Camping in the driveway-electrical question - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-20-2018, 11:22 AM   #1
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Name: Jude
Trailer: Casita
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Camping in the driveway-electrical question

Hello. We are loving our 2018 17íSpirit Deluxe! We just returned from a TX, AZ, UT, CO trek and will be heading to our daughterís house next.
We want to plug in there ( her Dad is allergic to her dogs, so no sleeping in the house). We have the adapter from Casita and her house is new so has up-to-date utilities.
We are hoping someone can help with these questions:
*We will try to use the Casita cord, but if it doesnít reach, what kind of extension cord do we need?
*We know that we canít run the ac and microwave at the same time. What CAN we run?
Thanks for any help!
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Old 06-20-2018, 11:41 AM   #2
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You can get a 30 amp trailer plug (twist lock most likely) to 15 amp household male plug adapter. E Trailer is a good place to look or Amazon.

Then you can simply run an extension cord from a convenient plug to the trailer. This will provide only 20 amps, so you can run either the micro or the AC. Even then, the AC might trip the breaker on startup. Use a good cord no longer than necessary and with #12 conductors. This will be labeled a "heavy duty" or 20 amp cord.

If you want to run more power, plug into the dryer plug at the house and adapt that format to the trailer plug. This could be done using your shore power cord and an adapter, but it's probably not long enough.
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Old 06-20-2018, 11:41 AM   #3
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Name: claire
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i bought a 30 amp black electrical cord extension from amazon, 25ft if memory serves. it's exactly the same as my casita power cord. i use it both while driveway camping & campgrounds where the power post was too far from my trailer for the casita cord to reach.
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Old 06-20-2018, 11:58 AM   #4
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Since voltage loss is a factor of length and wire gauge I'd look for the heaviest gauge available at your big box store which would likely be 10 gauge. I believe that you'll be flirting with "brown out" damage to the A/C compressor with a 50 foot extension on top of your existing 25 feet. You might consider two 25's rather than one 50 footer and use only what you have to. If it weren't for the A/C and perhaps the microwave I wouldn't worry at all.

I tend to be conservative so judge accordingly.
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Old 06-20-2018, 01:09 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Raspy View Post
You can get a 30 amp trailer plug (twist lock most likely) to 15 amp household male plug adapter. ...
Then you can simply run an extension cord from a convenient plug to the trailer. This will provide only 20 amps, so you can run either the micro or the AC. ..
The problem here is that if your adapter is rated at 15 amps, that is the limit you can safely use. It is always the lowest rating along the chain (outlet, adapter, cord, etc. with the cords rating affected primarily by gauge and length). Quite a few people have tried to run more than the cheap 15 to 30 adapters can handle and ended up with a melted adapter. Even running only the A/C (maybe along with the converter) might overload the 15 amp adapter. If it ever feels warm, stop.

You say the house is new with up to date utilities, that likely means 20 amp circuits in the house. So,
1. Get a 20 to 30 adapter instead of a 15 to 30. (Of course if the circuits / outlets are 15 amp as they are at my house, then the 20 to 30 is no help and will not even fit the outlet).
2. Use as short an extension as you can, and of sufficient gauge.
3. Turn off anything in the house that is on the same circuit. You might have to experiment to find out what it on the circuit
4. Look up and calculate the amp rating of whatever you want to run. Do the math and stay within about 90% or less of your limit (i.e. 15 or 20 depending on setup).
OR
4. Use an amp meter. I have a device in my camper that protects the electrical system and it also has a display that shows amps in use. The Kill-a-watt device is handy but limited to 15 amps (and dont push that figure). You can get amp meters for higher current including multi-meters that simply clamp onto the cord. Dont run everything at once. Thats a lot better than overloading your electrical sytem (in the house or camper, cord, etc.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve L. View Post
... I believe that you'll be flirting with "brown out" damage to the A/C compressor with a 50 foot extension on top of your existing 25 feet. ....
Good advice. Running A/C with insufficient power can damage the compressor, esp if it is extended operation. Watch that the voltage at the camper does not drop too much.

But do you really need A/C at home? Maybe for guest quarters but on really hot nights maybe you can bring the camper's cushions inside and make up an additional bed or two.
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Old 06-20-2018, 01:37 PM   #6
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Gordon,

House recepticles are typically 15 amp rated. But they are connected to 20 amp circuit breakers. This is the common house wiring scheme and works well, even though the plugs are only really rated for 15 amps. Also, if she only runs one appliance at a time, as she wants to do, she will not be drawing 20 amps continuously. Only a surge to get the AC up to speed. I do this regularly and have never had a problem. I also run a conventional circular saw at home, with a conventional 15 amp plug and it draws 25 amps. Not a problem for intermittant use. She was wanting to know an easy way to extend her cord to work off the house they are going to visit. The easiest way is to run an extension cord from a convenient plug. Plugs have 20 amp breakers and the plug style is rated for 15 amps. The only problem would be if there was a continuous draw of 20 or more amps, such as two electric heaters on the same circuit or starting the AC while the microwave was on. "15 amp" style plugs commonly, and by design, carry 20 amp loads.

I do this at my daughters house when we visit with my Oliver. Park out in front and run a #12 cord to the closest plug. AC during the day in summer, or electric heater at night in the winter.

Of course, going into the dryer plug would be nice, but probably less convenient
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Old 06-20-2018, 01:44 PM   #7
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Since it is your daughters house and this likely won’t be the last visit, I’d have a 30 amp 120 volt outlet and circuit to power your trailer. You can buy a 30amp twist to TV adapter plug on Amazon and a 30 amp extension cord too.
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Old 06-20-2018, 02:36 PM   #8
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Does the camper AC really draw that much? I don't have a camper AC, so really don't know, but plenty of household window AC units run on 15A circuits no problem.
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Old 06-20-2018, 02:45 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Steve Carlson View Post
Does the camper AC really draw that much? I don't have a camper AC, so really don't know, but plenty of household window AC units run on 15A circuits no problem.
The RV roof A/C units typical are supposed to be on 20 amp circuits (per the manufactures - check the install manual). The issue is when the compressor starts and for a very short time the amp draw is much higher. See Wattage Chart (The 15k BTU AC draws average 12.5 amps when running but this chart says it needs 29 to start).

Some people are more conservative than others hence the differing advice. Some people do things all the time and say they have no problem, yet based on my understanding of the situation, I would not do the same. YMMV
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Old 06-20-2018, 02:55 PM   #10
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The 13,500 BTU units take a solid 20 -24 amps to start. Then they settle in at about 12 -14 amps to run. The starting load lasts for less than a second as the compressor spins up. Because of this, they won't typically start on a 2000 watt Honda generator without an Easy-Start. The Easy-Start extends the starting load to about 1.5 seconds at a lower amp draw. 13.5K units are very common but smaller ones are also used on smaller trailers. They draw less both starting and running. 15K units are pretty large for a small trailer and I don't know of any that use them.

This very short load is why it's OK to run them an a 20 amp household circuit with typical 15 amp rated plugs. 20 amp plugs are available, but not commonly used on homes. Of course, the better solution is to run the trailer on a new dedicated 30 amp plug, but we don't always have the luxury of plugging into 30 amp circuits while visiting friends. And especially one located in the driveway.

So it boils down to whether you plug in to an available circuit, that will probably work fine, at a friends house while visiting, or not. If it trips the breaker, you have your answer. Things cannot always be evaluated as per the highest standard textbook solution available. And since the NEC and the building industry have seen fit to use a very common 15 amp style plug on a 20 amp circuits, all over the country, and call it up to code, for many years, I'm not going to argue the point with the code writers. Especially since I know it works. But I did question why the code was written that way and I generally used 20 amp rated recepticles in my house. Inspectors all know this little quirk in the code. Although, all common line cord plugs are the 15 amp style unless they have one post set sideways and say 20 amp on them.
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Old 06-20-2018, 03:49 PM   #11
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I have 2 separate 20 amp circuit run to 2 GFCI receptacles where I park my trailer
We use the trailer as a guest room in the Summer and have never tripped a breaker . The circuits are run underground in 1” PVC and the circuit conductors are #10 wire.
I built my cabin in 1988 and did not get a trailer until 2010 so it pays to plan ahead
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Old 06-21-2018, 10:41 AM   #12
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When using an extension cord we always use an old plastic sleeve from a loaf of bread to cover the joint to keep any rain water out. Simply cut off the closed end of the sleeve, slip it over one end before plugging together and tap each end around the cord making it water tight.
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Old 06-21-2018, 10:56 AM   #13
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What a helpful group of replies. Gentlemen (I think), we salute you all. Thank you!
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Old 06-21-2018, 12:58 PM   #14
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I was going to say, "EXTERIOR" but I believe that and every other consideration has been covered by now...

BEST
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