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Old 07-28-2015, 11:57 PM   #1
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Electrical connections

I need to put an external power connection on my bus conversion. What kind of connector do I need in order to connect at campsites? Do I need a cable?
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Old 07-29-2015, 12:46 AM   #2
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wikipedia NEMA connectors, see the chart under "NEMA nomenclature" If I was to rank them in order of most to least common campground connections, I'd do it like this: 5-15, TT-30, 5-20, 14-50. I don't mean to imply the 50 amp 14-50 is uncommon; it's actually fairly prevalent. But the others are even more so. Some campgrounds will charge more for a spot with the 14-50 connector because the person asking for it is likely to consume more electricity than the person using a 5-15 or TT-30. "Dogbone" adapters are available to down-convert most any combination (ie 14-50 on the RV down to TT-30 or 5-15 on the pedestal, TT-30 on the RV to 5-15 on the pedestal, etc).

The choice is up to you and depends mostly on how much power consumption capability you want to build in. From your other thread on fuses, it sounds as if even just a 15 amp (5-15 connector) might meet your need.

For cable.. there are lots of opinions. Mine is that a cheap home center extension cord is not an ideal choice because it's "junior" class cable and is easily damaged (if you read the codes printed/stamped on the jacket, you'll see SJ-something, probably SJTW, on its jacket). I prefer SOOW because the insulation is a nitrile rubber-PVC blend which is both more flexible and more durable. Many Home Depot locations sell it by the foot, but you'll probably get a better price at an electrical supply house. Both will have a cord end for whatever style plug you choose.
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Old 07-29-2015, 11:40 AM   #3
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I have a NEMA TT30 male on a 25 foot 10ga. cable. I plug into the 30a CG receptacle or a 4000w Onan on board.

If I need more cable I have a 20 foot 8 ga. with m/f TT30's.
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Old 07-30-2015, 08:29 PM   #4
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I can get plugs and cable at Lowe's. How long do I need for a cable?
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Old 07-30-2015, 11:45 PM   #5
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Truth be told, I've used campground hookups very little. It seems to be quite common that RVs have their electrical emerging from the left rear corner, and I'd expect campground pedestals to be located near there, that it'd be easy to park near the pedestal, and that 10-15 feet of cable would be plenty. But I'd probably be wrong... Maybe there'll be times when one wants to be away from the pedestal to be positioned just so in the shade of a tree, or the pedestal is in a lousy place and the cord has to wrap half way around the bus.. who knows.

The approach described by dond -- moderate length cable attached, with an extension available -- sounds good. If I were to have the same 45 feet of cable, I might divide it differently: 20 or even 15 feet attached to the bus and the remainder in the extension cord, so that I'd have a little less cable to wrangle when the pedestal is near. If it turned out that the bus piece came up short too often, it and the extension piece could be swapped.
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Old 07-30-2015, 11:48 PM   #6
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I'm planning to plug into a straightforward 110v household socket initially. I think that's a 15a max?
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Old 07-31-2015, 12:33 AM   #7
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Right. The breaker/fuse might be 20 amps, but the socket itself will be rated for 15 amps.
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Old 07-31-2015, 07:50 AM   #8
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I would have a minimum of 25 ft of cord, some older csmpgrounds they are at the rear left corner, most state parks we have seen have them about mid way up the left side, rigs are a lot bigger than the 8 ft pop ups that were popular in the old days

since mine exits behind stop sign, I carry an extension cord also (50 amp) and have had to use it almost every time, especially if I can't stick the rear overhang out due to trees etc.

ETA: real good deals on ebay for rv cabling
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Old 07-31-2015, 09:22 PM   #9
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I could put sockets on all corners lol
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Old 08-01-2015, 10:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by family wagon View Post
Right. The breaker/fuse might be 20 amps, but the socket itself will be rated for 15 amps.

True 20-amp 120-volt plugs for high-current loads have the neutral turned 90 compared to the hot to prevent them from being inserted into receptacles wired to provide only 15 amps. But nearly everyone uses the parallel-blade 15-amp style for both capacities.

If the neutral looks like a "T" lying on its side, it is a 15/20 amp outlet that will take both types of plug.

Most electricians will wire all outlets with #12 wires on a 20-amp breaker, and then use a 15-amp receptacle because the devices are so inexpensive when compared to the dual amperage style.
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