The 30 amp male prongs on my van shore power inlet has three blades. However, the 30 amp female extension cords I'm finding have two blades and a round. Did I install the wrong inlet on the van?
♥ Sharing is caring ♥ Wiring a 30 amp RV plug is not complicated and you should be ok as ... Read more
There are all kinds of 30 amp recepticals & cords. The yellow one in your post is the typical RV 30 amp 120 volt configuration. I can‘t make out what you have installed as it’s kind of fuzzy in the image but as long as it’s a 30 amp single pole 120v and not double pole 240v you should be ok just find the proper adapter or replace the one in your van with the more common one. Or, go the route Baxsie did.
The problem is that you have an extension for the shore power cord there, not the main 30A locking cord that goes onto your locking shore power inlet. The extension plug you show is meant to receive the male end of an RV power cord, which otherwise plugs into a 30A shore outlet.
KOV brings up a significant point... RV 30A feeds are 120V but house 30A feeds are often 220V.
Be careful of where you plug into shore power and be sure that the outlet is 120V. If you were to visit a friend and planned on plugging into a dryer outlet in their garage, you might be able to "adapter" the connection, but it will probably be wired for 220V and could do significant damage to your 120V wiring and loads.
I just plug a 25' or 100' home/yard extension cord into a power strip (surge protected) sitting on the table in the van and run it out the back. When I close the back the rubber door gasket seals around it just fine. Haven't run into it in awhile but since not all campgrounds have a 15 amp outlet I carry a 30-15amp adapter.
This will tell you if the pedestal is wired correctly and protect your rig from surges.
I ALWAYS plug the tester in first, verify the ped is correctly wired and the ped's GFI works, THEN I plug my rig into the surge protector.
Proeddie, if you plug this in and it reads no light/amber/amber, the wiring at the pedestal is at least correct, so the assumption is that a surge protector is probably not needed? I can see how this tool would be useful. I'm also wondering if most people who use campsite pedestals use surge protectors or don't.
I don't know if the tester-only devices will detect if the ped has been wired for 240V by some idiot who cannot tell the difference between an RV and a drier. I know the MOVs in a surge protector will blow if the ped is 240V.
And look at it like this: How much will replacing all the electrical in your rig cost? Now tell me again how a surge protector is too expensive?
Good thoughts! No criticism intended...in my simple electrical setup, my concern is to be sure that the 120V source is wired correctly. I have a very simple electrical setup - almost everything runs on 12V. The only AC in the van is the RV converter/charger, coffee maker, and microwave.
The good part of the unit you use is that it detects miswiring (like my tester) AND it has surge protection. Most houses don't have surge protection, so I'm OK with not having it in my van. I think the biggest surge issue is lightening and if I see a big storm, I just unplug. OTOH, big rig RV owners have a lot to protect and most use wiring detection and surge protection.
I'm not sure that the tester I use will tell you that the outlet you're plugging into is wired for 240V, but if it is looking at the "legs" and detects voltage on a leg that shouldn't have voltage, or no ground where it should be (which is what would happen if you connect 240V.) I think it will indicate that.
I think that some CGs may have a bad ground or reversed polarity, but not many would have a 30A 120V outlet wired for 240V. If you're plugging in at grandma's house, it's important to understand that a 30A 220V dryer connection is not an option.... guaranteed to produce that "magic smoke" effect!
My biggest concern is a mis-wired pedestal (or home outlet) that would create a "skin effect" voltage... ie. the body of the van is at 120v !
I also use a skin voltage detector when I first connect.
This a a good investment. It tests for voltage on the metal of the van, that is very dangerous if you're standing on the ground and touch the van body!
If the pedestal is tested and determined to be wired correctly, then IMHO, you're OK... surge protection is certainly an option. I'd spend the money on a skin voltage detector first. The Klein NCVT-2 is highly recommended on many RV-related websites and not too expensive (about $20.)
"And look at it like this: How much will replacing all the electrical in your rig cost? Now tell me again how a surge protector is too expensive?"
In this light, of course the $100 isn't too expensive. However, there's a huge variance person to person on what is a need vs a want, and a number of factors go into those decisions. Although a surge protector is a smallish item, many small items can add up quickly-I know this from years of backpacking. In the limited space of my van I want to make sure there's room for everything I need before I start filling it with 'want' items. To help me with this, I find it useful to get feedback from people with hands-on experience, ie: this forum
So, if people use campground pedestals often and for years and found no issues every time, or if they did have issues often, that would influence my decisions.
While I do have all the testers mentioned I must admit I rarely (never) use them but in 50 years of van camping I’ve only found one pedestal power supply that would trip my GFI (and I moved to another site. No, I don’t have a surge protector but then these days I hardly even plug in if there is power on the site. I have nothing that absolutely requires 120vac but I do have a microwave, induction cooktop & coffee maker that are nice to use when possible (they run just fine off my 1500w pure sine wave inverter and 2/6v golf cart batteries if necessary).
Been using campgrounds with electric since getting a travel trailer in the mid 80's and have not had a problem other than no power at all. As mentioned above I keep it simple now and plug everything into a power strip w/surge protection in the van, which has never tripped. Generally the only things at risk are an LED light, coffee pot, hot plate, etc, but also the periodic phone & laptop charger which is only plugged in when actively charging. Most charging adapters have minimal protection (i.e.- a fuse) built in - not enough for a lightning strike but I generally unplug everything during storms anyway.
My tentative plan is to add a house battery this summer that charges off the alternator so I can run a vent fan at night. If I feel the need I'll add shore-power-charging capability and at least a CGI outlet sounds like a good idea at that point. It's clear how solar extends capability but so far, since every few days I can get electricity in campgrounds (as long as they remain available) I'm still happy in the most basic of metal tent modes, thus reluctant to complicate things beyond necessity. It's a fine line between simplicity and masochism though so I'll have to be vigilant. ;-)