Surge Protector Readout: FAULT - OPEN NEU DETECTED - Dutchmen Owners

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Old 03-09-2019, 01:01 AM   #1
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Surge Protector Readout: FAULT - OPEN NEU DETECTED

Ok electrical gurus... help an electrical dummy out. I've done a bit of Google research already, but of course, there's no way to ask questions there. So here I am.

Been in this RV resort here in AZ for 6 weeks with no issues. Woke up this morning, discovered all AC power in the rig was off. Went outside, looked around, everyone seemed to be ok (no neighbors about talking about how the power was out), so I walked over to my power pedestal. Saw the red light blinking on my surge protector (Southwire Surge Guard #34950), with the following message on the display:

RV OFF FAULT OPEN NEU DETECTED

Thinking something must've happened overnight, I flipped the breaker on the box OFF... waited a few seconds... then flipped back on. Within 10 seconds, the surge guard did it's thing, I heard the usual "pop", the green light came on, and all appeared well. Went back inside, cooked breakfast watched the news, etc. No problems.

Departed about 3 hours later for a motorcycle ride... came home about 5 hours later to find the same thing. No AC power to the rig. Went back to the pedestal, and found the same thing. Reset the breakers as before, and now 30 minutes late I'm back in the rig, with power, typing this out here.

As I said, I've done a bit of research via Google... and, with one exception, everything I can seem to find indicates this is usually a problem with the RV park's power pedestal, and not the RV.

My first question is... does that sound right?

I gotta admit that I sure hope so... would hate to wonder what or where the trouble might be here on the RV. And that brings me to the 2nd question, which has to do with the 'one exception' I mentioned above, which stated the following:
"The open-neutral problem can also occur on RVs which have transfer switches to go between shore power and generator power (such as Onan)."
Well, I've got an onboard Onan generator, so my question: Where, and how would I check for such a condition on my rig?

I guess there’s a 3rd option too... a chance my surge protector is going bad? Any way to check that?

Remember now... I'm pretty dumb when it comes to most electronic issues. Mechanically, I'm pretty good... but electrical? If it gets too deep, I know to call for an electrician. Just wondering if I'm gonna have to do that or not.
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Old 03-09-2019, 12:46 PM   #2
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According to the specs for your unit, it senses open neutral on the input side... BUT the troubleshooting instructions say that it could be on the load side (RV).

Power surges
Open ground
Open neutral (Input)
Elevated ground line current
Low (<102V) and high (>132V) voltage
Overheating receptacle
Reverse polarity
Miswired pedestal
High neutral current (50A model only)
High neutral current

https://rvpower.southwire.com/wp-con...ting-Guide.pdf

they indicate that you should call their customer support which is different than the specs... Does your unit have a transfer switch for shore/generator operation? It also says...
Neutral Open – Check all input wiring to the device. Check the shore power cord and wiring from the generator if applicable. Check/replace adapter if reducing down to 120V, 20A service. Notify park for shore power problems if applicable.
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Old 03-10-2019, 03:06 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ATCguy View Post
Ok electrical gurus... help an electrical dummy out. I've done a bit of Google research already, but of course, there's no way to ask questions there. So here I am.

Been in this RV resort here in AZ for 6 weeks with no issues. Woke up this morning, discovered all AC power in the rig was off. Went outside, looked around, everyone seemed to be ok (no neighbors about talking about how the power was out), so I walked over to my power pedestal. Saw the red light blinking on my surge protector (Southwire Surge Guard #34950), with the following message on the display:

RV OFF FAULT OPEN NEU DETECTED

Thinking something must've happened overnight, I flipped the breaker on the box OFF... waited a few seconds... then flipped back on. Within 10 seconds, the surge guard did it's thing, I heard the usual "pop", the green light came on, and all appeared well. Went back inside, cooked breakfast watched the news, etc. No problems.

Departed about 3 hours later for a motorcycle ride... came home about 5 hours later to find the same thing. No AC power to the rig. Went back to the pedestal, and found the same thing. Reset the breakers as before, and now 30 minutes late I'm back in the rig, with power, typing this out here.

As I said, I've done a bit of research via Google... and, with one exception, everything I can seem to find indicates this is usually a problem with the RV park's power pedestal, and not the RV.

My first question is... does that sound right?

I gotta admit that I sure hope so... would hate to wonder what or where the trouble might be here on the RV. And that brings me to the 2nd question, which has to do with the 'one exception' I mentioned above, which stated the following:
"The open-neutral problem can also occur on RVs which have transfer switches to go between shore power and generator power (such as Onan)."
Well, I've got an onboard Onan generator, so my question: Where, and how would I check for such a condition on my rig?

I guess there’s a 3rd option too... a chance my surge protector is going bad? Any way to check that?

Remember now... I'm pretty dumb when it comes to most electronic issues. Mechanically, I'm pretty good... but electrical? If it gets too deep, I know to call for an electrician. Just wondering if I'm gonna have to do that or not.
Hey Tom! Did you ever get this squared away? I have found that some RV's have a floating neutral!

https://www.rvtravel.com/how-generat...r-an-rv-works/

strange!

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Old 03-10-2019, 03:13 PM   #4
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Well, so far, no more trouble since I wrote that post. Wouldíve replied sooner, but didnít wanna jinx it. Ha!

Still plan on giving Southwire a call on Monday... at least see what the tech guru has to say about it.
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Old 03-10-2019, 03:32 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by ATCguy View Post
Well, so far, no more trouble since I wrote that post. Wouldíve replied sooner, but didnít wanna jinx it. Ha!

Still plan on giving Southwire a call on Monday... at least see what the tech guru has to say about it.
I updated my post regarding the floating ground thing. The you tube has this guy hooking up one of the progressive protectors. You may have started something in your RV that required a bonded neutral in the RV and the suppressor sensed that the neutral was open. The green ground and the neutral are both bonded together in the service panel and the green wire carries NO power (or at least it isn't supposed to). The Neutral is an electrical return path for the hot to the bond in the service panel.
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Old 03-11-2019, 12:03 AM   #6
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The most likely cause of a neutral fault is a neutral pin on the pedestal is not grounded. It can and is even likely that it is intermittent.

Tell the RV park manager to get an electrician to look for an intermittent ground and neutral in the pedestal.

Electrical sockets wear out. The pinching force on the plug pin decreases with age and use. Corrosion in the socket also tends to show up first as an intermittent open. Screw electrical connections inside the pedestal also do this as the clamping force decreases as the copper corrodes.

Home electrical service consists of two out of phase 115 volt legs, a neutral, and a ground. The ground is local and as it's name implies it is connected to the ground around your home.

The ground is wired to all outlets and to any metal boxes or conduit in your system. Most appliances that have a metal box or case have the case wired to the ground pin in the outlet. Many lamps do not. Some "double insulated" power tools do not.

The power for appliances flows through one leg and the neutral. Some outlets are on one incoming leg. Some are on the other. They are often named high and low. Both legs use the same neutral.

The ground and the neutral are connected together at the service entrance of your home. I presume that means you do not have a "floating neutral" in your home.

What does that mean for your TT? When you plug your serge protector into the pedestal the protector checks to see if the ground and neutral are connected. If not it refuses to turn the power on to the TT.

If you are plugging in to a 50 amp 230 volt and there is a floating neutral, that could fry a lot of electrical and electronic devices because it could cause up to 230 volts to be applied to 115 volt outlets.

A "Floating Neutral" can cause things to not work. It can also easily go un-noticed if the fault is in the ground wire when plugging into a 30 amp 115 volt service. It is a safety hazard.

The ground wire connected to the neutral at the service entrance is intended to trip a circuit breaker when a circuit malfunctions and shorts to a metal object. That is also what GFI's are for. GGI's are much more sensitive.

If you are standing on the ground, and you touch a metal object that is not grounded and is in contact with the hot leg, you become the current path to ground. (not pleasant) You definitely want the circuit breaker or the GFI to trip. Floating neutral will not do that.

Connecting a "Floating Ground" 115 volt generator to your TT is not a safety issue. The generator in this case must be constructed to isolate it's electrical circuits from ground. You can not become a part of the power circuit as long as the gen maintains isolation. However, GFI's will not work properly and a short to the trailer frame will not trip a breaker unless, the TT frame and neutral are connected (grounded). My Kodiak Cub is grounded to the frame at the service entrance.
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Old 03-16-2019, 09:47 PM   #7
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Pedistal

I think if the pedistal is a sub panel the neutral and ground are separated. The only time there tied together is at the main, the service entrance.
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Old 03-17-2019, 04:47 AM   #8
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I donít think you bond neutral and ground

Quote:
Originally Posted by franktafl View Post
I updated my post regarding the floating ground thing. The you tube has this guy hooking up one of the progressive protectors. You may have started something in your RV that required a bonded neutral in the RV and the suppressor sensed that the neutral was open. The green ground and the neutral are both bonded together in the service panel and the green wire carries NO power (or at least it isn't supposed to). The Neutral is an electrical return path for the hot to the bond in the service panel.
I donít think you want your neutral and ground tied together in your unit. If you tie them together and your neutral came lose then the ground becomes the neutral and your entire unit could become engergized and you could kill somebody when they touched your unit if they are grounded.
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Old 03-17-2019, 05:49 AM   #9
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Just to update...

Iíve had no further issues since the 2 in the original post. Nor sure if there were just gremlins in the area, or what.

I did notify the office, and they sent their electricians out to check the power pedestal the following Monday. This is a pretty high-end resort with over 3,000 sites (and a golf course, 4 pool areas, 2 gyms, etc), so they have a pretty competent staff. Even so, as expected, they found nothing wrong... and, of course, couldnít duplicate the problem.

So again, Iím just chalking it up to ďgremlinsĒ, and hope it doesnít happen again.
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Old 03-17-2019, 01:28 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by larrypride View Post
I donít think you want your neutral and ground tied together in your unit. If you tie them together and your neutral came lose then the ground becomes the neutral and your entire unit could become engergized and you could kill somebody when they touched your unit if they are grounded.
Thatís a good point and thatís something I need to check. I have been treating this as a rolling house and not dependent on the feed from the park to provide safety grounds. Thatís a problem for me right now in my pea sized brain... let me get back to you.
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Old 03-17-2019, 01:46 PM   #11
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Ok, did some checking. The pedistal has the basic three wires run to it (two hots and a neutral) and they are bonded together in the pedistal like in a home. That would mean that your RV would not have a neutral and green wire connection in the rv itself and could depend on the park pedistal to supply that connection. I guess I just never thought about it. I have seen all my neutrals tied together in the RV but never paid any attention to see if there was a ground there.
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Old 03-17-2019, 05:18 PM   #12
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Gremilins can cause hot spots or fire be careful . I would check all my connections in unit. Check ground and neutral connections in panel at inverter, etc.
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Old 03-18-2019, 10:53 PM   #13
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"I donít think you want your neutral and ground tied together in your unit. If you tie them together and your neutral came lose then the ground becomes the neutral and your entire unit could become engergized and you could kill somebody when they touched your unit if they are grounded"

Larry,
That is not how it works.

In a nominal system, the ground caries no current. It has "ground" potential. That is how it protects people from the "hot" wire when there is a malfunction. GFI's in the 115 volt systems do the same but are more sensitive to more failure cases.

In all cases a hot wire short to ground causes a circuit breaker, fuse, or GFI to trip or blow. A person standing on wet ground and touching an 115 volt appliance with a shorted hot wire becomes part of the circuit and will trip a GFI.

The neutral wire or negative 12 volt wire carry current and may have a very tiny potential. In a nominal system they are not dangerous or even uncomfortable to touch.

If 30 amp 115 volt pedestal neutral is not connected, the shore power cord ground wire carries the return current instead of the neutral wire. The GFI on the pedestal will trip. If there is no pedestal GFI then appliances will work with the shore power cord ground wire carrying the return current. As long as the ground is connected people touching the TT or its appliances are protected. There may be a vary tiny voltage present on the TT Ground.

If a short to ground occurs the pedestal circuit breaker will still blow and or a GFI will still trip. A circuit breaker in the TT will probably trip first.

To become dangerous, both neutral and ground would have to be disconnected when a hot wire shorts to ground. So you need three failures and no GFI to make the TT ground hot; open pedestal ground, open pedestal neutral, and no GFI in the pedestal.

.
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Old 03-18-2019, 11:06 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by franktafl View Post
Ok, did some checking. The pedistal has the basic three wires run to it (two hots and a neutral) and they are bonded together in the pedistal like in a home. That would mean that your RV would not have a neutral and green wire connection in the rv itself and could depend on the park pedistal to supply that connection. I guess I just never thought about it. I have seen all my neutrals tied together in the RV but never paid any attention to see if there was a ground there.
Frank,
Did you check to see if your TT neutral is connected to your TT ground. You could check by unplugging the shore power cord use a continuity tester between ground and neutral.
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