aksafariman

Power Transfer Switch or Surge Guard?

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I have a question regarding a problem I seem to have with our coach electrical.  Whenever I plug the coach into commercial power, it often takes several minutes before I hear the power come on in the coach.  How do I determine if the slow responder is my power transfer switch or my built in surge guard?  Everything seems to operate normally with the generator.

I've heard 3-5 minutes for the power to switch on in a coach can be normal.  Is that correct? 

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Welcome to the forum. Yes that it is how a built in surge guard workers or a portable one. The fact that you have no delay when using generator power showes me it isn't your transfer switch. 

Bill 

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Maybe I just need to bring the coach home to my own power and run a time check.  I recently plugged into a location where my Hughes Autoformer checked the power as okay. However, plugging in the coach, with or without the autoformer, at four different pedestals blew their 50 amp breaker before my coach surge guard would activate. 

My surge guard is an older TRC HW-50 amp, so doesn't have a screen to monitor time on its countdown.     

Bill

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My Surge Guard has a 2 minute and 16 second delay (136 seconds but maybe it's 137!)

Something else is wrong somewhere if you plug your coach into a power power without the autoformer and the breaker trips before your Surge Guard comes to life.  Your coach would be drawing nearly ZERO amps.  I would suspect a short/break in the power cord, faulty Surge Guard or something of that nature.

If yours is like mine, you have 2 "line lights" that should light when you plug in and if everything is OK you will have a 3rd blinking light.  This indicates good working power on line 1 and line 2 and the blinking will stop in 137 seconds when you hear a loud "thunk" allowing power to pass.

In case you are interested, the delay is there to protect A/C units in the case of a momentary loss of power.  This keeps the A/C compressors from kicking back in before they have time to relieve the pressure and have a normal start.

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If your coach is throwing a 50 amp breaker, then the coach would be pulling 50+ amps on either leg, L1, or L2, this is why it is a 240 volt breaker, yes it is a combined total or 100 amps at 120 volts, but either leg exceeding 50 amps at 120 will trip the breaker. This would be nearing zero ohms, or any dead short on either leg of the 240 volt circuit. A faulty or frayed power cable could easily be a culprit.

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5 hours ago, aksafariman said:

Thanks Bill.  Are you saying the 3-5 minute delay is normal in many surge guards?

Bill

 

Yes most take about 2.5 minutes to transfer power. Also if you have a power interruption this allows the "head preshure" on the ac compressors to bleed down so they arn't damaged on restart.

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manholt   

I had to change out the plug on my 50A cord last month...male side, both blades was loose and I had a on/off problem coming into coach.  Clunk, clunk sound when on shore power, is not a good thing.  Got a new yellow head with a handle.  Problem solved ! :)

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Surge Protectors are kind of like a traffic cop! Its job is to look at everything related to the Shore Power Riser wiring, voltage levels, frequency and if the unit is happy, you get a green light. Prevents a lot of damage. Like not going through a Red Light or running a Stop sign. Any of which can cause an expensive repair bill !

Rich.

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Thank you all for your input.  It looks like my next step is to bring the coach back to the house and try to isolate where the problem is. More after I get it home and solve my problem.  Thanks again.

Bil

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Update which creates a new related question.   Okay, I brought the coach home to the house and plugged it into my home 50 amp circuit.  After approx 2 minutes and 16 sec the surge protector activated.  

While the system was running through its self check, the surge guard line 1 was blinking.  The system then activated and the blinking stopped.

I went to the park manger, who is also an experienced electrician explained what happened when I plugged into his pedestals and also that the coach seems to be working correctly using my home 50 amp plug.  He then asked if my home 50 amp circuit had its own GFI built into the breaker.  My home breakers does not, however, his do.  He says that is why my coach causes his breaker to shut down, and I may have a ground problem in the coach.  I don't recall if most RV park hookups/plugs are GFI protected at the circuit breaker or not.     

So now I am curious if I may actually have a ground problem in my coacht.  

Any expert opinions?? Thanks for any input.

Bill

 

 

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wolfe10   

A 50 amp RV connection with GFI?  Now, that is a new one on me.

15 amp-- absolutely.

50? would have to see that one!

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Bill one place to start might be to check all connections on the 50 amp side of your coach. Make sure all surfaces are clean and Tight. 

Like Brett, a 50 amp GIF breaker is new to me. 

Herman 

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I stand corrected. I googled 50 amp GFCI Breakers and found quite a few. Single and double poles. Ranging in price from $89.95 to as high a over $300. 

Google before I speak from now on. (well maybe sometimes):P

Herman

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Brett & Herman thanks for the quick replys.  

So Herman, now that you say you're "stand corrected"  does that mean you think I may have a ground problem and need to look further at connections on my 50 amp side?   I am still trying to figure out if there is really a problem or I am  spinning my wheels for no reason.  

Bill

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Another Update:  I just gt off the phone with TRC Tech Support.  The tech tells me that it is normal for my TRC Surge Guard to trip a GFCI breaker.  Apparently while the surge guard is going through its normal checks there is a small amount of feedback on the circuit that will cause a GFCI breaker to trip.  

So it seems I do not have a problem and cried wolf.  Sorry about that.  I do certainly appreciate everyone's assistance/help.

Bill 

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Bill it is never a problem with being safe than sorry. Checking, cleaning and tightning electrical once a year should be on all annual checks. Besides you may even find your problem. 

Herman 

 

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wolfe10   

Still not aware of the use of GFI on 50 amp RV outlets.  Some of you professional electricians pipe in here!  When did this become code??????

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I have never seen a RV park pedestal with GFI on 50 amp. I have seen them on 15 amp that is primarily used as an place to plug in a auxiliary cord. 

Bill, have you had your coach to a campground that didn't have GFI and did you have a problem? I wouldn't plug in without my Surge Guard.

Bill 

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I think that the cg guy is incorrect. To date I have also not seen a 50 amp or 30 amp for that matter gfi recep. Yes on the 15/20 not on the 30 or 50. http://forums.mikeholt.com/showthread.php?t=96015        If the cg guy is an experienced electrician, he may be overly cautious. A 50 amp gfi breaker is a very high priced piece of equipment. Also there will be a push switch on the front of the breaker that must be reset before the regular switch on the breaker can be reset.

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Interesting - They do use GFI units on some Marina's to keep people safe swimming in the area around the boat(s). They just built a new Marina in our area and they required them per our local electrical code. What part of the country are you located and by chance do they have a local code requiring GFI  protection?

Rich.

The real issues is that if required by code, then they defeat the Surge Guards, because they place a high resistance circuit across the incoming Loads to test circuit wiring  is correct.

Bill-Do you by chance have a 50 to 30 amp adapter that you can plug into and see if the GFI circuit trips using only one side L-1 or L-2 . Thing is you would need to if the coach is wired for 50 amps to convert back to a connection the coach could plug into.

Kind of thinking out loud on this one.

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Hello again.  I'll try to answer all the questions.  We live in a senior sub-division near CDA, not a commercial RV park.  Management has put in RV electric hookups so owners guests can have a place close by to plug into when visiting.  They recently updated the facility so there are more plug ins available for guests.  I believe the manager independently decided to place the GFI breakers at each of the pedestals, so the user can turn them on/off while hooking up their RV, also as a precaution to cover his self from being blamed for any electrical failure to an RV (possibly over cautious).  There are 50 & 30 amp plugs available at each pedestal.  All have a GFI breaker.  I have tried using both the 30 & 50 amp plugs for my coach.  The breakers on the GFIs trip prior to the surge guard completing it require checks.  The manager did mention the 50 amp GFI breakers were very spendy when I was asking question regarding why the coach tripped the breakers on his plugs while mine at the house does not.  I do not have a GFI in my home 50 amp breaker.  The house was originally wire for a welder, I just changed it over to be used for the RV and didn't see the need for the GFI.

To date I believe our coach is the only one that has reported the problem.   In the past I was able to plug our old coach in without a problem.  Our current coach  is relatively new to us but is older, so I am running into something I haven't experienced previously.    

Yes, we have plugged our coach in at camp grounds from AZ to ID without experiencing this problem.  

As to turning off the surge guard, is that possible.  Mine is an older model, a TRC RV HW-50 surge guard.  I've talked with tech support as mentioned previously and they no longer have any literature on my model surge guard.  There is a "key" available, although I've not tried turning it to the off position.  I assumed that turning off the key would turn off the incoming power to the guard? 

I believe I've answered all the questions.  I have sent a request for info to TRC's tech support asking about the key switch.   

The coach has already been moved back to storage, so no way to plug it into power or check the "key" switch until I bring it back to the house again.   

Again thank you all for your comments and assistance.   

Bill

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abyrd   

50 A  GFI is $79 at Lowes include outdoor rated enclosure.  Just purchased one for my hot tub.

Jim

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