RV Electricity – Tired pedestals are dangerous

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Hi Mike,
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.

Dear 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.

 


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Stefan trestyn
Stefan trestyn

I took a look at this pedestal today. and it has been repaired

Mike Sokol
Mike Sokol

Excellent. That’s exactly what the Stray Voltage Patrol is supposed to accomplish.

BuzzElectric
BuzzElectric

Disney has to answer to no one. They are their own county, building department, code enforcement, police and fire departments. This article will be the only way to shame them if it goes viral.

Darrel
Darrel

Since Walt died, Disney has become one more money grubbing no concern for customers mega business.

S Baron
S Baron

How about a complaint sent to the the county building code enforcement of that county?? That in itself should make them change it.

Mike Sherman
Mike Sherman

I suggest a copy of the complaint be sent to the local jurisdiction of authority….it will get Disney motivated.

Bill
Bill

Typical campground ownership. All profit based and maintenance/site as required. Is there no pride in ownership anymore? Is millions in profits not enough?

Willie
Willie

I especially like the domestic water tap right next to the pedestal. If one’s hose o-ring leaks a stream of water onto this pedestal, just think of the potential fireworks and/or deadly consequences!!

John Connaughton
John Connaughton

I think there may be a deeper issue with Disney in general. We experienced several rides not working, something else one should not run into, as expensive as it all is. They have been jacking up prices for everything, what money they spend they are putting towards new rides and areas in the parks and other places. I think they are more concerned with maximizing profits for stockholders and corporate bigwigs rather than providing the very best experience for guests.

Mike Tomasone
Mike Tomasone

Stayed there hundreds of times over the last 29 years. Never had a reversed polarity or bad ground. Have had many overheating issues on my 30 amp plug. On one occasion we returned to the smell of burnt plastic and no power. The 30 amp plug was melted to the socket, at some polnt the breaker shut it down. Sparkey came and fixed their end, I replaced my side. I thought at the time it was caused by my cord being old even though I always clean my contacts before every hookup and replace the entire cord if I see… Read more »

Mike Tomasone
Mike Tomasone

In previous comment I forget to mention, I have always checked the 20 amp sockets and the gfi in the breakers (as shown in photo) worked every time. Keep checking.

Karin S.
Karin S.

I would be afraid to even use the 30amp plugin!! Even with my Progressive EMS.

Mike Sokol

Me too. There’s no telling what else is going on inside this pedestal, and the rest of the distribution wiring is suspect as well. I’ll ask one of my electrical engineering colleagues in Florida if he knows how inspection works in that state. But I assume that Disney can pretty much get away with whatever they want. More to study on this, but if any of you visit this campground, please take pictures of any pedestals around you. I can’t believe this is an isolated example.

John Connaughton
John Connaughton

As I mentioned in the other thread, I did inform a maintenance man I saw in the park. I was lucky I only needed the 30A connection. And mentioned it again on my campground survey after our visit.

Kevin
Kevin

Thanks for the efforts. If you could publish the code reference for the GFI outlet for 20amp. I had to go check the pedestal I’m hooked up too. It has GFI! As I recall a few CG I stayed in this summer didn’t have GFI but I admit I wasn’t really looking.

Sc00ter
Sc00ter

All I can say is wow. Never seen anything like that. Yes please keep us up to date if you get a reply.

Mike Sokol

I suspect that they may quietly fix the worst looking pedestals, but won’t respond to my query since that would be an admission that something was wrong. But if that’s what it takes to get worn and dangerous pedestals repaired, then I’m OK with it…

Betty
Betty

Please keep us up to date on this. It is very concerning that a major corporation would allow this situation to continue.

Mike Sokol

Sadly, this is not an isolated incident. I get pictures all the time of pedestals that look like this, and worse. That’s the main reason that Chuck and I started the Stray Voltage Patrol.

Leo Suarez
Leo Suarez

You should send it to the local TV news outlet and copy Disney, I’m sure the response from Disney will be quicker.