We just spent a long weekend at Disney’s Fort Wilderness for our grandson’s birthday. Everyone talks about the very high prices for everything Disney, and I agree. But I was appalled to see that money not going into the most basic of upkeep and safety.
This is a photo of our power pedestal there, site #505. Our RV uses the 30A, so not a problem for us. But I would not want to plug a 50A motorhome into this. —J.C.
All I can say is wow, that’s pretty scary! There are at least two major code violations in this picture, and both of them are dangerous. First of all, note that the 50-amp outlet has a big chunk of the insulation-housing missing, so one of the 120-volt contacts is directly exposed. If the circuit breaker was turned on without something being plugged into it, a child (or even adult) could easily touch the metal contact and box (or wet ground) at the same time and be shocked or electrocuted (killed).
Second, there’s no GFCI on the 20-amp outlets. That’s been a code requirement for a good many years, but I’ll have to go back through the NFPA electrical code history and find out exactly when that was required. I don’t think that a commercial facility like a park can have this grandfathered in, so it’s possible that an inspector could red-tag this box and shut down the park until all pedestals are upgraded to GFCI protection on the 20-amp outlets.
And, of course, this pedestal appears to be worn so badly that there’s likely very little tension left on the outlet contacts, and I’ll wager that the brass connections have a lot of oxidation. If that’s the case, then an overheated/melted shore-power plug feeding the RV is highly possible. That’s really dangerous especially on the 50-amp outlet since if the neutral on the 50-amp/120-240-volt service is lost, then the incoming 240 volts won’t split evenly into 120/120 volts, and half of the electrical appliances in your RV could be fried with 160 to 200 volts. Yikes.
I’m going to send this post to Disney corporate and see if I get a response. Should be interesting.
[Update: I’ve heard nothing back from Disney in more than a 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.