15amp service OK for 30amp Bigfoot? - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-15-2019, 09:34 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Casita Greg View Post
To me anyway, for a "full-timer," it just doesn't make a lot of sense to want to go "cramping" instead of "glamping". Why would you bother to own a trailer with the amenities you enjoy using every day, and then have to jockey them around for position in the electrical hierarchy of your trailer as to what you can use when and where, but not while this or that is running. What a self-imposed PITA that would be. For my take on it, I'd hold off until a spot with adequate 30 Amp power presents itself. Why make yourself miserable trying to make it work on a substandard electrical supply that doesn't meet your needs or requirements? It just makes no sense as to why someone would want to endure those hardships day after day if you're full-timing. Just my 2 cents.
Iím with Greg on this one the problem is more one of inconvenience then one of safety . Tripping a circuit breaker does not constitute a hazard , itís what circuit breakers are designed to do . Iíve tripped the 30 amp main breaker in my trailer many times trying to run too much stuff at one time !
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Old 01-15-2019, 10:21 AM   #16
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Why not just install an efficient propane heater -

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000BUV1RK...v_ov_lig_dp_it
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Old 01-15-2019, 11:02 AM   #17
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I'm jealous of your setup. Magical forest especially. A toaster would be nice! I use a very inefficient toaster: my oven. Oh well. Lots of propane and it takes maybe 15 min total to get a piece of toast, but it takes zero electricity
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Old 01-15-2019, 08:15 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Ev in Oregon View Post
I live full-time in my 1988 Bigfoot in an RV park located in a magical forest. I have an opportunity to move to a larger space, but there may be an issue.

The electric hookup at the new space is 15-amps. My BF is 30-amps, and the space I'm currently in has 30-amp service. I do not have a microwave, electric kettle, instapot, or appliances that draw a lot of energy. I do have a portable 1500w electric heater, which is my main source of heat, a laptop, and a no-frills 2-slice toaster. The heater cycles on & off all day when I'm home, but it's turned off at night and when I'm gone. I've learned that I cannot run the heater & the toaster at the same time. Lastly, all but the light over the stove are LEDs. (This is probably more info than is needed, but sometimes more is better? )

So, bottom line is, Can I do this? It just seems risky to me; the last thing I want to do is burn down my home.
If you move does the electric pedestal have a 15Amp switch? Some posts only have resets or switches for the 30Amp and 50Amp. We've been in a few campgrounds that said if you blow the 15Amp service you are responsible for any damages and for the person to come fix it. It sounds weird but very true.
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Old 01-15-2019, 09:43 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Steve Outlaw View Post
If there are any elves living in said magical forest have them cast a spell of electrical enrichment on your power pole. Do Not ask a gnome or a troll for help as they are generally not very knowledgeable about issues with electricity.

In spite of all the great and knowledgeable advice from all you fine folks, I like Steve's the best. In previous encounters, I learned about gnomes and trolls and their wily ways, but thanks for the reminder.
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Old 01-15-2019, 10:22 PM   #20
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Thank you!

Well, as usual, I've received lots of really good advice from you folks. There's lots to ponder, and some decisions to be made.


I failed to mention that the larger site is in the same park where I'm currently living. It's a rare day when a full-time site becomes available in this small park, so I really don't want to leave here. It truly is a magical forest.


I'll be doing some serious "cogitating" on this, as my Dad used to say. I'll make this work because it'll be worth it. Thanks for all the help!
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Old 01-16-2019, 08:51 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Ev in Oregon View Post
.

I'll be doing some serious "cogitating" on this, as my Dad used to say. I'll make this work because it'll be worth it. Thanks for all the help!
I would only deal with the aggravation of a site with 15 amp service if it were a big "step up" from the current site. But if you do go forward....
  • Know roughly how much power each item in you camper uses and keep the total at any one time under 15, with 13 or less preferred (see note #1).
  • Consider replacing your 30 amp master breaker with a 15 amp (see note #2).
  • Consider a EMS (fancy "surge suppressor) that among other things, includes a display that shows your total power draw and cuts the power off if the voltage drops too far (see note #3). Or maybe just a simple amp meter showing total power use.

In these small campers usually the only single item that exceeds a 15 amp rating (if not the in-use power draw) is the air conditioner. That means that you can usually use everything except the A/C in the camper by itself, one at a time. And you can use some combination of things but which depend on their power use ratings. Many (like you toaster and heater) should show the power rating in watts on the label. Divide by 110 to get amp rating. (I only say 110 instead of the normal 120 volts to add a margin of safety for the times when the voltage drops and the current therefore might increase.) Or use the EMS or other amp-meter to find out the actual power draw.

People almost never use 30 amp campers on 15 amp service on a permanent basis, but they do it temporarily all the time. Its not too hard if you manage your electrical use. Its all about your electric budget and staying out of the "red."

Note 1: (At ~120 VAC) For example, my fridge is one amp, the electric heater either 7-8, or 12-13 (high vs low setting), etc. The converter power use varies depends on 1. what 12 volt things are in use, and 2. how discharged the battery is. I can eliminate the power draw used to charge the battery with my battery cut off switch. Or I can cut off the converter at the breaker and use the battery to run the 12 volt stuff (or have both off and no 12 volt items on). A 30 amp converter might use as much as 5 amps of 110-120 volt shore power. A 45 amp converter should be under 7 amps. With a charged battery and LED lights and little else, the converter power use is much less. Add up what is being used and keep it at 13 or less on each 15 amp circuit, and in total if using a 15 amp site.

Note 2: This is more for convenience than safety (assuming the power pole breaker is OK). You probably will trip the breaker while you are learning what you can and cannot run, and the breaker inside the camper is a lot easier to reset when its dark and raining. It will also offer some protection to the weak link (the 15/30 adapter) if the power pole breaker does not trip on overload.

Note 3: I use the Progressive Industries hard wired unit in the camper and the display is mounted where I can see it easily. It makes it easy to turn things on and off and see the power draw. It requires some rewiring in the camper. The portable unit requires no electrical work but the display is outside at the power pole. See the higher end products here: Progressive industries Available Products.
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Old 01-16-2019, 09:31 AM   #22
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if its a plug in heater, and a plug in toaster, and a breaker in the trailer trips if both are plugged in at the same time, then you are on a 15 amp circuit within the trailer and all is fine.
If you are plugged in to a 15 amp post, and the toaster and heater trip a circuit in the trailer or on the post, all is fine.
if you plug the heater and toaster in to two different circuits in the trailer and are plugged in a 30 amp post, no breaker will trip, all is fine

I have a 17 foot Trillium, it has a 15 amp plug, I run a 1500 watt heater when I have Hydro. When I want to make toast, I turn off the heater.
My converter is always on, my fridge sometimes is on AC,
The worst that can happen over time is that the breaker will weaken, and eventually not hold right till its 15 amp rating ( this would take years if tripping is infrequent)

Any one who tells you at a campground that if you trip a breaker you will be resposible for "repairs" should be taught basic electrical, and then slapped in the back of the head.
My approach to this would be,
1) I want to watch the repair being done, and I want to see a tradesmans licence
2) I want the damaged part after I watch it being removed
3) I will have this part tested, and if there is no problem, I expect repayment by the campground both for the part, the testing and the inconvenience.

I am an electrician, so it's a bit harder to BS me about campground electrical and basic electricity, But in 40+ years of residential, commercial, and industrial work, I have never seen a trailer destroy a component in the power post, unless it was a dead short, and there was a problem at the post.
The most common one I see at the post is a melted plug, and that is generally because the post receptacle is worn out or damaged from people yanking their cords out by the cord instead of holding the plug while they pull it out.

Joe
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Old 01-18-2019, 07:18 PM   #23
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Do you use electric in your water heater or is it propane only?
Is there any chance the campground would upgrade the power at the site you want?
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Old 01-18-2019, 07:55 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Martin A View Post
Do you use electric in your water heater or is it propane only? Is there any chance the campground would upgrade the power at the site you want?

Not sure they even offered electric-powered water heaters in 1988, but mine is strictly propane. Which is a good thing, considering the circumstances.

I'm gently working on the park owner re: installing 30-amp service in the new site. He told me he'd been considering it for years, so I'm trying to convince him that the best tenant on the planet is already in the park (), so maybe he has the excuse he needs now?? We'll see.
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Old 01-21-2019, 12:06 AM   #25
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A bit about breakers that might be useful:
normal household breakers are "80% rated" and thermally triggered.
So:
1. A 15A breaker that goes slightly over 15A may not trip immediately
2. A 15A breaker that's over 12A will eventually trip, although it may take several hours.

So if your 1500W space heater is running 24/7 and not cycling on and off, it alone may trip the breaker. On the other hand, if you go over the limit to, say, 20A, it may take a minute or more to trip.


I actually have a setup that works well on a 15A plug, but it may be more trouble/cost than it's worth for your setup: a "hybrid inverter" (Victron Multiplus in my case) plus a large battery bank. You set the inverter to draw a set maximum from "shore power" and it charges or discharges the batteries as needed/able. You still need to keep your long-term average under 12A, but it at least will handle shorter bursts of higher power needs.
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Old 01-21-2019, 12:20 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
Iím with Greg on this one the problem is more one of inconvenience then one of safety . Tripping a circuit breaker does not constitute a hazard , itís what circuit breakers are designed to do . Iíve tripped the 30 amp main breaker in my trailer many times trying to run too much stuff at one time !
How about a power booster? We have one and so do our friends. They ran their A/C off of our 20 amp service in our yard. They have a 30 amp trailer. We have done the same. They sell for about $400-500 but have saved us several times when the power posts didn't have enough volts to run our motorhome. They are available at RV stores including Camping World. They have a nice one that regulates the voltage so it doesn't go to high and will shut down to prevent a low voltage drop if it should occur.
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Old 01-21-2019, 12:28 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Jann Todd View Post
How about a power booster? We have one and so do our friends. They ran their A/C off of our 20 amp service in our yard. They have a 30 amp trailer. We have done the same. They sell for about $400-500 but have saved us several times when the power posts didn't have enough volts to run our motorhome. They are available at RV stores including Camping World. They have a nice one that regulates the voltage so it doesn't go to high and will shut down to prevent a low voltage drop if it should occur.

How many volts does it take to run a 30amp RV?
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Old 01-21-2019, 08:04 AM   #28
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Just an idea that I hope others discuss the merits of, but maybe an inverter off the battery to run the toaster.


I have a solar panel, so I could probably do this, but I'm not sure how it works when you are using shore power to power the trailer and charge the battery.
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