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Old 03-21-2013, 10:23 AM   #1
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20 amp adequate if not using A/C

I'm looking at make reservations at one of our great Michigan State Parks this summer and see that the site I want to reserve only has 20 amp power.

Being new to all of this with my Airstream not being built until next month, I'm wondering if a 20 amp service is adequate for several days if I'm not going to use the A/C. I'm assuming it will be fine with running the converter and hopefully the refrigerator.

Thoughts on getting by with 20 amp service?
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Old 03-21-2013, 10:32 AM   #2
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20A should be fine without the air conditioner. You might be able to exceed that if you arrive with a low battery, plug in so the converter is running at full power to charge the battery, switch the refrigerator over to electricity and turn on the microwave, but as long as you avoid that sort of "all loads at once" situation you should be able to comfortably run on 20A until you fill the gray tank.
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Old 03-21-2013, 10:33 AM   #3
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I would say yes. I have run my unit on a 20 amp generator not using AC. My unit stays plugged into a 20amp circuit at home and I don't run any heavy loads when it is at home. You may want to shed load if you use a convection oven or microwave. Be sure you have the correct adapter.
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Old 03-21-2013, 10:34 AM   #4
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You'll be fine as long as you don't use the AC.

In fact, back in the 1980s, I blissfully ran the entire trailer (the Trade Wind) including the AC and small Sharp countertop microwave on 20 amp service. I occasionally tripped a 20 amp breaker, but I'd shut something down, reset the breaker, and carry on.

Admittedly, the AC was a smaller Coleman not a 15,000 Btu unit.
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Old 03-21-2013, 02:52 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadWest View Post
I'm looking at make reservations at one of our great Michigan State Parks this summer and see that the site I want to reserve only has 20 amp power.

Being new to all of this with my Airstream not being built until next month, I'm wondering if a 20 amp service is adequate for several days if I'm not going to use the A/C. I'm assuming it will be fine with running the converter and hopefully the refrigerator.

Thoughts on getting by with 20 amp service?
It will work fine. If you don't run other large loads, you can probably even run one air conditioner if you need to.
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Old 03-21-2013, 03:19 PM   #6
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I have no problem running the A/C of my 2002 ASCL 31' on my home 20 amp circuit. Take a "multimeter" with you to check voltage; as long as your voltage doesn't drop below 110 volts with the A/C at startup and running you'll be OK.

The voltage drops basis the line resistance which has to do with the gauge of the wire and just as importantly the condition of the connectors.

I use a #2 gauge 150 foot cable from my home to the Airstream in my back yard and connect via the Airstreams OEM umbilical. My voltage at the Airstream receptacles is ~121 volts without any load. With the A/C on it settles at ~116 volts WITH the converter running.

If one of the connectors gets warm/hot, then you have a major resistance which will kill voltage and that must be corrected by cleaning or replacing the receptacle.
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Old 03-21-2013, 03:25 PM   #7
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Watch out in the morning...running a coffee maker, microwave, and TV all at the same time could give you the opportunity to commune with nature in your jammies as you reset the breaker at the pole.

Otherwise you should be perfectly fine.
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Old 03-21-2013, 04:12 PM   #8
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It should be noted that you will need a 15-amp-to-30-amp adapter so that you can use your shore power cord with the 30-amp male plug on it. Here is one type.There are a couple of various designs...
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Old 03-21-2013, 05:21 PM   #9
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You're pretty much limited to converter (always on), TV, lights, and one heating appliance at a time, such as a coffee maker or toaster. Or the converter (always on), lights, and the microwave/convection oven combo.

Never turn on the electric mode of the hot water heater, use only propane for that.

Don't use a small extension cord to bring power to the trailer, use your 30 amp Airstream cord and an adapter at the service pole.

Keep an eye on the voltage, as low voltage allows amperage to increase higher than the wiring and components are designed for. Tripping circuit breakers means circuits are getting too hot, and you've got too many appliances on.

doug k
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Old 03-24-2013, 08:41 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the info on using 20 amp service. We should be fine with no coffee maker or microwave for us. With having a 15k A/C unit I wouldn't even try running it on a 20 amp circuit. I'm hoping we will be good with both the converter and the fridge running on it and a couple of low wattage things at most. I'll stick with propane for the water heater.
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