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View Full Version : What do you use the electric for at a comp, and how much do you need?


Babyboomerboy
12-12-2008, 08:43 AM
We are in the process of figuring out how much electricity to supply for the cookers at our comp this summer. An electrician has been giving us a lesson on how much amperage a light blub uses, an electric knife, a fan etc. What do you use the electric that is supplied at compís for? Have you experienced any black outs because of not having enough electricity? Do you try to hook up your RVís with the electricity that is supplied? How have some of you coordinators handled the electric situation for the cookers and how much have you supplied for each one? Do they use every bit of what you supply them, for instance, all 15 AMPís? Thank you

BBQchef33
12-12-2008, 09:09 AM
I'll bet your gonna get 2 set of answers here.

Those that that use a few amps for lights and those that suck every amp they can get.

I fall into the second category, so i always travel with a Honda 3000 so Im not blowing circuits and shutting off gurus.

My comp trailer has a full fridge(rated 6-8 amps), electric water heater(rated 10-12), AC(rated 14), and then all the other stuff such as lighting, TV, computers. If im running everything, unless the comp can supply stable 30 amp service, I run off the generator. If its 15, I cant use it. 20 amp, I Ok. Low volts/amps wreck havoc on compressors and can kill the fridge as well as farking with peoples electronics.

I never depend on contest power anymore since loading up on stuff. When i ran just lighting and few other things it were ok.

I have been to contests where power kept tripping, everytime due to rain.

If your doing a contest with shakey power, its best to let teams know that power will be for lighting only and teams that draw heavy amps will need to supplement.

Alexa RnQ
12-12-2008, 09:23 AM
We're in the first category. We draw for two fluorescent lights, and our biggest power-suck is the fan. We got a little power brick to run the Stokers, and before the Jack we bought a little Honda genny.

We don't have the problem of cookers that depend on electricity, thank goodness, but the first time we were at a comp with iffy power, we thought "Man, I'd hate to be in that boat".

Sledneck
12-12-2008, 09:25 AM
We're in the first category. We draw for two fluorescent lights, and our biggest power-suck is the fan. We got a little power brick to run the Stokers, and before the Jack we bought a little Honda genny.

We don't have the problem of cookers that depend on electricity, thank goodness, but the first time we were at a comp with iffy power, we thought "Man, I'd hate to be in that boat".A car battery?

Big George's BBQ
12-12-2008, 09:59 AM
I just need it to light my canopies. I have a Guru but I only use that for a Grill Temp right now. Some day I hope to be in a position to where I need a generator for a trailer

G$
12-12-2008, 10:04 AM
I'll bet your gonna get 2 set of answers here.

Those that that use a few amps for lights and those that suck every amp they can get.


First camp. We use electricity exactly for:

Running the ipod charger and radio speakers.
Intermittently (rarely) Running the 35 cup coffee maker (hot water heater)
When we are inclined, and remember, and are sober enough to string them, we may put up a strand or two of rope lights.
We bring a really heavy duty extension cord with a three receptacle outlet on the end. It is all we need.

Even still, unreliable electric is an annoyance.

Scottie
12-12-2008, 10:10 AM
If they have 20 amp I am good to go in my RV... I also have alarms if the power gets low though... I also have my onboard Onan, but I don't like how it makes my RV feel like a vibrating bed... I just got a new Honda 6500, which I carry around for any power needs I may have and also have the Honda 3000 in reserves... I need to have my AC.... :twisted::twisted:

ique
12-12-2008, 10:26 AM
2 lightbulbs and 1 electric knife.

Buster Dog BBQ
12-12-2008, 10:27 AM
In Waterloo this year the power box was so overloaded it was like Clark Griswald in Christmas Vacation. The other thing that sucks is if someone unplugs or trips over your cord by accident.

Alexa RnQ
12-12-2008, 10:39 AM
A car battery?
It looks almost like one, with a handle. It's a 600 watt rechargeable powerpack. Unfortunately, VQ now thinks that "rechargeable" means that it is a permanent decorative addition to the living room.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51lHOF4v6RL._SL500_AA2%38%30_.jpg

parrothead
12-12-2008, 11:00 AM
We usually have a few strings of some very low power lighting as well as at least one bright light when needed. We typically have a fan as well. We might charge a cell phone or two and will have a big coffee pot going in the morning. Pretty small load as far as we have been concerned, but I have seen some heavy duty power usage at comps including portable AC and such.

Vince RnQ
12-12-2008, 11:10 AM
It looks almost like one, with a handle. It's a 600 watt rechargeable powerpack. Unfortunately, VQ now thinks that "rechargeable" means that it is a permanent decorative addition to the living room.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51lHOF4v6RL._SL500_AA2%38%30_.jpg

I've always had a flair for decorative style!

Sidw
12-12-2008, 12:09 PM
We are amps hogs. We can get by on 20 amps - 30 amps is nice - 50 amps and we won't leave. We have an onboard generator, but would rather not use due to noise & cost.

tonto1117
12-12-2008, 01:55 PM
We are amps hogs. We can get by on 20 amps - 30 amps is nice - 50 amps and we won't leave. We have an onboard generator, but would rather not use due to noise & cost.

Lol.....same for us :)

Paola Greg
12-12-2008, 02:16 PM
We prefer at least 20 amps especially in July and August when we want to run the a/c. If adequate power is not available, we've got a couple Honda 2000's we use.

GratefulSmoker
12-12-2008, 02:41 PM
We just use a Honda 3000 and it runs everything just fine....and it's not very loud at all...

HBMTN
12-12-2008, 04:28 PM
I run a large fan, some lights, and a small radio. Not much amperage here.

Marsha
12-12-2008, 04:34 PM
We bring along a Honda 3000 and we love it. Those babies are so nice and quiet. But if there is good power available we will use that instead. Our trailer has lights, a fan, a freezer and an XM receiver/CDplayer.

butts a fire
12-12-2008, 04:46 PM
We have fit into both camps back when we had the camper we would run the camper with ac (no generator). He did have a few times where there were problems with the power at the contest and it kept tripping.

Now we just use the power for things like a radio and lights so we don't really draw too much anymore.

beam boys bbq
12-12-2008, 05:48 PM
i can run 50 amp with everything on or i can run 30amp with just what i need on

the main problem is the GFI some contest i will trip it all day long and others i will not trip once i have an electriction look at my rv and we can't figuer this one out

york

Bigmista
12-12-2008, 06:37 PM
Lights, Computer & Guitar amp for music, coffee maker for hot water. Space heater if it's cold. Pump for air bed.

Bentley
12-12-2008, 07:08 PM
Yeah, after Viejas in 2007 we said no more of this stuff! One guy had a 7-11 stlye ice cream freezer he was running. Had the conjones to tell us we were blowing the fuses with the Traeger and the WholeHog.

It was Honda Eu2000i after that contest. Out here in CA it is hit and miss with power, some good, sometimes not so good. And with some contests charging $50, we said no mas!

Rookie'48
12-12-2008, 08:43 PM
the main problem is the GFI some contest i will trip it all day long and others i will not trip once i have an electriction look at my rv and we can't figuer this one out. york

York -
After the GFI gets tripped numerous times it starts to wear out. That and the fact that some places like to use 15 amp GFI's instead of the 20 amp.

Jeff_in_KC
12-12-2008, 09:41 PM
It looks almost like one, with a handle. It's a 600 watt rechargeable powerpack. Unfortunately, VQ now thinks that "rechargeable" means that it is a permanent decorative addition to the living room.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51lHOF4v6RL._SL500_AA2%38%30_.jpg

Well, it IS kinda purty! :wink:

Big Tom
12-12-2008, 10:38 PM
WE are also amp hogs, if available. Our trailer has A/C, water heater, electric space heater(swap with A/C in season), a microwave, a coffee pot, plus some quartz lights on the trailer. On occasion there is the Peavey powered sound system. We also used to have a two-door drink fridge that was on our cooking trailer that we sold when we downsized.

From the perspective of what a contest should provide: I reccomend a 20 amp - 120 volt circuit for each team at a minimum. an upgrade to a 30 & 50 amp RV connection could be an optional item. Very few contests are able to offer teams unlimited power. A 20 amp circuit can take care of alot of different things, just not many big draw items at the same time. The hard thing is being able keep teams from getting greedy and gang banging the power poles. The worst thing is not having a large enough primary service to supply reliable power.

thenewguy
12-12-2008, 10:53 PM
We like to have 20 amps when available, or we'll use the 2 honda's...last resort is the built in onan.

Squeel Appeal
12-12-2008, 11:09 PM
Well my team uses Electricity for crock pot for keeping the public sampling bbq warm , coffee pot, lights, and eletric heaters.

scottyd
12-13-2008, 06:55 AM
if they have 20amp avaiable great other wise I will use my Honda 3000 I have learned by burning up one Fridge that low power sucks and costs me cash. I alway have a Fluke with me to test the power what is provided. Now days.

Ponderosa BBQ
12-14-2008, 03:15 AM
All I need is 20 amps, fridge 4 amps cooker 5 amps and I have no Idea how much my modified traeger 100 uses never had a problem with 20 amps though.

KC_Bobby
12-14-2008, 11:21 AM
Looks like I got some electrical things to learn. The Q'chen has an RV plug leading to a breaker box with two 20 amp and two 15 amp breakers.

Off that we'll be running A/C, guru, whole hog, lights, small radio and an electric knife. Coffee pot, hot plate and microwave will also make the trip, but we can turn off the A/C if needed to run the micro.

Bud's BBQ
12-14-2008, 06:28 PM
20 amps is the minimum that we need. Below that, it's a crap shoot as to what will break the ciruit. Most comps that we have been at have 20 or 30 amps.

Just need juice for lights, fans and a little AC when it gets really warm outside.

BBQchef33
12-14-2008, 08:39 PM
Looks like I got some electrical things to learn. The Q'chen has an RV plug leading to a breaker box with two 20 amp and two 15 amp breakers.

Off that we'll be running A/C, guru, whole hog, lights, small radio and an electric knife. Coffee pot, hot plate and microwave will also make the trip, but we can turn off the A/C if needed to run the micro.


better make sure you have adapters to knock it around. Its either a 3 prong 30 amp or a 4 prong 50 amp. You need adapter to knock it down to 20 amp(normal 110 3 prong outlet)

You may have an issue if its a 50 amp though. if you knock it down to 20 or 30, only one side of the circuit box will be hot and u may be missing some power. i had 50 amp, which i knocked down to 30 and jumpered my circuit box so both sides are hot. (yes i changed the wire. The 50 amp was unmanagable and i never used it.)

CivilWarBBQ
12-17-2008, 08:39 AM
My perspective as an organizer:

No matter how much power you make available, it will not be enough. Most people with RVs will pull a lot more amperage than they will swear that they do. Even the tenters will pop circuits when they fire up that 12amp Mr.Coffee on a 15amp circuit shared by a couple teams. You will have problems with GFIs tripping; both when it gets wet and when you have two in series (main panel + RV panel). Drop cords will never be long enough or the wire heavy enough. Etc. Etc.

Bottom line is electric is one of the biggest headaches in producing a contest. If you can, have an electrician on site the entire time. If not, make sure they are available 24 hours, close by and you have all their phone numbers on speed dial in your cell phone. Don't forget to make contacts with the power company too. Last year at the GBC we overloaded a transformer on the pole and blew it up. Luckily we were prepared and had the city power dept. out to replace it within an hour.

I guess what I'm saying is provide as much electric service as you can afford, expect power problems and be as prepared to handle them as quickly as possible. Any team that has cooked more than a few events is used to electric issues, so as long as you keep everybody informed as to what is going on folks are pretty understanding. It's challenging to build a small city in a field overnight and then tear it down two days later!

KC_Bobby
12-17-2008, 08:59 AM
better make sure you have adapters to knock it around. Its either a 3 prong 30 amp or a 4 prong 50 amp. You need adapter to knock it down to 20 amp(normal 110 3 prong outlet)

You may have an issue if its a 50 amp though. if you knock it down to 20 or 30, only one side of the circuit box will be hot and u may be missing some power. i had 50 amp, which i knocked down to 30 and jumpered my circuit box so both sides are hot. (yes i changed the wire. The 50 amp was unmanagable and i never used it.)

Thanks - I think. I'll do some research on electricity over the next few weeks, I'm sure that will give me a better understanding of what I need to know and do. I sure don't want to blow the curcuits in the Whole Hog.

The trailer came with the 3 prong (30 amp) plug and a 110 adapter. So does that adapter knock down the power to 20 amp or does it just fit the regular 110 outlet? The next question would be, should I replace all the breakers with 30 amp breakers? Or is that indifferent (not solve my issue)?

When I plug the trailer in using my home 110 power, the lights, outlets and a/c all work. I know the a/c is on one 20 amp, the lights are on a 15 amp and I forget which breaker the outlets are on. However ... I don't know what the other breaker goes to. I haven't taken off the cover yet - so the 4th breaker might even be totally free.

sprinter
12-17-2008, 02:46 PM
As Civilwarbbq said, you can never have TOO MUCH power at a contest and when you think you DO have enough, add some more and you'll still end up being short for everything people want to plug in. Now, its often times a matter of WANTS, not necessarily NEEDS of the cookers. But, a good cooker friendly contest will do as much as they possibly can to get as much power as possible to the cookers, it just makes their lives that much easier.

I organize the Mt. Vernon, IL contest and we were lucky to have an electrician on site for the entire contest, from Friday morning through the night to Saturday about turn in time. Its amazing how you can make it through an entire contest with minimal problems, in 100 degree weather and all RV AC's running, and when people start using their electric knives at turn-in, we start blowing breakers. When you need a power fix, you often times need it NOW and having an electrician available is invaluable, if one is available.

We provided each team with their own 15AMP minimum circuit. Each 2-plug outlet box was wired to its own 15 amp breaker so teams werent in danger of tripping others' power, unless teams shared an outlet box. We also had 30AMP services and some 50AMP as well. Some of our power was temporary power laid in for the contest, that was all 15AMP stuff and it was serviced by a long run of heavy duty wire straight to the breaker box, about 50-60 yards. The site for our cook also has permanent power where the 20/30/50 amp stuff is located. When I setup the cook I always put the RV's and larger rigs on the permanent power so they had what they needed. I then put all of the teams that needed minimal power on the temporary power run. And, even in this case, I put the guys who need a bit more on the beginning of that run because by the time I get to the end of that run, even though the breaker is 15AMP, I was probably only giving them 8-9AMP of power, the rest is lost just in the long run to get that power to them.

Power is something that, in my opinion, you cant have enough of. Its like the space you provide. The more you provide each team, the more they will take. I would say that 15AMP is minimum, 20 will probably run 90% of your cookers needs, and after that, teams who need more typically will bring their own generators. Make sure the power is GOOD CLEAN power, not flakey and sporadic, and your teams will be happy.

Hope this helps.

Troy

smoke-n-my-i's
12-17-2008, 04:00 PM
First off, I usually only need enough for a small radio, some lighting at night (2 strings of rope light, or white christmas tree lights, and depending on the weather, a box fan. Then a coffee maker in the morning for a couple of pots... then I am good to go.

I will be needing a little more starting next year. The trailer has acquired a small refrigerator -- abt 2 amps., and possibly a microwave. Other than that, I am usually good to go.


Now for a small class on electricity:
When I took my classes a LONG time ago, we had to use 115 volts and 230 volts for calculation purposes. If you already have the nameplate and it has the amperage rating, you are good to go. If you only have the wattage rating, divide that by the voltage of the appliance, that will give you the amperage. Ex: a device that pulls 600 watts at 115 volts will pull 5.21 amps...

Now just because the breaker is rated 15 or 20 amps doesn't mean that you can use that much power and it will be good to go forever. Heat is the worst enemy on electrical devices. It will start to weaken and you will have annoying trips. A rule of thumb, never exceed 80% of the rated breaker or receptacle. IE: a 15 amp breaker should never exceed 12 amps... a 20 breaker 16 amps. Same for the receptacle.... so, don't overload the breaker nor receptacle as it will only cause you problems later on....

Extension cords will also cause voltage drop if you use too small of one. Most people only grab a 16 gauge cord, plug it in, and load it up. That at the most is rated for only 8 amps... and only if you don't use but a very short one. Voltage drop will happen quickly, and cause overheating, "flakey" voltage, and will ruin your equipment. I always use a 12 gauge cord, and will only use a smaller one if needed only for my lights. If you are running that coffee maker, check to see what it is pulling and get a larger cord before you burn up (or down) something.

A 1500 watt coffee maker at 115 volts pulls just over 13 amps... so stay away from the 16 gauge extension cords... 14 gauge is rated for 15 amps... but, again, the longer it is, that rating drops rapidly.... most new cords will have a rating chart on them, check it out and be safe.

Hope this help some....
Bill