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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mis-Wired Motorhome Electrical Connection

I attempted to create a 30-amp plug off of my house for my grandmother's National motorhome. I did not do a good job of explaining to my electrician and he hooked up a 240-volt connection instead of a 120-volt connection. When I plugged the motorhome in we heard popping noises and then there was smoke. What should I expect to have burned up?
Steve, (Jacksonville, NC)

Steve, I’m so sorry to hear about that miswiring. Unfortunately, many items onboard the motorhome could be affected. Virtually all the120-volt AC devices need to be carefully checked; refrigerator, microwave, converter, air conditioner, inverter, television, circuit breakers, GFCI, receptacles, switching devices, etc. Most assuredly some components may have been harmed, but it takes special troubleshooting procedures to fully evaluate the situation. Do not energize the coach from any AC source until the unit can be thoroughly tested. 

In addition to the individual components, the wiring itself should be hi-pot tested to reveal any damage to the insulation on any circuit. All of these tests should be performed by a competent, well equipped RV shop employing certified RV technicians. 

It’s unfortunate, but you’d be surprised how often this actually happens. The first rule before plugging into any new power pedestal or receptacle is to measure the voltage and check for the proper polarity. I say this, not to rub salt into your wound, but as a reminder to the other readers. If the smoke was noticed quickly and the coach disconnected soon enough, there is a good chance the damage will be minimal, however, the aforementioned tests should still be performed just to be sure.


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If you are in doubt or do not feel comfortable about a procedure, do not continue. Simply call your local RV service facility and make an appointment with them. The advice, recommendations and procedures offered by the RV Doctor are solely those of Gary. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions, procedures and recommendations of our sponsors or advertisers.