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 > The Electrician said “oops”

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bill socal

Coastal Bend Texas

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Posted: 08/27/06 09:43am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

When a electrical contractor is measuring the voltage at your 30 amp pedestal and says “oops, 230 volts, that can’t be good”. Trust me, it isn’t.

Our RV Park is old and the aluminum wiring that’s buried in the ground has burned up many times. As ‘residents’ we’re used to it and some of us have electrical protection devices.

Last Sunday the power in our section, for 12 rv’s, went out and it was more than the local maintenance people could repair. Two of us have generators but the rest do not. We unplugged from our pedestals and used our generators, but the rest stayed plugged in waiting for the power to come back on. Only one of them had a surge protector.

A group of electrical contractors arrived Thursday and found the problem to be a burned out wire in the ground feeding our branch. Friday they dug it up and found what they described as “a mess of melted wire”. They repaired it, so they thought, and turned the power back on to our branch. They did not disconnect any rv’s prior to restoring power.

Do you already have a picture of what’s about to happen?

Oh yea, Friday evening turned into a neighborhood get together. When the electrician said “oops, 230 volts…” I sped off to the neighbors like Paul Revere yelling “turn off your power, turn off your power” and knocking off breakers at their pedestals as I came to them. But I was not as fast as I used to be and could not beat the electricity nor the damage it did.

The neighbors all met with the contractors and gave them a list of what items had burned up. Air conditioners, computers, microwaves, satellite receivers and floor fans to list just a few. The contractors are one of the largest in the area, heavily insured, and have promised to make good on everything.

Just goes to show that ‘Electrical Protection’ devices, i.e. surge suppressers are a necessity because ‘stuff happens’.


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chenevert

Virginia

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Posted: 08/27/06 03:23pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Sounds like a definite horror story. But this begs a question for me. I am not convinced that this is the type of situation that a surge protector would protect you from. It is my understanding that surge protectors protect from an overvoltage of very short duration (like lightning strike for example). On the other hand, If this is a sustained situation, like what you describe???

I would love to be proven wrong, and if some of the readers have experience showing that it has protected them in a situation like this, I will gladly go and by myself one.


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hamguy

Mostly Mesa, AZ in winter. Out & about for summers

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Posted: 08/27/06 06:48pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

chenevert wrote:

Sounds like a definite horror story. But this begs a question for me. I am not convinced that this is the type of situation that a surge protector would protect you from. It is my understanding that surge protectors protect from an overvoltage of very short duration (like lightning strike for example). On the other hand, If this is a sustained situation, like what you describe???

I would love to be proven wrong, and if some of the readers have experience showing that it has protected them in a situation like this, I will gladly go and by myself one.


Well, in my view, placing 230V on a line normally seeing 110 V IS a surge. My surge protector will protect for that occasion also. Worth the 280 bux.

Ken-o

Longview,Texas,USA

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Posted: 08/27/06 06:52pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

bill socal wrote:


Just goes to show that ‘Electrical Protection’ devices, i.e. surge suppressers are a necessity because ‘stuff happens’.


would you believe just yesterday I installed my surge protector ?


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Old RV

Temple City, Ca

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Posted: 08/27/06 03:31pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'd be interested to learn how they got 220 volts when they had 110 to start with. Maybe they had the other leg in the trench.

wa8yxm

Wherever I happen to park

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Posted: 08/27/06 06:44pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Many parks have 120/240 wireing now days, Hook up black and white (or red and white) 120, hook up black and red, 240, problem is that they don't use 3 colors of wire, just one big spool of black, for the main feeds so you need to test, test, test to make sure you hook it up backwards.

True story: Several years ago the campground where I was staying had a cloud of smoke come out of the storeroom in back of the store. (That's where the power distribution panels were)

Seems the aluminum power feeds for the park (main feeds, these are cables about an inch in diamater, 3 per leg) had melted (one of them) the manager, a licensed electrician, left the wedding reception where he was and returned to the park to get power back to pumps and the store and a few campers who had special needs.

Next day he returned, dressed for work, and pulled brand new copper through the underground tubes, Larger copper I might add.

Now, several years earlier still the power transformer feeding the park had failed, the power company had put in a "Temrporary" (Much smaller) what with the aluminum feeders it was doing fine. The problem is that with the copper wires, and heaver as well, the new transformer could not take the load so it went up in smoke on the July 4th weekend. The power company brought out a proper transformer and hooked it up... The original park was wired "White, black, red" they hooked it up Red, White Black (Note, not the proper terminal names, but the common colors in household wiring) Thus half the park had 120 reversed polarity and the other half had 240. Power company bought a lot of microwaves, tv's converters and such that week.

Personally, I was elsewhere that week, However here at home we had a storm and my local power company (The other Big one here in Michigan) decided to double power in my neighborhood... Surge supressors went off like firecrackers, the blower motor on my furnance failed, I lost one computer power supply and all my X-10 Power hours (in fact even replacements won't work) Power company tried to convince me it was "Normal voltage variation" They did not get far with that argument. Settled for exactly half of what I asked for (Which is exactly what I wanted, the surge strips were at replacement point anyway so that was not really a loss)


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leeman

DeRidder, Louisiana, USA

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Posted: 08/27/06 09:09pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

chenevert wrote:

Sounds like a definite horror story. But this begs a question for me. I am not convinced that this is the type of situation that a surge protector would protect you from. It is my understanding that surge protectors protect from an overvoltage of very short duration (like lightning strike for example). On the other hand, If this is a sustained situation, like what you describe???

I would love to be proven wrong, and if some of the readers have experience showing that it has protected them in a situation like this, I will gladly go and by myself one.


The purpose of a surge protector is to protect your equipment. An overvoltage will open a switch in the surge protector, depending how it is made and what its intended purpose is. A surge protector is designed to protect from a voltage spike or a sustained overvoltage and should protect you. However, that said, I have not seen any surge protector that will stop a lightening strike. Power companies design their equipment not to stop a ligntening strike, but to divert it to ground, ie: a lightening rod.


leeman
Rarin' to roam. Don't fence me in.

Kajtek1

CA

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Posted: 08/27/06 07:03pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

At least in this case you have a (person) with insurance coverage to blame for.
When we had HUGE power surge in our neighborhood few months ago, the self-insured power company said "It was a duck, we are clean"

Argosy24

MI

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Posted: 08/27/06 08:58pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

chenevert wrote:

I am not convinced that this is the type of situation that a surge protector would protect you from. It is my understanding that surge protectors protect from an overvoltage of very short duration (like lightning strike for example). On the other hand, If this is a sustained situation, like what you describe???

I would love to be proven wrong, and if some of the readers have experience showing that it has protected them in a situation like this, I will gladly go and by myself one.


Per the specs for a TRC Surge guard it will cut out below 102 volts and above 132v. It remains off for 2 1/2 minutes to allow the voltage to stabilize. I haven't run into a situation where it cut off because of voltage [emoticon] but do do know the delay works when first hooking up.

bill socal

Coastal Bend Texas

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Posted: 08/27/06 11:22pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The Electrician said “oops”- a little more…

Too All --Some of the replies, so far, have been what I had hoped for. I wanted to reach someone that does not have an electrical protection device in use for their rv. That’s why I posted it. I’m not selling or pushing any particular brand. I have what I prefer. I wish I was a vendor, I could sell many units.

Many ‘readers’ don’t spend the time (no offence intended) to do a search in this forum to acquire invaluable information that is available, on any rv subject. There are many knowledgeable and talented posters in this forum. Weed out the others.

I think many posts go un-noticed after a few days so I wanted to post again what many others have said in the past. “Protect yourself”.

There are many items that you could spend your money on pertaining to an rv. Starting with the ‘must haves’ and ending with the ‘would be nice to have’. Purchasing ‘insurance’ is usually a necessary evil. A good electrical protection device is cheep insurance when you consider what the bad alternatives are.

If only one reader takes this information to heart and protects themselves with a good ‘electrical protection device’, than I have made an impact that has saved someone from an expensive experience.

OK, I’m almost off my soapbox now.

It is a true story but it was meant to awaken many that don’t think they need such a device. I know that ‘good devices’ cost around $400 bucks and I was apprehensive to spend that much for something that ‘might happen’. But my personal situation (lots of power outages) dictated that I should have it. In the first two weeks I know it ‘saved’ me twice. My neighbors now wish they had spent $400 instead of going through the hassle of replacing many appliances they recently lost. Stuff happens.

I have been a reader and a participant in this “RV Net” and have learned enough to become a wiser rv owner. There have been many that have helped me understand the somewhat complicated world of rv electric. That information has recently saved me from a great financial loss. I can’t say “thank you” enough to the many that have helped me.

For them my ‘thank you’ is to spread the information.

Now to answer one of your questions.

Chenevert - Don’t get hung up on the term ‘surge protector’. A good protection device will protect against many anomalies associated with campground electricity. i.e. low voltage , high voltage, neutral to ground, miss-wired pedestals, to name just a few. Many use the term ‘surge protector’ loosely. Do some research and get a good device that protects against everything/anything. Believe me I’ve experienced it and so have many others.

Thanks to all.

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