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Old 07-05-2016, 11:21 AM   #1
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Default Testing the electrical shore power, I made an adapter

Last summer I was at a campground in Virginia. When I first plugged into the 50 amp shore power my Progressive Industries EMS shut down the power to my rig because it said there was no voltage on one of the legs. I tried unplugging and plugging a couple times. As well as exercising the breaker a couple times. Still no go. I went and told the park staff high school kids of the problem. They came over with their handy tester. It was a 50 amp to 30 amp adapter, then a 30 to 20 amp plug adapter plugged into that. Then a regular receptacle tester with the two amber and one red light. They plugged it in and it showed the two amber and no red lights illuminated. They said, "you're good." I tried to explain to them why that would not show the fault. They couldn't grasp it. I'm sure they could have told me all sorts of things about my computer that I have no idea of. But, basic electrical was not in their wheel house. I took out my multi-tester volt ohm thingy and started shoving the probes into the slots to show them how to really test a 50 amp socket. Only problem is my probes weren't quite long enough to make a good connection in there and give a reliable reading. I did manage to convince them that one of the hot legs was dead. They eventually sent an electrician out and he tightened up the screws on the socket terminals and all was good.

So I went about trying to figure out how to make a good device to probe those individual terminals. I finally came up with this idea. I'm sure somebody around here is going to have a better idea, or tell me how to improve on mine. That's another great thing about this forum. I also know that having these exposed terminals does certainly create some risk. So, I'm telling you all, don't ever build one of these and try to use it. You will certainly touch the wrong terminals with your bare fingers while standing in 12" of water draining out of your black tank, and kill yourself. Just because I'm going to use it doesn't mean you should. If I jumped off the bridge would you too?
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Old 07-05-2016, 07:42 PM   #2
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As an electrician, half of me is going "awesome, I need one of those"
The other half of me is going "holy crap, he's going to shock the piss out of someone"
Just stick the leads of your meter into the socket.
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Old 07-05-2016, 07:54 PM   #3
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Well, with a tester like that you certainly don't need a $200 meter!
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Old 07-05-2016, 08:00 PM   #4
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I know, stick the leads of the meter into the socket. Sure, that's what I usually do. But, on a 50 amp socket it's not always easy to get them in far enough to make a good connection. That's the problem I was trying to describe above. The idea with this device isn't to plug it in and leave it there and walk away. I really don't think it's any more dangerous than sticking probes into a socket. I think in a way it might be safer. The contact points are very easy to touch the probes to. No fiddling around twisting the probes around in the holes trying to get something to contact.

Like I said, don't ever build one of these and try to use it. You will most certainly die.
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Old 07-05-2016, 08:03 PM   #5
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I intend to push the tester into the socket with the breaker turned off. Then check the screws for voltage just for the heck of it. Then turn the breaker on and test again. Then shut the breaker off and remove the test plug.

Don't anybody ever think of making one of these. You will certainly die.
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Old 07-06-2016, 08:39 AM   #6
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thats just plain DANGEROUS!
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Old 07-06-2016, 10:12 AM   #7
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Hey Bob,

And I understand why you did it, but that got me looking on the web for something safer for you and us. 50-amp Tester
Check this out and you have a third of what your need already and this is safer.

Sam
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Old 07-06-2016, 10:21 AM   #8
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Hey Bob, why not use your tongue instead of your fingers??

Apparently your warning is not sufficient?
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Old 07-06-2016, 03:06 PM   #9
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I saw that Sam, that's quite the tester he made. I always have a multi-meter in my rig. So it's nothing more to use it for this. I also always have a receptacle tester like he used. But I'm pretty sure I'm smart enough not to have a problem using the plug I made. Don't anybody else try this though. Very very dangerous and you will most certainly die a long painful death.
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Old 07-08-2016, 03:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mntom View Post
Hey Bob, why not use your tongue instead of your fingers??
i was gonna suggest the same (joke).

but then i thought all you need is some moisture and salt to ensure a good conductor....you know like from your hands on a nice warm (summer camping) day!

all kidding aside...

Bob - maybe if you put some TAPE over those exposed screws (and i don't mean the foil conductive kind)....it might improve the safety a little.

It would just our luck that some kid pick this thing up (when we weren't looking) and started playing w/ it...plugging it in.
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