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Old 04-02-2010, 05:06 PM   #1
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Miswired Outlet?

Every time we set up at a new camp site, one of the first things I do is check the electrical outlet using one of those outlet checkers with the three lights (red-yellow-yellow). If it matters, I have a regular 20amp tester attached to a 30amp-20amp converter plug, so that I can test the 30amp outlet directly rather than the 20amp outlet. Today - for the first time - my checker said that my outlet was wired wrong. Hot-Neutral Reversed.

Worried that the tester was wrong, I tested other outlets nearby and found that they all tested 'correct'. That, plus the fact that the outlet looked much newer than the others nearby, caused me to conclude that the outlet was probably wrong. So I reported this to the campground office, they called their electrician, and while we were away from the camp site, the electrician came by, tested the outlet, and reported that 'outlet ok. neutral is not hot."

Great. Except that I check again and my tester still says Hot-Neutral Reversed. Is it possible that my checker is wrong? Or that maybe it's right but the fault is not important? I don't want to get in an argument wit the CG office or their electrician, but am not comfortable plugging in to the not-neutral reversed outlet. In the meantime, I pulled out the extension cord and plugged in to the outlet in the next site over, praying that they keep their promise not to assign anybody to that site.

(I'm sorry if this subject has already been discussed on the forums. We are actually at a campground right now with a really limited internet connection, and I don't know enough about the subject matter to construct a good search query.)
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Old 04-02-2010, 05:14 PM   #2
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It is very important.
I would rater upset the campground then to fry something or someone because the power is wired wrong.

I would tell the campground what I found and if they choose not to correct the problem, move to a different site.
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Old 04-02-2010, 05:20 PM   #3
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Since only one CG outlet tests bad, your tester is probably correct, especially if you can repeat the test over and over. Reversed polarity is most dangerous to electronics.

I think you are doing the right thing. The CG "electrician" may be the CG "handyman" who doesn't know how to use a tester properly.

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Old 04-02-2010, 05:21 PM   #4
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You are correct and well advised to plug into the next site. If the ground was wet and you had plugged into that receptacle and you touched the trailer you would have felt it.

Within the trailer neutral and ground at at the same potential. When wired wrong that is not something you want.

Years ago we had one in Idaho. My friend plugged in and all was great. Then someone came in and plugged in on the next site. Then My friend had 70 volts on the skin of his trailer. The campground said they knew it but had not fixed it. They may have better than the average insurance. Luckily we caught it before someone got laid out on the ground.
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Old 04-02-2010, 05:50 PM   #5
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Thanks, everybody. I am feeling a lot better about my decision.
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Old 04-03-2010, 06:46 PM   #6
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may I ask where to get the outlet checker you refer to in the 1st post? Is it something you can get at an electric supply or is it a Home Depot item?
thanks
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Old 04-03-2010, 07:18 PM   #7
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I think it's an RV item and I seem to have a vague memory os seeing them in an RV store. You can try other places because they all will be cheaper than an RV store.

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Old 04-03-2010, 07:49 PM   #8
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Easy to find

Any Home Depot has 'em hanging on the display rack. Cheap too.
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Old 04-03-2010, 07:49 PM   #9
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You can find them at RV stores and most home improvement stores as well.
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Old 04-03-2010, 08:08 PM   #10
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Amazon has them also, just ordered one!
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Old 04-03-2010, 09:34 PM   #11
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Some Airstreams have them already wired into the trailer. My '80 Excella has a polarity light located on the outside skin just above where the power cord comes out of the bumper. It only lights if polarity is reversed.
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Old 04-04-2010, 12:37 AM   #12
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You could use an inexpensive voltmeter (I carry a little DVM all the time) and remove any remaining doubt. I use the same little tester too but if I encountered the situation you describe, it would be easy to verify with a DVM.
Good luck,
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Old 04-04-2010, 11:33 AM   #13
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Great idea, wayneskid. We happen to keep a multimeter in the coach (thanks to whomever suggested it in the "If Only I'd Thought To Bring" thread) . With a little help from the instructions I dug up at RV Electric I was able to confirm that Neutral was indeed Hot.

I use the inexpensive ($5) outlet checker that AZflycaster pictured, except that I have it connected to a ($10) 30amp-20amp converter plug so I can test the big outlet that I intend to plug in to, rather than the little 20a outlets next to it.
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Old 04-04-2010, 11:57 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teagues View Post
I use the inexpensive ($5) outlet checker that AZflycaster pictured, except that I have it connected to a ($10) 30amp-20amp converter plug so I can test the big outlet that I intend to plug in to, rather than the little 20a outlets next to it.
That is a great idea. Just because one is wired correctly does not make the other correct. I always check after the plug is attached and maybe it's too late at that point. I'll get one of those adapters next trip to the RV store.
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