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Old 09-16-2015, 09:29 PM   #1
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Voltmeter and Polarity Tester

At RV campsites, how necessary is it to have, and make it a practice to use, a Voltmeter to check the exact AC voltage at the electrical pedestal? What about a Polarity Tester to plug in at the power flow at a campsite to check potentially faulty wiring at a 120 Volt AC receptacle?
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Old 09-16-2015, 09:43 PM   #2
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A polarity tester will tell you if it's safe and connected correctly. It won't tell you if the voltage is too high or too low. Two bad things can be 1. You have 220 not 110 and fry your converter and other systems. 2. Voltage is too low and you fry your ac.

I don't have enough experience with trailer parks to give you the odds.
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Old 09-16-2015, 11:35 PM   #3
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Get one of these: Surge Guard 30A Portable with LCD Display | Technology Research, LLC

Use it ALWAYS and don't worry about it!
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Old 09-17-2015, 06:05 AM   #4
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I use a surge guard at the post and this inside the trailer to keep an eye on the voltage,

Amazon.com: Prime Products 12-4058 AC Power Line Monitor: Automotive
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Old 09-17-2015, 06:25 AM   #5
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With the proper 30amp to 15 amp adapter, the 3 light testers (for $3) check for missing grounds and switched polarity. A non- contact voltage detector ($20) is better and checks for hot skins. Multimeter checks voltage, but not polarity.
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Old 09-17-2015, 03:57 PM   #6
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Voltmeter and Polarity Tester

I've used the device recommended by lewster for 2+ years. You plug it in first and it runs tests for 2 minutes and gives you a green light if the power is ok. Then plug your power cord into the device. It also works as a surge protector. I bought it after reading posts on the Air Forums of AS owners who fried their electrical systems and spent $9,000 on repairs because of poor power at an RV park.
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Old 09-17-2015, 04:07 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomterrific View Post
I've used the device recommended by lewster
What is it called?
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Old 09-17-2015, 04:12 PM   #8
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I thought that the Progressive Industries brand, rather than the Surge Guard brand might be a better choice. I have read here on the forums that they have a better warranty (lifetime compared to 1 year) and the customer service was rated much better. Seems like Tweety's has the best price for the 50amp portable. I have the hard wired Surge Guard on my current Airstream, but I've decided to go with the portable for my new trailer now on order. Wondering which brand others are using and/or recommending.
thanks, Sandy

Progressive Industries Portable 50 AMP Electrical Management System
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Old 09-17-2015, 05:59 PM   #9
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I have a surge guard, and it fried out one time during an electrical storm. Cost me $155 to replace it; a hell of a lot less than a 'fried' RV electrical system.
Suggest you follow RV Travel.com. for many tips about avoiding headaches in RV World.
Before plugging in to the tower, I check with that little polarity tester, two yellows? fine. NEXT I check line voltage with a little A.C. meter [or a multi-meter] that you plug into the wall receptacle in the 'house'. 120;V.A.C. +/- a couple? Fine! NEXT, I have a 0-150 VAC meter that is wired to a standard plug, wired to ground and neutral. Voltage there? Oh. Oh. go elsewhere. NEXT, I plug in the surge guard and push the test buttons. OK? Fine. Now I plug it in, BUT before I touch the RV, I use a pencil type circuit tester close to any metal part of the trailer. If it lights up and çhirps', unplug the RV and go elsewhere. DO NOT TOUCH THE RV., especially on wet ground. If you do, you will complete a circuit, and get zapped.
If you have an especially sensitive circuit tester like a "BG", it may light up and chirp at anything. Using a 'Multi-meter, set dial at 0-10 volts, and touch one lead to the RV, and the other into the ground. 0-2or 3 volts is ok, higher is risking getting zapped.
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Old 09-17-2015, 06:15 PM   #10
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BTW, we try to check all these electricity factors before investing our time and energy backing into a site.
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Old 09-17-2015, 06:42 PM   #11
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These devices are pretty inexpensive and I think a worthwhile addition.

I keep one of the three light polarity gadgets plugged in to an outlet in the galley and use it to confirm power is on and is safe whenever we set up. (I suppose I would really be better to plug it in at the post before attempting to connect the trailer.)

I have an RV 110v meter in the outlet near the trailer door as well as an audible alarm to warn of low voltage.

Before having these devices I did in one instance have our AC quit working - Im pretty sure based on what fellow campers told me that it was due to low voltage.

I thought I had ruined the AC, but after a period of time found that it was fine again - presume it incorporates a self-resetting breaker for such eventualities.

Brian.
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Old 09-17-2015, 06:51 PM   #12
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Voltage is important but making sure there isn't a reverse polarity situation is a matter of life and death !
If the shell is hot and you stand in wet ground with damp shoes or bare feet..... Pow in one 60th of a second you're electrocuted and therefore dead!

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Old 09-22-2015, 01:16 PM   #13
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Very good info guys thx. Have them at home and will put a set of testers in trailer.
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Old 09-22-2015, 01:26 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AWCHIEF View Post
I use this inside the trailer to keep an eye on the voltage,

Amazon.com: Prime Products 12-4058 AC Power Line Monitor: Automotive
Does it just plug in or is it hard wired?
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Old 09-28-2015, 06:07 AM   #15
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There is a You tube video that shows that the three light testers are not infallible for detecting hot skins. You need to use one of the Non-contact pencil type voltage detectors as well. Klien, Milwaukee, and Eline makes good ones for less than $20. I own 2 Milwaukee's. One for me and one for the club. The prime products tester (above) is simply a 3 light tester mounted in the trailer. You need to park and plug in before you know the site is unsuitable. I keep my testers in the side pocket of my truck to test before I back in. It eliminates the need to reback in the trailer and truck.
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Old 09-28-2015, 06:46 PM   #16
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good suggestion.. plug before play..

Quote:
Originally Posted by dwightdi View Post
There is a You tube video that shows that the three light testers are not infallible for detecting hot skins. You need to use one of the Non-contact pencil type voltage detectors as well. Klien, Milwaukee, and Eline makes good ones for less than $20. I own 2 Milwaukee's. One for me and one for the club. The prime products tester (above) is simply a 3 light tester mounted in the trailer. You need to park and plug in before you know the site is unsuitable. I keep my testers in the side pocket of my truck to test before I back in. It eliminates the need to reback in the trailer and truck.
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Old 09-28-2015, 07:43 PM   #17
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I've equipped both of my trailers with a Progressive Industries set up that will NOT connect my trailer to ANY pedestal if there's any kind of problem with the incoming current. If there is a problem, it gives me a code and tells me what's wrong....reversed polarity, ground, neutral issue, etc. It also gives me the voltage that's coming into my trailer. Since I have a 50amp service it gives me the voltage on EACH of the two legs. You would (maybe) be surprised how many campgrounds are feeding an underplot (like 108V) to your trailer. This can be an issue with the A/C. The PI devices also have a surge protector as part of their set up. They cost a bit of $, but well worth it for the peace of mind, IMHO.
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Old 09-30-2015, 12:45 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwightdi View Post
There is a You tube video that shows that the three light testers are not infallible for detecting hot skins. You need to use one of the Non-contact pencil type voltage detectors as well. Klien, Milwaukee, and Eline makes good ones for less than $20. I own 2 Milwaukee's. One for me and one for the club. The prime products tester (above) is simply a 3 light tester mounted in the trailer. You need to park and plug in before you know the site is unsuitable. I keep my testers in the side pocket of my truck to test before I back in. It eliminates the need to reback in the trailer and truck.
X2^ check the pedestal prior to plugging the coach in! It's better to detect the problem without touching a tingly shell!
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Old 10-05-2015, 02:47 AM   #19
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I use the three light tester with a 30 amp adapter before I back in. The non-contact tester assures me that the trailer skin is properly grounded. The problem can be in the trailer or appliances as well as the pedestal. It is important to keep one metal stabilizer (or jack stand) in contact with the ground, just to be safe. The fancy surge protectors are nice but $.
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Old 10-05-2015, 06:50 AM   #20
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This is the video to watch.



I also have a surge protector and I chose to hard wire it in the trailer. Also have the non contact tester, monitor AC and DC inside the AS and carry a multi meter.

Another issue I'll put out is check the post receptacle when you plug in, does the plug have some bite or flop around? If it flops, suspicious that the receptacle is cooked and has lost tension on your plug blades to make a good connection and might cause low voltage and heat at plug damaging plug. I carry a spare plug.
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