Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Power Sag/Current Issues at Seasonal Site
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ryankenn

kingston

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Posted: 07/27/21 11:49pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We are in our first year at a seasonal site we think we will be staying at long term. Everything is great, but the power. We only have a small Jayco 16XRB but even its 8K Btu AC and fridge prove challenging.

I haven't had my meter on it yet but you can tell by the sounds of the fans or AC that either the voltage droops badly or the run on the 12 wire from the looks of it is so long current isn't being delivered as fast as its demanded. Depending on neighboring usage fans will start slow and ramp up.

I am looking for ideas on how to combat this? I have setup a solar array at home before, but I don't know what to search for in terms of a device like an MPPT controller, but instead of the panels, that input is line. I would like a bank of batteries to be controlled and charged by the pole 120V (or sagged level its at) and the controller to supplement the supply using the batteries and an inverter so the trailer has steady voltage and good current delivery.

I had hoped a device existed but in searching it may be more practical to just have the site run a charging system that keeps a bank of batteries full and I draw from an inverter.

Thoughts or experience here would be great. The Norcold has already had one control fault leaving us with spoiled food and the neighbour has had some HW boards and the in trailer 12V inverter board fold because of the same issues and I want to avoid this.

Thanks!
Ryan

valhalla360

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Posted: 07/28/21 04:45am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It's a common problem, particularly at older parks.

1) Get a voltage meter. No point fixing something that isn't the problem. I suggest getting one that plugs into an outlet full time and put it where you can see it frequently.
2) Solar is a separate subject and largely irrelevant to if your park has low voltage.

Assuming you do have low voltage, there are some options:
- Pick up an Autoformer (google it). These devices will boost voltage by 10%. They aren't a cure all (if the pedestal is at 80v...that's still going to leave the air/con seeing only 88v) but it will avoid a lot of marginal voltage issues.
- Switch as much as you can over to propane. So the fridge and particularly the water heater. The more amps you are drawing, the more it pulls the voltage down. If it's only one hot afternoon, you could turn off the battery charger but then you have to remember to turn it back on later.
- The final solution is picking up a generator. I would suggest looking for one at least in the 3000w range. You can make some smaller ones sometimes work but it's really marginal. Some will say the campground won't allow it but we've had good luck telling them to provide the 120v power we contracted for...and they have always backed down.


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wa8yxm

Davison Michigan (East of Flint)

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Posted: 07/28/21 05:29am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I kept voltmeters pluggedin
I also used a Hughes Autoformer
Now with the autoformer there is a trade off. especially on a 30 amp site
Your RV does not eat volts or amps. but rather watts. (Volts times amps)
So if the voltage out the post is say 100 and the hughes kicks it up to 115 Well your maximum wattage goes from 3600 (30 amps times 120 volts) to 3000 (30 amps times 100 volts) before the park breaker trips. But.. everything works provided you keep that in mind.

One thing I did was swap out the water heater element. instead of a 1500 watt at 120 volt I put in a 1500 watt 250 volt (375 watts at 120 volt) element, Took a bit longer (4x) to heat water.. But fewer trips to the pedestal to reset the @#%[email protected]## Breaker.


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theoldwizard1

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Posted: 07/28/21 06:06am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Some careful research MIGHT locate an inverter that will ADD power to your circuits ! Then a good solar and battery setup would be another solution.

wanderingaimlessly

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Posted: 07/28/21 06:43am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

In addition to Valhallah's comment, solar to charge the batteries, allowing you to turn the converter off can provide some help.
Otherwise, the Autoformer.

Mike134

Elgin, IL

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Posted: 07/28/21 07:01am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Something not mentioned move to a site closer to the distribution panel if you can. End guy on the circuit will see the lowest voltage.


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valhalla360

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Posted: 07/28/21 07:24am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

wanderingaimlessly wrote:

In addition to Valhallah's comment, solar to charge the batteries, allowing you to turn the converter off can provide some help.
Otherwise, the Autoformer.


But also keep in mind, unless you let the battery get run way down and you have a big high amperage charger, this is really nibbling at the edge of the AC voltage problem.

valhalla360

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Posted: 07/28/21 07:27am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

theoldwizard1 wrote:

Some careful research MIGHT locate an inverter that will ADD power to your circuits ! Then a good solar and battery setup would be another solution.


They do have inverters that can merge with shore power but MOST inverters don't and the ones that do are expensive.

You CAN'T simply wire the inverter into the shore power circuit simultaneous with the shore power cable. It needs electronics that line up the sine waves or you can cause major problems.

valhalla360

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Posted: 07/28/21 07:34am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

One other option would be to upgrade the battery charger and install an inverter sized to accommodate the loads (not cheap but effective)

Get a 200amp @12v charger, a moderate size battery bank and a 3500w (peak output) inverter.
- The charger will be capable of putting out around 2400w.
- The battery storage can provide a boost for start up loads (continuous loads are typically much lower. They are only for a second or so...so not an issue topping the battery bank back up.
- The inverter is big enough to cover the start up loads.

I've seen this used on boats where they travel between 120v @ 60hz and 240v @ 50hz. They get a battery charger that can accept either input voltage and the inverter is selected to provide what the onboard appliances require.

But assuming it's not really bad, the autoformer should handle the issue.

schlep1967

Harrisburg, PA

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Posted: 07/28/21 08:52am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You have been given options that are going to cost you money for a problem that is not yours. The problem is the parks to deal with. I would tell them to provide you with the proper electric or you will expect a refund of your money for the rest of the year and you will be leaving. Staying in the situation you are in and doing nothing is also going to cost you money. Low voltage will kill your electrical items in your camper.


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