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Old 06-04-2013, 01:06 PM   #1
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Question 30 vs 50 amp service

We just purchased our sport 22 2013 model. As we head off, we are reviewing campgrounds that offer either 30 or 50 amp service, some do not guarantee 30 on a 50 site. Can you use a 50 amp service with an adapter? Does the unit just pull the amperage needed? What are the guidelines? Our service person says No but other RV forums say it is no problem. What advice do you have for these newbies???

Thanks for your help.
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Old 06-04-2013, 01:09 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by chegard View Post
We just purchased our sport 22 2013 model. As we head off, we are reviewing campgrounds that offer either 30 or 50 amp service, some do not guarantee 30 on a 50 site. Can you use a 50 amp service with an adapter? Does the unit just pull the amperage needed? What are the guidelines? Our service person says No but other RV forums say it is no problem. What advice do you have for these newbies???

Thanks for your help.
Here is the adapter you need

50 Amp Male to 30 Amp Female Dogbone Pigtail Adapter - $15.99
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Old 06-04-2013, 01:24 PM   #3
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I assume that means there are no electrical issues with hooking our unit up to the 50 with the adapter. Sorry to be such a newbie. Thanks
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Old 06-04-2013, 01:25 PM   #4
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If there is a 50A and a 30A available, I always use the adaptor and plug into the 50A service. Many times, the 30A outlet has been pushed to it's limits and worn out, thus has a good chance of damaging my 30A cable. . The 50A is less used and has much bigger blades.
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Old 06-04-2013, 01:51 PM   #5
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Agree with HiHo! There is no electrical issue. Will work fine. Does for us.
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Old 06-04-2013, 01:51 PM   #6
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I assume that means there are no electrical issues with hooking our unit up to the 50 with the adapter. Sorry to be such a newbie. Thanks
As I understand it, A 50 amp RV power source through a 50 amp RV power cord is designed to provide 2 lines of 110 volt power to a designated 50 amp RV.

According to the data on the link above,

"The 50M-30F adapter allows you to plug your 30 amp power cord into a 50 amp power source. It adds versatility to your electrical hookups. They are Heavy-duty 10/3 ST power cords with 3-wires plus ground".

The adapter provides only one line of 110 volts to the designated 30 amp RV. Maybe others will provide a more technical response, or correct me if I am wrong.
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Old 06-04-2013, 02:02 PM   #7
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If you plug a 30 amp cord into a 50 amp outlet using an "adapter", you will only be using one side, or leg, of the 50 outlet.

If the two were tied together, you would definitely blow the 50 amp breaker on the pedestal.
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Old 06-04-2013, 02:31 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by HiHoAgRV View Post
If there is a 50A and a 30A available, I always use the adaptor and plug into the 50A service. Many times, the 30A outlet has been pushed to it's limits and worn out, thus has a good chance of damaging my 30A cable. . The 50A is less used and has much bigger blades.
One winter I was using this setup and noticed when unplugging from the 50 amp that the 30 amp trailer plug was starting to melt (had a 1500 watt heater going most all the time). Instead of just replacing it with another 30 amp plug, I went ahead and put a 50 amp plug on just for the above mentioned bigger blades and wire connectors. I do have an adapter to go back to 30 amps if needed. No more heating up with this setup
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Old 06-04-2013, 03:08 PM   #9
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A 50 amp to 30 amp adapter should be in every Airstreamer's kit.
50 amp is still 120 volts AC (a hot wire, a neutral, and a ground).
As HiHoAgRV suggests, I routinely use the 50 amp receptacle with my 50 to 30 amp adapter when I have a choice. It has saved me more than once when the 30 amp breaker is weak from overuse. Hope this helps.
Other stuff to have in your Airstream:
- A 15 amp male to 30 amp female adapter.
- A 30 amp male to 15 amp female adapter.
- An extra 30 amp power supply cord.
- Electrician's tape
- A multimeter
- A receptacle tester
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Old 06-04-2013, 03:58 PM   #10
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We have a 50-to-30 amp adapter but have never had to use it. However, this makes sense, so now I think I will begin using the 50-amp with the step-down adapter when available. Thanks!
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Old 06-04-2013, 04:05 PM   #11
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"The 50M-30F adapter allows you to plug your 30 amp power cord into a 50 amp power source. It adds versatility to your electrical hookups. They are Heavy-duty 10/3 ST power cords with 3-wires plus ground".
I doubt this description is right. The cord itself should be 3-wires, one of which is the ground.

Which begs the question posed by the original poster. If you plug a 10 gauge cord, rated for 30 amps, into a receptacle rated 50 amps, you are exceeding the rating of the cord.

This will normally be OK, because if the amps exceed the 30 amp rating the 30 amp main breaker in the trailer should trip.

However, the cable itself is not protected. If there is a high resistance short or loose connection within the plug, dogbone adapter, or cable itself it could overheat.

Risk is low, but you you inspect the cord and adapter each time you use it and discard if it shows any sign of overheating.
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Old 06-04-2013, 05:31 PM   #12
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I learned something new on this thread today.
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Old 06-04-2013, 05:36 PM   #13
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... you will only be using one side, or leg, of the 50 outlet...
Exactly! On a 50A - 30A adaptor, the 50A plug has 4 copper terminals, one of them is a dummy and not hooked to anything.
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Old 06-04-2013, 08:18 PM   #14
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Smile from chegard

My thanks to all of you. This opens many possibilities and we will get an adapter for all the above reasons. Since this is a sport model, our appliances are limited and I feel very confident in using the adapter now.

Thanks to all of you for your help.
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Old 06-04-2013, 08:46 PM   #15
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This is Not a True Statement

Quote:
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As I understand it, A 50 amp RV power source through a 50 amp RV power cord is designed to provide 2 lines of 110 volt power to a designated 50 amp RV.

.
You may be confused with 220 volts.
A 50 amp receptacle has three wires: a neutral, a hot, and a ground.
Just like your 30 amp receptacle.
Just like your 15 amp receptacle.

15, 30, and 50 are all 120 volt AC.
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Old 06-04-2013, 08:52 PM   #16
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You may be confused with 220 volts.
A 50 amp receptacle has three wires: a neutral, a hot, and a ground.
Just like your 30 amp receptacle.
Just like your 15 amp receptacle.

15, 30, and 50 are all 120 volt AC.
Actually, a 50 amp RV service is 240 VAC, has four wires, 2 legs hot at 120 VAC, one neutral wire, and one ground wire.

Inside the RV breaker panel, it is wired and used as two different 120 VAC circuits, and nothing in the conventional RV like an Airstream, runs on 240 VAC. I understand some of the larger motorhomes do have some 240 VAC appliances.
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Old 06-04-2013, 09:21 PM   #17
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You may be confused with 220 volts.
A 50 amp receptacle has three wires: a neutral, a hot, and a ground.
Just like your 30 amp receptacle.
Just like your 15 amp receptacle.

15, 30, and 50 are all 120 volt AC.
Depends on what you are talking about. I have never seen a 50 amp 120v outlet in a campground.
The 50 amp 4 wire outlet that the campground provides is 240v.
The 30 amp 3 wire outlet that the campground provides is 120v.
When you connect the adapter (adapting the 50 amp outlet so that your 30 amp chord will work) you plug your 30 amp rated 120v plug in to one leg (hot wire) of that 240v 50 amp outlet. The amperage of the campground's circuit is not changed by the adapter, except it is limited by the smaller 30 amp rated wire in your trailer's electric chord. The voltage is not changed, you only use a portion of it. So through an adapter you are feeding your trailer with a 50 amp 120v circuit. This is no problem as long as your trailer's 30 amp main breaker functions properly.
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Old 06-04-2013, 10:11 PM   #18
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Steve H and Warn have a grasp on this voltage thing. I am aware that it can be confusing but look at it this way and it will be easier to understand. In the 50 amp receptacle there are 2 prongs that have 120 volts but are opposite polarity, so if they are supplied to 240 volt equipment they provide the necessary 240 volts. In this case the neutral (white) is not energized. When only 120 volts are needed as in an airstream only one of the power legs is used and the neutral completes the circuit back to the source. The ground (green) is only there incase of a fault and should never be energized under normal conditions. In 50 amp RV's though 240 volts are available it is not supplied to any 240 volt equipment but each leg of the power providing 120 volts each feed two separate bus bars and each bus provides 120 volts for the equipment. When using a 50 amp to 30 amp adapter you connect to only one of the hot legs of the 50 amp supply thus bringing your chord in contact with only 120 volts. It is safe.
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Old 06-04-2013, 11:10 PM   #19
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ok i'm confused. i thought that campground 50 amp plugs provided two 25 amp/120 volt hot wires, one neutral and one ground.

do the adapters in fact use one of the hots thereby providing 25 amps or do they combine the two hots and provide 50 amps?
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Old 06-04-2013, 11:24 PM   #20
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I doubt this description is right. The cord itself should be 3-wires, one of which is the ground.

Which begs the question posed by the original poster. If you plug a 10 gauge cord, rated for 30 amps, into a receptacle rated 50 amps, you are exceeding the rating of the cord.

This will normally be OK, because if the amps exceed the 30 amp rating the 30 amp main breaker in the trailer should trip.

However, the cable itself is not protected. If there is a high resistance short or loose connection within the plug, dogbone adapter, or cable itself it could overheat.

Risk is low, but you you inspect the cord and adapter each time you use it and discard if it shows any sign of overheating.
Markdoane: As a safety manager, I applaud your post, pointing out the potential of the cable overheating.

I'm a relative newbie, but every place I have stayed with 50 amp service has also had a 30 amp plug. MY moho had the 50 amp option from the factory but I end up plugged into 30 amps in many places that don't have 50 service, but have not had a problem yet. I have not used, nor will I try to run both a/c's on 30 amps, would probably pop the breaker. Almost anything else is okay.

The other issue is power quality: rv parks are reported to have "flaky" power and many people recommend surge/sag protectors. If voltage goes low with your a/c running the low voltage could damage the a/c unit, and a sudden surge could burn out any electronics that are plugged in, like a microwave, radio, computer, etc.
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