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KRBSCRV 03-14-2020 09:29 PM

2014 Brookstone by Coachmen Electrical Overload
First post in this forum. I have a 2014 Brookstone by Coachman 5th wheel purchased used from a friend who took excellent care of it.
My wife and I plugged into a 50amp outlet at a KOA campground. I use a SurgeGuard highend surge protector which did not detect any issues.
I turned on the lights of my electric fireplace and blew the bulbs. I then turned on the light of my ceiling fan and blew a bulb. At this point I started checking voltages and found I was getting 253v where I should have 120v. After checking the outside plug again and seeing all was still good on the surge protector, I checked again and was getting 127v.

I'm assuming somewhere I had 120v coming down a neutral. I have since checked all connections in the RV (breaker panel) to insure no loose connections. All good. I did have a RV parts/repair person say that my transfer switch could be the problem and seeing as I don't have a generator, I bypassed the switch although I saw nothing burned on the switch.

In all of this, I lost my microwave, my power converter, one of two TVs, a satellite receiver, and my surround sound/DVD entertainment system.

Seeing as I have not confirmed the root cause, anyone have any clue as too what may have happened? I'm told a surge protector usually works or does not and it is not likely the cause, but I'm suspicious. Assuming the surge protector did it's job and checked the source, I also ruled out a KOA issue. Maybe I fixed it with bypassing the transfer switch, but I'm not sure. Any ideas?

CHICKDOE 03-15-2020 08:24 AM

wow. here are some thoughts but they may not be inclusive.

you say a high end surge protector. does this mean it is one that checks for voltage limits (high and low) and disconnects power if the voltage is out of limits? let's assume it is and that it is working ok. it monitors the voltage coming into it from the pedestal. it does not monitor or interrupt power after it as it goes into the trailer. so from this i am assuming the pedestal is ok and that the problem is after the surge protector.

you said you had 250+ volts somewhere within the trailer. and from the devices you listed as being damaged it appears that voltage was on multiple branch circuits. so that makes me believe the problem is before the power gets to the distribution panel and gets distributed to the branch circuits.

the only way i know of (which may not be inclusive) to get 250+ volts is to have the branch circuit connected to the two hot leads rather than only one hot lead and neutral. i do not think a short between a hot lead and neutral (or ground) would cause this as i would think the 50 amp breaker would trip.

so how are you supplying two hot leads to the outlets?

you could have a hot and neutral miswired at any junction spot between the surge protector and the distribution box. this would include the transfer switch. use your meter to check each junction.

but why is there a transfer switch if you do not have a generator installed? did the previous owner have a generator installed? did he take it out and do some rewiring in the process? why is this happening to you now when it didn't happen (assumption) to the previous owner? i'm thinking somebody has been into it changing things prior to selling it.

as far as the rv tech saying the transfer switch could cause the problem that is hard for me to believe. i am assuming that it is wired properly. if the contractors within the transfer switch were to stop working they would not pass power but they would not cross power between leads. of course if somebody was just into it perhaps to remove the generator. they could have miss wired it.

bubbles 03-15-2020 08:40 AM


Originally Posted by KRBSCRV (Post 2287134)
At this point I started checking voltages and found I was getting 253v where I should have 120v. After checking the outside plug again and seeing all was still good on the surge protector, I checked again and was getting 127v.

Sounds like you may have been checking line to line when you got 253v and when you rechecked you may have done it correctly since 127v is half your initial check. No?

KRBSCRV 03-15-2020 01:32 PM

To add some clarity, I've had this RV for 2 years without issue.
It has a transfer switch because it was pre-wired for a generator from the factory. The previous owner did not have a generator.
The surge protector will disconnect if it sees an issue such as too high or too low voltages, open neutral, etc.
So in a 50amp receptacle, one gets ~240v or120v per leg. My assumption is somehow one of the 120v hot legs made contact with a neutral so when I check voltage at a 120v receptacle inside the RV, I got 253v where one would normally get 120-125v.

CHICKDOE 03-16-2020 07:28 AM

i think your assumption is correct. it used to work properly and now you are getting 250+ volts. is the surge guard at the pedestal or hardwired with the trailer? the fact that you had 250+ volts on multiple branch circuits still says to me the problem is between the surge guard output and the distribution panel. if the surge guard is at the pedestal check the power cord for a short, most likely at the end plugs / receptacles, though it could be internal. next place to look would be at the trailer input receptacle. it may have been in the transfer switch but since you now bypassed it we'll probably never know.

sorry that you are having, or had the issues. now you may not be able to replicate it.

Grumpy7159 03-16-2020 12:24 PM

Your symptoms indicate to me that you have an open neutral. Your 50 amp service is 120/240 volts. Measuring each leg to ground would give you 120 volts. Measuring neutral to ground should be near zero. An open neutral from the KOA source or at the transfer switch (or on your breaker panel) will read a higher than zero voltage in your RV. At your microwave outlet you could read 120 volts on each side of the outlet to the ground connection of the outlet. You shouldn't. Hope this helps.

Tall frog 03-16-2020 03:59 PM

Is it possible that your power cord is faulty? Crimps, or twists of the wires inside the outside sheath may have caused a crossing of line voltage to neutral or to the other hot line inside the sheathing. Test connectivity of each wire while moving the cord.

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