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Comments for Power pedestal testing (including at COE campgrounds), Part 3

  • Mike, maybe you can shed some light on this situation that a friend of mine has encountered at one location. I had built a Power/Pedestal Tester for him to use prior to plugging his coach into the pedestal. Here is the link to that Tester.

    http://www.myrv.us/electric/Pg/tester_50amp.htm

    He used the tester on the pedestal first and everything checked OK. He then plugged his coach in and the Progressive Industries EMS-HW-50C gave him an E-1 error code (Reverse Polarity). So he tested the pedestal directly behind his with his tester and got the same OK then plugged his coach in and everything was fine. How can this happen?

    If the first pedestal truly had a reverse polarity condition, two things would not work correctly on the Power/Pedestal Tester. The light on the top would not NOT light up as that is powered by the two HOT legs of the 230 VAC line. Plus the two Polarity Testers plugged into Leg #1 and Leg #2 would show an error since one of the HOT legs would be reversed with the Neutral wire.

    Any ideas other than to say that his PI EMS-HW-50C was at fault?

    Thanks for any advice. I am stumped.

    Dr4Fi;m —– Richard

    • Richard, I like your idea and ‘invention’ I have only 30 amp service on our travel trailer. How much trouble would it be for me to make one of these for 30 amp service?.

  • Mike, maybe you can shed some light on this situation that a friend of mine has encountered at one location. I had built a Power/Pedestal Tester for him to use prior to plugging his coach into the pedestal. Here is the link to that Tester.

    http://www.myrv.us/electric/Pg/tester_50amp.htm

    He used the tester on the pedestal first and everything checked OK. He then plugged his coach in and the Progressive Industries EMS-HW-50C gave him an E-1 error code (Reverse Polarity). So he tested the pedestal directly behind his with his tester and got the same OK then plugged his coach in and everything was fine. How can this happen?

    If the first pedestal truly had a reverse polarity condition, two things would not work correctly on the Power/Pedestal Tester. The light on the top would not NOT light up as that is powered by the two HOT legs of the 230 VAC line. Plus the two Polarity Testers plugged into Leg #1 and Leg #2 would show an error since one of the HOT legs would be reversed with the Neutral wire.

    Any ideas other than to say that his PI EMS-HW-50C was at fault?

    Thanks for any advice. I am stumped.

    Dr4Film —– Richard

  • One park power problem I see frequently is simply worn or bent prongs in the outlet. Meter testing will not reveal this problem. If there is inadequate pressure – heat will be created at the contact points. Usual proof of this conditions is burnt plugs. I carry a milled piece of plastic that meets 30 and 50 amp plug specs (.05″ I think). Before I plug in – breakers off – I insert my mechanical tester. It should have good and tight feel for all two or three flat blade contact points.

    • There’s a specific tester made to check the spring tension on “Edison” 15/20 amp outlets. These testers are used all the time in hospitals to verify that electrical plugs connected to critical medical equipment won’t fall out of the wall, etc… I’ve never seen a tester for 30/50 amp outlets, but there must be a spec for them from manufacturers. One of the projects I’m working on is an SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) for testing campground pedestals yearly. In addition to voltage and load testing, I plan to add a “worn outlet test” for lack of a better term.

  • I wonder if you have a high-impedance connection on the ground wire of the first pedestal? Or possibly one that’s tied to hot accidentally. Those 3-light testers are pretty simple and don’t apply any appreciable load to the ground wire. Plus, it should be just about impossible to get a true reversed hot-neutral on a 50-amp outlet. More to think about.

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