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Old 11-25-2018, 09:21 AM   #1
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House current to shore power - enough?

I have about 50' of a 10/4 'extension cord' I used to feed lights in an old construction trailer ó I would like to use this as a stationary feed to my 2002 Sightseer ..'just to keep things topped-up.

Should I have an electrician install a 30amp outlet to feed this cable which I would plug the coach cable into, or is 110v sufficient?

I see a 'converter plug' - does this mean there are times where campgrounds do not offer 30amp?

Stupid questions, but we're still tied to the dock, not having put to sea yet. (I was Army?! ..where'd that come from?) Thanks.

Jim
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Old 11-25-2018, 10:37 AM   #2
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You should be fine, I do it all the time with a 50' 10ga cord. It will do fine in terms of keeping things "topped off" but I wouldn't keep it plugged in 100% of the time, especially if your converter/charger hasn't been upgraded to one with a multi stage charger. Otherwise you're liable to cook your batteries. Just remember you're only getting 15a - 20a, depending on your service so you're not going to be running your A/C.

Convertor plugs come in a number of configurations, the most common being 30a to 15a service for those times that 30a service isn't available. It all depends on what you want to plug into what.

Upgrading your converter/charger is a relatively easy DIY job and a highly recommended if not essential upgrade. It will be much more battery-friendly. When doing so, it's best to disconnect and reconnect one wire at at time and not rely on so-called "standard" color codes. Here's a link to a posting about my experience with this:

http://www.winnieowners.com/forums/f...up-350868.html
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Old 11-25-2018, 12:33 PM   #3
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ten gauge is way plenty as you are not going to expect to do much besides keep the batteries up and a few lights, maybe let the frig run to cool before heading out. I run ine in the yard with fifty feet of 14 gauge!
I do not change out the converter just so I can use it. Much easier/cheaper to get a tiny "trickle charger" and plug it into one outlet near the battery compartment. I find the compartment under the step on mine has a receptacle in the compartment next to it and also one on the cabinet end, so I looked at which breakers to leave on for the one I want to use and flip the rest off. That leaves the trickle charger running but all the other draw is cut off. Adding one of the knob type power cutoffs on the chassis battery leaves me set. The little charger is not enough to boil the battery and since I do want to check the water every month or so, I find it works fine for me and only cost less than ten dollars!
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Old 11-25-2018, 12:58 PM   #4
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Morich is right. Even if you do change out the converter/charger, the trickle charger is going to be more gentle. Nonetheless, changing out the converter/charger is still worthwhile, you'll be better off while traveling.
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Old 11-25-2018, 04:22 PM   #5
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RV's in general only use 120 volts. The rare exception is a high value RV
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Old 11-25-2018, 05:37 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pianotuna View Post
RV's in general only use 120 volts. The rare exception is a high value RV
Pianotuna is correct, however, I don't think that was the intent of the OP's question. Household voltages are nominally 120V but can vary (from what I've read) between something like 107V to as high as 124V, even during a 24 hour period. Traditionally, depending on location, the standard could be 110V, 115V or 120V. For simplicity I'll use 120V from here on. These ranges aren't of concern but we do need to be careful of lower or higher voltages in campgrounds to avoid damage and/or fire:

How to Protect Your RV From Electricity

Also, depending on the house's wiring and breaker panel, a the 120V outlet could be either 15A or 20A, 15A being typical. The main concern in this case is whether or not a 10 gauge 50' extension cord is adequate and, the answer is yes. Here's a site with some info on this:

https://www.homedepot.com/c/factors_...cords_HT_BG_EL

Although not listed above, 30A extension cords are typically 10 gauge.

The biggest risk of using too small of a wire gauge isn't tripping a breaker, it's the risk of fire due to the cord overheating.
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Old 11-25-2018, 10:44 PM   #7
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Jim, since you asked, and to segue off Bob, I would not mess around with 20amp or less. Since you are thinking of hiring an electrician for a 30 amp breaker and outlet, it won't cost a penny more to have him put in 50amp breaker and outlet. Assuming you can handle 50.

I installed a 50amp at Miss Winnie's berth (sailor here) and it was a godsend a while back when the house AC fritzed. We just moved into the Winnie and waited out the repairs.

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Old 11-26-2018, 08:14 AM   #8
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So it gets down to why you ask and what you want to do . If you just want to keep the RV powered enough to keep the batteries charged and have the furnace run on a cold night, maybe cool the frig before starting a trip, go simple, run a cord big enough to handle the amperage of the outlet you are plugging into at the distance you have and go simple. If you want to use the RV with all the features and those features require 50 Amp, then you have a much bigger problem. Dig out the big bucks and go for it! Likely it will take several things like a new box at the house , a major wiring job, and far more at the end. Not going to be a DIY for most folks.
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Old 11-26-2018, 08:24 AM   #9
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Thanks, guys... 'lots of great info. I keep this at my business, so it sits 'outback'. ('in looking at my house panel - it seems I have about four 30amp circuits at the moment - somewhere?)

I like BC's idea of the charger upgrade. I have two of those 1950s-looking metal box chargers and recently got one of the trick chargers from HF after a rave review by the electronics writer in one of the aviation magazines - Kitplanes. I suspect doing an internal upgrade would be better than fiddling around with alligator clamps. I'll have the electrician come take a look. Thanks again. Jim

https://www.harborfreight.com/automo...ger-63299.html
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Old 11-26-2018, 08:47 AM   #10
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He was talking about installing a 240 outlet--that would fry his RV.



Quote:
Originally Posted by BobC View Post
Pianotuna is correct, however, I don't think that was the intent of the OP's question. Household voltages are nominally 120V but can vary (from what I've read) between something like 107V to as high as 124V, even during a 24 hour period. Traditionally, depending on location, the standard could be 110V, 115V or 120V. For simplicity I'll use 120V from here on. These ranges aren't of concern but we do need to be careful of lower or higher voltages in campgrounds to avoid damage and/or fire:

How to Protect Your RV From Electricity

Also, depending on the house's wiring and breaker panel, a the 120V outlet could be either 15A or 20A, 15A being typical. The main concern in this case is whether or not a 10 gauge 50' extension cord is adequate and, the answer is yes. Here's a site with some info on this:

https://www.homedepot.com/c/factors_...cords_HT_BG_EL

Although not listed above, 30A extension cords are typically 10 gauge.

The biggest risk of using too small of a wire gauge isn't tripping a breaker, it's the risk of fire due to the cord overheating.
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Old 11-26-2018, 09:32 AM   #11
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He was talking about installing a 240 outlet--that would fry his RV.
You may be right, but that certainly wasn't clear to me. He mentioned installing a 30A outlet but didn't mention 240V anywhere in his posting or responses. He also mentioned 30A at a campground which is 120V, so it's ambiguous at best.

Hopefully it's now clear to him (the OP).

Additionally, a 50A RV outlet is only useful if his coach is wired for 50A. A 50A shore power outlet is 240V, split into two 120V legs and is best done by an electrician experienced in such matters.

IMHO, 50A would only be necessary if one wanted to run the A/C in addition to the microwave, etc. Otherwise 30A and even 15A or 20A is adequate.
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