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Old 03-22-2012, 01:00 PM   #1
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Electrical Opps and other things

So, I had some issues over the last couple of weeks.
All is well, but you learn from your "mistakes".

Started out when our youngest, 22, decided he wanted to move out of his apartment. Bad room mate and wanted to move into out old rv. Not a problem, we have a spot to park it and get it hooked up.

I made some measurements and ordered a 40' long 30amp chord so we could plug it in. Bought a double pole 30amp breaker for the box, a new 30amp receptical and dug out some left-over wire I had. Slapped the breaker in the box and wired up the new receptical up.

During the week, We got two 10'x20' tarps for the roof (it needs new rubber). Had to jump the rv to get it started and pulled it over by the garage and leveld it up. Got the tarps on the roof and lashed down. Made sure I went around the frig vent and then taped the tarp to the roof at the vent with some Eternbond tape. Ready for power.

Later on that week the cord showed up. We rent the garage/office, so I unscrewed the corner of a piece of the steel siding and ran the new cord thru the wall. Got the cord up and over the garage door and plugged into the rv. The old RV is 50 amp, but we adapted down to 30 amp. We plan on moving the old rv into the spot where our newer rv is in a few month. We will relocate.

So, this is where the trouble started...................

Plugged in the cord and went into the rv. No lights, no 12 volt anything. A/c (front and rear) work. Microwave clock is on, coffee pot clock is on. Hmmmm. Back outside. Checked at the rv box and the converter isn't humming. Breaker is tripped. Turn off the main, flip the breaker on, flip
the main and the breaker trips again. Hmmmm.

Back into the rv and tried a plug-in lamp. POW! Blew the bulb out. WT...? Tried another 110 volt plug-in light and, POW, blown out. CRAP, I did something wrong. Back into the garage to check wiring.

My DUH moment!

Checked the wires at the breaker box and I realize I wired it up like the 50 amp. Black wire to one breaker pole, white wire to one breaker pole and ground to the ground rail. CRAP!!!! Took the white wire loose and hooked it to the ground rail. Back to the RV.

Flipped the tripped breaker and the converter is humming. Inside and all the 12 volt is working. Furnaces both kick on, frig light is on, all the running lights work. A/C's work, but I blew out the microwave, the coffee maker and two 110v plug-in lights. Not too bad over all.

Turned the frig on electric to let it cool down. Hooked up a 20# propane tank (main tank is empty) so we can run the furnaces and water heater when we get the water hooked up. Re-checked the 12 volt systems and all is good.

A few days later........

In-laws came to town and stayed in the old RV for a night. They had stuff to put in the frig, but is not cold. Checked and sure enough, not cooling at all. GREAT!

Went out Wednesday night and switched it over to propane. Listened carefully and heard the burner fire up. Went out and made sure it was burning. Left it runnig for a while and checked it a couple of hours later. It is cooling down fine on propane. Electric issue. Turned it off.

Went out on Friday afternoon and started checking out the frig electrical. Got my multimeter, nut driver, phillips screwdriver and needle-nose pliers. Opened the cover, took it off and sat it on the ground.

Turned the frig to electric and proceeded to checked out all the circuits I could get to. I have power thru every circuit to the electric heating element. Dug in deeper and ended up pulling the entire frig control unit out of the rv. Propane off and disconnected, wires unplugged, control
switch, thermostat, ignitor control and thermocoupler in my hand.

Took it in the garage and did a major continuity check of EVERY system in it. Again, everything check out. The control unit (off, elec, gas) is cracked at the base. It is a pretty basic set of contacts, switching the power. I used some plastic epoxy to glue it together and wired it tight to
dry. I reinstalled the complete unit later the next day.

Did some on-line checking and found out I needed to check the heating element for continuity. Went out to the RV and checked - it is open. So, a bad heating element. Another victim of my electrical blunder. Took the cover/holder off and wiggled it out.

Checked on-line and locally. I had the part number, voltage and wattage. I took almost a week, but I found one in stock locally at an RV dealer, but he wanted $15 more than the other local RV dealer wanted to order it in. Ended up ordering a new element from the 2nd local RV dealer for a better price than I could find on-line. It is nice to buy local when you can.

During my discussions with the dealers, they seemed to think it was just timing. Since all the other parts of the frig electrial system were intact, the heating element probably wasn't blown by my electrical blunder.

New heating element came. I checked it for continuity and installed it. I replaced the existing spade connectors with new ones when I connected the wires. Cover/holder back in place and everything tightend down. Turned the frig to elec and now just waited.

The next day I checked and the frig is cooling down. Problem solved.
We ran the water hose (drinking water safe) out the same location as the electrcal cord and got water to the rv. Got all the air out, cleaned out a few aerators and fired up the water heater.

Our son has "almost" moved in. He is there part time.

We checked the microwave and coffee maker out. Microwave is not saveable. Blew the electrical panel on the coffee maker.

Now to get the waste line connected! (This weekend's project)

Mike
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Old 03-22-2012, 04:17 PM   #2
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WOW, sounds like some of my adventures. Good Job.

I would like to add though that the white wire should go to the neutral bar, not the ground bar. Green should go to the ground bar.
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Old 03-23-2012, 04:18 AM   #3
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I would highly recommend a Surge Guard be used for the service of any RV. Great job in diagnosing and repairing the issues.
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Old 03-23-2012, 06:04 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cougarkid View Post

So, this is where the trouble started...................

Plugged in the cord and went into the rv. No lights, no 12 volt anything. A/c (front and rear) work. Microwave clock is on, coffee pot clock is on. Hmmmm. Back outside. Checked at the rv box and the converter isn't humming. Breaker is tripped. Turn off the main, flip the breaker on, flip
the main and the breaker trips again. Hmmmm.

Back into the rv and tried a plug-in lamp. POW! Blew the bulb out. WT...? Tried another 110 volt plug-in light and, POW, blown out. CRAP, I did something wrong. Back into the garage to check wiring.

My DUH moment!

Checked the wires at the breaker box and I realize I wired it up like the 50 amp. Black wire to one breaker pole, white wire to one breaker pole and ground to the ground rail. CRAP!!!! Took the white wire loose and hooked it to the ground rail. Back to the RV.

Mike
If you had a Progressive Industries EMS unit on your coach or wired in between the power source and your shore power cord, it would have given you an error code telling you that something is wrong with the electrical supply WITHOUT damaging anything inside your coach.

Very cheap insurance.

EMS-PT30C

EMS-HW30C

I would make sure to check ALL of the stuff that would normally have 120 VAC going to or through it to see exactly what got damaged. Have you checked your inverter/converter, TV's, and anything else (microwave has been toasted) ?

Some lessons are more costly than others.

Dr4Film ----- Richard
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Old 03-23-2012, 10:53 AM   #5
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IT is amazign the number of "I plugged my 30 amp plug into a 240 volt socket" posts we get.

Suggestion, if you did that cord right, build a proper adapter or put a 50 amp outlet on the outlet end of it (NOTE: this requires a 4 wire cord)

Otherwise,, Well, you know how to do it properly.
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