Question About 15amp & 30amp Hookups - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-09-2014, 12:43 AM   #1
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Question About 15amp & 30amp Hookups

The sticker next to our shore power socket on the outside of the scamp reads: "This connection is for 110/125 volt ac, 60hz, 15 amp supply (see image). Inside the scamp there is one 15amp breaker switch in the electrical panel. It appears there is room for one more (if I wanted to add one?). If I were to add one more 15amp breaker switch (to get another outlet or two) would I still plug into the 15amp plug when I'm at a campsite? Or would I plug into the 30amp spot now? Thanks!

-Seth Click image for larger version

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Old 07-09-2014, 01:11 AM   #2
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15 amp
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Old 07-09-2014, 06:16 AM   #3
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Agreed. 15 amp receptacle.

However, I'm curious as to what kind of plug you have at the end of the Scamp's power cord. Does it look like the typical household plug?
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Old 07-09-2014, 07:52 AM   #4
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The size of your electrical service is 15 Amp , Your main breaker is 15 amp and probably your service conductors are 15 amp and your supply cord cap is 15 amp
Adding outlets only solves part of the problem . It does not solve the power supply issue . 15 amps will only run one kitchen appliance at a time so don't try to run the toaster while running the microwave.
Plugging into the 30 amp outlet changes nothing ,you have other limiting factors
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Old 07-09-2014, 08:45 AM   #5
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Upgrading 15 amp electrical.

To make it a 30 amp system is easy. It primarily consists of replacing the 15 amp cord with a 30 amp cord. Then you can plug into a 30 amp outlet.

Though we have a 30 amp cord we are often plugged into 15/20 amp circuits.

We re-populated our breaker box with 4 breakers using double 15 amp breakers. This provides plenty of circuits for the Scamp. We have 10 separate AC outlet boxes in and outside our trailer. The magic is that all of them are not used at once and none of them are drawing full power.

That being said, we are often plugged into a 15/20 amp circuit. This is generally adequate to run our entire trailer even when camped in a cold climate.

For breakfast we typically have electric hot water, an electric heater, toaster, fridge and 4 cup coffee pot running at the same time.

Generally I turn the heater down from it's high rating when using the toaster. We have never tripped a breaker. The reality is that the coffee pot is boiling water for minutes to make coffee, the toaster behaves similarly and even a microwave runs for only short periods..

The heater on high will run all day with the fridge and hot water heater (600 watts) both on electricity without tripping the main breaker or any of the Scamp's breakers.

Having four separate circuits allows major items to be on separate circuits.
All the independent breakers means consideration needs to be given to how you use them, for example the heater and toaster and microwave (we don't have one) would all want to be using separate breakers.

Of course when you're limited to 15/20 amps, you need to be conscious of usage. For example when Ginny uses the hair dryer she shuts off the heater.

The Scamp's breaker box does not have a main breaker like your home breaker box does. In your home you may have a 100 or 200 amp main breaker feeding a number of 15/20 amp breakers, exceed 100/200 amps total and the main breaker pops, certainly a rare event.

Every RV we owned depended on the Campground's power pole for the main breaker function.
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Old 07-09-2014, 09:06 AM   #6
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Norm,
Did you have to put in a new breaker box, to add the extra breakers? Or was the current box large enough to hold all of the extra breakers?
Thanks
Carl
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Old 07-09-2014, 09:16 AM   #7
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This is probably too much info, but I like the configuration of a main breaker in the trailer that matches the maximum amperage that the “shore” line can handle. You could have a number of 15a breakers downstream of the main breaker and the main breaker limits the total input to the trailer to 15a. Without the main breaker you’re counting on the 15a breaker in the post to trip before your shore line starts glowing like the inside of a toaster and I’m just not comfortable with that.

The Casita has a 30a main breaker and a cable to match. I have, if I remember correctly, 4 branch 15a breakers behind it (AC, Micrwave, Converter, ?). They can’t all pull 15a at the same time because they’re “choked” by the main breaker. Kind of a “belts and suspenders” type approach but this is probably a good area to be cautious.
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Old 07-09-2014, 09:21 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve L. View Post
Agreed. 15 amp receptacle.

However, I'm curious as to what kind of plug you have at the end of the Scamp's power cord. Does it look like the typical household plug?

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that. Yes, the big cord from the scamp has a regular plug on the end...like a regular extension cord, although we do have an adapter that attached to to it, and that adapter has the 3 diagonal prongs for the 30 amp slot at the campsite. I was wondering if I would need to change my main cord to a 30 amp cord or if I could keep the one I have.

We don't have an ac unit. We don't have a fridge. We don't have a heater. But we do want to be able to plug in a small toaster/oven appliance.


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Old 07-09-2014, 09:23 AM   #9
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Question About 15amp & 30amp Hookups

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve L. View Post
This is probably too much info, but I like the configuration of a main breaker in the trailer that matches the maximum amperage that the “shore” line can handle. You could have a number of 15a breakers downstream of the main breaker and the main breaker limits the total input to the trailer to 15a. Without the main breaker you’re counting on the 15a breaker in the post to trip before your shore line starts glowing like the inside of a toaster and I’m just not comfortable with that.

The Casita has a 30a main breaker and a cable to match. I have, if I remember correctly, 4 branch 15a breakers behind it (AC, Micrwave, Converter, ?). They can’t all pull 15a at the same time because they’re “choked” by the main breaker. Kind of a “belts and suspenders” type approach but this is probably a good area to be cautious.
Steve,
Thanks for explaining the number of breakers! I like the idea of using a main breaker on your camper. Because if they all pulled 15 amps at the same time, 4 times 15 is 60 amps. An, all you have is a 30 amp breaker, something has to give or else you can have a nice little fire issue!
Thanks,
Carl
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Old 07-09-2014, 09:41 AM   #10
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Follow up

Carl,

I used the breaker box that came with our Scamp..

I replaced the single breakers with double breakers, an easy way to increase the capacity of an existing breaker box. The double breaker is two breakers within the form factor of a single breaker available at Lowes or HD.

Steve,
I have nothing against a main breaker. The 3 trailers and motor home I've had did not have a main breaker. Their design depended on the campground's breaker. When I'm home I plug into a GFI outlet depending on our home's 20 amp breaker.

Certainly one can replace the existing breaker box with a box with a main breaker however virtually every campground has a breaker to perform that function, and usually at the power pole.

In a home there is no main breaker at the electric company's power poles hence the home needs a main breaker.

A 30 amp main breaker will not protect a 15 amp breaker that won't trip when overloaded unless the overload exceeds 30 amps for a period of time.

Seth, When I expanded our trailer's 4 outlets to 10 I was careful how I assigned the circuits to breakers. I took into consideration how we live, where the coffee pot and toaster would be plugged in, where the heater would be plugged in, .....

I should mention we do have an Air Conditioner (5 amps) that we rarely use, it is on the same circuit as the hot water heater that we use whenever plugged in.
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Old 07-09-2014, 08:08 PM   #11
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I backfed one of the breakers in my box and turned it into a main breaker. I only have a 15 amp feed and main, and have not had problems so far. We do watch what we're using when the electric microfurnace is running though
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Old 07-09-2014, 08:54 PM   #12
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I backfed one of the breakers in my box and turned it into a main breaker. I only have a 15 amp feed and main, and have not had problems so far. We do watch what we're using when the electric microfurnace is running though
Not all circuit breakers are ULrated to be backfed and a backfed circuit breaker requires a means to physically hold the circuit breaker to the buss . In some older breaker panels (FPE ) the branch circuit breakers were held in place by the deadfront cover and a backfed breaker introduced a shock hazard when the cover was removed . I agree with Steve , having a main breaker in the RV service panel is a good safety precaution. Relying on the overcurrent protection furnished by the campgrounds is questionable at best
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Old 07-09-2014, 09:21 PM   #13
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I upgraded my Bigfoot to handle an air conditioner adding two 15 amp breakers and due to code in B.C. had to change to a 30 amp cord.
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Old 07-10-2014, 02:09 AM   #14
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Shouldn't the total breaker amps equal the supply cord max amps? i.e. 30 amp service cord=2 15 amp breakers & a 15amp #10 supply cord = 1 15 amp breaker?
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