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Old 09-06-2018, 09:30 PM   #1
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Power Adapters

I have been noticing a lot of power adapters on the market. 110-30amp, 30-50amp and today I saw a 50-30amp. Someone who know more about electricity than I needs to educate me. If I use an adapter plugged into a 50A outlet and plug my 30A TT into it, wouldnít this overload my electrical system?
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Old 09-06-2018, 09:52 PM   #2
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No. The 30a trailer panel has a 30a breaker to prevent it from drawing more than 30a.
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Old 09-07-2018, 08:51 AM   #3
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almost everybody ends up with some adapters and for different reasons. we have a 50 amp trailer. some parks only have 30 amp service. so we have a 30 amp top 50 amp adapter to handle those situations. we have also stored the trailer in a storage area that had 110 volt service available. we have a 110 volt to 30 amp adapter. we can use it in conjunction with the 30 to 50 amp adapter to keep the refrigerator running while in the storage area. this 110 to 30 amp adapter can also be used at home. those with 30 amp trailers often have a 50 to 30 amp adapter that allows them to plug into the 50 amp outlet on the pedestal. depending on where you go and what you do you may never need an adapter. or you might use one on the next trip to a new campground. if you can get the trailer to your home and you do not have a 30 amp outlet, you can easily justify the few dollars for a 110 volt to 30 amp adapter.
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Old 09-07-2018, 09:13 AM   #4
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If you ever run up thru Canada, BC, Yukon, you will find that many campgrounds that offer "electric" are talking about 115 volt. Ran across several of them in our travels. Lucily we carry a 115 volt to 30 amp adapter.
Just a few bucks, but always nice to have it around.
The 50 amp to 30 amp is good to have as in many older and the more popular campgrounds, the 30 amp outlet (most used) may be old and "loose", where the 50 amp outlet (less frequently used) will be "tight". Our rig is 30 amp, but lately I have been using my 50 to 30 amp adapter more and more.
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Old 09-07-2018, 09:45 AM   #5
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... If I use an adapter plugged into a 50A outlet and plug my 30A TT into it, wouldn’t this overload my electrical system?

several times in your travels you might run into a 50amp only rv park or campground - which is where a 50a to 30a adapter comes into play.

as for concern about 'overloading', remember that the amps don't just 'come into' your coach just because you are plugged into 50amp shore power.
Volts are what you will always 'have' when plugged in, 120volts is the 'norm', but Amps are only in play by how 'many' you are USING, such as by the microwave, air conditioner, outlets, etc. Each device or appliance will 'pull' those amps as they run, and ONLY as they run.

Yes, your coach's own Electric Panel, and it's Main Breaker, will determine how many amps you can 'pull', as the main breaker would trip if you tried to use too many, EVEN if you were plugged into a typical 30amp shore power outlet.

You are protected by your own coach's breaker panel in these situations.

As for another adapter, the 15a to 30a one, that's a very nice option if you are parked somewhere that ONLY has a typical 'household' outlet. Your coach can certainly use 'some' power, if 30amps are not available, as 15a or 20as of power is better than nothing. You have to be more careful 'what' devices and appliance you want to use while on this 'less' amperage, but it's still quite useful and a great option when little else is available, even if you want to access it just to recharge the batteries.
Most folks are surprised that they can actually run many more items on 15amp power than they original fear. A residential fridge, floor fans, computers, tvs and satellite receivers, even all at the same time.
A good 15a 50' to 100' extension cord is a good option to carry, for these situations, as usually the household outlet may not be as near as your typical RV outlets. I've run hundreds of feet successfully many times in these same situations, and that's while using both a 50/30 adapter and a 30/15 adapter, at the same time.
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Old 09-08-2018, 03:01 PM   #6
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several times in your travels you might run into a 50amp only rv park or campground - which is where a 50a to 30a adapter comes into play.

as for concern about 'overloading', remember that the amps don't just 'come into' your coach just because you are plugged into 50amp shore power.
Volts are what you will always 'have' when plugged in, 120volts is the 'norm', but Amps are only in play by how 'many' you are USING, such as by the microwave, air conditioner, outlets, etc. Each device or appliance will 'pull' those amps as they run, and ONLY as they run.

Yes, your coach's own Electric Panel, and it's Main Breaker, will determine how many amps you can 'pull', as the main breaker would trip if you tried to use too many, EVEN if you were plugged into a typical 30amp shore power outlet.

You are protected by your own coach's breaker panel in these situations.

As for another adapter, the 15a to 30a one, that's a very nice option if you are parked somewhere that ONLY has a typical 'household' outlet. Your coach can certainly use 'some' power, if 30amps are not available, as 15a or 20as of power is better than nothing. You have to be more careful 'what' devices and appliance you want to use while on this 'less' amperage, but it's still quite useful and a great option when little else is available, even if you want to access it just to recharge the batteries.
Most folks are surprised that they can actually run many more items on 15amp power than they original fear. A residential fridge, floor fans, computers, tvs and satellite receivers, even all at the same time.
A good 15a 50' to 100' extension cord is a good option to carry, for these situations, as usually the household outlet may not be as near as your typical RV outlets. I've run hundreds of feet successfully many times in these same situations, and that's while using both a 50/30 adapter and a 30/15 adapter, at the same time.


Wow! Thank you so much. This cleared up a lot for me. Now hereís another electrical idiot question for you. If I wanted to upgrade to 50a from 30a would I just need to replace my main breaker and shore line or is there more involved?
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Old 09-08-2018, 03:15 PM   #7
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- 50amp transfer switch
- 50amp power cord
- 50amp RV Elec Panel(50amp dbl-pole main breaker)
- and some possible different wiring within the panel to handle power from your Inverter, if you have one, etc

doable, but theres more involved because 50 RV Service is 240v(two hot wires) and is split in the RVs Main panel to Two separate ‘sides’ of breakers, for a possible 100amps, carrying the various loads somewhat equally on both...i.e., front air conditioner on one side, rear on the other.
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Old 09-08-2018, 05:39 PM   #8
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As mentioned above the plug on the exterior of the trailer and the wires that connect it to the 50A panel would have to be changed to accommodate 50 A
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Old 09-08-2018, 06:32 PM   #9
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To clarify a couple of things mentioned in this thread...
Adapters connect plugs that have different amp ratings. Voltage does not change based on the adapter. 30 amp service is 120 volts nominal. 50 amp service has two 120 volt nominal legs. Voltage between the two hot legs is 240 volts. Actual voltage can change up and down. Excessively high or low voltage is a problem. You are more likely to encounter low voltage - aka a brown-out. Either will cause damage.
If you use an adapter and connect to a circuit that has a lower amp rating, if you exceed the amp rating of the circuit, the breaker at the source will trip. If you connect to a circuit with a higher rating than your trailer, breakers in your trailer will trip.
Using more amps than a circuit is designed for causes heat. The heat leads to fire...
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Old 09-08-2018, 06:48 PM   #10
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To Clarify another point....

Hydro means Electric . Lots of places derive there power from Hydraulic methods of falling water or river based dams. In Ontario we also have Wind, Solar, Nuclear too. Still call it Hydro!
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Old 09-09-2018, 03:04 PM   #11
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I notice several refer to a 120 volt to 30 amp adapter. Two different animals. It's all 120 VOLT. I suspect all meant 15 AMP to 30 amp adapters. And the lower amperage household looking outlet is just as likely to use a 20 amp as 15 amp circuit breaker.
I have 30 Amp Service in my TT. I use a 15 to 30 amp adapter at home. I have a 50 to 30 amp adapter that I "had" to use once in order to use both my 30 amp trailer service and the CG power pedestal 20 amp outlet for my outside the trailer use power that I like to have. The pedestal 30 amp and 20 amp outlets were next to each other at a right angle such that the plugs interfered with each other to the point both could not plugged in at the same time.
I bought the 50 to 30 amp adapter based on strong recommendations from here and the RV forum. Apparently many have run into overused and abused CG 30 Amp power outlets.
I always hook up an extra 20 amp line to power external electric cooking items and outside items like fans, my drill battery charger, etc. That way I'm not overloading the TT 30 amp service when an electric heater or A/C is on with the fridge, water heater, and other items. Heating elements and motors are the big power suck.
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Old 09-09-2018, 04:19 PM   #12
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to boomerwerps: very well written and stated. you are absolutely correct about the difference in the circuits being amperage. in the future i will use the 15 amp designation rather than 115 volt. it is also true that that circuit may be protected by either a 15 or 20 amp circuit breaker. regardless, it should be treated and discussed as 15 amp unless it actually has a 20 amp receptacle on it. also, i enjoyed your discussion of running a separate extension cord for 'outside' devices. there have been similar discussions from people that wire some inside devices to a separate feed from the 15 amp power pedestal in order to not overload the main 30 amp supply. i just found your post as very straightforward.
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Old 09-09-2018, 04:36 PM   #13
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If you go to the Goshen International Rally at the fairgrounds; there are a mish mash of pedestal types. Some are 30 amp socket ONLY, some are 50 amp only and some have both a 50 amp and 30 amp socket (these service TWO sites so someone will need an adapter!).

Sites are assigned by LENGTH and black tank size; not power requirements.

If you are a 50 amp unit and get assigned to a site with only a 30 amp socket, you will need an adapter. If you are a 30 amp camper and wind up in a 50 amp only site, you will need an adapter.

You most likely WILL NOT be able to buy one locally.
They sell out almost immediately, as you can imagine.
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Old 11-13-2018, 12:44 PM   #14
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almost everybody ends up with some adapters and for different reasons. we have a 50 amp trailer. some parks only have 30 amp service. so we have a 30 amp top 50 amp adapter to handle those situations. we have also stored the trailer in a storage area that had 110 volt service available. we have a 110 volt to 30 amp adapter. we can use it in conjunction with the 30 to 50 amp adapter to keep the refrigerator running while in the storage area. this 110 to 30 amp adapter can also be used at home. those with 30 amp trailers often have a 50 to 30 amp adapter that allows them to plug into the 50 amp outlet on the pedestal. depending on where you go and what you do you may never need an adapter. or you might use one on the next trip to a new campground. if you can get the trailer to your home and you do not have a 30 amp outlet, you can easily justify the few dollars for a 110 volt to 30 amp adapter.
so with that said, going from a 50 service to a adapter 30a service to a adapter 110 service all at once, is that correct?
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Old 11-13-2018, 12:47 PM   #15
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Old 11-13-2018, 12:54 PM   #16
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almost everybody ends up with some adapters and for different reasons. we have a 50 amp trailer. some parks only have 30 amp service. so we have a 30 amp top 50 amp adapter to handle those situations. we have also stored the trailer in a storage area that had 110 volt service available. we have a 110 volt to 30 amp adapter. we can use it in conjunction with the 30 to 50 amp adapter to keep the refrigerator running while in the storage area. this 110 to 30 amp adapter can also be used at home. those with 30 amp trailers often have a 50 to 30 amp adapter that allows them to plug into the 50 amp outlet on the pedestal. depending on where you go and what you do you may never need an adapter. or you might use one on the next trip to a new campground. if you can get the trailer to your home and you do not have a 30 amp outlet, you can easily justify the few dollars for a 110 volt to 30 amp adapter.
You guys are going to confuse the newbies. 30 amps IS 120 volt. I'm assuming you talking about 30 to 20 amps for home use? You don't adapt volts to amps.
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Old 11-13-2018, 01:19 PM   #17
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A good 15a 50' to 100' extension cord is a good option to carry, for these situations, as usually the household outlet may not be as near as your typical RV outlets. I've run hundreds of feet successfully many times in these same situations, and that's while using both a 50/30 adapter and a 30/15 adapter, at the same time.
Just a quick note on this - remember to pay attention to the gauge on that extension cord! I have a 50 amp coach and I carry both the 50 to 30 amp dog bone adapter and a 30 to 15/20 amp adapter. As noted by other posters, I have to use both adapters to get down to the "household" plug. But remember that the extension cord that you then use to plug into your "household" circuit should be at least 12 gauge (or even 10 - the super fat cords used by contractors). That will avoid heat build up when you're pulling all those amps through the cord.
As also noted above, that should provide you with more than enough juice to run your residential fridge, charge your batteries up, and run the coffee maker or toaster, TV's, satellite/etc. It most likely will NOT be enough to run A/C or microwaves.
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Old 11-13-2018, 01:45 PM   #18
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so with that said, going from a 50 service to a adapter 30a service to a adapter 110 service all at once, is that correct?
I think you are asking:
Can I hook at 15/20 amp adapter to a 50 to 30 amp adapter? Here is an extended explanation...

ALL current going into nearly all trailers currently on the market run on 120 nominal voltage. This is often called 110 volts. "Safe" voltage is generally considered to be from 104 to 132 volts. Below 104 is considered low or a brown out. Over 132 is a surge. Both hi and low voltage can cause damage. Low voltage seems to be very common in campgrounds when everyone is running their AC. A good EMS (energy management system) will disconnect your trailer if these limits are exceeded.

30 amp trailers have 1 hot , 1 neutral, and 1 ground wire to the trailer, each is rated to carry 30 amps at 120 volts.

50 amp trailers have 2 hot , 1 neutral and 1 ground wire. Each is rated to carry 50 amps at 120 volts. This is why you hear that a 50 amp trailer is really 100 watts. If the loads are properly balanced over the two hot feeds, you can consume up to 100 watts - 50 on each hot feed.

So if you are asking if you can put 2 adapters in-line to connect a 50 amp capable trailer to a 15 or 20 amp power source (50 to 30 to 15), yes you can. However, do not turn on draws of over the sources power rating. ie. Your AC typically will draw about 14 amps, your microwave on high will draw 10 amps. That is more than a 15 or 20 amp power source can handle.
Other high amp draw items - water heater on electric, portable electric heaters, coffee pot, hair dryer...
You can calculate the watt requirements for items you want to try that have wattage ratings on them (1500 watt hair dryer) Amps = Watts / Volts (12.5=1500/120).
Also note that in general, extension cords are rated in watts. It is BAD idea to connect multiple extension cords together AND run maximum watt draw for extended periods. (ie. 3 15 amp extension cords to reach 200 feet from your garage to the trailer). The longer the wire run, the lower the max amperage allowed. Doing so runs a risk of overheating the cords and fire.
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Old 11-14-2018, 06:20 AM   #19
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Acceptable voltage by electric companies in the US is 120 volts +/- 10 %. That is 108 - 132 volts. Never use 15 amp extension cords on your rig. 15 amp cord is only 14 GA copper wire. Always us a min 20 amp cord. That is 12 GA copper cord.
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Old 11-14-2018, 12:04 PM   #20
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Acceptable voltage by electric companies in the US is 120 volts +/- 10 %. That is 108 - 132 volts.
Cavie - quick question(s) on the voltage variances.
I have a simple digital readout voltmeter plugged into a 120V outlet in my coach where I can keep an eye on the voltage coming into my coach and, for the most part, the power is pretty clean, coming in between 114 and 122. I have a SurgeGuard RV Power Protection(Southwire Model No. 34850) that I use religiously at the pedestal. I have always understood the concept of the surge protector protecting my coach against power surges (yes, the name of the product was a big clue!), but does it also protect against "brown outs" where the voltage drops below a certain level (108 in your calculation above)?
Part two: What exactly happens to appliances when the voltage drops below the 108 referenced in your post? Or does the power feed from the utility drop off when the voltage drop below a certain level?
TIA
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