Running electric while parked at home - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-24-2020, 03:18 PM   #1
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Name: Biker
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Running electric while parked at home

Hi all,


Is it okay to power/run trailer equipment (ie rooftop AC) while plugged into standard 110 house outlet with 110<->30a plug converter or not a good idea?


If okay, what type of extension cord to run from house outlet to camper's electric connection is recommended?


Thank you
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Old 05-24-2020, 03:26 PM   #2
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Yes, it is OK if the total power consumption is within the house outlet limit. Do not try to run AC and the electric water heater at the same time.
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Old 05-24-2020, 03:59 PM   #3
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The A/C might get you in trouble.. or might not. Most other items in most small campers will be fine.

House outlets are 20 or 15 amp. Roof A/Cs typically are supposed to have a 20 amp dedicated circuit. Some use 15 amp and window units generally use 15 amp supplies. Dedicated means nothing else using the same circuit in the camper or in the house. Many people use them on a 15 amp outlet (circuit) and get away with it. Of course if you have a 15 amp outlet which you are using for the camper and there is something else in the house on the same circuit using five amps, then you have only ten available for the camper. If all is working as it should and you exceed that, then nothing worse will happen than the breaker will trip.

Next is your adapter. Most are rated to 15 amps but if you have a 20 amp outlet there are 20 amp adapters available. If your adapter gets warm, then its likely overloaded. I have seen them melt.

Then there is the extension cord.. None is best. If you do use one then the gauge is determined by the amount of power (amps / watts) and the length, and to a much lesser extent the insulation type, ambient temperature, etc. I have seen them melt also. So the first question how long will it need to be?

If you want to use the A/C then a dedicated outlet (20 or 30 amp) is the best option, but might be expensive to have an electrician install. At my last house I had a 20 amp outlet with only a central vacuum on the circuit. So I got a 20 amp adapter and when I wanted to run the A/C in the camper I unplugged the vacuum and used that... a full 20 amps for the camper.

And if you do run a roof A/C on a 20 or less amp circuit then you should use almost nothing else at the same time. I would even suggest turning off the 120/12 volt converter. And any big power hog like a microwave is verboten.

If you post the specifics of your rig and house outlet, then its easier to advise.

Its all about power management.. Oliver Wendell Douglass explains it in this video clip:
https://youtu.be/WGPMadwqPKQ?t=4
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Old 05-24-2020, 06:20 PM   #4
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I installed a proper 30A circuit for my Escape, with a 30A RV plug. I use the standard cord that I use to plug in at campgrounds.

I installed a 20A circuit for my 1977 Trillium, no AC, very little power draw. I use the same cord as I use camping.
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Old 05-24-2020, 06:31 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by biker View Post
Hi all,


Is it okay to power/run trailer equipment (ie rooftop AC) while plugged into standard 110 house outlet with 110<->30a plug converter or not a good idea?


If okay, what type of extension cord to run from house outlet to camper's electric connection is recommended?


Thank you
I use a 12 gauge extension (50 ft) with no overheating.
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Old 05-25-2020, 07:50 AM   #6
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I have a 30A plug in my shop for RV use.
It is protected with a 20A breaker.
I have run everything in my Scamp13D without a second thought or a problem.
(My water heater is propane only.)



If you want a standard 20A plug, be sure and use a 12Ga.
Be aware that most household cords are 16 or 18 and not fit for this application.
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Old 05-25-2020, 09:25 AM   #7
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A number 12 heavy duty contractor grade extension cord, under 100 feet long, 50 feet is better, should run the trailer AC on a 20 amp household circuit. But nothing else can be run, either on that circuit in the house, or in the trailer, at the same time, and it still may trip the breaker.

A dedicated 30 amp circuit is much better because the internal house wiring my not be as good as it could be, or there may be long runs of wire to the plug, the plugs might have the cheap push-in style connectors, or the house could even be wired with #14 wire on a 20 amp circuit. It might also be aluminum wire that is marginal to begin with.
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Old 05-25-2020, 03:50 PM   #8
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On my Casita 16', i use 25-50' of actual 30 amp cord and an adapter. Run my hot water heater and AC without a problem.
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Old 05-25-2020, 04:01 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Lisle View Post
On my Casita 16', i use 25-50' of actual 30 amp cord and an adapter. Run my hot water heater and AC without a problem.
Electric water heater I assume.. once the water is hot the heating element does not come on that often. If it does not come on at the same time that the A/C compressor is on, which might be 50% of the time, then its just like running the A/C by itself.

Now one caution that I neglected to mention... one may think that the A/C is running just fine with an extension cord but long term use with too low a voltage can damage the A/C's compressor. So its a good idea to watch the voltage at the camper (ideally at the A/C but thats not practical). In fact I use a device which protects my camper from bad electrical service, including bad grounds, spikes, AND low voltage. It has kicked in a few times, even with service at campgrounds which was supposed to be 30 amp.
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Old 05-25-2020, 06:40 PM   #10
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Myself, a 30A circuit with 30A breaker and a 30A RV plug is ideal. Locate close to the camper and you are done. I'm thinking of putting a second 30A circuit and plug on my driveway. You can buy the special RV 30A plug at your local home improvement store, found mine at Lowes.
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Old 05-25-2020, 09:54 PM   #11
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Plugged in to the House

One of the things you will have to keep an eye on while plugged into the house is the battery in the trailer. If you have a factory installed converter charging the battery it will over charge the battery and boil all the water out of the cells. This destroys the battery in about two months time.
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Old 05-26-2020, 06:44 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by ehoepner View Post
... If you have a factory installed converter charging the battery it will over charge the battery and boil all the water out of the cells. ...
Many (perhaps most) factories install multi-stage converter / chargers which will not do this.. The fact that it is factory installed is not the determining factor. And even if you have a cheap single stage converter / charger it can be upgraded, perhaps for less than $30 (depending on model).
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Old 05-26-2020, 10:47 AM   #13
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I have my Scamp 16 plugged in all of the time at home using about 75 feet of 16 gauge extension cord. The A/C seems to work just fine, even after doing this for 20 years.



--Dan Meyer
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Old 05-26-2020, 11:57 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Dan Meyer View Post
I have my Scamp 16 plugged in all of the time at home using about 75 feet of 16 gauge extension cord. The A/C seems to work just fine, even after doing this for 20 years.



--Dan Meyer
It sounds like you have an older Scamp in which the 7,500 BTU air conditioner still works. That AC unit is no longer available. All the newer ones are 13,000 BTU and draw more current. They need a 12 gauge extension cord to minimize voltage drop.
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