15amp service OK for 30amp Bigfoot? - Page 3 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-21-2019, 08:13 AM   #29
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Name: Gordon
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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.
But the voltage regulator cannot "boost" the power.. only regulate the voltage, which is only part of the measure of the power. When the voltage drops, what it is doing is changing the voltage – amperage relationship, lowering the amperage and raising the voltage.

So if a 15 amp shore power pole can normally provide 1800 watts at 120 volts.. and then the voltage drops to 100, the amps try to go up to 18 to provide the same 1800 watts.

Using the regulator, it reduces the amps to stay within the 15 amp rating. Then at 100 volts you only get 1500 watts instead of 1800, which is still 15 amps. And the regulator will use up to one amp itself, just to regulate the voltage.

As for running the A/C on you home 20 amp service.. thats doable and does not require the voltage regulator as a rule. I do it all the time. But with a roof A/C that is supposed to have a 20 amp dedicated circuit, this is how I do it. The 20 amp outlet is a dedicated outlet with nothing else on the circuit. I use the 30 amp shore power cord and no extension. I use a 20 to 30 (not 15 to 30) adapter. I use nothing more than maybe a LED light in the camper when the A/C is on.

Still, I do endorse the use of a power management / surge suppressor (as I mentioned above and also here.) Part of the reason I have one is to prevent damage from low voltage. It does not correct low voltage however, instead it just shuts off the power supply. I think the voltage regulator is overkill and not helpful enough to justify the cost even though it might be good in a very few cases.
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Old 01-21-2019, 06:03 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Byron Kinnaman View Post
How many volts does it take to run a 30amp RV?
That depends on what you are running. You should never let the volts drop below 110 or go over 128. When you turn on the A/C you'd see a huge drop in voltage. If the voltage is low to start with the A/C could put your electric items in danger of burning out due to lack of voltage. We keep a digital readout meter in our electric plug-in and watch it. We found those little white square ones with a needle can be very far off. Out of 4 of them we found 3 were not accurate. With each item you turn on you see a drop if the electric is not very good. With good electric you don't see much of a loss. But if you are using 15-20 amp you cannot run your A/C or possibly the hot water tank if you have electric to heat it with. That's where the amps come in. We have hooked up to 30 amp and only had 110 volts so we couldn't turn on anything other than lights. Kept fridge on propane. With a power booster we could run all our items. Volts and Amps are very different. I just know that you must have 30 amp for the A/C and make sure the volts don't drop to much.
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Old 01-22-2019, 07:45 AM   #31
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... I just know that you must have 30 amp for the A/C and make sure the volts don't drop to much.
Most roof A/Cs specify 20 amps, and many window units 15 amps. So assuming a good power grid, 20 amp service (or sometimes 15) is plenty if connected properly and managed right.

As I described my use, The 20 amp outlet is a dedicated outlet with nothing else on the circuit. I use the 30 amp shore power cord and no extension. I use a 20 to 30 (not 15 to 30) adapter. I use nothing more than maybe a LED light in the camper when the A/C is on.


And yes, excessive voltage drop should be avoided, preferably using a voltage regulator or EMS.
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Old 01-23-2019, 12:03 PM   #32
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It is risky. Your trailer electrics does not have the monitoring capability it should have so you can closely monitor loads and not exceed the 15 amp service. If that service is fused properly then it should shut down if stuff comes on together to exceed its load capability. If it is not fused properly, then it will either overload the circuit possibly causing a fire in the remote wiring or the voltage will sag which can damage the electrical components in your trailer. You should seek 30 amp service or carefully test the 15 amp service to see that it shuts down reliably upon overload.
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Old 01-23-2019, 02:00 PM   #33
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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.
It's not risky. There is no danger of burning down your home. Your Bigfoot wiring is rated to handle 30 amps maximum. The 15 amp service will only provide 15 amps. If you attempt to draw more than that, the circuit breaker on the service will pop. That protects the service, but poses no danger to you at all. You'll have to reset it at the box, then figure a way to reduce your current draw to stay under 15 amps.

As long as you draw less than 15 amps with any combination of appliances, you're fine. If any combination draws more than that, you just change your habits a little and not use two of the heaviest drawing appliances at the same time. You've already discovered that with the heater and toaster combination.


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Old 01-23-2019, 02:18 PM   #34
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Question 15amp service

15amp service, could it be upgraded ? could the camp ground management answer What would be involved to upgrade the site to 30amp? I am ignorant of most electrical line function. Could the line from the main, be upgraded to service a 30amp draw at the outlet post. Could the line be run from another source ? I understand there is only a specific amp draw available at a campground elec. service. The cost to upgrade, could be outrageous.

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Old 01-23-2019, 02:25 PM   #35
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It's not risky. There is no danger of burning down your home. ..
Well there is some risk if something is faulty, but it is very slight and mostly to the campgrounds stuff, unless you get shocked resetting the outside breaker in the rain because the box is not wired right and is "hot." Assuming a 30 amp cord and trailer us if somehow you do draw too much power.

I'll bet there is a 15 amp outlet next to the 30 on the power pole where you are now. Why not try it for a few days and see how it works? You really should use some way of at least monitoring or estimating the amps and volts however, and do that at most any campsite.
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Old 01-23-2019, 04:09 PM   #36
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15amp service, could it be upgraded ? could the camp ground management answer What would be involved to upgrade the site to 30amp? I am ignorant of most electrical line function. Could the line from the main, be upgraded to service a 30amp draw at the outlet post. Could the line be run from another source ? I understand there is only a specific amp draw available at a campground elec. service. The cost to upgrade, could be outrageous.

Later Kenny
The answer to all those questions is "yes", and your conclusion is accurate. If the wiring is big enough, it would only take a new circuit breaker and outlet. If the wiring isn't big enough to carry 30 amps, it would have to be replaced with bigger wire. It adds up fast.

I agree with Stephan and Gordon. There is some risk if the current 15 amp circuit breaker is faulty, but the risk is also primarily on the campsite. Considering the horrid condition of most hookups, I should have mentioned it, so I'm glad they did.

If you were to draw more than 15 amps and the service circuit breaker didn't pop, you still have protection in your rig for 30 amps. Worst case, you fry their wires and your rig is still protected...assuming it doesn't burn the campground down.

Ultimately, I'd consider Gordon's advice to change the 30 amp fuse/circuit breaker in your rig to 15 amps. That way you know right away if you exceed the capabilities of the campsite service. Then do a power survey of all your devices that use 110vac to figure out a strategy to always stay within the 15 amps. Don't forget to include your power converter because it uses some of that 15 amps to charge your battery.

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Old 01-23-2019, 04:23 PM   #37
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"Ultimately, I'd consider Gordon's advice to change the 30 amp fuse/circuit breaker in your rig to 15 amps. That way you know right away if you exceed the capabilities of the campsite service. Then do a power survey of all your devices that use 110vac to figure out a strategy to always stay within the 15 amps. Don't forget to include your power converter because it uses some of that 15 amps to charge your battery."

Yes Eric, and I also made this exact suggestion waaaaayyyy back in post #13. This thread has certainly attracted lots of attention. Repetition. Overload.
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Old 01-23-2019, 04:34 PM   #38
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The original power that came on the 1988 trailer was only 15amp service with a 20 amp converter. So the big question has the power supply been upgraded.


Even my 1991 I had upgraded when installing an air conditioner to 30 amp service.
I've had my trailer plugged into a 15 amp outlet for weeks at a time at a friends place with no issues can even run my air conditioner.
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Old 01-23-2019, 04:35 PM   #39
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"Ultimately, I'd consider Gordon's advice to change the 30 amp fuse/circuit breaker in your rig to 15 amps. ...
Yes Eric, and I also made this exact suggestion waaaaayyyy back in post #13. This thread has certainly attracted lots of attention. Repetition. Overload.
And I was not the first to suggest the 15 amp master breaker in the trailer!
I just thought it was worth the echoing.

As for the risk, every since I had this experience, I would never say that there is zero risk.. Heck, I was only using about 5 amps when it happened! But the fault was 100% with the campground and luckily I was not using anything subject to being damaged by low voltage.
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Old 01-23-2019, 05:03 PM   #40
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Have used 15 Amp for years. Just can not run air conditioner and microwave at the same time. Has not been a problem other than that.
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Old 01-23-2019, 09:56 PM   #41
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Are you sure it is just a 15 Amp outlet? Or is it a 20 Amp outlet? A 15A and 20A outlet look nearly the same, except the 20A outlet has a little side notch on one of the prongs. 20A outlets are pretty common.
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Old 01-23-2019, 11:19 PM   #42
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Are you sure it is just a 15 Amp outlet? Or is it a 20 Amp outlet? A 15A and 20A outlet look nearly the same, except the 20A outlet has a little side notch on one of the prongs. 20A outlets are pretty common.
We have seen the 20 amp at campgrounds. Can you safely plug a 15amp cord into the 20 amp? What would be the consequences of doing this? We've used our 30amp to 15amp pigtail when 30amp wasn't available and only run the lights and fridge.
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