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Old 08-06-2022, 07:55 PM   #1
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50A RV home wiring help/troubles

Hello

Back in 09 I paid a electrician to hook up a 50a service at my house, converting a garage heater to a 50a plug. Turned out myself and the electrician didnít know RVís are different then a normal 50A so we fried a few things in the coach.

Fast forward to this year, different coach & a different electrical companyÖ.. explained to the company RVís do not run a conventional 50A service, he said no problem I can do it. At least a dozen times I voiced my concerns and the electrician said if it makes you feel better when you get the RV back (it was in for service), I can stop by and make sure everything is correct. He looked it over and gave me the OKÖ. Plugged it in & the display above the entry door which states gen/20/30/50 was blankÖ he insured me it was correct so I let it be. Fast forward approx 4 hours when I was inside my business (RV is parked 150+ ft behind building) I smelled sulfurÖ turned out the batteries were off gassing, all 8 chassis batteries were severely bulging with two batteries blowing off gas.

The batteries are 2 yrs old

I feel it was wired wrong for a RV

When I open the panel which goes out to the RV plug, the two hot wires are fused how they should be & go to where they should go on the plug. The common and ground are hooked together on the same bus bar (I think thatís what itís called) inside the panel. The wires that feed the power to the garage (is a older building, probably built in the 40ís) is a 3 wire power line.

Any suggestions on what i\we should do?

To me it seems like itís wired wrong, itís done how a welder or normal 50a service would be run, I feel the electrician wired it wrong caused the 8 batteries to go bad on me.

Any suggestions on what to do? The owner of the company and a few of his electricians came out last week. They showed me why they feel they are correct and that itís wired properly, only one way to wire a 50a outlet. I tried to show them something we printed out showing how the ground and neutral need to be separated but they wouldnít even look at the paper.

I have called every RV service center in the area trying to find a electrician they could suggest to come out but no luck.
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Old 08-06-2022, 08:03 PM   #2
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It sounds like it is wired correctly. A 50 amp RV hookup is no different than a 4 wire 50 amp range hookup. If the garage has a 3 wire service there is no choice but to connect the neutral and grounding conductors to the same bus, and it would not have any effect on your RV. 3 wire services were allowed at separate structures (with certain conditions) until very recently, and on those 3 wire services it is critical the the neutral and ground are bonded just like your main service at the house. Separating grounds and neutrals (at 4 wire sub panels) is for the safety of the electrical system, the RV doesn't know the difference. If this were your main house panel the neutral and ground would always be on the same bus, or connected busses.
The only thing that can cause you some damage is if the neutral were open, but that is easy enough to check and if that were the case you would probably have burned up some 120 volt stuff like you did in 09 when you hooked up a 240 only connection You said "the common and ground" so we know they ran a neutral, and they certainly would have checked that neutral, that's something we do even when the customer is not paranoid about a mistake. So you have a 240/120 hookup and there's only one way to do that.

To me it sounds more like your converter charger went bad and is over charging your batteries. It happens. Can you connect a meter and see what the batteries are getting from the converter?
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Old 08-06-2022, 08:07 PM   #3
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I've wired up a bunch of outlets, both at work and at home over the years.

There's basically two 50 amp receptacles with the straight blades that your 50A RV plug looks like. One has 4 pins, the other has 3. The 3 pin version is what homeowners plug 240 volt loads into, things like welders, and probably car chargers. The voltage across the two big rectangular terminals will be ~240 volts, and the u-shaped one will be ground.

The 4-pin receptacle is what you want for an RV. The two terminals on the right and left will have 240 volts. The top rectangular terminal is neutral, and should have zero, or close to it, volts to ground, and 120 volts to either of the terminals to the lower right and left. It provides BOTH 120 and 240 volts, with several safety features built in, like protection from ground loops.

If you have 3-phase 208V service to your house, then things are different. This is most likely not the case though.

Any competent electrician, even most apprentices with some experience, should know how to do these installations no problem.

If the outlet is wired correctly, look at your RV for the problem
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Old 08-06-2022, 08:15 PM   #4
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Sounds like you have an old panel if there are fuses instead of breakers.
Also sounds like you only have a 3 wire run to the plug, which is the way older dryers use to be wired. There have been many similar types of wiring problems. The ground and neutral should not be wired together, that's your problem and my guess is you might have more problems then just batteries.



I installed a total of four 50 amp plugs. Attached is how I wired them but you have a have three 6 awg wires and at least an 8 awg (better to have 6 awg) ground wire. This has to originate all the way to the main service panel.

I'm sure others will jump in and start listing which NEC codes you should follow and a more technical explanation. I am not an expert, don't claim to be, but I did wire my house and overall the inspector was satisfied. I didn't cut any corners as to the quality of the material used, outlet spacing, quality of work etc. I did spend hours researching. I am an engineer but worked with high voltage systems in a mining environment, night and day to residential requirements.




Sounds like you need to find another electrician.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf RV 50 amp plug wiring.pdf (41.1 KB, 44 views)
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Old 08-06-2022, 08:21 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacwjames View Post
Sounds like you have an old panel if there are fuses instead of breakers.
Also sounds like you only have a 3 wire run to the plug, which is the way older dryers use to be wired. There have been many similar types of wiring problems. The ground and neutral should not be wired together, that's your problem and my guess is you might have more problems then just batteries.



I installed a total of four 50 amp plugs. Attached is how I wired them but you have a have three 6 awg wires and at least an 8 awg (better to have 6 awg) ground wire. This has to originate all the way to the main service panel.



Sounds like you need to find another electrician.
If you read the OP there are 4 wires, not 3. The ground and neutral must be wired together in a 3 wire panel, if not you have no safety grounding. Also there is no requirement that the service originate at the main panel, and connecting ground to neutral in the barn panel makes no difference to the RV as I explained in my first post, if ran to the main service panel it would be connected the exact same way because the main is also a 3 wire service. Highly unlikely there is anything wrong with the hookup given the facts we have, which describe a correct installation.
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Old 08-06-2022, 08:40 PM   #6
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The statement that RVs are different than regular 50A receptacles is wrong. A 4 wire 50A house circuit for a range or dryer or welder or heater is identical to what a 50A RV uses. The difference is with the 30A circuits. Most home 30A circuits are 240V. Not so for an RV - itís 30A but only 120V. Only one leg is used along with a neutral and a ground. I donít think thereís anything wrong with your outlet.
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Old 08-06-2022, 09:03 PM   #7
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What year, make, and exact model of RV do you have? It's not listed on your profile.

Can you post a pic of that panel over the door?

What you can do is use an EMS that tests for incorrect wiring and will not allow power to get applied to the RV if something is wired wrong. And that will cut the power off automatically if a problem occurs after you're already plugged in.

Some are just idiot light units that will not control the power in the event of a failure. Avoid those.

I hard-wired mine into the shore power cord however there also are portable units that are just as effective.

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Old 08-06-2022, 09:17 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by bigb56
Highly unlikely there is anything wrong with the hookup given the facts we have, which describe a correct installation.

Agreed, with the caveat that if during the wiring the electrician accidentally swapped one hot and the neutral.

One half of a 50 amp RV likely would function but with the hot and neutral wires swapped. The other half of the RV would get up to 240 VAC applied.

If the converter was powered from the half with 240 VAC, and it's an old transformer style, it just might take the 240 VAC and crank out a much higher voltage but then lights should be a lot brighter, etc.

Ray
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Old 08-06-2022, 10:05 PM   #9
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Did they do any voltage testing. Do you have other 120v items to run on 120v in at building to put a load on each side panel. A poor neutral can show voltage imbalance between split phases to neutral. Put a load on both split phases if you can and test each RV outlet hot to neutral put heavier load on one side keep testing . This could also be occurring in coach, getting open neutral, you cant assume it always the last thing but often is. If you only asked if outlet was right, not if/why something weird is going on they may not been think what's going on. It may not have showed up plugged into single phase outlet . Do you have a surge protector that may show bad thing happening. With the power display panel not working do you have any breakers off in MH . Random breakers can feed these and EMS having those breakers off can send owner all around scratching their head. By all means be safe or get help live testing.
Possibly the battery temp sensor if equipped is showing very low temp and uprating your charge voltage too high. Disconnecting temp sensor usually default to around 75f charge level. Charger had to be pushing quite a bit to cook 8 batteries. Proceed with caution setting up new batts. You may want to test what's going on with a pair of 6v or a 12v batt to check what's happening first .
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Old 08-06-2022, 10:16 PM   #10
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Thanks everyone….

All the wires are in the correct space, hot on left and right of plus with common/ground on top/bottom.

RV is a 2016 Entegra Cornerstone

Prior to hooking up to the 50a outlet, I could hook the RV up to a normal wall outlet and all was good.

Several years ago when this occurred, a friend did the wiring and hooked it up exactly how it’s done now, My now x father in law new what needed changed and fixed the wiring….. I wasn’t there when he did it so I can’t recall what was done & I do not have acess to my old house. The friend that did the wiring years ago now owns his own electrician company and we have discussed this issue several times. He thinks possibly adding a ground might be what needs to be done by adding a grounding rod & using the metal/steel conduit that brings power from the building. He has asked a few electricians and pretty much all of them are kinda stumped on what needs to be done,
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Old 08-06-2022, 10:26 PM   #11
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I see your up I have been editing my post you may have missed some things added.
Pretty sure a ground rod at distortion box is code.
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Old 08-06-2022, 11:13 PM   #12
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The two things mentioned, a bad neutral, or one hot line and the neutral swapped at the plug could cause it. Frying the batteries that bad had to have a very high voltage. Equalization voltage is 15.3 for 2 hours, 4 hours might bulge them I guess if it was stuck in that mode. But I would lean more towards a bad neutral. Unbond the ground and check it. It can read good on volts and resistance but still be bad under a heavier load. The other thread in general discussion covers this very thing in the pedestal thread. Don't plug the coach back in until you sort this out.
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Old 08-07-2022, 06:50 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by harleyjt View Post
The statement that RVs are different than regular 50A receptacles is wrong. A 4 wire 50A house circuit for a range or dryer or welder or heater is identical to what a 50A RV uses.
Yes the 4 wire range or dryer circuit is identical (240/120) however welders and heaters only use 3 wires and are straight 240 with no neutral.
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Old 08-07-2022, 07:02 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by bigb56 View Post
It sounds like it is wired correctly. A 50 amp RV hookup is no different than a 4 wire 50 amp range hookup. If the garage has a 3 wire service there is no choice but to connect the neutral and grounding conductors to the same bus, and it would not have any effect on your RV. 3 wire services were allowed at separate structures (with certain conditions) until very recently, and on those 3 wire services it is critical the the neutral and ground are bonded just like your main service at the house. Separating grounds and neutrals (at 4 wire sub panels) is for the safety of the electrical system, the RV doesn't know the difference. If this were your main house panel the neutral and ground would always be on the same bus, or connected busses.
The only thing that can cause you some damage is if the neutral were open, but that is easy enough to check and if that were the case you would probably have burned up some 120 volt stuff like you did in 09 when you hooked up a 240 only connection You said "the common and ground" so we know they ran a neutral, and they certainly would have checked that neutral, that's something we do even when the customer is not paranoid about a mistake. So you have a 240/120 hookup and there's only one way to do that.

To me it sounds more like your converter charger went bad and is over charging your batteries. It happens. Can you connect a meter and see what the batteries are getting from the converter?
Well said. I build houses and we do rv plugs, yacht plugs, and even air plane plugs (bet you didnít know that was a thing). The ground and neutral are always bonded in the panelÖ.period. The bus bars on both sides of the panel are always strapped together so you will never have a separate ground and neutral unless you run the ground to a rod in the ground for some generator applications.

I highly doubt the ops electrician mixed up a neutral and hot line in the plug. More than likely this is a coincidental event.
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