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Old 04-28-2011, 04:48 PM   #1
3 Rivet Member
1976 31' Sovereign
Springfield , South Carolina
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 213
Generator Plugged in took out Iota DLS 55

Had a strange event yesterday. I got a RV recepticle at Home Depot thinking I would run a permanent plug for the 76 AS sovereign or in case someone visited and needed a 30A RV receptical.

I have a Honda 3500 EZ generator and I have a 30Amp four prong twist lock plug on it and Romex extension I wired to the RV receptical. I have another four prong twist rig with a panel for tools and ran separate circuits on a 50 ft Cord and these work well powering heaters, lights etc on work projects.

At any rate I plugged it in and walked in camper and walked out and smoke was coming out so I unplugged it quickly and started checking things out.

I had a tripped breaker. At first I thought I had wired up the 30A receptical wrong but I had a hot wire going to each blade and the ground was hooked up and all screws were tight.

I called Iota and they told me it was shot, not repairable etc and I needed a new one so I have one coming. He said I would have two blown capacitors in it.

I took convertor out and plugged into another circuit with nothing on it and got sparks at plug immediately.

Well the green light is still flashing, no fuses were blown so I figured lets see how bad it is.

I pulled cover off today for a looksee and I have one blown capacitor (middle one of three identical). 200V 100μF There is no sign any resistors got hot or any other sign of problems so I am thinking why not get another capacitor and put it in for a try.

I read another thread where an unbalanced generator took out someone's converter. Just wondering if anyone else has experienced this?

I have a genuine Honda adaptor coming for a RV converter and I am wondering it there is internal balancing circuitry in the Honda adaptor.

I haven't checked the voltage on the Honda yet. Last time I checked it was within about three volts which is similar to house current.

Just wondering if anyone else suffered similar or have any ideas. I plugged AS into 120 adaptor and everything seems to be working fine. No signs of anything overheating except the capacitor.

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Old 04-28-2011, 06:35 PM   #2
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1974 27' Overlander
Sault ste Marie , Ontario
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correct me if I'm wrong, but the four prong receptacle on the honda is 240 volts and the 30 amp trailer receptacle is 110 volts, that would maybe explain the smoke.?????

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Old 04-28-2011, 08:30 PM   #3
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1963 16' Bambi
Stevens Point , Wisconsin
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I believe that the 30 amp, 120 volt plug has one hot, one common and a ground. Not two hots.
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Old 04-29-2011, 07:16 AM   #4
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1976 31' Sovereign
Springfield , South Carolina
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At this point I am at a loss. I talked to Iota and they said 120 came into each blade and if the ground was not correct puts in 240. The Honda Generator adaptor (got one coming) will be interesting and I will take a multimeter to it and check it out.

Everything else in the AS still works which is the good news.

So far I have not been able to find anything on wiring the RV plug to a house current.

I saw another adaptor that has standard 3 prong plugs that go into a wall outlet and the shore line into that.

I know the Honda puts out 240 but the recepticle box gives no wiring instruction. Bet I am not the first one this has happened to.

Obviously I did something wrong haha.
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Old 04-29-2011, 07:22 AM   #5
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1975 25' Tradewind
Dewey , Arizona
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This is a good document that shows the 120 volt wiring for an RV outlet.


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Old 04-29-2011, 08:01 AM   #6
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1976 31' Sovereign
Springfield , South Carolina
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Both of you are right. Found RV Electric and went to left side and clicked 30 Amp and it shows pictures.

I am glad to know they say what I did frequently occurs haha.

Now if I am lucky I can replace the capacitor and be good to go. If not I just wasted a nice converter which bears witness to a bumper sticker I once saw that said, IF YOU THINK EDUCATION IS EXPENSIVE, TRY IGNORANCE. haha.

Looking at recepticle from the front the HOT WIRE IS LOWER LEFT

Now if someone just happens to have a schematic diagram for a DLS-55 they could scan for me I might can get this thing going! ! ! ! I emailed IOTA and they said they don't release them.
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Old 04-29-2011, 11:59 AM   #7
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1996 36' Clipper Bus
Tub City , British Columbia
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RV Electricity

Great information on that link.
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Old 04-29-2011, 12:21 PM   #8
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1978 28' Ambassador
Morada , California
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A 4-prong 30 amp plug has two 'hot' legs, one 'neutral' and one 'ground'...

The two hot legs use 'brass' screws...
The neutral has a 'silver' screw...
The ground has a 'green' screw...

Normally, flexible 4-wire cords used with these plugs hook the red and black wires to the 'hot' connectors...

The neutral wire is white - 'silver' connector...

And of course the ground wire would be green...

NOW: as you've found out, if you hook the two 'hot' wires to the black and white connectors on your trailer 3-prong end of your generator extension cable, you're going to get 240 VAC into the AS's 115 VAC panel - a real BIG no-no!

To wire a 3-prong 30 amp plug for the trailer end of the cable, you'll need to hook either the black or red 'hot' wire to the 'brass' connector of the 3-prong plug - the unused 'hot' wire will be unused and should be insulated properly...

Then hook the 'white' wire in the cable to the 'silver' connector in the 3-prong plug...

And of course the green ground wire goes to the 'green connector...

Good careful out there, and don't stand in any puddles when you're hooking up your cables...
Ray & Pat; Morada, CA
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Old 04-29-2011, 12:38 PM   #9
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1985 31' Excella
Fresno , Texas
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Sorry about your problem hope you are able to fix your TV. I have all my electronic gear on UPS systems. You need spike and overcurrent protection on electronics. You might also do some research on earth ground on the generator. The NEC has devoted a lot of effort in changes and training on Grounding over the last few years. Sometimes you can float the ground but if you are running off a generator in a truck there is no grounding at that point and depending on what your tongue jack is setting on you may have none at the trailer or at most very little ground.

If the generator was on the ground you are generally ok but if its in the back of a truck it will not be able to ground itself so creates a hazard if some sort of equipment failure happens. The thing to remember is even though a truck bed generator may have a bonded ground back to a RV electricity will take the path of least resistance.
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Old 04-29-2011, 01:58 PM   #10
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2012 30' International
Walkerton , Virginia
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Man. With my limited electrical experience I'd rather call an electrician. Good luck with your project.

Somebody, please, point me to the road.

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Old 04-30-2011, 05:47 AM   #11
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1976 31' Sovereign
Springfield , South Carolina
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Not only is the 30Amp four prong 240V, there is a 20Amp as well wired same way. Got a call from the Honda place yesterday and went to town to pick up adaptor and side chute for Honda mower. Got there and they had a 3 prong plug for a Honda 3500 EZ which was not correct. He researched it and that model came with a 3 prong or a four prong so he has ordered me another which will be here middle of next week.

Took a close look at receptical and it is only marked GND on the round pin. You have to look really close to see which one is brass and the colors on both the blade inlets are very similar and need to be looked at in daylight. I have it well marked with Sharpie pen now which is HOT and which is neutral and which is ground.

On a Honda with 30 amp capability the recepticle is nearly identical and is easily confused. You have to look at the 4:00 locking inlet. The 30 amp has the locking inlet blade bent outboard and the 20 amp inboard thusly should I happen up on a larger Honda I will have to get yet another Honda adaptor. The dealer ran me a copy of their parts book sheet and Honda lists 5 Recepticles for generators. Thusly you gotta do research. The parts guy told me they get very few questions about using generators for RVs.

I got the idea of using the Honda as a guy I worked with 30 years ago came by to see me about 23 years go and he had a 5th wheel rig and a big Honda generator in back of a 3/4 pick'emup so he could stop anywhere he wanted. It had one of the big fuel tanks and would run all night.

There may be some good news. The capacitor I blew is a 200v 1000μF with a CF1005 imprinted on it and they can be had for five to eight bucks by googling 200V 1000μF capacitor.

Called a friend yesterday who has a ton of electronic parts and lots of knowledge of power supplies which RV types call converters and we had a long conversation and he says I might have got lucky and only cooked the one capacitor so today I guess I gotta pull the unit down and check the other two capacitors with a ohm meter. He says if the capacitors on either side still check good then that one may be the only casualty.

It has been an experience and I hope this thread keeps others in the future from making the mistake I (and apparently many others) have made. As the bumper sticker said, "If you think education is expensive, try ignorance." Nows I knows ! ! ! ! haha

As a side note:

In my conversations with the Honda place they don't recommend ethenol fuel in Honda products at all and I was running it in lawn mower and first tank it went fine. Middle of second tank it started running rough (same can of fuel) and quit. I went and got four gallons of NON ETHENOL, dumped out the ethenol, drained carb bowl and I got it cranked and it now runs as good as ever. I also run the tank dry before storage.
I managed to get away with ethenol in the generator back in January as I had to work in upstate in house to replumb it and rewire it as it had been broken into. I used fresh ethenol fuel purchased that morning and it ran all day. I had a similar thing happen in the generator so I drained the fuel tank and carb bowl and went and got new ethenol. I put like 124 hours on the unit in 10 days and ran it 10 to 12 hours a day. Normally the smaller Honda generators don't have hour meters but I had fell into some hour meters at a flea market in Rogers, Ohio a number of years ago and I wired one in and ran it like 15 hours on factory oil then switched to Mobil 1 Synthetic 10W30 and it has done fine since. Now has 158 hours on it.

Thanks much to all for the help. Can't say it's been fun but surely has been educational ! ! ! ! !! haha.

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