Monday, August 20, 2012

The powers to be...ok, power for air conditioning that is

Hi, hope all is well with everyone.

OK, so it's still August. It's still pretty hot in most of the country.

Those of us that are fulltiming in this heat, in RV's,  know that means using our a/c's.
And electricity.

How do we tell if our electrical needs are adequate?

One thing, a voltage meter can help.

I bought one last year, but I really didn't realize how very important it was. I bought it as it was on sale & I was ordering my new converter. It was on the same page.

Turns out, it's VERY valuable to have!

Get one & use it religiously!

It can't regulate your power of course, but it can tell you what your power is running at. That's why it's so important.

It should be running at around 120 volts.

The above photo is mine.

As you can see, it's running at 120 volts.

The place where I'm plugged into shore power now is where the reading is from.

It's at the proper level.

However, when I turn my a/c on, then it drops down to around 108! Or below...Not good.

From what I've googled, it can go either way plus or minus 10 digits, but any more or less than that, you may run into trouble.

And did I!


The above photo is my adapter. Melted. Waaaahhhh. It was such a pretty adapter. Now it's trash.

 Bummer. I must go buy another one, but won't be using it here at this residence anymore. Still need one onboard though. Well wait, I am using one. Duh. I still have the RV plugged in, just am not using anything that draws much power inside of the RV for now. But it's not pretty like the one above..well, that is, above before it melted! So I want to get another pretty one. Plus I like having an extra. It's a girly thing to want a pretty one ;-)

The low voltage caused my a/c to surge & drop drastacially while I was plugged in, using it. I feared that it damaged my compressor. And that CAN happen & WILL if one keeps pushing it! I got lucky. Extremely lucky!

I thought I did kill my compressor. I went somewhere where I could use my a/c because I still had the dogs with me. Actually, that place was the mechanic that worked on my generator. He had 30amp power, so let me plug in there. Although he charged me $10 a day, it was better than not being able to use my air conditioning.


The a/c compressor would not kick on for the entire next day. That had me worried. I really thought I trashed it. I told the mechanic that evening & he said he'd take a look at it in the morning. The RV ran around 86 that day. Usually it runs around 69-72 & that's on the lowest setting. So yes, I had concerns. And never heard the compressor kick on.


That night when I went to bed! Yipeeeee! The compressor FINALLY kicked in & all was good with my little a/c world again!

I will never make this mistake again. I will never let my a/c run when the power goes so low as to damage it. Of course, one also has to keep an eye on that voltage meter to be sure that the power doesn't peak either. That can be just as damaging to your RV's electrical system.

Again, I got lucky.

So now we're trying to figure out our best options here at the house (my friends & I) as to adding a 30amp power point for me to use. They don't want me to leave. I'm too valuable as their cook & kennel help right now ;-)

Until then, my RV is sitting in the driveway, plugged in just to keep the battery charged & the fridge running. Plus a few fans. It's been cool enough, with a fan, to sleep in there at night.

I can't wait till August is over & it gets cooler again! But then, I might be waiting till October or later for that cooler weather. Then I'll be complaining about the cold! Because I can. :-p

There are many sources to google that you can read to learn about using your RV's source to a regular house current. My a/c is either a 13,500 or 15,000 BTU unit. I can't seem to find out which, but that's a pretty powerful unit when you factor all other things electrical inside of your RV. The compressor when it kicks on, generates a lot of power to use, then kicks back & relaxes a little on that power. But each time that compressor kicks on, it generates a power surge (so to speak), so if you are on inadequate power, you can kill your electrical system. Or your compressor. It's not worth the risk. Especially when you don't know what voltage you're using at that moment, so get a voltage meter & track it.

One more thing, always use a surge protector before plugging into shore power! That too can safeguard your RV's electrical system. Do you research on the type you need to use for your specific rig's needs.
It's very important to use a surge protector as well!

I'll go back to using the portable a/c once I get the correct set up for it as well. It uses less power. Doesn't freeze me out of the RV, but is necessary to help keep me cool out there as long as I'm staying here.

Today, I cleaned the a/c. I'll do a seperate post on that.

~As always, be kind to your pets, clean up after them on your travels & respect your neighbor~


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Kim. I hope you are doing well these days.

  2. I agree with you 100% that power protection is important. A couple of years ago I bought this and it has saved my bacon more than once. Best investment I ever made.

    1. That's a good one John. I need to upgrade mine. When I bought it, I didn't know about the low surges. Now that I do, I seriously need to upgrade...after the two new tires & the generator fix...ouch.

  3. That sure was a pretty one. Never saw those before. But glad your doing OK with the heat now and the portable a/c.

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. It’s good to hear that all went well with your air conditioning unit. You are certainly lucky that the low voltage surge did not damage the compressor of your AC unit. It would’ve been bad having a broken AC during those hot days, especially since you can’t help but use the AC to keep cool in your RV. Anyway, keeping it clean would help a lot in keeping the unit functioning, since dust can clog the filters of the unit and cause it to malfunction.

  6. Thanks for this value able post. I have read all the things very carefully its really a helpful and effective post.
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  7. Well, in your situation, you really need to have a great AC unit! If you’re in between trips, it’s really fine to have that kind of air conditioner, but in fulltime RVing, that's really awful. You badly need a nice unit especially during the summer when the temperature can reach up to triple digits.

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  9. Pretty Good Post! Air Conditioner is playing very important role in our life. Thank you for sharing it and I appreciate your efforts.

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  12. You’re quite lucky that it didn't do more damage to your compressor or else that would be a much bigger problem. This post is a year ago already, so I guess it's been fixed. But of course, do check up every now and then to avoid this incident happening again. Mignon Her

    1. The problem here is a power issue. The roof air draws more power than the electrical current where I am provides, so I simply don't use my roof air while plugged in where I currently am. It's why I have the portable a/c to use while here. It draws less power & I don't plug it into the motorhome at all. I use it with a seperate 30amp cord on a seperate outlet.

  13. Great post. I’ve learned a lot from your blog so far. Thanks

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