<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> Issues with RV Park Electricity
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Course Topic: Campground Electricity

Instructors: Bill and Jan Moeller

If you enjoy the RV lifestyle because you can go "just about anywhere", you'll certainly encounter all sorts of challenges. Where your rig has a 30 amp plug, and only 15 amp receptacles are available, you'll need a 15 to 30 amp adapter. Similar adapters are available to go from 50 amps down to a 30 amp receptacle.

Some mobile home parks which accommodate occasional RVers will likely furnish a 50 amp receptacle; which means you'll need to also have an adapter which fits a 50 amp receptacle and will adapt to your regular 30 amp cord.

There can be a challenge for big rigs when only 15 amp receptacles are available. The problem is that the large rig will be constrained by the 15 amp source. The supply is "limited", and you won't be able to use, for instance, two air conditioners. The trick is to know the amperage draw of every electrical appliance in the RV. Amps are often given on the appliance itself. If it isn't use the formula "amps = watts/volts" to calculate the amps. Thus a 1200 watt microwave operating on a standard 120 volt system will be drawing (1200 watts/120 volts), or 10 amps. Where amperage is restricted, don't plug in a coffee pot while you're running a water heater or microwave. In other words, shut down some electric appliances while you're using others.

A common RV park problem which can be monitored is low voltage. This usually occurs in older parks, where wiring is inadequate. There is very little you can do about it. Voltage should be between 120-125. Low voltage is sometimes detected when a TV picture begins to "get smaller". When the voltage gets much below 110, it can be damaging to compressors, computers, and other electrical appliances. A small voltage meter can be purchased at Camping World. It will tell you in advance what the campground voltage is. Tip: In parks which have marginal voltage, the closer your site is to the panel box, the higher voltage you'll have. Avoid sites which are at the far end of the electric park's installation.

Circuit analyzers: Usually the wiring in RV parks are satisfactory. But a circuit analyzer should be plugged into the rustically first. It tells that current is on, and the polarity is correct. Reverse polarity can damage certain equipment, such as VCRs, TVs and computers.

Ground fault interrupters: Where there is an imbalance in the electric load, this device will shut down the entire circuit. It can be reset simply by pushing in the reset button. Some RV parks are using GFI plugs for their campground outlets -- which is unfortunate, as they often simply won't work. This can cause some unwanted surprises where the RV is equipped with an inverter, and unknown to the RVer the inverter runs through an entire battery bank before the problem is discovered.