newbee electrical requirement questions.... - Fiberglass RV

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Old 07-12-2015, 06:19 PM   #1
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Name: john
Trailer: Compact Junior
Posts: 167
newbee electrical requirement questions....

Just about all of my camping is at rustic sites without electricity but as I get older (now retired) I long for a few creature comforts so I might visit some Michigan state parks with electrical service.

I found a small dorm-style fridge at a flea market in Missouri for $25 and someone gave me a nice oscillating fan. I also have a small one-burner hot plate and see that Home Depot has a very small .7cf microwave on sale for $39.99.

And now that summer is warming up I'm wondering about what it would take to set up a very small air conditioner.

Here's a photo of the "system" in my Compact Jr. I have a very long heavyduty black cord that snakes out from this circuit box, thru a hole in the floor, that plugs into what the campground provides.

That cord powers the outlet in the photo. into that outlet I've plugged in a strip outlet with a surge protector.

Just how much of this stuff am I able to run at one time safely? I could also run a second extension cord from the campground box to the inside of the camper to take some load off this one outlet.

any input is appreciated!

and on an unrelated topic, I'm busy shopping for an inexpensive fishfinder.

in my camper I have one of those jumpstart devices that also has a 12volt outlet. If I put a cigarette lighter plug on the fishfinder power wires would it safely run off of the device?

again, thanks!
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Old 07-12-2015, 06:52 PM   #2
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Name: Bob
Trailer: 1973 Hunter Compact II
Posts: 7,914
That may only be a 15 amp (20 at the most) breaker on your box which means that when running the a/c that a few lights is about all you can afford to run without tripping the breaker when the a/c restarts.

As far as the hot plate and the microwave goes, you may have to turn the a/c off when using those.

And it is not safe to just run extra extension cords to power appliances. If you want to run all of that at one time you will need to look at upgrading to 30 amp service.

As that's a very basic (and aged) system you have, you may want to consider a major update of the entire electrical system.

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Old 07-12-2015, 08:41 PM   #3
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Name: Charlie Y
Trailer: Escape 21 - Felicity
Posts: 979
Campgrounds have either 15A, 30A, and some have 50A outlets. I'd definitely put in a 4 breaker box (they're about the same size as the one you have) with one breaker for the AC and separate ones for the other uses. Do you have a battery for inside lights?
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Old 07-13-2015, 06:59 AM   #4
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Name: Steve
Trailer: 2003 Casita 16' SD
Posts: 1,652
That cord indeed looks substantial but I’d want to know how many conductors and what gauge wire. Often the details are sprayed on the jacket similar to regular Romex household wiring. Possibly 10/3 or some such gauge/# of wire label. There are rules of thumb (electric codes, actually) for wire size vs. amp ratings. I believe that 120vAC 30A cord is usually 10/3. (I’m not an electrician, nor do I claim I can pass along in a paragraph or two what an electrician learns going through schooling and apprenticeship to arrive at journeyman.) If I were a total novice I might ask an electrician to wire up a modest 4 breaker box to replace what you currently have. Adding circuits to an existing box is relatively straight forward given some forethought. I’d be inclined to add a receptacle or two by pulling some Romex back to the new box. If you did that first, I suspect the electrician would add the circuits to the box for nothing assuming you were paying for the new box install, and if you bought the breakers beforehand.
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