'77 Scamp power issues - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-03-2016, 12:14 PM   #1
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Name: sharon
Trailer: Scamp
Virginia
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'77 Scamp power issues

ok, stupid question time: I went to work at a NASCAR race & took my egg for the weekend, where there are many campers & few power outlets. I tried to plug my camper into the next camper to just run LIGHTS, no big power drain. it sparked when I plugged in, then nothing. flipped my breaker, nothing. my cord is a 3 prong. I tried putting an 3-to-2 prong adapter on the end, that didn't work either. neighbor checked all his fuses, nothing off. I plugged into another camper, nothing. (both neighbor campers were gigantic motorhomes with external outlets.) I risked running drop cords on the wet ground & plugged into the building, I got power. what do I need to do to be compatible with other campers?
p.s. I know just enough about wiring to get into trouble, lol! so break it down for me, please?
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Old 05-03-2016, 12:30 PM   #2
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start with the basics

I'd pick up an inexpensive multi-meter for testing and learn to use it; it's not hard and you can find stuff on You-Tube to learn very quickly. Then you can begin to test your system to eliminate or separate the component legs from each other.

I presume, though I don't know, that you have both 12v and well as 110v like we have on our Scamp. Those two systems should be separate and require that you test them differently with the meter. I would start with the 12v system and eliminate any problems there first, simply because it's lower voltage and less dangerous. Then move onto 110v and test that with extreme care because it can kill you. Word of caution: get help if you don't know what you're looking at or unfamiliar with electrical.

These systems are pretty simple but I've been fooling around with this stuff for a little while and have gained just enough experience to keep me from killing myself. The electrical system on our 1991 Scamp was a mess in addition to being installed in a small cramped space, of all places, under the sink. Seems like a recipe for disaster to me with the potential for water leaks etc.

Good luck.
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Old 05-03-2016, 01:15 PM   #3
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Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
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Originally Posted by TheWanderers View Post
.... I would start with the 12v system and eliminate any problems there first, simply because it's lower voltage and less dangerous. Then move onto 110v and test that with extreme care because it can kill you. ...
Actually either system can ruin your day with equal severity. As someone who touched his wrench to the positive terminal on a group 27 battery while removing the negative terminal bolt (and lived to tell about it), I second the motion to learn how to test your systems safely.

I don't see any reason you could not run a light load off another RV's outlet. I don't have the answer for you without testing. Perhaps both outlets were dead (a coincidence but possible), or perhaps their ground fault kicked you off.

Was it a big spark? Did you have most everything turned off in your camper when you plugged in? Was you master breaker off?
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Old 05-03-2016, 01:29 PM   #4
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Gordon mentioned a likely reason - the RV exterior outlets are GFCI protected, while the building connection was not. If that was the case, you may have a wiring problem in your trailer that needs fixing.

Try plugging your trailer into a GFCI receptacle. If it trips, you should look for & repair the fault. If you need it, I can post a GFCI problem troubleshooting guide.

If it works OK on a GFCI receptacle, that wasn't the problem...
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Old 05-03-2016, 09:33 PM   #5
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Name: sharon
Trailer: Scamp
Virginia
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yes, TheWanderers, you're right, the electric box is under the sink & I have to "think thin" to get to it! what were they thinking?? I figured out the external lights for towing. that part is ok. internal loop is the problem.

gordon2 - not a big spark, but I was kind of surprised it sparked since nothing was plugged in or turned on at the time. the breaker box was on. and yes, the motorhome outlets both said they were 'protected outlets', whatever that means?

the outlet a previous owner added only has 2 wires running to it, I assume no ground wire? on a car you can ground to the chassis, but with a fiberglass camper what do you ground to? could that be the problem?

thanks guys!
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Old 05-04-2016, 10:12 AM   #6
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Name: Duane
Trailer: 1978 Burro
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Outlet testing

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Originally Posted by sharon_b View Post
ok, stupid question time: I went to work at a NASCAR race & took my egg for the weekend, where there are many campers & few power outlets. I tried to plug my camper into the next camper to just run LIGHTS, no big power drain. it sparked when I plugged in, then nothing. flipped my breaker, nothing. my cord is a 3 prong. I tried putting an 3-to-2 prong adapter on the end, that didn't work either. neighbor checked all his fuses, nothing off. I plugged into another camper, nothing. (both neighbor campers were gigantic motorhomes with external outlets.) I risked running drop cords on the wet ground & plugged into the building, I got power. what do I need to do to be compatible with other campers?
p.s. I know just enough about wiring to get into trouble, lol! so break it down for me, please?
Hi, I'm pretty new to this RV stuff but have talked to quite a few people that have had troubles with electrical hookups. One where just about everything in their RV "smoked".

I bring along a 3 wire tester and a 30A to 15A adapter to check to see if the connection I plan on using is wired correctly.

Robot Check

http://www.amazon.com/Camco-55233-El.../dp/B00192QB3I

You could use a neon tester or VOM but that's not as simple to use.
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Old 05-05-2016, 11:55 PM   #7
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Name: sharon
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thanks Duane, I ordered both
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Old 05-06-2016, 12:17 AM   #8
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Name: Randy
Trailer: 1980Trillium 1300
Ontario
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Originally Posted by sharon_b View Post
ok, stupid question time: I went to work at a NASCAR race & took my egg for the weekend, where there are many campers & few power outlets. I tried to plug my camper into the next camper to just run LIGHTS, no big power drain. it sparked when I plugged in, then nothing. flipped my breaker, nothing. my cord is a 3 prong. I tried putting an 3-to-2 prong adapter on the end, that didn't work either. neighbor checked all his fuses, nothing off. I plugged into another camper, nothing. (both neighbor campers were gigantic motorhomes with external outlets.) I risked running drop cords on the wet ground & plugged into the building, I got power. what do I need to do to be compatible with other campers?
p.s. I know just enough about wiring to get into trouble, lol! so break it down for me, please?
This is my own perception ab your issues and...I COULD BE WRONG. In a RV electrical system which is a combined 12VDC and 110VAC, there are ground( green wire for AC) point/chassis point(negative 12VDC), floating/common point(white wire for AC or negative for 12VDC) and PLUS 12VDC, BLACK wire for HOT 110VDC. I guess your RV common point is different from others' common points...Best way is using a popular/cheap multi-meter to determine your RV system is compatible with others. Common rule is: if the voltage across 2 points or 2 wires IS NOT A ZERO then... DO NOT CONNECT THEM. Just a thought.
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Old 05-06-2016, 12:28 AM   #9
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Name: Randy
Trailer: 1980Trillium 1300
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Sorry ab the previous post: BLACK wire for HOT 110VDC should be corrected as BLACK WIRE FOR HOT 110VAC
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