Plugging in trailer at home - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-08-2009, 04:30 PM   #1
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I have my first TT on order -- a 19' Escape -- and have created a parking spot for it on the lower driveway behind my house. I know it will need to be plugged in occasionally to keep the battery charged. I also know that the trailer comes stock with a 30A plug. At present I have no outlet in the parking zone, but will install one before I get the trailer. In my basement I have 2 unused 20A circuits, from either (both?) of which I can run wire to the parking spot exterior wall and install an outlet. I've seen people use a 30A-to-20A adaptor plugged into a 20A outlet to power their TT's when parked. Would doing that be sufficient for battery recharging? Or would I be better off by doing whatever's necessary to get a 30A circuit/outlet to the parking zone?
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Old 02-08-2009, 04:52 PM   #2
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[b]I've seen people use a 30A-to-20A adapter plugged into a 20A outlet to power their TT's when parked. Would doing that be sufficient for battery recharging?
I think that would be adequate, if all you're doing while it's parked there is charging the battery.

However, [b]IF you may wish to use the full electrical capabilities, like run the Air Conditioner, plus run the Refrigerator on plug-in electric, plus run the TV/DVD player [b]all at the same time, then I would advise you to install a 30 amp outlet in your parking zone.

This could come in handy when your teenager (or your mother-in-law) decides that your trailer is a cool place to hang out.
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Old 02-08-2009, 05:24 PM   #3
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All you need to do to make it a thirty amp is change the breaker to 30 A

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I have my first TT on order -- a 19' Escape -- and have created a parking spot for it on the lower driveway behind my house. I know it will need to be plugged in occasionally to keep the battery charged. I also know that the trailer comes stock with a 30A plug. At present I have no outlet in the parking zone, but will install one before I get the trailer. In my basement I have 2 unused 20A circuits, from either (both?) of which I can run wire to the parking spot exterior wall and install an outlet. I've seen people use a 30A-to-20A adaptor plugged into a 20A outlet to power their TT's when parked. Would doing that be sufficient for battery recharging? Or would I be better off by doing whatever's necessary to get a 30A circuit/outlet to the parking zone?
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Old 02-08-2009, 06:54 PM   #4
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All you need to do to make it a thirty amp is change the breaker to 30 A
Bill K
WHOA! You have to make sure the wires will carry 30A. You need #10 minimum.
http://www.cerrowire.com/default.aspx?id=46

Amperage is an important factor in the triumverite of Voltage, Resistance and Amperage.
Before you start doing anything to your house wiring, either you know enough to do it or hire a licensed electrician. Your house burning down is not worth saving a few bucks doing the work yourself.

Remember the old fuses where an element burned through behind a little window? This is what could happen to your house wiring if you try to put too much amperage through it.

Not to mention zoning and local laws covering this type of thing...
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Old 02-08-2009, 07:28 PM   #5
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All you need to do to make it a thirty amp is change the breaker to 30 A
Bill K
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WHOA! You have to make sure the wires will carry 30A.
I'm not too knowledgeable on electricity but maybe somebody can comment on my thinking. 'Scuse my eletrickal terminology.

Is not the 30A plug for a trailer a 4 prong plug? Composed of 2 live 15 amp feeds, 1 common return and 1 common ground?

If Bruce has 2 available 20A circuits, could he not move them side by side in his breaker panel, swap out the 20A breakers for 15A breakers and tie the two breakers together such that if one side trips the other side trips? Much like a split receptable in the kitchen? If the wiring was there for 20A initially, it should safely be able to handle the lower 15A.

Then again, maybe I got this all wrong.
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Old 02-08-2009, 08:27 PM   #6
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Is not the 30A plug for a trailer a 4 prong plug? Composed of 2 live 15 amp feeds, 1 common return and 1 common ground?
I think you are confusing the 30 Amp RV plug (3 prong) with the 30 Amp clothes dryer plug (4 prong).

The RV plug has a 30 Amp feed, a return (neutral) and a ground.

The clothes dryer plug has two 30 Amp feeds, a return (neutral) and a ground. Each feed is 120 volts to neutral (or to ground). There is 240 volts between the two feed wires. Electricity is a dangerous place to take short cuts.

Disclaimer: I am an out-to-pasture electrical engineer. Wiring should follow the electrical code. There are multiple building codes, local governments do not use the same code books. Please consult a licensed electrician in your area.
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Old 02-08-2009, 08:30 PM   #7
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Hi: All I am no electrickery engineer but I do know that we use a H.D. extension cord and the adapter to plug in "Our Escape Hatch" to charge the battery. Reace recommends at least 24hrs of charging per month to keep a full battery chg. We also use the same cord setup to chill the fridge prior to loading it for a trip. That said if I was to add a plug/curcuit to the house, for the trailer only it would be the correct one for the trailer plug/voltage!!!
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 02-08-2009, 10:28 PM   #8
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You guys are playing with fire and should be listening to Russ -- When you say 30Amps, you'd be wise to mention how many VOLTS are involved -- The trailer currently has stuf in it that is 30A[at]120VAC and 30A[at]12VDC and now you want to toss 30A[at]240VAC and 20A at some unknown voltage into the mix.

By your reckoning, you already HAVE a 30A circuit between your converter and the battery on its charge lead -- Are you sensing that there might be something wrong if that statement is right? (It is, BTW, it's just 30A at 12Volts DC and isn't going to run your fluorescent lights, much less your a/c or Hot Rodd in the water heater)

It's very unlikely that your home has an existing 30A[at]120VAC circuit anywhere; swapping out the breaker won't work because you won't have the right number of wires, nor are they likely to be the right size -- If you manage to burn your anchored home down, your insurance might be at risk because you make the gross error.

If your parking space circuit will have buried wires, they may need to be sized differently than the inside ventilated wires because the ampacities for buried conductors is different.

Even counting the prongs isn't a good way to go because some household circuits require a neutral plus a ground and some only a ground, but have the same voltages. For example, I believe your home water heater is three-prong and your home electric range and dryer are four-prong, but all are 240VAC -- The difference is the neutral needs to be there on the latter two to derive 120VAC for the controls and lights.

If you do manage to make the connections between your trailer and an existing home circuit using those three prongs, you will likely risk letting the smoke out of all your trailer appliances and possibly yourself -- Even professional electricians have made this error and burnt out their RVs!
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Old 02-08-2009, 11:25 PM   #9
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I think you are confusing the 30 Amp RV plug (3 prong) with the 30 Amp clothes dryer plug (4 prong).

The RV plug has a 30 Amp feed, a return (neutral) and a ground.
I stand corrected. That electrickical stuff tricks me up all the time.

Shall I wait for Gina to tell me to go to my room or is someone else going to beat her to it this time?

I'm happy my little trailer only takes the standard 3 prong 120V extension cord.
That I understand. Most everybody has outlets for them and if the plug don't match, you don't use it.

Now that I'm learning a bit, Can you explain the current bushes for the lectrickal sites for them big honkin motor homes list as 50A? What makes them different?
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Old 02-08-2009, 11:49 PM   #10
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Can you explain the current bushes for the lectrickal sites for them big honkin motor homes list as 50A? What makes them different?
The 50 Amp connector is used on electric stoves and bigger arc welders. Big honkin motor homes use buckets of power... they have dual air conditioners, wall-to-wall plasma TV, dishwashers, clothes washers, cloths driers and lots of other fancy stuff, for instance, power toilet paper unrollers.
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Old 02-09-2009, 12:12 AM   #11
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If y'all go back and read the original post and questions you will see that Bruce doesn't have any wiring from the load center to the proposed trailer storage location. His query concerns adding a new branch circuit to the parking location. It looks like the responses diverge from his questions.

Bruce, the tone of your questions suggests to me that you don't have much experience with AC power wiring so my suggestion is to contact an electrician to have the circuit installed. It will be well worth the expense to get it done right. The unused 20A breakers in the load center can usually be removed and 30A breakers installed but that is only a part of the equation. There are a lot of other considerations including the total capacity of your load center, whether you need GFCI protection (if the outlet is outside the building electrical codes requires GFI) and total length of the wiring run.

Regarding your question on whether you can use a 30A to 20A plug adapter, it really depends on what appliances and accessories you plan to use when using the adaptor. If you only need to keep the battery charged and run an interior light or two a 20A feed will be fine. If you want to run the A/C or a 120V heater then you will need that 30A circuit. Since you mentioned that you do not currently have an outlet available where you plan to park your camper you will probably find that it won't cost much more to go to a 30A over a 20A branch circuit installation.

Now a little bit about electrical requirements. The big current hogs in your trailer are the A/C or 120 V heater and, if installed, a 120 V element for your water heater. Your refrigerator will draw a little over 1 amp at 120 V (most refrigerator heating elements are about 125W) so that will not be much of a draw. The 120 V to 12 V converter only draws about 3 amps when it is charging your battery and that tapers off to under an amp as the battery reaches full charge so that also isn't a big load. Interior lights will draw about 1,4 amps each at 12 V but that converts to about a quarter amp each on the 120 V side.

Best of luck with your new fgrv.
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Old 02-09-2009, 02:20 AM   #12
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Now that I'm learning a bit, Can you explain the current bushes for the lectrickal sites for them big honkin motor homes list as 50A? What makes them different?
Good question -- Again, the answer lies in large part with the voltage that goes with the Amps.

The park pedestal is 50A/240VAC, into which one could plug one's welder and get good results -- However, a 50A/240VAC service is actually two circuits, each 50A/120VAC (hot to neutral, but in opposite phase from each other) or one 50A/240VAC circuit (hot to hot) -- The pedestal and the RV plug and RV shore cable carry it as 50A/240VAC, but at the RV entry box, the service is split back into two 50A/120VAC circuits by the wiring to run two run two heavy-load appliances, like two large a/c or one a/c and one large m/w.

Effectively, that service supplies 100 Amps at 120VAC, compared to small and medium sized RVs which get only 30 Amps at 120VAC.

In generator terms, that's like 12KW compared to 3.6KW.

The BulgeMobiles often need all that, what with large fridge, separate freezer, a/c heat strips, home entertainment centers, load balancing equipment, monster inverters and converter/chargers for the string of house batteries, etc.

So if one had a BulgeMobile with so-called 50Amp service, one could plug that into one's dryer or range outlets at home (with plug adapter, of course) and get good results with no smoke -- Likely wouldn't work on the water heater service, however, because the neutral is needed.

Again be careful about describing home circuits with Amps and no voltage -- 20 Amp home circuits come in both 120VAC and 240VAC, usually for air conditioners and we don't know yet what Bruce's 20Amp circuits really are.

It's a lot like describing a vehicle's top speed with a number and no units, as in "My truck can do 100" -- Would that be miles per hour or kilometers per hour?
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Old 02-09-2009, 06:57 AM   #13
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Since your trailer is still on order, why don't you ask the dealer the power outlet requirements and THEN ask a qualified electrician to install what's needed. That way there's no guessing and you'll have it ready ahead of time.
Don't forget to take pictures when you get it.
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Old 02-09-2009, 11:54 AM   #14
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Thanks to all who responded. Yeah, I know very little about electricity. I have in the past successfully wired several 20A circuits and had them OKed by a friend who does know what he's doing. I know I won't try to mess with a 30A circuit by myself, and at this point am anticipating needing only a 20A circuit for battery recharging/fridge cooling. Fortunately, I have months to ponder this before the trailer comes home, and won't be doing any electrical work until it does. By that time, I should have a clearer idea of just what I want down below in the way of a circuit. But, in the words of Tim the Tool Guy, "More Power!" is sounding good.
Bruce
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