RV Daily Tips Newsletter Issue 877

RV Daily Tips Newsletter Issue 877

Issue 877 • April 4, 2018
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RVing Tip of the Day

What are these NEMA outlets you speak of?
 
Here’s a quick reference chart of typical electrical outlets you’ll find in a home, campground pedestal or repair shop. (as usual, click on it for a full size image) This is not an exhaustive list by any means, since there must be hundreds of different “outlet” configurations in use (officially called “receptacles” by electricians and engineers). And in case you need to win a bar bet, NEMA is an acronym for the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, which designates which outlets use specific voltages and currents. 
 
If you look at the chart and compare the NEMA 5-15 and 5-20 outlets, you’ll note that the first number (5) designates that there’s hot, neutral and ground contacts (no, I don’t know why they picked the number 5 for this), while the second number (15 or 20) designates the amperage capacity. So a NEMA 5-15 outlet is a standard “home” outlet wired for 120 volts with a 15-amp circuit breaker, while the NEMA 5-20 is wired for 120 volts with a 20-amp circuit breaker.
 
Similarly, the NEMA 14-50 outlet uses the number 14 to designate that it’s a 2-pole outlet (120/120 volts) with a ground and neutral (again, I don’t know why they use the number 14, but they just do) that’s good for up to 50-amperes of current.
 
The standard 30-amp/120-volt outlet we find in a campground pedestal is designated as a NEMA TT-30 (Travel Trailer 30) because it’s a single usage outlet for the RV industry alone. And you’ll also see that the NEMA 10-30 (always wired for 240 volts) used to be but is no longer allowed for home electric dryers – but is still allowed for Plasma Cutters.
 
As I’ve written before, since many electricians are used to wiring a NEMA 10-30 outlet with 240-volts, and it so closely resembles an RV pedestal TT-30 outlet (which must be wired with 120 volts), they goof and miswire the TT-30 with 240 volts. And that’s why 10% of our readers have found a TT-30 dangerously miswired with 240 volts. Plugging into one will destroy your RV’s electrical system in seconds unless you have some sort of smart surge protector to disconnect you from it automatically.
 
Crazy, eh? Well to recap, you should only connect to a NEMA 5-15 or 5-20 outlet with a GFCI (wired with 120 volts) for powering very small RVs or appliances and tools (on the left).
 
Or a NEMA TT-30 outlet (wired with 120 volts) for plugging in your 30-amp shore power cordset (on the right).
 
Or, finally, the NEMA 14-50 outlet (wired with 120/240 volts) for plugging in your 50-amp (actually 100-amp) shore power cordset (lower right). Never try to adapt from any other style outlet for your shore power since nearly anything can happen.
And always measure the voltage of whatever you’re going to plug into BEFORE you plug in your RV’s shore power cordset. And, yes, a smart surge protector counts as measuring the outlet first and will continue to protect you if something goes wrong with the power after you measure and plug in. 
 
Let’s play safe out there…
 
 

Read yesterday’s tipGet your rig “toad” out of trouble!

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water-filter-677It’s spring: Time to change your water filter!
Camco TastePURE Water Filter with Flexible Hose Protector
This best-selling product reduces bad taste, odor, chlorine and sediment in drinking water with a 100 micron fiber filter. Its durable in-line, exterior mount filter has a wider body to increase flow. Use it at your campsite to keep sediment out of your RV water tank and to improve the taste and smell of your drinking water for a whole season. Many RVers consider this essential equipment. Learn more or order at a big discount.


QUICK TIPS

An additional type of fire extinguisher may be worthwhile
Consider fire extinguisher “aerosol spray” systems for your tow vehicle, and extras for inside your RV. Less expensive and lighter than conventional blasters, they’re said to discharge much longer, too. These won’t substitute for a good powder-type extinguisher, but may be the backup that saves your bacon.

Have a mechanical jack stand too! 
With electricity expert, Mike Sokol
Hydraulic jacks are great for changing a tire, but since a hydraulic pressure leak can cause them to drop their load unexpectedly, you always want to back them up with a mechanical jack stand. But this requires a second lifting point under your vehicle which isn’t always convenient. However, there’s now a hydraulic bottle jack that includes a mechanical jack stand in the same package. Available in several weight ratings, the Unijack allows you to safely jack up your vehicle for a tire change with the extra safety of a ratchet action stand. However, if I’m crawling around underneath a vehicle, I still insist on a separate jack stand for extra stability. I’m a belt-and-suspenders kind of guy when it comes to safety.

Oven misbehaving?
RV oven burning stuff? Get an oven thermometer to verify the actual temperature and try cooking your stuff on top of a pizza stone to even out the heat.

HOT TOPIC AT RV TRAVEL.COM
Are you a burden on the national park system?


fire extinguisherFire Extinguishing Aerosol, Two-pack
The First Alert Tundra Fire Extinguishing Aerosol Spray is easier to use and discharges 4 times longer than traditional fire extinguishers. With an aerosol nozzle and portable size, it’s suited for the kitchen, car, garage, boat or RV. The formula wipes away with a damp cloth & is biodegradable. Learn more or order.


WEBSITES OF THE DAY

National Park Maps
Matt Holly, a park ranger with the NPS, has collected 1,704 high-resolution National Park maps and posted them on this site. You can view, download and save PDF and image files of any map. Now that’s what we call helpful! Thanks, Matt! 

Forest Camping – Become A Host! 
Have some free time? Become a campground host! Forest Camping shows all the current camp host openings. 

Best Spring Flower Festivals
Nine locations around the U.S. to see dazzling displays of spring flowers. We also highly recommend the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in Mt. Vernon, WA, which attracts hundreds of thousands of people each year to view millions of vibrant tulips, and runs from April 1 to 30. (Psst: We’ll be there!) 

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


VIDEO OF THE DAY

Is it okay to use an RV air conditioner and hair dryer at the same time on 30 amps?
In this episode of Ask the RV Experts from RVtravel.com, certified RV technician Chris Dougherty and RV electricity expert Mike Sokol answer a question about using an air conditioner and hair dryer at the same time on a 30-amp coach.

CLICK THE VIDEO TO SEE THE TIP.
See all of our videos on our YouTube Channel.

gauge4Endorsed by RV tire safety authority Roger Marble
tire-guage660An excellent tire pressure gauge
The Accutire MS-4021B digital tire pressure gauge has an easy-to-read LCD display that provides pressure readings from 5-150 PSI. It’s ergonomically designed with an angled head and a rubber-coated easy-grip handle. If you forget to turn off the gauge, don’t worry, it will automatically shut off. The included lithium battery never needs to be recharged or replaced. And all this for about $12! Learn more or order.


MORE QUICK TIPS

Take it easy when dumping your RV’s tanks
Dumping tanks? Don’t “slam open” the dump valve – ease it open, and make sure the hose doesn’t come loose from the dump station port. It could save you a real mess!

Better batteries for walkie-talkies
Use walkie-talkies in and around camp? Some users report rechargeable batteries just don’t seem to cut it; alkaline throwaways reportedly last longer. Do you have a preference?
 
Do you have a tip? Send it to diane (at) rvtravel.com .

Batteries last a long time!
Motion detection nightlights can last a year on a set of batteries
When you need a nightlight when without hookups, these are great: they light only when they sense motion, shutting off after 30 seconds of no movement. They use no wires & install in less than 5 minutes. Use outdoors, too. Lights come in a 3-pack. Can last up to a year! Watch the short video for a demonstration or learn more (or order at a great price) at Amazon.com.


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LEAVE HERE WITH A LAUGH
Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson went camping. They set up their tent and fell asleep. Two hours later, Holmes woke up his friend. “Watson, look up at the sky. What do you see?” Watson replied, “I see millions of stars.” “What does that tell you?” asked Holmes. “Astronomically speaking, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets,” he responded. “Astrologically, it tells me that Saturn is in Leo. Time-wise, it appears to be approximately a quarter past one. Meteorologically, it seems we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you?” Dr. Watson asked Holmes. Holmes shook his head, then spoke. “Watson, you idiot. Someone has stolen our tent!”



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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, Deanna Tolliver, Mike Sokol, J.M. Montigel and Andrew Robinson. Advertising coordinator: Gail Meyring.

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

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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Related

12 thoughts on “RV Daily Tips Newsletter Issue 877

  1. sam coffman

    Are there any directories that list small backyard or farm campgrounds or hook ups?

    1. Sherry Dawson

      Yes, check out Harvest Hosts at https://harvesthosts.com/

  2. Pam Wirtz

    The motion sensor lights work great. I have one on my back porch rail by the door and when I get home after dark it lights up the porch so I can get my key in the lock and see where I am going. Works even when temps are near zero.

  3. Rick

    Are you not involved with Amazon anymore? Was looking to order something and couldn’t find the banner. Rick

  4. DAVE TELENKO

    As for rechargeable batteries (nicad) I’ve checked them after they are fully charged & they only have about 1.4 volts, where as fresh alkaline ones are about 1.6 volts. Even better are lithium as they are about 1.85 volts. I gave up on nicad batteries a long time ago. Using the lithium ones in my camera last a long time. I think all of the above batteries are designated 1.5 volts, so maybe the lithium batteries can’t be used in all applications!
    Dave

  5. Wolfe

    Re: Rechargables in WalkieTalkies — I use NiMH rechargables because they happen to work in mine and I seldom care if the batteries go dead unexpectedly since I’m usually “close enough.” When I do care more (eg. hiking), I just bring extra batteries. That said, NiMH (1V-1.2V, ) don’t work in many devices that expect alkaline (1.2-1.5V). My radios have a battery meter that never comes off “dead” for that reason.

    Just to be confusing, there are now (3.8V internally) LiPO-based rechargables, which charge from a microUSB and have a voltage regulator built in to output a constant 1.5V externally. These work perfect, have a huge capacity for their size, but cost many times as much. Pretty cool, though. Do NOT confuse these with AA/AAA size 14500/10440 LiPOs that are still 3.8V externally.

    And finally, don’t even think of “HD” (pile) batteries (suitable only for destroying your grandkid’s beeping toys when they *always* leak). Evil batteries. Go to the trashbin.

  6. Claud Addicott

    I found this page that shows how to make a simple and inexpensive 30amp NEMA TT-30 outlet tester: http://www.myrv.us/electric/Pg/tester_30amp.htm

    Also, a somewhat less simple and inexpensive tester for 50amp NEMA 14-50 outlets: http://www.myrv.us/electric/Pg/tester_50amp.htm

  7. Snayte

    I have one of those jacks I really like it. The support rod has a pin and several holes and can be raised to meet the jacking point before jacking. This means you only need to extend the jack a few inches

    1. R Vallis

      Some reviews say it loses hydraulic pressure after a while. Other than that it looks like a great tool

      1. Mike Sokol

        Many hydraulic jacks will leak down a little, especially when they have a some age to them. That’s why we always add a jack stand with a mechanical ratchet. Even the big hydraulic lifts in a dealership will have some sort of mechanical lock to keep it from dropping.

  8. Bob Godfrey

    Great tip site for the National Parks Map. Many thanks to Matt Holly and RV Travel for that link…….very useful.

  9. Joe Allen

    Thank you for posting Matt Holly’s National Parks Maps! This makes checking out the different areas so much quicker and lot’s of detail. Thank you Matt and RV Daily!

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