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Electrical Discussion of preventative/corrective maintenance and other technical issues regarding your coach's electrical system.

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  #1  
Old 03-10-2008
dbcooper100 dbcooper100 is offline
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Default Shore power electric

We have an 84 FC, have not had it long. Yesterday I was cleaning out the storage bins and came to the shore power cord storage. Seem to have a lot of elect. cords, Two 30 Amp. and one 50 Amp. plus a couple of 30 Amp. extenson cords. filled up all the storage slots and then some. Would like to eliminate some of them.

Which leads me to the real question, Why are there two 30 Amp recepticles in the small elect./ water hook up compartment.

Thanks,
Dale Cooper
Painesville, Oh.
84FC 35SB.
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  #2  
Old 03-10-2008
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Dale, You have 2 banks of electrical power, look in your breaker box and you will see a left & right bank. In some older parks they had 30 amp service some offered dual 30 amp service. Now most parks offer 50 amp service. On 30 amp you can not use all services on your bus at the same time without tripping breakers, with 50 amp you can use just about everything. With the 50 amp it is split between the 2 legs. Most of us have a cheater or an adapter from a 30 amp male to a 50 amp female were you can use 30 amp service through your 50 amp cord split between the 2 legs, but you still can not use all services. It is just less hassle then the 2 cords. I have a 50 amp cord with a 30 amp male and I use it when in a 30 amp park. With it I can run front & rear heat or air but I can not run both heat/airs and the micowave at the same time. It will trip a breaker. Now I just carry the 50 amp cord & the 50 amp with the 30 amp male connector. I leave the 2 -30 amp cords at home.
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  #3  
Old 03-10-2008
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Hi Dale,

50A service is relatively new to the camping community- especially up in the northeast. We regularly only have 30A service, which is not enough to run two a/c's and a water heater, ice maker, etc... in my coach (cruise-air units). The two 30A connections will let me power the second leg of the 'lectric from a neighboring campsite (we usually try to camp next to a pop-up or tent- knowing that they don't use the 30A plug on their pole) In addition to the two 30A cords, I usually carry a 50' 30 Amp extension cord for stealing power from a neighboring campsite when needed.
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  #4  
Old 04-26-2008
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Dear Dale,

I agree that having all those cords uses up a lot of valuable storage space. I eliminated my 30 amp cords and being the coach did not come with any cables for that matter, I only use the 50 amp service. I found that the 50 amp cable is a bit cumbersome too. Since I had to make my own cables I installed a new 4 wire 50 amp marine receptical and plug and also purchased 30 feet of #6 four conductor SOOW cable. After using the new cable a few times I found it too a bit unwieldy, heavy and cumbersome. Some campsites had the electric close to the left rear corner of the coach while one in particular had the electrical hook up at the very front of the site. With 30 feet of cable, I had to pull up to within 5 feet of the road to get power hooked up. My fix was to buy another 10 feet of cable and convert the 30 foot cable into an extension cable. Now about 90% of the time I only have to lug out the much lighter 10 foot cable and still have the longer cable for just in case. All the best!
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  #5  
Old 04-27-2008
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Hi Dale,

It's a lot of cords to haul around but it does give you some options.

Keep in mind that when you plug the 50 Amp cord into 50 Amp shore power you have 50 Amps of power available on EACH leg of your breaker panel for a total of 100 Amps to run your electrical devices.

If you are able to use (2) 30 Amp outlets you should have 30 Amps of power available on EACH leg of your breaker panel for a total of 60 Amps to run your electrical devices.

When you have just the 30 Amp to 50 Amp cheater cord plugged into 30 amps you only have a total of 30 Amps to power the whole coach.
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  #6  
Old 04-27-2008
Jim Magowan Jim Magowan is offline
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I think there is a bit of confusion here. The power (amps) available is determined by the outlet you are plugged into. If you plug into one 50a. 240v. outlet you have 50 amps going into the coach. In our SP that 50/240 is split with half (I assume) going to or available to each 120v. leg. This means I have about 25 amps available on each leg and the legs are breakered accordingly.

In our SP the various outlets, heaters etc. are divided onto the two legs so we don't have one leg blowing breakers while the other is not drawing any current.

Last spring I had some work done on the generator and was told I needed breakers on hte two legs to avoid damage to the generator. They installed two 30a breakers and the first moring we were out the breaker popped when I turned on the bathroom heater with the other electric heaters on. This was a first. When I told the guys at the shop that I needed higher capacity breakers they would not install them (liability) and insisted the generator could only handle 30a per leg.

Sine the generator had been handling more than 30a per leg for 17 years and over 3,000 hours of use I figured ther was a reason BB put meters in that had green up to 40a. and had the 30a breakers removed.

We have a four pin 240/50a cord wired into the coach. There is also a 3 pin with side neutral or ground outlet (inlet?) for which I have not been able to find pulgs or a cord so one of these days I will change it to a standard four pin configuration so I don't have to use the hard wired cord all the time.

I am not sure what would happen if I plugged both thr hard wired cord and the outlet cord into 50a outlets at the same time. I might have 100 amps but it might raise some safety issues.
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  #7  
Old 04-27-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Magowan View Post
I think there is a bit of confusion here. The power (amps) available is determined by the outlet you are plugged into. If you plug into one 50a. 240v. outlet you have 50 amps going into the coach. In our SP that 50/240 is split with half (I assume) going to or available to each 120v. leg. This means I have about 25 amps available on each leg and the legs are breakered accordingly.
You may have added to the confusion. 50 amps at 240 equals TWO 50-amp 120 connections, not two 25-amp connections.
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  #8  
Old 04-27-2008
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A "50 Amp" connection is 50 amps at 240 volts. In an RV, it's normally split into 2 legs of 50 amps at 120 v AC each. So you really have 100 amps at 120 volts with "50 amp service."

So, when you use "30 amp service" you get 30 amps at 120 volts or about 30% of the potential energy you'd have with "50 amp service." That's why it's so easy to overwhelm a 30 amp service with a WL. You're not lower by 20 amps -- you're actually lower by 70 amps!

As for the generator, it depends on its rating. Looking at the brochure listed on Vintage Birds, it appears you may have an 8kw Onan. That would suggest a total output of about 65 amps at 120 volts -- split in two legs of about 32.5 amps each. All generators are able to handle brief overloads (within limits) to accommodate motor startups, etc. so a 30 amp breaker (per leg) would likely blow before the generator was overloaded. At the very least, a delayed reaction breaker would be required to keep AC units and other electric motors from tripping the breaker. The electric heaters in various 'birds are only 10 to 12 amps each (mostly) but you may have had another load (battery charger or electric hot water element?) that you weren't aware of. So 2 electric heaters (12 amps each) leaves only 6 amps of load before a 30 amp breaker would trip. Battery charger or some other heating element (or microwave oven) might have tripped the breaker. The generator might have otherwise handled the load.

I would not plug in the two cords unless I fully understood the way they were wired up. You could end up 'blowing' circuits and appliances and/or burning up a lot of wiring both in the coach and the campground depending on what's hooked to what. If you have a hard-wired 50 amp cord, that is the one to use. If you need to plug into a 30 amp service, then use a 'dog bone' adapter as it splits the 30 amp 120 volt to both legs. Careful power management is required. (Some earlier year BBs had dual 30 amp cords as well as a 50 amp cord for use when few RV parks offered 50 amp service. It that case, you'd use <b>either</b> the 50 amp cord or both of the 30 amp cords.)

My coach is a few years newer than yours (and I have a much larger generator) but for shore power, I have a 50 amp cord (hard wired at one end to the coach) with the 4 prong "range" type plug.

I also have a 3 prong with side ground plug in the power compartment. I was told it was a "buddy plug" that I could access the generator power for external purposes. The only connectors I could find to fit it were dreadfully expensive ($150+) so I've done nothing to utilize that plug. I found (online) a diagram showing the standard wiring so I could have made up a plug/junction box to give me a 120V power tap -- but due to the cost involved, it isn't worth it to me.
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  #9  
Old 04-27-2008
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We may still be confused, 50 amps X 240 volts = 12,000 watts, at a 4 prong pedestal, using the 30 amp adapter is 30 amps X 110 volts = 3300 watts. Big difference.
all 30 amp pedestal plugs are three prongs and 110Volts.
On the older Birds, we also have two 30 amp receptacles. This can lead to two 110 volt plugs, one on each leg, this means 2 X 30 amp X 110 Volts = 6600 watts.
Those of us with the 8.0K Onan sometimes get into trouble during cold weather, when we need a block heater (1500W), hot water ( 1200W) , coffee (600W), and there is a possibility of using up to four electric heaters (1200W each), So 8,000 Watts divided by the 110 volts ( all appliances are 110V ) is only about 72 amps or 8,000 Watts available.

This is when the Volt meters and Amp gages are really important to monitor.

And Yes our Onan was protected at a double 50 amp breaker from BlueBird.
This was changed to a double 40 amp breaker. somewhat of a better match, but a 35 amp breaker would be a better match. This is a special order item.
It is very easy to ask the 8.0K Onan for more power than it can deliver,
Oh, I forgot the battery charger and Patty (the power Hog). Hopeing she does not read this
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  #10  
Old 04-27-2008
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On mine, and I would have presumed standard with others, the Buddy plug is a standard 30-amp RV receptacle, designed to take the "dogleg" or a 30-amp cord. Non-standard wouldn't make sense, since few "buddies" could take advantage of it in that case.

If you want to use it as a standard 120 tap, a male 30 to female 15 is very cheap. $3.88 at Camping World, part number 24494. Same price as their female 30 to male 15, which is more common.
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