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Old 11-25-2020, 10:28 PM   #1
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2019 27' Globetrotter
San Ramon , California
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Plugged into 50-amp & systems started frying

I have a Progressive Industries 50-amp surge protector and via this plugged my 50-amp cable to the Airstream. I went inside and started the electric water heater and heard a very frightening winding up and popping so I turned it off. Then I started smelling electrical smoke coming from both the water heater and the area below the wardrobe where there are miles of cables and the fuse box. I checked the fuses, they’re fine, didn’t trip the breaker outside. While the PI SP was reading normal at the start there was now an “E-2 Open Ground (means no ground wire connection)“ error. I don’t know if this was the cause of the rest of the problems I’ll list, isn’t the point of the surge protector that it not send power to the RV if there is a significant issue?

Next I noticed that the panel of blinking green lights behind the sink was completely dead, I don’t know what that is responsible for, I started a different thread about that.

I turned on a little portable fan plugged into the GFCI outlet in the kitchen to try to get the smoke out of the area under the wardrobe and it fried within about a minute. It was getting cold so I turned on the small portable heater also plugged into the GFCI and it started smelling like it was going to catch fire after about 30 seconds so I stopped it. Unfortunately, I hadn’t learned my lesson yet and because of the cold started the furnace and immediately smoke was pouring into the Airstream.

At this point I unplugged and everything DC works fine but it seems like the 110V appliances are being pushed 220V and they’re getting fried very quickly. Does this make sense to anyone? I just hope I haven’t permanently fried the water heater and furnace.
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Old 11-25-2020, 11:14 PM   #2
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the cause is likely bad wiring at the camp

our PI surge protector has saved our unit numerous times from OVER, UNDER voltage as well as miswired and missing grounds

give PI a call, they often will replace a unit at no charge
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Old 11-25-2020, 11:21 PM   #3
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Plugged into 50-amp & systems started frying

Well sure sounds like you plugged into an incorrectly wired outlet or used an incorrectly configured dog bone and you fried electronics with 240v supply on a single leg vs two 120v legs.

Where are you and what did you plug into? NEMA 14-50 outlet is a standard - IE hard to screw up
Unless this is at home and whomever wired your outlet has no idea what they are doing.

Here is the list of items that could be cooked:

Air conditioners
Microwave
Converter
TVs
Hot water heating element
Hot water heater control board
Anything plugged into a 120v outlet when you plugged in
Inverter / shore power 120v switch if equipped

PS - the green blinking lights below the sink is likely your control board for the electric awning. It’s 12v powered.
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Old 11-26-2020, 06:03 AM   #4
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I agree. Also since the breakers did not trip, current to the wiring was not likely overloaded. You should spot check it while examining the appliances but it all should be okay.
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Old 11-26-2020, 06:35 AM   #5
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The controller with the blinking lights is the Awning controller and it is 12V DC only so it should be OK unless the converter passed a voltage spike to it. That controller board is overly sensitive to off spec voltages it seems. Try cycling power with the store switch then turn it back on. See if that helps.
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Old 11-26-2020, 07:30 AM   #6
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Probably the campground plug OR your progressive product. I had one, been using another brand for years with no issues so decided to go with progressive. Similar problems but with no smoke, caught it all early enough. Went back to my old unit that night and no issues and not since - three years ago.

Good Luck
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Old 11-26-2020, 10:22 AM   #7
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It sounds like you have lost the neutral connection somewhere. This would turn many, if not all of your circuits form 110V to 220V. If this dropped neutral is at the pedestal or at the campground distribution panel it would be their liability. If the fault is anywhere after your plug-in connection you’ll have to eat the cost of replacing virtually everything electrical.
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Old 11-26-2020, 10:24 AM   #8
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If it was a proper EMS it should have protected your rig. I am betting it was just a surge protector which is next to useless. I always test the outlets before plugging in and I also use a Mexican made voltage regulator as well. (Like a Hughes autoformer but 10 times better)
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Old 11-26-2020, 11:04 AM   #9
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I had something similar to this.

Check the incoming connections in your fuse box. I bet one is loose and is causing your problems.


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Old 11-26-2020, 11:22 AM   #10
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its best to use a circuit tester BEFORE plugging in any cable connected to your trailers.

these are inexpensive especially compared to the cost and time of a repair
even if the camp is at fault
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Old 11-26-2020, 12:44 PM   #11
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Hi

Ok, this gets a little complicated .... sorry about that ....

The stock / normal / properly wired "50A" setup is a 240V circuit at 50A. You have two hot leads and a neutral lead. You have 120V between each hot and the neutral. You have 240V between the two hot leads.

With that setup, and running 50A on each of the hot leads, you have zero current on the ground lead. That's why you hook things up this way. You *could* hook both hot leads to the *same* 120V source. Then you would have 100A down the neutral ( 50 + 50 = 100). Eventually, that's going to fry the neutral at some point along the way. Does it fry at the post, the connector here, there connector there.... who knows. It'll fry somewhere.

With a proper 240 setup and a proper neutral, each and every 120V plug in your AS will have 120V on it. If the neutral goes flakey, you will not divide the 240V in half. Some fraction will go to one side, some fraction will go to the other side. You might have 40V on one and 200V on the other.

Will your poll mounted external EMS catch this? Well that depends on where the open is. If it's upstream of the poll, then yes it should. If it's *downstream* ( like in your 50A cord, the socket on the trailer, somewhere in the trailer) then maybe not so much.

As long as these issues do not cause a lot of current to be pulled (and they may not) all the breakers will be happy as can be. That includes the case where you are pumping 100A down the neutral (through the 50A wire and 50A connector ....).

Now, if your protection device is not an EMS and is a surge protector, all bets are off. A surge protector will not help you in this case. I would very much prefer to see the EMS devices set up to detect 240 on the 50A wiring. The problem with that is what to do next? If you are hooked through a 30A dog bone, this would be perfectly normal .....

Fun !!!

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Old 11-26-2020, 03:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeoxlong View Post
It sounds like you have lost the neutral connection somewhere. This would turn many, if not all of your circuits form 110V to 220V.
I don't see how that could happen. With 50 amp, you have two separate legs of 120 vac. A hot, shared neutral and ground for each.
If the neutral is open, then you don't have 220v, you have zero v. If the pedestal was miswired so the other hot was feeding the neutral, then yes but that's not just going to happen suddenly. Which brings me back to the OP, when you put the surge protector on the pedestal, did you see it as Okay?
I know it's a pain, but I've forced myself to plug in the surge with no power cord yet, flip on the breakers and read the display. E-0. Okay then flip the breakers off, attach the power cord and flip the breakers back on. Miller time.

I arrived at a campground last year. Plugged in, no power. I called the office and they sent someone out, the owner, I suspect. He opened the panel and the 50 amp connector came off in his hand. There was NO slack in the leads, and they weren't tight.
There were plenty of spiders and dust in there though!
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Old 11-26-2020, 06:13 PM   #13
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Two possibilities I can think of.

1. The surge protector malfunctioned, sacrificed its ground and neutral and shunted one leg to neutral allowing half the trailer to be 220 V the other effectively zero.

2. The pedestal was just worked on and miswired so one line was swapped with neutral. I think this is less likely.
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Old 11-26-2020, 06:56 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paiceman View Post
Probably the campground plug OR your progressive product. I had one, been using another brand for years with no issues so decided to go with progressive. Similar problems but with no smoke, caught it all early enough. Went back to my old unit that night and no issues and not since - three years ago.

Good Luck
Hi. I was searching electronic issues with AS trailers and i note that you have a FC 28. I have ordered a 2021 28. My wife and i have had a debate on the 27 versus the 28. Why did you chose the 28 over the 27 if I may ask?

thanks and if you want to email me direct - ericjensen1000@outlook.com
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Old 11-26-2020, 11:09 PM   #15
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I had the same thing happened and I fried everything that was on AC and DC both. Ouite expensive. Yes, you should plug in the surge protector first. My Southwire Surge Protector will indicate an open neutral and ground on either side of the protector. Quite handy if you are trying to check out the electrical before plugging in.
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Old 11-27-2020, 08:30 AM   #16
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1993 34' Excella
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Trying to attach a sketch to illustrate how this happens.
At the pedestal you have two separate “hot” legs 120 volts each, and a neutral shared between them. This neutral is the path back to the distribution panel for both 120v circuits. Everything in your camper is tied to this single neutral. If you lose this neutral at your trailer plug, or dog bone, or pedestal, or the distribution panel, your only path for current will be the two”hot” legs which are now additive, creating a 220v circuit. Your trailer is now wired just like your electric oven or dryer at home.
I hope this helps. If not, take my word for it, I am a licensed master electrician and have seen this happen more than once.[QUOT[/B][/QUOTE]
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Old 11-27-2020, 08:58 AM   #17
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From reading your post my guess is that yes, you probably have permanent damage. It would be really good if you can check the pedestal for proper wiring. That would tell you if the wiring mishap is in the campground supply or in the trailer electrical box. The Progressive Industries is a EMS and should have prevented the damage. By furnace do you mean the propane furnace or a heat pump? The propane furnace should be 12 volt. You also need to determine if the power converter is still working. By now what trouble shooting answers have you come up with?
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Old 11-27-2020, 09:09 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeoxlong View Post
At the pedestal you have two separate “hot” legs 120 volts each, and a neutral shared between them. This neutral is the path back to the distribution panel for both 120v circuits. Everything in your camper is tied to this single neutral. If you lose this neutral at your trailer plug, or dog bone, or pedestal, or the distribution panel, your only path for current will be the two”hot” legs which are now additive, creating a 220v circuit. Your trailer is now wired just like your electric oven or dryer at home.
I hope this helps. If not, take my word for it, I am a licensed master electrician and have seen this happen more than once.
I'm having trouble picturing it as you describe. I'm not a master electrician, but I am a master debater.
You're saying that every 50 amp trailer that for some reason loses the neutral is now sending 220 v from the pedestal to every 120 v. circuit?
There is another option, where there is no current flowing without a neutral.
Nowhere in the trailer is a circuit with both hots as a circuit.
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Old 11-27-2020, 09:58 AM   #19
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This can only happen if the neutral (white) is bonded to the ground (green). Otherwise, 0 volts, not 240.
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Old 11-27-2020, 11:19 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mollysdad View Post
I'm having trouble picturing it as you describe. I'm not a master electrician, but I am a master debater.
You're saying that every 50 amp trailer that for some reason loses the neutral is now sending 220 v from the pedestal to every 120 v. circuit?
There is another option, where there is no current flowing without a neutral.
Nowhere in the trailer is a circuit with both hots as a circuit.

Not quite. All 120V appliances are connected to the neutral. So the parallel string of 120V appliances wired to hot leg 1 that are turned on are connected in series with the parallel string of 120V appliances wired to hot leg 2 that are turned on across 240 volts. If only the two ACs were on, AC 1 is connected to hot one and neutral, AC 2 is connected neutral to hot two. The 240 volts will split (unevenly with high probability) such that one AC will have more than 120 across it and the other will have less. It all depends on what was turned on. One leg will likely see more than 120 volts, the other will see less.



Al
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