Electric at campgrounds - Page 3 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-24-2013, 07:33 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Bob Miller View Post
Actually there is little reason whatsoever to worry about using an adapter to plug a standard extnsion cord into a 30 or 50 amp outlet UNLESS you happen to have a dead short in the cord somewhere. To alleviate any paranoia (?) just use a plug strip, with a built in 15 amp breaker, at the cords outlet end, to protect from that .001% possibility.
In my mind this is a HUGE reason to not use an unprotected cord rated with lower current carrying capacity than the circuit is protected at. I would highly recommend one with built in protection on it like you mention.

In our homes we have the same scenario when something like a lamp are plugged in to a 15A circuit, where the cord is rated well less than that. This has been the cause of many household fires, when there is a fault on the cord, and the breaker does not detect it, should it be just a slight arcing fault. I know the chances are extremely small for this actually happening, but it has before, and will again. In Canada now, all bedrooms (which often have a lot of devices with lamp cords) must be protected with an arc-fault breaker, which will trip with any leakage due to arcing.

From Wikipedia LINK - Arc faults in a home are one of the leading causes for household fires.[1] Each year in the United States, over 40,000 fires are attributed to home electrical wiring. These fires result in over 350 deaths and over 1,400 injuries each year.[2]

Sorry, I am not trying to be a fear monger here at all, just trying to make certain that folks realize the potential danger of using an unprotected adapter like these. I am actually surprised they are allowed to be sold.

BTW, in my mixed bag of education, I am a journeyman electrician too.
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Old 01-24-2013, 09:26 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Jim Bennett View Post
In our homes we have the same scenario when something like a lamp are plugged in to a 15A circuit, where the cord is rated well less than that.
It's not just lamps and bedrooms - every single 16-gauge device cord has the same situation. I understand the risk; I just have trouble accepting the magnitude of the risk as anything significant.

Thanks, though, for the explanation of arc-fault circuit interrupters; I had never heard of a device which distinguished 12 amps (for example) of arcing from 12 amps of legitimate appliance consumption.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Francesca Knowles View Post
Do NOT attempt to use just a plain adapter and extension cord to turn 30 or 50 amp to 15 amp.
Without the intervening circuit breaker you'll do this to yourself:
No, you won't, but as Jim explained there is some tiny chance of something bad (more likely fire than shock) happening if you damage your 15 amp cord in just the right way... just as it could happen in your living room.
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:42 AM   #31
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By that thinking I should have #12 wires on my 15 watt desk lamp and 7 watt digital clock.

I don't think that there is much concern about undamaged common household and industrial cords, that are at least UL or CSA listed, being a fire hazard.

Those house fires are usually attributed to aged and/or overloaded wiring. I think we are talking about running a cord to a tent, not wiring an entire house.

Again, if concerned, a plug strip, with a 15 amp breaker, plugged into the end of the extension cord will give you about the same protection as found in our trailers.
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Old 01-24-2013, 11:13 AM   #32
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As usual, we're overcomplicating this whole thing...guess what?

There's a reason that nearly all good-sized tents come with flaps marked "power port" now, and that reason is that tent campers use the heck out of electric sites! Get yourself a decent outdoor cord of at least 12 weight (in case you want to run a heater, too!) and have at it. State Parks in my area always have 15 amp adjacent to anything bigger that might be on the post.

And while you're still "no-trailer" camping:
Do NOT attempt to use just a plain adapter and extension cord to turn 30 or 50 amp to 15 amp.
Without the intervening circuit breaker you'll do this to yourself:

Have fun!

Francesca
Assuming all of y'all are done with your hair splitting razors, I'd like to Publicly Apologize for creating that dire necessity by using the Wrong Smiley in the line highlighted above. A "cord-melting smiley" was unavailable and my attempt to make do (and light) evidently so completely overwhelmed the message itself that it took four whole members to say just what I'd said in the body of the post.

Here it is again, this time without the "punchline" that got everyone so exercised:

Quote:
As usual, we're overcomplicating this whole thing...guess what?

There's a reason that nearly all good-sized tents come with flaps marked "power port" now, and that reason is that tent campers use the heck out of electric sites! Get yourself a decent outdoor cord of at least 12 weight (in case you want to run a heater, too!) and have at it. State Parks in my area always have 15 amp adjacent to anything bigger that might be on the post.

And while you're still "no-trailer" camping:
Do NOT attempt to use just a plain adapter and extension cord to turn 30 or 50 amp to 15 amp.


Francesca
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Old 01-24-2013, 11:17 AM   #33
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Francesca, Quoting yourself is like talking to yourself.
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Old 01-24-2013, 11:23 AM   #34
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Francesca, Quoting yourself is like talking to yourself.
Yes, I know...but since that last line in the original post created so much controversy, I felt it necessary to quote/correct/restate...

Francesca
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Old 01-24-2013, 05:37 PM   #35
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Don't worry Francesca, I have some very good conversations with myself and I'm almost old enough to get away with it. Until then I have a dog.
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Old 01-24-2013, 11:24 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Francesca Knowles View Post
Assuming all of y'all are done with your hair splitting razors, I'd like to Publicly Apologize for creating that dire necessity by using the Wrong Smiley in the line highlighted above. A "cord-melting smiley" was unavailable and my attempt to make do (and light) evidently so completely overwhelmed the message itself that it took four whole members to say just what I'd said in the body of the post.
I get that there's no cord-melting smilie, but I didn't miss the point and I do disagree with the "don't use an adapter" point within that post: pulling no more than 15 amps of current through your cord (you have a circuit breaker in the trailer, right?) from an outlet capable of 30 amps of current won't melt anything down (and we agree that it won't zap anyone).

There's no need to alarm people about things which almost certainly won't happen - there's far too much in life which might really happen to add unnecessary stress. My suggestion: don't lose sleep about the adapter, but look before you cross the campground road!

Just to make everyone sleep soundly, perhaps the ideal would be to use a portable arc-fault interrupting circuit breaker right at the site's receptacle, especially if it is on a 30 amp or 50 amp circuit. Bob has suggested using a breaker-equipped power bar, but I'm talking about something at the source end of the extension cord, not the trailer/tent end. I'm not kidding - i noticed that my pressure washer has a ground-fault interrupting breaker (GFCI) built into the plug at the end of its power cord, so this sort of configuration is plausible. The logic for the trailer cord and the pressure washer is the same: put the protective device as far upstream as possible to protect against faults in as much of the system as possible. Jim, any arc-fault equivalents, or would just 15 A overcurrent and ground-fault protection be enough?
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Old 01-25-2013, 08:57 AM   #37
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My UHaul came with a really heavy cord and I was surprised to see that it was only 14 gauge wire covered by generous amounts of rubber and plastic. I guess the logic is that a camper cord gets more abuse and needs all this protection. So, the upside is that if you are worried about a cord shorting while connected to a 30 amp plug, using a real RV cord can mitigate the risk.

Here is a cord with a built in circuit breaker, though I don't know which end has the breaker.

Over-Load Guard 15' 14/3 Extension Cord with Built-In Circuit Breaker in Sacramento - 7170871
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Old 01-25-2013, 12:35 PM   #38
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Francesca and others; I talk to myself for two really good reasons. I like to talk to an intelligent person and I like to hear an intelligent person talk.
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Old 01-25-2013, 01:36 PM   #39
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Francesca and others; I talk to myself for two really good reasons. I like to talk to an intelligent person and I like to hear an intelligent person talk.
And other times, you throw caution to the winds and talk to US- right?
If you're up to it, stick around and we'll see if I can finally get a point across!

Francesca



Your Attention Please:

Below please find the O.P.'s clarification-of-her-present-situation to which I posted a response that so many find to be grievously in error! I'm reposting the question since it was post number seven, and that was over thirty posts ago! Most of which have nothing whatsoever to do with answering her question....
Quote:
Originally Posted by havingfunnow View Post
Just to be clear -- I don't have a trailer yet. I do have camping gear, and I can manage ok without electricity -- but if I'm going to be out for a few weeks, I would like to be able to plug in a standard extension cord and run my computer for a few hours.
Emphasis mine...

Please note that there is NO MENTION OF MY TRAILER or any other trailer in what comes next (also no smiley):

I perceive Louise to be asking about using electricity without a trailer...just plugging a "standard electric cord" directly into the post. Though she mentions only a computer, it's been my experience that many tentcampers bring along all kinds of electric appliances, that she might do the same and should buy/use an appropriately sized cord for the purpose AND that in that scenario the use of an unprotected adapter/cord plugged in to a 30/50 amp outlet is unwise.

Is it then the position/advice of all Experts on the Subject that this is a bunch of hysterical hooey?

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Old 01-25-2013, 01:46 PM   #40
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Actually Francesca, a power bar with a breaker on it makes sense to me. An outdoor one, even more so.
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Old 01-25-2013, 02:59 PM   #41
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When I'm using power outdoors I like to have a ground fault interrupter between me and oblivion. I'm just not the "Evel Knievel" I use to be Raz
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Old 01-25-2013, 03:03 PM   #42
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Here is a cord with a built in circuit breaker, though I don't know which end has the breaker.

Over-Load Guard 15' 14/3 Extension Cord with Built-In Circuit Breaker in Sacramento - 7170871
Excellent find, Tom. The breaker appears to be in the plug, at the end that goes in the campsite receptacle, as I suggested. It is a one-piece and trivial to use improvement over a common extension cord.

Yes, this addresses the fundamental issue - as small as it might be - with using a device (the original poster's computer) intended for a 15-amp circuit via a simple adapter on the higher-capacity circuit (such as 30-amp) which might be found at a campsite.

It does not address the arc-fault issue, but that issue would exist for this application (plugging in the computer) on any circuit anywhere, except recently equipped bedrooms with those special arc-fault circuit interrupters.

It also does not address ground fault issues, again like plugging into any other ordinary outlet.
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