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


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Old 01-14-2019, 08:15 PM   #1
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15amp service OK for 30amp Bigfoot?

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.
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Old 01-14-2019, 08:34 PM   #2
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Yes this is a risky set up and should only be used temporarily. If you are using appliances and accessories on more than one of the branch circuits, you may be using more than 15 amps, (EDIT: while each branch circuit breaker won't pop). Your heater is consuming 12 amps. (EDIT: Toaster consumes at least 7 amps, so already over 15 amps.) Also, the 110vac to 12vdc converter is drawing some amperage (indicated on the product label).

In theory, when your usage exceeds 15 amps, the circuit breaker at the campsite power source should pop, but will it? If it doesn't pop, your supply power cord will heat up and present a fire risk.

I recently upgraded my Boler 17 to 30 amp connection. While plugging into 15 amp power at home I watch the usage very closely.
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Old 01-14-2019, 08:37 PM   #3
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Most electric box heaters have two settings, 750 watts and 1500 watts. At 15 amps total for the rig you probably would be ok at the 750watt setting,

You may need to turn the heat off when you use the toaster. And I am assuming no AC, no hair drier, etc.

Good point that the converter will draw a little too plus the refrigerator.
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Old 01-14-2019, 08:41 PM   #4
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Quote:
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.

The 1500 Watt heater is kind of marginal, but already know that. The 1500 watt heater will draw about 12.5 amp max. That's pretty close to the 15 Amp service. You might need to turn off the converter for a short period, but I don't think would be a problem. If is turn it in the morning and back on when you go to bed. That should keep all the 12VDC stuff working.


FYI the 30amp rating on your trailer is a maximum not a minimum or ever a nominal item.

Now next question is what you going to do with additional site space? I would suggest you think about it before you jump. Don't answer me, just you.
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Old 01-14-2019, 08:43 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by John in Michigan View Post
Yes this is a risky set up and should only be used temporarily. If you are using appliances and accessories on more than one of the branch circuits, you may be using more than 15 amps. Your heater is consuming 12 amps. (EDIT: Toaster consumes at least 7 amps, so already over 15 amps.) Also, the 110vac to 12vdc converter is drawing some amperage (indicated on the product label).

In theory, when your usage exceeds 15 amps, the circuit breaker at the campsite power source should pop, but will it? If it doesn't pop, your supply power cord will heat up and present a fire risk.

I recently upgraded my Boler 17 to 30 amp connection. While plugging into 15 amp power at home I watch the usage very closely.
The power supply cord for the trailer will handle up to 30 amps, it should not overheat, but if the load exceeds 15 amps, and the breaker does not trip, any wiring before the breaker sized for a 15 amp load could overheat.
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Old 01-14-2019, 08:43 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by thrifty bill View Post
Most electric box heaters have two settings, 750 watts and 1500 watts. At 15 amps total for the rig you probably would be ok at the 750watt setting,

You may need to turn the heat off when you use the toaster. And I am assuming no AC, no hair drier, etc.

Good point that the converter will draw a little too plus the refrigerator.
1500Watts = 1500/120 = 12.5 amps. Watts divided by volts = current

750 Watts = 750/120 = 6.25 amps
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Old 01-14-2019, 08:44 PM   #7
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You already have figured it out that you cannot run the toaster and the heater at the same time, so don't do it. The only downside is that if you forget, you may blow the 15Amp breaker on the pedestal where you are plugged in and you have to go out to reset it. All your LED lights are fed by the battery, and the converter should be able to keep it charged. Charge the laptop when you are not there and you are not using the heater.
In any case, nothing should catch on fire only because you are plugged into the 15A service.
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Old 01-14-2019, 08:51 PM   #8
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Yes the power cord won't smoke or catch fire as long as:

- the power post 15 amp circuit breaker is reliable
- you use one 15 amp rated power cord

(EDIT: OK as per Dennis MN comment, if you use your 30 amp power cord, then just need to worry about the 30 amp to 15 amp adapter overheating.)
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Old 01-14-2019, 10:57 PM   #9
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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....

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.
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Old 01-15-2019, 07:53 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Paul O. View Post
You already have figured it out that you cannot run the toaster and the heater at the same time, so don't do it. The only downside is that if you forget, you may blow the 15Amp breaker on the pedestal where you are plugged in and you have to go out to reset it. All your LED lights are fed by the battery, and the converter should be able to keep it charged. Charge the laptop when you are not there and you are not using the heater.
In any case, nothing should catch on fire only because you are plugged into the 15A service.
It may be a little inconvenient but well worth it to live in a magical forest
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Old 01-15-2019, 08:26 AM   #11
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So if you already can not run the toaster and heater together on a 30a supply from the park then I have to think the trailer is running both on a 15a circuit internally already.

If so there should really be no difference at all whether the trailer input is 15a or 30a as you are already limited to 15a on the breaker in the trailer.

At the same time you say you don't really use any heavy demand items but the heater and toaster are 2 of the higher demand items you might run in a trailer?

I also wonder about the logic of leaving a spot in a Magical Forest for any reason but maybe thats another conversation?
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Old 01-15-2019, 08:35 AM   #12
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Ed,

Problem is that with a 30 amp system in the camper, you are not limited to a 15 amp circuit in the camper. Typically a 30 amp camper system will have:

- 30 amp main breaker
- multiple 110vac branch circuits: one dedicated branch circuit for the AC to DC converter, two or more branch circuits for 110vac loads (usually for the AC outlets)

Yes apparently the toaster and heater are plugged into the same branch. What about the fridge?

As a result, there is really no protection in the camper if you feed the camper with a 15 amp supply line. Therefore you must rely on the supply cord, 30-to-15 adapter, and hope the power post 15 amp circuit breaker will protect them.

John
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Old 01-15-2019, 08:59 AM   #13
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For someone living full time in the camper (as the OP has indicated) and wants to park on a campsite with only 15 amp service, best change to reduce risk: replace the 30 amp main breaker with a 15 amp breaker. Can always switch back to a 30 amp breaker in the future.
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Old 01-15-2019, 09:20 AM   #14
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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.
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