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Old 07-26-2016, 01:42 PM   #1
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Is this Electrical Setup Safe?

We bought our first RV last year. We are in our second year of having it at a permanent camp ground. We acquired a new site this year which did not have a place to plug in my 30amp cord. (camper is 50amp, so I used a 50 to 30 last year). The new site only has a regular looking house plug. (Sorry...very little understanding of electrical, which is why I'm posting this).

So I was told to get a 30amp to 15amp plug and it would work fine.

My question is could this set up cause any problems to my camper?
I do have a 30amp Surge Protector between the box and the RV.

Any idea what the round outlet on the left is? It looks like a 50amp, but the bottom upside down L doesn't allow a 50amp to fit it. Also, there is only a 30amp fuse.......no circuit breaker.

This scares me because my 1 year old Dometic A/C just broke. The mobile repair guy said the compressor was extremely hot and only getting .5 (volts or amps???) and the coil was not cold. It was only blowing warm air.

Also.......is there any danger in running a regular household extension cord from the post and plugging the camper 15amp plug into that? I'm assuming you could do it, but the extension cord would need to be heavy (how heavy?)

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Old 07-26-2016, 01:50 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkersic View Post
We bought our first RV last year. We are in our second year of having it at a permanent camp ground. We acquired a new site this year which did not have a place to plug in my 30amp cord. (camper is 50amp, so I used a 50 to 30 last year). The new site only has a regular looking house plug. (Sorry...very little understanding of electrical, which is why I'm posting this).

So I was told to get a 30amp to 15amp plug and it would work fine.

My question is could this set up cause any problems to my camper?
I do have a 30amp Surge Protector between the box and the RV.

Any idea what the round outlet on the left is? It looks like a 50amp, but the bottom upside down L doesn't allow a 50amp to fit it. Also, there is only a 30amp fuse.......no circuit breaker.

This scares me because my 1 year old Dometic A/C just broke. The mobile repair guy said the compressor was extremely hot and only getting .5 (volts or amps???) and the coil was not cold. It was only blowing warm air.

Also.......is there any danger in running a regular household extension cord from the post and plugging the camper 15amp plug into that? I'm assuming you could do it, but the extension cord would need to be heavy (how heavy?)

Attachment 115374

Thanks, Mike
You have to love private campground wiring, and the part time electricians who wired them. I would bet the farm the campground wiring is what cooked your AC.........Get a PI EMS and an autoformer.

If you bring an electric Dryer it will plug right in to that round outlet to the left, its a 14 30P old school dryer receptacle I think But its probably wired in a 30 amp 125 volt configuration................probably is a big word. It could also be wired 240. Do you have a tester? No telling how they wired it without taking it apart.....on both ends
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Old 07-26-2016, 02:08 PM   #3
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Fuse from the 40's

I haven't seen a screw in fuse used like the one in the posted picture in a long time. Looks like a pre 50's fuse. If you are seasonal, I would update the whole box (panel) to a up to date RV pedestal. It would be worth paying a electrician to rewire the panel!


From the picture posted , there is another box below it. Have you investigated the panel below the one you show in the picture?
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Old 07-26-2016, 02:14 PM   #4
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I do have a PI Surge Protector; not sure if that is same as EMS. I'm not familiar with an autoformer so I looked it up online. I feel I shouldn't have to buy "boosters" if I'm understanding what that is.


I don't know much about electrical, but am willing to learn so I don't blow up the camper appliances. What kind of tester should I get and how and what should I be testing? I rely on the PI to tell me the volts, amps, etc.


Why would this set up cause problems with the A/C? I'm asking so I can have some leverage with the campsite owners to convince them I need updating.


If they agree to let me get an electrician, I may do that myself if it's not too expensive. I guess a lot depends too on the wires coming into the post?
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Old 07-26-2016, 02:37 PM   #5
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Well there are lots of testers but you need to have a working knowledge because that receptacle could be wired many different ways. It could be wired 120 volt, 240 volt, with ground or without etc etc etc. There is no telling what was done in an older private campground. I mentioned the autoformer because of your first post.......By the looks of that panel I'd bet they have undersized conductors feeding it................That's a 1960's panel

"The mobile repair guy said the compressor was extremely hot and only getting .5 (volts or amps???)"

Without knowing exactly what he said that statement screams "low voltage". The PI portable surge products do not warn of low or high voltage.

Since its a seasonal site calling an electrical contractor just to stop and take a look at it would be a wise investment and it shouldn't cost all that much.
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Old 07-27-2016, 12:55 PM   #6
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I would not do anything with that old set up (or any other for that matter) as far as removing covers, changing plugs, etc, without first de-energizing the circuit feeding the panel. Electricity can and will kill you if given half a chance. Be very, very careful since, admittedly, you know very little about electricity. Let an electrician handle it.
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Old 07-27-2016, 01:03 PM   #7
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the fuses for the what appears to be 50 amp connection are behind that pull out disconnect above the plug. Like others have said get a qualified electrician to check things out or better yet request a different site with correct connections.
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Old 07-27-2016, 01:07 PM   #8
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Any chance you can move to a new spot with a better panel? If they are all like that, I think I would look for a new campground.
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Old 07-27-2016, 01:28 PM   #9
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I know on my trailer, which is 30 amp, the A/C will not run if I use the 30 to 15 amp converter. Like others said, I would be updating that panel or asking for a new site with the correct hook ups.
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Old 07-27-2016, 01:34 PM   #10
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Hi Mike!

Combining a couple of your posts here to answer questions (and help me understand J )


Quote:
Originally Posted by mkersic View Post
We bought our first RV last year. We are in our second year of having it at a permanent camp ground. We acquired a new site this year which did not have a place to plug in my 30amp cord. (camper is 50amp, so I used a 50 to 30 last year). The new site only has a regular looking house plug. (Sorry...very little understanding of electrical, which is why I'm posting this).

So I was told to get a 30amp to 15amp plug and it would work fine.

Do I understand correctly that you have a 50AMP Camper and you are stepping the power all the way down to 110V (15AMP) receptacle?

If so this is a VERY BAD thing to do. Your camper was designed to draw 50AMP power for a variety of reasons (maybe 2 air conditioners, a fireplace, or other high-draw appliances)

If you have been running your air conditioner on 15AMP service it is no wonder you burned it up. In fact I am surprised there was even enough AMPS to turn over the compressor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mkersic View Post
My question is could this set up cause any problems to my camper? I do have a 30amp Surge Protector between the box and the RV. .


The Surge Protector won’t make any difference – you need an Electrical Management System (see below)

Quote:
Originally Posted by mkersic View Post
Also.......is there any danger in running a regular household extension cord from the post and plugging the camper 15amp plug into that? I'm assuming you could do it, but the extension cord would need to be heavy (how heavy?) .


Don’t do this! You need 50AMPS to properly power your camper (30AMPS when you have to but not a good idea for a long term solution.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by mkersic View Post
I do have a PI Surge Protector; not sure if that is same as EMS. I'm not familiar with an autoformer so I looked it up online. I feel I shouldn't have to buy "boosters" if I'm understanding what that is..


It is not. A EMS (Electrical Management System) Protects your camper from high voltages (Surges) and Low Voltages (Brown outs) – the low voltage is what fried you’re A/C.

A Hughes Autoformer is the key to preventing low voltage – it is a stabilizer and ensures your camper always has the correct voltage in. The Combination of a PI EMS & a Hughes Autoformer is the electrical management dream team.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mkersic View Post
I don't know much about electrical, but am willing to learn so I don't blow up the camper appliances. What kind of tester should I get and how and what should I be testing? I rely on the PI to tell me the volts, amps, etc.


Get yourself a good multimeter. Here is a link to some YouTube How to videos:
Quote:
Originally Posted by mkersic View Post
Why would this set up cause problems with the A/C? I'm asking so I can have some leverage with the campsite owners to convince them I need updating.


Low Amperage – the A/C needs at minimum 30AMPS


Quote:
Originally Posted by mkersic View Post
If they agree to let me get an electrician, I may do that myself if it's not too expensive. I guess a lot depends too on the wires coming into the post?


Please do not be offended, but you do not have enough experience to wire the post for 50AMPS (Hell, I am handy around electricity but I would not want to wire up a 50AMP outlet! )

Mike, Hope this helps!



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Old 07-27-2016, 01:37 PM   #11
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Get it updated if nothing more than your piece of mind.

I personally would rip that back to the feed and put in a new box with breakers.

Don't do it yourself since you're not experienced.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BamaBob View Post
Get yourself a good multimeter.
What he said!

Good luck.
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Old 07-27-2016, 02:33 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BamaBob View Post
Don’t do this! You need 50AMPS to properly power your camper (30AMPS when you have to but not a good idea for a long term solution.)
I ran a 50 AMP trailer on a 30 AMP plug for about a year on a permanent site. It's not ideal but it's doable. You just have to watch what's running at any given time. Couldn't run both ACs. AC + microwave would usually trip the breaker as well. Most everything else was fine though.

I agree that running on a 15 AMP circuit is a very bad idea.
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Old 07-27-2016, 02:44 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by dea49 View Post
Get it updated if nothing more than your piece of mind.

I personally would rip that back to the feed and put in a new box with breakers.

Don't do it yourself since you're not experienced.

Exactly what needs to happen but in reality it probably won't. The reality is in these older campgrounds here in the NE that have seasonal sites, you take what they give you and learn to deal with it / manage it. Most have a waiting list for those sites, so they have no problem telling you to hit the road, they already usually have your money and you signed a non refundable statement. They have others on the list who will be on on that site tomorrow. If they start rewiring sites that means they have to get the municipality involved as far as permits and inspections, and they are not even going to get anywhere close to that issue. They may do some kind of bootleg repair under the radar but if they ever get the power company involved such as pulling the line fuse or disconnect they're not getting cut back in until its inspected. To get inspected requires permits. They'll end up being forced into bringing the entire campground up to code and in a lot of cases that will put them out of business.

The other reality here in PA where the OP is from, is most of our state and ACOE campgrounds are only 30 amp if they have electric, some are only 20 amp. Do you always get the full 30 amps? Usually not because of the old undersized conductors. You really need to read up on power management if you have a 50 amp RV, even a 30 amp RV. Not everyone go's to KOA, Jellystone Park, or the $100+ per night RV luxury concrete mega park with all night bingo. You can run your AC on a 20 amp receptacle (its on a 20 amp circuit in your power center) and even a 15 amp if you are close enough, and use a large enough gauge of cord, but you won't be running anything else except maybe the converter. And that's with a low load on it.
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Old 07-27-2016, 02:50 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Iwritecode View Post
I ran a 50 AMP trailer on a 30 AMP plug for about a year on a permanent site. It's not ideal but it's doable. You just have to watch what's running at any given time. Couldn't run both ACs. AC + microwave would usually trip the breaker as well. Most everything else was fine though.

I agree that running on a 15 AMP circuit is a very bad idea.
Oh! I agree! Folks like you and me, who have been bumping around RV's for a while "know" these things (Honey, turn the A/C off for a few - I need to run the Microwave )

The OP, however, does not know this and IOT save him from himself I was just suggesting he get a 50AMP pedestal and be done with the headaches
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Old 07-27-2016, 02:52 PM   #15
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Thanks everyone for your excellent responses.
First, thank you for looking out for my safety first and foremost. I take no offense but agree I know very little about electricity, and have no desire to do anything on my own.
Second, the Surge protector I have shows how many Amps are being used, and also shows the voltage coming in, as well as error codes if it shuts down. It has only shut down a few times (over holiday weekends) when the volts got below 108. It has never gone too high. So I'm thinking I do have the EMS.
Although the plug IS a 15amp style plug, I was told by the owners that I am getting 30amps through that. The fuse shown in the upper right, is a 30amp fuse.
The camper is wired for 50Amps in case I want to install a second A/C, which I know I can not do with only 30amp service. The only time I went over 30amps was once when I was running the fireplace, refrigerator, HW heater, and then used the Microwave. I now run refrig and HW on gas. I've seen my surge protector Amps go over 15 a few times, but generally not very often.


Unfortunately (or fortunately) we moved to this site at the end of last season. It is probably the best site in the campground, and one you won't find easily at other sites. It's huge, and faces the woods and is very private. So we really want to stay here. I'll have a talk with the office this weekend if we go there.


Thanks again folks!
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Old 07-27-2016, 03:13 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkersic View Post
Second, the Surge protector I have shows how many Amps are being used, and also shows the voltage coming in, as well as error codes if it shuts down. It has only shut down a few times (over holiday weekends) when the volts got below 108. It has never gone too high. So I'm thinking I do have the EMS.
Yep, I believe you do! Does it look like the attached picture? And, if you paid over $200 for it (New) it is a EMS)

Quote:
Originally Posted by mkersic View Post
Although the plug IS a 15amp style plug, I was told by the owners that I am getting 30amps through that. The fuse shown in the upper right, is a 30amp fuse.
If they <gulp> say so. Just be careful! go out on a high-load day (when you are using a lot of power) and feel the cord at several points - by the pedestal, by tour RV receiver and in the middle of the cord.

Is it warm? Is it HOT? is it too hot to hold? if so turn everything off NOW!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mkersic View Post
The camper is wired for 50Amps in case I want to install a second A/C, which I know I can not do with only 30amp service.
Ah HA! That explains it! Now I understand. Good idea getting the 50AMPs JIC you need to expand in the future with another A/C!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mkersic View Post
The only time I went over 30amps was once when I was running the fireplace, refrigerator, HW heater, and then used the Microwave. I now run refrig and HW on gas. I've seen my surge protector Amps go over 15 a few times, but generally not very often.
Google "RV Amperage Chart" and you will find several appliance amperage draw charts on the web. It would be a good idea to make your own based on what you have in your camper and keep it handy in the RV.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mkersic View Post
Unfortunately (or fortunately) we moved to this site at the end of last season. It is probably the best site in the campground, and one you won't find easily at other sites. It's huge, and faces the woods and is very private. So we really want to stay here. I'll have a talk with the office this weekend if we go there.
If the owner will let you, and this is going to be "your" site for the next few years, I would pay an Electrician to strip that pedestal back to the line and put in a 50/30AMP plug - would not even bother with a 15AMP unless you wanted to plug in a 110V outdoor appliance like a Traeger Grill.

Can't say for PA, but here in Alabama a electrician will charge you @ $250-$300 for a pedestal - a small price to pay if that is going to be your site for the next few years.

Enjoy your camper! Lots of helpful folks on this site so ask away if you have any questions.

Oh, and since you are new to RVs, if your camper is on a full hookup site, please keep your black tank dump lever CLOSED until you are at or above 2/3's full. this is a common "newbie" mistake
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Old 07-27-2016, 03:22 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkersic View Post
Although the plug IS a 15amp style plug, I was told by the owners that I am getting 30amps through that. The fuse shown in the upper right, is a 30amp fuse.
That doesn't sound right to me but I'm like you and know very little when it comes to electricity and how it works. I'm sure others will chime in if that's even possible...
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Old 07-27-2016, 03:26 PM   #18
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Thanks again Bob.

We started using the new RV at the end of June 2015. We go there almost every weekend during the season (4/1 - 10/31). I've learned so much from this forum (I get email every day).

The black tank has been working out great for me. I always leave it closed, and with the built in sprayer, I clean it for a long time to try and get it real clean inside. The empty/full indicators have worked great, so I think I'm cleaning it well.
(Although they wired the 3 waste tanks wrong with the panel. I took off the inside panel to see if the wires were hooked up wrong, but with the battery and fresh tank wires, I couldn't tell what was what (it had 6 wires).

I will check the heat of the wires next time I'm there. But I've moved them a few times and never felt any heat whatsoever.

I have a good feel for what I can run, and what I can't. I try to keep it low and run off propane when I can. Other than the A/C, not much else is used.
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Old 07-27-2016, 03:29 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iwritecode View Post
That doesn't sound right to me but I'm like you and know very little when it comes to electricity and how it works. I'm sure others will chime in if that's even possible...
They said it is wired for 30amps. There have been times when I was showing between 15 and 30 amps. So I'm guessing if it was only 15amps, and I was using more than that, the fuse would have blown?

If I recall when I was a kid........do fuses blow = circuit breaker trips?
I've never had to do anything with that 30amp fuse shown on the box.
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Old 07-27-2016, 03:52 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkersic View Post
They said it is wired for 30amps. There have been times when I was showing between 15 and 30 amps. So I'm guessing if it was only 15amps, and I was using more than that, the fuse would have blown?

If I recall when I was a kid........do fuses blow = circuit breaker trips?
I've never had to do anything with that 30amp fuse shown on the box.
In-line fuses like the one on your pedestal are *ancient* everyone uses circuit breakers these days.

Also I forgot to attach the EMS photo - oops here it is.

Oh and a photo of a 50/30AMP pedestal with breakers and a 110V GFI Plug.

Hope this helps!
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