Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Verifying Shore Power

Before plugging your rig into shore power at a campground or even s friend's house, it is VERY wise to check the power at the outlet. Incorrectly-wired electric boxes are not uncommon and can cause major damage to your electrical system and appliances that may be plugged in.

As a minimum, there are simple small voltage/polarity checkers that plug into the outlets and will tell you either by a meter or colored LED lights how high or low the voltage is and whether polarity and grounds are correctly wired. One of these should be a "must-have" item in your LD.

Terry Tanner made up a neat "pedestal checker" that he uses to check the power before hooking up. It consists of a 30Amp Male to 15 Amp Female Adapter, a Kill-A-Watt meter and a receptacle tester (as described above) to check for open ground, open neutral, open hot, hot/neutral reversed polarity. He plugs the Kill-A-Watt into the adapter and then plugs the Receptical tester into the Kill-A-Watt and leaves them all plugged into each other.

He then plugs the 3 piece pedestal checker into the pedestal power source and checks everything BEFORE plugging the rig in.

If you want to increase your level of protection, then you should consider a surge-protector. There are portable ones that plug into the electric utility box before you plug in your power cord, and there are hard-wired models that install inside your rig. For a complete discussion of surge protectors, read the Lazy Daze Companion article.

Contributors: WxToad, Terry Tanner

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