The procedure at the top of the Pedestal Power article is great. But for newbies (or those of us who are just forgetful), a checklist we could print and keep with our surge protector and non contact voltage detector would be an awesome way to always have this info handy. —Carissa
All you have to do is ask and I’m there for you. (Cue – Just Call My Name and I’ll Be There for my favorite version.)
Here’s my basic Pedestal Power Checklist below, as well as in PDF form so you can easily print it out for future reference. We call this an SOP (Standard Operating Procedure), which should always work as long as you follow the steps in order. Think of it as a muffin recipe that you don’t deviate from until you’re a master chef. In any case, feel free to print out extra copies for your RVing friends or to hand out to campground staff. Here’s the checklist below in PDF form for easy printing and sharing: Pedestal Power Checklist
And while you’re at it, sign up to the Stray Voltage Patrol HERE so you can report back to the group any problematic pedestals you find. We should have the SVP database up and running in a few weeks so you can make entries then, but for now we just need you to sign up so we can gauge the scale of the Patrol.
Pedestal Power Checklist (by Mike Sokol)
Do this BEFORE pulling your RV into the campsite and begin setting up. It will save time if you don’t have safe power and need to move to another spot. This procedure adds only a few minutes to your setup time, and should guarantee safe power hookup under nearly all circumstances. And if anything changes while you’re there, your Intelligent EMS/Surge Protector should disconnect your RV from power.
- Before you pull into your camping spot, take out your NCVT (Non Contact Voltage Tester) for a quick check of the pedestal for hot-skin/stray-voltage.
- Turn on your NCVT and make sure the batteries are OK by checking the indicator light and listen for a beep. Read the manual for your NCVT for proper operation.
- Touch the exterior of the pedestal box with the tip of the NCVT. If it lights up and beeps, DO NOT touch the box with your hands. Show the campground manager what you’ve found and refuse to camp there. If it tests OK without a beep, go to step #4.
- If you have a portable Intelligent/EMS Surge Protector, take it to the pedestal, plug it in, and flip the circuit breaker on. If it DOESN’T test OK, report it to the campground manager and don’t hook up to power until the problem has been resolved. If OK, then go to step #6.
- If you don’t have an Intelligent/EMS surge protector, use your Digital Multimeter to check the outlet for proper voltage and polarity. Go to step #6.
- If your tests show very low voltage, high voltage, reversed polarity, or an open ground, don’t pull into the campsite or connect to shore power. Get the manager and show them what you’ve found. Don’t accept this campsite.
- If the above tests check out OK, then you turn off the pedestal circuit breakers and proceed to drive your RV onto the pad to get set up.
- Once your RV is in position and you’ve confirmed the pedestal circuit breakers are off, plug your shore power cord into the outlet, then flip the pedestal circuit breakers on.
- Use your NCVT again and touch it to the bumper, hitch or wheels of your RV to confirm that your RV doesn’t have a hot-skin/stray-voltage due to a break in the ground wire in your own shore power cord or adapters.
- If your NCVT doesn’t beep, then you can proceed making camp.
- If your NCVT beeps, then there’s something wrong in your shore power cordset or adapter. Disconnect your RV from shore power until you can determine the cause of the hot-skin/stray-voltage.
FYI: My TV appearance on Wednesday was rained out due to lightning and high winds, so I’ll try it again next week.
Let’s play safe out there….
Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 40 years in the industry. Visit NoShockZone.org for more electrical safety tips. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at Amazon.com. For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.