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Old 03-22-2014, 08:34 AM   #1
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Shore Power Questions

Ok, I know that there is a 30 amp 120v connection and that at campgrounds and RV parks you sometimes have 30 amp & 50 amp connections.

Are the plugs different for 30 amp / 50 amp? If only 50 amp is available, can you connect to that? With an adaptor? What about a regular outlet adapter? Are most residential outlets 20 amp, 30 amp?

Kind of an electrical dummie so anything else to know/consider?

TIA
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Old 03-22-2014, 08:58 AM   #2
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Are the plugs different for 30 amp / 50 amp?
Yes. They are different. One is three prong, one is four prong is the most obvious difference.
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If only 50 amp is available, can you connect to that? With an adapter?
Yes. You can connect with an adapter.
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What about a regular outlet adapter? Are most residential outlets 20 amp, 30 amp?
Most household outlets are 15 amp, but some are 20 amp. The 20amp outlets have one hole in the outlet that is T-shaped. No T-shaped hole, then it's 15amp.
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Old 03-22-2014, 09:02 AM   #3
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I will try to answer your questions to the best of my ability. Many RVs use the 30A 120v RV connection. Some larger ones use the 50A receptacle that also provides 120v and can be used if you need the 30A connection, if you have an adapter. The 30A RV outlet is different from the standard residential 30A receptacle. Adapters are available to adapt the residential 20A outlet to the 30A RV plug. Hope this helps some. Others will chime in I'm sure.
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Old 03-22-2014, 09:48 AM   #4
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OK, so plugging in to a 50 amp circuit with an adaptor, just means you will have plenty of juice to run lots of lights, etc. Is 30amp enough for roof top air, 2 TVs, etc, or could you starve for power?

Plugging in to a 15 or 20 amp residential outlet just means you will have to pick and choose when using electricity?
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Old 03-22-2014, 10:20 AM   #5
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OK, so plugging in to a 50 amp circuit with an adaptor, just means you will have plenty of juice to run lots of lights, etc. Is 30amp enough for roof top air, 2 TVs, etc, or could you starve for power?

Plugging in to a 15 or 20 amp residential outlet just means you will have to pick and choose when using electricity?
Plugging into a 50 amp outlet, with the adaptor, will NOT give you any more power than using a 30 amp outlet, and in most cases will give you less, half or the 50 amps or 25 amps. That depends on just how the outlet is powered by the campground. A 50 amp outlet actually consists of two 25 amp circuits and when you use the adaptor, you can only tap into one of them.

Your 30 amp cord on the RV is the limit you have to work with.

When you use a 15 or 20 amp outlet with adaptor, the outlet itself is the limit, 15 or 20 amps.

The AC and the water heater and the microwave are the big power draws, things like the TV are very minor. The refrigerator, on 120 volts, is a medium load but one to consider.
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Old 03-22-2014, 10:49 AM   #6
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Do some campgrounds only have 50 amp?
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Old 03-22-2014, 11:03 AM   #7
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We have camped in our Airstreams extensively over the past eight years. We have spent almost 1,400 nights in the Aurstreams, and towed them over 120,000 miles. We have stayed in hundreds of campgrounds, and have only run into two that had only 50 amp outlets. These are not common, but you need that adapter just in case.

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Old 03-22-2014, 11:17 AM   #8
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Do some campgrounds only have 50 amp?
Yes, some have only 50A. I've stumbled across one, and now I carry a 50A to 30A adapter in my trailer, purchased at a store near that campground.
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Old 03-22-2014, 11:17 AM   #9
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Try not to over think this. Your trailer is set up for a 30 amp connection. You can safely plug into a 50 amp pedestal with the appropriate adapter. There is no need to worry since your trailer's system is wired for 30 amp service and protected by a 30 amp fuse/circuit breaker.

I am no electrician but as I understand things, the 50 amp connections are there for large trailers and motor homes that have two air conditioners. Someone explained once that they are wired in at 220V where one prong carries 110 and the other one carries the other 110. The adapter uses only one of these prongs giving only 110 volts. I am not sure about the amperage but I don't believe that it gets split. So you will have 50 amps available but you won't be able to use all of these unless you turn everything on and plug in a lot of extra appliances. The demand for all this current with trip your breaker and all will be good. No worries.

I hope someone corrects this if I am way off base. Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-22-2014, 11:39 AM   #10
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Understanding 220 or 240 volt Electrical Circuits

Alternating Current (AC) Electricity by Ron Kurtus - Succeed in Understanding Physics: School for Champions

Understanding circuits is the first order of business.
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Old 03-22-2014, 11:49 AM   #11
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There are 50 amps available on each "line" of a 50 amp RV connection.

Even if a 50 amp to 30 amp adapter is used. But as mentioned above, the breaker box inside the 30 amp RV will trip if more than 30 amps is used inside the trailer.

Technically, a 50 amp RV outlet is a 220 volt circuit. The wiring in the RV is installed to connect only 120 volts to the respective appliances.

I know this sounds like voodoo, but it is not. Regular homes are wired the same way.

AC current is typically supplied to a stand home or RV park with 4 wires. Two have 120 volts each, or "line" wires, there is also a neutral wire and a ground wire.

Any appliance must be connected to at least two wires. If an appliance is connected to only one 120 wire and the neutral wire, it receives only 120 volts.

If connected to both line wires, it receives 220 volts.

How the circuits are connected to the main breaker box determines the voltage on that circuit.



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Old 03-22-2014, 11:51 AM   #12
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In my trailer everything will work on a 15 amp service, even the air conditioning, and most things will work at the same time, unless a person is using things that make heat like a hair dryer, space heater, coffee maker, or a microwave.

A 1750 watt hair dryer will require nearly all of your 15 amps, about twice as much as your air conditioner.

To figure draw, some appliances will have their draw listed in amps, which may be added together, and some appliances and light bulbs, etc. will have their draw listed in watts. Watts may be changed to amps by dividing the watts by the voltage.

For example a 1750 watt hair dryer will require 14.6 amps. (1750 divided by 120)

A 100 watt bulb will consume about 8 tenths of an amp.

So, a hair dryer plus a 100 watt light bulb will exceed 15 amps.
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Old 03-22-2014, 12:02 PM   #13
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In my trailer everything will work on a 15 amp service, even the air conditioning, and most things will work at the same time, unless a person is using things that make heat like a hair dryer, space heater, coffee maker, or a microwave.

A 1750 watt hair dryer will require nearly all of your 15 amps, about twice as much as your air conditioner.

To figure draw, some appliances will have their draw listed in amps, which may be added together, and some appliances and light bulbs, etc. will have their draw listed in watts. Watts mat be changed to amps by dividing the watts by the voltage.

For example a 1750 watt hair dryer will require 14.6 amps. (1750 divided by 120)

A 100 watt bulb will consume about 8 tenths of an amp.

So, a hair dryer plus a 100 watt light bulb will exceed 15 amps.
Unless you're using a short, heavy-gauge line and have a well-provisioned circuit on the supply side, running your AC on a 15A circuit likely results in fairly low voltage. Over time that will shorten the life of your AC and probably your breakers as well. That's why it's not recommended.
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Old 03-22-2014, 12:11 PM   #14
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Shore Power Questions

Sometimes I am a Rebel , always pushing the limits...

Seriously though, on the rare occasions that my trailer is at home I will run the a/c on a 15 amp breaker, but most of the time my trailer is plugged into a 20 amp breaker where I store and work on my trailer.
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