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Old 07-26-2016, 08:25 PM   #1
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Whats this thing and how important is it really?

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Hi,
Super newb here. beginning a simple interior reno of an early 70's Sovereign airstream. first step clean-up & cut out things not important & ugly.
What is this little electrical dewhicky? Can i cut it out. Not sure if its live yet, i'll check but i can't see me needing it and its ugly and in the way. But lets hear from you folks first please...?
Regards,
Kitchy
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Old 07-26-2016, 08:41 PM   #2
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Flux capacitor?

Where is it located?
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Old 07-26-2016, 08:43 PM   #3
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I have that same light in my 71 Overlander trunk. I assume mine is a operation or fault light for the electrical mode of the water heater. I only use LP for my water heater though and haven't explored the electrical side. Where is your light located?
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Old 07-26-2016, 09:36 PM   #4
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I have that same light in my 71 Overlander trunk. I assume mine is a operation or fault light for the electrical mode of the water heater. I only use LP for my water heater though and haven't explored the electrical side. Where is your light located?
It's probably a warning light to let you know if your shore power has polarity reversed.
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Old 07-26-2016, 09:49 PM   #5
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It's probably a warning light to let you know if your shore power has polarity reversed.
That would be a handy light. I never even thought of that. Bad on me for assuming and thank you for letting me know!

So if the polarity is reversed, i.e. the power source is incorrectly wired, then you will get red light and need to find a new source or create a way to correct the polarity?

To the OP, then yeah it's needed
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Old 07-26-2016, 10:01 PM   #6
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So if the polarity is reversed, i.e. the power source is incorrectly wired, then you will get red light and need to find a new source or create a way to correct the polarity?
Correct. It's simply a light bulb connected across the neutral and ground wires. It lights up if shore power has the line and the neutral reversed.

Of course it's better to check polarity BEFORE you plug in and see the light on to avoid any possible damage to electronics, but is mainly there to prevent shock from an energized aluminum trailer.

It can be moved if you want or removed if you always check shore power polarity.
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Old 07-26-2016, 10:45 PM   #7
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I never thought to "beware of the pole." My sheltered millennial self am just assumed everything is up to code, but obviously that is a poor assumption given how many"handy men" there are.

Using private RV parks is something o have yet to do. We boondock a lot and also use state parks. We do spend a weekend at a rural fairground once a year, and I should have know better to not test their work.

I am ordering a surge protector and circuit tester now

Thanks!

To the OP, happy restoring!
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Old 07-27-2016, 10:50 AM   #8
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New trailers don't have those. Campground wiring practices have improved since 1971.

The polarity light may cause a GFCI trip if you plug into a GFCI protected outlet (by using a 30a to 20a adapter), which is the main reason for removing it.
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Old 07-27-2016, 11:01 AM   #9
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Thiss, I use fairgrounds a lot, not akways up to par, I akways use my surge protector, and in some cases choose to not have power. Someone along the way on this forum explained how expensive it would be to fix. I look at both situations as cheap insurance.

Good lck with redo OP, hope to see you down the road!
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Old 07-27-2016, 11:17 AM   #10
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Not good to guess on the electronic function of a fixture. Best to trace the wires and find where they lead. To me it does not look like a factory installed part. Sort of DIY jerry rigged looking.
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Old 07-27-2016, 11:23 AM   #11
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New airstreams come with a plug-in polarity tester and gfci checker.
Ideally, you would plug it in to the exterior outlet and make sure it is correct before grabbing anything potentially dangerous, like the door handle.
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Old 07-27-2016, 11:39 AM   #12
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Quote:
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New trailers don't have those. Campground wiring practices have improved since 1971.
Evidently you've never camped in Florida! Crappy power nearly melted down my main panel. I now have a surge/dip protector, and always test for polarity. An easy way to do this is to 15A female/30A male converter (a good thing to have regardless), and one of those household plug testers. They are available at any hardware store.
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Old 07-27-2016, 01:33 PM   #13
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For what it's worth, my surge protector identified a hot/neutral reversal (I assume that's what you mean when you say "polarity reversal" since AC doesn't have a plus and minus wire then polarity isn't a meaningful term) at a Louisiana State Park campsite recently. I checked adjacent campsites and they were fine. Someone misfired one pedestal.
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Old 07-27-2016, 04:07 PM   #14
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New airstreams come with a plug-in polarity tester and gfci checker.
Ideally, you would plug it in to the exterior outlet and make sure it is correct before grabbing anything potentially dangerous, like the door handle.
You might get your answer while trying to plug in the tester to an energized trailer. Best to check before you plug in on an airstream because the entire skin can be potentially dangerous.
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