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Old 01-04-2017, 08:15 AM   #21
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that breaker is in the 50A group. DPDT - double pole double throw - both of those would be hots, and the way the breaker box is made, its split the legs for you.
when i say "50 amp" i mean double pole
when i say "30amp" i mean single pole

sorry to confuse

30 amp would be a SPST breaker- single pole single throw

also, i know just enough about electricity to be really dangerous.

ac electricity is in a wave pattern, so each pole takes turns putting out its amp rating. maybe the 80 is the combination of both sides? maybe it accounts for spikes in the generator? idk, but there was probably a pretty good reason for it.
I'll probably keep it then
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Old 01-04-2017, 12:39 PM   #22
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How and where do I start electrifying this thing?!?!
So tempting to start with a link to a cattle prod, or an ESD test gun, or a tesla generator.. maybe one of those plasma ball toys..

Maybe you could work from the present cord-based solution toward a permanent solution by starting here:


In other words, get a basic subpanel and feed it with a pair of male cord ends. Plug one into each of your present extension cords. From there you can start adding one circuit at a time (breaker and wiring) as you see fit. At some point you'd replace the pair of feed cords with a proper shore power cord. In time the extension cords inside and outside will disappear as they're replaced by more permanent solutions.
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Old 01-04-2017, 01:03 PM   #23
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now that looks electrical!!!

i'm no expert, but i think if you stayed with spst breakers that would be a fine 30a service.

dangerous as a 50a setup. if you use the 220 double pole stuff,the contact surface of those plugs are to small to carry 50amps, and you would have to be sure and plug into opposite phases. you'd want that big dryer cord plug in, just to be safe.
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Old 01-04-2017, 01:47 PM   #24
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Yep. The beauty of it is that the cord-based feed could plug into 15/20/30 amp (the latter only if one likes to live on the edge a bit) supplies and get things going for now. Like turf says, it wouldn't be appropriate to use this hack for any 240 volt equipment, but it could be an acceptable relatively safe interim approach for weaning off the extension cords with 120 volt loads.

I've done something similar, and with the same load management concerns, for the detached garage/shop at the house I've recently moved into. Somebody thought it was acceptable to feed the whole shop with a single 10/2 romex (direct-bury UF cable, actually) on a single-pole 30 amp breaker. For now I've re-wired it to use the two insulated conductors as hot legs and the bare as ground/neutral. That gets me 240 volts at 30 amps out in the shop so I can at least use my tools. Like milkmania with the heaters and microwave, I know from experience that the breaker will soon trip if I'm running the plasma cutter and don't stop and wait when the air compressor kicks on. Hopefully when spring comes I'll have both budget and ambition for a small remodel in the house that will clear the way for installing a much heavier cable to feed the shop.
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Old 01-04-2017, 05:09 PM   #25
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So tempting to start with a link to a cattle prod, or an ESD test gun, or a tesla generator.. maybe one of those plasma ball toys..

Maybe you could work from the present cord-based solution toward a permanent solution by starting here:


In other words, get a basic subpanel and feed it with a pair of male cord ends. Plug one into each of your present extension cords. From there you can start adding one circuit at a time (breaker and wiring) as you see fit. At some point you'd replace the pair of feed cords with a proper shore power cord. In time the extension cords inside and outside will disappear as they're replaced by more permanent solutions.
Quote:
Originally Posted by turf View Post
now that looks electrical!!!

i'm no expert, but i think if you stayed with spst breakers that would be a fine 30a service.

dangerous as a 50a setup. if you use the 220 double pole stuff,the contact surface of those plugs are to small to carry 50amps, and you would have to be sure and plug into opposite phases. you'd want that big dryer cord plug in, just to be safe.
now THIS I can handle!
that's a 12 switch control panel, correct?

now I'm wondering... I could set up 30amp service like this, and then when I get started on adding the roof air... I could set up a 50amp service panel to handle the roof air units separately.

wait, that won't work... It would mandate that I needed 50amp service anywhere I went! right?
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Old 01-04-2017, 05:13 PM   #26
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So tempting to start with a link to a cattle prod, or an ESD test gun, or a tesla generator.. maybe one of those plasma ball toys..
don't get me started..... I still have a very difficult time with neutral wires!
it's witchcraft, I tell ya!
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Old 01-04-2017, 05:14 PM   #27
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Still not much 50 amp around outside of the high-dollar"motor coach estates" places.
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Old 01-04-2017, 05:35 PM   #28
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i'm just gonna toss this out there so you can think about it.

the air conditioners are going to 110volts too, not 220.

if you just ran 1 AC unit, that 30 amp (1 pole) set up would be fine for all your needs. the 2nd 110AC unit will exceed the 30a max and it needs its own pole.

so theoretically, you may not use any 220v circuit, but still need the 2 pole capacity.

i have 3 - 220v loads on my system - 2 electric heaters and 1 kitchen stove.
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Old 01-04-2017, 07:13 PM   #29
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so theoretically, you may not use any 220v circuit, but still need the 2 pole capacity.
That's exactly right. I haven't done any survey of the "motor coach estates" residences but I imagine a fair number of them (the lesser-high-dollar) are in the group of not needing 220v, but needing more than 30 amps.

Quote:
Originally Posted by milkmania View Post
now THIS I can handle!
that's a 12 switch control panel, correct?

now I'm wondering... I could set up 30amp service like this, and then when I get started on adding the roof air... I could set up a 50amp service panel to handle the roof air units separately.
Yes -- well officially that particular unit is called a "12 space main lug load center." No, you wouldn't need to have a separate panel for 50 amp hookup. First, will you have any 220v appliances? If no, then it's easy. Start with a panel like the one shown. Eventually you'll get it to the point where as turf said you've got one roof AC on one pole and a second roof AC on the other pole. Balance the other loads similarly: if you anticipate using electric space heaters then arrange it so half of them are powered on one pole and half on the other. Microwave on one pole, electric hot plate/coffee maker/toaster on the other. And so on. The little stuff like TVs, computers, and battery chargers don't amount to enough to even worry about.

From that point there are two options: wire the two poles together in the panel and run a 3-wire shore power cord out to find a 120v/30a outlet, or keep the poles separated and run a 4-wire shore power cord. If you pick the latter then you gain flexibility. When a 240v/50a outlet is available you could plug in and run both roof AC (or all the heaters), everything in the kitchen, etc and never worry about tripping a breaker. When only a 120v/30a outlet is available you could use an adapter that ties the two hot poles from your panel/cord together and connects them both to the one hot leg in the 120v/30a outlet. In that case everything could be turned on, but you'd have to ration which things actually do turn on to avoid tripping a breaker. It'd be just like what you're doing now with turning off the heater while running the microwave.
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Old 01-04-2017, 07:25 PM   #30
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Great news and I understood every bit of it too!
I'll stay away from 220v shore power because I won't find it readily available on the road. My clothes dryer is 110v also.
And I'll be having an electrical trades instructor double checking me
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Old 01-05-2017, 12:15 AM   #31
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And I'll be having an electrical trades instructor double checking me
Amen Brother!!

I really try to keep my opinion to myself at times but it gets difficult when I read some of the threads regarding electrical questions.

As far as I know; very few people have died from plumbing errors, paint errors, carpet errors... You get the point.

People do die from electrical errors.

I applaud your decision to have a qualified professional check your work.

In my distant past I was a licensed electrician. Time has passed. Things that were easy knowledge 20 years ago are not so easy. Without question, I will hire a competent electrician to double check my work.

Be safe and have fun!!
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Old 01-05-2017, 07:24 AM   #32
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Electrical Knowledge? Where to start?

Can anyone post the best online or youtube tutorials to COMPREHENSIVELY teach about this. All I want to do is hook up shore power to my bus conversion and I don't understand most of what anyone is saying in this thread. How did you learn? Please post the best youtube videos or free online info that you know about! Thanks!
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Old 01-05-2017, 08:47 AM   #33
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with 2 AC units, you need to size your system for 50A service.

when i had my little travel trailer, i melted an adapter plugging my 30A system into a 15A service and running the AC. it can happen!

50A service is just like at home. 2 -110v hot wires, a neutral, and ground. you will split the 2 air conditioners and have one on each leg of the hot wires, and then you do your best to balance the rest of the loads, between the 2 - 110 hot wires.

in pumbing terms -
15A is like a little pipe of electricity
30A is like a big pipe of electricity
50A is like 2 big pipes of electricity

my diesel generator puts out the full 50A on both hots, so my bus was already wired for 50A (home like) service. i have an ex bookmobile, so it came with the heavy duty power supply. Now i am just adding the ability to plug in.
this totally simplifies this for me! thank you!
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Old 01-05-2017, 08:50 AM   #34
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So tempting to start with a link to a cattle prod, or an ESD test gun, or a tesla generator.. maybe one of those plasma ball toys..

Maybe you could work from the present cord-based solution toward a permanent solution by starting here:


In other words, get a basic subpanel and feed it with a pair of male cord ends. Plug one into each of your present extension cords. From there you can start adding one circuit at a time (breaker and wiring) as you see fit. At some point you'd replace the pair of feed cords with a proper shore power cord. In time the extension cords inside and outside will disappear as they're replaced by more permanent solutions.
perfecto! love it...keep 'em coming
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Old 01-05-2017, 09:07 AM   #35
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Cool!

the starting point is that box, at least for 50A service. look at "converters" for a 30A box, usually they built into a converter but you could do it like above too. most RV use a lot of 12v, and that comes from a converter.

i have a separate converter/ charger that plugs into my 50A system for my 12v needs. i think a lot of rv's have them integrated.
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Old 01-05-2017, 12:33 PM   #36
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I like the way the photo depicts the electrical set up.The concern I have is the size of the wire in the extension cords. Most common household extension cords are 14 gauge or 12 gauge at best and if incorrectly sized for the load and length of run can turn into fusible links and start a fire.

Here is a link to several charts that will help you find the correct extension cord for your use.
http://www.homedepot.com/c/factors_t...cords_HT_BG_EL

Jack
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Old 01-05-2017, 12:42 PM   #37
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Can anyone post the best online or youtube tutorials to COMPREHENSIVELY teach about this. All I want to do is hook up shore power to my bus conversion and I don't understand most of what anyone is saying in this thread. How did you learn? Please post the best youtube videos or free online info that you know about! Thanks!
Let me see what I can do. Four years of apprenticeship into a 30 minute YouTube video.....

Seriously, while you cannot condense that breadth of knowledge into a "one stop how to" I do think a very basic how to video could help some folks get started.

Maybe run through a basic RV converter, shore power and transfer switch installation? Some info on safety as well as planning pointers.
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Old 01-05-2017, 12:45 PM   #38
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Let me see what I can do. Four years of apprenticeship into a 30 minute YouTube video.....
don't knock it! I've seen youtubers build a house in 10 minutes


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Old 01-05-2017, 03:16 PM   #39
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Hey FAMILYWAGON !!!! You're not really doing that are you?
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Old 01-05-2017, 04:25 PM   #40
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Looks like I'd better clarify something: the illustration I posted showing a panel fed by two extension cords was intended only as a very raw starting point, not a finished solution, and was tailored specifically for the scenario milkmania had asked about:

Quote:
Originally Posted by milkmania View Post
At this moment, I am connected to a campsite pedestal with 20amp, 30amp, and 50amp service. I am using 50' 12/3 extension cord for various things
(one milk house heater and LED lights on the 30amp)

(One milk house heater, refrigerator, laptop, 1 external hard drive, and one CFL lamp on the 20amp with 75' 10/3 extension cord with 4 outlet box.) I "manage & manipulate" my microwave, toaster oven, and coffee maker on this circuit with power strips. If I need microwave, I turn off heater, etc...
Yes, I realize I should have the majority of this on the 30amp pedestal outlet... It just hasn't worked out that way yet, due to length of cords.
I understood it to mean the present situation has two appropriately-sized extension cords coming into the bus to power various things, and so proposed that those two cords could also feed into a panel. The idea is that the two legs of the panel could be plugged to the power strips on the existing two extension cords, and over time as real/permanent wiring is installed in the bus, loads would be moved off the power strips and onto newly-installed circuits. Eventually the panel feed would be the only thing left plugged into the power strips. The next step would be to remove the power strips and extension cords and replace them with a proper shore power cord. Throughout the whole process milkmania will have to continue with the "manage & manipulate" to avoid overloading the sources.

Several people pointed out risks, drawbacks, and concerns about this approach being used as a general solution. I agree with them. Here are a two of those:

Quote:
Originally Posted by turf View Post
i'm no expert, but i think if you stayed with spst breakers that would be a fine 30a service. dangerous as a 50a setup.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ol trunt View Post
I like the way the photo depicts the electrical set up.The concern I have is the size of the wire in the extension cords. Most common household extension cords are 14 gauge or 12 gauge at best and if incorrectly sized for the load and length of run can turn into fusible links and start a fire.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phatman View Post
Hey FAMILYWAGON !!!! You're not really doing that are you?
Doing what? The panel photo I posted..? My circumstances are different to what milkmania described; since I'm not in a "live in while converting" situation that arrangement wouldn't have any benefit for me. If I were in that situation yes I'd do something similar. In all honesty I'd probably begin by installing the panel, the shore power cord, and two 20A breakers and outlets all in one go. Then I'd move the power strips off the extension cords and onto those two new outlets, then proceed to add one circuit at a time to gradually eliminate the cords and power strips inside the bus. Functionally it's similar but I laid the steps out in smaller increments and shuffled slightly to help break it down into a series of smaller/easier steps.
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