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Old 04-08-2013, 02:12 PM   #1
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...with DISASTROUS RESULTS

Here's a short clip I read in another RV forum:

And now you know to NEVER trust an unverified 3-prong receptacle. The 3-prong 220v outlet, which is used primarily for welders and old clothes dryer circuits, is so close to the 3-prong RV receptacle that you can plug right in, with disastrous results. Unless you are in a campground with known good power, it is always wise to check with a voltmeter first.


So now you know the rest of the story....almost. And dare I raise the "dumbass" flag on myself.

There I was: visiting relatives, and plugged into a simple 15 amp 120V circuit. But as you might expect, the breaker tripped a couple times when we turned on too many things at once. So me-- and another "electrician"-- tried to figure a way to get more AMPS into my MH. "Aha... here is a 50 AMP, 240 volt circuit in this old barn, right next to our parking spot." Perfect. Surely my MH system will accept the 240 volt. And because this box in my electrical compartment says 120-240V, and because I have a 3-pronged outlet that perfectly plugs into that receptacle, and because I'm certain there are automatic voltage protections and switching devices built into this big rolling turd, everything will be fine. Read on....

After plugging into this 240 volt plug with my 3-pronged plug, I went into the coach to see how it's working. Funny smell in here. Humm...it's in the bedroom too. And why is there smoke coming from the microwave? The bulb in the living room lamp just blew. For some reason, the TV also just cut off. OMG!!! This must be RV apocalypse! Everything is melting!! QUICK----UNPLUG IT!!!!

(2 days later, I realize I must have looked like Steve Martin in "The Jerk", when the assassin was shooting toward him and all he could say was "He's shooting at these cans! He hates these cans!")

Bottom line, I basically fried everything that was plugged into a receptacle, that did not have control voltage fuse protection. The bigger pieces were both TV's, the microwave/convection oven, a Wii game device, a digital TV converter box, mama's brand-new Kuerig coffee machine, and a few more smaller things plugged in.

Some components were spared major damage due to fuse protection, such as heat pumps, refrigerator, washer-dryer.

Fast forward to the present. Big 'ol expensive diesel pusher coaches do NOT necessarily have built-in over-voltage protection. 3-pronged RV plugs WILL plug into a 240V circuit..with ease. But everything in my MH--and most RV's on the road--are a 120 volt system. Generators put out 120V. Shore power is 120V.

So let me save the best for last: Some of you experts out there are saying "why the heck didn't this clown have a surge protector on his shore power line?"

He did. But he removed it, so he could have the proper 3-pronged plug at the end of the wire, so he could plug into the 240 volt receptacle.

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Old 04-08-2013, 02:27 PM   #2
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Sorry to hear of your learning experience and disaster.
A surge protector always and wiring as described in this link for people not in the know about RV WIRING.
Maybe this link will help solve some problems you may encounter.
As a electrician checking the outlets your appliances were plugged into may warrant an inspection.
Good luck in your reconstruction of your Newmar.

I hope you understand that I may use your post for Newbies who need a learning experience it will answer some of their questions to why having a SP is needed and check plug for proper RV connections.
Your both OK and the Newmar will be too.
And yes thanks for the post some would not want us to know your results.
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Old 04-08-2013, 02:37 PM   #3
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So sorry to hear this. At least no one was injured and nothing caught fire. See - it could have been worse. As Monty Python said - Always look on the bright side of life.
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Old 04-09-2013, 04:41 AM   #4
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Only dumb luck protected me from a similar fate. Like you was at a relatives house, blew fuse on 15 amp circuit, saw another plug in garage that looked exactly like my 30 amp connection. Fortunately, my 30 amp would not reach it and then I saw that the air conditioner that was plugged into it was not 30 amp but 240 volt. Just dumb luck or I would have been replacing everything too. Am much more careful now. Thanks for sharing and reminding me to be careful.
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Old 04-09-2013, 04:50 AM   #5
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I would like to thank you good folks for experiencing these things so hopefully some of us who haven't started yet can learn. I'm also glad that nothing caught fire and it was just more of an expensive inconvenience.
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Old 04-09-2013, 10:05 AM   #6
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This has been posted before, probably by me, but it is good for newbies, and a refresher for all of us, to bookmark for all RV related electrical issues. Check out "outlet testing" in particular.

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Old 04-09-2013, 08:12 PM   #7
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Hi,

A regular surge protector will do nothing to protect an RV from a 240 connection.

There are some energy management systems that do, so make sure not to buy a "cheapie".

For a 30 amp RV surge suppression may not be warranted. For a 50 amp it may be a good idea.
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Old 04-10-2013, 02:58 AM   #8
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His coach service is 50 amp and requires a 50 amp SP and I am sure it would have protected his MH by self sacrifice.
You do not need a surge into a EMS in coach either, some of them have protected fusing hopefully.
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Old 04-11-2013, 12:06 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan DeBruin View Post
Only dumb luck protected me from a similar fate. Like you was at a relatives house, blew fuse on 15 amp circuit, saw another plug in garage that looked exactly like my 30 amp connection. Fortunately, my 30 amp would not reach it and then I saw that the air conditioner that was plugged into it was not 30 amp but 240 volt. Just dumb luck or I would have been replacing everything too. Am much more careful now. Thanks for sharing and reminding me to be careful.
The air con could indeed have been a 30 amp unit, but at 240 volts. 30 amp and 240 volt are not the same thing.
30 amp 120 volt gives you 3,600 watts
30 amp 240 volt is 7,200 watts
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Old 04-12-2013, 07:42 PM   #10
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I read this thread and thought... That is exactly why I got such a great deal on our fixer upper RV last year... The power supply, batteries, inverters, tv, generator, transfer switch, ac fan, and a bunch of stuff I can't remember was fried. I knew it had major electrical issues when I bought it. But I am an old electrician and thought I could figure that part out. PO had tried to rewire some stuff and gave up. Eventually he parked it in a pasture where it sat for 3 or 4 years... We repaired some blistered spots on the skin, replaced electrical components and new tires... I probably have $10k total in our '05 30' class c... It runs and acts like now. And now I know for sure that PO must've plugged in to 240v somewhere... I am guessing welder outlet in his barn. You are right, RV plugs look too much like 240v outlets. UL should not allow this, but it was good for me... Not so good for the PO of our unit.
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Old 04-12-2013, 08:25 PM   #11
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Welcome to irv2 lkillabrew thanks for your post you must know the difference between that 240v outlet and this RV wiring post everyone with an RV should know.
If not maybe you will get another upgrade of a coach.
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Old 04-12-2013, 09:30 PM   #12
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This is not exactly true as 30 amp dryer has a "L" shape ground& our 30's have a round one
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Old 04-12-2013, 09:33 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lkillebrew View Post
I read this thread and thought... That is exactly why I got such a great deal on our fixer upper RV last year... The power supply, batteries, inverters, tv, generator, transfer switch, ac fan, and a bunch of stuff I can't remember was fried. I knew it had major electrical issues when I bought it. But I am an old electrician and thought I could figure that part out. PO had tried to rewire some stuff and gave up. Eventually he parked it in a pasture where it sat for 3 or 4 years... We repaired some blistered spots on the skin, replaced electrical components and new tires... I probably have $10k total in our '05 30' class c... It runs and acts like now. And now I know for sure that PO must've plugged in to 240v somewhere... I am guessing welder outlet in his barn. You are right, RV plugs look too much like 240v outlets. UL should not allow this, but it was good for me... Not so good for the PO of our unit.
"It runs and acts like now!" My dad would of said it that way!
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Old 04-13-2013, 10:29 AM   #14
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There have been so many reported problems with electrical power that I decided to get a short pigtail adapter with a 15A outlet on one end and a 30A RV Plug on the other. I have one of those 3-LED circuit testers in the 15 A end. I also have a 50A to 30A pigtail.

Wherever we stop and want to hook up, the first thing I do is plug the circuit tester in. It has saved us from problems a couple of times. At one CG in Oregon, the whole park had an open ground on its system. I checked about 5 sites and they were all faulty. I reported it to the office and they weren't interested, so we got our money refunded and moved on.
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