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Electric shuts down

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I have a 1999 Winnebago Ultimate Freedom motor home. I purchased this 6 months ago. From the beginning the symptoms started:

1.The electric would shut off for a 1 to 20 minutes period, sometimes a number of times in the same day. Then it wouldn't happen again for a week or more.

 

The first thing I did was to purchase a 50amp Surge Guard
When the power went off I would check the Surge Guard and it always showed 125 volts on each leg of the 50 amp plugin with no problems.

 

The second thing I did was to replace all the batteries with 12 volt deep cycle.
The symptoms continued.

The problem has never showed up while traveling with the generator running, usually a day or two at a time.

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From what you describe, I would start with your automatic transfer switch (ATS). I assume the surge guard you installed is in line with your shore power connection before the ATS. A bad ATS would explain why the surge guard shows power to both legs when the coach has no power. The contacts or the switching mechanism in the ATS could be going bad. Most ATS's are set to prefer generator power over shore power. This would explain why when you run on generator power everything is ok. When on shore power, the ATS may be reverting to the generator side periodically because it is failing, which would cause the intermittent power interruptions you describe.

 

I wouldn't think it would be loose connections in the panel if everything is fine on generator power. It could be loose connections in the ATS or just that the ATS is dying a slow death and periodically not functioning properly.

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I would suspect the ATS also. Contrary to common belief, an ATS doesn't default to one side on. Both relays need to be energized (one at a time) to allow its feed to be connected.

 

If the circuit for the Shore Power feed or the relay is getting weak, that would give the conditions described.

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Contrary to common belief, an ATS doesn't default to one side on. Both relays need to be energized (one at a time) to allow its feed to be connected.

While I would definitely take a look at the ATS, it isn't true for all transfer devices. Both RVs that I owned that had one, the contacts were closed to the shore power position if there was no power present at all. Just how they work and are designed varies depending upon the make and model of the device but since that is the main device between the two power sources it is suspect.

 

1.The electric would shut off for a 1 to 20 minutes period, sometimes a number of times in the same day. Then it wouldn't happen again for a week or more.

I'm not clear on exactly what is happening. Do you mean that your 120V-ac power shuts off, then returns again with no action by yourself? Have you taken any voltage readings? Have you examined the power cord to see if there is anything suspicious in it or the power plug? Does it show any signs of having been hot or damaged in any way?

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You are correct.

 

When the power goes off - it comes back on all by itself.

 

Today, for instance, in nice weather the power went off for a few moments then came back on for a few moments and then off and on again the same way at least 4 more times all within a span of about 1 hour.

 

The rest of the day has been normal with no interruptions.

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When the power goes off - it comes back on all by itself.

Have you examined the power cord or done any trouble shooting yet? I would start with a close visual examination of everything between the power distribution panel and the power pedestal.

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Make certain when you plug into shore power or switch back and forth from generator that you turn off all high current sources such as air conditioners, heaters, electric water heater, etc. That will reduce the burning of the contacts.

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Have you examined the power cord or done any trouble shooting yet? I would start with a close visual examination of everything between the power distribution panel and the power pedestal.

How would I identify the power distribution panel and the power pedestal?

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Just out of curiosity do you have an inverter. Is all shore power lost or is it just inverted power.

If it is only inverted power your battery's may be a problem or the inverter it self. Testing all outlets for shore power needs tested for power.

Just a different thing to look at.

 

 

Safe Travel's Vern

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The power pedestal is the place that your RV's power cord connects to supply electricity. They usually look something similar to this ...

503020AMPPADPOWER1.jpg1-5-2-3-5950-75_BW_CF-lr-norightreceptac

The power distribution panel is the place inside of the RV where the power cord is attached to the electrical systems and all 120V-AC circuit breakers are located.

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How would I identify the power distribution panel and the power pedestal?

Dennis,

Nothing wrong with your question, but it does sound like you may not have any experience working with electricity. If so be very careful. This electric stuff can kill a person.

 

It might be best to find an a RV'er who is experienced with elect stuff or maybe call a mobile RV repair person go come out and trouble shoot the problem.

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Dennis,

Nothing wrong with your question, but it does sound like you may not have any experience working with electricity. If so be very careful. This electric stuff can kill a person.

 

It might be best to find an a RV'er who is experienced with elect stuff or maybe call a mobile RV repair person go come out and trouble shoot the problem.

Believe me, I know I need help!

However, since I purchased this Motorhome I have worked with three "RV repair persons" and found them all lacking.

I need to prepare myself to manage whoever I hire for this task.

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The power pedestal is the place that your RV's power cord connects to supply electricity. They usually look something similar to this ...

503020AMPPADPOWER1.jpg1-5-2-3-5950-75_BW_CF-lr-norightreceptac

The power distribution panel is the place inside of the RV where the power cord is attached to the electrical systems and all 120V-AC circuit breakers are located.

If the Surge Guard is showing ok and It is directly plugged into the power pedestal, wouldn't that eliminate it as a source of problem?

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If the Surge Guard is showing ok and It is directly plugged into the power pedestal, wouldn't that eliminate it as a source of problem?

That depends upon what the Surge Guard shows on it's display, if yours has a display. As I understand what you are saying, the SG display is indicating 125V on each leg, even when the RV has no power. If this is correct then yes, it does mean that the problem is not in the power supply. But your RV power cord is then plugged into the SG and so if there is a defect in the cord, the SG would never see any problem, even when you are experiencing problems with the power cord, or whatever may cause the issue which you have. This is the reason that I am suspicious of either the power cord or the auto transfer switching device. Both of those are between your power source, Surge Guard combination and the RV so they could be the cause of problems that your SG would be unable to see.

Edited by Kirk

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Believe me, I know I need help!

However, since I purchased this Motorhome I have worked with three "RV repair persons" and found them all lacking.

I need to prepare myself to manage whoever I hire for this task.

Finding a competent "RV repair person" can be a challenge. Even worst for someone who has little experience with the components involved.

 

Now to top it off you have an intermittent problem. If the repair person comes out and the problem goes away, it is challenging to find the bad parts.

 

Kirk has suggested checking the power cord. Have you unplugged the cord and examined it closely. Look for burned contacts. -- Where the cord goes into the molded plug: with the cord unplugged, does the cord feel well connected? It should feel stiff where it goes into the molded plug. If it bends easily it could have broken wires inside.

-- Do the same where the cord goes into the motorhome.

-- If all looks good, with the MH plugged into the power pedestal, try gently wiggling the cord at both ends to see if the problem occurs.

 

Checking power at your distribution panel inside your MH is more difficult. You need a multimeter which you can buy at Walmart or local hardware store for under $30. Telling you just what to check is not as easy. I have lots of websites bookmarked for 12V, inverters and solar, but none for 120V specific. Here is one website which has an overview of the 120V part: Link

 

Basically you want to be able to pull the cover off of the distribution panel and measure the voltage at the main power circuit breakers. If no 120V at the CB(s) your transfer switch or power cord/internal cables have a problem.

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I appreciate how you folks are helping me think my way through this problem. At this point I have opened the cover on the transfer switch and I can see where the power comes in and goes out. I placed my multi meter next to the open box so that next time the power goes off I can run out and measure the volts at both points.

 

Since Todd engineering, the maker of the transfer switch, is out of business, are there any recommendations where to look for a replacement. My switch is PS245S.

 

 

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I suggest that we not start to get replacement parts until we know what the problem is. Even if the ATS is the thing interrupting the power it is possible that something is causing it to do so. There is a shop that repairs those products, but I'm not aware of any who have used it. As mentioned previously it is possible that the problem is something simple like a bad plug on your power cord or even the cord. Those are much less expensive than replacing the ATS.

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You stated that all is well with the genny running so to me that would eliminate a problem in your 120v breaker panel in the coach....120v in your coach goes from the power cord to the transfer switch to the 120v breaker panel....When you run the generator the transfer switch defaults to generator power even if you are plugged in...That's how Winnebago does it...I would check all the connections in the transfer switch {power off] as they tend to loosen up...The cord is also a suspect as stated...My guess is weak relays in the transfer switch if all connections are good......

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I suggest that we not start to get replacement parts until we know what the problem is. Even if the ATS is the thing interrupting the power it is possible that something is causing it to do so. There is a shop that repairs those products, but I'm not aware of any who have used it. As mentioned previously it is possible that the problem is something simple like a bad plug on your power cord or even the cord. Those are much less expensive than replacing the ATS.

Since I replaced the mail plug that goes into the panel about a week ago I have only had a single incident and it was a blip of an outage lasting only a matter of seconds. I'll keep posting my results.

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Since I replaced the mail plug that goes into the panel about a week ago I have only had a single incident and it was a blip of an outage lasting only a matter of seconds.

That may have been on the supply from the power company.

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This doesn't seem to be related to this topic. However since it also happened to me I feel it should be part of this discussion.

Tonight I was watching tv using my antenna.

When my wife turned on the water pic in the bathroom the tv lost all channels during the time the water pic was running. The moment she stopped all the channels came back on.

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When my wife turned on the water pic in the bathroom the tv lost all channels during the time the water pic was running. The moment she stopped all the channels came back on.

That one isn't a power problem, but can be aggravating! Some appliances actually generate radio waves that they transmit over the air and your water pic seems to be one of them. Other than to replace the appliance, there isn't much that you can do. It is possible that the radiation was on the power line rather than over air and if so it may help to change where the pic is plugged in, but mostly it is of short duration so I wouldn't spend a lot of time fighting it

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Well? Did the replacement of the plug resolve your issue?

 

I am having the same problem. Intermitten where when it starts it shuts off/on in a cycle of a few minutes off then back on and will do it 3-5 times before it quits and stays on for the rest of the day. Makes me crazy. In particular this morning when it started at 2:20am and finally quit acting up at 4:03am.

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Well? Did the replacement of the plug resolve your issue?

 

I am having the same problem. Intermitten where when it starts it shuts off/on in a cycle of a few minutes off then back on and will do it 3-5 times before it quits and stays on for the rest of the day. Makes me crazy. In particular this morning when it started at 2:20am and finally quit acting up at 4:03am.

Welcome to the Escapee forums! We will do our best to help you solve the problems.

 

First a couple of questions. Are you using one of the power monitor systems such as the Surge Guard or the Progressive EMS? If you are it might be a case of voltage sag or even high voltage that is coming from the power pedestal. As I understand what you posted, you loose power for a short time, then it comes back on, over and over with no explanation? Have you checked the power pedestal to see if it may be loosing power and be causing the problem and not some part of the RV?

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This doesn't seem to be related to this topic. However since it also happened to me I feel it should be part of this discussion.

Tonight I was watching tv using my antenna.

When my wife turned on the water pic in the bathroom the tv lost all channels during the time the water pic was running. The moment she stopped all the channels came back on.

Try plugging something else into that particular outlet, your razor or another small appliance or a corded electrical tool, drill etc.

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