RV Electricity – No~Shock~Zone by Mike Sokol – Issue 22

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Issue 22 • September 1, 2019

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Welcome …

By Mike Sokol

Welcome to my latest RVelectricity™ newsletter. Lots of new things to discuss including how I’m in the middle of the latest 2020 National Electrical Code updates (read my guest editorial on RVtravel yesterday HERE), upcoming RV Electricity seminars that I’ll be presenting at Hershey and other RV shows and rallies HERE, plus why I’m looking for monetary support from my readers so I can increase my efforts to educate RV manufacturers, owners, technicians, campgrounds and code committees about RV electricity. It’s a big job, but I believe I have the skill sets to accomplish it if I can get some support.

In 2020 I’ll be celebrating my 10th year of writing No~Shock~Zone and RV Electricity articles for the RV industry. And in that entire time there’s only been one person/company that has supported my efforts to study the problems surrounding RV electricity and educating you (and various RV groups) about it. And that’s been Chuck from RVtravel.com. He’s not only given me the editorial space to publish my articles about RV Electricity, but for the last 3 years he’s come up with a monthly stipend to help my efforts. But I need more support from the entire RV industry to accomplish my goal of advocating and training about better and safer electrical power for RV owners.

RV Electricity – No~Shock~Zone by Mike Sokol – Issue 22So I’m starting a voluntary support campaign called I LIKE MIKE that will allow you to donate any amount of dollars you see fit to support my efforts. The primary reason I need monetary support from you is that few, if any, of the RV shows and rallies I’ve been presenting at have ANY budget for me. That’s right, Alumapalooza paid me zero dollars to present at their rally two months ago as well as no support from the Airstream International Rally in Doswell, VA, last month. And the Hershey RV Show is paying me zero dollars for the five days of seminars I’ll be presenting there in September. Same for just about every other show out there. That’s a shame since my RVelectricity seminars have been fully attended with 80 to 100 RVers in a class. Really great attendance and questions.

I did get a small payment to go out to the Enumclaw, Washington, RV show last month, which was barely enough to pay for my flight from Maryland, 4 nights of hotel rooms and a rental car. But there was no reimbursement for the 5 days of my time it took me to be there for 3 days.

The RVIA and RVDA won’t support my educational efforts in any way, nor will the individual RV manufacturers help me even though lots of them seem to be reading my articles.

And, of course, I was never invited to present my engineering findings to the NEC committee about the upcoming 2020 changes to the code requiring 30- and 50-amp GFCI breakers at campgrounds. It was a Hail Mary Pass for one of the committee members to ask me to write a paper at the last minute detailing why this wasn’t going to work for the campground industry LESS THAN 16 hours before they needed to present it to the committee the next day. But I dropped everything else I was doing and wrote a paper on 30- and 50-amp GFCIs in campgrounds for presentation to the dozens of committee members early the next morning.

Of course, I’ve received zero compensation and no recognition for any of this but my efforts resulted in the temporary roll-back of the 2020 code requirements to the 2017 code. But unless I create an active demonstration and gather empirical data about how this works for presentation during the next code cycle, I afraid there will be more efforts to write this impractical idea into the 2023 code. That, and a dozen more important things I need to do that the various RV groups won’t reimburse me for.

So I’m coming to you, my readers, to ask for your monetary support in the way of a voluntary donation. If you’ve been to one of my seminars, used an NCVT to discover a hot-skin condition on your RV, measured a campground pedestal and found it was dangerous, or bought an EMS/Intelligent Surge Protector that has likely saved you from injury and your RV from damage, then you’ve already been helped by my hundreds of articles and dozens of videos I’ve published over the last 10 years. And if not yet, then someday you’ll be kept safe by the knowledge that I’ve imparted on you.

So please keep reading my RV Electricity articles, and help me with a voluntary donation whenever you can in whatever amount you can afford to do. The “I Like Mike” donate button should be live by next week, so please help me educate you all and the rest of the RV industry about electrical issues. I’m here to help.

For more information on how you can donate to the I Like Mike campaign, please click HERE.

Thanks very much. Let’s play safe out there… 
RV Electricity – No~Shock~Zone by Mike Sokol – Issue 22

 

Join me in Hershey in September
RV Electricity – No~Shock~Zone by Mike Sokol – Issue 22Just a reminder that I’ll be presenting free seminars at the Hershey RV Show September 11-15, as well as offering a 3-hour advanced electricity seminar just off campus in Grantville, PA, on Saturday, Sept. 14. Cost for the Advanced RV Electricity seminar is $125, but discounted to $100 for RVtravel.com paid members. Register HERE, but do it soon since the room only seats 50.

P.S. And just a quick note that this newsletter is made possible by the voluntary pledges of the readers of RVtravel.com. We could not bring this to you without their support. If you deem what we provide to you here and at RVtravel.com to be of special value and would like to be a part of our effort, please consider pledging a voluntary subscription. More information is here. We will include you in special emails, articles and videos exclusively for our supporters.


RV Electricity – No~Shock~Zone by Mike Sokol – Issue 22If you haven’t yet, be sure to join
my new Facebook group, RV Electricity.
(More than 3,400 members and counting.)



Electric residential clothes dryers in RVs

Why am I not getting any heat from my new electric clothes dryer?

Okay, everyone. Here’s a fascinating puzzle I’ve been working on for the last few weeks. I think I understand what’s happening, but if you have more intel on the topic I’m happy to hear about it.

So how exactly does a 240-volt clothes dryer work in an RV with a 50-amp 120/240-volt shore power connection? Is the clothes dryer actually wired for 240 volts or something else? And how could it possibly work with a 30-amp/120-volt shore power plug? Confused? Yes, many RV technicians do seem to be confused about how this works and do improper installations that won’t heat properly. I’ll do my best to demystify the process a bit. Read more.

Email me at mike (at) noshockzone.org with your questions.



RV Electricity – No~Shock~Zone by Mike Sokol – Issue 22Watch Mike’s one-hour recorded webcasts 
All about portable generators. Recorded May 19, 2019
RV power pedestals: what you should know. Recorded May 10, 2019


Industry Updates

ARVC says NEC Code will revert to 2017 on GFCI issue (8/23/2019)

Story by Woodall’s Campground Management

RV Electricity – No~Shock~Zone by Mike Sokol – Issue 22Advocacy efforts led by the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) continue following the latest decision by the National Electric Code (NEC) regarding the use of GFCI protection on 30- and 50-amp receptacles on RV park site equipment, according to a press release.

The National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) NEC was considering language that would require GFCI protection on 30- and 50-amp receptacles on RV park site equipment, but has decided instead to revert to language from the 2017 code, which leaves this portion of the standard open to interpretation. This decision was after a concerted effort by equipment manufacturers to require GFCI protection on the 30- and 50-amp services on RV pedestals.

Read the full article HERE.


RV Electricity – No~Shock~Zone by Mike Sokol – Issue 22Survey Question

Do you have a clothes dryer in your RV?

There’s been lots of discussion lately about 120- or 240-volt electric clothes dryers in RVs, so let’s get to the bottom of this. Please take a few seconds to answer our poll.


RV Electricity – No~Shock~Zone by Mike Sokol – Issue 22

Stop rust and corrosion
Of the many gremlins that attack your RV —like mold, mildew, leaks and black streaks — rust will attack your hand tools, spare parts, door hinges & other vulnerable metal surfaces & moving parts over time. STA-BIL® Rust Stopper prevents rust & corrosion by protecting metal surfaces with a long-lasting barrier while lubricating parts & tools to stop squeaks & sticking. Learn more.


Last month’s survey results:

RV Electricity – No~Shock~Zone by Mike Sokol – Issue 22
(click to enlarge)

Have you ever experienced a burned shore power plug?

All I can say is WOW! Right around 30% of you who answered the poll have experienced a burned shore power cord, with 21% having this occur on the pedestal end, and 9% experiencing it on the inlet plug of your RV. I’m blaming lack of maintenance on both ends of the shore power cable as well as the receptacles on the campground pedestal and RV.

But all is not lost since I’m finally getting traction to create a training program for campgrounds around the country to implement a seasonal pedestal testing and maintenance program. With any amount of luck I’ll be presenting these programs to the appropriate committees in early 2020. So stay tuned!


Tools and Other Devices

Don’t blast the sound from your RV all over the campground – go local with Bluetooth…

How many of you have been guilty of blasting the outside speakers on your RV just so you could feel a few beats happening at your picnic table? Yes, you in the back looking away from me. I KNOW you’ve been a bad boy and blasted out the campground. And you know what? That’s what I used to do for a living… turn up the sound at big rock concerts until you would bleed from your ears. But let’s NOT do this at a campground.

A better option is to get yourself a small Bluetooth speaker to take to the middle of your party action to get some grooves happening. But because the speaker is close to you rather than 20 feet away on the outside of your RV, it can be much quieter for the rest of the campground. The other advantage is that you can indulge your musical passion for banjo and accordion music, which I personally find fascinating, but for which maybe the rest of the campground won’t share our enthusiasm.

I just had Klipsch send me their Groove Bluetooth speaker to review last month, since I wasn’t happy with the sound from my kid’s JBL tube speaker. And I find the Groove is one beefy little battery-powered speaker that will run for days from a single charge, and the sound is really pleasing with solid (but not overwhelming) bass, and smooth highs that won’t shriek at you. Remember, I set up and review concert-size speakers all the time, so I know a nicely balanced sound when I hear it.

If you like another brand of Bluetooth speaker for your chili cook-off music, then so be it. But please don’t crank up the big speakers on the outside of your RV and try to rattle every window in the campground. You don’t want to be a noisy neighbor, do you?

Read more about the Klipsch Groove and/or get one here.


Last Month’s RVtravel.com Posts

RV Electricity – No~Shock~Zone by Mike Sokol – Issue 22

These articles are rated Moderate to understand for most RVers.

Possible tester failure on 30-amp outlets.
Reverse Polarity Bootleg Ground update.
RV Electrical Safety: Part 5 — Amperage; Understanding and preventing RV electrical damage.
What causes hot-skin voltage?

Last Month’s JAM (Just Ask Mike) Session posts:

RV Electricity – No~Shock~Zone by Mike Sokol – Issue 22

These articles are rated Easy to understand for beginners.

Can an RPBG happen on a 30-amp outlet?
How to troubleshoot anything.
Generator bonding.
Battery disconnect switch options.


New & interesting finds on Amazon!RV Electricity – No~Shock~Zone by Mike Sokol – Issue 22
See what really cool stuff Amazon is featuring today. It’s a whole lot of fun just browsing through all these great items. The selection changes every day, so check back often. You never know what you will find, which is part of the fun of visiting here. Check it out.


Q&A’s from my Facebook group:

I’m getting a lot of interesting questions on my RV Electricity Facebook Group. Here’s one about 30- to 50-amp dogbone adapters. 

Q: Simple question for the big brains here: I have a 50-amp RV plugged into a 30-amp service via a commercial dogbone. My understanding is that a 50-amp RV has two 120 legs. Everything and all circuits are working properly.

Here’s the question: Does the 50-30 amp dogbone combine those two independent legs?

A1: On a 30-amp pedestal, there is only one hot lead. That hot lead (via the dogbone) is being disseminated over both hot leads in your RV. —Chris

A2: Here’s a picture of how it’s wired —Terry

A3: Very good. There was a lot of misinformation from some of my newer readers, but I fully expect that due to the state of the internet and just how much wrong information is published as being true. Stick with me, kids, and you’re all gonna learn a lot. —Mike Sokol

Email me at mike (at) noshockzone.org with your questions.


RV Electricity – No~Shock~Zone by Mike Sokol – Issue 22The best book on RV electricity, hands down!
RV Electricity – No~Shock~Zone by Mike Sokol – Issue 22RV Travel contributor Mike Sokol is America’s leading expert on RV electricity. Mike has taken his 40+ years of experience to write this book about RV electricity that nearly anyone can understand. Covers the basics of Voltage, Amperage, Wattage and Grounding, with additional chapters on RV Hot-Skin testing, GFCI operation, portable generator hookups and troubleshooting RV electrical systems. This should be essential reading for all RVers. Learn more or order


Mike’s RVelectricity™ Seminars

RV Electricity – No~Shock~Zone by Mike Sokol – Issue 22Knowledge is power, and I’m delighted to offer my educational RV Electricity seminars to RV shows and rallies around the country, both large and small. If you know of an RV show or rally that could use this educational content, please contact [email protected] with the subject line Seminars.

Always double-check the times and dates as sometimes these change at the last minute.

Hershey RV Show in Hershey, PA: Sept. 11-15, 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Understanding RV Power & Surge Protection (free seminars).

Holiday Inn Harrisburg/Grantville, PA: Sept. 14, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m./5 p.m. Advanced RV Electrical Troubleshooting. 3-hour class plus 1-hour Q&A ($125 per seat). More information and register HERE.



RV Electricity – No~Shock~Zone by Mike Sokol – Issue 22Camco Store at Amazon.com
There isn’t much you need for your RV that Camco doesn’t have. If you think we’re kidding, then click through to the Camco store on Amazon where you’ll find some of their best-selling products — all for your RV or for you to make your RVing better. Click here and you’ll feel like a kid in a candy store.


RV Electricity – No~Shock~Zone by Mike Sokol – Issue 22(Fender) Rhodes Signs

by Mike Sokol

I love you just the way you are… 

This is dedicated to all the Golden Oldies out there who think that old school is the best school. And in some ways that’s true. But first, lets cue up Billy Joel and one of the most beautiful Rhodes Piano introductions in pop music. Yes, it’s “Just the Way You Are,” which is a great love song. Listen to it HERE and then proceed.

The reason I’m so excited about this is my own Fender Rhodes 73 (made in 1973) is coming back to my studio in a few weeks, and I’m super-hyped to play it again. That’s right – you all know me as a sound engineer, but I’m also a pretty fair keyboard player and still have my Hammond B3 organ with Leslie Speaker, Mini-Moog Synthesizer, and Yamaha DX7 keyboard (the sound of the ’80s). Read more.

Let’s play (music) safe out there….

RV Electricity – No~Shock~Zone by Mike Sokol – Issue 22

 

 

Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 40+ years in the industry. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at Amazon.com. For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.


STAFF

Editor: Mike Sokol. RVtravel.com publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Managing editor: Diane McGovern.

Everything in this newsletter is true to the best of our knowledge. But we may occasionally get something wrong.  So always double check with your own technician, electrician or other professional first before undertaking projects that could involve danger if not done properly. Tips and/or comments in this newsletter are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of RVtravel.com..

Mail us at 9792 Edmonds Way, #265, Edmonds, WA 98020.

This website utilizes some advertising services. Sometimes we are paid if you click one of those links and purchase a product or service. Regardless of this potential revenue, unless stated otherwise, we only recommend products or services we believe provide value to our readers. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. RVtravel.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

RVtravel.com includes links to other websites. We cannot control the content and/or privacy policies of those sites. Please be aware when you leave this newsletter or any other section of RVtravel.com to read the privacy statements of any of those websites that collect personally identifiable information. Our own privacy policy applies only to RVtravel.com and its affiliated blogs and websites.

This newsletter is copyright 2019 by RVtravel.com.

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jillie

I have one. Why is it when I take a shower the hot water runs out in under 5 minutes. I believe I have an energy saver shower head but the minute the shower is on the hot water is gone. I remember our Jayco we never had this problem. Going to get a bigger hot water tank but still. So whats wrong or are we doing wrong? I can take hot water bath if nothing else. Taking the RV in next April. Love to know whats going on with the hot water tank.

Michael

MIke, this is the first time that I have checked out your newsletter. I am astounded at the response you received from the RV manufacturers but based on the lack of support I received from the moment I left the dealership parking lot I am not surprised. As newbie RV’ers my wife and I are constantly confounded by electrical problems that we don’t understand. we had serious issues getting our coach and engine batteries re-charged for over a month since leaving home and had wires overheating. we could not get support from the manufacturer or the dealer. we finally found… Read more »

Steve

Mike, First thanks for your input and direction on RV electricity. Plus for your support on guiding people on issues that are confusing and potentially dangerous like shore power wiring. I agree with one of the commenters that we need a way to support you thru the website. I do have a question that would be a good article. Many RV’s are interested in the AC soft start / hard start products for the AC units on our RV’s. I tried the booster capacitor and interestingly, I saw an increase in amperage draw at the initial start. My clamp-on amp… Read more »

John Koenig

For years now, I made voluntary contributions to Chuck Woodbury at RVTravel.com. Usually in the area of $25. Can it be worked out that, say a $50 contribution could be split with Chuck and Mike each getting $25? If not, how can I make a contribution to Mike?

Karin S.

I too want to thank you Mike for all you do for us RV’ers. I first came across your book by reading the RVTravel Newsletter. That changed my life from that moment on. I am new to RV’ing, about 7 years now, and I never gave the electricity part a second thought. Now, I carry, (and use), a multi-meter, a non contact voltage tester, and a couple of other cool items I’ve come across. I’ve put to use the education I’ve learned from you. Heck, I’ve even gotten three of my friends to purchase an EMS system. One of the… Read more »

Gary Machholz

As I said on the RV Electricity FB page, thanks for all you do. We are about the same age, but I’ve only been doing the RV thing for about seven years. AC electricity is a bit overwhelming even though I was a USAF trained mechanic in the 70’s with lots of 12v work. Through your articles I even learn more about 12v and reinforce some of the knowledge base I have. All good stuff! So many people post things they deem as correct just because, “I saw it on the internet so it must be true.” without ever digging… Read more »

Geoff Baker

Thank you. How about starting a go fund me account? I pledge $100. Thank you. Geoff Baker http://www.inspectrv.com

Randy Shrimplin

Thank you for what you do! It is absolutely amazing that you have to come to the end users to support your cause. It says a lot about the current (see how I got that electrical term in there) state of the RV industry and their LACK of commitment to the end user!

Jeff

Mike:
I often wonder if you ever Sleep?
You do so much and write so many GREAT articles on RV Electricity, that I wonder when you find the time to get some rest.

Anyway, glad to see that the NEC has decided to roll back the Code Changes for GFCI’s on 30 and 50 Amp RV Parks. The NEC actually needs to put that IDEA in a Closed and Locked filing cabinet someplace and NEVER bring it out again! Preferably Encase the IDEA in Concrete and Drop it in the Deepest part of the ocean!

Thanks for all you do.

Take Care,
Jeff

RV Staff

Jeff, I often ask Mike when he sleeps! You only see a small fraction of what he actually does — all of his excellent writing is only part of it. I honestly don’t know how he does so much! And I finally got to meet him a few weeks ago when he came out to present some seminars at the RV show at Enumclaw, Washington (between Seattle and Mt. Rainier). What a terrific guy, and a very informative and fun seminar! Now if he could just get some sponsors or a grant for all of his hard and important work… Read more »

Jeff

Diane:
I think the RV Industry sees Mike as a Threat! The RV industry cannot admit that they have allot of problems and Mike points these things out, and they don’t like it.

The same stuff that Chuck harps about in terms of quality RV’s (loosely said) are the same things that Mike tries to make known to the RV Industry.

The RV industry is all about Money and not quality or safety!

OK, off the soapbox once again.

Take Care,
Jeff

RV Staff

I think you’re correct, Jeff. If the quality and safety of anything to do with RVing (RVs, equipment, campgrounds, etc.) went up, there’d be a lot happier customers/RVers, for sure. It’s too bad that the good guys (e.g., Chuck and Mike, plus our friend Alan Warren, to name a few) are seen by the industry as the “bad guys” or a “threat.” If things in the industry were done ethically and correctly in the first place, there would be no need to have Chuck, Mike, et al., reporting the negative facts. And if the quality and safety go up, it… Read more »