Protect yourself against campground wiring problems!
You may have seen the photo on the right before in one of my other articles or on the website. But believe it or not, it was our actual "power pole" at a campground near West Yellowstone. While it was obviously a concern, we've found much better-looking power poles that had problems too.
There are two main electrical problems to be aware of at campgrounds:
- Bad wiring of the power pole at the campsite
- Power surges that occur during a nearby lightning strike
I really recommend that you spend the money for a good surge suppressor that has a built-in circuit tester (check out my article on Avoiding Campground Electrical Problems
). But when we first started camping years ago with our popup, we were a bit overwhelmed with all the things we had to spend money on. If this describes you, there is a good low-cost solution that addresses the first (and most common) concern.
Bad wiring at the campsite
We're all in a hurry to get things set up when we pull into a new spot. While it's tempting to just plug in your electrical hookup when camping, you can easily destroy electrical components if the power source is bad. With a 30 amp circuit (what's common with most small travel trailers), the main problems that can exist with the electrical source are:
- No power
- Not properly grounded
- The neutral line is open
- The polarity is reversed
These problems can cause damage to your electronic components, not to mention that some of the problems could be dangerous and present a shock hazard. In all cases, it's best to test the power and find out if you have a problem before you plug in your trailer!
PLEASE NOTE: This all applies to a 30 amp power source. Unfortunately, I'm not aware of a low-cost solution for testing a 50 amp circuit should you have a larger rig.