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Old 06-07-2021, 12:50 PM   #1
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One of the consequences of the RV boom...

This last weekend was the first time I had to deal with persistent and climbing temperatures while plugged in at a camping site. The 50 amp power supply shut down about 5 pm when the ambient was about 88 deg. The Firefly lets you look at the voltages on each of the power legs and I observed that the voltage on Leg1 had dropped to 103 volts or thereabouts. The 50 amp breaker did not trip. I cycled the breaker and power was restored. It happened again about 4 hours later. I dropped the voltage drop out setting to 95 volts from 100 and it did not happen again.

Most of these camps were not built for the amperage demand that a full house of Class A/C campers with 2 HVACs, multiple TV/Sat/Consoles, Microwaves all drawing their amperages at these high(er) temps. The coaches at the end of the power circuit will get the lowest voltages and brown-out or cut off is probable.

I spoke to the camp site owner and he acknowledged this is a problem that the cost of remediation in his case was over $100K and not affordable even at higher site rates.

I guess the generator operating rules are going to have to change as I cannot see people volunteering to reduce their power demand in RV parks any more than they have done in their homes.
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Old 06-07-2021, 12:59 PM   #2
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Low voltage is exactly why I ended up getting a voltage booster:
https://hughesautoformers.com/voltage-boosters/
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Old 06-07-2021, 01:01 PM   #3
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Low voltage is exactly why I ended up getting a voltage booster:
https://hughesautoformers.com/voltage-boosters/
Our new 3000 watt inverter/chargers are "hybrid" models. We did it to get the RV-C communication, I never thought we would ever use the "boost" function which draws from the batteries to supplement, but here we are.
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Old 06-07-2021, 01:18 PM   #4
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Our new 3000 watt inverter/chargers are "hybrid" models. We did it to get the RV-C communication, I never thought we would ever use the "boost" function which draws from the batteries to supplement, but here we are.
Retrofitable?
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Old 06-07-2021, 01:21 PM   #5
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Retrofitable?
While I have not looked at it, just about anything is possible. How easy would it be? no idea.
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Old 06-07-2021, 01:23 PM   #6
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Low voltage is exactly why I ended up getting a voltage booster:
https://hughesautoformers.com/voltage-boosters/
Seems like something we will all need eventually - or something like it. I/C will maintain the 110v supply but the HVAC goes off line and only resetting the breaker will restore the Isolator. Its not clear from the video material how long the voltage boost can be sustained at what voltage it starts and stops its boost allowing its capacitors to reset.
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Old 06-07-2021, 01:29 PM   #7
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Prolly this one: https://www.magnum-dimensions.com/pr...-msh-rv-series

Retrofit questions would be
AC wiring size (should be ok)
DC wiring size (?)
Mounting footprint (?)

and the biggie - does firefly need an update to talk to this unit?

If that unit is in another flrefly coach already (Europa) maybe firefly already has the update.
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Old 06-07-2021, 01:33 PM   #8
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Correct. I know Firefly was working on it and the europa does have it currently.
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Old 06-07-2021, 01:40 PM   #9
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Helps to park in the shade and run the refrigerator and water heater on propane and not 120vAC power. An Autoformer helps too. Avoid those campgrounds with marginal powe.

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Old 06-07-2021, 01:49 PM   #10
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Autoformers work as long as you are not already maxing out the amp draw. There are only so many watts coming from the pedestal....

ETA: by maxing out the amps I mean consuming all 30A or 50A in your RV. You need to cut back on something so the Autoformer cam trade amps for volts.
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Old 06-07-2021, 01:57 PM   #11
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You can thank the NEC for low voltage in CGs. No code max. requirement for voltage drop and the demand factors for multiple sites on a feeder is too low for today's high-demand RVs. And the number of required 50 amp sites is too low as well. The only realistic solution is using an autoformer (voltage booster). We got fed up with low voltage and got a Hughes autoformer. Problem solved. Not a CGs fault unless due to maintenance issues.

We were at one CG that was so bad, that when we arrived and plugged into the pedestal, our EMS tripped from just the 5 amp or so from the converter. Had to move to a 50 amp site in a section that had been upgrading with heavier wiring to the pedestals.
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Old 06-07-2021, 02:33 PM   #12
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Hey - I think the last 2 posters missed my point: if you are on the end of the park string, there is nothing you can do to avoid the voltage drop and thereby lose your AC. You can/should/ought to minimize unnecessary consumption but you also have a contractual right to 30/50 amps which you cannot obtain, and short of not putting a 30/50 amp user in that spot, the park owner cannot afford to give it to you.
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Old 06-07-2021, 02:38 PM   #13
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While I have not looked at it, just about anything is possible. How easy would it be? no idea.
Does the pass through process allow for the connection of one AC in your new installation? If it does, I suggest you should consider installing the Micro Air Easystart on the AC that you will connect to this system. Without it, I think the start up mode of the AC will chew up that 3000 watts with a TV operating plus charger and other residuals. You could call it your "Summer Ani Swelter Option".
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Old 06-07-2021, 02:44 PM   #14
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You can thank the NEC for low voltage in CGs. No code max. requirement for voltage drop and the demand factors for multiple sites on a feeder is too low for today's high-demand RVs. And the number of required 50 amp sites is too low as well. The only realistic solution is using an autoformer (voltage booster). We got fed up with low voltage and got a Hughes autoformer. Problem solved. Not a CGs fault unless due to maintenance issues.

We were at one CG that was so bad, that when we arrived and plugged into the pedestal, our EMS tripped from just the 5 amp or so from the converter. Had to move to a 50 amp site in a section that had been upgrading with heavier wiring to the pedestals.
I think the real problem is that most of these installs are over 20 years old, weathered, corroded and never planned for every site to be fully loaded. electrical components deteriorate with age and the US has the lowest spec for its industrial electrical components in the "industrial" world. This means that any park wired before 2000 is suspect. And even if wired after 2000, the breakers sit out there, barely protected.

At the park I referred to in my OP, I removed the breaker and connected it to a different peg in the breaker box after scrubbing the contacts with a wire brush and I was able to keep power for most of the remained of the weekend by dropping the cut off below 100V. The breaker connection was corroded to powdered grey.
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Old 06-07-2021, 02:49 PM   #15
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Autoformers work as long as you are not already maxing out the amp draw. There are only so many watts coming from the pedestal....

ETA: by maxing out the amps I mean consuming all 30A or 50A in your RV. You need to cut back on something so the Autoformer cam trade amps for volts.
In my case, there was nothing else to shed except the fridge and that was not enough given I was only getting 104 volts before the AC tried to start. That was enough to drop it momentarily below 100. I doubt that the fridge would have made a difference. I did not switch the charger off though - not sure whether I can.
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Old 06-07-2021, 03:58 PM   #16
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...I did not switch the charger off though - not sure whether I can.
On my older firefly system, you can disable the charger, same way you enable / disable the inverter.
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Old 06-07-2021, 04:02 PM   #17
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Thinking more about the problem, the hybrid inverter is not the solution. It is downstream of the EMS, so AC power is already been removed in the low voltage situation. And the inverter does not power the ACs.

Looks like the hybrid helps in a situation where you might be on a 20 amp feeder, and temporarily draw more than 20 amps on the inverted circuits.
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Old 06-07-2021, 04:10 PM   #18
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every 4 - 50amp 240v RV sites are like a traditional 'home', which now-a-days is probably a 200amp 240v home... but, that's probably where the comparison ends, especially on a hot and humid summer day... there might be 8 roof air conditioners running at the same time, with those same larger RVs also employing their electric water heaters, house battery chargers, and of course all of the typical residential fridges, TVs, satellite receivers, computers and chargers, microwaves, and stuff that we 'enjoy' while what some refer to as 'camping' - it's probably really far from it.

Unfortunately, campgrounds and rv parks don't typically have nearly as many transformers as the typical street or neighborhood do, for the shear number of users in a very confined location.
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Old 06-07-2021, 07:25 PM   #19
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Our EMS tripped out a couple of times this weekend, and when I looked we were at 102 volts. We switched the water heater back and switched the A/C to "Lo cooling". We rode through it until mid-Friday afternoon, when I think the lower voltages may have cooked our air conditioner's fan motor.
Fortunately, the park is at least interested in what happened and are looking into it.
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Old 06-08-2021, 05:30 AM   #20
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The simple low cost solution for park operators might be to install fast blow 35 or 40A CB in all the parks power poles.

An RV owner could simply install relays to easily solve their problem.

Eg: the microwave could cut power to the hot water heater when switched on. Any high draw load could be a priority.

Its called Load Shedding and is not difficult to set up.

Both the park and the camper needs to help solve this problem.

One solution found in newer marinas is an electric meter that can be quizzed from the office, so the actual electric consumption is paid for by the consumer.
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