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Old 10-28-2012, 07:17 PM   #1
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camp ground power post problem

Hi All,
I have a 2001 Winnebago Journey36GDL. The rig has 20,30 & 50 amp capability.

In some camp grounds when I attempt to plug into a 30 amp post I either get low voltage [98 volts] or no voltage. When I call the camp ground people and we test the post we get 120 volts and they claim to have no problem with their posts all summer.

My plug in surge protector indicates reverse polarity yet the post wiring seems correct. Top ground---right power---left neutral.

The camp ground then moves me to a site with a 50 amp plug and all is well. Except one time at a 50 amp site [same park] I got no voltage but got a slight shock from the body of my coach. Scared the S--- out of me.

After I got a 50 amp site to work I went out and began to check the park overhead power system. What I found was ONE high voltage wire running to a pole mounted transformer and bare copper wire running from a ground stake to the transformer. There was no neutral wire running from the power utility company source to the transformer.

Two wires came out of the transformer, ran down the pole and fed the row of 30 amp park power posts. Each power post had a ground wire connected to a stake driven next to the post.

I could not see the wires coming out of the transformer feeding the 50 amp. row of posts. [The 50 amp trasformer was fed with a single power wire just like the 30 amp system] There must have been 3 wires coming out as there was a ground stake next to each 50 amp post and 4 wires in the box. The final 50 amp post [3rd one] worked fine.

The ground was very dry due to the area drougt, so am wondering if the the 30 amp feed transformer had lost it's ground that they seemed to be using as a neutral. Or maybe that combined with lack of neutral wire from the power company was the problem.

Any help here???

Seems to me leaving off the neutral wire is cheating!!!!

Pine Tree
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Old 10-29-2012, 04:09 AM   #2
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Could the wiring in your cable be crossed over? Polarity at the post is correct, but when it arrives at the surge protector it has been reversed at some connector along he way.
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Old 10-29-2012, 05:34 AM   #3
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Single wire earth return system where the supply is 22kV single wire to the transformer is very common in the Australian rural areas, but it obviously does rely on a good quality earthing system to work properly.
Using the same system to feed multiple outlets in the park shouldn't really be any different, but as you said, maybe it could be just due to exceptionally dry ground conditions even though that main earth should go so deep (or wide) as to be unaffected by surface conditions
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Old 10-29-2012, 06:20 AM   #4
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Thanks TwelveVolt,
I did not have an extension cord in the hookup, Obviously there was a "Dog bone" 50 to 30 amp converter, but it was factory made one and I checked it out with a continuity light. The bone was OK.

The 50 amp hook up that gave me a little shock was direct with the Winnebago factory cord.

What makes me suspect the camp ground wiring is the fact that most camp grounds and my hook up at home display no problem. I know my home hooup has a legit neutral wire.

What's really disconcerting, is just one other Winnebago out of our group of 22 rigs had a problem with the voltage and then in just 2 campgrounds. [We were on the 2012 WIT New England caravan] The other rig that had my same problem also was a 2001 Journey 36GDL [same as ours]. Everytime I had a voltage problem he had one too. No one else did.

Each time we had a problem it would eventually "kick in" or we would move to another site to get proper voltage. This happened three times out of about 25 camp grounds we stayed at during the entire trip. [one time not with WIT caravan]

I had the mechanics at Camper World in Dearborn MI check our rig with both 30 and 50 amps and all was well. Also the generator comes right up with 120 volts 50 amps. All this seems to say it is not the transfer switch or my rig in any way.

Could it be that the 2001 Journey is wired in some super sensitive way that shuts out questionable campground hookups? Maybe Winnebago found out about this problem and changed things in subsequent production.

Another point. We only had voltage problems in very old parks.

Pine Tree
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Old 10-29-2012, 06:51 AM   #5
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A long shot. Is it possible that rain water or ambient moisture is creating a temporary path to the vehicle body where you got the shock? The body should be grounded to drain away any such transients. You would expect a shock if he 'ground' wire is actually 'hot' instead.

We wondered why my friend's boat had pitting in the aluminum toe rails that run from bow to stern. After a night crossing from one Caribbean island to another, we checked for voltage between ground and the toe rail. With the 12VDC bow running lights on, the meter showed 2 volts in the toe rail. The salt water residue had created a conductive path.
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Old 10-29-2012, 08:24 AM   #6
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I suggest you get the two items in this kit if you do not already have them and start poking around. Plug the tester into each 110VAC receptacle on board to verify the wiring polarity is correct, and touch the probe to places where there should be no voltage to verify that they are grounded.
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Old 10-29-2012, 04:04 PM   #7
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I have the progressive EMS on our MH and it has shut down several times this last trip.....only once was it for bad neutral but I sure would trust it before the campground wring......A 50amp circuit without a separate neutral and ground is asking for trouble.
When you got the slight shock, I would suspect the campground wiring energized your camper and you were the ground...
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