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Old 04-10-2010, 07:38 PM   #31
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Re: Question: Simple solution to having electricity??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smitty
Quote:
Originally Posted by baadpuppy
My 1988 RV had solid wire, and it showed serious signs of wire strain in many places when I pulled out the old wiring.
What does "showed serious signs of strain" mean?

Smitty
The wire was showing signs of metal fatigue, and in some places was easily broken. I'll see if I can find some of the old wire for a picture, but I think we tossed most of it.

stick and staple RVs I suspect flex a LOT more than our skoolies will. The walls in the old RV deflect quite a bit just from leaning against them. And that's just the exterior walls, and that was before any demolition occurred.

When we had a commercial electrician wiring up our new UPS system last month, I asked him his opinion on how best to run the wiring in the bus. He recommended the use of "greenfield" conduit (that's the flexed coil stuff) with THHN stranded wire pulled thru it. He also recommended normal conduit for longer/larger runs, but the greenfield to do the final connection points.

The generator I removed from my 1988 RV has this greenfield conduit connecting from it to the bus, with stranded copper wire inside. Inside the junction box, the manufacturer used wire nuts to bond the stranded copper to solid copper romex wiring, which then went inside to the ATS and circuit breaker box. Also, the 30A feed cord was done the same way.

I don't plan to have much 110V stuff. But for what I do have, I plan to use stranded wire.

jim
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Old 04-12-2010, 04:00 PM   #32
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Re: Question: Simple solution to having electricity??

I hope y'all don't mind me moving away from the solid vs. stranded debate, but I wanted to ask a few more electrical questions. I've noticed that at campgrounds the 30A sites have a 30A plugin and a 20A plugin, each with it's own breaker; and similarly the 50A sites have 50A, 30A & 20A plugins, again each with it's own breaker. So I'm thinking that I could set up my system to have two inputs (30A & 20A) and two breaker boxes. I could run my air conditioner and heater off the 20A box, and everything else off the 30A box. That way I get 50 amps out of a "30A site". I'm also considering adding a third 50A box (now expanding my total power to 100A at a "50A site") that would feed extra outlets to be used with extension cords for various utility purposes I have in mind (running tools, etc.). Is there a flaw in my logic here?
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Old 04-12-2010, 04:45 PM   #33
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Re: Question: Simple solution to having electricity??

There are only 50 amps available in that power pedestal. While there are some RVer's that run a special plug setup that will allow them to run their 50Amp RV off a 30/20amp pedestal. You do not get more power out of them. You will pop the breakers on the power pedestals (okay, it's a little fun watching them do that... until they blow out the whole campground). We can plug into a 30 amp outlet, with an adapter we can plug into 20 amp (and run the roof top RV AC unit off the 20 amp). Let me make myself clear... the 13.5K BTU Rooftop RV airconditioner unit will operate on 30 amp OR 20 amp service. We can (and have) plugged our pipe heater hose into the 15amp plug. You tend to pay extra for 50 amp hook-ups ($1 to $3 per night). You generally find 50 amp hookups($) in private parks. Public campgrounds tend to have the 20/15 amps and 30/20/15 amp hookups. You can make the electrical boxes/dogbones your self but here are some links with pictures and info (you can find them cheaper than camping world but they do have good pictures). During the summer, when everyone is running their AC units, the system tends to overload and everyone loses power. Please get your power usage under control! What on earth do you need 100amps of power for. As far as "getting 50amps out of a 30 amp site" if they catch you, you will pay extra (sometimes plus a fine for theft).

http://www.campingworld.com/shopping...-adapter/25774
http://rvbasics.com/techtips/50-to-30-amp-adapter.html

Info on RV electrical system (to understand the campground power)
http://rvbasics.com/techtips/rv-elec...em-basics.html
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Old 04-12-2010, 05:12 PM   #34
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Re: Question: Simple solution to having electricity??

Thanks for that info Lorna. So if I understand correctly, a 30A site truly only allows you to draw 30A; so even if I connect a cord to each plug in the box (30A & 20A), once I exceed a collective 30A of power draw a breaker somewhere in the campground is going to trip.

So in that case, I suppose I should just go with the first part of my plan to have a 30A input and 20A input to two different boxes. In this way I will have the most flexibility to harness power at 30A and 50A sites without having to build a 50A input and related wiring and cords. If I'm at a 50A site I can plug into the 30A and 20A plugins and draw a total of 50A without having to invest in the super expensive 50A extension cord; and if I'm at a 30A site I can just plug in to the 30A plugin and draw the 30 amps, plus I'd have the 20A option if there is a problem with the site's 30A connection, or if I'm just camping in someone's driveway and plugged into their 20A house plug.

Am I making more sense now?
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Old 04-12-2010, 07:29 PM   #35
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Re: Question: Simple solution to having electricity??

You should (technically) be able to pull about 50 amps. There's another reason to not need to pull 50amps. Campground power is notorious for being "low". I've heard of lots of Big Rig (50amp RV) folks what plug meters into the power plugs only to find they didn't have 50 amps. This can burn out so many appliances! Like the 3 AC units on the roof We burned out a microwave in a state park due to low power (on a 20 amp plug in our pop-up trailer). I used to have a little gizmo that I used to test polarity of plugs (we used to be in construction so we had lots of stuff like that). I would end up testing several power pedestals before finding a site that wasn't wired incorrectly (some campers will "fix" things on their own). Many of the 50amp service plugs seem to be damaged in some way (looks an awful lot like they tried to drive off without unplugging). Unless you are running 2 or 3 ac units, I really can't see why you would need 50 amp service.
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Old 04-13-2010, 12:58 AM   #36
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Re: Question: Simple solution to having electricity??

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Originally Posted by Diesel Dan
Thanks for that info Lorna. So if I understand correctly, a 30A site truly only allows you to draw 30A; so even if I connect a cord to each plug in the box (30A & 20A), once I exceed a collective 30A of power draw a breaker somewhere in the campground is going to trip.
This all depends on how the campground is wired, which can vary widely. If the 30-amp and 20-amp outlets are on the same 30-amp feed wire, yes, 30 amps is the limit. If the feed wire to the pedestal has a single-leg 50-amp circuit, and the 20-amp and 30-amp share it, you are fine. Likewise you are fine if the outlets run on separate feeds from the power source.

I kind of see (but not really) why you would want multiple shoreline circuit breaker panel boxes. I understand and recommend two boxes where one breaker panel is powered from the inverter/charger/transfer switch and would power lighter-duty "off-grid" or "emergency" loads. The "main" box would be powered by shoreline/generator only, and includes "sub-master" breaker(s) feeding your inverter/charger.

Using the adapters Lorna mentioned, or making up alternate cables with different plugs, you could power one circuit breaker panel with different input configurations, except the separate air conditioner shoreline you mentioned. Although that could be done with two transfer sockets somewhere in the bus, move a plug to shift the air conditioner from a panel-fed outlet to an outlet powered by the external 20-amp line.
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Old 04-13-2010, 10:38 AM   #37
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Re: Question: Simple solution to having electricity??

The reason I want to maximize the number of amps I can draw is that I will be processing WVO while travelling on long trips, and the processing equipment (heaters, pumps, etc.) use a fair amount of power in addition to the air conditioner and other appliances. I'm planning of going all 120VAC electric, with no propane except for a small backup camp stove. I figure I'm paying for the electric at the campground anyway, I might as well use it. I don't anticipate doing much boondocking.

Ideally I would prefer to just have one breaker panel that everything feeds into and I can choose which power source by throwing a 3-way switch. Then have two input cords from shore, one from generator, and one from Batteries/inverter. But a friend of mine (the electrical engineer) said that if for instance, I plug into multiple outlets on a single shore box, and the shore power sources were not in the same "phase" that it would not be 120V and would trip a breaker, and that is why I shouldn't just route them all to the same breaker box. I don't know much about electricity, but I'm just trying to build a flexible system that maximizes my potential power but doesn't cost a lot. I'm going to avoid buying RV-specific components when possible and I'm fine with manually throwing switches or moving plugs to adapt to whatever situation I find myself in.
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Old 04-13-2010, 11:27 PM   #38
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Re: Question: Simple solution to having electricity??

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. . . But a friend of mine (the electrical engineer) said that if for instance, I plug into multiple outlets on a single shore box, and the shore power sources were not in the same "phase" that it would not be 120V and would trip a breaker, and that is why I shouldn't just route them all to the same breaker box. I don't know much about electricity, but I'm just trying to build a flexible system that maximizes my potential power but doesn't cost a lot. I'm going to avoid buying RV-specific components when possible and I'm fine with manually throwing switches or moving plugs to adapt to whatever situation I find myself in.
That's correct. Depending on the campground's wiring philosophy, you could be getting 208 volts or 240 volts between the 20-amp hot and the 30-amp hot.
Tie them together as parallel inputs to a single panel, and watch the weakest link go up in smoke if a breaker doesn't trip.

That's why I suggested an outlet powered by the 20-amp cord separate from the other wiring. That way, you don't have to be quite so paranoid about the outlets (but a certain level is healthy). I would suggest in your case you at least wire for 50 amps, 120 volts. If there is a 50-amp outlet, you could use half of it (three pins instead of four) to get full power. If there is only 30 amps, turn off some loads. If there is a 30-amp plus a 20-amp, and the 20-amp does not share a 30-amp wire with the other outlet, unplug something from the bus and plug it into the 20-amp cord instead.

That way, you don't have to learn "rocket science" if you don't want to.
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