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15 Amp Service Connection

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fandj

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15 Amp Service Connection
« on: December 04, 2017, 08:42:44 pm »
Many of the campgrounds we stay that have electrical service typically have 15 amp, 30 amp, and some have 50 amp outlets.  Our PC is wired for 30 amp so this is the pedestal outlet we typically use.  During the winter when we are using a 1500 watt portable heater, water heater on 110 volt power, and microwave on 110 volt we have to be careful to not run all three at the same time or we draw too much power.  I am thinking of installing a dedicated 110 volt ground fault outlet in the PC to connect the portable heater.  This dedicated outlet would be isolated from the rest of the PC power circuitry and it would connect with a separate 10-12 gauge power cord which would be connected to the campground 15 amp pedestal outlet.

Has anyone done anything similar?  What safety issues should I be aware of other than using properly sized wiring, outlet, and connectors to handle the 15 amp service.  Am I correct in thinking that campground outlets with 15 amp and 30 amp service are capable of supplying a total of 45 amps or would they typically be protected at a maximum of 30 amps?

If I can get comfortable that this is safe and indeed will provide me the ability to run the portable heater while using the microwave, water heater, and tv i would move ahead with the project.  I am thinking of installing a Marinco male connector in the side of the PC similar to the PC installed 30 amp male connector but would be designed to connect a 15 amp cord.  This would require drilling a 1 7/8” inch in the fiberglass exterior.  Anyone else drilled or cut the side panel and if so what was your experience?  I know Phoenix must successfully cut holes to install various electrical and plumbing ports but it makes me a little nervous.

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jatrax

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Re: 15 Amp Service Connection
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2017, 09:07:37 pm »
Quote
Am I correct in thinking that campground outlets with 15 amp and 30 amp service are capable of supplying a total of 45 amps or would they typically be protected at a maximum of 30 amps?
@fandj, in a perfect world you might be correct.  However, I suspect the answer to that question is "probably not".  While it is certainly possible that some parks are wired that way I think most would just run the wire to the 30 amp receptacle and tap off that to power the 15 amp one.  That means you are going to be restricted by the breaker in the pedestal, so 30 amps total.

The biggest problem is going to be we have no way to know how it was wired and in many different parks the wiring might have been done long ago or by folks not necessarily concerned about the NEC book.  Certainly it would be significantly cheaper to tap a 15 amp receptacle off the 30 amp wire rather than add another breaker in the main and run another set of 12/3 out to each pedestal.  And often cheap wins regardless of code.


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ron-n-toni

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Re: 15 Amp Service Connection
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2017, 08:08:13 am »
Hey, I like that idea. We have a 2017 2552. and have the same problem. If the home run circuit is installed as you say, in a workmanship manner, why not. I have watched people change out the front panels of the pedestal and it appears to me that the thirty and twenty amp outlets are just 'LEGS" off the 240 volt line. I have in the past gone out in the colder weather and had a heat tape wrapped around the sewer system on my previous 2351 and plugged it into the twenty amp outlet while the camper was plugged into the thirty amp and works just fine. But as Fanji says, depends on the pedestal (exactly)

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Ron Dittmer

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Re: 15 Amp Service Connection
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2017, 09:12:04 am »
I agree with jatrax.  Each campground power pedestal could be wired differently.  At the same time, if the power pole is not shared with an adjacent neighbor, use both 30 amp outlets, and use a 30-to-15 amp adapter for the 15 amp power cord for your space heater  It seems easy enough to run a separate 14/3 extension cord from the power pole to your electric space heater inside your PC.  Just make sure not to pinch the cord when closing your van door.  Find the best location in the door jamb that has the least pressure against the extension cord.  Maybe you could tape a short wood dowel rod of the same diameter of the cord, to the cord when closing the door to relieve any pinching of the cord.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2017, 09:16:03 am by ron.dittmer »
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jatrax

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Re: 15 Amp Service Connection
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2017, 10:42:21 am »
Quote
If I can get comfortable that this is safe and indeed will provide me the ability to run the portable heater while using the microwave, water heater, and tv i would move ahead with the project.
Provided the additional receptacle is the only thing powered by the added 15 amp input and therefore has no other connection to the rig I see no safety issues.  So assuming the the pedestal is wired to allow more than 30 amps it should work.  And if it wasn't wired to handle that then the breaker should trip. 

I am always leery of electrical systems I did not personally have a hand in.  One of the foundations of our safe electrical system in this country is that everyone follow the 'rules' which is the NEC book.  So I am trusting that the electrician before me wired things correctly.  Sadly I have been in numerous situations where that was NOT the case and have gotten zapped more than once because someone did something not to code.

I always use an electrical tester on the pedestal before plugging the rig in, just to check. 


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Volkemon

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Re: 15 Amp Service Connection
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2017, 04:05:19 pm »
 Find the best location in the door jamb that has the least pressure against the extension cord.  Maybe you could tape a short wood dowel rod of the same diameter of the cord, to the cord when closing the door to relieve any pinching of the cord.

Indeed, find the best location. In our 2350, the lower rear corner of the door is the best spot I found. Plenty of 'cush for the push' and the door flexes easily there. We have the RV on 30A shore power in the driveway for the coach power, and have a 12ga cord running out to run a dehumidifier as we sort out water leaks.  pyho 

I would not think a dowel would help in this respect, maybe would in others. When in doubt, follow Ron.  2o2

As far as sorting out whether the 'legs' on a 20A/30A circuit are shared on a post, use a multimeter. if you get 220V 'hot to hot' 20 to 30, they are different legs. 0V they are 'shared'


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Ron Dittmer

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Re: 15 Amp Service Connection
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2017, 04:35:47 pm »
....and have a 12ga cord running out to run a dehumidifier as we sort out water leaks.  pyho
Where is rain water showing up in your PC?  I ask because some time ago I read a few other people experiencing water leaks near the entry door.  The culprit was the electric awning, specifically where the wires pass through from inside to outside to supply power to the drive motor.  Others had water coming in through the slide out.  I don't recall the exact resolution.  What I do recall was that the solution confused me.  Since neither applied to me personally, I didn't give either enough brain power.  Maybe others can help you through the trouble-shooting process.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2017, 04:37:56 pm by ron.dittmer »
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Joe R

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Re: 15 Amp Service Connection
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2017, 07:26:44 pm »
Fandj, picture the pedestal plug in like your breaker panel at home. Most common in houses are 100 or 200 services. So the power company would run wire that would support your maximum panel amperage.
Now your breaker panel has a main breaker that feeds a buss bar that all the other breakers connect to. So the service wire going to your house is the same as the under ground wire going to the pedestals in the campground. All the pedestals I have used have separate 30 and 15 amp breakers. Any campground that would wire a 15 amp receptacle into a 30amp breaker is asking for a lawsuit if an accident ever happened.   If the pedestal has a 30 amp plug and breaker, and a 15 or 20 amp plug and breaker you can draw a total of 45 or 50 amps from the 2 plugs.
I would suggest that you use 20amp outlet and 12 wire inside the PC. at 1500 watts and 120 volts that equals 12.5 amps. If the voltage drops to 110 volts the amperage jumps to 13.6. at this amperage for extended time, will over heat a 15amp breaker and it will trip. And I would use 10 wire for your extension cord because there would be less resistance than a store bought 14 gage wire.

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jimmer

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Re: 15 Amp Service Connection
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2017, 10:11:42 am »
Fandj,  pretty sure I saw on this forum, or another,  maybe RV.NET,    where someone had drilled through the exterior wall in the dinette area to accomplish running an extension cord to the pedestal 15/20 amp outlet.      Using a rubber 'plug'  to  cover the hole when not in use.    According to him,  it worked out very well.    Obviously had to be very careful on placement of the hole.

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Volkemon

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Re: 15 Amp Service Connection
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2017, 08:06:13 pm »
Any campground that would wire a 15 amp receptacle into a 30amp breaker is asking for a lawsuit if an accident ever happened.   


well, I dont see a big liability in it. My local RV shop sells this, and it would certainly give one a 15A outlet with a 30A breaker servicing it. They DO only rate it for  1875W @  125V , or 15A. I suppose it would let the magic smoke out of the wires if run higher..  roflol

http://www.campingworld.com/shopping/item/power-grip-adapter-30a-male-to-15a-female/27985

I think its just a matter of how the post was wired initially. *IF* there is 220V run to the post anyway, its an easy matter to have the 15A and 30A on different legs. But WHO KNOWS how it was wired, so the multimeter is the 'truth teller' here.  Should the post be originally wired for 110V 30A and the 15A outlet added, i would expect to find them both on the same leg. With a 30A breaker servicing them both.

( I dont have a current NEC book, and have never wired for RV use.  :-[ Might be a whole section there... but I have seen code ignored.  (nod) )

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Joe R

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Re: 15 Amp Service Connection
« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2017, 04:07:21 pm »
I'm sure there are a lot people that use those adaptors with no issues. that rating would be in a perfect world, say the campground voltage is at 110 now it would be 17 amps. And if you use a extension cord sold in the big box stores. They are 16 gauge wire and there rating is 13 amps for 1625watts at 125 volts.
So now what happens if something goes wrong. You don't have a breaker anymore. You have a 25 or 50 foot (or what length cord your using) fuse that will burn in two before the breaker senses a need to trip, Except in a dead short.     

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Volkemon

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Re: 15 Amp Service Connection
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2017, 01:46:13 pm »
  I am thinking of installing a Marinco male connector in the side of the PC similar to the PC installed 30 amp male connector but would be designed to connect a 15 amp cord.  This would require drilling a 1 7/8” inch in the fiberglass exterior.  Anyone else drilled or cut the side panel and if so what was your experience?  I know Phoenix must successfully cut holes to install various electrical and plumbing ports but it makes me a little nervous.

I know the post got a bit off topic, but back to your original question.

Thinking about it, I may do this same modification to add the outlet like you describe. We are running a dehumidifier often, and I do not want a high draw appliance running unsupervised using the coach electrical. I can see running a space heater when parked also.

I have been running a cord in the drivers door. Works, but not the best solution.  :)

I would like to have the shore connections near each other, at least on the same side. Mrs Volkemon is in the camper now getting ready for tonight, so a more detailed inspection of the current shore power connector area inside must wait.

One option I like is putting it on the slide. I have the fold down couch, and there is a spot I could surface mount a box. Fairly well hidden, yet easy to get to slide in or out.

pro's-
1) correct side
2) no plumbing to hit
3) minimal low voltage wiring in the wall, only a 12V line to the overhead light. I can see it goes up the rear outside wall of the slider, so easy to avoid.

cons-
1)wire will be hanging out when slide extended
2)appearance of surface mounted box inside. I would prefer a wall mount.

 The wall seems pretty uniform when I press on it, so not so easy to locate the aluminum framing. :( if I stick to this location, I may drill a few small holes on the inside, down below the couch trim. If aluminum spirals come out... I hit one.  :-D  I am going to try a studfinder also, if I can find mine.  :lol

I will explore the area back by the other connectors some more. I would prefer all the connections together.  Mrs V just informed me that the top shelf below the sink is soaked..  pyho more leaks.

Below - good mounting location for the power box if I do choose the 'on the slide' option.

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Ron Dittmer

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Re: 15 Amp Service Connection
« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2017, 02:18:53 pm »
I am concerned any 120V electric on a moving slide-out runs a risk of something going wrong via an over-sight, forgetting you have it plugged in somewhere.  A power cord inside or outside could get pinched or stretched or sheared off.

I would place the pictured pass-thru on a fixed exterior wall, maybe adjacent to the 30 amp if accessible.  An alternate location might be near your exterior fridge or furnace panels.  Maybe near the single battery compartment there....if you have the single battery.  Or does your 2006 have twin batteries by the main entry door, the same as later model years?  2006 was the transition year from one to two batteries.

On the inside,  I would wire a duplex outlet via Romex (or better) & junction box mounted near the floor in the area of your wall closet or fridge.  Make it all 20 amp because your 2006 has 20 amp, 12 gauge wire throughout.  Any owner mods should follow the same practice for the same reason....wire & termination over-load insurance.


« Last Edit: December 09, 2017, 02:39:20 pm by ron.dittmer »
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donc13

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Re: 15 Amp Service Connection
« Reply #13 on: December 12, 2017, 04:41:02 pm »
There is ONLY one way to do it safely... A 50 amp plug to 30a AND 15a adapter.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MRN4C73/ref=asc_df_B01MRN4C735299883/?tag=hyprod-20&creative=395033&creativeASIN=B01MRN4C73&linkCode=df0&hvadid=198064502357&hvpos=1o2&hvnetw=g&hvrand=5556998667899434989&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=m&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9028903&hvtargid=pla-348585281213

Which means you MUST select a spot with a 50a receptacle.

Your other option... Turn off the heater before you use the microwave.
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Joseph

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Re: 15 Amp Service Connection
« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2017, 10:43:42 am »
If your going to place a ground fault recepticle you have the issue someone mentioned of concerns of if something shorted such as your heater. Also I have yet to see a ped that the adjacent 15 amp 110 outlet wasn’t on its own breaker.

I have considered doing exactly what you are looking at and rather than drilling thru fiberglass I have considered having the connection just under fiberglass by adding a bracket to hold it there, much like your receptacle for your toad wiring in the rear. I would place it either near the battery box which might be a pain due to having to having to throw your cord under the rv at every hook up due to the ped being on the other side. If I do this I will place the ground fault on the cabinet near/under the sink as it allows easy access under neath. The issue here if you place the male exterior recepticle on the side of the ped is running your wiring to the passenger side before entering.  So once I get around to it if I can find a good way to run the supply wire from the ped side to the passenger side of the rig that will be my first choice. If not I’ll deal with throwing the cord under or dragging along a long enough cord to go around the rig to the ped.