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KC_Bobby
01-23-2009, 11:13 AM
Last night as I was finishing the insulation install in the Q'chen's ceiling and I flipped on the A/C heater. Doing so, the rear light dimmed (floresescent) a bunch.

Would/could that likely be caused by not supplying the trailer with enough electricity? I was only using a cheap extension cord (likely 16 gauge/possibly 14) from the garage to the 30 amp cord that comes out of my trailer breaker box. I'm guessing/hoping that was the cause. (Thinking I shouldn't use that cord again if I'm going to turn on the A/C - I don't need to start an electrical fire)

My breaker box has a 30 amp cord (with RV plug) running into it with two 20 amp breakers and two 15 amp breakers coming out of it. One 20 amp goes to the A/C, the other to an outlet. One 15 amp breaker goes to the interior lights and the other to another outlet. I'd like to run another outlet off the outlet that is getting the 20 amp power so I have another outlet inside the trailer.

What do you others use for extension cords at comps? 30 amp RV cords are not cheap - about a $1 or better a foot - and most comps say bring 100' of cord. Or will a 12/3 contractor cord (I assume that means 12 gauge/3 prong) do the trick without worry? I want to make sure I can run the A/C, have lighting and enough juice left over for a coffee pot or hot plate.

I think I know the answer is go get a good RV cord, but I guess I want a second opinion from those who know before dropping over $100 on cord. Secondly, do I need to be concerned about the heat in the cord running those items in a 100' cord (or three 30' connected cords)?

Thank you for your support
-Bartles and James mod

Scottie
01-23-2009, 11:21 AM
I didn't mess around and bought the 30 amp cords. Check out a RV center and they should have them, as I got mine from Camping World.

But it sounded like you were having a power drain.

jbrink01
01-23-2009, 11:22 AM
Spend the money on the chord.

Got mine at Wal Mart!

BBQ_Mayor
01-23-2009, 11:50 AM
I agree. Spend the money and get the cord.

I have a 30ft extension and have only needed to used it at a couple of comps.

Scottie
01-23-2009, 11:59 AM
you will need 100' if you compete at the Royal... Unless you get lucky and the junction box is right by your spot...

KC_Bobby
01-23-2009, 12:48 PM
Scottie,
Do you find a loss of power (amps) with the long cord compared to when you don't need to use a long cord? I've read some other RV forums and I get a sense that can be an issue as well as the cord getting hot.

Divemaster
01-23-2009, 12:53 PM
Since the light is not on the same breaker, yes, you had an overall power drain. This could very well be because of the extension cord you ran from the trailer.

My guess is that the extension cord is 14 guage wire. If I recall, and it's been a while so I could be wrong, 14 guage required for 15 amp circuit, and 12 is required for 30 amps, and 10 guage is used for 50 amps. Like I said, it's been a while so double check with a pro.

Since I'm only pulling less than 20 amp for my trailer, I was able to use 12 guage exterior cord that I found at Home Depot and just had to put on the plugs. I don't recall the cost of the cord but I'm willing to bet it wasn't much more than $.30 to $.40 a foot.

Hope this helps and like I said, please double check...

CajunSmoker
01-23-2009, 01:07 PM
Since the light is not on the same breaker, yes, you had an overall power drain. This could very well be because of the extension cord you ran from the trailer.

My guess is that the extension cord is 14 guage wire. If I recall, and it's been a while so I could be wrong, 14 guage required for 15 amp circuit, and 12 is required for 30 amps, and 10 guage is used for 50 amps. Like I said, it's been a while so double check with a pro.

Since I'm only pulling less than 20 amp for my trailer, I was able to use 12 guage exterior cord that I found at Home Depot and just had to put on the plugs. I don't recall the cost of the cord but I'm willing to bet it wasn't much more than $.30 to $.40 a foot.

Hope this helps and like I said, please double check...

Generally speaking #14 wire is good for 15A
#12 wire is good for 20A
#10 wire is good for 30A

and the longer the run, the larger the wire size required for the same amperage.

Scottie
01-23-2009, 01:07 PM
Scottie,
Do you find a loss of power (amps) with the long cord compared to when you don't need to use a long cord? I've read some other RV forums and I get a sense that can be an issue as well as the cord getting hot.

I've never had a problem with running a lot of cord. Never had it get hot either. But I was told not to coil your extra cord in one spot, as I think the cord can overheat that way? So just don't coil the extra. I think Buzz told me that one...

Divemaster
01-23-2009, 01:20 PM
My guess is that the extension cord is 14 guage wire. If I recall, and it's been a while so I could be wrong, 14 guage required for 15 amp circuit, and 12 is required for 30 amps, and 10 guage is used for 50 amps. Like I said, it's been a while so double check with a pro.

Generally speaking #14 wire is good for 15A
#12 wire is good for 20A
#10 wire is good for 30A

and the longer the run, the larger the wire size required for the same amperage.

Thanks for chiming in... Like I said, it's been a while.

KC_Bobby
01-23-2009, 01:39 PM
I've never had a problem with running a lot of cord. Never had it get hot either. But I was told not to coil your extra cord in one spot, as I think the cord can overheat that way? So just don't coil the extra. I think Buzz told me that one...

What I was reading did say that the cord was coiled, but I didn't know that was the cause of it getting hot.

Good info here everyone - thanks!

Scottie
01-23-2009, 01:43 PM
when I have extra, i just lay in in long lines under my RV...

It might seem expensive for the cord, but well worth it. Especially if you blow your AC unit because of your cord... I looked at it as a one time expense...

Good luck Bob.

Divemaster
01-23-2009, 01:53 PM
I've never had a problem with running a lot of cord. Never had it get hot either. But I was told not to coil your extra cord in one spot, as I think the cord can overheat that way? So just don't coil the extra. I think Buzz told me that one...

Yes, if you are pulling a large amount of amperage through a cord that is to small a Gage and have a large amount of that cord coiled, the heat build up can be excessive. I have 4 - 25 foot 12/3 cords. This way, I don't have to use much more than I need. I would rather connect 3 - 25 footers than have to coil 75 feet when I only need to use 25.

BBQchef33
01-23-2009, 01:55 PM
Since seperatecircuits were effected, you had low voltage on your primary feed due to the extension cord.

My trailer has AC on one 20A dedicated circuit, a full fridge on a 15A, and a hot water heater on another 15.

The fridge and AC, both have compressors. EXPENSIVE items to risk damaging due to low voltage from an under rated cord. A compressor will crap out if run to long with low voltage.. And having low voltage during the required power surge at startup of a compressor will most likely damage it and maybe other stuff on the line.

Make the investment in some 12/3 or 10/3 cords. I bought 2 50 foot 10/3 RV cords. I found to be better option than a single 100foot. Best reason is if your within 50 feet, theres no reason to run the juice thru and extra 50 if u dont need to. Then theres the coiling that you dont have to do too. Make the investment of 100-150 bucks now and save yourself a repair bill later.


BTW, 100 foot wasnt enough for us at the royal we needed 125, so we were screwed and could not use both outlets we bought.

ModelMaker
01-23-2009, 01:56 PM
When we first got the motorhome we would run 100' of the 16ga (orange) drop cord over to the side yard and when doing some work on a hot day the A/C kept kicking out like it was low on freon. I called the RV place and the said he minimum drop cord you should use for 100' is the 12/3 (blue) and regular RV drops are even better.
Like Scottie says "one time expense"
ModelMaker

BBQchef33
01-23-2009, 02:01 PM
also, if u get RV cords, make sure you get adapters for them so u can use them on smaller circuits. Alot of contests here only have standard 20 amp boxes and the RV cord has the twist plug.

and THATS why I always bring the Honda 3k.:)

beam boys bbq
01-23-2009, 02:22 PM
an friend of mine that is an electricion said two things never coil your wire spread it all over the place it stayes cool this was and biger is better buy an grad of wire biger than you need that way you have room to expand

i have an 4# gage wire for my toy hauler at 4.00 an foot an had no power problen at all

and the cold weather and floresent lights don't get along


york

KC_Bobby
01-23-2009, 03:36 PM
Man, I'm glad I asked this question. I almost didn't thinking it was stupid.

Phil, I love hearing what you are running off each circuit. That's great news for us - I didn't know if we would have enough power to run all that.

KC_Bobby
01-23-2009, 03:41 PM
I have 4 - 25 foot 12/3 cords. This way, I don't have to use much more than I need. I would rather connect 3 - 25 footers than have to coil 75 feet when I only need to use 25.

I wondered if doing this was good or bad - wasn't sure if you'd lose juice through the connectors when plugging them together. At least it seems like we always hear about how much extension cords cost money - as in wasted electricity.

Divemaster
01-23-2009, 03:53 PM
I wondered if doing this was good or bad - wasn't sure if you'd lose juice through the connectors when plugging them together. At least it seems like we always hear about how much extension cords cost money - as in wasted electricity.

My gut feel is that you are going to loose less in the conections than you would if you had an extra 50' of extension cord for the electricity to flow through....

BBQchef33
01-23-2009, 04:45 PM
the connections on 30 amp RV cords are very heavy. Most are molded, but even the bolt ons are heavier than normal.

Divemaster
01-23-2009, 05:32 PM
You loose power from resistance that is converted to heat.

The resistance of a connector (esp. if the brass prongs are clean and untarnished) is far less than say 25 feet of 10 gage wire. Also, with the 30 amp connector having to twist, your connection is more secure.

Phil, good point in the adapters!

BBQchef33
01-23-2009, 05:33 PM
Man, I'm glad I asked this question. I almost didn't thinking it was stupid.

Phil, I love hearing what you are running off each circuit. That's great news for us - I didn't know if we would have enough power to run all that.



I have stuff isolated so they dont surge a single circuit. Also allows me to shut things down when not needed.

My honda 3000 can run the entire trailer minus the AC. That includes the water heater, fridge, TV, Xbox, computer, lights and sound system. If the draw get up there, I shut the water heater once it heats up the 4 gallon tank and that lasts us a long time. Then flip it back on when needed. I dont like running the fridge and AC on the generator at the same time. Even though they are on seperate circuits inside, they still feed off the same source on the outside. When those compressors cycle on and off at the same time, they kick each other in the nuts.

Contests around here dont have anything better than 15 or 20 amps available, and sometimes not even that. So,I have been thinking of splitting my circuit box into to boxes,so I can run off of 2 feeds, taking the AC onto its own feeder circuit. That way I can have the generator running the heavy stuff and the contest power running the lightweight things.

If running the AC, and the contest gives us a good 15 amp circuit, I will hook the fridge up to contest power with a 12 ga cord. This eases the load on the generator. Otherwise, if I need the AC, the fridge gets shut off for a little while(and kept closed). Having 2 feeds would make that easier.

Plowboy
01-23-2009, 06:53 PM
I have two 30 amp services coming into my trailer. I have two 3000 watt generators when I have no power available. One service runs the air, the other runs the rest of the trailer. If I get one service at the contest, I'll run the trailer off of it and put the AC on the genset. If my power is iffy and I don't want the air, I can move my fridge over to the 2nd service used by the AC.

Putting in two 30 amp services over a single 50 amp service was very intentional. We are always in strange power situations at contests. At one contest, I didn't use their power at all and used both of my gensets.

HoDeDo
01-23-2009, 07:29 PM
If your lights were dimming, it was your power that was bad - could have been due to the cable, or the cable just added to problem.... if you have a fridge, freezer, or other things in your garage (or on that breaker) that draw... adding the trailer was likely too much. Our garage has the outlet by our entry, the outside lights, and the garage on it, for example.

Having said that -- The 30AMP cord is the way to go. I've seen adapters melt into a pile of goo, then trip the breaker. And the heat will get worse as the power does.... this particular example was at a cool fall contest -- the power was marginal to begin with; but as everyone was firing up thier lighting, electric heat, etc. it overloaded the box, and had everyone running hot due to the poor draw. guys with cheap cables had them ruined.

If you think you are going to need a long run, you want more cable than you need anyway.... if you pull less amperage than you need and get into a low voltage scenario -- you can ruin the capacators on your fans/compressors, etc.

I even went one further - and ran 50AMP RV cable out of my Concession trailer. Todd has two 30AMP power supplies in his. EDIT: just saw Todd's previous post. The two 30 AMP setup is really slick!

Spend a little now, save alot later :)

Scottie
01-23-2009, 09:23 PM
Sounds like you boys need to check out my Honda 6500... It ran both me and Quau in Felda. I even had the AC going, along with my rv fridge and my new commercial fridge.

I do want to get a separate line for my second AC unit in my garage. As it only works when my onboard generator is running.

Phil, I'm not sure why you can't run your AC and fridge with your 3000? It would run my whole RV and still have extra power if someone needed a line. Maybe you need a 6500 too! lol

Plowboy
01-23-2009, 09:28 PM
Sounds like you boys need to check out my Honda 6500... It ran both me and Quau in Felda. I even had the AC going, along with my rv fridge and my new commercial fridge.

I do want to get a separate line for my second AC unit in my garage. As it only works when my onboard generator is running.

Phil, I'm not sure why you can't run your AC and fridge with your 3000? It would run my whole RV and still have extra power if someone needed a line. Maybe you need a 6500 too! lol

I'm looking at a 6500 diesel genset and dump the two 3000 watt Kipors.

Scottie
01-23-2009, 09:45 PM
The big one is nice. Easy to move around with the built in wheels. You can't even hear it when it's running.

Plowboy
01-23-2009, 09:48 PM
The big one is nice. Easy to move around with the built in wheels. You can't even hear it when it's running.

Mine will be mounted on the front of the trailer where my 3000 sits today. The weight shouldn't be a problem.

KC_Bobby
01-23-2009, 10:28 PM
I went to Wally World tonight and picked up 30 feet of the 30 amp cord (10 gage), $42 for that. Came back outside and we had a foot of snow on the ground ... well, the parking lot and car windows were covered.

I'm going to plug it in tomorrow and see if the A/C heat strip produces heat. If so, I'll probably run some more wiring for some additional outlets.

Isolate one outlet near where we are thinking about putting in a refridge.
And run another one off an existing one so both of our work stations will have an outlet above each.
Maybe run another line so I can add a box on the outside when the weather gets warmer

BBQchef33
01-23-2009, 11:46 PM
Phil, I'm not sure why you can't run your AC and fridge with your 3000? It would run my whole RV and still have extra power if someone needed a line. Maybe you need a 6500 too! lol


Its more problems at AC startup.. The generator overloads and blows its breaker when the AC kicks on if the fridge is running. I toasted the compressor in the fridge because of the AC early int he season.


and yup.. a 6500 may be next.

Shotgun
01-24-2009, 09:13 AM
you should go through each of your appliances and figure amp draw on each, I assume that your AC/heat will be your max load. A single 30 amp circuit should be plenty. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.