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Old 09-28-2014, 11:13 PM   #1
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Electrical issue on shore power but works fine on generator

We're camping in New Mexico, and I have the following problem:

On generator: all circuits and appliances work, the house battery charges up, inverter panel shows AC in, inverted circuits work

On shore power: GFCI circuits in bath, kitchen, and basement do not work, front air conditioner does not work, batteries do not charge, inverter panel mid-coach does not show AC in, inverted circuits work.

Any ideas? Transfer switch?

2009 FR Berk 390BH

Thanks
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Old 09-29-2014, 10:46 AM   #2
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Maybe a silly question but, have you checked the power at the pole? They are not always the most well cared for item in the park. You need a volt meter (DMM) and check both L1 and L2. If your rear AC is working it sounds like one of the Ls is dead.
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Old 09-29-2014, 10:50 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jk510 View Post
Maybe a silly question but, have you checked the power at the pole? They are not always the most well cared for item in the park. You need a volt meter (DMM) and check both L1 and L2. If your rear AC is working it sounds like one of the Ls is dead.
X2. On a 50 amp RV, in simple terms you have TWO 50 amp 120 volt lines feeding the RV. It does sound like one of the lines is not working correct...thus only some of your stuff working, that may all be on the non functioning incoming line.

As jk510 stated above, the first place to check is the pedestal at the park.

This link will help, and click the outlet testing tab on the left:

http://www.myrv.us/electric/



The voltage between Y and X should be 240-Volt, X and W 120-Volt, Y and W 120-Volt, X and G 120-volt, Y and G 120-volt, W and G 0-Volt

You may find either the Y(L1) or X(L2) is not giving you 120 volts.

You can also have the same thing happening in your power cord, and only one leg is coming all the way in to the RV. We see bad/burnt power cords pretty frequently here in the forums....especially when owners don't twist them good for the final lock, or connect/disconnect the cords without killing power at the pedestal first. Over time, the electrical arcing that occurs will make either the cord, or the attaching point to the RV unworkable.

I would check the campground outlet first. If that checks out, then plug your detachable RV cord into the outlet, but not to the RV. Check the cord now. This way you can eliminate each link in the power chain, as to where the problem lies.

If the cord checks out, then you know the problem lies from where the cord attaches to the RV and in from there.
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Old 09-29-2014, 10:52 AM   #4
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Bad transfer switch?
Only one side engaging on shore power?
Only one leg hot on pole?

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Old 09-30-2014, 02:39 PM   #5
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Sorry, bad internet connectivity last couple days.

An update, I opened up the transfer switch and found melted contacts! Lucky we had no fire. I found a replacement part in Flagstaff and we'll drop the coach for a day while we sightsee there. Here's some pictures...Click image for larger version

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Old 09-30-2014, 02:45 PM   #6
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You got lucky. That looks like it could have gotten real ugly, real fast.

I've never taken a look inside a transfer switch. I would have assumed to find relays that handle the switching. Instead, this looks like it's just bridging the two connections into one output. In that case I'd be worried about plugging into shore power with a generator running.
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Old 09-30-2014, 03:27 PM   #7
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Hey I got one right!
Do I win a prize?
Or does this just make my wrong from another thread just equal out?

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Old 09-30-2014, 03:36 PM   #8
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You got it!

I put a cheap smoke detector in the bay with the transfer switch, and I have not plugged in to shore power for 2 days. I run the generator at the end of the day only to bring the batteries up for over night for lights when we're in the coach. I think the risk of fire is highest on shore power, lowest on battery, and middle risk on generator. I only run the generator when we're awake and near the coach. I have the fridge and hot water running on gas. The real pisser is that the coffee machine requires good power!
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Old 09-30-2014, 08:49 PM   #9
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The photos show why OSHA requires arc flash protection when opening electrical panels that are energized. This is one government rule that makes sense. Suppose you had the panel cover off and were troubleshooting it when the arc happened? I've seen videos of arc flashes using dummies in front of an open panel. The arc spews out molten metal and it gets ugly really fast.

The smoke detector in the electrical bay is a good idea. On our Sunseeker, it's directly underneath the bed. That's not a comforting thought. I just hope the metal box contains the arc if it happens!
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Old 10-01-2014, 11:03 AM   #10
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HOLY CRAP!! That's Ugly!!
I have to wonder what caused it. That shouldn't happen in normal operation. Did you take any powerline hits? Wow.
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Old 10-01-2014, 11:04 AM   #11
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I would wonder if it wasn't a loose connection.

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Old 10-01-2014, 11:11 AM   #12
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Further update. That transfer switch was part of a recall for other RV manufacturers, and camping world is checking to see if FR recalled the switch. The recall is installation related; so, not all coach maker applications would be recalled.


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Old 10-01-2014, 11:12 AM   #13
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Thought the IOTA transfer switch was recalled over a year ago? might want to contact Randy at FR and see if he will help in the cost to replace. Also if your not the orginal owner, let FR know you now own the coach to get recall information, also Frightliner and Cummins.
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Old 10-02-2014, 09:06 PM   #14
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The transfer switch was covered under the recall. I'm the second owner; so, incomplete communications in this context led to the present situation.

Update: the transfer switch looks like it might have caused an issue with my inverter. I'm camping in the parking lot of the Camping World in Flagstaff, AZ as they await wiring schematics for my 2009 FR Berkshire 390BH. Anyone got a copy?

At least it's a free place to stay! I took my Harley off the rack on the rear, and I'm going to ride around northern AZ while they fix the electrical problem. Lucky my wife's in Vegas with some girlfriends this weekend. I think the no coffee machine situation is getting to her!
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Old 10-02-2014, 11:07 PM   #15
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Wow- no coffee so she goes to Vegas? A Starbucks card might have been a tad cheaper. So if there is no hot water does she get to go to Maui? Lol.


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Old 10-02-2014, 11:38 PM   #16
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Ha! She's had this weekend planned for a while. She goes with college friends for what they call "girls gone mild" weekend. They're all mid-40s and have been friends since they were 18. I went today to drop her off and say hi to the girls. I went to the same college, and they're my friends, too. I just don't get invited. But that said, the wife doesn't come for NASCAR races with my boys and me.
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Old 10-03-2014, 06:29 AM   #17
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Ah...the "troubles" we create to be left alone. I was thinking of asking what hotel the girls were at so that I could warn security but I am sure security is fully aware by now that they are there! Have fun and hope it gets fixed soon.


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Old 10-31-2014, 08:32 PM   #18
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Im guessing loose lug....heating and cooling cycles of the conductors will loosen the lug screws over time.....loose connections creates resistance....resistance creates heat.....and heat burns up the lugs....even possibly, the factory didnt properly torque the screws after inserting wire.....any time I opened up a panel working in electrical trade, I always checked all lugs and screws.....
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Old 11-02-2014, 08:45 PM   #19
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It's possible the lug tightness was an issue, but the transfer switch in my unit was covered in an FR recall that I, as second owner, was not made aware of until after this failure. The new switch is made of metal and not plastic.


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