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  1. #1
    Setting Up Camp PharmaDoc's Avatar
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    Electricians please - Brand new RV AC / Voltage issues - Part 2

    Posted earlier as to my new Reflection 150 295RL fiver AC units not working well on 30A shore power at my home after working flawlessly at the 50A shore power at the dealer during the inspection. Voltage at the house pedestal was 117-118VAC - distance from the panel is roughly 175' or more. I helped pull the wire - it seemed pretty beefy but no clue as to how large the gauge was.

    Internal RV outlets on no-load were 114-116VAC. Main AC would kick in but immediately start "grunting" and outlets now read at 108-114VAC; bedroom AC would run 20-30 seconds and then trip the breaker. Checked with 50A cord with a dogbone adapter and a 30A cord with a locking adapter - all the same results.

    My Champion 3500 inverter genny finally arrived - put it in service and connected it to the RV with the same 30A cord. Got uniform 120-121VAC at the outlets. Both AC units cooled immediately upon setting the thermostat appropriately. (did not try to run both at same time as I don't have Easy Starts yet.) I could not identify any other electrical issues.

    Finally ordered a Progressive Industries 30A Outlet Tester - at the pedestal the red lights lit and read "Reverse Wiring" above and "Hot" and "Neutral" below. I assume this is what they call "reverse polarity?"

    First question: Could this "reverse wiring" be the sole cause for the issues I encountered?
    Next question: Is this something a handyman can rectify? or do you need a professional?

    Or am I totally off base and a completely different issue is ongoing at the pedestal? How would I diagnose it? I'd really like to have reliable shore power at my house in case we ever need to live/sleep in it someday.

    Thanks for any help.
    Ram 2500 Hemi V8 6.4L Long Bed
    2021 Reflection 150 295RL

    "If you're going to shoot, SHOOT. Don't talk."

  2. #2
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    Too much voltage drop. You can damage the air conditioners running on low voltage.
    John & Kathy
    2014 F250 Lariat FX4 6.2L SBCC
    2014 Reflection 303RLS
    SW Indiana

  3. #3
    Site Team xrated's Avatar
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    117-118 VAC at the panel is considered a bit low. Most newer residences will see voltages in the 123-125VAC range, and of course on high electrical demand (think summer A/C units running by everyone that is on that transformer feed, can suck the voltage down considerably. On top of the "lower voltage" numbers at the house pedestal, you are using a 175' of some type of wiring to the RV. There will be additional voltage drop associated with that length of the circuit. It's likely that if you test the voltage at the end of the 175' run and do not have it connected to anything, thus NOT pulling a load on it, it will read very similar to the voltage at the house pedestal. Voltage drop occurs when a load is placed on the wires that feed the load. If you were to hook up the trailer and turn an A/C unit on you would likely see that the voltage at the breaker panel in the trailer is now maybe 8-10 volts less.

    In my opinion, you have two different issues that are affecting you. 1. The no load voltage at the house panel. 2. The length of the run feeding the trailer is likely not sized correctly for that distance and is causing some voltage drop. You said that you didn't know what size those wires were, so that is still an unknown at this point in time. Other possibilities include loose connections anywhere along the path to your RV....including at the house breaker panel, any terminations from there to the receptacle that you are plugging the trailer into, as well as possibly in the trailer itself.....although you did say that it performed OK when at the dealership's 50A shore power plug.

    The revers polarity indication needs to be corrected.....and if you have no real working knowledge or skills with electrical equipment, I would suggest hiring an Electrician that does. It is possible for the wiring to be reversed at the home breaker panel or at the 30A outlet that you plug into or any other terminations that might be in between those locations....if there are any. The bottom line though, it needs to be corrected. I don't believe that issue is causing the lower voltage issues you are experiencing, and I did state my thoughts about the why of the lower than normal voltage readings.....so basically, I would focus on finding out and fixing the reverse wiring issue, then the size of the 175' of wire feeding the trailer plug, and if necessary, you may have to replace that 175' run with a larger ga. wiring.
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  4. #4
    Long Hauler geotex1's Avatar
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    Sorry to say, your entire home installation was done incorrectly. Fortunately, you found the A/Cs were not damaged!!!
    Rob & Nikki + Cloverfield
    2020 Grand Design Solitude S-Class 3350RL
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  5. #5
    Site Team Member traveldawg's Avatar
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    You probably want an electrician (one that is licensed and has a good reputation backed up by a reputable company) come and check your wiring (house and extension outlets).

    As most others said, ACs like good voltage. I've found that mine don't much care for anything under 110 or maybe 109.

    My PEI EMS cuts off electric at 104.
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  6. #6
    Rolling Along
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    For a 30A run between 150 and 200 feet, you would need to use 4ga. cable.
    You really need a licensed electrician to do the pedestal wiring. He also needs to be aware that this is 120V AC and not 240V.The Internet abounds with stories of pedestal 30A outlets being wired with 230V, two hots across the terminals instead of a neutral and a hot. That works great for dryers, RVs, not so well.
    2010 Jayco 26(SOLD)
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  7. #7
    Big Traveler gbkims's Avatar
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    I compared a run at my home to the estimated voltage drop by the Southwire online calculator.
    CB Panel to Storage Bldg subpanel, ~90' run of 10 Awg in buried conduit.

    https://www.southwire.com/calculator-vdrop
    "1 conductor per phase utilizing a 10 AWG Copper conductor installed Direct Buried will limit the voltage drop to 3.15% or less when supplying 20 amps for 90.0 feet on a 120 volt 1 phase system."

    120V Outlet, no load.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Storage Bldg wo Load 122.7 VAC - 2021-07-03.jpg 
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    Suretest 61-165 Tests:
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Storage Bldg 120V Outlet Vd 3.4% 118.5 VAC - 12A Test w Ideal 61-165 - 2021-07-03.jpg 
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    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Storage Bldg 120V Outlet Vd 4.2% 117.4 VAC - 15A Test w Ideal 61-165 - 2021-07-03.jpg 
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    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Storage Bldg 120V Outlet Vd 5.6% 115.7 VAC - 20A Ideal 61-165 Test - 2021-07-03.jpg 
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    - Gene

    Kim & Gene
    2015 Reflection 317RST
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  8. #8
    Site Sponsor SolarPoweredRV's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xrated View Post
    117-118 VAC at the panel is considered a bit low. Most newer residences will see voltages in the 123-125VAC range, and of course on high electrical demand (think summer A/C units running by everyone that is on that transformer feed, can suck the voltage down considerably. On top of the "lower voltage" numbers at the house pedestal, you are using a 175' of some type of wiring to the RV. There will be additional voltage drop associated with that length of the circuit. It's likely that if you test the voltage at the end of the 175' run and do not have it connected to anything, thus NOT pulling a load on it, it will read very similar to the voltage at the house pedestal. Voltage drop occurs when a load is placed on the wires that feed the load. If you were to hook up the trailer and turn an A/C unit on you would likely see that the voltage at the breaker panel in the trailer is now maybe 8-10 volts less.

    In my opinion, you have two different issues that are affecting you. 1. The no load voltage at the house panel. 2. The length of the run feeding the trailer is likely not sized correctly for that distance and is causing some voltage drop. You said that you didn't know what size those wires were, so that is still an unknown at this point in time. Other possibilities include loose connections anywhere along the path to your RV....including at the house breaker panel, any terminations from there to the receptacle that you are plugging the trailer into, as well as possibly in the trailer itself.....although you did say that it performed OK when at the dealership's 50A shore power plug.

    The revers polarity indication needs to be corrected.....and if you have no real working knowledge or skills with electrical equipment, I would suggest hiring an Electrician that does. It is possible for the wiring to be reversed at the home breaker panel or at the 30A outlet that you plug into or any other terminations that might be in between those locations....if there are any. The bottom line though, it needs to be corrected. I don't believe that issue is causing the lower voltage issues you are experiencing, and I did state my thoughts about the why of the lower than normal voltage readings.....so basically, I would focus on finding out and fixing the reverse wiring issue, then the size of the 175' of wire feeding the trailer plug, and if necessary, you may have to replace that 175' run with a larger ga. wiring.
    I agree with the above.

    Additionally, I think your Electrician installed too small Gauge wire for your 175 foot run.

    You also might have an Electrician look at your house wiring because you are starting a few volts low, and then you are running 175 feet to the camper.

    I might also guess that your Electrician calculated the voltage loss on the wire based on 240 volts and not 120 volts for the pedestal.

    You also want to know weather the Electrician used Copper wire or Aluminum wire, either is OK, you just need to up-size the Aluminum wire.

    Here is one final tip that will fix your issue...

    Install a Hughes AutoFormer at the pedestal. The Hughes AutoFormer will increase the voltage going into your camper and your A/Cs will run right. I have one and it works well (I don't need it on my new coach because I have a Hybrid Inverter).
    David and Peggy
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobLandry View Post
    For a 30A run between 150 and 200 feet, you would need to use 4ga. cable.
    You really need a licensed electrician to do the pedestal wiring. He also needs to be aware that this is 120V AC and not 240V.The Internet abounds with stories of pedestal 30A outlets being wired with 230V, two hots across the terminals instead of a neutral and a hot. That works great for dryers, RVs, not so well.
    This is the most important comment on this thread. Do not let an electrician hook your 30 Amp plug up as a 230 dryer plug. RV's run on 120 volts only.

    I ran a 200 line to a pedestal (50/30/20) typical RV box and used 2ga wire. I have strong voltage at the box.

    Red
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  10. #10
    Site Team xrated's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by el Rojo View Post
    This is the most important comment on this thread. Do not let an electrician hook your 30 Amp plug up as a 230 dryer plug. RV's run on 120 volts only.

    I ran a 200 line to a pedestal (50/30/20) typical RV box and used 2ga wire. I have strong voltage at the box.

    Red
    Have you checked the actual voltage while that circuit is under a substantial load......A/Cs on, water heater on, other electrical devices running? The voltage will not drop when there is no load on the circuit.

    And quite honestly, any "Electrician" that hooks up a 30A RV receptacle for 240VAC....IS NOT AN ELECTRICIAN....Period! There are lots of folks out there working as "Electricians".....who really don't have a clue about what they are doing. I spent 4 years going through an apprenticeship, as did lots and lots of Journeymen Electricians and it is downright scary what some of the "hacks" are doing in the name of being an Electrician.
    Last edited by xrated; 07-04-2021 at 07:12 AM.
    2016 F350 CrewCab Dually
    2018 Momentum 394M...Heavily Modded!
    2023 Suzuki GSX-S1000 GT+
    Excessive Payload is a Wonderful Thing

    "If it ain't fast....It ain't Fun"

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