Checking of Campground Pedestal (Basic)
Test Non-Contact Voltage Tester (NCVT) in a working electrical socket, before using at pedestal, based on instructions in the manual for your specific NCVT. The one I have is a Southwire Model 40136N.
Get out your NCVT and turn it on, most of them should beep.
Walk up to the pedestal, WITHOUT TOUCHING THE BOX WITH YOUR BARE HAND, touch the outside of the electrical box with the tip of the NCVT, then all around it, just lightly touch the box, do not tap it hard as you could get a false positive reading.
Did it beep, not just once while holding it there but continuous beeping?
If so, STOP DO NOTHING ELSE, DO NOT TOUCH THE BOX WITH YOUR BARE HANDS. Contact the campground admin/owner and let them know the electrical pedestal has stray voltage on the outside of the electrical box.
If no beeping from touching all around the box, then you can continue, at this point, it means one of two things:
- There is no stray electricity on the box OR
- The breaker in the box is turned off.
If you got here, then it is time to open the box and see if there is a circuit breaker in the box, not all electrical pedestals at all campgrounds have the breakers in the electrical box. Open the box.
Keep in mind as you move along you will want to know which breaker to turn on, 50 amp (larger 5th wheel and Class A), 30 amp (usually travel trailer and Class C), or 20/15 amp (mostly the popup type RVs).
Is the breaker turned on or is there no breaker?
- If breaker is present and it was turned off then while not touching the metal box, turn it on and do the test again with the NCVT, if no beeping, turn it back off and plug in your RV and turn breaker on.
- If breaker is present and it is turned on, then you are safe there is no stray electricity on the outside of the electrical pedestal box, turn off the breaker and plug in your RV and turn breaker back on.
- If no breaker, then it is somewhere else in a central location at the campground but at this point you are safe to plug in your RV.
Ideally it is best for option #1 above, so you do not have to plug into a live electrical socket.
If you prefer video, you can watch it here: https://vimeo.com/569446102
If you want to do more thorough testing, like checking voltage/hertz, polarity, that can be found in Chapter 9: Electricity Advanced.