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Old 05-13-2012, 02:52 PM   #1
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Burlington , Virginia
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Noob in Need of Help! Black magic creating voltage?

Interior outlets producing 237vac when plugged into 120vac shore power...

Hello everyone,

I just bought my first Airstream project - a 1971 Ambassador. I picked it up a couple weeks ago and have jumped into repairs. I tore the interior out to get a look at everything. I just today decided that everything looks good enough for me to try the ac power. Everything (with the exception of the AC which I have not messed with) seems to work. All outlets get power. The 12vdc accessories are not working, although they were until the battery died. Now the weird thing is that the trailer seems to be producing 237 volts from the 120 shore power, and I have no idea what to do.... Any ideas??? Am I missing something here?

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Old 05-13-2012, 02:56 PM   #2
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Could you be plugged into a 240 volt outlet? You would not be the first person to do that.



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Old 05-13-2012, 03:11 PM   #3
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Burlington , Virginia
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Nope. It's defiantly 120. I even double checked with a multimeter. And I am getting 120 at the breaker... I am in the trailer now doing this real time. :P
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Old 05-13-2012, 03:26 PM   #4
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If anyone has any ideas, I'm open to them. And I am in the trailer now to test any theories.
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Old 05-13-2012, 03:40 PM   #5
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Oxford, , Mississippi
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There will have to be a double pole breaker in the main house panel box if you are getting 240V at the trailer. The black wire will have 120 and the white wire will have 120 when each is checked against the green wire. Check the outlet and make sure only one leg is hot.
An Airstream can do a lot of things but it can't make voltage. If you are seeing 240 in the trailer it is getting 240 from the box that the trailer is plugged in to.
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Old 05-13-2012, 03:45 PM   #6
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1959 24' Tradewind
Astoria , Oregon
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We recently had a high voltage experience at a beach cabin. A tree limb had worn insulation off the supply line running to the house from the street. This allowed a hot wire to short with the neutral lead, melted the neutral and severed it, and fried circuit boards in washer, dryer, refrig, and garage door opener. 5 GFI wall plugs were destroyed, as was the microwave and a clock radio. I'd suspect a problem with the neutral feed in your circuit and would disconnect power and check the shore power outlet (or maybe the power cord) connected to your trailer. Good luck!
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Old 05-13-2012, 04:47 PM   #7
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I agree with 68TWind you can't make 240VAC from a 120VAC plug-in however 120VAC on the neutral (white) and 120VAC on the hot (black) side will give you the 240V in reference to each other and 120V individually to ground.

Sounds like you have plugged into a 240VAC outlet.

This is a bad situation for all the AC operated devices in the AS and you may have already blown the converter so no 12VDC and no battery charging.
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Old 05-13-2012, 05:13 PM   #8
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Burlington , Virginia
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Ok! I figured it out. ...And unfortunately, yes, it was mostly user error. The previous owner, or previous previous owner, (who knows) wired in another outlet at a junction box in the right rear. This was in the form of a cable and plug running out of the back hatch... Who knows why. I assumed it was the plug in for the camper since the original appears to not be connected (which it is stealthily ). So, essentially I believe I was running power into an outlet. That was being be converted somehow by the inverter into 240vac at the outlets.

Now, I am too tired to even contemplate what exactly was going on in that inverter, but I am alright with just having everything working and surprisingly nothing damaged. Now it's time to call it a night.

On the plus side, I've checked a lot of the connections, and hopefully removed the last bit of owner engineering.

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