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Mysterious shore power outage


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I would like the thoughts of the collective wisdom of this group. 

2019 Elite II, no solar. Camping at a KOA in Salina, KS on the way home to Colorado. Plugged into the 30A outlet and everything was working fine.  Some time in the night the AC quit. Not sure how long, but my wife woke me because the trailer was getting warm. I could tell there was electricity on in the campground.  Checked my EMS display and it was blank as if the trailer was not getting any shore power. 30 amp breaker under the dinette was ok but reset it anyway with no change.  At the pedestal my external surge protector was all green lights showing power with no problem indicated. The power cord green light was on, showing power was on there. Using the breaker, turned the power off  and back on at the pedestal, no change. Unplugged and used my 50 amp adapter to change the power source at the pedestal. Still no change. In the morning we packed up and went home. Read the manual and checked the forum. Saw two threads about a circuit board and a whole unit needing to be replaced. With heartburn over how hard it would be to replace the Progressive Industries EMS,  I plugged the trailer into my house circuit to do a double check and maybe some trouble shooting. Everything is fine! Display shows E0 and no PE codes showing a previous error! AC works and 110 outlets show power. What was not working is now working just fine 24 hours later.  According to the manual if the EMS shut itself down there should be a PE code the next time you turn it on. But I have no PE displayed. 

Do I write this off as a one time glitch? Gremlins in the trailer? Was there something I missed in the trouble shooting at the campground? 

 

Bill Thomas 2019 Elite II Hull # 534

2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD 2500

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So you were using 2 surge suppressor’s back to back when the problem occurred.  Are you still using both surge suppressor’s while plugged in at home?

Mossey

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Mike and Krunch   Lutz, FL  
2017 LEII #193 “the dog house”

 

 

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Mossey, Yes. I always hook a surge protector to the pedestal then plug the power cord into it. I do the same at home. 110 adapter, surge protector then power cord. So the set up was the same.  

My external surge protector is a less expensive Progressive Industry model. I had it with a previous trailer. The internal Progressive Industries EMS will protect the internal electronics on the Oliver. But I started using the external one because of horrid stories where the power cord, one of its plugs, or the trailer receptacle got fried due to voltage issues while the trailer was ok. 

Thanks  

Bill Thomas 2019 Elite II Hull # 534

2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD 2500

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When you unplugged from the 30 and plugged in to the 50 on the pedestal did you ever hear the transfer switch “clunk”?

Bill and Martha

2018 LEII Hull 313

2019 Chevrolet 2500HD Duramax

 

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Was that the night it rained so hard in Salina? We were there the night of 05/30/2022. 
 

We are on our way to Breckinridge for a wedding. 
 

If something zapped your EMS, the company will replace it. But I would not tell them you were piggybacking two, which is probably not a grand idea. 

Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher and Rocky plus our beloved Storm, Maggie and Lucy (all waiting at the Rainbow Bridge)

2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #026 | 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #050 | 2022 Silverado High Country 3500HD SRW Diesel 4x4 

 

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4 hours ago, ThomB87 said:

I always hook a surge protector to the pedestal then plug the power cord into it. I do the same at home. 110 adapter, surge protector then power cord. So the set up was the same.

Another question, so I can follow this issue to the best of my ability.  You may have added a new component to the scenario, the 110 adapter that you didn’t mention in the original post and I assume it’s a 30 Amp RV to 110V 15 Amp adapter.  Is this correct?

Mossey

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Mike and Krunch   Lutz, FL  
2017 LEII #193 “the dog house”

 

 

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I don't see an issue with piggybacking a surge suppressor - not a second EMS - inline. The external unit simply passes normal power and would absorb the first hit of a surge, potentially saving the onboard EMS surge protector circuitry. How could it cause an issue?

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Stephanie and Dudley from CT.  2022 LE2, Hull #1150: Eggcelsior.

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8 minutes ago, Steph and Dud B said:

I don't see an issue with piggybacking a surge suppressor - not a second EMS - inline. The external unit simply passes normal power and would absorb the first hit of a surge, potentially saving the onboard EMS surge protector circuitry. How could it cause an issue?

Since we don't have an onboard ems,in our older 2008 trailer,  I'm following this for educational purposes.  

I've wondered the same.

 

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12

 

 

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14 hours ago, Townesw said:

When you unplugged from the 30 and plugged in to the 50 on the pedestal did you ever hear the transfer switch “clunk”?

No there was no sound when I switch the power off and back on nor when I unplugged from the 30 and  then plugged into the 50.

 

Bill Thomas 2019 Elite II Hull # 534

2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD 2500

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Mossey - At home or in a friends drive way I have a 110 to 30 amp adapter plug. I plug the adapter into the 110 outlet then the surge protector into the adapter. 

ScubaRX - No rain but a heck of a lot of wind that night.  Keep plastic bags to cover any exposed plugs if the forecast call for rain. 

There are no issues with using an external surge protector in addition to the EMS onboard one. Jason at the rally said that is something he would recommend. It has been a while but I can see if I can find the thread on another forum.  The guy had pictures of a chard end of a power cord and chard receptacle where it plugged into the RV. The on board surge protector saved the trailer and its electronics. But the power cord and the plug in on the side of the RV both had to be replaced.    

The EMS seems to be working fine now. This may not be a  big deal. But my concern is this something that will return. I would have thought turning the power off and back on would have reset the EMS if that was the problem. 

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Bill Thomas 2019 Elite II Hull # 534

2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD 2500

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We literally *just* had this problem. As we were troubleshooting (including trying to find the EMS errorcode chart), someone walked By asking if we were having Power issues.  The only other Time we've had this kind of issue we were hooked up to shore power in a campground. I stuck the voltage tester in the outlet At the pedestal And no joy.  So, my guess is voltage dropped Below EMS threshold so it shut itself down.  I pleaded with spouse to just abandon the electric hookups,  we are totally fine with our new LiFePO4 batteries so why risk the rest of the trailer electronics?

2018 LE2 #333  "the Otter"

2015 Silverado 2500HD

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15 hours ago, Liana said:

We literally *just* had this problem. As we were troubleshooting (including trying to find the EMS errorcode chart), someone walked By asking if we were having Power issues.  The only other Time we've had this kind of issue we were hooked up to shore power in a campground. I stuck the voltage tester in the outlet At the pedestal And no joy.  So, my guess is voltage dropped Below EMS threshold so it shut itself down.  I pleaded with spouse to just abandon the electric hookups,  we are totally fine with our new LiFePO4 batteries so why risk the rest of the trailer electronics?

Liana, That is what the EMS is suppose to do. But in reading the manual and the video on Oliver University the display in the upper cabinet should be showing the error code, not blank.  Once the issue is corrected the EMS is suppose to restore power automatically.  Once hooked back up and normal it should show a PE code for a previous error. I should have been able to use the by pass mode even though it is not recommended. None to that happened.

The error codes are printed on the EMS box under the seat at the dinette.  You have to be able to read upside down. 

You do not need to abandon shore power. The EMS will protect your electronics. Like I stated about I would recommend a extra external surge protector at the pedestal.  Peace of mind and it serves as a test unit before you plug in the trailer.  

When you tested at the pedestal was there no power at all or low voltage? 

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Bill Thomas 2019 Elite II Hull # 534

2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD 2500

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On 6/1/2022 at 8:14 PM, Steph and Dud B said:

I don't see an issue with piggybacking a surge suppressor - not a second EMS - inline. The external unit simply passes normal power and would absorb the first hit of a surge, potentially saving the onboard EMS surge protector circuitry. How could it cause an issue?

There isn’t an issue. Looking back at my post, I realize that I wasn’t very clear on what I considered “not a grand idea” I was referring to telling the company. 
 

Using two could make diagnostics a little more difficult if only one failed. 

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Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher and Rocky plus our beloved Storm, Maggie and Lucy (all waiting at the Rainbow Bridge)

2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #026 | 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #050 | 2022 Silverado High Country 3500HD SRW Diesel 4x4 

 

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I had a similar problem camping this last week, we plugged into the camp 30amp outlet as we normally do, turned on the A/C and the set the water heater to electric, this is what we normally do. I do not use a surge protector at the post only the one in the trailer is being used, I've always done it that way. The A/C worked as normal, but when I turned on the water heater to electric it started kicking the system off and resetting every 30 seconds or so. I then checked all the hookups and all seemed to be correct as well as power at the post was always there and it never kicked the breaker. Since this has never happened before I started the process of  turning off things to see if there was an overload somewhere and the water heater was the first to be turned off and the A/C unit left on an all worked fine with the water heater off. I'm now think the park system is not giving me the full AMPS I need to run both as the A/C and the water heater are probably the largest draw of the voltage. I switched the water to propane and all worked fine for the rest of our stay. When I got home I hooked up to our shore power and all worked just fine with the A/C and water heater on electric as it normally should be, my feeling is the camping power at the post was not putting out the needed AMPS to power what it should power, what do you think happened and should I have a meter to check post output when I hookup.  I assume that if I would have had a 50amp option at the post II could have used my adaptor and had the power I need, but I didn't.

trainman

Elite II, Twin Bed, Hull #489, 2019 RAM 1500, 5.7 Hemi, 4X4, Crew Cab, 5'7" bed, Towing Package, 3.92 Gears.

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53 minutes ago, Trainman said:

what do you think happened and should I have a meter to check post output when I hookup.  I assume that if I would have had a 50amp option at the post II could have used my adaptor and had the power I need, but I didn't.

If you have the Oliver supplied surge protector inside your Ollie, it should have a remote readout that cycles between various readouts.  One of these should be telling you the voltage that is actually coming into your Ollie.  I'm guessing that the voltage was too low which, in turn, means that your amperage was too low.  If that be the case then it is highly likely that switching to the 50 amp at the pedestal would have not helped you. 

As I remember it, you do not have the solar panel option.  If that is the case then I don't think that you have no way of directly telling what amps you are receiving.  One of the products on THIS AMAZON page could help either at the pedestal and/or inside your Ollie.

In addition, you might want to watch THIS VIDEO for ideas on a fairly inexpensive product that might get you what you need.

Good luck!

Bill

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2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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1 hour ago, topgun2 said:

I'm guessing that the voltage was too low which, in turn, means that your amperage was too low.  

Power (Watts) = Volts x Amps. Power remains fixed, it is a result of internal resistance and other factors in the loads. So if volts drop, the amps increase. Neither of those is good, which is why the surge protector has both upper and lower limits. 

Higher end airplanes have 24 volt DC systems, it allows for much smaller gauge and lighter weight wires  because with twice the volts, you get half the amps. And a 6 volt golf cart, as another example, has massive wires.

John Davies

Spokane WA

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"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

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Trainman,

I agree with others that low voltage at the post was likely your problem.  Voltage drop is a function of wire size, current (amps) and nature of the load itself; resistive,  or inductive.  Were you the last RV site in the park?  The longer the wire run, the more voltage drop there will be.  And the higher the current in the wire, the more voltage drop there will be.  I'd speculate that the closest trailer to the power source had plenty of voltage, but everyone in front of you on the bulk circuit was running their air conditioner and everything else which will cause voltage drop at each site along the circuit so by the time the power got to you, voltage was getting pretty low (the definition of a brownout).  The bulk power system adds capacitors every so often along the overhead lines to support voltage.

Your electric water heater is a resistive load like an incandescent bulb, so if voltage into the water heater drops, the water heater just consumes less watts and doesn't heat the water quite as fast.  The air conditioner is a motor (i.e., inductive) load which like John said will increase current draw as voltage decreases.  As voltage drops , the current increases to the AC as the AC continues to draw the same number of watts.  The increase in current will act to drop the voltage even more which increases the current draw which drops the voltage, etc.  Reactive power devices (like the soft start capacitor in the Oliver) might be able to intervene somewhat to break this cycle but can only do so much. Beyond a point, the voltage collapses and the EMS will open the circuit preventing the AC compressor from burning up due to the high current draw resulting from the low voltage. The soft start capacitor in the Oliver acts to prevent this voltage collapse when starting the air conditioner with a generator. 

Like others, I expect that you were experiencing unusually low voltage at the post to start with and your air conditioner was operating on the bleeding edge of low voltage.  Turning on the water heater increased the current draw from the power source  past every RV site ahead of you on the circuit and caused further voltage drop at your post and on into your trailer.  That caused the air conditioner to draw more current (amps) which further dropped the voltage which caused it to draw more amps and it reached the low voltage cutoff of the EMS.  Just a theory.  If it happens again,  you might try turning the air conditioner to low (the compressor should draw fewer amps on low)  and you may be able to run the water heater in combination with the air conditioner on low long enough to get the water hot.  Worth a try.   

I don't think plugging into 50 amps would make any difference as I believe 50 amp RV posts are still only 110 volts into the Oliver.  A heavier gauge and/or shorter cable from post to the Oliver would reduce voltage drop a bit, but if you are using the beefy cable that comes with the Oliver, there is not much more you can do there.  The RV park probably had an under-designed electric system.  I have read that the electrical code says that an RV park system need only supply 41% of the sum of the maximum rating of each site on the theory that in aggregate, the RV's will never be using more than 41 percent of the capacity of all the posts.  Probably not a very good assumption on hot afternoons since just about everyone has an air conditioner and compressor fridge these days. 

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Steve and Lornie

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@Chukarhunter, @John E Davies, and @topgun2, thanks to all of you for putting these ideas onto words that all of us can read and understand. 

With the proliferation of electron hungry appliances,  and summer season, ac use, and very full campgrounds,  we'll probably see more folks with similar issues. 

What I'd do, would be to turn off the ac, get the water hot, and turn othe water heater to gas. Minimal gas to maintain temperature,  in summer.

Then, put the ac back on. 

The ac and electric water heater are the biggest consumers in summer. Our compressor fridge draws very little,  but I wouldn't want to run all three at the same time. (Can't anyway, as our Girard heater uses gas only, but you get my point.)

As campgrounds fill, fewer electrons to go round. From our experience,  many campgrounds have puny wiring.

Just wait til people start plugging in and charging lithium batteries in trucks and trailers. It will only get worse, imo.

 

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2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12

 

 

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Thanks for the replies, I do believe low power to the post was most likely the problem as I have not been able to duplicate this problem at home where I have shore power with the correct wiring and power output. 

trainman

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Elite II, Twin Bed, Hull #489, 2019 RAM 1500, 5.7 Hemi, 4X4, Crew Cab, 5'7" bed, Towing Package, 3.92 Gears.

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On 6/1/2022 at 1:47 PM, ThomB87 said:

Some time in the night

Why do these things seem to always happen in the middle of the night ...? 

@Chukarhunter excellent explanation!

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Chris & Duke Chadwell
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 6/5/2022 at 12:15 PM, Trainman said:

I had a similar problem camping this last week, we plugged into the camp 30amp outlet as we normally do, turned on the A/C and the set the water heater to electric, this is what we normally do. I do not use a surge protector at the post only the one in the trailer is being used, I've always done it that way. The A/C worked as normal, but when I turned on the water heater to electric it started kicking the system off and resetting every 30 seconds or so. I then checked all the hookups and all seemed to be correct as well as power at the post was always there and it never kicked the breaker. Since this has never happened before I started the process of  turning off things to see if there was an overload somewhere and the water heater was the first to be turned off and the A/C unit left on an all worked fine with the water heater off. I'm now think the park system is not giving me the full AMPS I need to run both as the A/C and the water heater are probably the largest draw of the voltage. I switched the water to propane and all worked fine for the rest of our stay. When I got home I hooked up to our shore power and all worked just fine with the A/C and water heater on electric as it normally should be, my feeling is the camping power at the post was not putting out the needed AMPS to power what it should power, what do you think happened and should I have a meter to check post output when I hookup.  I assume that if I would have had a 50amp option at the post II could have used my adaptor and had the power I need, but I didn't.

trainman

It’s true that campgrounds can experience low amps at the power pole which is just as dangerous as a power surge.  But I thought most protectors would flip your power off due to low amps. My Hugh’s Watchdog will cut my power when that happens, reset once power is back to 30amp. 

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