Camping this weekend was quite the adventure! Had to pull up camp after a large rainstorm upstream forced us to evacuate camp alongside the river.
Before things got wet, I was already experiencing some problems with electrics. The camp hookup was 30 amp power on a post with no breaker at the outlet. There was a breaker panel across the road that had breakers for multiple sites.
The MagnaTek seemed to be working okay but we noticed that the reverse light was on as we sat by the campfire. I woke up to the smell of ammonia in the middle of the night and turned off the air conditioner.
We woke up the next morning to discover the refrigerator, also running on mains was no longer cooling. This is the original 1974 Royal Dometic. We fiddled with that for a while both at the front panel and the back panel, metering power, and finally gave up to go enjoy some camping.
We spoke with the camp owner who told me that they had "had ground problems on the lower sites" where we were staying "in the past". But that he had never experienced a reverse polarity problem.
Return later and once again smelled ammonia, this time escaping from the top of the freezer area on the refrigerator. Turned refrigerator power off at this point. Normally this refrigerator cooled to the point of freezing unsetting four, so this is a first where we had trouble getting it running properly. I am assuming that the refrigerator is baked at this point.
Of course, I was making repeated trips into the closet to check the Magnetek during this time. Suddenly, a single 15 amp fuse would continually blow. As far as I could tell the fuse was associated with the lighting over the galley and forward center roof light over the living room area, the one with six bulbs in it.
Now that I am back home, running on a single 20 amp circuit with good known ground and proper polarity to the trailer, I am showing 13+ volts charging the single deep cell battery. The original central control center shows battery "good." Metering the battery during the trip, when we were having problems, would show between 9V and 12V
going to the battery at the terminals and at the breakaway wiring position, where we also metered.
Needless to say I am shopping an in-line surge and phase protector, to the tune of $250, so that we never experience these problems again.
Perhaps, I have also discovered, I may not need to purchase a new rooftop air conditioner! Running the AC on my household power, I am no longer getting the ammonia smell. I wonder if the refrigerator was venting up through the insulation and being drawn in to the air conditioner unit?