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Old 10-18-2018, 03:38 PM   #1
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Advanced electrical question

A friend of mine who owns a similar RV (28 RKS) which is equipped with a 30 amp service and a power management system "Claims" he upgraded his cord to a 50 amp and added a standard 110V-15 amp plug in-line with the 30 amp service plug. When camping, he plugs both the 30amp plug and the 110v- 15amp plug into the pedestal. He indicated he can then bring 45 amps into the rig with no problems? I do basic electricity but this is above my head. Would this not effect the power management device? Is there an additional 15 amps available at the pedestal? I can see how this can be considered fraudulent when only paying for 30 amp and I do not intend to do this, however, I wondered if this is possible? The other consideration I though would be "back feeding" 30 amps into a 15amp outlet? Thank you as always for your input.
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Old 10-18-2018, 03:53 PM   #2
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he had to do more then change the cord as the 50AMP cord has 2 hots and it sounds like he is connecting one hot to the 30 and one to the 15.

What is he doing with the 15 on the camper end? He could be running a separate circuit to dedicated outlet / device. There is no place for the 2nd hot in a 30amp panel.

as to if the pedestal has 45 amps available, maybe and it could very by campground and even site within a campground. If he trips a feed breaker in the middle of the night he could have no power for awhile.
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Old 10-18-2018, 03:54 PM   #3
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you concerns are o.k., but I doubt that the outcome he was looking for is the reality of what he is really getting, power wise. He probably doesn't even understand that true '50amp rv service' is a double-pole 240v incoming power with two hot legs at 50amps each... his thought is probably that it is 'only' 50amp total power, instead of 100 amps.

He could have accomplished the same thing by simply purchasing a 50amp to 30/20 adapter, that allows you to plug a 50amp shore cord into both a 30amp and a 20amp outlet at the same time, giving a max of 45-50amps... and NO, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that - no campground or rv park limits your usage of 'which' outlets you plug into, how many at the same time, or whether you use any at all. They are there for your pleasure.

Now, if he 'really' upgraded his whole coach to be a '50amp coach', then he would have had to both change out his 30amp shore cord to a 50amp variety, AND, upgrade his Main Electric panel to a 50amp 'split' service panel(100amps total), AND his ATS(automatic transfer switch) to a 50amp model. Likely that's not what he did. He simply changed the END of his shore power cord to provide both a 30amp male end, and a 15/20amp male end(like a more typical extension cord end).

Even if he is bringing in more than his 30amp Main Panel breaker is designed for, it's likely that he did, or could, change out that main breaker for a 45 or 50amp breaker, giving full ability to use all amps without tripping the main breaker in the coach.

Many of us use varied methods and options when it comes to getting more 'power' when we need it. As long as it's safe, it doesn't really matter that it's done, as long as it give you the power you are wanting. While many will quote codes and electrical requirements, they are usually referring to homes, not RVs... they are not regulated the same, and when you do your own work, it doesn't fall under any obligation anyway.

When my 50amp coach is in the heat of the summer, and I am at a 30amp campground, I bring out my same 50a to 30/20 adapter and make use of as much power as I can get, since I am 'limited' to what my RV might normally need. If I can use two different 30amp outlets in the park, I have an adapter to do that too, giving me up to 60amps of power. Sometimes, even with 50amp full service, I make use of the additional 20amp outlet at the power pole and use an extension cord to bring in those amps to the coach, for additional fans or heaters, when it's especially hot or cold outside.
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Old 10-18-2018, 06:16 PM   #4
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That explains a lot. Increasing the inward amps will probably create havoc with the power management system, not to mention overloading the 30amp incoming breaker. I guess the best solution if additional amps are really needed is to simply tap the 110 outlet via extension cord (amp rated) and power the additional appliances (heater/fan/??) off the extension cord instead of trying to increase the amps on the current 30 amp system? At least, that was my humble thought when he suggested I do the same. So far, I simply do not need that much amperage in the smaller rig I have.
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Old 10-18-2018, 07:29 PM   #5
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I'd really like to see how he modified the cord. If it's how I suspect then there's some danger if he ever runs into a pedestal that has the 30 amp receptacle and the convenience receptacle tied to different phases, then he'll have a dead short between the 30 amp and the convenience receptacle. If he's lucky, all that will happen is that the breaker(s) will trip.
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Old 10-19-2018, 08:25 AM   #6
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After talking with him, he said he ties the two hot leads together in the 5o amp cord. Being a fireman I asked if he was concerned about potentially feeding 30amps back into a 110amp circuit and he indicated it would simply trip the 110v breaker. I don't have enough knowledge if an electrical breaker is directional or omni-directional. If it's omni-directional, I would thing that the 110v would kick as soon as it senced the 30amp hookup? On the other hand, if it depends upon the amp draw, I assume the combined 30+15 would cover at least a true 45 amp draw? Again, I do residential electricity and I have never run into a double amp feed system. Thanks BAMA.
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Old 10-19-2018, 08:39 AM   #7
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The only way I can see this as even possible, is if he plugs into 50amp service and uses one leg to feed his 30 amp box and one leg to fed his 15amp (utility). Tying the 2 50amp legs together will blow the breaker instantly.
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Old 10-19-2018, 08:45 AM   #8
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You can not use the 30/20 dogbone adapter mentioned above in most campgrounds. The 20 amp outlet in most campgrounds is GFI protected. You trailer/coach as a GFI circuit inside. 2 GFI circuits in series don't play nice. One of them will trip. You can run a separate 20 extension from the ped to your rig to power whatever 20 amps you want as long as your not going thru your electric converter.
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Old 10-19-2018, 08:53 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [B
AquaMan[/B];1953565]The only way I can see this as even possible, is if he plugs into 50amp service and uses one leg to feed his 30 amp box and one leg to fed his 15amp (utility). Tying the 2 50amp legs together will blow the breaker instantly.
he said that "When camping, he plugs both the 30amp plug and the 110v- 15amp plug into the pedestal."... this means he is NOT plugging into a 50amp outlet, only plugging into both a 30 AND a 15/20...

and

cavie "You can not use the 30/20 dogbone adapter mentioned above in most campgrounds."

he's not using an adapter, he basically took the pedestal end of a 50amp shore cord and 'adapted' it with both a 30amp male plug and a 15/20amp male plug, to use BOTH outlets... similar, but different... this may not 'trip' the GFCI like manufactured adapters do, but who knows. If it works for him, I guess it's working for him : / though he's only seeing up to 50amps this way, not the true 100amps for 'true' 50amp RV service, since he's only pulling 30 from one side, and up to 20 from the other.... but, it's still better than only 30 : )
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Old 10-19-2018, 08:54 AM   #10
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tying the 2 hots together has a number of issues. if one of the plugs are not plugged in you have an electrocution hazard with the exposed prongs being hot.

Also as mentioned above if he ever uses a pedestal with split phases he will have a direct short on the 220V feed. If he plugs in with the breakers on expect massive sparks, burnt plugs & outlets.

And if he did nothing to the camper there is no advantage as it still has a 30A main breaker. Lots of negatives for little if any benefit.

The only possible benefit I see is if the campground has a week 30A breaker which they sgould replace instead of working around it.
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Old 10-19-2018, 09:11 AM   #11
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This is crazy, and crazy dangerous. You have the right idea on how to gain that extra 15 amps by using an extension cord. I do that to power my water heater element. There are several posts on the forum about how readers have done similar things.
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Old 10-19-2018, 09:29 AM   #12
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*tying the 2 hots together has a number of issues. if one of the plugs are not plugged in you have an electrocution hazard with the exposed prongs being hot.
**Also as mentioned above if he ever uses a pedestal with split phases he will have a direct short on the 220V feed. If he plugs in with the breakers on expect massive sparks, burnt plugs & outlets.
***And if he did nothing to the camper there is no advantage as it still has a 30A main breaker. Lots of negatives for little if any benefit.
The only possible benefit I see is if the campground has a week 30A breaker which they should replace instead of working around it.
*I assume you are referring to tying the two incoming hot lines from the new 50amp shore cord into the Main Panel's single 30amp main breaker, one from the 30amp outlet, and one from the 15/20amp outlet. Yes, this in effect would be the same as using an adapter that does the same, one that most of us also may use periodically when in this situation. My adapter actually must have a built-in protection for the backfeed 'shock hazard' you mention, as it will not work unless BOTH ends are plugged into power, so I can see your point about a possible issue if one of the ends was not being used, while the other was.
I suppose he could make an 'adapter' to cover that, too.

BUT>>>>>> if he did not change his 30amp ATS(automatic transfer switch), then THIS is where the 'tying in' would have to happen, since there is only a single incoming 'hot line' for the ATS connection, not two for a 50amp ATS.

OR>>>>> maybe he didn't even 'tie in' these two hot lines, but chose to use a 'jumper' from the same hot line the 30amp plug is on to the 15/20amp plug, running only the single hot line back to the ATS or main Panel Breaker. That would be odd to purchase a 50amp shore cord, when the 30amp shore cord would be able to do the same, but I suppose the thought would then be that the 30amp shore cord's 'wiring' might not be designed to handle to higher amps. So maybe the 50amp cord was used, but only the BLACK or RED hot line, not both. Who knows?


**split phase service would only be for the typical 50amp double-pole RV service outlet, so he would not be able to plug into that - only the 30amp and 15/20amp outlets. No issues there.

***agreed. With only the standard 30amp main breaker, he is not able to really use more than 30amps anyway, which is why I think that there might be more to this story than the OP understood. Without an upgrade to a 50amp main panel, EVEN if it's a single 50amp breaker type, he'd have done all this for naught.

Maybe he's believing that he's getting 'more' than he really is, or maybe there's more to the details here than originally input : )
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Old 10-19-2018, 09:42 AM   #13
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*I assume you are referring to tying the two incoming hot lines from the new 50amp shore cord into the Main Panel's single 30amp main breaker, one from the 30amp outlet, and one from the 15/20amp outlet. Yes, this in effect would be the same as using an adapter that does the same, one that most of us also may use periodically when in this situation. My adapter actually must have a built-in protection for the backfeed 'shock hazard' you mention, as it will not work unless BOTH ends are plugged into power, so I can see your point about a possible issue if one of the ends was not being used, while the other was.
I suppose he could make an 'adapter' to cover that, too.

BUT>>>>>> if he did not change his 30amp ATS(automatic transfer switch), then THIS is where the 'tying in' would have to happen, since there is only a single incoming 'hot line' for the ATS connection, not two for a 50amp ATS.

OR>>>>> maybe he didn't even 'tie in' these two hot lines, but chose to use a 'jumper' from the same hot line the 30amp plug is on to the 15/20amp plug, running only the single hot line back to the ATS or main Panel Breaker. That would be odd to purchase a 50amp shore cord, when the 30amp shore cord would be able to do the same, but I suppose the thought would then be that the 30amp shore cord's 'wiring' might not be designed to handle to higher amps. So maybe the 50amp cord was used, but only the BLACK or RED hot line, not both. Who knows?


**split phase service would only be for the typical 50amp double-pole RV service outlet, so he would not be able to plug into that - only the 30amp and 15/20amp outlets. No issues there.

***agreed. With only the standard 30amp main breaker, he is not able to really use more than 30amps anyway, which is why I think that there might be more to this story than the OP understood. Without an upgrade to a 50amp main panel, EVEN if it's a single 50amp breaker type, he'd have done all this for naught.

Maybe he's believing that he's getting 'more' than he really is, or maybe there's more to the details here than originally input : )
This can only be done if you are 100% sure that both legs are on the same phase. L1 or L2. If the 30 is on L1 and the 20 is on L2 it will light up like the 4th of July. You can't know this without opening up the breaker panel. Like you said, you can only use 30 amps.
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Old 10-19-2018, 09:49 AM   #14
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I may be in agreement with you, but explain further why you would think that "it will light up like the 4th of July".... as the question I have would be 'why' would you think they are not on the same 'phase'?
Any typical adapter that uses two different power outlets has to assume the same...
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Old 10-19-2018, 09:50 AM   #15
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All this speculation without a really good explanation from the OP.

Until we know EXACTLY what the guy did, it is only SWAG.
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Old 10-19-2018, 09:52 AM   #16
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He would also had to have changed out the PMS (Power Management system) to the 50 amp version, as the original is set to 30 amps and any time it exceeds 30, it will begin shedding circuits to maintain below 30.
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Old 10-19-2018, 09:59 AM   #17
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I may be in agreement with you, but explain further why you would think that "it will light up like the 4th of July".... as the question I have would be 'why' would you think they are not on the same 'phase'?
Any typical adapter that uses two different power outlets has to assume the same...
there is probably a good chance they are on the same phase but no guarantee. I have not seen adapters that have multiple plugs, multiple sockets I have.

you mentioned having one that requires both plugs to be plugged in to work, it may also check the phases. What does you adapter do? does it combine the lines to 30A service? Or does it keep them separate for 50A service.

If it is to get more power more to a 50A rig there is not an issue but the OPs friend is going to 30A
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Old 10-19-2018, 10:02 AM   #18
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This can only be done if you are 100% sure that both legs are on the same phase. L1 or L2. If the 30 is on L1 and the 20 is on L2 it will light up like the 4th of July. You can't know this without opening up the breaker panel. Like you said, you can only use 30 amps.
You could check the phase without opening the panel. Use a voltmeter between the 30A hot and the 20A hot 0V=same phase, 220V=split phase and fireworks. Still not recomended either way.
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Old 10-19-2018, 10:16 AM   #19
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As stated in other posts, upgrading to a 50 amp service (which actually gives you two 50 amp lines for 100 amps total) is not rocket science. Perhaps the easiest upgrade I've done to my camper yet!

The hard part is wiring additional outlets as often the best way to do it is under the camper for long runs. Some folks are happy with a couple of outlets installed in spaces next to the circuit breaker panel box.

Another option is to use a splitter cable that converts 50 amp service into 30 amp service lines. Run one line as usual to your regular plug in and the second line into a newly installed plug in that feeds a new panel close to your desired outlet locations. While not 100 amps, this option gives you 60 amps total which may be sufficient for your needs.

Electricity isn't magical or difficult despite what comments by naysayers. 50 amp has 2 hots, 1 ground, and 1 neutral. Ground goes to ground (bare copper) buss bar on breaker panel, neutral (white) goes to neutral buss bar, 1 hot goes to one series of breakers, and the 2nd hot goes to another row (or column) of breakers. When wiring an outlet using romex, the black (hot) wire goes to the desired circuit breaker, the white goes to white/neutral buss bar, and ground goes to ground buss bar. Run wire to desired outlet location and make sure you follow the markings so hot goes on hot terminal on outlet, etc...etc.. EASY as long as all power including battery power is disconnected. Requires just very basic mechanical skills such as cutting out a square hole in wall (Dremel or oscillating power multifunction tool) for outlet, securing romex with fastners along run (use self tapping screws for frame), using a screwdriver, stripping wires, and press fitting individual wires manually into the speed outlets found in outlets that don't require a housing box. RV outlets are self contained due to fact there often isn't much room in walls for a traditional power box.

I'd be more than happy to walk you thru this. I was quoted $1200 by an rv mechanic to do the install of new 50 amp inlet with new 50 amp breaker panel with no additional outlets. It cost me about $275 in parts to do this portion myself and an afternoon of labor taking my time watching football to do it myself. Hiring someone to run romex wire under camper was cost prohibitive for me so I did it myself. This was a pain because I had to remove the coroplast liner under the camper which was the most time consuming aspect of the job.

Lots of videos online and many hardware stores have displays for DIYers to help them visualize electrical wiring.

For 15 amp lines, 14 gauge wire (thinner than 12 gauge) wire is acceptable and easier to pull and bend but I personally prefer 12 gauge wire on all lines which are fine for 15 amp lines and the minimum size for 20 amp breakers/electrical lines.

There is nothing quite like the satisfaction of doing a job yourself and saving money. In addition, DIY also means you know how it was done and don't have to worry about "pros" cutting corners to save install time.
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Old 10-19-2018, 10:20 AM   #20
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TranseX2, The OP is not talking about upgrading to 50A but combining lines to get more then 30A into a 30A RV.
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