What can I run and not run on my home electricity? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-16-2016, 10:23 AM   #1
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What can I run and not run on my home electricity?

A while back, I was at a local Camper World and was looking at the various electrical adapters, and one of the salesmen mentioned that when I have my camper plugged into a regular electrical outlet at my house, I should not try and run my air conditioner.

My first question is, why not?

And my second question is, is there anything else on the camper that I should not try and run when plugged into the home outlet?

The main thing that I would want to do when plugged into the home outlet would be to cool the fridge down before heading out on a trip.

But it would also be nice to be able to run the A/C if I am in the camper working on something. What would I need to do in order to safely do that? Would I need a "special" outlet at my home. I currently have an electrical outlet on a pole in my backyard that we used when we had a pool, and I could upgrade that outlet if I need to.

And one last question, there are a lot of adapters out there (15A to 30A, 30A to 50A, etc). Which of these would I realistically need to keep in my camper?
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Old 06-16-2016, 11:25 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by GregandTeresa View Post
A while back, I was at a local Camper World and was looking at the various electrical adapters, and one of the salesmen mentioned that when I have my camper plugged into a regular electrical outlet at my house, I should not try and run my air conditioner.

My first question is, why not?

And my second question is, is there anything else on the camper that I should not try and run when plugged into the home outlet?

The main thing that I would want to do when plugged into the home outlet would be to cool the fridge down before heading out on a trip.

But it would also be nice to be able to run the A/C if I am in the camper working on something. What would I need to do in order to safely do that? Would I need a "special" outlet at my home. I currently have an electrical outlet on a pole in my backyard that we used when we had a pool, and I could upgrade that outlet if I need to.

And one last question, there are a lot of adapters out there (15A to 30A, 30A to 50A, etc). Which of these would I realistically need to keep in my camper?
I assume your trailer comes with a 30A plug, if it is plugged into a circuit with a 30A breaker and outlet it will run at full capacity which will likely not be even close to 30A draw.
If an adapter is used to plug into a 20A circuit or even a 15A circuit, you can still draw up to the capacity of the circuit with no harm.
With the smaller breaker you will just have to be selective. Like not running the microwave at the same time as the A/C (for example)

Its like having a good job... "you can have anything you want, you just can't have everything you want."

Some A/C units can draw as much as 15A, which may be what your dealer was concerned about, but even that A/C would run OK on a 20A house circuit with limited use of other accessories.

My Scamp has A/C, Micro Wave, electric water pumps,etc. It works well with impunity on a 20A circuit. Yours may vary due to the equipment you have, but appliances which are off don't draw power.
Your A/C is likely 13800BTU where mine is only 7200BTU.
As for adapters... Most commonly carried adapters on small fiberglass RVs are 15A to 30A and 30A to 15A. the latter allows your 30A plug to adapt directly to a 15/20A outlet.
If you must use a conventional extension cord be sure that it is heavy enough to carry the power use anticipated usually 12GA.
I have never seen a shore power post which had 50A which didn't also have a 30A and/or a 20A on the same post, so that adapter is seldom if not never needed.
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Old 06-16-2016, 11:52 AM   #3
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Another part of what Floyd describes is the voltage loss due to long runs of electrical cord. After plugging your trailer into the outlet you use for the trailer, it might be useful to measure the voltage at a trailer receptacle. Low voltage, such as seen during a brown-out puts stress on AC motors and leads to early motor failure. A long cord is like creating your own personal brown-out.


At my house I have a detached garage (where I would plug the trailer in) and what with the long-ish run to the garage and the roughly 50 feet of trailer cord I have, that's quite a run.
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Old 06-16-2016, 01:12 PM   #4
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Another part of what Floyd describes is the voltage loss due to long runs of electrical cord. After plugging your trailer into the outlet you use for the trailer, it might be useful to measure the voltage at a trailer receptacle. Low voltage, such as seen during a brown-out puts stress on AC motors and leads to early motor failure. A long cord is like creating your own personal brown-out.


At my house I have a detached garage (where I would plug the trailer in) and what with the long-ish run to the garage and the roughly 50 feet of trailer cord I have, that's quite a run.
With a reasonable sized cord(both length and gauge), line voltage drop is negligible on AC .
Line voltage is a much bigger concern when dealing with DC current.
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Old 06-16-2016, 01:24 PM   #5
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Thanks for the feedback Floyd and Steve. My plan will be to just use the power cord that comes with my Escape, because the camper will be stored right next to the outlet. So no extension cord will be needed.

And will go home this evening and check the breaker for that outlet and see what size it is.

And just for clarification, my A/C will be 11,000 BTU.
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Old 06-16-2016, 01:48 PM   #6
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I run the AC on a 12 Gauge cord pluged into a 15 Amp socket.
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Old 06-16-2016, 01:55 PM   #7
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Thanks Darwin, that is good to know. One last question for now, I understand the need for a 30Amp Female/15Amp Male adapter, but when would I need the 15A to 30A?

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I run the AC on a 12 Gauge cord pluged into a 15 Amp socket.
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Old 06-16-2016, 02:28 PM   #8
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With a reasonable sized cord(both length and gauge), line voltage drop is negligible on AC .
Line voltage is a much bigger concern when dealing with DC current.
When you study this stuff they treat DC as the particular case of AC where the frequency is zero. In terms of resistance there is no difference. Perhaps what you are driving at is a few volt loss with a 120 V source is negligible compared to few volts loss with a 12 volt source?
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Old 06-16-2016, 03:39 PM   #9
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We have always used the 15 Amp receptacle in the campgrounds with a short 12 Gauge extension. We leave the heavy 30 Amp cord stored. To use the 12 Gauge cord we have an adapter connected to the 30 amp camper connector.

The only time there is a problem is that we can not run the AC and Microwave at the same time. That presents no problem as we just turn off the AC when we pop corn.
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Old 06-16-2016, 03:47 PM   #10
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We started with a 32 foot motorhome. In the summer we would leave the motorhome plugged into a 20 amp circuit, always keeping our fridge on if we have a choice. I would run the AC on the motorhome occasionally and never popped the breaker.
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Old 06-16-2016, 03:58 PM   #11
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When you study this stuff they treat DC as the particular case of AC where the frequency is zero. In terms of resistance there is no difference. Perhaps what you are driving at is a few volt loss with a 120 V source is negligible compared to few volts loss with a 12 volt source?
Not when I went to school!
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Old 06-16-2016, 04:17 PM   #12
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Thanks Darwin, that is good to know. One last question for now, I understand the need for a 30Amp Female/15Amp Male adapter, but when would I need the 15A to 30A?
The one that you would generally need is one that will fit a standard duplex receptacle with a typical 3 prong 15 or 20 Amp (Male) to 30 Amp 3 prong RV (female) plug, that is already on the trailers shore power cord. It is used at any place which doesn't have a regular 30 Amp RV outlet available, (which is rare.)

As for the 50 Amp (male) to 30 Amp RV (female) adapter, well they are not normally needed because just about all the power pedestals which have a 50 Amp RV outlet will also have a 30 Amp RV outlet and a 15 Amp convenience outlet as well. Having said that, there are a few exceptions out there, so it's just handy to have. You may have it for 20 years and never use it, but if you need it, you have it.

Incidentally, the 50 Amp RV outlets are 240 Volts, whereas, the 30 Amp RV plugs are 120 Volt outlets. The 50 A to 30 A adapter just steals power from one leg of the 240 Volt power available, so you won't fry your electrical system plugging into it,. While we're on it, NEVER plug your trailer into your home clothes dryer outlet. It is 240 Volts and it will fry your trailers wiring and appliances.
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Old 06-17-2016, 11:06 AM   #13
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Casita Greg said, "You may have it for 20 years and never use it, but if you need it, you have it." I have never not found what I needed on the power post, but bought the 50A adapter at the advice of a friend. He likes to be over prepared as he says. He also likes to camp in odd little out of the way parks. He told me to get the 50A adapter. Seems he had one, luckily, the day he pulled into what seemed to be an ordinary little park, that had spaces left in the area that only had 50A hookups. I guess somewhere it exists. It was a hot day in the southwest USA and he wanted his AC. As he put it, the adapter doesn't weigh much and he was sure glad he had it.
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Old 06-17-2016, 12:02 PM   #14
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Adapters: Yes, we carry one of each because you never know when you may need one. Look at Walmart in the camper section for less expensive adapters. Less Expensive meaning they will be really expensive for the same thing in a campground or RV store.
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