Thursday, November 30, 2023


RV Daily Tips Newsletter 972

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.

Preventive maintenance
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.

Did you miss the latest RV Travel Newsletter? If so, read it here.

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Best GPS?
From reader George Bahler
I have a Minnie Winnie, and am new to RVing. I travel by myself most of the time, so it is imperative that I have a GPS system that is reliable. I have been using a WAZE application on my phone, but my carrier, T-Mobile, doesn’t have good coverage everywhere. Any suggestions out there? Do you have a recommendation for George?

Keep gray tank odors away
HepvO is a unique self-sealing waste valve that prevents the escape of foul sewer air from waste discharge systems, and actively maintains the pressure equilibrium in soil and waste installations. As a dry sealing valve, HepvO utilizes a purpose designed membrane to create an airtight seal between the living space and the drainage system. Learn more.

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:

Dear Mike,
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.

Mike’s response:
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…

Amazon Deals of the Day!
Here are more than 1,000 special deals, just for today. And the items just keep on changing. If you can’t find a great deal here on something you want, then, well, you must not need anything. If nothing else, it sure is fun to poke around here to see the incredible array of cool stuff that’s available at this very moment at bargain prices! Click here for today’s deals!


Angelsharum on

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)

Need mail forwarding? Choose the best!
Choose Americas Mailbox! It’s the best, endorsed by which has toured its South Dakota facility and interviewed its very customer-oriented owner. Many plans available. Learn more. Or view the video interview RV Travel editor Chuck Woodbury conducted with Americas Mailbox owner Don Humes.


Ultimate Campgrounds
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!

We may have featured Audible before, but now that we’ve been using it for a while, we’re big supporters and want you to be too! Sign up with your Amazon account and start listening to audiobooks as you go down the road, take showers, or go for a walk. It’s a great way to read without sitting down to read! 

Have a website you like and think other RVers might like it too? Send it to emily (at) Thanks!

Check out the long list of great RVing-related websites from

Get everything you need
to winterize your RV here.

Answer to today’s brain teaser: A quarter and a nickel. (Were you tricked?)

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Q: What do you call a laughing motorcycle?
A: A Yamahahaha

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Best-selling RV products and Accessories at UPDATED HOURLY.

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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.

ADVERTISE on and/or in this newsletter. Contact Gail Meyring at Gail(at) .

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 or this newsletter.

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Tony King (@guest_33219)
5 years ago

We Recycle religiously at home with our Trash service and I cash in the Aluminum cans because we pay the Redemption Value when we purchase them here in So Cal and I drink a lot of Diet sodas !Out on the road in our Class B we don’t recycle at all, there is just not enough room.

Dave (@guest_32900)
5 years ago

What prevents you from using a meter at (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) campground??

Mike Sokol
5 years ago
Reply to  Dave

It’s not at ALL COE campgrounds, but three of them in MD/PA have announced the ban, and the word is that eventually ALL COE campgrounds may have the ban. Apparently right now there’s signage and a park ranger reading you the riot act. Not sure if there’s a fine or what… Now, the ban is on meter probes, not metering per se, so you can use a plug-in meter found on Advanced/EMS surge protectors. The theory is they don’t want you getting shocked while metering (certainly possible if you don’t watch what you’re doing), and since they have a local “electrician” test every pedestal once a season it should be safe. However, when I queried them about the test procedure, nobody could tell me how they tested. I’ve offered to write an SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) for this test, but so far I’ve got no traction. However, I do have the name of the 1-star General in charge of all US COE campgrounds, so I’ll keep working on them.

Drew (@guest_32874)
5 years ago

I’m assuming (you know what that means) that the recycling question refers to rv’ing. We have mandatory recycling where we live.

Eric Meslin (@guest_32968)
5 years ago
Reply to  Drew

Us too. We recycle at home, but don’t have space to separate trash in the RV.

DAVE TELENKO (@guest_32866)
5 years ago

After reading the Quick Tip about checking the condition on a 30A circuit with a 30/15A adapter plug & a 3 light tester. A reader asked Mike about his concerns over his situation. My question is why the did the dog bone adapter & circuit tester show all was good? It didn’t say what the little tester was though!
Thanks Dave
No I wouldn’t by pass the EMS, I would by pass the camp ground!

Dave Telenko (@guest_32872)
5 years ago

Mike, sorry the above
Dave was ment for you!

Booneyrat (@guest_32876)
5 years ago

AMEN to bypassing that campground.

Mike Sokol
5 years ago

I’ll cover this in detail in my next RVelectricity newsletter in a few weeks, but I suspect that the ground was floating, not at an elevated voltage. In that case, an internal live-to-chassis current leakage inside the RV would create a hot-skin/stray-voltage. Depending on how the 3-light tester is internally wired, it may not be able to detect a floating ground. If a meter tells you the ground is floating, and an intelligent/ems surge protector tells you it has a ground error, then I’m not going to bet my life on an unknown 3-light tester. And plugging an RV into a floating ground outlet may not immediately create an elevated voltage on the chassis/skin. But that’s super dangerous since any internal leakage from an appliance could turn deadly. More on this later…

Bob p (@guest_32862)
5 years ago

I’ll bet someone stayed up late to come up with the laugh of the day.

Dave Telenko (@guest_32868)
5 years ago
Reply to  Bob p

I think someone stayed up even later with the “brain teaser”

Wolfe (@guest_32869)
5 years ago
Reply to  Dave Telenko

Yeah, the brain teasers have run a bit simple lately… the “A older than B…” type were at least easy without being instant… I’ll send Dianne the MENSA Puzzle Book for Christmas… 😉

RV Staff
5 years ago
Reply to  Wolfe

Ha! Thanks, Wolfe, but you should send it to Emily instead, since she puts the brain teasers in the newsletters. And they aren’t intended necessarily for you MENSA people, anyway — although you’re welcome to try to solve them. 😉 —Diane at

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