RV Daily Tips Newsletter Issue 857

RV Daily Tips Newsletter Issue 857

Issue 857 • February 28, 2018
This newsletter is brought to you Monday through Thursday by RVtravel.com and is funded primarily through voluntary subscription contributions from our readers. Thank you


RVing Tip of the Day

Quick Voltage Reference Chart
 
By Mike Sokol
Here’s a quick reference chart on voltages you should measure at pedestal outlets. If anything seems a little strange or you don’t understand the readings you get, DO NOT plug your RV into that outlet. It only takes a few seconds to fry your entire RV’s electrical system from over-voltage, so better to be safe than sorry. As usual, I’ve included these as small thumbnails to save download time. But if you click on a graphic below you’ll get a full 1200 pixel wide image suitable for printing.

I’ve updated this graphic to include acceptable high and low voltage readings as well as nominal 240-volt and 208-volt service, since campgrounds are now allowed to use 2-phases of a 3-phase service for a 50-amp pedestal. That’s why it can read around 208 volts leg-to-leg and 120-volts from either leg to neutral.

The 20/30-amp version is the same as before except I’ve included the acceptable voltage readings between ground and neutral. 

WHAT! So you don’t actually read 0 volts between ground and neutral? Correct – measuring up to 3 volts between the ground and neutral wires is acceptable. That’s because the ground wire isn’t changing potential by 3 volts. It’s the neutral that can change by as much as 3 volts due to normal voltage drops from the load due to other pedestals on that same branch circuit. That’s within normal limits according to both me and the NEC (National Electrical Code), where we expect to see at least 1/2 volt between the Ground and Neutral if the branch circuit feeding the pedestal has any appreciable current draw.

Also, if any of you engineering types are following along, here’s how a 3-phase transformer works out. Note that you have (nominally) 208 volts between any 2 of the 3 phases, but 120 volts between any of the phases and neutral. This is for a 3-phase Wye transformer connection, since 3-phase Delta hookups have no neutral. Too much fun, eh?

Thanks to Continental Control Systems, LLC, for this nice graphic. If you want to go down the rabbit hole of 3-phase power, visit their website

Let’s stay safe out there…. 
 
 

Wednesday afternoon update
RV Travel editor Chuck Woodbury will be interviewed on the radio show The RV Show USA this evening for one hour beginning at 6:05 Pacific Time (9:05 Eastern Time). You can watch the live taping and ask him questions at http://Facebook.com/TheRVShowUSA. The show will air on radio stations around the country over the weekend. 


Read yesterday’s tip: Is an AGM or lithium RV battery in your future?

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

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RV Camping in Corps of Engineers Parks
The U.S Army Corps of Engineers manages more than 12 million acres of land and water nationwide. In fact, it’s the largest federal provider of outdoor recreation in the nation. This book will guide you to more than 600 Corps-managed campgrounds with sites suitable for RV camping on nearly 200 lakes around the country. Many RVers believe Corps campgrounds are among the best out there! Learn more or order.


QUICK TIPS

Size does matter
Is your vehicle licensed properly for its size? Some jurisdictions will move you from personal class to commercial class simply because of your licensed GVW. Be sure this doesn’t happen to you as the rules change significantly. Being classed commercial may limit your hours of driving, keeping log books, having restricted routes, need to carry specific equipment, etc. Thanks to George Bliss.

Check for hot-skin voltage
With electricity expert, Mike Sokol
An inexpensive Non-Contact Voltage Tester (NCVT) such as a Fluke VoltAlert or Klein NCVT1 is the easiest and quickest way to check your RV for potentially deadly hot-skin voltage after plugging into shore power. Something as large as an RV with a hot-skin of 120 volts will generally cause an NCVT to light up and beep from more than a foot away.

Watch where you point your vents
Got “pointable” air conditioning vents in your RV? Be careful how you point them! If you accidentally aim them at your thermostat, you may find the a/c system cycling erratically. The same is true for heater vents blasting at the thermostat.

HOT TOPIC AT RV TRAVEL.COM
Simpler backing into your RV site.


stepbraceScreen-shot-2014-10-03-at-2_46_34-PMHelp stabilize
and keep your RV steps safe
The RV Save-A-Step Brace is designed to be placed under RV entry steps for safety. It stabilizes the RV steps and helps keep the coach from rocking — preventing sag and wear. The brace is made of heavy-gauge steel with a 3/4″ solid metal screw thread, 1000-pound load rating and 7-5/8″ to 14″ adjustment range. Learn more or order at Amazon.com.


WEBSITES OF THE DAY

Rover
Need a dog walker? A dog-sitter or boarder? Use Rover to find locals in your area (they’re background checked and insured!) to watch your pup while you’re out for the day, week or month! We’re big fans of this site. (Psst! Using this link will give you $20 off your first booking!)

Factory Tours USA 
Information on 570 factory tours available to the public. Tour unique factories, farms, and museums. 

Goodreads
Search books, literature trivia, book quizzes, and quotes. Need a book recommendation? Tell Goodreads what books you like, and they’ll recommend similar titles! Join for free and follow along with others to see what they’re reading and what they think about it. Share to Facebook and other social media accounts. 

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


sponge91FkFZCzPZL__SL1500_

Easily clean those stubborn bugs off your RV
The Microfiber Mesh Bug and Tar Sponge has millions of tiny fibers embedded in the microfiber cloth that grabs and holds the dust and dirt. It is so effective it even cleans without chemicals, saving both time and money. The secret of this sponge lies in its unique, double-layer microfiber mesh. Older nylon bug sponges can harm your clear coat, but this one is completely paint safe. Learn more or order.


VIDEO OF THE DAY

Okay to stay overnight in an RV at truck stops?
Jim O’Briant of OvernightRVparking.com says, yes, it’s okay at some truck stops, which he names. But … watch the video to hear what else he has to say.

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

tire-guage660gauge4Endorsed by Roger Marble of RVtireSafety.com!
An 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 $20. Learn more or order.


MORE QUICK TIPS

Be prepared in case of fire
“One of my biggest fears as a fulltimer is fire — not just something that could start in my rig, but also to a neighbor’s unit parked nearby. As a preventive measure, I use a water ‘splitter’ or manifold at my site’s water spigot. One side supplies water to our rig, but the other has my extra 30-foot hose that I could use to fight a fire in my rig or a neighbor’s. This precaution, in combination with smoke detectors in our living area and one in basement storage, helps me sleep better at night.” Thanks to Jim Schrankel

Make sure your pet is comfortable when traveling
Introducing Rover or Fluffy to RV travel? Make sure they have a comfortable bed for traveling. If you’re headed for cold or damp country with an older pet, consider springing for a heated pet bed. Whatever you choose, let your pal get used to it at home before traveling.
 
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
Every married man should forget his mistakes. There’s no use in two people remembering the same thing.

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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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7 thoughts on “RV Daily Tips Newsletter Issue 857

  1. Philip Wood

    The article on electrical systems was good. I would like to add a couple of things. If you read 240 across your 50A service then you are on a delta transformer. If you read 208, you are on a Y transformer. On some older parks, you may not read anything across on your 50A because in upgrading they simply ran 100A service and split it to both sides of the 50A outlet. Not terribly kosher but if frequently signed off by inspectors. It works just fine because you only use 120 vac anyway. This allows them to hook up the 20/30/50A using only three wires. I have been an electrician for over 50 years.

    1. Mike Sokol

      More on this later, but if you measure 0 volts between the 2 hot legs on a 50-amp receptacle, then you certainly have a 100-amp feed split to both sides of the 50-amp receptacle. However that’s very dangerous to use on an RV since the neutral currents are now additive rather than subtractive, which can allow up to 100 amps on the neutral wire and contacts that are only rated for 50 amps. And that can cause a meltdown of your shore power plug, a lost neutral with high voltage on one side of your RV’s electrical system, or even a fire. That kind of service should never have passed inspection, but you are correct that it sometimes happened in older parks. So if you read 0 volts leg to leg and 120 volts neutral to each leg, then don’t hook up. That’s an serous code violation that should be avoided and reported.

  2. Robb Drellich Stuart Fl

    The No Shock Zone may have saved my life! I never heard of a “ hot skin condition” until I read about it in the No Shock Zone section of RV Travel. When hooking up last year out West I received a slight shock when I touched my travel trailer. My rig was fairly new and was quite alarmed. After no avail trying to figure out what might be the problem, I was lucky enough to get a mobile RV electrician to come out the afternoon of July 3rd! After he spent significant time problem solving with my rig, and almost giving up, through his determination he found a defective ground on my 30 amp power cord. No having one on hand I raced into town and was able to purchase a replacement just as an RV dealership was closing for the holiday. Many thanks to Mike Sokol for this life saving information and RV Travel!

  3. Booneyrat

    Kudos to Mike for good articles on RV electricity…something not all RV folks are too familiar with but need to be.

    1. Mike Sokol

      Thanks very much. Since we’re all surround by electricity, and RV owners have to plug into different power sources all the time, it’s vitally important to understand it. I’ll keep writing as long as you all keep reading.

  4. Captain Ken Buck, Tacoma Fire, Ret.

    That’s a good tip to use a splitter and have a hose attached for fire or other miscellaneous use. I would suggest that depending on the size of your rig, 30′ is not enough hose to keep you a safe distance from a burning rig, think 50′ minimum. Spraying into the air between the 2 rigs, or on a well involved fire, on the fire itself, does not work as well as keeping the side of the un-burned rig wet. Buy a big hose, a 3/4″ hose will carry much more water than a standard 1/2″ hose. You may get only 5 Gallons Per Minute (GPM) from a 1/2″ and up to 15 GPM from a 3/4″. This is definitely a time where bigger is better. Always keep in mind that your own safety is most important. Don’t allow yourself to get trapped by the fire.

  5. Harrell

    Always a pleasure to receive this mail.

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