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Old 06-20-2013, 09:14 AM   #1
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50amp cord in a 5-gallon bucket

My 50amp cord lives in a 5 gallon bucket. I've had 2 occasions this year where I've only needed 5 or 6 feet of it. I think I could have easily fished the two ends out of the bucket and only pulled that much cord out.

What I wasn't sure about is if it's OK to use the cord while it is still wrapped up in the bucket? I've never felt it- but I was concerned about heat build up or maybe the electricity getting dizzy (snicker).
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Old 06-20-2013, 09:18 AM   #2
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I had the same thought about my 30amp in the TT. I only pull the cord out enough to reach the pole laying on the ground. Wondered how hot it got inside in that area and should I pull out more of it.
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Old 06-20-2013, 09:25 AM   #3
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Nothing to worry about. Just don't try to jam 100Amps down it.

The only cables I've ever overheated where a set of super cheap (14 gauge?) jumper cables someone got me from Benny's. Used once then threw them away.
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Old 06-20-2013, 09:26 AM   #4
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don't sweat it. Keeping it coiled up won't cause any problems unless you max out it's capacity. At it's rated capacity, you may start to build a little heat, but I'd be more worried about the plug ends. At max capacity, ie 30 or 50 amps, any resistance at the connection point will build heat. It's always a good idea to inspect the ends for signs of over heating. Anyway, don't worry about the cord being wrapped up.
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Old 06-20-2013, 09:41 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ependydad View Post
My 50amp cord lives in a 5 gallon bucket. I've had 2 occasions this year where I've only needed 5 or 6 feet of it. I think I could have easily fished the two ends out of the bucket and only pulled that much cord out.

What I wasn't sure about is if it's OK to use the cord while it is still wrapped up in the bucket? I've never felt it- but I was concerned about heat build up or maybe the electricity getting dizzy (snicker).
After all the "wrestling " I have done with my new 50 amp "black snake" I am amazed that it would fit in a 5 gallon bucket. We've had some cool nights here the past few weeks and that cord gets stiff and totally non compliant. I might look at the bucket option because coiling it up each time and stuffing it in the basement ends up being a chore when it is cool/cold out....
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Old 06-20-2013, 09:46 AM   #6
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Well, I coil my excess 30 amp cord around my bumper. I figure the iron bumper should act like a choke and stabilize the voltage some.

Electro-magnet myth?

Here is an interesting discussion on the topic. No conclusion I can find.

This made the most sense to me:

A coil of wire has inductance if the current in it creates a magneic field. You have both the current in the hot wire and the current in the neutral (return) wire, so the currents cancel out and you have no net inductance. But the wire will heat up just from its resistance, and amp load on individual wires, and lack of cooling from ambient air flow.
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Old 06-20-2013, 10:18 AM   #7
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It's sometimes a challenge getting it into the bucket- especially when it's cool out. But, it's always made it in.

I typically run 2 air conditions, (15k and 13.5k) water heater and a small fan or two on electric. For a few minutes at a time, we'll run 1 or 2 microwaves and we'll run our baby bottle warmer. No idea how many amps we pull.
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Old 06-20-2013, 12:20 PM   #8
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I'm going to disagree with this... In most cases you will be fine. If you are camping in the heat of the summer and the AC is running all day and all night, especially with 2 ACs you are pulling a lot of current through the cord. I have seen some of the 50amp cords with 6 gauge and some with 8 gauge wire in it. The 8 gauge is actually only rated for 40 amps where the 6 gauge is rated for 55. When these ratings were established they didn't coil the wire up as the wire is able to dissipate some of the heat created by electricity flowing.

I have been to many house fires where someone had an extension cord under a floor mat or rug that over heated and shorted out...

I would say it would be un likely to have the cord over heat and create a fire... but it isn't far fetched and you are only adding to it by having it coiled up let alone coiled up in a confined space without any air flowing...

long story short... you'll probably be fine, but it is possibly a bad situation.
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Old 06-20-2013, 12:39 PM   #9
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I don't know if it is safe or not (depends on ambient temperature and load) but if you put a conductive metal in the middle of it, it should heat up. Might be fun experiment. Stick a piece of cast iron in the middle an jiffy pop on top.
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Old 06-20-2013, 01:25 PM   #10
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class a and c rv's have that compartment to store the non-detachable shore cord with a port opening to pull out only as much length as you need. the rest stay coiled in the compartment. never had any issues with any kind of power cord used when coiled up.
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