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Old 05-31-2018, 12:30 PM   #1
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20 amps to run 15K AC

Here is a question for an Electrician out there. The Circuit Breaker for the AC unit in my 2015 25FB is 20 amp. So if nothing else is on in the trailer I can run the AC from a 20 amp service right? I was going to install 30 amp service at my home until I realized the breaker was a 20. My whole house is wired with 12 gauge wire and 20 amp breakers which should work I think.
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Old 05-31-2018, 12:50 PM   #2
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You are correct, yes you can run the AC of 20amp service at home with a 15->30 or 15->50 adapter for the plug.

The 15k Penguin will draw 16amps on a hot day with the pressure buildup in the condenser. You will need to turn everything else off or run off batteries for DC items basically - including the fridge and converter / charger (turn off via the breaker panel), so as not to overload your 20amp shore power circuit.

Please note that you will get voltage drop though with a long extension cord. So amperage can go higher than 16amps as voltage drops as the condenser and fan look for power. Best practice is to use a volt meter in the trailer to ensure you don't dip below 110v otherwise you risk damaging the AC.

But you can do it and I have done it.
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Old 05-31-2018, 01:05 PM   #3
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You are skating close to the edge.


Yes in theory you can run the AC on a 20 amp circuit but that is limited by the length of wire from the house panel to the unit. I would suggest as a first step you run a #10 wire from the house panel to the receptacle you intend to plug the trailer into and fuse it at 30 amps. You could use an adapter at that connection but I would install a 30 amp trailer receptacle and a disconnect switch.


Your house is a sizeable investment and not worth the risk of burning it to the ground.
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Old 05-31-2018, 01:11 PM   #4
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You are skating close to the edge.


Yes in theory you can run the AC on a 20 amp circuit but that is limited by the length of wire from the panel to the unit. I would suggest as a first step you run a #10 wire from the house panel to the receptacle you intend to plug the trailer into and fuse it at 30 amps. You could use an adapter at that connection but I would install a 30 amp trailer receptacle and a disconnect switch.


Your house is a sizeable investment and not worth the risk of burning it to the ground.
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Old 05-31-2018, 03:07 PM   #5
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Thanks for the advice guys! This is not a long term deal. I was just thinking of cooling the trailer off while I clean or tinker inside in the summer so this won't happen a lot. I can see that the best move would be to install the 30 amp line and then not have to worry about it.
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Old 05-31-2018, 03:32 PM   #6
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Having a 30 amp RV socket near the AS is very handy for prepping to travel.

The main thing is to be doubly darn sure that the outlet is wired correctly. Many electricians unfamiliar with RV electrical stuff have assumed that RV-30 socket is a 220 volt dryer outlet, wired it wrong, and blown out electrical stuff in the Airstream.

If you do it yourself, READ the directions on the box the outlet comes in--that will reduce the grief later.

If you have a "professional" do it, make sure he reads and follows the directions on the box instead of assuming what to do...

Here is what to check:

When the circuit is installed, they should be ONE and ONLY ONE new single breaker in the electrical box, with a SINGLE reset handle marked 30 amps.

The wiring should be at least #10, and there should only be three wires in it: Black (hot side) White (neutral return) and bare copper/green that is the Safety earth/ground connection. If TWO breakers got installed for this circuit, it's already wrong....

If you have a multimeter, and know how to use it, there should ONLY be 120 volts AC across the two flat prongs (hot and neutral) in the outlet....120 Volts AC from "hot side" to the ground (round pin), and NO voltage from the neutral to ground.

Anything else, like reading 220 volts anywhere on the socket, or if the install does NOT look or meter out like the above, DO NOT PLUG THE AIRSTREAM POWER CORD INTO THE SOCKET...its potentially wired wrong and a safety or fire hazard...beat on the electrician until it's done right...
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Old 06-01-2018, 12:25 PM   #7
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Look up info on sockets / outlets .
You see that the standard outlet is rated at 15 amps - 2 parallel connectors the larger is neutral , the smaller hot / 120 volts .
If your breaker is larger 20 amps & you have wiring to outlet that is large enough [ this is not one fits all - the gauge of wire need to be larger as the distance increases .
If your have enough breaker & wire size , then you can buy 20 amp outlet one of the 2 vertical connectors has a horizontal opening connected to one of the vertical - allowing a male plug with one vertical & one horizontal connector - this so you can not plug a 20 amp into a normal 15 amp outlet , many larger household window AC have this type of male plug .
If you need to make any changes - I would go with a 30 amp or even the 50 amp [ but make sure you label correctly .
Again look up charts for wire gauge & amp rating - these will give you info for what wire & amps relative to length of wire .
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Old 06-01-2018, 12:40 PM   #8
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Like I said I’ve done it. Not that big a deal - just watch your voltage drop and use a heavy gauge extension cord no longer than 25’. You should be fine - I did the same thing - cool down the trailer while cleaning and getting ready for the road.
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Old 06-01-2018, 12:48 PM   #9
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Just install a MICROAIR EasyStart capacitor on your A/C. Then, you can run 20amp service WITHOUT damaging your A/C.
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Old 06-01-2018, 12:57 PM   #10
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Just install a MICROAIR EasyStart capacitor on your A/C. Then, you can run 20amp service WITHOUT damaging your A/C.
Just a fine point--the EasyStart is not just a capacitor--its a microprocessor controlled device that actually reduces start current...works entirely different...

Totally agree that it will allow running on a 20 amp circuit, but I would strongly recommend using a heavy duty cord with at least 12 gauge wire in it, and keep it as short as possible to avoid voltage drop problems...and make sure the the outlet is really rated for 20 amp service--not all home outlets can handle a full 20 amp load...from where I sit, its far better to install a real matching 30 or 50 amp RV plug for your AS if at all possible.
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Old 06-02-2018, 05:27 AM   #11
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Another point to keep in mind: There are plenty of other 120v loads in the trailer that can add to the air conditioning and push you over 20 amps. The biggest in our trailer is the converter which in our case can draw up to 950 watts (7.9 amps @120 volts). It operates automatically. Next is the fridge which will shift to AC current when available if left in the "auto" mode. Beyond that are the various chargers, fans, etc. that may have been left plugged in to an AC outlet.

On the house side, there are few breakers that serve only one receptical. You might want to assess what other loads inside the house are on the branch circuit you are plugging into.

So, if you want to use a 20 amp circuit to run just the air conditioning it can be done and thinking through, then managing, the loads is key. Naturally, a proper, dedicated 30 amp outlet is preferred but not always available. If I was doing what you describe, I would turn off all branch breakers (leave the 30 amp main on) in the trailer and alternately energize the AC and the converter.
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Old 06-04-2018, 02:53 PM   #12
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Good points all, and thank you. As a side note I did order an Easy Start from Micro Air today. We will see how that goes. Everyone on this Forum that I can find says that they work as advertised.
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Old 06-05-2018, 02:58 PM   #13
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Good points all, and thank you. As a side note I did order an Easy Start from Micro Air today. We will see how that goes. Everyone on this Forum that I can find says that they work as advertised.

Easy Start runs fine at home for me on a 15 amp circuit from my garage. I do turn of the converter though.


As a side-note, trying to run it on my propane-converted Honda eu2000i is more problematic at elevation...can't quite get there at 6200 feet. A combination of elevation power loss and some propane power loss. Not an Easy Start issue, however.
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Old 06-05-2018, 03:06 PM   #14
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Have you looked into the new Honda 2200 unit? Looks like it might do the trick, but not sure about the elevation factor.

https://www.amazon.com/Honda-2200-Wa.../dp/B079YF1HF6

Thanks,

Peter
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Old 06-05-2018, 03:13 PM   #15
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Have you looked into the new Honda 2200 unit? Looks like it might do the trick, but not sure about the elevation factor.

https://www.amazon.com/Honda-2200-Wa.../dp/B079YF1HF6

Thanks,

Peter

I've seen that, I've wondered as well. 10 percent more power would mitigate elevation up to 5,000 feet (about 2% loss per 1,000 feet for gas or propane). But then there is a loss from propane vs gas as well. So I'm not sure. I'm also not keen to buy another generator and conversion kit...this Airstream habit is bankrupting me.
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Old 06-05-2018, 03:18 PM   #16
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I've seen that, I've wondered as well. 10 percent more power would mitigate elevation up to 5,000 feet (about 2% loss per 1,000 feet for gas or propane). But then there is a loss from propane vs gas as well. So I'm not sure. I'm also not keen to buy another generator and conversion kit...this Airstream habit is bankrupting me.
Sadly, Aluminiumitis is not curable, and Airstreams are similar to airplanes and boats** in their maintenance and improvement needs. Try to make incremental improvements and stay ahead of the maintenance to save some money.

I'd suggest avoiding reading the "What did you get for your trailer today" thread--too darn many good ideas extant there...

**From an unknown but very astute source, "boats' is actually an acronym for "Bring Over Another Thousand, Skipper". This explains many things Airstream to perfection.
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Old 06-05-2018, 04:13 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rocco52 View Post
Here is a question for an Electrician out there. The Circuit Breaker for the AC unit in my 2015 25FB is 20 amp. So if nothing else is on in the trailer I can run the AC from a 20 amp service right? I was going to install 30 amp service at my home until I realized the breaker was a 20. My whole house is wired with 12 gauge wire and 20 amp breakers which should work I think.
Read the Owners Manual that came with the air conditioner. It says there is a limit to the length of 12 gauge wire (the size used on 20 amp circuit) that can be used to supply electrical power to the air conditioner. It also says if that maximum length of wire is exceeded, the wire size must be increased per the National Electric Code. (they are telling you a 20 amp circuit is marginal, and that to continue to use it the wire must be larger to carry the required power)

To answer your question; yes the AC will start and run. But, since the total length of wire (the wire inside your house, the power cord of the trailer, and the wiring inside the trailer) probably is more than three or four times the maximum, it is possible you might damage this wire or sockets (by overheating). It is possible you might damage the AC unit (low power supply).

I've done this for an hour or two on a 20 amp circuit. I took that risk. If you do, turn off all breakers inside the trailer except that one for the AC, so that the converter or anything else that is 120v can not come while the AC is running. Make sure there is nothing on the inside of the house that is using power on that same circuit. If you use an extension cord, use #10 wire, same size as your trailer's power cord.
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Old 06-05-2018, 04:18 PM   #18
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. . . On the wooden boat theme anyway . . .

“It would be cheaper and more fun to stand in a cold water shower and tear up hundred-dollar bills!”

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Old 06-05-2018, 05:12 PM   #19
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There were days in my father's boat captain career when he claimed that exact thing...he always said a boat was, "A hole in the water, lined with wood, metal, or fiberglass into which you shoveled money. The two times a boat owner is happy is when he bought the boat, and when he SOLD the boat."

As a side note, having learned that lesson well, I've never owned a boat....and don't ever plan to. They are even more maintenance intense than an Airstream...
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Old 06-13-2018, 12:31 PM   #20
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345 89 model 2 ACs

The manual in the 345 89 model says to start the generator to run both AC’s long enough to cool the air inside the camper and lower each AC’s head pressure which will lower the amp draw for each unit.

Then one unit will keep the inside cool without kicking the breaker.

For single unit campers, I suggest to start the AC in the cool of the day, park the camper in the shade, and don’t run vacuums, coffee pots, or any other electrical draws.
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