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Old 08-07-2009, 05:44 PM   #43
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Plugging in at home

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Originally Posted by clancy_boy View Post
Carol,
I am going to say this and hope that others will chime in more.
The length on an extension cord is a killer of many electrical appliances, especially ones with motors. There is just too much drop in voltage when you run a long cord. My best advice would be to have a licenced electrician run you a service box with the correct guage wire to a location where you park your trailer. The wires run should be heavier than the extension cord and therfore much more capable to carry the full load of your trailer. Hooked directly to the service box or fuse box on your home, this will provide all the power you would ever need. If you ever do decide to get an AC then you would be covered.
One other method would be to have the RV box placed on your home and have a special cord made up by your electrician that can carry the load better then a cord from a home supply store. In most cases the heavy duty cords are no more capable than the standard cords in wire guage - they just put more rubber on the covering and re-label them, look for a wire guage of 10 or even 8 (smaller guage = larger wire, don't ask me why). Longer runs need larger wire.
Look at this as a chance to get water supplied out to the trailer in the same trench as the power line.
Mike
This will be a definite choice on my hopefully soon to do list........
Maybe I should start placing personal ads locally "Looking to meet master electrician" or better yet, "Trailer restoration lover!"

For the time being, I guess I can walk the 30' and go into the kitchen to microwave something. I certainly don't want to be out in the bushes at night with a flashlite and the manual poking my hand into the cobwebs.

Carol
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Old 08-07-2009, 06:03 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by cclarkego View Post
Does my trailer explode in flames?
No, but it can go to another dimension, one populated entirely by bears.

Actually, there's a lot to consider. If you want to run an extension cord for a couple of hundred feet, you can probably find one rated 8 AWG (American Wire Gauge) somewhere. It will be very expensive. I don't think 10 AWG would be good enough for 30 amps for that long a run, though it would for 15 amps, maybe 20. This is guessing because I haven't checked the tables. Voltage drop tables are easy to find on the internet. If an extension cord at Lowe's is rated for 10 AWG, it should be 10 AWG. I'd be surprised if you'd find that gauge at Lowe's. The cords they sell may not be very durable (the insulation typically comes apart at each end, then we run a lot of electrical tape over it).

Extension cords are made of braided wire so they can bend easily (just like lamp cord, the wire used for household low wattage lamps). Wires in the wall or underground are solid wire (conductor) and that's a lot cheaper. Underground wire, especially # 8 or 10, isn't cheap, just less expensive than braided wire. Planting wire underground will cost less per foot, but an electrician will not cost less. You can rent equipment to dig ditches (I wouldn't put electric and water in the same trench and it may be against code; maybe I'm too cautious) and run underground cable—that's what an electrician would do. The code used to say it had to be buried 18", but I'm out of date. You have to install a waterproof receptacle at the trailer and wire the other end into a breaker box.

There are books on how to do your own electrical work and since you learned how to become a nurse, you can certainly learn this. Maybe you don't want to. Or, get an estimate from an electrician—construction jobs being scarce, you may get a good price. An alternative is a solar panel for 12 v.—price those too. They aren't cheap either and won't run a microwave or a toaster.

For a microwave, check the plate on the box that tells all that electrical stuff. Small ones are around 600-800 watts. You can easily run that on a 15 amp., 120 v. circuit, but sometimes a 1,000 watt generator will struggle. Also check the toaster and see how many watts that is.

Gene
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Old 08-07-2009, 08:40 PM   #45
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If you park close enought to use the dryer outlet ( 4 wire 220v), you can change the dryer receptacle to the rv receptacle (30A 120v 3 wire ) and just replace the breaker with a 30A breaker in the box, and just don't use the red wire. This way you save the wire and the conduit. Probably a good idea to turn the power off first, I did this to use a welder outlet that I was on the outside of the garage for a stick welder that I no longer have.
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Old 08-07-2009, 11:03 PM   #46
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Gene honey, you're a doll, along with all you other guys to take so much time to explain this to me. I actually am interested in learning about it. Funny, since I've had this Airstream I have gone from, "Oh god, I hope nothing breaks down!" to "Hmmm, I wonder how this works?" Especially if I am out there traveling alone, if something quits on me out in the hinterlands, I would like to be able to think it through and say, "I bet if I did this, it might work again."

OK, I hauled the baby microwave in here,unpacked it, set it up, read the 8,000 warnings about starting a fire with it; it is 700 watts and just sitting there waiting for me to start pushing buttons....I am still hooked up as per my original posting, haven't been to the hardware store or invited an electrician to come see the trailer.

Can I try it? I only have the frig running, one little light and the stereo on....

Carol
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Old 08-08-2009, 10:00 AM   #47
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Your microwave is 5.83 amps. Is the fridge on propane or 120 v.? Check the refrigerator for a plate with the watts or amps on it for 120 v. operation. If it doesn't tell amps., divide 120 into watts to get amps. Stereo probably takes very little. Converter takes some power also just operating. You're probably very roughly around 10 amps assuming the fridge is on 120 v. That shouldn't be a problem. One light shouldn't matter.

What gauge is the 60 feet of power cable? Do you have serious voltage drop? You'll have to find a table on the internet to calculate that. People argue how low you can go on voltage before you damage appliances, but arbitrarily (= ignorance) I'd say 110 v.

I forgot the extension cords sold at Lowe's don't have the right plug, but adapters may be available. Every receptacle and plug are designed for specific amp ratings and for 120 or 240 volts. They can bewilder you. The style for 120 v., 30 amp., the kind used on a lot of trailers, can be hard to find (except in RV stores) because they are a speciality version. Much more common in hardware stores, Lowe's, etc., are 240 v., 30 amp., because there are more dryers than trailers and 240 v., 50 amp. for electric ranges. When I've gone to hardware stores looking for a 120 v., 30 amp. receptacle they looked at me as if I were crazy. I don't know whether you can use a standard extension cord and find the right adapters and the right wire gauge and whether that combination will not have bad voltage drop—that you'll have to figure out, but you'll learn how things work by doing it yourself.

"How does this work?"—good that you've gotten to that point since it is the path to fixing it yourself, or being knowledgeable when you hire someone.

Gene
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Old 08-08-2009, 03:52 PM   #48
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Old 08-09-2009, 10:15 AM   #49
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Thanks

This thread was successful in getting me off my butt to put in a 30 amp connection where I park my trailer. Did it yesterday and it took all of about 3 hours which included my time going to the hardware store to purchase the parts. Mine was easy since the box went in just below the breaker box.

Project for today is to clear a space to get the trailer back far enough to access the septic clean out in the back yard so I can dump the holding tanks and not have to worry about waiting in line at the camp dump stations anymore. Since I on a septic tank, I am going to start using a bacteria type of holding tank additive called Roebic RV and Marine Holding Tank Treatment...safe for septic systems.

This makes Mongo happy!
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Old 08-09-2009, 01:04 PM   #50
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Hey Mongo,

You're right up the road from me. Why don't you trot down here and put one in for me? I'll make you lunch, offer you a cold drink????

Carol

PS Oak View is right next to Ojai
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Old 08-09-2009, 07:28 PM   #51
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Thanks for the offer, Carol! If I were a licensed electrician i just might take you up on it!
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Old 08-09-2009, 11:35 PM   #52
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License? We don need no stinkin license........
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Old 08-10-2009, 12:51 PM   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CA Streamer View Post
Thanks for the offer, Carol! If I were a licensed electrician i just might take you up on it!
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License? We don need no stinkin license........

Mongo should know "we don't need no stinking badges.."

I don't know about Cali, left there long ago.. but.. here, in Kentucky, if Mongo just kind of pointed and advised.. he would be OK to ,as long as the homeowner does the work, for themselves, no badges, no inspections...
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Old 08-13-2009, 06:19 PM   #54
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For the record, mostly everywhere you need a permit. A homeowner can usually do their own work, maybe having to show to the person issuing the permit that he or she knows what he or she is doing (i.e., an oral quiz). Many unlicensed contractors do electrical work and have a licensed electrician check it. Some split the money made with the licensed guy who never checks at all. Many homeowners and contractors never get a permit and do the work themselves. So many options. Ain't America great!

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Old 08-13-2009, 07:16 PM   #55
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You making that up as you go along!
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Old 08-14-2009, 12:52 AM   #56
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I sure as heck hope that if I have to do the oral quiz, that we can discuss battery sulfation because I can go on and on for hours about that subject now. Even if he were to ask me some other questions that I don't have the faintest idea about, I'll just pretend I am a politician and side curve my answer right back into sulfation. Point out that installing this 30 amp connection will help prevent it; how if I were to let the sulfation go unattended by not having a proper connection, that sulphates could possibly leak into the atmosphere and new findings have discovered that it could be the latest leading health hazard in this business. They are also recommending that all permit issuers wear Anti-Sulphation masks during inspections....

Carol
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