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Old 09-24-2022, 02:43 PM   #1
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No Electric Adaptors Allowed

I just booked two reservations for late October, both coincidently in Georgia, and these campgrounds required I take a 50 amp site because my trailer is wired for 50 amps! No adaptors allowed! I have never heard of such a requirement, and I canít think of any safety or electrical reason for this policy. It seems to me that the campgrounds are just trying to force people into the higher cost sites. Anyone else have a different explanation?
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Old 09-24-2022, 02:58 PM   #2
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I've seen this a few times before, and it isn't just about plugging a 50-amp trailer into a 30-amp pedestal. I've seen it before where they didn't want anyone plugging a 30-amp trailer into a 50-amp pedestal (yes, there are some w/o 30-amp outlets).

My understanding is that rules like this usually come around after the campground has someone's adapter melt down and take the pedestal outlet with it. Don't totally blame them, and if I had a campground and it happened a couple of times it would cross my mind to prohibit adapters.

I've also seen a few campgrounds where they were very fussy about how you connected to their sewage dumps, either requiring a rubber donut or a screw-in hose connection. Probably for the same type of reason - they've had a few spills and don't want any more.
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Old 09-24-2022, 03:08 PM   #3
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Hi

As noted above, it's very easy to overload a 30A post with a 50A ( really 100A ) trailer. Breakers are fine things, they are not there to act as referees. They exist to prevent fires. Trip them enough times and the wear out.

The target current for a 30A plug is 80% of that or 24A. A 30A breaker is typically guaranteed to trip at 60A. What it does between 30 and 60 depends on which breaker you have and what shape it's in. It is not at all uncommon to see 30A campground posts putting out 40A without tripping the breaker.

Heat in the connectors and wires goes up by the square of the current.

The math:

40 squared is 1600
30 squared is 900
24 squared is 576

At 40A, your 30A connector is close to 2X as heated up as it should be at 30A and getting close to 3X its 24 A number. That's a lot of wear and tear.

Bob
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Old 09-24-2022, 03:24 PM   #4
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If a campground only had 30A sites available and you have a 50A trailer I assume there would be a way to mitigate the overheating concern by, say, only using one AC unit at a time and/or not using the microwave and AC simultaneously.

Not saying the campground owner should count on the camper to moderate usage; I think it's right to restrict 50A trailers to 50A power when possible. Just want to be sure if I find myself in a situation where I have to use 30A, that it can be done safely with an adaptor.
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Old 09-24-2022, 03:41 PM   #5
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30-amp plugs have shorter prongs than a 50-amp.

Plugging a 50-amp cord into a 30-amp outlet with either a dog bone or a close adapter puts the weight of the 50-amp plug and cord on the shorter prongs.

We've done this a couple of times when we had the coach, and each time we had to use a 1" nylon strap to bind the setup to the pedestal to keep it from pulling out. Once it starts to pull out the heating begins.
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Old 09-24-2022, 08:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

As noted above, it's very easy to overload a 30A post with a 50A ( really 100A ) trailer. Breakers are fine things, they are not there to act as referees. They exist to prevent fires. Trip them enough times and the wear out.

The target current for a 30A plug is 80% of that or 24A. A 30A breaker is typically guaranteed to trip at 60A. What it does between 30 and 60 depends on which breaker you have and what shape it's in. It is not at all uncommon to see 30A campground posts putting out 40A without tripping the breaker.

Heat in the connectors and wires goes up by the square of the current.

The math:

40 squared is 1600
30 squared is 900
24 squared is 576

At 40A, your 30A connector is close to 2X as heated up as it should be at 30A and getting close to 3X its 24 A number. That's a lot of wear and tear.

Bob
The actual math involved is heat = Current squared x Resistance. So if the resistance approaches zero at that connector the heat would be close to zero anyway. Either way a good clean connection is a primary goal. The 30 amp breaker in the Shore Power panel should limit the current to around 30 anyway.
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Old 09-25-2022, 02:02 AM   #7
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I have only seen this when I arrive and they are overbooked and double rented my site. KOA Knoxville TN
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Old 09-25-2022, 07:53 AM   #8
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I have been on 30 amp sites that could not supply the AC on my 30 amp trailer. This last trip I took to booking g 50 amp sites for it when I thought I really was going to need the AC. So I bet some those campgrounds had some wipe outs with 50's hooked to under wired 30's. And I doubt if campgrounds are wired to actually supply full power when all sites are filled. You just have to think a 50 amp trailer is going to use more power than a 30 amp trailer. Things like the electric water heaters and massive power converters and electric fridges. And adaptors do burn out and cause damage to the outlets. So probably a rule like that has some basis in experience from the campground. Basically campgrounds are counting on even 30 amp trailers not drawing full power.
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Old 09-25-2022, 08:03 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by richard5933 View Post
I've seen it before where they didn't want anyone plugging a 30-amp trailer into a 50-amp pedestal (yes, there are some w/o 30-amp outlets).
I get it. If you have a 30 amp trailer on 30 amps, you have to be conservative, but a 30 amp trailer is capable of drawing much more than 30 amps. "Hey, let's turn on the microwave, water heater and A/C all at once!"

It used to be KOA's that had all the rules. You couldn't drive 10' without another warning sign. "No dogs" "5 MPH" "No swimming past 8 PM" "No fires". It was like KOA was run by Nuns.
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Old 09-25-2022, 08:10 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by mikeinca View Post
If a campground only had 30A sites available and you have a 50A trailer I assume there would be a way to mitigate the overheating concern by, say, only using one AC unit at a time and/or not using the microwave and AC simultaneously.

Not saying the campground owner should count on the camper to moderate usage; I think it's right to restrict 50A trailers to 50A power when possible. Just want to be sure if I find myself in a situation where I have to use 30A, that it can be done safely with an adaptor.
...or a properly functioning breaker in the campground! I think we've all seen quite a few places with corroded, dirty, nasty old breakers in the box...
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Old 09-25-2022, 08:12 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Jcondon View Post
The actual math involved is heat = Current squared x Resistance. So if the resistance approaches zero at that connector the heat would be close to zero anyway. Either way a good clean connection is a primary goal. The 30 amp breaker in the Shore Power panel should limit the current to around 30 anyway.
Hi

Wow, talk about brilliant, you've invented the superconducting connector. Head over and get a patient before anybody steals your idea.

All connectors have resistance. That's true if they are clean or dirty. Wires have resistance as well. This is what gives you a current rating on a wire or connector. It's just basic physics. Current always gives you heat rise. Get past the melting point on the insulation and you have a disaster.

If you believe that a 30A breaker always trips at exactly 30A, I'd suggest you do a bit more research on real word breakers.

Bob
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Old 09-25-2022, 08:18 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Mollysdad View Post
I get it. If you have a 30 amp trailer on 30 amps, you have to be conservative, but a 30 amp trailer is capable of drawing much more than 30 amps. "Hey, let's turn on the microwave, water heater and A/C all at once!"

It used to be KOA's that had all the rules. You couldn't drive 10' without another warning sign. "No dogs" "5 MPH" "No swimming past 8 PM" "No fires". It was like KOA was run by Nuns.
What you're saying is true, but it leaves out the physical issues connected with plugging a 50-amp shore cord into a 30-amp outlet.

Like I described above, the added weight of the cord, plus the adapters, is more than the shorter 30-amp plug prongs were ever intended to support. Next time you're at a campground, take a look at the 50-amp cords plugged in via an adapter and I'm sure you'll see more than a few which have come partway out of the outlet. This is a recipe for heat, arcing, and failure.

Luckily we caught it right away the first time and came up with a way to safely anchor the 30-amp plug at the pedestal so the weight of our shore cord wouldn't pull it out. Not everyone does this.
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Old 09-25-2022, 09:27 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

As noted above, it's very easy to overload a 30A post with a 50A ( really 100A ) trailer. Breakers are fine things, they are not there to act as referees. They exist to prevent fires. Trip them enough times and the wear out.

The target current for a 30A plug is 80% of that or 24A. A 30A breaker is typically guaranteed to trip at 60A. What it does between 30 and 60 depends on which breaker you have and what shape it's in. It is not at all uncommon to see 30A campground posts putting out 40A without tripping the breaker.


Bob
My 30' Classic Slide out is a 30 amp model. However I've had situations in parks where I have my 15K heat pump A/C unit running, the fridge on electric, and the water heater on electric and I'll run the microwave and it will pop the campsite 30 amp circuit breaker. I've just learned over the past 18 years to switch the fridge or water heater over to gas when I'm planning to run the microwave when the other appliances are active. It's just an occasional occurrence but an annoyance so I've become proactive. According to my Progressive EMS, with the A/C on high, the water heater on and the fridge on, we are drawing about 24 amps.

Jack
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Old 09-25-2022, 09:43 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

Wow, talk about brilliant, you've invented the superconducting connector. Head over and get a patient before anybody steals your idea.

All connectors have resistance. That's true if they are clean or dirty. Wires have resistance as well. This is what gives you a current rating on a wire or connector. It's just basic physics. Current always gives you heat rise. Get past the melting point on the insulation and you have a disaster.

If you believe that a 30A breaker always trips at exactly 30A, I'd suggest you do a bit more research on real word breakers.

Bob
I am a professional licensed electrician. I work with this stuff everyday. Not just on the internet.
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Old 09-25-2022, 10:11 AM   #15
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The 30 amp breaker in the Shore Power panel should limit the current to around 30 anyway.
The issue is plugging a 30 amp trailer into a 50 amp pedestal and using a dogbone. Then the breaker in the pedestal (If there even is one) is irrelevant.
I been to any number of campgrounds where there's a 50 amp receptacle on a 4" X 4" and that's it!
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Old 09-25-2022, 10:38 AM   #16
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The issue is plugging a 30 amp trailer into a 50 amp pedestal and using a dogbone. Then the breaker in the pedestal (If there even is one) is irrelevant.
I been to any number of campgrounds where there's a 50 amp receptacle on a 4" X 4" and that's it!
That is when your 30 amp main breaker in your AC panel comes into play. It limits the current on your shore power cord to 30 amp.
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Old 09-25-2022, 10:52 AM   #17
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I've also seen a few campgrounds where they were very fussy about how you connected to their sewage dumps, either requiring a rubber donut or a screw-in hose connection. Probably for the same type of reason - they've had a few spills and don't want any more.
That sewer connection is often required by state law forcing the campgrounds to be fussy about it.
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Old 09-25-2022, 10:53 AM   #18
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I've seen this a few times before, and it isn't just about plugging a 50-amp trailer into a 30-amp pedestal. I've seen it before where they didn't want anyone plugging a 30-amp trailer into a 50-amp pedestal (yes, there are some w/o 30-amp outlets).

My understanding is that rules like this usually come around after the campground has someone's adapter melt down and take the pedestal outlet with it. Don't totally blame them, and if I had a campground and it happened a couple of times it would cross my mind to prohibit adapters.

I've also seen a few campgrounds where they were very fussy about how you connected to their sewage dumps, either requiring a rubber donut or a screw-in hose connection. Probably for the same type of reason - they've had a few spills and don't want any more.
Some municipalities have more stringent sewer connections rules than parks etc. that are outside city limits.
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Old 09-25-2022, 11:20 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Bill M. View Post
I have been on 30 amp sites that could not supply the AC on my 30 amp trailer. This last trip I took to booking g 50 amp sites for it when I thought I really was going to need the AC. So I bet some those campgrounds had some wipe outs with 50's hooked to under wired 30's. And I doubt if campgrounds are wired to actually supply full power when all sites are filled. You just have to think a 50 amp trailer is going to use more power than a 30 amp trailer. Things like the electric water heaters and massive power converters and electric fridges. And adaptors do burn out and cause damage to the outlets. So probably a rule like that has some basis in experience from the campground. Basically campgrounds are counting on even 30 amp trailers not drawing full power.
The NEC allows lots of diversity in the power feeders for RV parks. The largest ones are the worst.Often in hot weather there is not nearly enough supply.
Number of Recreational Vehicle Sites Demand Factor (%) 1 100 2 90 3 80 4 75 5 65 6 60 7—9 55 10—12 50 13—15 48 16—18 47 19—21 45 22—24 43 25—35 42 36 plus 41% So if you are in a campground with 36 plus sites the feeders are calculated at 41% full load which often is not enough.
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Old 09-25-2022, 11:26 AM   #20
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I just booked two reservations for late October, both coincidently in Georgia, and these campgrounds required I take a 50 amp site because my trailer is wired for 50 amps! No adaptors allowed! I have never heard of such a requirement, and I canít think of any safety or electrical reason for this policy. It seems to me that the campgrounds are just trying to force people into the higher cost sites. Anyone else have a different explanation?
Yes, I had a similar situation happen on my last trip. I was told by the campground that adapters were not allowed due to people forgetting they choose 30MP hookup and then ran both AC's blowing out the campgrounds grid. I think I was also in Georgia. Makes sense to me. I always go for 50Amp if given the choice. That's just me. It also gave me a level of comfort knowing that someone else wouldn't disrupt service for others by blowing the breaker running too many devices on 30Amp.
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