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Old 06-02-2019, 06:31 AM   #41
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A few more points. Everyone at Alumapolosa, Airstream Life and Airstream stepped up to the plate and said they would cover all the damage. Several charger/converters were replaced the next day by Airstream, an expensive progressive surge protector was replaced, AGM lifeline batteries where replaced, and my wiring and cables and HDMI $139 splitter was replaced. I believe Airstream covered everything, but I know Airstream life came to the campground that night looking for receipts for items that had expired under the surge. They were going to write a check.

We did not have to ask for anyone to step up. Airstream just did and covered it all. I appreciate that. Airstream did not worry about who was at fault and never ask me if I had my surge protector in line. They just covered everything.

That tells me they are a caring company. Maybe there will be some changes next year with power.
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Old 06-02-2019, 06:34 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by bweybright View Post
Ah, so like anything it is buyer beware. Certainly with these types of events with well meaning volunteers, but also similar to the KOA in Nebraska that had a ground fault in the wiring and told me that my trailer should take care of any issues it created......and this was the owner talking to me after I brought it to his attention.
So the word of the day is caution and take calculated steps to protect yourself in the wild world of camping.
Perhaps the same KOA I have dealt with in the past in Nebraska (Grand Island KOA Journey). The KOA owner saw no problem with an open ground on his system. Was hostile when I pointed it out and asked for another campsite. I finally told his wife she needed to do an internet search on this problem and educate her husband before someone got hurt.
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Old 06-02-2019, 06:50 AM   #43
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For some reason, I didn't believe my 50 amp surge protector would work on 110 volts.
I noticed you said something similar above about not knowing your surge protector would work on the "lower" 110 voltage, but it's not designed to work on anything else is it? Trailers are not wired for 220 AFAIK. With the 50 amp are there two separate 110 lines?
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Old 06-02-2019, 06:58 AM   #44
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. . .
Let this be a lesson to all of us to take the precautions you all know you need to do to protect you and your trailer.
. . .
Amen to that!

Thank you for bringing this situation to our attention. Lots of good lessons here.

The one phrase I find the need to repeat to myself, over and over again during each waking hour, is this:

"Haste Makes Waste"

Rushing . . . . . NG!



Thanks again for all the details and suggestions from everyone.

Peter
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Old 06-02-2019, 07:08 AM   #45
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Originally Posted by smithcreek View Post
I noticed you said something similar above about not knowing your surge protector would work on the "lower" 110 voltage, but it's not designed to work on anything else is it? Trailers are not wired for 220 AFAIK. With the 50 amp are there two separate 110 lines?
You are correct, and what I should have said was lower amp service.

http://www.myrv.us/electric/Pg/50amp_Service.htm
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Old 06-02-2019, 07:31 AM   #46
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We tend to be complacent about campground electricity these days. When I first started RV'ing (some 38 years ago), many campgrounds used glass fuses at their pedestals, which made it mandatory to carry extra fuses. As well, many had reversed neutral/hot wiring. An article in the old Trailer Life magazine suggested carrying a plug/socket contraption with reversed wiring just to correct for those instances.

Some of my AS'er friends travelled down the Baja 2 years ago. They told me that they relied on their solar so charge their batteries, as the 110-v AC was very unreliable.

About 5 years ago I was camped at a white-water recreation area, and they told me that they had 30-amp service. All seemed OK, my surge protector indicated no faults, and the control panel for the Xantrex inverter/charger/converter showed 115-volts. When I switched on the a/c, everything bombed. I reset everything and watched the control panel while I switched on the a/c again; the votage dropped below 90-volts and then cut out. Obviously, there were issues with the campground wiring.

Lesson learned - never trust campground wiring. Always test before plugging in and always use a good surge protector. If in doubt, dry-camp.
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Old 06-02-2019, 07:47 AM   #47
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Hi

Ok. to be very clear:

Your 50A surge protector is fine on 30A, 20A, 15A or 3A. Use it whenever you hook up your trailer. It will not protect you from everything and anything. It will take care of > 90% of what you will run into.

Extension cords come in a lot of flavors. Some have coper wire, some have aluminum wire. That makes the old "if it's 12 gauge it's good enough" stuff a bit tough these days. Best to *assume* it's aluminum and you need 10 gauge for a 20A circuit.

Normal wall plugs date back to a very different era. They wear out fairly quickly. The same is true of sockets. When they do, they get hot at high current. Cheap plastic melts when it gets hot. You don't run into it a lot because you pretty much never run them at full current.

=====

The generator bonding thing has been answered back a ways. Again to be clear:

Generators get used a lot of ways. If you are powering your house with one, you might not want neutral hooked to ground at the generator. If you are running your trailer off of one, you *do* want to tie neutral to ground at the generator. A shoring plug will do this just fine.

=====

The problems that occurred are *not* from the daisy chain setup. They are from some sort of wiring fault. That sort of thing can happen anywhere anytime. Campground power boxes lead a long hard life. They are at least as likely to do this to you as any rally setup.

Get a set of adapters for your plug setup. You need to get to 50A, 30A and 15 A plugs on the "input" side of your system. Surge protector at the post or built into the trailer, either way it always gets used.

Now (as if that wasn't enough) off to the deep end:

Technically a "surge protector" takes care of brief over voltage on the line. You can get then pretty cheap and they will help some. They will *not* help in the case of a wiring fault. Simply put a "surge protector" probably would not have protected the trailer in this case. What would protect it is a box like the EMS gizmos from Progressive. They are way more than just a surge protector. Don't cheap out ....

Bob
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Old 06-02-2019, 07:57 AM   #48
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Hi




Generators get used a lot of ways. If you are powering your house with one, you might not want neutral hooked to ground at the generator. If you are running your trailer off of one, you *do* want to tie neutral to ground at the generator. A shoring plug will do this just fine.

Bob
Bob, I'm not sure what a shoring plug is. Can you explain?
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Old 06-02-2019, 10:41 AM   #49
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Geo
Very interested in the lockbox. Can you show a picture or give some specs (ei. manufacture or dimensions). I would like to have something like that for when I have to use an extra 30 amp extension.
It’s a TRC Technology Research Corp 34590 Surge Guard Lock Hasp. Here’s a link to the product on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002OUQI3W..._BU-8CbWCZTFWH
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Old 06-02-2019, 12:00 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi


=====

The generator bonding thing has been answered back a ways. Again to be clear:

Generators get used a lot of ways. If you are powering your house with one, you might not want neutral hooked to ground at the generator. If you are running your trailer off of one, you *do* want to tie neutral to ground at the generator. A shoring plug will do this just fine.

=====

Bob
Bob. To someone who owns an Airstream Trailer, a Honda 2000 Generator AND knows very little or nothing about electricity, your statement sounds very important but I really have no idea what you are talking about. Is there something that I need to be doing in addition to plugging the generator in and firing it up? Thanks
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Old 06-02-2019, 12:31 PM   #51
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Yeah. I’m confused about that advice as well.

For whatever it’s worth, the Honda 2000 manual includes this statement below - meaning, I *should* be using a “shoring plug” when connected to the trailer? I’ll google that now too....

GROUND SYSTEM
Honda portable generators have a system ground that connects generator frame components to the ground terminals in the AC output receptacles. The system ground is not connected to the AC neutral wire. If the generator is tested by a receptacle tester, it will not show the same ground circuit condition as for a home receptacle.
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Old 06-02-2019, 12:40 PM   #52
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This

https://www.microair.net/products/ge...12272654155860

This is an example of what he is talking about.
Larry
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Old 06-02-2019, 12:58 PM   #53
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uncle bob it correct

test any connection first. then fix it BEFORE connecting the AS
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Old 06-02-2019, 12:58 PM   #54
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My trailer got fried!

A “bonding plug” is a standard duplex plug with the neutral (white wire) connected to the U-ground (green or safety earth) lead. If you know what you are doing, it’s easy to make one. If not, buy one already made.

When plugged into a “floating neutral “ generator it properly connects neutral and ground so EMS surge protectors see the right connections.

Normally, the neutral and ground are connected in a home service panel or in a campground pedestal. It’s a code requirement that ground and neutral NOT be connected in a trailer. The reason is that a hot-neutral wire swap could cause the trailer skin to have 120 volts on it in relation to ground, and touching the trailer could be fatal.

The separate ground lead ties the skin and frame of the trailer to ground, and would hopefully blow a breaker instead of killing someone in case of a hot-neutral swap condition.

In theory, a portable generator’s ground lug should be connected to a six foot long driven ground rod for safety. In practice, no one but the military and some commercial portable power providers actually ground mobile generators in the field.

I’ve seen the dirt smoking from bad wiring and lots of current going into a ground system in the field. It can cause a lot of trouble.
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Old 06-02-2019, 01:03 PM   #55
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My trailer got fried!

Hmmm - so I never use my progressive EMS when powering the trailer on the Hondas. I always use it whenever plugged in to any other power source. I probably don’t understand this well enough so appreciate the education....I thought I wasn’t supposed to use the EMS with generators - and - it seems the main purpose of that plug is to help a surge protector bypass the condition that would halt your gennies...so - why do I actually need it?

And if I do need it - is it a matter of just plugging that piece in to one of the outlets in the generator or somewhere in the trailer?

Wide open to learning on this! Thanks!
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Old 06-02-2019, 01:06 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by SteveSueMac View Post
Yeah. I’m confused about that advice as well.

For whatever it’s worth, the Honda 2000 manual includes this statement below - meaning, I *should* be using a “shoring plug” when connected to the trailer? I’ll google that now too....

GROUND SYSTEM
Honda portable generators have a system ground that connects generator frame components to the ground terminals in the AC output receptacles. The system ground is not connected to the AC neutral wire. If the generator is tested by a receptacle tester, it will not show the same ground circuit condition as for a home receptacle.
I am in the same camp as these guys. I would like to know the answer re: the Honda 2000 as well. I thought I had read awhile back that Yamaha generators need the device you are talking about but the Honda does not. Based on all this discussion a definitive answer would be appreciated as my electrical knowledge is limited.
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Old 06-02-2019, 01:45 PM   #57
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I am in the same camp as these guys. I would like to know the answer re: the Honda 2000 as well. I thought I had read awhile back that Yamaha generators need the device you are talking about but the Honda does not. Based on all this discussion a definitive answer would be appreciated as my electrical knowledge is limited.
There is no one answer that fits all Honda generators. Some are bonded, some are not. Generally, inverter generators have a floating neutral, not neutral/ground bonded. Your owners manual should address your generator spefically.
I know that my Honda 2000 is not bonded.
I know that my Predator 3500 is not bonded.
I do not, nor have I ever used a bonding plug. I see no reason for it.

Since a portable generator is not connected to earth (grounded), unless a ground rod is driven or some other grounding electrode connected (eg: metal pipe that runs underground), and then connected by a wire to the ground lug on the generator, there is no ground.
Therefore, a plug in circuit tester will not work properly without the jumper plugged into the generator. Adding a bonding plug does not add a ground, it just fools the testing device.

Again for emphasis, there is no ground with a portable generator unless special provisions are made to connect the generator to earth.

The reason for grounding is to shed excessive load to earth (from accident, lightning, or other surge from utility)

ps:
Off subject but:
Confusion happens when 12v DC negative (-) is referred to as ground. A battery DC system does not require a ground (to earth), though ground in an alternating current AC system and direct current DC negative can be, and are, simultaneously connected in our trailers,.
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Old 06-02-2019, 03:02 PM   #58
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"Everyone at Alumapolosa, Airstream Life and Airstream stepped up to the plate and said they would cover all the damage."

That's good as far as it goes. But when you were adjusting your hitch and were knocked over by the live 110 V charge on every metal part of your rig, you could easily have been killed--in fact, if the ground had been wet, you probably would have been. There is no amount of money that can "repair" a fatality.

Regardless of whether the event was officially sponsored by Airstream, they should never have allowed this situation to occur on their property. It's a safe bet their insurance company would be horrified if they read your account.
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Old 06-02-2019, 06:22 PM   #59
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One more question when you have two Honda 2200 generators operating in parallel is one bonding plug sufficient?
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Old 06-02-2019, 06:34 PM   #60
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I agree with A W Warn.
Electrical current only flows between a source and a destination for lack of better terms. If there is not a completed circuit current does not flow.
Unless you get between the floating neutral and the hot leg you have no risk of shock.
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