By Russ and Tiña De Maris
One quick way to ruin an RV trip is a heavy electrical shock. Shore power systems in campgrounds can be dangerous if not maintained or if miswired. Protecting yourself isn’t difficult or expensive.
On arriving at a campground, don’t just assume the power supply is safe. First, make sure the breaker is turned off to the power outlet, then plug in the RV power cord. If you have an exterior power outlet on your rig, plug in an electrical circuit analyzer that indicates circuit problems. If you don’t have an outside outlet, plug the analyzer into an outlet inside and have a helper look at it.
Now turn on the breaker to your RV circuit. If the circuit analyzer indicates all is well, well and good. If not, DON’T touch the side of your coach or attempt to go inside. Switch off the breaker immediately, especially if you should get an indication that the hot and ground wires are reversed. If they are, you have a potentially dangerous situation. Don’t touch the electrical box or the side of your rig. Unplug the shore power cord without touching anything else.
If the tester indicates a reversed hot and neutral wire you are physically safe, but you could see damage to sensitive electronics. If your analyzer shows an “open ground” situation, there is still a level of danger to your physical safety if an electrical short took place.
In any case, if your tester shows a problem, disconnect and ask for a new site.
Editor’s note: Electrical circuit analyzers are available at Amazon.