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Old 07-13-2019, 06:11 PM   #1
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Could have been electrocuted!

So bear with me, this may get a bit long since I am a bit peeved at the moment.
My Cedar Creek came pre-wired for a generator with a transfer switch in the front storage compartment. I usually travel with a Honda 2000i that I plug in when boondocking to do small stuff like charge the batteries, ceiling fan, tv, cpap, etc. Lately I have been thinking more about adding a larger generator and exploring options from the Onan 5500 to possibly sitting a Honda 3000i, or larger, in the front compartment (mostly impractical).
On that note, I decided to pop the cover off the transfer switch box to see what would be involved in making up a generator connection. Pretty straight forward, generator connects in the middle, shore power on the right, load panel on the left. Small switch inside to set for instantaneous bypass or a 20 second delay (that is the default position, allows a gennie to throttle up).
I made up a small pigtail to simulate a generator lead, mainly to see if the transfer relays were working after these several years with no use. I unplugged the shore power and then plugged in the extension cord pigtail to simulate a generator coming on. Went inside the camper and had no power to the microwave or the dehumidifier that I have plugged in while at home. I checked the lugs in the transfer box and sure enough, the power was going to the side that was labeled "load panel".
So then I took my multi meter to my shore power cord that was lying on the floor where I unplugged it from my service in my rv building. The other end was still attached to the side of the camper to my power inlet. Sure enough, the positive blade was hot at 123 volts. Had I picked up that plug in my hand I would have been electrocuted. If a generator had been installed and running and someone unplugged the shore power cord from a pedestal and touched the blades of the plug they likely would have been killed.
I unplugged all power, and swapped the electric cables in the transfer box to the correct sides. You can see the cables are identical so I really don't know if CC has a method to test the orientation. After swapping them to the correct sides, I again plugged in my extension cord pigtail that simulates a generator, 20 seconds or so went by and I heard the contactors click in. I went inside the camper and all was working correctly.
Thanks to my guardian angel today for not allowing Cedar Creeks mistake take my life.
Pictures attached show the transfer box after I swapped sides with the cables to the correct orientation.
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Old 07-13-2019, 09:57 PM   #2
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Is this the factory installed transfer switch, or was it replaced by a repair shop? If factory, I do think you should contact Forest River and let them know what you discovered.

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Old 07-13-2019, 10:00 PM   #3
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Yes, it was installed that way from the factory. Pre wired with the Onan harness to a remote start switch and hour meter.

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Is this the factory installed transfer switch, or was it replaced by a repair shop? If factory, I do think you should contact Forest River and let them know what you discovered.

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Old 07-13-2019, 10:19 PM   #4
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Go ahead and send this info to FR and have them contact me with any questions. Have you looked to see if your RV had any recalls?
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Old 07-13-2019, 10:38 PM   #5
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No, I don't know about any recalls. The dealer I bought it from is near me in Huntsville, Al. Not sure how I would go about contacting FR?? Any guidance on that?

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Go ahead and send this info to FR and have them contact me with any questions. Have you looked to see if your RV had any recalls?
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Old 07-13-2019, 11:40 PM   #6
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Try Steve Brandenberger at FR. I can't find his direct number at the moment, but here is his email:

sbrandenberger@forestriverinc.com
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Old 07-14-2019, 06:00 AM   #7
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I have a contact at the FROG rally that might be able to point you in the right direction. I'll look it up later today.
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Old 07-14-2019, 10:51 AM   #8
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Try Steve Brandenberger at FR. I can't find his direct number at the moment, but here is his email:

sbrandenberger@forestriverinc.com
Thanks! I sent him an email. I sure wouldn't want anyone to get bit by this if there was anything I might have been able to do to prevent it.
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Old 07-14-2019, 02:28 PM   #9
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Fatal electrocution

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Had I picked up that plug in my hand I would have been electrocuted. If a generator had been installed and running and someone unplugged the shore power cord from a pedestal and touched the blades of the plug they likely would have been killed.
Electrocution (death via electric current) generally occurs when there is current through the heart. This might be current flow from hand to hand (one hand on a hot terminal, the other on a grounded point) or from an arm (on hot terminal) to wet feet on wet surface).

If you "picked up that plug in [your] hand" as you suggested you would likely NOT have been electrocuted but could have possibly suffered a severe burn on your hand.

That said, you've done a good piece of detective work. Thanks for posting it and alerting others.
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Old 07-14-2019, 04:41 PM   #10
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If 110 volts could kill people by touching it in dry conditions, then all electricians would be dead. I was a sparky for about 3 years. We had to trouble shoot 110 hot all the time. We had to trouble shoot 220 hot sometimes. We had to make connections with 440 that was hot once in awhile. No one ever got seriously injured.

Professionals do not take electricity lightly. Exploding copper is something to carefully avoid. Wet conditions make everything much more dangerous. "Getting shocked" comes with the territory.
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