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Old 09-06-2016, 05:19 PM   #29
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1984 27' Airstream 270
Scotia , New York
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Mine is a bit dated, I use a Kill A Watt unit, it does volts, amps, watts and frequency (Which is great if your generator is 30 years old.) A good investment for less than $20

It is also good to check for parasitic AC current draw. When you run an inverter off of solar, you dont want to be powering unnecessary electronics.

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Old 09-06-2016, 09:42 PM   #30
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I use a Shurlite plug-in meter inside my FC to monitor the voltage, but...........
Before I hook up, I check the power tower for good 'Boom-a-trons'.

First used is one of those little plug in 'polarity testers' that have two yellow and one red light. 'Two yellows, the power is good; any red showing, then NFG. (Six bucks at Canadian Tire.)

(My last trip found ANOTHER outlet with a hot neutral. the 'guy' said it had been in use for twelve years and it was never reported.)

NEXT: I use another Shurlite meter to read voltage, THEN.....
I Have a 0-150 VAC meter that is wired to a plug by one to ground, and the other to neutral. It should read zero.
Finally, I plug in my surge protector to see if it's happy. THEN....
I plug in the AS, and check the skin for 'hot skin' condition using a Fluke voltage indicator pencil.
When all is good, I'm in business.

The last campground was the fourth reversed polarity that I have found, including one complete campground.

Do your checks first before powering up the trailer.

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Old 09-07-2016, 06:22 AM   #31
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2016 30' Classic
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A great question - I suspect one that is overlooked by many.

The we were about to take possession of our first RV/trailer of any type - a 2016 AS Classic with its 50amp requirement - I thought about the $$ investment being made and the risk that a poor electrical supply could have.

I purchased a Progressive Industries EMS-PT50C surge protector. Although I am not an electrical engineer, I understand that this unit performs a comprehensive set of safeguards and measurements needed to provide the needed protection.

In October, we are heading to Arizona and will be staying at a park that only has 30amp service. After speaking with Progressive's tech specialists, I purchased a converter (not a dog bone) that has a 30amp male / 50amp female configuration. Should be all set.

I highly recommend the Progressive Industries product line. Best wishes.
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Old 09-07-2016, 08:19 AM   #32
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2016 28' Pendleton
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The Progressive Industries EMS-PT50C is what I use. I bought it based on research on this forum and elsewhere. I am pleased with my decision.

I hope not to offend any of the previous posters, but I recently retired from a career in industrial manufacturing (mostly in maintenance and engineering) and am living proof that a cheap multimeter is a dangerous meter. Your life can be on the line when working with electricity. Any time you plug something in to any outlet the power must be safely controlled. Cheap meters may not always do that. Plugging in to an unknown outlet like the power posts we use at campgrounds can expose us to unexpected risks such as single phase 220 or even 277 volts. We don't know who wired up the power poles or how they are wired up. I have seen 110 VAC outlets suddenly become 220 when someone down the line plugged in a faulty device. Spend the money to buy a reliable meter.

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Old 09-07-2016, 09:59 AM   #33
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Greenwood , Mississippi
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Originally Posted by WayneG View Post
Mine is a bit dated, I use a Kill A Watt unit, it does volts, amps, watts and frequency (Which is great if your generator is 30 years old.) A good investment for less than $20

It is also good to check for parasitic AC current draw. When you run an inverter off of solar, you dont want to be powering unnecessary electronics.
I just ordered this one from Amazon for $18.92.
There is a newer version available, but it looks more complicated/less user friendly.
Rather than directly labeled buttons, the new one has a menu button to select modes or functions.
I'm kickin' it old school on this one.
Plug it in.
Press volts button.
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Old 09-07-2016, 01:49 PM   #34
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South of the river , Minnesota
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Originally Posted by m.hony View Post
The $9.99 Camco one that plugs into a wall socket/receptacle in the trailer will work?
It is a round/oval yellow thing that plugs into a 110 receptacle and has an analog gauge on it.
I have one of those in my Cayo. In the winter, they're susceptible to static electricity buildup, which makes the needle move to one side or another by a few volts.

In the Airstream, I installed amp and volt meters permanently in the breaker panel. There's a thread here somewhere on airforums with photos.

[QUOTE=m.hony;1846881]I have several inexpensive multi-meters.
There may even be one in the trailer already.
How do I check the pedestal with a multi-meter?
Black lead in the center hole and red lead in each of the outer holes?

30 amp pedestal: measure the voltage between the left and right diagonal slots.

50 amp pedestal: Two voltages to measure, one between the center and left slots, one between the center and right slots.

Should get in the neighborhood of 120 volts on both legs?
If you're lucky. Few campgrounds will deliver that on a hot, busy day.

For RVs, anything over 130 volts would be a problem. In houses, excessive voltage is mainly a problem for 120v incandescent lights, which will have a reduced life with anything over 125 volts.

Again for RVs, anything under 110 volts at the pedestal would be cause for concern. Measured in the trailer with the air conditioner running I figure anything down to 105 volts is tolerable.

So here's the thing. Usually low voltage problems in campgrounds affect most of the loop to some degree. Typical practice is that they'll run 250 kcmil aluminum direct-bury cable, with a 200 amp breaker, and have it serve 8-10 sites with 30 amp service in a sort of daisy chain fashion. The cable goes from the big breaker box to the first site, then from the first to the second, then the second to the third, and so on. The idea is that all the sites supposedly won't draw the full 30 amps at once. But times have changed since the standards were set and most RVs have air conditioners and various other appliances and so the loop can easily draw close to 200 amps. Well at that draw with that cable you're doing to lose 1 volt for every 40 feet you go from the breaker box, so in a nice campground where things are spread out you've lost maybe 10 volts by the time you're halfway down the loop (I'm simplifying). There's less additional loss per site in the second half of the loop because they use the same size wire.

Usually on a hot day there will still be 120 volts at the transformer but depending on how things are set up it's pretty easy to lose 5 volts by the time the power gets to the beginning of the loop, so you're at 115, and then if you lose 10 volts halfway down the loop, well, half the sites are at 105 volts.

That's not unusual. And it's not just one campsite, it's usually a quarter to half of the sites in the campground, and so the manager can't solve it by moving people around.

On 50 amp sites this sort of thing is much less of a problem for a variety of reasons but mainly because these outlets are designed to deliver 100 amps at 120 volts (50 amps in each of two legs) and even the largest RVs don't draw nearly that much. The second reason is that 50a sites use 3-wire service and the load is balanced enough across the two legs that there isn't much voltage drop to speak of in the neutral, which cuts the total loss almost in half.
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Old 09-07-2016, 03:01 PM   #35
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Ok, the question is:
30 amp setvice; air conditioner draws voltage down to 110-108vac. (Shurlite meter)
Therefore unable to use other appliances. (fridge is on ac)
Would it be possible to use a 50-30 amp dog bone to increase the available amperage?
Or would there be circuit breaker issues?
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Old 09-07-2016, 03:42 PM   #36
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How do y'all check voltage at the campground pedestal?

50 amp service is 2 120 volt legs. Unless your coach is wired with that in mind going to 50 amps does not help with the voltage drop.
Is the voltage dropping at the pedestal or in the coach? Or both?
Are you using the 30amp cord from the coach to the pedestal?
What is the voltage with the AC off?
Does it increase if you put the refer on propane? How much?
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Old 09-07-2016, 04:23 PM   #37
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2012 28' International
Greensboro , North Carolina
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I also have a Progressive Industries set up (50 amp) hardwired into my trailer. Last week I was in a campground in RI that was only able to put out 103V. This was on a hot day. An undervolt situation of 17 volts does not do much for the health of your air conditioner. The meter TOLD me it was 103V. I have a Magnum MSH inverter set-up and it will convert from DC to AC if necessary. It did its job. Yup, an expensive mod to my trailer -- once you buy one, and the big AGM batteries as well. It does eliminate my concerns about RV parks that undervolt, have open grounds, or reversed polarity. I have encountered all three of those in the last couple of years.

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