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Old 07-16-2013, 08:55 PM   #1
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Surge protection

I was once again happy that I had a surge protector. I set up camp last night and hooked up to a post at the end of a row art the camp ground. At 6:30 this morning DW and I woke up to total quite. We realized that the fan we run at night wasn't running. At first I thought it had quit on us than I realized that the rest of the power was also gone. I went outside to check the pole and found my surge protector flashing red and showing a reverse Polarity. If the surge protector hadn't caught it who know what damage might have happen.
The camp ground moved me to a new site (a better one and things worked out from there.
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Old 07-16-2013, 09:02 PM   #2
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Old 07-16-2013, 09:47 PM   #3
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Old 07-17-2013, 10:34 AM   #4
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I went outside to check the pole and found my surge protector flashing red and showing a reverse Polarity. If the surge protector hadn't caught it who know what damage might have happen.
Reverse polarity does not damage any appliances. Polarity is just one of many human safety layers. So many that a reverse polarity by itself does not threaten human life.

However, nobody changed the wires? Polarity does not reverse without a miswire. So what changed? That part is the mystery. Could be due to a safety ground that was always compromised. Or missing. That in combination with a fault at some other pole might explain it.

But reverse polarity does not damage any appliances.
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Old 07-17-2013, 11:43 AM   #5
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But reverse polarity does not damage any appliances.

If it was in fact reverse polarity, wouldn't that reverse the direction an appliance fan is normally running? Wouldn't that cause some damage if left too long?

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Old 07-17-2013, 12:03 PM   #6
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If it was in fact reverse polarity, wouldn't that reverse the direction an appliance fan is normally running? Wouldn't that cause some damage if left too long?

Dave
No, because "reverse polarity" is really a misnomer. It is AC; the polarity is reversing 60 times a second anyway. In the AC world, "reverse polarity" means the hot and neutral are swapped, which generally causes no damage.

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Old 07-17-2013, 02:17 PM   #7
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No, because "reverse polarity" is really a misnomer. It is AC; the polarity is reversing 60 times a second anyway. In the AC world, "reverse polarity" means the hot and neutral are swapped, which generally causes no damage.

Bob
unless you touch something grounded an something with a now hot ground. It's kinda good to know it happened, ergo the PI unit; don't ya think? And yes it would not blow any appliance, just a person.
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Old 07-17-2013, 02:37 PM   #8
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unless you touch something grounded an something with a now hot ground. It's kinda good to know it happened, ergo the PI unit; don't ya think? And yes it would not blow any appliance, just a person.
If hot and neutral are swapped, it doesn't mean ground will be hot.

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Old 07-18-2013, 12:18 AM   #9
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If hot and neutral are swapped, it doesn't mean ground will be hot.
Again, how did something that had normal polarity just suddenly change overnight? Nobody changed the wires. However if safety ground was always defective, then ground voltages might float. That ground, eventually floating towards 'hot', was eventually detected as reversed polarity.

Not a threat to appliances. But a possible threat to human life.

This is but one possible reason. However a failure without knowing why can be a prescription for future failures.
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Old 07-18-2013, 06:12 AM   #10
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Again, how did something that had normal polarity just suddenly change overnight? Nobody changed the wires. However if safety ground was always defective, then ground voltages might float. That ground, eventually floating towards 'hot', was eventually detected as reversed polarity.

Not a threat to appliances. But a possible threat to human life.

This is but one possible reason. However a failure without knowing why can be a prescription for future failures.
That's a good point. Surge suppressors make the fault decisions based on the 3 lines, hot, neutral, and ground, with ground being a reference point. The only way it can determine a reverse condition is if it sees voltage on neutral relative to ground, or in this case, voltage on ground relative to neutral. If the ground is crappy and/or intermittent, it might be possible it interprets it as "reverse polarity". But you would think it would be smart enough to figure out it is a bad ground instead. I'm just guessing here. And I'm with you...to suddenly "reverse polarity", without someone physically moving wires, is very, very unlikely.

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Old 07-18-2013, 11:30 AM   #11
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If hot and neutral are swapped, it doesn't mean ground will be hot.

Bob
??? and your logic is? at some point the neutral and ground are tied together. I am trying to pointing out that reversed polarity is dangerous for PEOPLE. I know it doesn't matter to appliances.

end of input, over to you
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Old 07-18-2013, 12:35 PM   #12
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??? and your logic is? at some point the neutral and ground are tied together. I am trying to pointing out that reversed polarity is dangerous for PEOPLE. I know it doesn't matter to appliances.

end of input, over to you
If hot and neutral are swapped at the trailer end, the black wire becomes neutral and will not have a voltage relative to ground, and the white wire becomes hot, and will have a voltage relative to ground, but there is no shock hazard unless you physically touch the white wire thinking it is neutral. In other words, only the wires going to the trailer are swapped, but hot is still hot, and neutral is still neutral and connected to ground back at the service entrance. There should be no connection between neutral and ground anywhere but at the service entrance or transformer. If the wires going to the trailer get screwed-up, such that hot and ground are swapped, then there could be a shock hazard, but only if you are standing outside on the ground and touch something metallic on the trailer that is bonded to the frame.

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Old 07-18-2013, 12:38 PM   #13
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If hot and neutral are swapped at the trailer end, the black wire becomes neutral and will not have a voltage relative to ground, and the white wire becomes hot, and will have a voltage relative to ground, but there is no shock hazard unless you physically touch the white wire thinking it is neutral. In other words, only the wires going to the trailer are swapped, but hot is still hot, and neutral is still neutral and connected to ground back at the service entrance. There should be no connection between neutral and ground anywhere but at the service entrance or transformer. If the wires going to the trailer get screwed-up, such that hot and ground are swapped, then there could be a shock hazard, but only if you are standing outside on the ground and touch something metallic on the trailer that is bonded to the frame.

Bob
This could play havoc with your GFCI maybe...
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Old 07-18-2013, 12:53 PM   #14
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This could play havoc with your GFCI maybe...
GFCI's work by detecting an imbalance in current between the hot and neutral on a particular circuit. Swapped or not, this current should be equal unless some is being shunted to ground due to faulty wiring, faulty circuitry, or some unfortunate soul who just came in contact with a live circuit. But as I understand it, the ground fault detection technique really makes no distinction between which one is hot and which one is neutral, and only cares about the balance of current.

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Old 07-19-2013, 04:49 PM   #15
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All the feed back is good, but all I know for a fact is that once the surge protector monitored the reverse polarity it shut off all the power to my MH and would not make a connection again. Which is what I paid for (protection).
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Old 07-19-2013, 05:55 PM   #16
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All the feed back is good, but all I know for a fact is that once the surge protector monitored the reverse polarity it shut off all the power to my MH and would not make a connection again.
Which only says this one time and after so many hours, it finally detected what may (or not) have been a serious human safety threat. That may have existed elsewhere undetected. And that was not detected probably for hours. The point (why it tripped) is more important.

A failure without knowing why can be a prescription for future failures. Would a resulting death be an accident? This event is how you learn to avert future damage. Your post suggests an anomaly existed undetected for a long time (maybe hours).

Meanwhile, a GFCI monitors something completely different. Not voltage. It monitors current.
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Old 07-19-2013, 10:15 PM   #17
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I did find out that the camp manager had tied a pump system of some sort into that post. I dought that he's an electrician and probably didn't ground the pump system which could have led up to the problem.
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