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Old 07-21-2015, 03:24 PM   #1
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Can I run my AC with only 20 Amp breaker?

I want to take my 61 Flying Cloud to my friends house for a visit. He has a 200 amp panel but only 20 amp available breakers. I have an adapter plug that turns the 30 amp plug into a standard household plug. Is this a OK to just run my AC? I don't want to start a fire or fry my AC. Any thoughts or experiences with this? Thanks.
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Old 07-21-2015, 03:33 PM   #2
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If you have one of the smaller A/C units, yes, but you can't run anything else at the same time.
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Old 07-21-2015, 03:38 PM   #3
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My 13.5K btu unit will run on a 20 amp circuit without anything else running at the same time. BUT, the A/C seem to be a bit slow on compressor startup. I ran it like that a few times, but never felt really good about it. I now have 2 30 amp dedicated circuits. One on the driveway side of the house and one on at the parking pad for the AS. (new this spring)
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Old 07-21-2015, 03:39 PM   #4
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Running probably. Starting maybe. And that's when the damage might occur. Hard to answer your question without knowing the Make/Model/Size of the AC unit. If it is original it probably isn't as efficient as a new one. Best way to tell is to measure the amps on the AC circuit to see what they do as it starts and then runs. An AC Clamp meter would do it well. You would need to find the power wire for the AC.
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Old 07-21-2015, 03:56 PM   #5
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Assuming nothing much else is on (water heater, refrigerator on electric) and you are not running it from a long extension cord, you will be just fine, both starting and running.

Extension cords and their common small sizes and poor plugs are a no no.
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Old 07-21-2015, 04:46 PM   #6
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My 11,000 btu cooler will run on a 15 amp circuit all day and all night.

Assuming a 13,500 btu cooler, your A/C will run on a 20 amp circuit 24/7 with about (at least) 5 amps (600 watts) to spare to run anything else.

To the greatest extent, so long as you don't trip a breaker, your a/c will run just as well on a 20 amp circuit as it will a 30 amp circuit assuming you don't use an undersize extension cord to power your trailer.
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Old 07-21-2015, 05:10 PM   #7
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After getting the new to us 75 Overlander home I started checking everything to ensure serviceability. Using an adapter plug, I plugged the rig into an outside outlet using a 12 gage wire extension.

The 13,500 Btu AC ran fine on low, on high everything shut down. Inside the house the 15 amp circuit breaker had tripped because that is what circuit breakers do when you ask for more amps than they are rated for.

Damage to electrical things usually happens when the voltage or frequency is off - typically from a generator, not commercial utility company power.
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Old 07-21-2015, 05:19 PM   #8
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Be aware of what else might be on the circuit in your friends house. Even with everything in the trailer turned off but the AC, you may have problems if the circuit has other loads that you don't know about.
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Old 07-21-2015, 05:23 PM   #9
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Biggest caution is to plug directly into the outlet and don't use an extension cord. That helps protect against voltage loss. Also occasionally check the adapter plug that converts your 30 amp plug to one that fits into the outlet. I personally had a situation where one of those conversion plugs did not have the proper gauge wire and physically started melting down and could have started a fire. At the time I was running a 13.5K air conditioner on my SOB trailer.

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Old 07-21-2015, 05:26 PM   #10
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Biggest caution is to plug directly into the outlet and don't use an extension cord. That helps protect against voltage loss. Also occasionally check the adapter plug that converts your 30 amp plug to one that fits into the outlet. I personally had a situation where one of those conversion plugs did not have the proper gauge wire and physically started melting down and could have started a fire. At the time I was running a 13.5K air conditioner on my SOB trailer.

Jack
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Old 07-21-2015, 05:29 PM   #11
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The breaker box in my 73 Argosy has only 15A breakers in it. The question of what else is running comes into play but 20A should be OK.
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Old 07-21-2015, 05:41 PM   #12
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I wondered also........20 amps safe???

Last week I wanted to work in my Bambi and had the same question. Since the temps were in the mid and upper 90s I decided to try it and find out. It has the original equipment 11,000 btu Penquin, so it's 14 years old and still works great. Purposely, I didn't use an extension cord, plugged the trailer cord directly into my surge supressor and on into a 20 amp duplex outlet, with an adapter of course.

It ran just like it always has on 30 amp power, will totally freeze you out. With temps so high it was getting a good workout. I did periodic checks to see if the cord heated up, looked at amp draw and voltage levels. It stayed on for 3 days. On the last day, I wanted to see the effect with the fridge turned on electric. It's small, a Norcold N300. Without the fridge it did not go above 12 amps, with the fridge it didn't go above 15 amps and mostly stayed at 14. A pleasant surprise....

I wouldn't do it with my 23, bigger ac unit, but I think I cured myself of the fear of using it on 20 amps if I really need or want to.
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Old 07-21-2015, 05:44 PM   #13
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Forgot to say.... my 30 to 20 adapter is made with 10 ga wire.
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Old 07-21-2015, 06:21 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghaynes755 View Post
Running probably. Starting maybe. And that's when the damage might occur. Hard to answer your question without knowing the Make/Model/Size of the AC unit. If it is original it probably isn't as efficient as a new one. Best way to tell is to measure the amps on the AC circuit to see what they do as it starts and then runs. An AC Clamp meter would do it well. You would need to find the power wire for the AC.

Start up is where the damage to the A/C is going to occur. The sell what is called hard start capacitors to replace the one currently installed. Basically it is a larger voltage storage device so when the compressor kicks in it gets the initial load from it vice dropping the current and doing damage. It then " recharges" while running at normal wattage draw.


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