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Old 01-16-2019, 08:51 AM   #21
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Name: Gordon
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Originally Posted by Ev in Oregon View Post
.

I'll be doing some serious "cogitating" on this, as my Dad used to say. I'll make this work because it'll be worth it. Thanks for all the help!
I would only deal with the aggravation of a site with 15 amp service if it were a big "step up" from the current site. But if you do go forward....
  • Know roughly how much power each item in you camper uses and keep the total at any one time under 15, with 13 or less preferred (see note #1).
  • Consider replacing your 30 amp master breaker with a 15 amp (see note #2).
  • Consider a EMS (fancy "surge suppressor) that among other things, includes a display that shows your total power draw and cuts the power off if the voltage drops too far (see note #3). Or maybe just a simple amp meter showing total power use.

In these small campers usually the only single item that exceeds a 15 amp rating (if not the in-use power draw) is the air conditioner. That means that you can usually use everything except the A/C in the camper by itself, one at a time. And you can use some combination of things but which depend on their power use ratings. Many (like you toaster and heater) should show the power rating in watts on the label. Divide by 110 to get amp rating. (I only say 110 instead of the normal 120 volts to add a margin of safety for the times when the voltage drops and the current therefore might increase.) Or use the EMS or other amp-meter to find out the actual power draw.

People almost never use 30 amp campers on 15 amp service on a permanent basis, but they do it temporarily all the time. Its not too hard if you manage your electrical use. Its all about your electric budget and staying out of the "red."

Note 1: (At ~120 VAC) For example, my fridge is one amp, the electric heater either 7-8, or 12-13 (high vs low setting), etc. The converter power use varies depends on 1. what 12 volt things are in use, and 2. how discharged the battery is. I can eliminate the power draw used to charge the battery with my battery cut off switch. Or I can cut off the converter at the breaker and use the battery to run the 12 volt stuff (or have both off and no 12 volt items on). A 30 amp converter might use as much as 5 amps of 110-120 volt shore power. A 45 amp converter should be under 7 amps. With a charged battery and LED lights and little else, the converter power use is much less. Add up what is being used and keep it at 13 or less on each 15 amp circuit, and in total if using a 15 amp site.

Note 2: This is more for convenience than safety (assuming the power pole breaker is OK). You probably will trip the breaker while you are learning what you can and cannot run, and the breaker inside the camper is a lot easier to reset when its dark and raining. It will also offer some protection to the weak link (the 15/30 adapter) if the power pole breaker does not trip on overload.

Note 3: I use the Progressive Industries hard wired unit in the camper and the display is mounted where I can see it easily. It makes it easy to turn things on and off and see the power draw. It requires some rewiring in the camper. The portable unit requires no electrical work but the display is outside at the power pole. See the higher end products here: Progressive industries Available Products.
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Old 01-16-2019, 09:31 AM   #22
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if its a plug in heater, and a plug in toaster, and a breaker in the trailer trips if both are plugged in at the same time, then you are on a 15 amp circuit within the trailer and all is fine.
If you are plugged in to a 15 amp post, and the toaster and heater trip a circuit in the trailer or on the post, all is fine.
if you plug the heater and toaster in to two different circuits in the trailer and are plugged in a 30 amp post, no breaker will trip, all is fine

I have a 17 foot Trillium, it has a 15 amp plug, I run a 1500 watt heater when I have Hydro. When I want to make toast, I turn off the heater.
My converter is always on, my fridge sometimes is on AC,
The worst that can happen over time is that the breaker will weaken, and eventually not hold right till its 15 amp rating ( this would take years if tripping is infrequent)

Any one who tells you at a campground that if you trip a breaker you will be resposible for "repairs" should be taught basic electrical, and then slapped in the back of the head.
My approach to this would be,
1) I want to watch the repair being done, and I want to see a tradesmans licence
2) I want the damaged part after I watch it being removed
3) I will have this part tested, and if there is no problem, I expect repayment by the campground both for the part, the testing and the inconvenience.

I am an electrician, so it's a bit harder to BS me about campground electrical and basic electricity, But in 40+ years of residential, commercial, and industrial work, I have never seen a trailer destroy a component in the power post, unless it was a dead short, and there was a problem at the post.
The most common one I see at the post is a melted plug, and that is generally because the post receptacle is worn out or damaged from people yanking their cords out by the cord instead of holding the plug while they pull it out.

Joe
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Old 01-18-2019, 07:18 PM   #23
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Do you use electric in your water heater or is it propane only?
Is there any chance the campground would upgrade the power at the site you want?
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Old 01-18-2019, 07:55 PM   #24
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Do you use electric in your water heater or is it propane only? Is there any chance the campground would upgrade the power at the site you want?

Not sure they even offered electric-powered water heaters in 1988, but mine is strictly propane. Which is a good thing, considering the circumstances.

I'm gently working on the park owner re: installing 30-amp service in the new site. He told me he'd been considering it for years, so I'm trying to convince him that the best tenant on the planet is already in the park (), so maybe he has the excuse he needs now?? We'll see.
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Old 01-21-2019, 12:06 AM   #25
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A bit about breakers that might be useful:
normal household breakers are "80% rated" and thermally triggered.
So:
1. A 15A breaker that goes slightly over 15A may not trip immediately
2. A 15A breaker that's over 12A will eventually trip, although it may take several hours.

So if your 1500W space heater is running 24/7 and not cycling on and off, it alone may trip the breaker. On the other hand, if you go over the limit to, say, 20A, it may take a minute or more to trip.


I actually have a setup that works well on a 15A plug, but it may be more trouble/cost than it's worth for your setup: a "hybrid inverter" (Victron Multiplus in my case) plus a large battery bank. You set the inverter to draw a set maximum from "shore power" and it charges or discharges the batteries as needed/able. You still need to keep your long-term average under 12A, but it at least will handle shorter bursts of higher power needs.
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Old 01-21-2019, 12:20 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
Iím with Greg on this one the problem is more one of inconvenience then one of safety . Tripping a circuit breaker does not constitute a hazard , itís what circuit breakers are designed to do . Iíve tripped the 30 amp main breaker in my trailer many times trying to run too much stuff at one time !
How about a power booster? We have one and so do our friends. They ran their A/C off of our 20 amp service in our yard. They have a 30 amp trailer. We have done the same. They sell for about $400-500 but have saved us several times when the power posts didn't have enough volts to run our motorhome. They are available at RV stores including Camping World. They have a nice one that regulates the voltage so it doesn't go to high and will shut down to prevent a low voltage drop if it should occur.
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Old 01-21-2019, 12:28 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Jann Todd View Post
How about a power booster? We have one and so do our friends. They ran their A/C off of our 20 amp service in our yard. They have a 30 amp trailer. We have done the same. They sell for about $400-500 but have saved us several times when the power posts didn't have enough volts to run our motorhome. They are available at RV stores including Camping World. They have a nice one that regulates the voltage so it doesn't go to high and will shut down to prevent a low voltage drop if it should occur.

How many volts does it take to run a 30amp RV?
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Old 01-21-2019, 08:04 AM   #28
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Just an idea that I hope others discuss the merits of, but maybe an inverter off the battery to run the toaster.


I have a solar panel, so I could probably do this, but I'm not sure how it works when you are using shore power to power the trailer and charge the battery.
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Old 01-21-2019, 08:13 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Jann Todd View Post
How about a power booster? We have one and so do our friends. They ran their A/C off of our 20 amp service in our yard. They have a 30 amp trailer. We have done the same. They sell for about $400-500 but have saved us several times when the power posts didn't have enough volts to run our motorhome. They are available at RV stores including Camping World. They have a nice one that regulates the voltage so it doesn't go to high and will shut down to prevent a low voltage drop if it should occur.
But the voltage regulator cannot "boost" the power.. only regulate the voltage, which is only part of the measure of the power. When the voltage drops, what it is doing is changing the voltage – amperage relationship, lowering the amperage and raising the voltage.

So if a 15 amp shore power pole can normally provide 1800 watts at 120 volts.. and then the voltage drops to 100, the amps try to go up to 18 to provide the same 1800 watts.

Using the regulator, it reduces the amps to stay within the 15 amp rating. Then at 100 volts you only get 1500 watts instead of 1800, which is still 15 amps. And the regulator will use up to one amp itself, just to regulate the voltage.

As for running the A/C on you home 20 amp service.. thats doable and does not require the voltage regulator as a rule. I do it all the time. But with a roof A/C that is supposed to have a 20 amp dedicated circuit, this is how I do it. The 20 amp outlet is a dedicated outlet with nothing else on the circuit. I use the 30 amp shore power cord and no extension. I use a 20 to 30 (not 15 to 30) adapter. I use nothing more than maybe a LED light in the camper when the A/C is on.

Still, I do endorse the use of a power management / surge suppressor (as I mentioned above and also here.) Part of the reason I have one is to prevent damage from low voltage. It does not correct low voltage however, instead it just shuts off the power supply. I think the voltage regulator is overkill and not helpful enough to justify the cost even though it might be good in a very few cases.
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Old 01-21-2019, 06:03 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Byron Kinnaman View Post
How many volts does it take to run a 30amp RV?
That depends on what you are running. You should never let the volts drop below 110 or go over 128. When you turn on the A/C you'd see a huge drop in voltage. If the voltage is low to start with the A/C could put your electric items in danger of burning out due to lack of voltage. We keep a digital readout meter in our electric plug-in and watch it. We found those little white square ones with a needle can be very far off. Out of 4 of them we found 3 were not accurate. With each item you turn on you see a drop if the electric is not very good. With good electric you don't see much of a loss. But if you are using 15-20 amp you cannot run your A/C or possibly the hot water tank if you have electric to heat it with. That's where the amps come in. We have hooked up to 30 amp and only had 110 volts so we couldn't turn on anything other than lights. Kept fridge on propane. With a power booster we could run all our items. Volts and Amps are very different. I just know that you must have 30 amp for the A/C and make sure the volts don't drop to much.
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Old 01-22-2019, 07:45 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Jann Todd View Post
... I just know that you must have 30 amp for the A/C and make sure the volts don't drop to much.
Most roof A/Cs specify 20 amps, and many window units 15 amps. So assuming a good power grid, 20 amp service (or sometimes 15) is plenty if connected properly and managed right.

As I described my use, The 20 amp outlet is a dedicated outlet with nothing else on the circuit. I use the 30 amp shore power cord and no extension. I use a 20 to 30 (not 15 to 30) adapter. I use nothing more than maybe a LED light in the camper when the A/C is on.


And yes, excessive voltage drop should be avoided, preferably using a voltage regulator or EMS.
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Old 01-23-2019, 12:03 PM   #32
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It is risky. Your trailer electrics does not have the monitoring capability it should have so you can closely monitor loads and not exceed the 15 amp service. If that service is fused properly then it should shut down if stuff comes on together to exceed its load capability. If it is not fused properly, then it will either overload the circuit possibly causing a fire in the remote wiring or the voltage will sag which can damage the electrical components in your trailer. You should seek 30 amp service or carefully test the 15 amp service to see that it shuts down reliably upon overload.
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Old 01-23-2019, 02:00 PM   #33
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So, bottom line is, Can I do this? It just seems risky to me; the last thing I want to do is burn down my home.
It's not risky. There is no danger of burning down your home. Your Bigfoot wiring is rated to handle 30 amps maximum. The 15 amp service will only provide 15 amps. If you attempt to draw more than that, the circuit breaker on the service will pop. That protects the service, but poses no danger to you at all. You'll have to reset it at the box, then figure a way to reduce your current draw to stay under 15 amps.

As long as you draw less than 15 amps with any combination of appliances, you're fine. If any combination draws more than that, you just change your habits a little and not use two of the heaviest drawing appliances at the same time. You've already discovered that with the heater and toaster combination.


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Old 01-23-2019, 02:18 PM   #34
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Question 15amp service

15amp service, could it be upgraded ? could the camp ground management answer What would be involved to upgrade the site to 30amp? I am ignorant of most electrical line function. Could the line from the main, be upgraded to service a 30amp draw at the outlet post. Could the line be run from another source ? I understand there is only a specific amp draw available at a campground elec. service. The cost to upgrade, could be outrageous.

Later Kenny
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Old 01-23-2019, 02:25 PM   #35
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It's not risky. There is no danger of burning down your home. ..
Well there is some risk if something is faulty, but it is very slight and mostly to the campgrounds stuff, unless you get shocked resetting the outside breaker in the rain because the box is not wired right and is "hot." Assuming a 30 amp cord and trailer us if somehow you do draw too much power.

I'll bet there is a 15 amp outlet next to the 30 on the power pole where you are now. Why not try it for a few days and see how it works? You really should use some way of at least monitoring or estimating the amps and volts however, and do that at most any campsite.
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Old 01-23-2019, 04:09 PM   #36
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15amp service, could it be upgraded ? could the camp ground management answer What would be involved to upgrade the site to 30amp? I am ignorant of most electrical line function. Could the line from the main, be upgraded to service a 30amp draw at the outlet post. Could the line be run from another source ? I understand there is only a specific amp draw available at a campground elec. service. The cost to upgrade, could be outrageous.

Later Kenny
The answer to all those questions is "yes", and your conclusion is accurate. If the wiring is big enough, it would only take a new circuit breaker and outlet. If the wiring isn't big enough to carry 30 amps, it would have to be replaced with bigger wire. It adds up fast.

I agree with Stephan and Gordon. There is some risk if the current 15 amp circuit breaker is faulty, but the risk is also primarily on the campsite. Considering the horrid condition of most hookups, I should have mentioned it, so I'm glad they did.

If you were to draw more than 15 amps and the service circuit breaker didn't pop, you still have protection in your rig for 30 amps. Worst case, you fry their wires and your rig is still protected...assuming it doesn't burn the campground down.

Ultimately, I'd consider Gordon's advice to change the 30 amp fuse/circuit breaker in your rig to 15 amps. That way you know right away if you exceed the capabilities of the campsite service. Then do a power survey of all your devices that use 110vac to figure out a strategy to always stay within the 15 amps. Don't forget to include your power converter because it uses some of that 15 amps to charge your battery.

Eric
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Old 01-23-2019, 04:23 PM   #37
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"Ultimately, I'd consider Gordon's advice to change the 30 amp fuse/circuit breaker in your rig to 15 amps. That way you know right away if you exceed the capabilities of the campsite service. Then do a power survey of all your devices that use 110vac to figure out a strategy to always stay within the 15 amps. Don't forget to include your power converter because it uses some of that 15 amps to charge your battery."

Yes Eric, and I also made this exact suggestion waaaaayyyy back in post #13. This thread has certainly attracted lots of attention. Repetition. Overload.
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Old 01-23-2019, 04:34 PM   #38
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The original power that came on the 1988 trailer was only 15amp service with a 20 amp converter. So the big question has the power supply been upgraded.


Even my 1991 I had upgraded when installing an air conditioner to 30 amp service.
I've had my trailer plugged into a 15 amp outlet for weeks at a time at a friends place with no issues can even run my air conditioner.
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Old 01-23-2019, 04:35 PM   #39
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"Ultimately, I'd consider Gordon's advice to change the 30 amp fuse/circuit breaker in your rig to 15 amps. ...
Yes Eric, and I also made this exact suggestion waaaaayyyy back in post #13. This thread has certainly attracted lots of attention. Repetition. Overload.
And I was not the first to suggest the 15 amp master breaker in the trailer!
I just thought it was worth the echoing.

As for the risk, every since I had this experience, I would never say that there is zero risk.. Heck, I was only using about 5 amps when it happened! But the fault was 100% with the campground and luckily I was not using anything subject to being damaged by low voltage.
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Old 01-23-2019, 05:03 PM   #40
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Have used 15 Amp for years. Just can not run air conditioner and microwave at the same time. Has not been a problem other than that.
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