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Old 07-26-2012, 06:24 PM   #1
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plugging into a 50amp site

Looking for some help. New travel trailer. We booked a site and had to get a 50amp spot. Am I just in need of an adapter that will accept my 30amp cord?
Is that all I need? Thanks for any help.
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Old 07-26-2012, 06:27 PM   #2
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Looking for some help. New travel trailer. We booked a site and had to get a 50amp spot. Am I just in need of an adapter that will accept my 30amp cord?
Is that all I need? Thanks for any help.
That's it, you can get the adapters at Wally World, Camping World, and just about any RV seller.

http://www.campingworld.com/shopping...h-handle/57723

We talked about it some here:

50 amp or 30 amp??
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Old 07-26-2012, 06:34 PM   #3
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I purchased a 30 to 50 amp adapter several months ago and put it in my stowage bin. 4th of July week at a campground the 30 amp breaker on the power podium kept kicking out. I told my dw...I'll fix that, went out and got my adapter and plugged in to the 50 amp, no more problems. Last week at same cg...I just went ahead and used my adapter again. My Wally World does not stock that much stuff for RV's. They have the usual 30 to 20 adapters, had to go down the road to another one and found out they have more stuff.
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Old 07-26-2012, 06:38 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by towd View Post
Looking for some help. New travel trailer. We booked a site and had to get a 50amp spot. Am I just in need of an adapter that will accept my 30amp cord?
Is that all I need? Thanks for any help.
Normally CG offering 50 amp will also provide 30 amp and usually 20 amp outlets in the same Pedestal. Problem with converting the 50 amp to 30 amp adapter, the supply circuit protection only sees a 50 amp load supply, not 30 that you present. You can damage your cord and power box if shore breaker doesn't open in a fault. Save your $20- and connect properly.
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Old 07-26-2012, 09:10 PM   #5
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Wouldnt' your converter main breaker kick out first if there was a fault?
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Old 07-26-2012, 10:15 PM   #6
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Probably would waste your $$ on adapter and not need it . . . but there is always Murphy standby to help you out. I'd rather waste and have the DW happy at the CG rather than the alternative.

Travel safe & enjoy your journeys!
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Old 07-26-2012, 10:56 PM   #7
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Another reason to keep the 50-to-30 handy:

The 50-amp receptacle in the box (where there are both) is likely to be used less, and likely "tighter". Loose connectors are more likely to get hot.

Given the choice, I will use my adapter unless it's obviously better to use the 30-amp plug directly.

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Old 07-27-2012, 12:04 AM   #8
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"The 50-amp receptacle in the box (where there are both) is likely to be used less, and likely "tighter". Loose connectors are more likely to get hot."

That makes sense - Thanks!
Guess what I'm going to do from now on...
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Old 07-27-2012, 06:53 AM   #9
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Normally CG offering 50 amp will also provide 30 amp and usually 20 amp outlets in the same Pedestal. Problem with converting the 50 amp to 30 amp adapter, the supply circuit protection only sees a 50 amp load supply, not 30 that you present. You can damage your cord and power box if shore breaker doesn't open in a fault. Save your $20- and connect properly.
Sorry Vince I have to disagree.

1) Most 30 amp sockets in multi-socket pedestals get used way more often than the 50 amp one and are typically burned, pitted, and loose. This typically results in higher resistance connections and lower output voltages.

2) While you are correct that a short in your cord would only be protected to 50 amps vice the 30 you are rated for, the main breaker in the camper (rated for 30) would protect your camper down stream from that. Any short bad enough to damage your cord would also blow the 50 amp breaker.

3) Should your camper try to draw more than 30 amps (like using the air conditioner and microwave and a toaster at the same time) your main 30 amp breaker would trip even though the pedestal could have handled it.

4) More likely since the 30 amp circuit breaker on the pedestal gets more use than the 50 (if properly shut off and turned on when hooking up and disconnecting), the 30 amp worn breaker may actually trip early and not provide the full 30 amp service you are expecting.

5) The way many 50 amp service panels are wired, the 30 amp and 20 amp sockets are "piggybacked" off of the 50 amp "double 50" breaker (one leg to the 30 socket and one leg to the 20 socket). The 50 amp breaker must be "on" to provide power to the 30 and 20 when wired this way. This prevents folks from trying to pull more than the 50 amps (on each leg) that each site is rated for (by plugging in other items on extension cords to the other sockets). I have also found this at 30 amp sites where the 20 amp GFCI duplex's breaker comes after the 30 amp "MAIN" that supplies the 30 amp RV socket.
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Old 07-27-2012, 06:59 AM   #10
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The following website is helpful in explaining the differences between 30 and 50 amp RV services. It is also full of information about voltage drop, wire sizing, testing outlets (and how to make your own testers), piggybacking between outlets in campground pedestals like Lou just talked about in the previous post, installing your own rv outlets at home, and much more. Be prepared to spend some time there, and clicking on a lot of links.

The author is very adamant about testing each outlet, every time before you hook up.

RV Electric
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Old 07-27-2012, 07:10 AM   #11
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Oh, and one more "add"

If you use an autotransformer to boost your voltage, be aware that using the 50 amp socket to feed your 30 amp autotransformer can add a new dimension to the equation and careful monitoring is required to prevent overloading the unit.

Autotransformers use amps to boost voltage. If you are pulling close to your max amperage (say 28 amps) and you are connected to a 50 amp service and you get a brown out resulting in the unit going into boost, it is likely that the unit will draw more than 30 amps from the pole. Since a 50 amps service can provide it, the autotransformer's internal circuit breaker (rated at 30 amps) can open.

This will be indicated by no lights on the unit (for an auto-reset type) or a popped circuit breaker on the autotransformer (depending on model).

The breaker in the camper and the breaker on the pole will be fine in this case since neither saw the small overload.
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Old 07-27-2012, 07:37 AM   #12
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So all the 50/30 amp adapter does is that it takes 120 volts from either the "Y" or "X" and leaves the other one as a "dummy" that just plugs into the 50 amp receptacle?

I went ahead and ordered an 50/30 amp adapter and a Progressive Ind SSP30 Smart Surg.
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Old 07-27-2012, 07:48 AM   #13
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So all the 50/30 amp adapter does is that it takes 120 volts from either the "Y" or "X" and leaves the other one as a "dummy" that just plugs into the 50 amp receptacle?

I went ahead and ordered an 50/30 amp adapter and a Progressive Ind SSP30 Smart Surg.
That is exactly right.
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Old 07-27-2012, 09:26 AM   #14
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I had a problem with a burned plug in my last TT. I have since made a "sacrificial" cord and plugs. It is 2.5 feet long and it doesn't burn my main camper cord anymore from loose connections. I also now use noalox on the plug pins, I know it may say for aluminum wire use on it but it makes an old man happier to smear some dielectric grease on the plug connections in an attempt to stop more burned plug problems.
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Old 07-27-2012, 10:07 AM   #15
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Hob, ain't nuthin' at all wrong with using a little Noalox. It's primarly used by electricians for aluminum wiring, but it can be used for lots of other similar apps like on connections to lead-acid batteries in trucks and cars.

I think this is possibly getting a little off track from the OP's points, but I totally agree with the idea of making up a short "sacricial" cord. Might do that myself. I also have some Noalox at home left over from my last building project and may try a little if needed.

The smartest thing you can do each and every time you plug into a pedestal is to ensure that the breaker on the pedestal is off first. Then when you are plugged in and ready to power up, then and only then should you turn on the breaker. Also turn breaker off before unplugging. This should be one of your most important rituals. The reason is because the loud snap and spark caused by the convertor will damage the surface of the plug (or connector if you have one) each time which can eventually causing overheating and even a fire.

Some of the pedestals out there are down right ugly and nasty looking and you have to wonder if you really want to plug into to them. A few days ago, we camped at one place where the wiring to the various sites was strung between the trees and we had an overhead run of Romex to our site and the pedestal was swinging in free air at the end of 10' piece of conduit. It was like, Oh Gawd, do we really have to use that thing?? Voltage hovered around 104V much of the time. Have to wonder if this cg was anywhere near meeting the NEC. But, otherwise a fabulous cg!
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Old 07-27-2012, 12:10 PM   #16
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Oh, and one more "add"

If you use an autotransformer to boost your voltage, be aware that using the 50 amp socket to feed your 30 amp autotransformer can add a new dimension to the equation and careful monitoring is required to prevent overloading the unit.

Autotransformers use amps to boost voltage. If you are pulling close to your max amperage (say 28 amps) and you are connected to a 50 amp service and you get a brown out resulting in the unit going into boost, it is likely that the unit will draw more than 30 amps from the pole. Since a 50 amps service can provide it, the autotransformer's internal circuit breaker (rated at 30 amps) can open.

This will be indicated by no lights on the unit (for an auto-reset type) or a popped circuit breaker on the autotransformer (depending on model).

The breaker in the camper and the breaker on the pole will be fine in this case since neither saw the small overload.
So would a surge protector before the autoformer help this situation?
I thought the pigtail only draws from one side of the 50Amp plug so how do you get more than 30 amps when the autoformer kicks in?
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Old 07-27-2012, 12:53 PM   #17
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So would a surge protector before the autoformer help this situation?
I thought the pigtail only draws from one side of the 50Amp plug so how do you get more than 30 amps when the autoformer kicks in?
If the camper is trying to draw 30 amps (say), the voltage is low so the autotransformer kicks in. It needs say, 2 amps to boost the voltage to 120.

Since each leg of the pedestal can deliver 50 amps, 32 is no problem.

The camper will only see 30 so it is OK.
The pedestal breaker can deliver 50 so 32 is OK.
The autotransformer will not like 32 so it will shut down.

A surge supressor will not help you as there is no surge.
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Old 07-27-2012, 01:03 PM   #18
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There was a thread a week or two ago (on the Franks autotransformers?) that discussed surge protectors and autotransformers. For fear of saying the wrong thing, you could try and find that thread or wait for an expert to come along.

As for how you get more than 30 amps, this is basic ohm's law. Power equals volts times amps. If you want 30 amps full/continuous load in the camper, that's 3600 watts. If you have an autotransformer plugged in and you have low voltage at the pedestal of say 100 volts, you would draw 3600/100 = 36 amps. If you had a 50-30 adapter you'd be okay but if on a 30A recept., you'd trip it at some point. If you have an autotransformer, I suppose that's a good argument for using a 50-30 adapter.
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