By Mike Sokol
You may have noticed that I launched my RVelectricity Webcasts this week, and have been creating all sorts of YouTube videos while I’m stuck inside. Here’s a really short one [below] for you about a simple yet effective test for 30-amp RV outlets that will cost you about $25 even if you have to buy everything. If you have some of these devices laying around, so much the better.
While metering a pedestal can be very accurate in determining its basic wiring, many campers are not practiced with a meter and make mistakes. So here’s how to do it without a digital meter that has probes. And I’ve included a short video to show you.
Step 1: Get a plug-in digital meter like this one for about $10 on Amazon. I have three of them and they’re all within a volt of my rather expensive Fluke meter.
Step 2: Get a 3-light outlet tester from anyone you like for less than $6. You don’t need one with a GFCI test since you’re not testing an GFCI protected outlet. Here’s one on Amazon.
Step 3: Get a 30-amp to 15-amp outlet adapter like this one from any source you like. I believe I got mine from Tractor Supply, believe it or not, but any RV store will have them as well. As a last resort, it’s Amazon to the rescue.
Now put them together as I show in the video. Just click on the screen shot to watch how it works.
If the 3-light tester shows that the polarity of the outlet is reversed or the ground is open, then don’t proceed. And if the meter voltage is less than 105 volts or more than 128 volts, don’t plug your RV into it.
Of course the gold standard test is to use a Total Electrical Protection (TEP) Surge Protector like one from Surge Guard. But my little test rig will tell you a lot about the general wiring of the outlet without having to resort to poking meter probes into the contacts.
While you’re at it, sign up for my YouTube RVelectricity channel. Lots of new stuff on there, and I’m making more every day.
Let’s play safe out there….
Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 50+ 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.
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