This little diatribe came about because I discovered the same electrical problem at two different campgrounds within days of each other. One campground was a city owned and operated park in Alabama, while the second one was a Corps of Engineer facility here in Tennessee.

In both cases, when I attempted to insert my 30 amp plug into the receptacle. It wouldn’t stay plugged in, or the connection was intermittent. Both outlets were worn out! The quick solution in each case was to plug an adapter pigtail into the 50 amp outlet, and my 30 amp into the pigtail. None of this should be necessary, since the underlying cause of the problem could attributed to operator error.

I would like to remind everyone about the proper way to plug and unplug your RV at the campground pedestal. Very simply, always insert or extract the plug with the associated circuit breaker flipped off. Always, every time. The reason is that any time you plug or unplug while power is flowing, you get a small spark between the contacts. After many repetitions, the metal wears away, and the contacts in the outlet won’t hold the contacts on the plug, thus the looseness.

My personal method of connecting power is to open the cover, make sure the outlet that looks like a normal household outlet is energized, and measure for proper voltage. That range is around 115 to 125 volts. If it’s OK, then I flip all the breakers off, then attach the trailer plug. Once I’m convinced that the plug is securely in, then I flip only the breaker I intend to use, normally the 30 amp. The others aren’t necessary. I then check the voltage inside the trailer.

Disconnecting power is exactly the same. When finished with power, flip all breakers off, then pull the plug. You may think I’ve overly complicated this, so let’s simplify.

To Connect:
1. Flip all breakers off
2. Insert plug into socket.
3. If plug appears secure, flip the desired breaker on.
To Disconnect:
1. Flip all breakers off
2. Pull plug and stow.

If you do these simple steps, your plug will last longer, the outlet in the pedestal will last longer, and the electrical items in your RV will be happier since the power to them will be more stable.

Just so you know, there still is a spark when power is turned on and off, but it’s confined inside the circuit breaker, and they are designed to handle it. Besides, a worn out circuit breaker is the campgrounds responsibility. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to apply power, and found all three breakers on. It indicates that people just don’t understand. The way I’ve just described will save you money and time it takes to replace plugs. The campground too.

Happy camping and best regards,
Jim Johnson

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