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Old 02-23-2021, 09:48 AM   #1
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What can run on 15 amp service?

We are going to be boondocking at a location that has normal 15amp electrical and no water.

On our 2003 Minnie, what can we expect to work on that service?

Things I know will work: lights, electrical outlets, fridge

Things I don't know: microwave, heat (I have electric and gas settings), fan

Things I know won't AC
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Old 02-23-2021, 10:13 AM   #2
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Look at the ratings of each item you might want to use and also add together those numbers if they are to run at the same times. Use a watts to amps conversion calculator from online to convert the watts to amps, etc.
This is one I find handy:
https://www.thecalculatorsite.com/co...watts-amps.php

But 15 amp can be a lot if used in the right way. In the recent ice storm, we ran house furnace, frig, freezer, computer and a few lights on a single 15 amp GFCI circuit from the RV and never reached the limit as we know to rotate things that may draw a lot of power on starting. We swapped the cord from the frig to the freezer, for instance. The furnace we wanted full time if needed, so left it wired.

My thinking without knowing the actual ratings for your models is that you could expect this:
Furnace blower and controls- almost sure
Microwave- depends on size but I would say yes.
Lights - almost certainly depending on how many are LED versus incandescent. A bunch of 13 watt LED but not too many 60 watt in can.
Hair drier using 1500 watts? Pretty iffy is anything else if running as 1500 watts is close
to 12.5 amps and that doesn't give much slack for lights.
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Old 02-23-2021, 10:36 AM   #3
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Most A/Cs push the 15 amp limit or exceed it, so no to that.

A microwave would probably work as long as no other big loads are present.

Same with a hair dryer, they are usually `1,000 watts max.

The other routine things will work fine-lights, fridge, electrical outlets (as long as no large load is present).

The one thing to watch out for is the converter. If your batteries are low and you plug into a 15A circuit the converter will draw quite a bit- 8 amps for a typical 55A unit. That is too much for the microwave or hair dryer. But after an hour or so depending on the size of your battery bank, the current will drop and won't be an issue.

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Old 02-23-2021, 10:43 AM   #4
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I bought a portable champon gen from the manuf. Talked with them and they told me that it would provide power for just about all, but would have issues with ac and microwave if on at same time. This was a 3500 rv gen they had developed with 30 and 15 amp plugs. Most electric heater that are built in will require 30 amp per what I have read and what we have experienced. The water heater is also an energy gulper. It would shut down the circuit breakers on a 15 amp sevice with the ac on and thus cause loss of cooling in refrig.


As noted above to be successful in the portables you need to move the circuit to where its needed at the time. remember without opening the refrig it will stay cold many hours, hot water can be heated on stove. Just need to understand what needs what and really what you want to use.
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Old 02-23-2021, 10:57 AM   #5
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Thanks, I have switched out all the halogen light bulbs with LED's so that is good.

Sounds like making sure we aren't running the furnace at the same time as the microwave. When you say swapped the fridge to freezer do you mean to propane? We have the older style fridge/freezer that is either AC or propane powered.
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Old 02-23-2021, 11:00 AM   #6
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interesting about the water heater, I didn't think that would draw any power really since it is gas.
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Old 02-23-2021, 12:00 PM   #7
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mine is dual, elec or gas. and I forget to switch off elec at times, but we do not use the hot water much to begin with. If you were in military you remember using the steel pot for all bathing, so it doesnt take much to clean up just a small pot of hot water will mix well with cold/cool, coffee cup amount for teeth, no shave everyday or again a small amount of hot/cool mix all available from a tea kettle. Wife bought an instant hot kettle that runs for a minute or so to give HOT water.



Run the fridge on gas so no load on elec. Like I said, need to experiment on what is powered by what in your rig. Propane also runs heater and it can eat up a lot if really cold. Again you can just let refrig cool, freeze then only open door as needed for very short time. We carry a ice chest in shower and wife uses freezer to freeze water bottles and keep some stuff cold, then we can refreeze or use the water as needed. we usually go to KOAs when traveling so no need for shower use and we are short of storage areas anyhow so thats why we use it as a storage area.



Almost everything in an rv is a compromise of some sort. New rv mag is out and says to go solar if dry camping, but as everything in texas just showed the enviro stuff does not work in overcast, freezing weather and no one has a small rv type wind gen although I knew a guy living off grid who had a small one but again in an rv? Then again all the enviro stuff requires other things to work. Bigger battery banks, additional controllers etc.
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Old 02-23-2021, 12:01 PM   #8
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Operate on the assumption that you can run one any high draw appliance at a time. I plug in on 15 amps at home and regularly run the air conditioner/heat pump, microwave, a heat gun and the water heater on electric without tripping the breaker - but only ever one of those at a time
Your lights are battery powered, but the batteries are recharged by the converter (or whatever it is your unit has) with runs on 120 volt, so you may also need to be sparing with your lights when running something 'big'. The same is also true of everything that runs on 12 volts, ultimately those things require 120 volt to recharge the battery.

You're not likely to HURT anything if you try to run too much, you'll just trip the breaker. Turn off whatever it is you just turned on, then go out and reset the breaker. No harm, no foul.
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Old 02-23-2021, 01:05 PM   #9
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Thanks everyone
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Old 02-23-2021, 03:59 PM   #10
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BTW you are not boondocking if you have electric.
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Old Yesterday, 05:44 PM   #11
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15 amp x 120 volts = 1800 watts. Lookup your appliances. It's not much
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Old Yesterday, 06:37 PM   #12
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I have a 2004 Minnie. Your heater is probably set up like mine where the electric heat is actually running a heat pump (AC). Many times the gas heater will run at the same time as the electric heater. I know that my heat pump (AC) draws about 12.5 amps. The gas heater operation will put about a 0.5 amp load on the 120 volt circuit. With other draws occurring (lights etc.) you are probably at limit for a 15 amp breaker. You really do not want to run on the electric heat setting . Your microwave is probably a 1000-1200 watt, so draws about 8 to 10 amps. Be careful about other uses that we don't always think about such as coffee makers, toasters, curling irons, etc. I have had that happen where two people used a hair dryer and micro wave at same time and wondered why all the lights went out.
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Old Yesterday, 06:43 PM   #13
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A/C on a 15A circuit

FWIW -- we have found we ARE able to run our (typical) 13,500 BTU Coleman A/C unit on a 15 amp circuit.

We were using a #10 gauge, 100 foot extension cord.

I confirmed the breaker was 15A -- in fact, unlike most homes, this house had nothing but 15A outlet circuits.

Needless to say, we weren't running much else, but it did work -- the breaker never tripped, in fact it didn't even get warm. This was in Phoenix (Gilbert actually) after a monsoon -- high humidity and temps of 100 or more.

According to the display that came with our Progressive Industries EMS, there was very little voltage drop (I can't recall the numbers), and the max current was 12A.

For those who don't know, most breakers are actually intended to handle only 80% of their nominal rating continuously -- so we were right at the limit when the A/C was pulling 12A.
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Old Yesterday, 07:53 PM   #14
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Something that NOBODY has mentioned is that you should be using an at least 12 guage extension cord and if over 50 feet should be a 10 guage cord. A 14 guage cord IS NOT ACCEPTABLE if you will be constantly be drawing near 15 amps. The larger the guage number, the smaller the conductors. Small conductors mean more resistance. The higher the resistance, the more voltage loss thru the cord. Low voltage can damage appliances and cause excess current draw. Power = current X Voltage. If voltage drops to 100 volts, a 1000 watt appliance draws 20% more currant than it would at 120 volts.
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Old Yesterday, 08:35 PM   #15
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I appreciate all the feedback!

Yeah, it is probably identical to the 2004 Minnie. The nights this weekend are only supposed to drop to 45 so heating on gas shouldn't be too bad.

I plan on running my 30 amp to the dog bone directly, If needed I have a 25 foot 30 amp extension cord if needed. that has nice thick wiring.
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Old Yesterday, 10:44 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by al1florida View Post
BTW you are not boondocking if you have electric.
Boondocking is about a campsite location, not necessarily whether or not an electric plug is available.

An example to illustrate this would be: Suppose you had a friend with a 5000 acre ranch and they established a beautiful campsite way out there on the ranch a long way from everything - including solar power for a local well close by, a 15A outlet powered via inverter from the solar, and maybe even a small septic tank and it's leach field for RV dumping use.

If that friend invited you to use their custom camping spot on their huge ranch and you took them up on it ... you'd be camping in the boonies, but with full hookups.
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Old Yesterday, 11:34 PM   #17
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You can run an air conditioner as the only device. (Not using a small or long cord.)
Then I turned on the Fridge set to AC - Tripped it.
Usually the microwaves are smaller, but larger ones would take most of the 15 amps.
Lights, LCD TV, furnace very likely. Like they said, put in LEDs to drop load.
Unknown batteries being charged via inverter.
You could use a power protector, so assuming you have a 30Amp plug, buy a Hughes Watchdog. It bluetooths to your Smartphone, and will show you your current draw real time. But shop around. prices very greatly for them.
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Old Today, 05:31 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil G. View Post
Boondocking is about a campsite location, not necessarily whether or not an electric plug is available.

An example to illustrate this would be: Suppose you had a friend with a 5000 acre ranch and they established a beautiful campsite way out there on the ranch a long way from everything - including solar power for a local well close by, a 15A outlet powered via inverter from the solar, and maybe even a small septic tank and it's leach field for RV dumping use.

If that friend invited you to use their custom camping spot on their huge ranch and you took them up on it ... you'd be camping in the boonies, but with full hookups.
I, too, could dream up an exception to most anything if I tried hard enough.

I sure would not write that I was "boondocking" if I had water, elect & sewer hookups though.

I sure believe I would qualify my experience by telling folks of this wonderful camping place on my friends ranch out in the boonies with water, elect and sewer where we stayed in our RV.
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Old Today, 07:08 AM   #19
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I have a 2001 Adventurer 35U with basement air and have run it on a 15 amp service here in Florida. One Compressor in the AC can be used however has to be switched off when the microwave or a hair dryer is turned on. It just takes a little discipline and common sense.

On the hair dryers, electric heaters and other such devices choose the lowest wattage setting to get the job done. 15 amps at 120 volts is 1,800 watts so that will run a 900 watt RV Microwave along with a hair dryer set to the 400 watt setting and an electric heater also set to 400 watts all at the same time leaving 100 watts to spare.

Its all about the math.


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