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Old 08-27-2015, 08:22 AM   #1
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Cool 30 amp service with 50 amp RV

I have found a place in FL to winter but all they have is 30 Amp service and I have (currently) a 2014 Flagstaff TT with 50 Amp requirement (?). Will I experience any problems using only a 30 Amp site if all I'm using is one A/C at a time? We're also seriously considering a new 5th wheel which I'm sure will have 50 amp requirements as well. Any advice would be helpful.
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Old 08-27-2015, 08:30 AM   #2
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If you only use 1 AC at at time you should be fine. You will still have to be somewhat careful about your total power usage though. Everyone is different is there power usage so hard to say for sure but just be careful with microwave use at the same time as curling irons and such. If you are finding that you do pop the breaker switch the water heater to LP and run that way. Have a great winter.
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Old 08-27-2015, 08:33 AM   #3
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Everything will work just fine, the difference is when you run 2 AC's, the microwave and elec. hot water that puts you well over the 30 Amp threshold. Meaning if you don't need to run 2 AC's simultaneously and are willing to manage your power consumption manually you should be ok. On 30 Amp service you have 1 wire carrying 30 Amp in, on a 50 Amp service you have 2 wires carrying 50 Amps each - a total of 100 Amp, Voltage stays the same.
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Old 08-27-2015, 08:48 AM   #4
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I ran my 50amp 5er an entire season on a 30amp service. I was able to run both a/c's, as long as the voltage stayed up. I only ran both when I initially got to my site to cool things off quickly, and possibly before bed time. I ran water heater off gas, didn't use microwaves, or hair dryer. Everything else worked fine, otherwise. When possible, I have a cheater adapter that allows me to plug into a 30amp and 15amp outlet to supply approx. 45 amps. (won't work with gfi outlet), but only had 30amp outlet at seasonal site. You can make 30amp work, just may need to work around things.
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Old 08-27-2015, 08:51 AM   #5
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It's all about power management. If you can resign yourself to only running one A/C and being aware of the power requirements of irons, hair dryers, toaster (ovens), electric heaters, etc. then you can easily manage to run your RV on 30 amps of power.

One thing you need to know is what all is on the second leg of the 50 amp plug. A lot of times it's just the second A/C, but there could be other things. You'll need a 30A male to 50A female adapter that bridges the second leg if there's more on it than just the second A/C.
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Old 08-27-2015, 12:05 PM   #6
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Snorman......You won't HURT anything,,,,,the fuses won't let you,,,,,and you'll be reminded over and over until you learn what trips the breaker. In the winter,,,,,we use electric space heaters,,,,the water heater,,,,,and when we turn the toaster on or the microwave.....we say "Oh, ya",,,and I go outside to reset the breaker. It's a learning process, but you won't HURT anything.
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Old 08-27-2015, 12:23 PM   #7
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You can do it as others have noted. What I would point out is that the difference is not 30 verses 50. The 30 has one 30 amp leg of 115v. The 50 service has TWO legs of 50 amps each. Hence, the comparison is 30 amps verse 100 amps total, meaning that the 30 amp service is less than 1/3rd of the 50 service.
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Old 08-27-2015, 12:38 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Cypressloser View Post
Everything will work just fine, the difference is when you run 2 AC's, the microwave and elec. hot water that puts you well over the 30 Amp threshold. Meaning if you don't need to run 2 AC's simultaneously and are willing to manage your power consumption manually you should be ok. On 30 Amp service you have 1 wire carrying 30 Amp in, on a 50 Amp service you have 2 wires carrying 50 Amps each - a total of 100 Amp, Voltage stays the same.
Yes... AND... No!
There are two wires carrying 50 amps each and in theory you'd think that equals 100 amps.
BUT... both 50 amp legs SHARE a common 50 amp breaker. Anytime you exceed 50 amps on either leg, it will trip the breaker.
It would have to have a 100 amp breaker to have 100 amps of current available. No RV pedestal I know of has 100 amp breakers.

Of course all this depends on being wired correctly in the first place and meets code.

To the OP... you can safely run your 50 amp unit on 30 amps (with a plug adapter) as long as you don't try to run everything electrical at once.
As was mentioned, every circuit is protected with a breaker and the whole thing is protected by the main breaker in the pedestal. You won't hurt anything.

You can selectively shut off breakers inside your unit (to 2nd A/C, Electric Water Tank, Microwave) so you don't inadvertently draw too much.
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Old 08-27-2015, 12:45 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by clr View Post
If you only use 1 AC at at time you should be fine. You will still have to be somewhat careful about your total power usage though. Everyone is different is there power usage so hard to say for sure but just be careful with microwave use at the same time as curling irons and such. If you are finding that you do pop the breaker switch the water heater to LP and run that way. Have a great winter.
If the load is too great turning off the breaker to your converter charger will help but remember then batteries are not charging. Also if frig will go gas and off 110v ac that's going to save another 4 amps or so while you run a/c

You just have to think like the 30 amp people do, but be even more cautious because your main breakers will not trip until 50 amp and the power source as well as the pigtail are only designed for 30 amp. Your load all rests on the power point breaker and we all hear stories about those.
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Old 08-27-2015, 01:37 PM   #10
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Sorry 5picker. Just visited my breaker box to be certain. Double 50 amp breakers, just like for the residential A/C. 50 amp service IS 2 legs 115 at 50 amp each. In truth it is a 230v 50 amp breaker. Look inside at the breaker blades and you will see each 50 amp service draws from a separate panel bar. Don't recall ever seeing different. Also, if what you said was true, then when you plugged in a 50 to 30 converter plug you would only have 25 amps available. Maybe there is a legitimate electrician that can put this to rest, but I am absolutely sure that mine is a 50 amp 240 breaker, meaning 2 legs 115v at 50 amps. I don't have a campground pedestal at my door to inspect.
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Old 08-27-2015, 02:11 PM   #11
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Get you a small plug in voltage meter and it will tell you the voltage and when you drop too low to safely run your appliances. I have seen them in the RV section at Wal Mart.
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Old 08-27-2015, 02:24 PM   #12
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Yes... AND... No!
There are two wires carrying 50 amps each and in theory you'd think that equals 100 amps.
BUT... both 50 amp legs SHARE a common 50 amp breaker. Anytime you exceed 50 amps on either leg, it will trip the breaker.
It would have to have a 100 amp breaker to have 100 amps of current available. No RV pedestal I know of has 100 amp breakers.

Of course all this depends on being wired correctly in the first place and meets code.

To the OP... you can safely run your 50 amp unit on 30 amps (with a plug adapter) as long as you don't try to run everything electrical at once.
As was mentioned, every circuit is protected with a breaker and the whole thing is protected by the main breaker in the pedestal. You won't hurt anything.

You can selectively shut off breakers inside your unit (to 2nd A/C, Electric Water Tank, Microwave) so you don't inadvertently draw too much.
The 120/240 volt split phase service is commonly misunderstood. Each leg is capable of 50 amps for a total of 100 amps. The reason the breakers are tied together has to do with load balancing, and the shared neutral wire between the legs. It is better explained in this link:

Electrical Tutorial - Chapter 3 - 30 Amp versus 50 Amp
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Old 08-27-2015, 03:01 PM   #13
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Sorry 5picker. Just visited my breaker box to be certain. Double 50 amp breakers, just like for the residential A/C. 50 amp service IS 2 legs 115 at 50 amp each. In truth it is a 230v 50 amp breaker. Look inside at the breaker blades and you will see each 50 amp service draws from a separate panel bar. Don't recall ever seeing different. Also, if what you said was true, then when you plugged in a 50 to 30 converter plug you would only have 25 amps available. Maybe there is a legitimate electrician that can put this to rest, but I am absolutely sure that mine is a 50 amp 240 breaker, meaning 2 legs 115v at 50 amps. I don't have a campground pedestal at my door to inspect.
Yes... two legs at 50 amps but you can't pull 100 amps through either leg. Only 50 amps. Hence you really only have a 50 amp service. If either of the two legs draws more than 50 amps... pops goes the breaker. Remember we are talking 110 volts here not 220.

Yes, you could add them together to get what some would call a combined total of 100 amps available power but that isn't a 100 amp service.

We're probably splitting hairs. I simply didn't want someone to believe they had 100 amp service to their camper. Again, you could only have that if there were a 100 amp breaker installed.
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Old 08-27-2015, 04:34 PM   #14
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Keep in mind that ALL electrical circuits are limited to 80% of capacity by code except FIRE PUMPS ....20 amp circuits should be loaded nor more than 16 amps 30 amp circuits 24 amps.....rv's with 50 amp cords ( 4#6 stranded conductors) can carry the ful 30 amps when using an adapter to 30 amp plug but will heat up if contact is not firm...monitor heat ! and reduce load when you can...oxide inhibiting compound on blades can improve connection.
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Old 08-27-2015, 07:43 PM   #15
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We spent most of Feburary and March in Florida with only 30 amps and the only thing I didn't do was run both AC's at once. I left the HW heater on electric all of the time and ran the microwave at will and never had a problem. I'm sure my wife used a curling iron or hair dryer right after getting out of the shower and I my have been making a cup of coffee.
I was a little concerned for the first week or so but the Campground pedestal receptacle wasn't melted or gnarly looking so I had a little more confidence that we would be ok and we were.
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Old 08-27-2015, 08:06 PM   #16
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We spent most of Feburary and March in Florida with only 30 amps and the only thing I didn't do was run both AC's at once. I left the HW heater on electric all of the time and ran the microwave at will and never had a problem. I'm sure my wife used a curling iron or hair dryer right after getting out of the shower and I my have been making a cup of coffee.
I was a little concerned for the first week or so but the Campground pedestal receptacle wasn't melted or gnarly looking so I had a little more confidence that we would be ok and we were.
I was just thinking back and we had great weather but I'm not sure it was warm enough in any morning that we would have had the AC on when we were taking showers. Possibly the fireplace or heat pump.

I think as long as the voltage in the park doesn't drop you'll be fine.
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Old 08-27-2015, 11:58 PM   #17
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Sorry 5picker. Just visited my breaker box to be certain. Double 50 amp breakers, just like for the residential A/C. 50 amp service IS 2 legs 115 at 50 amp each. In truth it is a 230v 50 amp breaker. Look inside at the breaker blades and you will see each 50 amp service draws from a separate panel bar. Don't recall ever seeing different. Also, if what you said was true, then when you plugged in a 50 to 30 converter plug you would only have 25 amps available. Maybe there is a legitimate electrician that can put this to rest, but I am absolutely sure that mine is a 50 amp 240 breaker, meaning 2 legs 115v at 50 amps. I don't have a campground pedestal at my door to inspect.
I am a lowly 30 amp guy, and certainly NOT a real electrician but I'm pretty experienced at playing electrician and I am sure you are correct.
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Old 08-28-2015, 11:16 AM   #18
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My 50 amp experience on a 30 amp pedestal

Our seasonal cg in Cincinnati has only 30 amp service so we learned pretty quick how to balance current draw. One AC only, electric skillet/microwave, etc. puts us close to the tripping point and if the water heater is on electric and add in the converter we will usually pop the breaker, especially since we rarely have more than 115V. On hot days I have seen voltage dip to 105 so we only run the AC and minimal other appliances. It's a learning experience.......
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Old 08-28-2015, 11:41 AM   #19
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Agree with rubbernail here. 50 Amp - the common four pin configuration used for larger RV's. The receptacles are ANSI/NEMA 14-50R and the plugs are ANSI/NEMA 14-50P. The half round pin is ground, the blade directly across from it is Neutral, and the other two blades each have 120 Volts. If wired per the National Electrical Code, the two 120 Volt feeds are of opposite phases so that you get 240 Volts when you read across them and 120 Volts between each of them and neutral or ground. Each of the two power sockets can be wired to a 50 Amp breaker - for 240Volts, the two breakers are "ganged" (the handles are connected together) or are of a special design with only a single handle. However, some campgrounds may only have 30 or 40 Amp breakers on the power feeds to these receptacles.
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