Issue 972 • September 18, 2018
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Watts up? Using a 3-light outlet tester on a 30-amp pedestal
With electricity expert and veteran RVer Mike Sokol
Can you use a 3-light tester on a 30-amp pedestal outlet? Yes, you can! Just bring along a Camco 30M-15F adapter plug and your favorite 3-light tester. While any 3-light tester won’t tell you EVERYTHING about an outlet’s electrical health, it’s a good indicator of obvious fails such as an open ground or reversed polarity. Team it up with a Southwire electrical test kit like the one above right, and you’re in business. It’s a very inexpensive kit that should work very well for basic receptacle testing.
Or if you’re going to be in a COE (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) campground that won’t allow you to use meter probes, add a Kill A Watt meter to double-check the voltage to make sure nobody has miswired the 30-amp outlet with 240 volts. That’s a very bad thing, indeed.
The lack of preventive maintenance and/or scheduled maintenance will eventually result in emergency maintenance. If you don’t check the air pressure in your tires (preventive maintenance), the under-inflated tire overheats and prematurely fails, resulting in emergency maintenance. Mark Polk, RV Education 101.
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From reader George Bahler:
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AND MAKE MORE ROOM UNDER YOUR SINKS
Today’s brain teaser (answer below): I have two coins that add up to 30 cents. One is not a nickel. What are the two coins?
The best book on RV electricity, hands down!
RV 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 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. You can order it here.
A reader emailed our RV electricity expert Mike Sokol with a question. Here it is with Mike’s response:
We are staying at a private campground in Door County, Wisconsin. My Progressive EMS [Energy Management System] gave an open ground error on the 30-amp pedestal. The pedestal has no breaker to turn on or off, you just plug in. My multimeter shows zero volts from hot to ground, but correctly shows 120 volts from hot to neutral and zero volts from neutral to ground. The campground guy plugged in his little tester with a dogbone and it lit up correctly, no open ground error, and said he hasn’t had a problem in 18 years, but also said he isn’t an electrician. What problems could I have if I bypass the EMS and plug in? When plugged in I tested for hot skin condition on my RV steps and everything was fine. I tested a totally different campsite in a different loop and the multimeter read the same way.
That’s a completely bogus explanation that makes no sense at all. What you had was an open ground connection (formally known as the EGC or Equipment Grounding Conductor). There is no “wire for each side of the camper,” as he stated. This is just one more example of why basic electrical training is so important for anyone running a campground. Much to do…
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MORE QUICK TIPS
Floor vents: Trick to prevent traps
Floor vents gather dust, dirt and dog-hair, plus the occasional wedding ring. Cover them with contact paper during the summer months and save work later.
How to tell if the black tank is almost full
Just before the black tank gets to the full stage the toilet will start to sound a little different and a small burp or bubble of air will happen. This means the waste level is above the vent pipe and it’s time to dump! Thanks to Ray Burr at RV Happy Hour.
Do you have a tip? Send it to Russ (at) rvtravel.com
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WEBSITES OF THE DAY
Download the app, or visit the website for information about 38,000 public campgrounds across the U.S. and Canada, updated monthly. It doesn’t get much more helpful than this!
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Have a website you like and think other RVers might like it too? Send it to emily (at) rvtravel.com. Thanks!
Get everything you need
to winterize your RV here.
Answer to today’s brain teaser: A quarter and a nickel. (Were you tricked?)
LEAVE HERE WITH A LAUGH
Q: What do you call a laughing motorcycle?
A: A Yamahahaha
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RV Daily Tips Staff
Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Managing editor: Diane McGovern. Staff writer: Emily Woodbury. Contributing writers: Russ De Maris, Bob Difley, Gary Bunzer, Roger Marble, Mike Sokol, Greg Illes, J.M. Montigel and Andrew Robinson. Advertising coordinator: Gail Meyring. Marketing director: Jessica Sarvis.
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Everything in this newsletter is true to the best of our knowledge. But we occasionally get something wrong. We’re just human! So don’t go spending $10,000 on something we said was good simply because we said so, or fixing something according to what we suggested (check with your own technician first). Maybe we made a mistake. Tips and/or comments in this newsletter are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of RVtravel.com or this newsletter.
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