Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Electricity is in the air...

Monday, August 10th

Today, we had a bit of excitement, so I thought it was blog-worthy. While I was working, Tony was relaxing and getting ready to head to work, about 11:00 or so we suddenly heard some cracking/popping sounds, almost like when a small rock hits a glass window. We both had time to say, "What was that?" and "I don't know!" before the AC power went out. I said, "Oh we just lost power!" and Tony said "Oh no, look!" as SMOKE came rolling out of the television!

We quickly un plugged the TV, threw the 50 amp breaker in the coach, and ran outside to throw the breaker at the park pedestal. We started trying to assess the damage. We found that the surge protector, which is plugged into the pedestal, appeared to be Ok at first glance, but the RV's power cord, plugged into it, was melted. We could find no other visible signs of damage.

After some quick evaluation, we contacted the Park to let them know of the issue, and spoke to the neighbor who said he had no problems. We decided since the temps were headed to the 100s again, we needed to take the cats and go get a new power cord and surge protector. I called ahead to verify they had what we needed, and hit the road.

We arrived at Tanner RV, just west of Baird, and purchased their only 50 amp cord and entry-level SurgeGuard protector, and headed back. A quick stop to grab some food, and we returned. Tony checked with the Park owners, who said the Electrician they contacted could not find any fault with the pedestal wiring.

We then decided not to trust the rig wiring at this point... Tony needed to get to work, so I contacted a hotel in Eastland that was pet-friendly, and we headed there.

Tuesday, August 11th

Tuesday AM, we left the cats at the hotel and headed over to check on the rig. We detached the damaged pieces from each other and realized that it appeared the heat there had to be building for a while. I had also done a bunch of research to find out why this happened. We took out the Multimeter and began to assess some of the areas of concern. We needed to verify the plug at the pedestal was wired correctly (Which our new surge protector indicated was OK) and that there was not damage to the rig's connection to the cord. We then checked the breaker panel for loose or damaged wiring. About 10am, we wrapped up as the heat inside the rig was getting bad -- it was up to 94, and climbing, and Tony needed to get back to the hotel and clean up for work. 

Fried 50amp Power Cord

Fried Surge Protector (neutral from Power Cord stuck in it)

Wednesday, August 12th

Today, we left the cats at the hotel and again headed over early in the AM to assess the trailer. This time we started working with the outlets inside the rig. We turned on the 50amp breakers, and verified we had power to the rig, then began checking the outlets with the multimeter. All appeared to be reading as they should. We then checked each breaker to make sure the appliances on those worked correctly. Ceiling fan, Converter, Microwave, Water Heater, ACs, Fridge all tested OK. At 10:30, it was again too hot to continue in the rig, and Tony needed to get to work. I contacted our insurance company to begin a claim, since I was sure this was covered and damaged items were going to be expensive to replace. I also ordered a new Surge Protector that reads the voltage, amp draw, Hz, as well as checks for improper wiring, and cuts power for low and high voltage. Our old one did some of this, but did not give us readings of actual power usage.

Thursday, August 13th

Today we weren't able to spend much time testing due to work obligations, but we did a little. We checked all the items that were plugged in at the time of the "surge" to see if they worked or not. I had always heard to worry about surges and low voltage, so we did have some inside plug-in protectors for a variety of items. The TV and devices plugged into it did have a surge strip, but it was not a very good one. The computer and printer had their own surge devices, as well as the upstairs tv, and a few more around the rig for other things. We determined that a few of these surge protectors had obvious "burned plastic smell", so we did not plug them in again. 

Based on this assessment and more internet research and talking to an RV tech and other knowledgeable RV friends, we decided that the problem rested with our power cord, and the surge was minor. We decided that we could probably safely move back into the rig, and continue our testing. 

Friday, August 14th

We moved back into the rig mid morning. We had left the ACs running 24 hours, and everything seemed to be working fine. Tony picked up some new surge protectors for inside the rig, and we began plugging in necessities and testing multiple things running at once, carefully checking our read-out on the Protector. We felt we were back in business! We did some more research to locate a replacement TV, a sad loss since it fit the space perfectly and was only 2 years old. We found a replacement, and made that purchase. 

The weekend was spent checking things over some more and additional research. The adjuster comes on Monday.

Monday, August 17th

Mid afternoon, the Insurance Company's RV specialist/adjuster came to see the damage and determine applicable reimbursement for our losses. We are happy with the numbers they came up with, replacing our damaged cord, 50amp surge protector, TV and 2 interior surge protectors. Based on his experience, it looked like a typical surge to him. Possibly the power cord had some issue (loose wires?) Heat buildup melted the connection, and caused a momentary surge before the power cut out. Since the failure was already past our Surge Protector, it could not catch it to stop it.

We have resumed our daily living, hopefully this kind of excitement is far behind us!