Campground 50 amp power source? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-25-2012, 05:12 PM   #1
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Campground 50 amp power source?

While I have done much camping, almost all of it has been off grid. Is it common to find a 50 amp power source in a campground? Since my new Lil Snoozy will have a 30 amp power cord, I am wondering if I will need to carry an adapter for 50 amp as well as 20 amp power sources.
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Old 01-25-2012, 05:41 PM   #2
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Convertors

We carry 30 to 20 and 20 to 30. On the rare occasion when we've been given a 50 amp site, the park has had the converter to go from 30 to 50, sometimes requiring a simple deposit.
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Old 01-25-2012, 06:17 PM   #3
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Just go to Walmart and purchase the adapters. 50 to 30, 30 to 15
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Old 01-25-2012, 06:23 PM   #4
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We always have (on board) one set of 30/20's and 20/30's.

We don't do 'b/docking' so NOT having these adaptors on hand is silly for us.
Most parks we frequent offer these adaptors for sale only, because often campers may 'forget' to return them and then, that often 'simple deposit' has turned into a cheap adaptor for someone...

I'm just sayin'

I'M JUST SAYIN' ...........
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Old 01-25-2012, 07:37 PM   #5
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Normally if the CG has 50 amp, they also have 30 plus 20 amp service.
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Old 01-25-2012, 07:45 PM   #6
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In over 2000 nights we've only been on a 50 amp only site twice.......
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Old 01-26-2012, 12:25 AM   #7
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Question

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Originally Posted by Bill in Pittsburgh View Post
I am wondering if I will need to carry an adapter for 50 amp as well as 20 amp power sources.
I don't know how the power pedestals are set up back east, but most of the "50 amp" pedestals I have seen are new retrofits; in addition to 50 amp outlets they also have 30 amp and 20 amp outlets in them. (Does that make them 100 amp pedestals?)
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Old 01-26-2012, 08:40 AM   #8
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I may be wrong (have been in the past) but I think it is a 50 amp pedestal with 2 branch circuits, one with 50 amp and a second 50 amp with 30amp plus 20 amp. Can you use all 3 for 100 amps? that I do not know.
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Old 01-26-2012, 09:24 AM   #9
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Ask Byron, he was some kind of a truck wiring tech at one time, he should know.
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Old 01-26-2012, 10:12 AM   #10
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I have never seen a campground post which offered a 50A outlet without also offering 30A and 15or 20A. You should not need a 50A adapter.
I have never found the need for one and we have stayed in campgrounds from WASH state to the Keys.
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Old 01-26-2012, 10:22 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
I may be wrong (have been in the past) but I think it is a 50 amp pedestal with 2 branch circuits, one with 50 amp and a second 50 amp with 30amp plus 20 amp. Can you use all 3 for 100 amps? that I do not know.
It depends. It should be wired so that each receptacle can be used at its designed load so technically you could pull 50 amps on each leg of the 50 amp receptacle for a total of 100 amps @ 120V, 30 amps on the 30 & 20 amps on the 20 amp receptacle for a total of 150 amps @ 120V.

That said, I have seen pedestals that are wired in a number of ways, including a campground that was wired with one 30 amp leg that was split to feed the 50 amp outlet which also feed the 30 & 20 amp receptacles. Unusual, not to code, but it happens. Probably done as a low cost retrofit to "upgrade" the pedestal without replacing the wiring. Obviously, you could not load each receptacle fully if wired this way.

Even if there is a full 100 amps feeding a pedestal wired with only one leg a 50 amp Energy Management System will insist that it is connected to a 30 amp receptacle since it doesn't detect 240V between the 2 legs.
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Old 01-26-2012, 10:28 AM   #12
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50 Amp RV outlets are 4-wire 240vac. The 30/20/15Amp outlets are only 3-wire 120vac. To get a 30 amp plug to work on a 50amp outlet you will need an adapter, which only uses one 120 volt leg of the available 240 volt outlet, (the other leg is absent inside the adapter so you only have a single 120 volt circuit). The plug shape/size/and pin configurations are all dramatically different, and for good reason. You wouldn't want to plug your 120 volt trailer into a 240 volt circuit, if you did, you would probably fry anything that was energized.

Oh, and to answer the question - NO, the output capacity of a 50 amp pedastal is still only rated at 50 amps total, even though they provide 30 and 20 amp outlets as well.
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Old 01-26-2012, 10:42 AM   #13
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Floyd,

There are 50 amp only sites. We had our second one in 11 years in FL. That's 2 times in over 2000 nights camping in parks. It does happen but is rare enough not to be a concern. It appears that some parks are creating sites for some of these big 50 amp rigs.

At our last Corp of Engineer Park, Lake Seminole, a diesel Dutchstar was parked next to us. He had his main power cord plugged into the 30 or 50 amp plug AND an extension cord plugged into the 20 amp outlet. I asked about it and he said his wife uses an electric frypan on the extenson cord so they don't blow any breakers... go figure.

My little Scamp runs very happily on 20 amps.

Based upon what we pay for electricity when at Escapee Parks it seems we use about 5 Kwhrs a day or an average of about 2 amps an hour. The 110 VAC powers our fridge, hot water, and all the small miscellaneous things like TV, computers, ... I assume most of it goes to the fridge.
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Old 01-26-2012, 11:40 AM   #14
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50 Amp Service vs. 30 Amp Service

So why can we run so many appliances at the same time with 50 amp service when we were more limited at 30 amp service?
Well, using the equation: Watts = Volts X Amps - at 120 volts, 50 amps produces 6,000 watts as opposed to 30 amps which produces 3,600 watts. Quite a difference. Ah, but there is more to the story.
Remember when I talked about a 30-amp power cord having 3 prongs? Well, those three prongs correspond to a hot 120-volt wire, a ground wire, and a neutral wire.
But the 50-amp power cord has 4 prongs. Those four prongs correspond to a ground wire, a neutral wire, and 2 120-volt hot wires!
So, going back to the equation - Watts = Volts X Amps - we have 2 50-amp lines at 120 volts each. We have two lines capable of 6,000 watts each, not just one. Our total is now 12,000 watts of potential power for 50-amp service as opposed to only 3,600 watts for 30-amp service. Now you can see why 50-amp service gives us so much more capability than 30-amp service.
Another note on 50-amp service. Almost all RVs are wired such that the two 50-amp, 120-volt lines are used separately. In other words, some of the appliances are wired to one hot leg of the 50-amp service and the remaining appliances are wired to the other hot leg of the 50-amp service, much like many of the branch circuits in your home power panel.
And now we also know why there are two 50-amp breaker switches shown on our pedestals - one for each hot line. But even though there are two switches marked "50 Amps", they do not operate independently. The whole circuit will trip if one line is overloaded.
Finally, this is another good reason to have a 50-amp surge protector with voltage protection on your 50-amp rig. Those devices test both lines of the 50-amp service and protect all your appliances no matter which leg they may be on. If you do not have one of these devices, one bad leg could be the reason some appliances work and others don't. However, one bad leg will probably lead to much worse problems than that.
The neutral in a 50-amp circuit is there to help balance the total 240 volts between the two hot lines so they each carry only 120 volts and no more.
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