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Intermittent Shore Power Failure


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#1 Jaimepoulin1

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 06:27 AM

I am plugged in to a 20 amp service for shore power. I am using a standard 30 amp plug.

 

The first day we had no problems for about a 30 hour period. In the middle of the following night we lost power. It was out for several hours. In the morning I switched park pole outlets to plug in to and that seemed to take care of it. There is no visible breaker on the pole.

 

All went good for about another 16 hours until about 4 o'clock this morning. I went to the main power pole outside (supply side) and switched again and the coach "tried" to power up. the lights flickered a few times then nothing. ten minutes or so later with no tinkering it "tried" to power up again, but nothing.

 

This is confusing as everything seems to be good. I could only think that there might be some overnight condensation on the connections but all seems to be dry.

 

Any ideas?

 


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#2 wolfe10

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 07:24 AM

Jamie,

 

Assume you are using a 15/20 amp male to 30 amp female adapter.  Check that the prongs are clean and tight and that there is no sign of melting on the adapter or shore power male end.  Higher amp draws tend to degrade these adapters-- in fact just earlier this week, I had to replace one we use while the coach is stored.

 

What were you running when power went down?  Charger? Water Heater? A/C's? Refrigerator on 120 VAC? Space heaters?  Other?

 

Have you been monitoring voltage?  What is it when shore power works?  Doesn't work/tries to work?

 

Brett


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#3 Jaimepoulin1

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 09:01 AM

13.1 13.2 when all is good. 11.7 as of this morning when out. The only thing running was the furnace and a couple of minor systems. Cable box.....etc.....

 

     I will check the plugs. I believe I am using a 30 amp connector though.... Thanks for the help.


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#4 wolfe10

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 09:13 AM

Jamie

 

Yes, if your coach is 30 amps and you are plugged into 30 amps instead of the 20, no adapter would be needed.

 

And, you posted VDC readings (i.e. your house battery bank). Since you mention the "park pole outlets" I thought you had a problem with the 120 VAC failing.

 

BTW, a reading of 11.7 indicates a dead battery, unless that reading was under a heavy load.  You probably need to fully charge your batteries and go by a place that sells batteries to have them load tested.  Your battery bank should certainly be able to keep you going for an overnight, assuming they were fully charged.  And, if shore power was on, they should have been fully charged with power went off.

 

Brett


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#5 Jaimepoulin1

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 12:28 PM

One of my challenges frankly not stated earlier is that I am in Tennessee and the Coach is in Maine, so I am relaying this info through Michelle.

  I did talk to my Awesome RV service provider, Mountain Road RV in Sabattus Me and they said it is most likely due to the fact that I am using a 20 amp service and an extension cable. The bus is about 35 feet away from the power pole. Over time, the heat builds up and kills the service. Michelle is going to check for corrosion and melting around the prongs of the extension. Also, the refrigerator is running off electric as opposed to gas so she is hitting the button on that to reduce the load. Hopefully this will not require replacement of any components. When I checked the voltage of the battery the coach had been running the furnace all night off just the coach  batteries so I am not surprised there was a discharge. When she was able to get power it came back up to 13- 13.1

 

I hope she will be okay.  If not, she can rough it for another couple of days till I get home. Not Ideal but a learning process certainly.

Thanks for your help. Does this sound plausible to you?

J


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#6 wolfe10

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 04:02 PM

In a word, yes.  Extension cords can materially reduce voltage under high loads.

 

What gauge is the extension cord-- should be on the cord jacket?


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#7 Jaimepoulin1

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 08:29 PM

Regarding the gauge, I am not sure. I am not there to look. If this helps it is a standard thick black cable.

  Michelle hooked it  back up on a break from work today and it has been humming along nicely since. All appliances are humming along nicely now. Or at least the heater is.

  The condition of the plug ends is good, no melted plastic, hot spots or corrosion. I honestly am thinking it is just due to the length of the extension, the relatively low service at 20 amps, and the basic draw of being plugged in and powering minor systems. The Battery is reading fully charged and the readout says 13.1 for now.

I suggested to Michelle that when she retires for the evening, unplug the shore power, and let the furnace fans run on batteries overnight. Plug it back in in the morning.

   Thanks again!


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#8 wolfe10

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 09:10 PM

To minimize draw 120 VAC draw:

 

Use propane heater, not electric space heater. That is a BIG draw.

Use propane for water heater, NOT electric element.  That is a BIG draw.

Leave refrigerator on propane. Small draw.

If you have an inverter/charger, set the dip switches/program it to lowest amp draw, sometimes known as power share or power save.  Will be in your inverter/charger's manual.  Does not come into play except when first plugging in/activating the charger function. Can be a significant draw if batteries are deeply discharged and you first plug in (if programming allows it to go to maximum charge rate.

 

Verify that the extension cord is 10 gauge. Best advice is to buy an additional 30 amp RV cord-- heavier gauge= less voltage drop.

 

You should be able to manage to keep the batteries plugged in 24/7 along with a few other things on 20 amp service.  BUT PLEASE MONITOR VOLTAGE (at any outlet in the coach).  If voltage drops below 108 VAC, you need to shed some load. 

 

PM (Private Message) if you need details or would like for me to talk Michelle thorough this. 

 

Brett


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#9 Jaimepoulin1

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 09:17 PM

Brett, you are the best. I think we are all set.

   Thanks so much, it is a bit of a learn as you go proposition. Before we have even left, I have learned so much.

 

   Have a great night!


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