina 50 direct

And as for that up front cost.. Well consider the cost of all the stuff the O/P's friend needs to replace.

By the way.. if you READ the box or the TT-30 outlet.. It is onlyl rated for 125 volts, not 240.. So .....
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:37 AM   #11
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Why in the world did he specify a 30amp circuit if he has a 50amp RV?
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:44 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PyrateSilly View Post
Just because someone is "licensed" does not mean that they know what they are doing.

We have all seen those supposed "experts" that just do the stupidest things and then cannot understand why it caused problems and then put the blame on everything else and not on what they did cause well they are "licensed".
I couldn't agree more!!!!
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Old 08-30-2013, 12:00 PM   #13
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This has been posted before, but here it is again as a refresher:

RV Electric Wiring

If he had just searched for it. Hindsight is so good.
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Old 08-30-2013, 06:19 PM   #14
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Licensed Electrician

Two things come to mind here.
1. Licensed Electricians have knowledge about a very broad range of electrical applications, and tend to be outstanding in their field. However, the Owner (we users) MUST specify what job we want him to do. Motor home electrical is quite different than typical stick and brick. It is OUR responsiblity to make sure what we need and what we want, and to give those specifications to the electrician.
2. Never, Never plug your coach into an untested outlet. Regardless who constructs it or where it is. Always use SurgeGuard or Progressive units to verify voltages and correct wiring. These units cost about $400.00 and I believe either one would have paid for its self with this installation.
Really sorry the owner and electrican got their wires crossed, but a really good lesson for all on the Forum.
Thanks for sharing.
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