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Old 12-07-2019, 11:59 AM   #1
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Unhappy Electrical Boom, Need Help Diagnosing ('96 Hurricane)

Hello folks, I'd appreciate your help trying to figure out what happened to my motorhome's electrical and what steps I should take to further investigate / fix it. The bottom line is I had a little space heater "blow up" on me with sparks after having some strange readings on our new power plug. Thanks so much for reading and offering your help, here are the specific events. I realized I made some dumb mistakes here, fwiw, but best to tell you exactly what happened in what order to get most logical/scientific advice on how to proceed:

- We had a new 30a / 120v power plug added to our house by an electrician.
- I got home, and plugged in the 30a electrical line to the new power port with a surge protector.
- I plugged in the power plug to the RV side. Immediately, I heard a loud pop - the 120v breakers blowing.
- I went inside the RV and flipped the breakers back to normal. They immediately popped back to blown, I saw a spark from inside/behind the breakers, head a pop and hiss behind me where my electric header literally sparked and smoked. Whoa.
- I went outside, disconnected the power cable from the RV.
- I went back to the 30a / 120 plug on my house and looked at the surge protector - it showed GREEN (surge protection on), and BLUE / RED on ("open neutral"). I've done a lot of reading "open neutral" and I honestly can't figure out what it truly means in relation to my MH.
- I took my power cable, put the 120v adapter on it, and plugged it into a different 120 outlet on my house.
- I went back to RV and plugged the electrical wire it into the RV.
- I went inside the RV and flipped the breakers back on. They didn't immediately blow.
- I tested a different heater on the same plug. This plug was, by the way, the GFCI. It ran the other heater fine on 120v.

Since this happened I've called my electrician and he said he'd come back and look at the plug, but he's not taken 3 days and I can't wait any longer to get to fixing / investigating this and getting everything back to safe/working.

Anyway... thank you in advance for your help. I really appreciate any thoughts / help you have. I'm pretty handy with 12v power configurations, but 120 is new to me.
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Old 12-07-2019, 12:50 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NateHTP View Post
Hello folks, I'd appreciate your help trying to figure out what happened to my motorhome's electrical and what steps I should take to further investigate / fix it. The bottom line is I had a little space heater "blow up" on me with sparks after having some strange readings on our new power plug. Thanks so much for reading and offering your help, here are the specific events. I realized I made some dumb mistakes here, fwiw, but best to tell you exactly what happened in what order to get most logical/scientific advice on how to proceed:

- We had a new 30a / 120v power plug added to our house by an electrician.
- I got home, and plugged in the 30a electrical line to the new power port with a surge protector.
- I plugged in the power plug to the RV side. Immediately, I heard a loud pop - the 120v breakers blowing.
- I went inside the RV and flipped the breakers back to normal. They immediately popped back to blown, I saw a spark from inside/behind the breakers, head a pop and hiss behind me where my electric header literally sparked and smoked. Whoa.
- I went outside, disconnected the power cable from the RV.
- I went back to the 30a / 120 plug on my house and looked at the surge protector - it showed GREEN (surge protection on), and BLUE / RED on ("open neutral"). I've done a lot of reading "open neutral" and I honestly can't figure out what it truly means in relation to my MH.
- I took my power cable, put the 120v adapter on it, and plugged it into a different 120 outlet on my house.
- I went back to RV and plugged the electrical wire it into the RV.
- I went inside the RV and flipped the breakers back on. They didn't immediately blow.
- I tested a different heater on the same plug. This plug was, by the way, the GFCI. It ran the other heater fine on 120v.

Since this happened I've called my electrician and he said he'd come back and look at the plug, but he's not taken 3 days and I can't wait any longer to get to fixing / investigating this and getting everything back to safe/working.

Anyway... thank you in advance for your help. I really appreciate any thoughts / help you have. I'm pretty handy with 12v power configurations, but 120 is new to me.


Don't wait for your electrician. Call him back and demand he come back yesterday! He screwed it up. Hold him accountable. He wired your 30 amp 120 volt outlet to 240 volts and could have killed you! Your surge protector said open neutral because you don't have one. The electrician put 120 volts on it. You should have a single pole 120 volt breaker in your panel to a 30 amp 120 volt receptical! Turn the new breaker OFF.

Be very sure to check EVERY and ALL electric systems and equipment in your rig for damage. Make him pay for any and all damages. If he refuses get his license # and call the building department licensing dept. He must have a license # to be in business. He must have liability insurance. He is an idiot.
When he is finished call an RV tech and have things checked out. Make the electrician pay for it!

You obviously have JUST a surge protector and NOT an EMS. An EMS should have not allowed the voltage to pass thru. Did you not read the surge protector before you walked away?? Did you not turn off the new breaker at the house and before you plugged in? Had you turned off the main breaker in the RV also and read the surge protector first all this could have been avoided.
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Old 12-07-2019, 01:08 PM   #3
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Don't wait for your electrician. Call him back and demand he come back yesterday! He screwed it up. Hold him accountable. He wired your 30 amp 120 volt outlet to 240 volts and could have killed you! Your surge protector said open neutral because you don't have one. The electrician put 120 volts on it. You should have a single pole 120 volt breaker in your panel to a 30 amp 120 volt receptical!

Be very sure to check EVERY and ALL electric systems and equipment in your rig for damage. Make him pay for any and all damages. If he refuses get his license # and call the building department licensing dept. He must have a license # to be in business. He must have liability insurance. He is an idiot.
When he is finished call an RV tech and have things checked out.
Thank you. This gave me confidence to talk to my roommate who has experience using multi-meters on 120/220 outlets, we went out and test it directly... 240amps (oops, meant volts!) was found.

We're going to follow your advice directly.
Obviously, we're super disappointed in our electrician and will hold them accountable.
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Old 12-07-2019, 01:13 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by NateHTP View Post
Thank you. This gave me confidence to talk to my roommate who has experience using multi-meters on 120/220 outlets, we went out and test it directly... 240amps was found.

We're going to follow your advice directly.
Obviously, we're super disappointed in our electrician and will hold them accountable.
Let us know the outcome! (240 volts was found)
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Old 12-07-2019, 01:25 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by cavie View Post
Let us know the outcome! (240 volts was found)
Thanks. Now I just have to find a good RV electrician / mechanic and make an appointment.

This my first MH, and only my second week of ownership.


This is the surge protector I have: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B015G2YYN0/

I'm looking for one with "EMS" now so I can upgrade and this will never happen agian.
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Old 12-07-2019, 01:57 PM   #6
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Cavie's got you covered and this is not the first case of a "certified electrician" putting 240 VAC on a 120 VAC 30 AMP RV receptacle. This is why I will always do my own wiring when I build/modify or add to a structure. it just blows my mind that a "trained electrician" can make this kind of mistake.
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Old 12-07-2019, 02:46 PM   #7
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believe me, now that you KNOW(!), you won't let it happen again anyway...

a single breaker is 120v

a double pole breaker is 240v


simple....


only 50amp RVs and Motorcoaches use a true 240v 50amp double pole breaker at the Shore Power outlet

all others, the VAST majority, use simple 120v power, no matter what the outlet or plug looks like
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Old 12-07-2019, 03:23 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by TurnerFam View Post
believe me, now that you KNOW(!), you won't let it happen again anyway...

a single breaker is 120v

a double pole breaker is 240v


simple....


only 50amp RVs and Motorcoaches use a true 240v 50amp double pole breaker at the Shore Power outlet

all others, the VAST majority, use simple 120v power, no matter what the outlet or plug looks like
ALL 50 amps services are 240 volts delivered to the RV. But only very high end Motor Homes having 240 volt dryers and cooktops utilize 240 volts.
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Old 12-09-2019, 02:02 AM   #9
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So, we're still trying to get in touch with the electrician.

I've notified my insurance, and before going over details with them tomorrow (when they are in the office) I went through most systems today in the motorhome to test them...

Everything seems to work fine except charging of the house batteries by the power converter via shore power. Importantly, the 12v lights run off shore power.

Maybe I dodged a bullet?
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Old 12-09-2019, 02:26 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by NateHTP View Post
So, we're still trying to get in touch with the electrician.

I've notified my insurance, and before going over details with them tomorrow (when they are in the office) I went through most systems today in the motorhome to test them...

Everything seems to work fine except charging of the house batteries by the power converter via shore power. Importantly, the 12v lights run off shore power.

Maybe I dodged a bullet?
The 12 volt lights don't run off of shore power. They run off the house batteries or the converter. If the converter won't charge your batteries then it won't run the lights.

However, your converter could be operating correctly and running 12 VDC loads but not charging the batteries IF the main DC breaker (normally near the batteries) is tripped OR the USE/STORE solenoid is open.

Probably the first question the insurance company will ask you is the license number of your licensed/certified electrician.
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Old 12-09-2019, 02:26 AM   #11
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How did you get the correct voltage to the rig???
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Old 12-09-2019, 02:42 AM   #12
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How did you get the correct voltage to the rig???
Using 120V adapter onto a different circuit. Although I didn't mention this perhaps in first post, this is something I tried later that day when the incident happened, and so I knew it was "safe".
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Old 12-09-2019, 02:43 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by 16ACE27 View Post
The 12 volt lights don't run off of shore power. They run off the house batteries or the converter. If the converter won't charge your batteries then it won't run the lights.

However, your converter could be operating correctly and running 12 VDC loads but not charging the batteries IF the main DC breaker (normally near the batteries) is tripped OR the USE/STORE solenoid is open.

Probably the first question the insurance company will ask you is the license number of your licensed/certified electrician.
Thank you for the reminder, I just always think of the converter charging the batteries etc when I turn them on USE.

I NEED to find that breaker you speak of and check it. Is it a 120v or a 12v? Breaker or fuse?
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Old 12-09-2019, 03:03 AM   #14
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There are Three places to check. One is an inline 12 volt fuse/breaker within 6' of the batteries. The other is two 34/40 amp reverse polarity fuses on the converter. The third is the 15 amp 120 volt breaker in the main breaker panel. Turn it off. DISCONNECT the 12 volt out put leads of the converter. Turn on the 15 amp breaker. Check the input voltage at the converter. 120 volts AC. Check the output voltage of the converter. 12 volts DC.

Check the battery voltage at the battery leads you disconnected.
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Old 12-11-2019, 12:10 AM   #15
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Almost certainly that guy isnt a licensed electrician how do you mistakenly wire a 120v 30amp plug to 240v breaker, I mean I know how he done it but a competent electrician would know better.
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Old 12-11-2019, 12:16 AM   #16
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I would not call out someone who mistakenly takes a request for an 30amp Outlet to be for 240v to be someone who is necessarily 'not' a licensed electrician - it was probably wired correctly, but just for what most anyone, electricians included, would infer as 240v since a typical 30amp outlet at any home is for a 240v Dryer.

If an electrician is not EXPLICITLY asked to wire for a 30 amp 120v 'RV' outlet, then the customer who requests it might just as well be 'at fault', even if they don't really 'understand' the difference, at least until they plug their RV into it.

Electricians may 'assume' things, and customers may 'assume' things just as well....neither is really at fault, it's just a misunderstanding for something that is actually VERY rare for most customers, AND most electricians.

the reality, though, is that the 'rewiring' to correct this from 240v to 120v is relatively simple, since you still only have the three wires to deal with, except in only a single breaker, instead of the double-pole type. A change in the breaker is really about all the difference.
(admittedly, though, a true RV 30amp 120v male plug and a true 30amp 240v DRYER outlet are not shaped exactly the same, but probably can be 'pushed' together, regardless - I saw this at a campground in Alaska, apparently someone's 'brother in law' was their electrician! )


enjoy ! : )
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Old 12-11-2019, 01:33 AM   #17
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I have been through this once. Electrician made a mistake. I was at a freinds place in NC. I corrected the wiring myself.

The only damage I suffered was a $145 power supply board for converter. Easy to find, capacitor was blown. I had board drop shipped to where we were, no issue to install with all power and betteries disconnected.

Turned out be no big deal as the A/C unit sounded odd when breaker was turned on. I yelled shut it off and went and looked. The electrician used a dryer breaker. I will always test voltage now, lesson learned.
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Old 12-11-2019, 02:12 AM   #18
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I would not call out someone who mistakenly takes a request for an 30amp Outlet to be for 240v to be someone who is necessarily 'not' a licensed electrician - it was probably wired correctly, but just for what most anyone, electricians included, would infer as 240v since a typical 30amp outlet at any home is for a 240v Dryer.

If an electrician is not EXPLICITLY asked to wire for a 30 amp 120v 'RV' outlet, then the customer who requests it might just as well be 'at fault', even if they don't really 'understand' the difference, at least until they plug their RV into it.

Electricians may 'assume' things, and customers may 'assume' things just as well....neither is really at fault, it's just a misunderstanding for something that is actually VERY rare for most customers, AND most electricians.

the reality, though, is that the 'rewiring' to correct this from 240v to 120v is relatively simple, since you still only have the three wires to deal with, except in only a single breaker, instead of the double-pole type. A change in the breaker is really about all the difference.
(admittedly, though, a true RV 30amp 120v male plug and a true 30amp 240v DRYER outlet are not shaped exactly the same, but probably can be 'pushed' together, regardless - I saw this at a campground in Alaska, apparently someone's 'brother in law' was their electrician! )


enjoy ! : )
In reality that would take the use of a hammer. The ground on the 120 volt plug is round. The ground on the 240 volt plug is L shaped. Very hard to push together. I have seen the l shape ground down. In defense of electricians If you don't specify 120 volts your gonna get 240 but it should be on a 240 volt receptical.
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Old 12-11-2019, 03:28 PM   #19
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I may have missed it, but did the electrician install the entire circuit, from breaker to proper 120V 30A TT-30R recepticle? If so, then I would put the responsibility on the electrician for not taking a moment to research the TT-30R to figure out how to wire it up properly. I consider that to be part of his/her job.
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Old 12-11-2019, 07:51 PM   #20
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In my situation, the outlet was correct 30 AMP. The issue was 2 hots and a ground wired to it from 30 amp 2 pole breaker. Explaination I got was outlet was handed to electrician and he wired to existing old dryer breaker in barn. Mistakes happen, could have been worse. I took out one hot and added the neutral to get us by.

That was back in summer of 2016. Other than converter power supply board no issues. This instance prompted me to dump the extended warranty. Having board out did not alter our trip though I did fire engine 30 minutes a day to keep house batteries up and I left a battery tender on chassis battery.

Some months later a buddy with older version of same unit got into a squabble with his extended warranty over a $70 water pump. Dealer wanted to charge almost $500 for new motor and waranty/dealer said not covered. He took to another dealer and traded and next two units had many issues and he is now on the 4th unit. Hopefully he can finally enjoy his unit.
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