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Old 02-25-2003, 09:49 PM   #15
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1978 28' Argosy 28
Tampa Bay , Florida
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I am right with you in the retentive boat. I will pull the left oar, you get the right one!

Home AC units are supposed to be on a dedicated 15 or 20 amp outlet, most people just plug them in and do not think about it. A $250.00 window unit is very different than the $750-1000 AC on your Airstream. If I am not mistaken your AS has a Duo therm Penguin. This uses a scroll type compressor that is quieter, more eficent cooling and a larger amp draw that a typical window unit that will use a "cheaper" compressor. Most of the high end Central Ac systems use a scroll compressor and then are wired to a 30- 50 amp 2 phase circuit.

The fridge is not a large amp draw, but it would be the second largest when compared to most of the other coach systems. Running the fridge and other basics(anything but the AC) should be no problem on a 15 amp outlet.

The real key to all of this is the voltage drop. 120 Volts at 15 amps will allow the AC to work, but when the compressor cycles it will want to draw more amps. It may be able to draw up to 20 amps but the voltage will drop to 100 Volts. That low voltage makes the motor work much harder beacuse the flow of current is less than the system really wants. This creates extra heat in the AC unit and all of the wiring, and the system will struggle to start.

I know there are formulas to calculate loss over distance and come up with the proper size wire, but you could just ask the guy at HD for a 50 amp rated wire and you should be fine. That way you have built in extra capacity for the loss over the 50 foot run. It comes in single strand or Romex (encased in plastic with all 3 wires, hot, neutral, and ground)

When I have done it I add a dedicated 30 amp single phase breaker into the main panel and try to keep it on the side of the panel away from the other big loads( I don't know if it makes a difference but it makes me feel better). Be sure to throw the main disconnect PRIOR to pulling the panel cover and hooking in new breakers. Remember to get a single phase 30 amp breaker or you will toast stuff on the trailer when you plug it into a 2 phase outlet!

Use the wiring in the panel as your guide. Black (Hot) to the breaker, ground (green) to the ground buss, and Neutral(White) to the neutral buss.

The back of the 30 amp outlet has the wiring codes on it for the hot neutral and ground.

In the outdoor wiring aisle ther are covers that will protect the outlet and allow you to be pluged in so the outlet can be out in the elements.

Please consider this work as dangerous. If there is any part of the process that you are not comfortable with pay someone to do it and be assured that no one will rib you for it. Saving $150.00 and electrocuting yourself is not a good way to go.!

Hope this helps!

Brett G
WBCCI #5501 AIR # 49
1978 Argosy 28 foot Motorhome

Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something. -- Plato

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Old 02-26-2003, 09:36 AM   #16
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1973 23' Safari
North of Boston , Massachusetts
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So, would running the AC off a 20 amp outlet make said AC seem to not work that great?

I've never actually used mine, except for at home. Doesn't seem to work that well. It would blow the breaker using a standard sized extension cord, so I got a more "heavy duty" one. (can't remember exactly what the specs on it are, but it doesn't blow the breaker on this cord). Anyway, when I took the trailer on vaca last summer, I either didn't have a hookup at all, or didn't need the a/c. My in-laws took it during a much warmer week, (had full 30 amp hookup), and they used it..said it worked fine.

in my driveway, on the extension cord off a 20 amp outlet, it would blow cold air...just not "really cold". and it would seldom cycle. compressor just stayed on most of the time.

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Old 02-26-2003, 09:58 AM   #17
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2001 34' Limited
The State of , Ohio
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The air-conditioner in my trailer is on its own 20A breaker wired with 12AWG.

I have a 20A outlet in my garage (with the 20A key in the left prong slot) running 12AWG to the main house breaker panel.

Using a 25' 30A extension cord on the 23' trailer cord, and a 30A female to 15A male adapter, my AC runs fine with the refrigerator and converter on with a coupla lights. The voltage reads 118V and maybe drops as low as 112V during compressor startup.

Obviously, I don't run the microwave, or even the coffee maker or vacuum cleaner when the AC is on.

Yes, I'd love to have a 30A service box for the trailer, but this house is being sold to full-time in the trailer.
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Old 02-26-2003, 11:03 AM   #18
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2004 25' Safari
. , Illinois
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Thanks! The last thing I want to do is screw up my new toy!

I won't do the electrical connections myself. When I replaced the line to the garage (detached garage), I had them place a 1.5-2" pipe a few feet underground. For me, connecting it correctly should be the most difficult part for the electrician. All he has to do really to get from point A to point B is pull about 50ft of wire and set me up with a dedicated breaker and an outlet to match the Silvertwinkie cord.

Speaking of Silvertwinkie, I thought I was the only warped on out here. Turns out that is taken! :-)

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Old 02-26-2003, 11:48 AM   #19
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High Springs , Florida
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I've got one too...

The actual outlet can be purchased at HD or Lowes for around $7.50, then the 30A breaker, boxes and wire. I was lucky, as I put the outlet on the outside of my farm market building on the other side of the breaker panel, so I had less than a 3' run. I think all the parts cost around $25.

My septic tank top is exposed in my back yard. I am going to pour a new lid for it with a plastic sewer connection. It is easy access to back the Airstream up to it, as it is close to the garage driveway.
2003 GMC 2500HD 4X4 D/A Ext. Cab
Propane Powered Honda EU2000i
Lots of Hot Sauce!
Air # 283
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Old 02-26-2003, 12:41 PM   #20
Join Date: Feb 2003
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If you want to build a sewer connection that will allow to park every time without sweat, you can check our photo gallery for more pictures. Showing how we manage to live in our AS all year round.

Mike has spend several years carefully designing & tinkering with his sytem !!!
It swivels vertically & horizontally, and telescopes.
The dead freezer handles our water & electrecity.

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Old 02-26-2003, 01:54 PM   #21
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20 amp H2O heater line

Interesting thread!!

I had a disconnected 220 water heater line that was already run off the main. I studied others who had 'mistakenly' connected a 220 line to the A/S and blew everything.

So I ran the line out to my work shed (using an 8 gauge) and installed a second box where I split the 220 to 2 - 110s. I ran a 20 amp breaker to my waterproof box for the 30 amp plug outside the shed for my A/S plug. I am using the rest of the 110 for the shop tools.

I know that the water heater line won't run the A/C AND the radial arm saw (on startup), but the volt meter doesn't show much drop with the A/C on.

I also fixed up a pad for the A/S with concrete for the wheels and mulch for underneath - (no grass would grow there for sure!).

Sure is nice to have things ready for use!!


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