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Old 03-04-2012, 10:18 AM   #1
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Angry low 120V voltage problem on Journey

Need some help here

DW and I just arrived in Tucsin AZ. Plugged into 50 amp. campground utility post at our camp site at Rincon west RV park. Ran my hook up through our "Smart surge" progressive Industries circuit protection device as I always do. Checked the voltage meter in the 120V plug inside the coach. [The little plug in type from Camper World] Indicated 120V.

As night fell it became a little chilly, so I turned on an electric space heater that we always use [13 AMP]. Checked the little voltage meter and we had less than 100 volts and the neddle was varing slightly up and down The TV was acting up with static and big lines across the picture.

Shut every thing down right away and called the park maintenance people. They came right out and we disconected the coach from the utility post and tested the circuits. We found 240V on the 50 AMP plug 120V on the 30 & 20 AMP plugs with no variation.

Connected the electric back up without the circuit "Smart Surge". Made no difference volts still dropped. Connected back up with the "Smart Surge" and switched the refrigerator over to LP gas and used the LP furnace for heat. Stopped using the little electric space heater. Volts stay at 120 as long as we don't use the built in electric coffee maker or turn on the micro wave. TV worked OK with all else off.

Started the gen-set and every thing worked fine with no voltage variation [with loads] at the little meter. Shut the gen-set down and voltage started to vary and drop again with 13 AMP use. Checked the "Power Line" energy management instriment on our "One Source" power board and found the indicator light on gen-set [gen-set is off]. I was unable to use the button on the energy management system board to switch to 50AMP power. Went out and disconnected from the park post then reconnected. The energy magagement light then changed over to 50AMP.

Now the energy management lights started switching back and forth between 30 AMPs and 50 AMPs and the amp meter would flash 3 AMPs.
After about 15 minutes the flashing stopped and the light settled on 50 AMPs. All the bad symtoms stayed the same.

Can anybody tell me what's going on? Never had this problem before. It's going to get hot one of these days and we will need the Air Conditioning system. Obviously we can't run the AC under these electrical conditions. We don't plan to go back to Minnesota until April.

The energy management system seems to be the problem. Can I bypass the thing? If so, how should I proceed to bypass or get rid of the thing. Do we have some other problem with our electriacl system?

2001 Journey 36GDL.

I have all the tools and am not afraid to work on this sort of stuff as long as someone can tell me what to do.

Thanks in advance for any help.

Pine Tree
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Old 03-04-2012, 10:27 AM   #2
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First thing I would check is the transfer switch. The contacts on the shore power side might be in bad shape. Check all the connections on the energy management boards and shunt.
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Old 03-04-2012, 11:36 AM   #3
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I agree with John, or your cord plug. The EMS basically just monitors the power, only control it has is the four loads.
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Old 03-04-2012, 01:00 PM   #4
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X2 on probably a loose connection in the power cord plug or on the transfer switch. If the EMS is switching back and forth, that means you are loosing a 110v leg somewhere.
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Old 03-04-2012, 01:44 PM   #5
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Do I read this correct.... On shore power volts drop/fluctuate but on genset they are steady/solid?

I don't think you have ruled out the pedestal yet.

Sounds like the pedestal is having issues while under load. Sounds like static testing of pedestal (unloaded) indicated proper voltage - no surprise. You might ask the maintenance folks to test the pedestal UNDER load. Plug a couple heaters directly into the pedestal and test voltage. Or connect the rig (using your surge guard) turn on the loads inside the rig and then test the pedestal voltage directly at the plug on the pedestal. This will positively rule out the pedestal before diagnosing upstream to the xfer switch.
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Old 03-04-2012, 01:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ottffss View Post
Do I read this correct.... On shore power volts drop/fluctuate but on genset they are steady/solid?

I don't think you have ruled out the pedestal yet.

Sounds like the pedestal is having issues while under load. Sounds like static testing of pedestal (unloaded) indicated proper voltage - no surprise. You might ask the maintenance folks to test the pedestal UNDER load. Plug a couple heaters directly into the pedestal and test voltage. Or connect the rig (using your surge guard) turn on the loads inside the rig and then test the pedestal voltage directly at the plug on the pedestal. This will positively rule out the pedestal before diagnosing upstream to the xfer switch.
Good suggestions so far. If the transfer switch is easy to access, you can check the voltage UNDER LOAD at both the INPUT (Shore power) side and the OUTPUT (load) side with ease. Usual precautions about working on live circuits apply, of course.
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Old 03-04-2012, 02:38 PM   #7
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Years ago I had a similar problem. Not exactly what you are experiencing, but close to it. When we finally moved to another spot in the park, everything was fine. The maintenance people found an erratic ground wire at that site. It tested fine until they put a load on it, then the faulty ground showed up. It required digging up the wiring to repair. If you don't find it right away, you may want to move to another site that you know is working. Just a thought.
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Old 03-04-2012, 03:27 PM   #8
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I agree. I think the pedastal is having problems under load and your rv is fine. Best/easiest way to tell would be on your next stop down the road.

If all is well on your genny, if the problem is yours, it can only be the transfer switch.
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Old 03-04-2012, 05:47 PM   #9
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Thank you, each and everyone for the quick and very helpful reply to our 120/240V problem.

Let's not forget a big thank you to IRV2. What a great and useful site.

I did all of what you suggested. Tested under load first. Volts droped to 90 in the rig but stayed normal at the 120V 20 Amp. park pedistal.

Next I checked and tightened all the rig power connections at the Xfer switch and the breakers under the bed. All seemed tight, but I got at least 1/8 turn to tight on almost every screw.

Next I pulled all the breakers out and push them back in.

Final move was to coat the coach power plug blades [male pins] and the circuit surge protection male blades with a generious amount of GB OXY GARD. Worked the plugs in and out a few times.

Turned the post power back on, started the A/C and everything worked fine with no Voltage drop. Maybe just a little bit of a drop.

While the A/C was on I turned a 13AMP 120 V heater on and lost about 3 volts. down to about 150V at this point.

No more hunting or fluctuation 30/50Amps at the EMS board.

Looks like i"m "good to go"

Thanks again FRIENDS,

Pine Tree
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Old 03-04-2012, 05:52 PM   #10
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Thanks to all of you and thanks to IRV2.

Your suggestions fixed the problem.

Pine Tree
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Old 03-04-2012, 06:31 PM   #11
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pine - You da man! You walked that dog from the pedestal all the way into the rig, great work.... It does sound like you are good to go!

Any thoughts about where the problem might have been?

FWIW I'm so A..R.. about certain electrical issues (yours would qualify) that I have to know exactly where the issue was to feel comfortable I got it solved - for good.... I'll typically do one step at a time and religiously test after each step to determine which step actually solved it.... That way I can decide - based on that specific knowledge - if further replacement/repairs are necessary to ensure a long haul resolution....

PS - Ox-Gard is pretty handy stuff to have around - I don't leave home without it....
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Old 03-04-2012, 07:19 PM   #12
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I had considerable problems with the PowerLine EMS. After it had detected a real fault, it gave erratic readings when re-energized. I know it was the powerline unit as i have a 50 amp Progressive Industries EMS in front and the readings from that were normal. If you do experience problems with the powerline unit, try turning off the AC and the DC supplies to tthe coach for about a minute to allow the powerline unit to reset itself. I'm not sure if it will work for you but it did for me. The problem that triggered it initially was a defective circuit breaker in the park box.
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Old 03-05-2012, 10:46 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pine tree View Post
Need some help here

DW and I just arrived in Tucsin AZ. Plugged into 50 amp. campground utility post at our camp site at Rincon west RV park. Ran my hook up through our "Smart surge" progressive Industries circuit protection device as I always do. Checked the voltage meter in the 120V plug inside the coach. [The little plug in type from Camper World] Indicated 120V.

As night fell it became a little chilly, so I turned on an electric space heater that we always use [13 AMP]. Checked the little voltage meter and we had less than 100 volts and the neddle was varing slightly up and down The TV was acting up with static and big lines across the picture.

Shut every thing down right away and called the park maintenance people. They came right out and we disconected the coach from the utility post and tested the circuits. We found 240V on the 50 AMP plug 120V on the 30 & 20 AMP plugs with no variation.

Connected the electric back up without the circuit "Smart Surge". Made no difference volts still dropped. Connected back up with the "Smart Surge" and switched the refrigerator over to LP gas and used the LP furnace for heat. Stopped using the little electric space heater. Volts stay at 120 as long as we don't use the built in electric coffee maker or turn on the micro wave. TV worked OK with all else off.

Started the gen-set and every thing worked fine with no voltage variation [with loads] at the little meter. Shut the gen-set down and voltage started to vary and drop again with 13 AMP use. Checked the "Power Line" energy management instriment on our "One Source" power board and found the indicator light on gen-set [gen-set is off]. I was unable to use the button on the energy management system board to switch to 50AMP power. Went out and disconnected from the park post then reconnected. The energy magagement light then changed over to 50AMP.

Now the energy management lights started switching back and forth between 30 AMPs and 50 AMPs and the amp meter would flash 3 AMPs.
After about 15 minutes the flashing stopped and the light settled on 50 AMPs. All the bad symtoms stayed the same.

Can anybody tell me what's going on? Never had this problem before. It's going to get hot one of these days and we will need the Air Conditioning system. Obviously we can't run the AC under these electrical conditions. We don't plan to go back to Minnesota until April.

The energy management system seems to be the problem. Can I bypass the thing? If so, how should I proceed to bypass or get rid of the thing. Do we have some other problem with our electriacl system?

2001 Journey 36GDL.

I have all the tools and am not afraid to work on this sort of stuff as long as someone can tell me what to do.

Thanks in advance for any help.

Pine Tree

I had to put silver cleaner/polish on the blades of my 50A plug. I left a 'schmear' on it when I plugged it in to the Park post and MY problem disappeared.

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