May 162013
 

When I went to bed Tuesday night, I was trying to figure out what my next step would be if we could not find an electrical receptacle for our shore power cord. And just as I was drifting off to sleep, it hit me. Plan B!

The shore power cord plugs into the receptacle and from there a short cable goes to our Progressive Industries Electrical Management System (EMS). If the RV parts place here didn’t have the receptacle, I could just hard wire the shore power directly in to the EMS. That’s the way I did it on our MCI bus conversion and it had worked fine.

Well, as it turned out, they had a receptacle that probably could have been made to work with some creative engineering, but it was $99, and the key word there was “probably.” Since electrical components usually cannot be returned, especially after you have Mickey Moused them to make them fit, I decided to just go with the hard wired option. That would eliminate the plug inside the bay altogether, which was just one more thing to go wrong.

We took the new plug off our power cord and noted that the wiring was blackened, a sign that it had gotten pretty hot. We cut off a few inches of the four wires (hot 1, hot 1, neutral, and ground) and wired it into the EMS, then sat back to gloat when power started flowing. But it didn’t. Nothing, Nada, Zip. Just like we had the night before.

We called all of our tech support guys (Greg White, Ron Speidel, and Daryl Lawrence), and not one of them answered their phones. Yeah, they had all read the blog and knew what was coming. Next, I called Charles Yust for his input. I hesitate to call him too often, because he has a fulltime job on his hands just being at his wife Chris’ beck and call. She’s as high maintenance as I am.

Then I called Progressive Industries, and the lady said that Tommy Fanelli was on an airplane that was just landing in Portland and she’d have him call me back, which he did within minutes.

At one point it had been suggested that the other end of our shore power cord was bad; the plug that goes into the campground electrical pedestal. Tommy said that was a good possibility, so we had a Plan C. We set off like a herd of turtles for All Mountain RV to buy a new plug. Along the way, Ron Speidel and Daryl Lawrence both called back and agreed that it was probably the cord. They get pulled and flexed a lot as people hook up and unhook.

Fortunately the plug was only $29 instead of the $99 the other receptacle cost. Back at the campground, my hands were so sore I couldn’t manhandle the heavy gauge wiring, so Miss Terry cut off about two feet of wire, which we noted was also blackened in places, and wired up the new plug. We plugged it in and sat back again to gloat when power started flowing. Well, not exactly. We had 123 volts on one leg and it bounced between 11 and 49 volts on the second. Hey Tommy, answer the phone! It’s me again!

We went back and forth trying a thing or three, and decided that maybe the whole darned cord was bad, since I was getting a power reading on the pedestal with my voltmeter. Okay, Plan D, we’ll replace the entire cord. The RV supply place didn’t have one in stock, but I called a wholesale electric supply place here in town that I knew from my days running the local newspaper. $155 later we had a new cord, which we wired to our new plug on one end and the EMS on the other. Then we sat back to yada, yada, yada. Nothing, Nada, Zip once more. I tried another pedestal that I could reach and the same thing. Or same nothing, I should say.

Somewhere along the way Greg White called me back, but I really think he was just as happy that he was playing tourist in Nevada instead of being here doing my RV repairs. If I paid him at all, I’d dock his next check.

I was afraid to call Tommy back, but he assured me it was no problem, he was just as mystified as I was. Then he had an idea, he asked if I had dog bone adapters to go down from 50 to 30 to 20 amps. Sure, what fulltime RVers doesn’t? Tommy had me start our generator, then plug our shore power cord into a 20 amp outlet on the motorhome. I did and voila, we had 120 volts on both legs! Tommy said that eliminated the EMS system, the new power cord, and the new plug as the problem. It had to be bad campground power.

After fumbling around, I was able to reach another pedestal (and was glad I ordered an extra long piece of power cord), where we could not get 50 amp but we could get 30. Okay, I can live with that for now. Especially since we had been working on the problem for over eleven hours. Tomorrow I’ll talk to the manager at the Elks lodge and let him know he needs to get somebody out here to look at their electrical system. Whether that will happen or not, I don’t know. I’m not optimistic.

Thanks to Ron, Daryl, and Greg for getting back to me to offer advice, and a huge thanks to Tommy Fanelli and Progressive Industries. They have always gone the extra mile for us, and even though we’ve had this EMS for over four years, he was happy to help and stayed patient while I fumbled around attempting to try the things he suggested. And thanks to Miss Terry, who did all of the hard work because my hands would not cooperate. I know she’s hurting even more than I am at this point.

I lost count. Where did we end up, Plan E maybe? If the power keeps acting flakey here, I may have to go to Plan F and go someplace else.

Thought For The Day – Worrying does not take away tomorrow’s troubles; it takes away today’s peace.

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Nick Russell

  9 Responses to “Plan B, And C, And D, And….”

  1. Your prior experiences with Progressive Industries and Daryl’s reference at your rally. is why we have a Progressive EMS.

    My experience with Progressive, Daryl’s assistance at your rally and Bruce Fay’s experience with TRC Sure Guard, is why Bruce now has a Progressive EMS.

    Butch

  2. We are very dependent on our EMS unit and it has saved us several times when we travel and stop in parks for a couple of weeks. It is also nice to here that Progressive will still help someone when the unit is out of warranty. Also the fact that if something does go wrong with it you do not have to buy a new unit but send in the circuit board. Happy to hear you finally got it fixed and do not have to go to plan F.

  3. You all put way too much stock in those damn EMS systems, surge protectors and all that high tech nonsense. Its all a come on to make you spend money and more time than not when you can’t get power into your RV its because of them! I had one in a used coach I had and 3 different campgrounds told me it was the problem not their power. I finally just left it bypassed and then things worked. Would not have one in my new RV.

  4. Nick, we stayed at the Show Low Elks twice in the last year and both times had electrical problems. I told the guy up front but they never came by to look at it. Now that they are up to $20 a day it’s not a bargain any more for a site where you can’t get level and the electric is bad.

  5. All I can tell you Mitch, is that our EMS has saved us from damage three times while the RVs on both sides of us had burned out appliances, TVs, etc. I would not be without one.

  6. One time we had power problems and moved to 3 different sites before I realized my brand new dog bone was no good! It was over 90 degrees when I was doing this so I sweated out what seemed like several gallons. Another one of those lessons learned.

  7. Glad to hear your electrical situation is resolved. I will cross that Elks off my list.

    Also, do you realize harassing your insurance agent is like bagging on the mess sgt and supply sgt in the military!

  8. Nick I could have sworn I read a blog of yours today where you were recommending a new book that the author was going to post at Amazon.com for free for the next few days. I went on line to take a look at it but did not have my kindle with me to download. Who was it that you recommeded, as I would love to read her book?

    Thanks Nick

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