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Old 06-13-2020, 06:09 AM   #1
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Temp. electricy to the coach

Hi all, we are going to park in a friend's driveway for a few weeks and we are a 50 amp coach. Is there any way to get power to the coach without burning down the house? I know I would not be able to run everything and we would only be sleeping in it.
Thanks.
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Old 06-13-2020, 07:24 AM   #2
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Do you have to run the AC unit? You can get a dog one that will allow you to use a 110 outlet if needed. If you go this route I’m not sure you’d have enough amps to run a single ac unit but you’d get lights (battery charge) and the fridge.
I’ve got a 30a receptacle In my garage wired into my electric panel that is close enough to plug in. It all depends on what they have close enough for you to connect to and how much power you need.

I’ve got one of these (actually a few different sized dog bones for different needs)https://www.amazon.com/Camco-Dogbone...2054553&sr=8-5
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Old 06-13-2020, 07:44 AM   #3
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As Thom states, it depends on what they have and how much you want to go to getting it to the RV.
Considered tapping the drier connection, if they have electric drier or the hot tub if they have one? Any heavy duty power tools in the garage so they have high current outlets? Look for the highest power outlet that you can reach but often that will only be 15-20 amp and that should not be used for air as it may start the air really slowly and lead to overheat and failure.
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Old 06-13-2020, 08:22 AM   #4
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I'm not familiar with RV 50 amp circuits. Am I correct in assuming the RV itself doesn't have any 220 volt items since presumably everything works with a 30 amp adapter?

Anyway, assuming that's the case, you could probably get by with a 15 amp connection similar to how you'd get by with a a small generator--limiting use. That would include probably not running the AC and maybe not running anything else when using the microwave (depending on its draw). With a 20 amp outlet (and circuit) you could probably run AC (again depending on its draw), but not the AC and the microwave.

Finally, and my main reason for posting is something I do know! Assuming you may be some distance from the power outlet, anything more than 25 feet, you need to pay attention to the gauge of wire in the cord. Too light of gauge over too long of distance equals too low of voltage. For my 3,000 watt generator for home use I needed to fabricate my own cord because every prefabricated cord was too light of gauge. I'm not sure this website does the calculations correctly because I'm not sure I've used it, but here's one site that claims to run the numbers.

https://www.calculator.net/voltage-drop-calculator.html

BTW, this gauge of wire thing is an issue even at low voltage. It's one of the reasons some phones won't charge with certain USB cords. Over just the 3' that the current runs the voltage may be too low to charge a battery.
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Old 06-13-2020, 09:39 AM   #5
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Caution, caution, caution. Dryer and hot tub connections are 220V power. Your 50Amp RV service is only 110 so you cannot plug directly into the 220V service.

If you don't need to run an air conditioner then buy an extension cord up to about 50' long with 12 gauge wires and you can run your lights, fridge and keep the RV batteries charged. Plug the cord into a household outlet that does not have any other electric devices on it (such as a fridge or freezer, etc).

If you want to run only one (1) air conditioner then buy an extension cord up to about 50' long with #10 wire and plug it into an outlet as suggested above EXCEPT THAT: In the RV turn the fridge to propane only, don't use the water heater on elect, don't use a coffee pot or microwave or other high power devices while the AC is running.

Also on your RV's Power Center panel change the power sharing setting to 20amp. It defaults to 30amp when plugged into shore power that is not 50amp service.
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Old 06-13-2020, 09:41 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by al1florida View Post
Caution, caution, caution. Dryer and hot tub connections are 220V power. Your 50Amp RV service is only 110 so you cannot plug directly into the 220V service. .
I'm pretty sure that's not correct, but as I mentioned, that doesn't mean that anything inside an RV with a 50 amp connection is 220 volt (just as how a house with a gas range and dryer might not have any 220 devices/circuits). And I'm pretty sure the 50 amp connections at parks are 220. That's why some people try to use the 50 amp plug--to get the other leg of power from what the 30 amp plug is connected to, hoping it has a higher voltage due to less demand from other RVs.
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Old 06-13-2020, 09:44 AM   #7
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Lots of YouTube videos are out there. This is called "moochdocking" and lots of folks do it.

Here's just one video that does cover electrical connections:

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Old 06-13-2020, 10:00 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by creativepart View Post
Lots of YouTube videos are out there. This is called "moochdocking" and lots of folks do it.

Here's just one video that does cover electrical connections:
That seems like a pretty good video (although I didn't watch the whole thing), covering the topic starting at about the 10:30 mark. Note to get the 2 15 amp power you'd need to connect to different circuits (a point they make). And you'd be best off if you could somehow find at least one 20 amp circuit and outlet (so either 20 by itself, or 15 and 20 or 20 and 20).

But anyway it does confirm that the 50 amp connection is 220 volts and explains how their RV deals with it.
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Old 06-13-2020, 10:03 AM   #9
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Possibly the big point to keep in mind when we are doing the "uncommon" thing on electrical use is to understand the basics before trying it.
Know what the power is that you are connecting to and then decide what adapters or changes need to be made to do it safely----- or if not up on what is needed, don't do it! Knowing how to access one side of 220 and what amperage that gives you would be step one to using the source.
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Old 06-13-2020, 10:13 AM   #10
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P Knowing how to access one side of 220 and what amperage that gives you would be step one to using the source.
Or understanding what 220 is! My layperson way of describing it is this.

110 volts in our system is alternating current, so envision a sine wave as a graph of the power. The level between the top and the middle is 110 volts, as is the difference between the bottom and the middle.

220 uses two sine waves out of phase, and connects them together rather than connecting to a ground. The voltage is the difference between the top and bottom of the waves, rather than the middle, because when one side is at the top the other is at the bottom.
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Old 06-13-2020, 10:13 AM   #11
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But anyway it does confirm that the 50 amp connection is 220 volts and explains how their RV deals with it.
No, it doesn't. It's two SEPARATE 110v 50 amp legs. Which is functionally different than 220v household current. Got to be careful to not confuse the two things.
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Old 06-13-2020, 10:19 AM   #12
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No, it doesn't. It's two SEPARATE 110v 50 amp legs. Which is functionally different than 220v household current. Got to be careful to not confuse the two things.
Yes, it's 2 100 volt legs, but the claim was made that you couldn't use a dryer outlet in a house because it's 220 volt. That is the false claim. A dryer connection is two 110 volt legs. It's the wiring of the dryer that makes it a 220 volt connection. You can connect an RV to it (although that may require an adapter plug).

As to whether an RV park 50 amp connection is 220 or not is immaterial given the wiring described in the video where there are no 220 devices and just two separate sides to the breaker panel (which is what a home system has too, but more typically in a different layout).
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Old 06-13-2020, 11:17 AM   #13
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Let me clear the air a bit about my use of the 220 house items to feed 110.
If you have to watch videos to find how to do something with electricity, don't try it as you are likely to hurt yourself!
If you understand, do it but if you don't, then it is safer to not do it and videos will not be enough to let you do it safely!

Kind of like the guy who climbs poles to collect insulators because he knows all about insulators?
The difference is knowing and only thinking you know but that is plenty enough to let you kill yourself.
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Old 06-13-2020, 11:28 AM   #14
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Let me clear the air a bit about my use of the 220 house items to feed 110. .
I don't really think you said anything informative with that post, other than suggesting not messing with stuff you don't understand. That I would agree with.

Out of curiosity, do you think the light bulb in a stove oven is 220 volt? Or do you think it has a separate 110 volt plug for the bulb and clock? Again with 50 amp outlets the voltage depends on the device connection, not the outlet. (Although conceivable you could have a 50 amp RV camp outlet that wouldn't support a 220 volt devices, but I doubt that's likely.)

Thinking about it though there are some older dryer outlets that are only three prong. Those would not work for an RV connection (or at least should not be used).
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Old 06-13-2020, 01:08 PM   #15
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Thinking about it though there are some older dryer outlets that are only three prong. Those would not work for an RV connection (or at least should not be used).
I can't get this damn thread out of my head!

Anyway, I wonder if it's these old 3 prong outlets what cause the confusion. Although modern dryers are designed to work with them, they are effectively 220 volt only outlets.

But more to my new point, they are typically 30 amp plugs. If someone wired an adapter plug from 30 amp dryer to 30 amp RV it would be disaster because the 30 amp RV plug is 110 volt.

And amperage is another issue. If you connected a 50 amp RV to a 30 amp dryer (four prong) you might have some circuit tripping issues, although that would probably be unlikely since you'd have two 30 amp sources. Not sure how many RVs actually use 50 amps on any one side.
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Old 06-13-2020, 01:31 PM   #16
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Be very cautious trying to wire to a 220V dryer outlet (and/or a 220V hot tub outlet).

Yes, a 220 volt outlet, even 50amp RV service, has 220 volts between the two hot legs. However that 220V load does not go back on a neutral return wire, as the two 50amp 110V wires do on 50amp RV service.

One really big problem here, when trying to use a dryer outlet, is that a 220V dryer 3 wire outlet may have a smaller wire on the third wire, as this wire is not used for a neutral return path for the 30amp loads. Trying to run a 30amp load from an RV could overload the 3rd wire. While there are 110V circuits in modern dryers and they do tap off only one of the hot wires and do use the 3rd wire for a neutral return, the 2 hot wires do not use that 3rd wire as a neutral return. The same goes for the 4 wire dryer outlet. There is a neutral return wire for the 110V circuits, a safety ground wire, and 2 hot wires. The neutral return wire does not have to be sized to carry the 30amp load so may be sized too small for a full 30amp load. It just has to be sized for the 110V circuits in the dryer.

On 50amp RV service, what you have is two 50amp 110V hot wires and a neutral return wire that is sized to handle the same max 50amp current as each hot wire. (The 4th wire is the safety ground wire.) In reality if you could use the 2 hots wires in 50amp RV service to provide 100amp 220V AC service.

If an RV park ever wired a RV 50amp service that you couldn't measure 220V between the 2 hot wires, then the two 50amp hot wires are in phase instead of being out of phase and you have the possibility of 100amps from the RV trying to go down the neutral return wire, sized for only 50amps. Not a good thing to have happen.
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Old 06-13-2020, 01:47 PM   #17
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Here is a link to a website with detailed info about the differences I attempted to describe above: https://makezine.com/2016/11/02/unde...y-power-tools/

If you scroll down to "figure 3" you can see that in the 50amp RV service all the current returns on the "W" pin on the connector. On the 220V service the current is all on the "Y" and "X" pins.
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Old 06-13-2020, 02:14 PM   #18
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Yes, a 220 volt outlet, even 50amp RV service, has 220 volts between the two hot legs. However that 220V load does not go back on a neutral return wire, as the two 50amp 110V wires do on 50amp RV service.
[jump to last paragraph since it relates]
If an RV park ever wired a RV 50amp service that you couldn't measure 220V between the 2 hot wires, then the two 50amp hot wires are in phase instead of being out of phase and you have the possibility of 100amps from the RV trying to go down the neutral return wire, sized for only 50amps. Not a good thing to have happen.
You're sort of missing something. You're correct that in a normal 220 volt circuit the neutral may not be in use, where in an RV 50 amp system it is and has to be. And you're correct that if the two 50 amp circuits were in phase, the neutral would need to be bigger or there would be problems. You're incorrect that it normally needs to be or is bigger.

What you're missing is this. You can run two 110 volt home circuits off of a three conductor cable (plus ground wire). The neutral does not need to be larger because if you are running both circuits at 15 amp they would be cancelling each other out on the neutral line, assuming they are out of phase. If not, then you'd have the problem you mention at the RV park were they are wired on the same side. The first answer in this thread explains that. https://www.finehomebuilding.com/for...2-20a-circuits Note it is for three 12 gauge wires and a ground.

Quote:
The same goes for the 4 wire dryer outlet. There is a neutral return wire for the 110V circuits, a safety ground wire, and 2 hot wires. The neutral return wire does not have to be sized to carry the 30amp load so may be sized too small for a full 30amp load. It just has to be sized for the 110V circuits in the dryer.
That is technically true, but I don't think I've ever seen a 4 wire circuit with a smaller neutral wire. Also I'm not sure a smaller neutral would be to code.

Quote:
One really big problem here, when trying to use a dryer outlet, is that a 220V dryer 3 wire outlet may have a smaller wire on the third wire, as this wire is not used for a neutral return path for the 30amp loads.
In this situation it may be smaller. My 1969 house has a smaller ground wire than the main wires on the 110 volt circuits. I'd have to pull the cover off the breaker box to see what the situation is on the dryer line.
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Old 06-13-2020, 02:24 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by al1florida View Post
Here is a link to a website with detailed info about the differences I attempted to describe above: https://makezine.com/2016/11/02/unde...y-power-tools/

If you scroll down to "figure 3" you can see that in the 50amp RV service all the current returns on the "W" pin on the connector. On the 220V service the current is all on the "Y" and "X" pins.
That just is showing the difference between 3 and 4 prong 220V connections. If a dryer is 4 prong it would be the same as the last device shown, and the same as an RV plug. If 3 prong than it would be the same as the second or third devices shown.

That site does have a nice Figure 1 showing the sine wave situation I tried to describe above.
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Old 06-13-2020, 07:08 PM   #20
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You're sort of missing something. You're correct that in a normal 220 volt circuit the neutral may not be in use, where in an RV 50 amp system it is and has to be. And you're correct that if the two 50 amp circuits were in phase, the neutral would need to be bigger or there would be problems. You're incorrect that it normally needs to be or is bigger.

What you're missing is this. You can run two 110 volt home circuits off of a three conductor cable (plus ground wire). The neutral does not need to be larger because if you are running both circuits at 15 amp they would be cancelling each other out on the neutral line, assuming they are out of phase. If not, then you'd have the problem you mention at the RV park were they are wired on the same side. The first answer in this thread explains that. https://www.finehomebuilding.com/for...2-20a-circuits Note it is for three 12 gauge wires and a ground.



That is technically true, but I don't think I've ever seen a 4 wire circuit with a smaller neutral wire. Also I'm not sure a smaller neutral would be to code.



In this situation it may be smaller. My 1969 house has a smaller ground wire than the main wires on the 110 volt circuits. I'd have to pull the cover off the breaker box to see what the situation is on the dryer line.
I believe the key info I am trying to convey is that in a 3 wire 220V dryer outlet the ground wire may be a smaller wire and it could be dangerous when used as a neutral instead of a ground and the RV is pulling current approaching 30 amps. We could also get into the situation that there isn't a separate non current carrying ground wire from the dryer plug back to the C/B panel. The ground wire would be taking the same path as the neutral wire would be. Unless a separate ground wire is run.
Quote:
What you're missing is this. You can run two 110 volt home circuits off of a three conductor cable (plus ground wire). The neutral does not need to be larger because if you are running both circuits at 15 amp they would be cancelling each other out on the neutral line, assuming they are out of phase.
I am guessing the "three conductor cable" is a 220V outlet with a ground wire. If you are using a pair of 15amp C/B then the possible smaller "ground" wire you are converting to a neutral should be able to carry the current. Or as you say the pair of 15amp circuits would be out of phase and canceling the current load. In the RV world we would be attaching a 30amp RV or a 50amp RV to what could be a too small a wire since it originally was just a non current carrying ground wire..

BTW, a 3 connector cable (plus a ground wire) would now be a 4 wire cable. I guess the new ground wire would be run from the plug back to the main C/B pane, probably along the outside of the walls in the house. It would be a real pain to try to run inside the wall of most houses.

All this is really to caution anyone attempting to use a dryer outlet to power a 30 or 50 amp RV to really understand what they are doing and the dangers involved.

Wire it wrong, or have something loose or come loose in the house wiring feeding the dryer outlet and/or in the RV, and you could electrocute someone, maybe a loved one such as a child.
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