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Becareful when planning to charge at RV Campgrounds.

Discussion in 'North America' started by Liz G, May 6, 2013.

  1. Liz G

    Liz G P03056

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    This past weekend my family and Flasherz's family went down to the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri to attend the Magic Dragon Car show. The weather was a bit rainy and cold but in spite of that we had a great time showing our Model S's and talking about Tesla. Lot of interested people here in Missouri.

    The only real snag, other than the rain, occurred when we arrived at our resort. I had spent time finding a resort that had both cabins and RV spots. After extensive phone calls I had been assured that the resort had several 50amp sites. So we arrived at the resort around 9:30pm in a very steady drizzle. After checking in and unloading our cars we moved them to the nearest RV site. Flasherz plugged and and nothing. No green light nothing. So he checked the box, checked the breaker all seemed ok, but no power. So we began walking around with our respective charging cables and plugging them in to the various RV sites. After checking every outlet available, including unplugging a number of campers (luckily they were just there for storage), I finally found 1 that got us a green light. So we were not completely dead in the water, but we had 2 S's needing full charges and only one outlet. So, I called down to the office and they sent up maintenance. After walking around, checking all the boxes and breakers, he finally concluded that everything had power but all the other boxes had been wired with 120 instead of 240 service. So though the resort advertised 6 charging spots they only had 1 that would actually work for our needs.

    Long story short, and some interrupted sleep we were able to have both cars charged in time for our trip back. Whew!

    But I now need to call and confirm that all the RV sites I've reserved for my trip to Colorado have 240 service on their 50amp outlets.

    Fun, fun!. Happy road tripping.
     
  2. stevezzzz

    stevezzzz R;SigS;P85D;SigX

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    The supercharger network buildout can't come too quickly.

    Glad you were able to make it work, Liz G, but that level of inconvenience is probably to be expected until there's a critical mass of EVs on the road, nationwide.
     
  3. FlasherZ

    FlasherZ Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv

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    What they did was connect L1 to L2 on the NEMA 14-50, so that L1-N was 120V, L2-N was 120V, but L1-L2 was 0V.

    As many RV's use 120V-only appliances, this will typically work because they get their expected voltage, but 240V appliances will not work.

    (The sad thing is that a couple of the sites did have double-pole breakers and I could see it had wiring for 240V supply voltage, but they must've wired the receptacles in that silly way.)
     
  4. sp4rk

    sp4rk Banned

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    But how will you know, short of visiting the places in Colorado that they are indeed 240v?
     
  5. Liz G

    Liz G P03056

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    I'm going to ask the question and explain why it is important to know for sure and then I will just have to trust that they tell me the truth. Oh, and I'm going to look for some back ups as well (other RV campgrounds nearby).
     
  6. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    Good grief! Don't a lot of RVs these days have air conditioning? Aren't they 240 volts, or are typical RVs just a bunch of 120 volt circuits? You'd think this would have been caught by now.
     
  7. qwk

    qwk Model S P2681

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    You won't, that's why it's good to have a few backup charging plans.
     
  8. Monto

    Monto Member

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    Most RVs are all 120V. They have 2 banks of 120V circuits, but none use 240V. That is why the wiring would work for them, but not us.
     
  9. jaanton

    jaanton Roadster NA #1026

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    I wonder what gauge of wire was being used. A proper NEMA 14-50R can deliver 12kW (120v * 50 A * 2) if L1 and L2 are the same I would hope the wiring/breaker can manage the load.

    My cousin owns an RV campground in Montana. He's told me that some campers these days want 2 NEMA 14-50R - they are that big. Maybe there is a map or information where these are? That would be exactly what you want if you have two Model S. I'll have to ask him.
     
  10. mitch672

    mitch672 Active Member

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    Sounds like they bid out the job, and guess what? The low bidder won the job. To save money, he only pulled a neutral, 1 hot and ground to each outlet. Congratulation to the low bidder, managed to find a way to save %25 on his copper costs, but the outlets are not installed to proper 14-50 specs.
     
  11. sp4rk

    sp4rk Banned

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    Sorry, but that's just plain misleading to generalize like that.
    Depending on how you define RV. To say none?
    Almost every diesel pusher on the road is 220v.
     
  12. Discoducky

    Discoducky Active Member

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    All the KOA's we stayed at up and down the west coast between Seattle and LA had their 14-50's properly wired. So folks might have better luck at KOA's or maybe we were just lucky.
     
  13. MichaelS

    MichaelS Member

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    Wow, this is interesting news. Besides being totally illegal to wire a 14-50 outlet this way, it's a disservice to the RV owner that needs the full 240V. It's true that most smaller RV's don't use 240 and as someone mentioned, this wiring scheme connects the L1 and L2 together tying the two halves of the distribution panel in the RV together. I think a complaint to the BBB and the city would be in order. I think it's time to build a little tester to check for this.
     
  14. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    If they are lying what can you do?

    Better than telling us here, please log it in the various charging web and app resourses. Recargo. RVfinder, and the rest.
     
  15. jaanton

    jaanton Roadster NA #1026

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    The ironic thing is that it's more copper for 100A - 2 (neutral - hot both 100A) lengths of 3 awg instead of split phase 50A - 3 (neutral, hot, other hot) lengths of 6 awg.
    I'm sure these are not really good for 100A at 120v. This also is a Nikola Tesla invention that you don't need as much neutral with the load is split up in several phases.
     
  16. mitch672

    mitch672 Active Member

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    My guess: they only ran #6 on a single 50A breaker, the outlet is likely only good for 120V 50A TOTAL.
     
  17. andrewket

    andrewket 2014 S P85DL, 2016 X P90DL (soon 100)

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    With FlasherZ there, I'm shocked you guys didn't wire up a new 10-50 using a single leg from two different outlets (assuming you could find two out of phase.) :smile:
     
  18. FlasherZ

    FlasherZ Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv

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    I didn't have my tools with me or I would have at least looked at fixing the ones that had double-pole breakers, if I could. However, I had the family with me and we were dead tired after being Tesla advocates at the car show all day long. :)

    I know I could have fixed one of the receptacles without needing any more parts.

    I also know that two of the receptacles had only 50A single-pole breakers, so we would have been out of luck there.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I didn't see the inside wiring but you're correct about the single-pole 50A breaker.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Most ceiling A/C units that I've seen have been 120V, even in the larger RV units.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Almost every diesel pusher also has a genset that will work when the receptacle doesn't. :)
     
  19. AudubonB

    AudubonB Mild-mannered Moderator Lord Vetinari*

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    Gee, and I thought I was alone in the world in living in an area that doesn't have inspectors.......... ;)
     
  20. FlasherZ

    FlasherZ Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv

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    My county has a permit requirement but no inspections. The county east of mine doesn't even have permit requirements. Build what you want, when you want, how you want.
     

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