Originally Posted by Kathy WI
Most household outlets are 15 amp, right?
Yes, most outlets are the 15-amp style, though they are often fed by 20-amp wiring and circuit breakers. Any type of heating appliance running on AC will have a multi-amp draw. The hot plate, a coffee pot, or a hair dryer is more of a concern than the fridge. Our home Energy Star chest freezer draws less than an amp after start-up.
The cheap outdoor extension cords in the hardware store and home center bargain bins are typically made of 16 gauge wire for the budget seekers. You have to look through the bins to find the heavier cords with 14 gauge or 12 gauge wire. They probably do not commonly carry any 10 gauge cords due to the cost and low demand. If you are using a hot plate, I would use a 14 gauge shore line up to about 50 feet, and switch to 12 gauge for runs of 100 feet.
In my experience, most people in houses (not counting cheapo mobile homes) have 20-amp circuits, but use receptacles keyed for a 15-amp plug. 15-amp plugs have the hot and neutral blades parallel to each other. Plugs coded for use only in 20-amp circuits have one blade turned perpendicular to the other. Outlets made for 20-amp building wiring designed to take either type of plug will have one slot and one T-shaped opening, plus the U-ground, so either style plug will fit.
In my current camper, all appliances work on either 12-volts or propane. The only AC on board is the battery charger ("converter"). So I have no problem with using a 16 gauge cord for trips where we will not be boondocking.
I have ditched the heavy 30-amp cord that the manufacturer provided, and put in a piece of 12-gauge wire just long enough to reach from the breaker panel to an extension cord. I used a heavy-duty version of the common 15-amp style plug, so there will be no problem plugging into common extension cords or receptacles.
Originally Posted by bansil
. . .I made my own 50 ft,buy buying V STABLE romex and 2 ends at lowes/home depot.
It doesn't store small because off stiff wire
Romex non-metallic cable (NM) is not a good choice for making shorelines. The advantage is that it is easy to find, and the price is lower because people use so much of it. It is designed to be nailed into walls and stay there. The solid wire conductors will break if they are bent back-and-forth too many times, just like snapping a coat hanger.
Also, the plastic jacket on Romex is not sunlight resistant. An outdoor version of Romex would be underground feeder (UF) type, which can be direct buried, or hung in the sunlight between a house and garage, or a tree with a security light. But this also has solid conductors.
The correct wire to use is called "cord." It will have conductors made of many fine strands of wire. Each conductor will have its own insulation inside the jacket, and there will be added pieces of a kind of cardboard-like paper between each insulated wire to stabilize them and protect them from damage. You will find reels of cord in the home centers and many hardware stores, and the "retail drones" (a term I first heard on Skoolies this week) will cut off a piece priced by the foot to whatever length you want.
Add a plug (male end) and "cap" (female end), and you have a shoreline you can trust, because you made it yourself. You can also repair it yourself if something untoward happens to it.
As for the outlet strip, check the wire size from the plug to the strip. It should be stamped into the plastic cord jacket. Now that you have made your own shoreline, you may want to tackle putting a higher-capacity cord on the strip, if it needs it. But that may involve soldering. It doesn't hurt to pull the screws out and check. If you don't feel like soldering to replace under-sized wire, then shorten it. Get another 15-amp plug from the hardware store, cut the strip's cord down to 6 inches, and put the replacement cord on the strip. Plug it into your new faithful shoreline close to the strip.