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50 amp RV Power Pedestal Tester


alan0043

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Hi Everyone,

 

I am in the planning stage to build a pedestal tester. I think that the pedestal tester might need to be part of the equipment that is needed for your truck and trailer. My question is, who are planning on building one ? I understand that there could be a building seminar at the '15 ECR for the tester. I have a few questions. Is there a need for the two spst (single pole single throw) switches ? I don't see where the switches are located in the tool box. Can someone point out what the switches are used for. The next question is, is there another way to create resistance than using water heater elements ? Electronics has always been a mystery to me. I am a real rookie when to comes to electricity.

 

Trying to understand the project,

Al

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Al,

 

I believe this might answer your question........

"All of the photos here are of the first version of the tester. The newer version
(no photos yet) has two additional switches as indicated in the schematic. This allows
for testing each leg individually. This will often cause a problem to show up that a
balanced load may not. So on the new version, you can energize the heating
elements on one leg while leaving the other leg live yet unloaded. The voltages
should still remain close to the same. Amperage should be 30 to 35 on one leg
and zero on the other. If the voltage goes UP on one leg and down on the other,
this indicates a problem that can cause serious damage to your rig and that
power pedestal should not be used"!
Steve made some changes in Tester 2.0
Scott
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Wednesday April 15:

-9:00 am. Site 336 Steve Dixon: “Hands On Project- Electrical Pedestal Checker with Load”. We will be building one of Steve’s recent RV Park pedestal checkers from scratch. Watch and participate to see how its done. If you would like to build one at the same time a PDF file is available at this link under 50 amp pedestal checker which will include all supplies needed.

http://www.hhrvresource.com/sites/default/files/dfiles/50_Amp_RV_Power_Pedestal_Tester.pdf

 

 

 

Alan,

Here is the entry from the ECR itenarary that you will find here.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1OO8Qw7fyx5pECuNVyp0BKb4_cNa_A5RnkiBm6KXUoKA/mobilebasic?pli=1

I am building one with Steve so why don't you get your supplies and we will build one together with Steve at that session. That way we can both learn from the master :).

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Alan,

 

Steve is overseas right now but let me help with some of the questions because they are the same ones I asked. As far as using the resistive loads (the water heating elements) it turns out to be the simplest and least expensive. Resistance loads apparently develop a tremendous amount of heat thus the gallon can and water/antifreeze mix to act as a heat sink. The gurus will probably say there is some type of electronic load gizmo that might be better but my bet would be that it would be very expensive. As an example, I have a 12volt battery load tester and when you switch it on there is a coil there within seconds will glow red hot. Hope this helps and Steve should chime in later correcting any mistakes in my explanation. Mr. Seas gives Steve explanation for the additional switches.

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Alan,

Here is the entry from the ECR itenarary that you will find here.

https://docs.google....bilebasic?pli=1

I am building one with Steve so why don't you get your supplies and we will build one together with Steve at that session. That way we can both learn from the master :).

 

Hi Carl,

 

It sounds like a plan. I will get my parts together for the build.

 

Hi Scott,

 

Thank you for posting that answer. Some how I missed that.

 

Thanks Guys,

Al

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Hi Everyone,

 

I am drinking my morning coffee another question has come up. Could it be possible to use a receptacle with an electric heater plugged in instead of using the paint can with hot water elements ? What is the total resistance needed to do the testing ?

 

Al

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Hi Everyone,

 

I am drinking my morning coffee another question has come up. Could it be possible to use a receptacle with an electric heater plugged in instead of using the paint can with hot water elements ? What is the total resistance needed to do the testing ?

 

Al

IMO might be fine for the 120v legs but would not stand up to the 240v combination of legs.
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Hi Everyone,

 

I am drinking my morning coffee another question has come up. Could it be possible to use a receptacle with an electric heater plugged in instead of using the paint can with hot water elements ? What is the total resistance needed to do the testing ?

 

Al

The setup that I have uses 4 2000 watt (2 per leg) water heater elements. When I first started designing this in my head, I did consider using electric space heaters. To get the amp draw necessary to get a valid test, it would have taken at least 2 but more likely 3 heaters per leg (6 heaters?!) and just wasn't practical. I couldn't find a suitable electronic solution either. So I found the water heater elements gave the highest amp draw for the lowest cost in both space and money.

 

Steve

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The setup that I have uses 4 2000 watt (2 per leg) water heater elements. When I first started designing this in my head, I did consider using electric space heaters. To get the amp draw necessary to get a valid test, it would have taken at least 2 but more likely 3 heaters per leg (6 heaters?!) and just wasn't practical. I couldn't find a suitable electronic solution either. So I found the water heater elements gave the highest amp draw for the lowest cost in both space and money.

 

Steve

 

Thanks Steve for the answer. I will start getting by parts together for the "hands on class".

 

Thanks again, see you in April,

Al

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They make some large air cooled resistors that would work but I'd guess the price (£102.18 each) and space (24" x 6") needed would be prohibitive.

data sheet: http://www.farnell.com/datasheets/1468562.pdf

catalog page: http://uk.farnell.com/te-connectivity-cgs/te2500b2r2j/resistor-2500w-2r2-5/dp/1760880

 

 

Way back when, we used oil cooled resistors for load testing, awful mess if you didn't watch the oil temp and overheated one!

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My suggestion is using 2 of the 500 watt flood lamps for the load test.

I can use them for other things and I only need to prove the shore power

mostly works. I am also wanting mine to stay plugged in and provide surge

protection. Anyone know how many kilo-joules must be shunted to trip a 50

amp breaker?

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Hi Guys,

 

I have place an order for my parts. There is one part I still need to get. The SPDT or DPDT momentary on switch was not available thru Amazon. I will try to find one locally. I hope I can find one in the big box stores. Does anyone know if the big box stores would have this ?

 

Al

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Hi Guys,

 

I have place an order for my parts. There is one part I still need to get. The SPDT or DPDT momentary on switch was not available thru Amazon. I will try to find one locally. I hope I can find one in the big box stores. Does anyone know if the big box stores would have this ?

 

Al

Radio Shack or Auto parts store should have it.

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Hi Everyone,

 

Has anyone thought about putting a temperature gauge into the paint can to read the temperature of the anti-freeze during testing ? Maybe a safer way to test knowing the temp of the anti-freeze.

 

Any thoughts,

Al

Actually Al, I thought of doing that too, but like Jim said above, it's only powered on for short periods. If I'm curious about the temperature, I touch the can. If it's too hot to touch, wait before doing any further testing. I also considered a thermal switch on the side of the can, but I've just been too busy and it's really not necessary. Maybe I'll do it at the ECR anyway.

 

Steve

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