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Competition BBQ *On Topic Only* Discussion regarding all aspects of Competition BBQ. Experiences competing or visiting, questions, getting started, Equipment, announcements of events, Results, Reviews, Planning, etc. Questions here will be responded to with competition BBQ in mind.


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Unread 01-23-2009, 11:13 AM   #1
KC_Bobby
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Default Comp Trailer/RV power management

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)?

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Unread 01-23-2009, 11:21 AM   #2
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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.
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Unread 01-23-2009, 11:22 AM   #3
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Spend the money on the chord.

Got mine at Wal Mart!
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Unread 01-23-2009, 11:50 AM   #4
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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.
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Unread 01-23-2009, 11:59 AM   #5
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you will need 100' if you compete at the Royal... Unless you get lucky and the junction box is right by your spot...
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Unread 01-23-2009, 12:48 PM   #6
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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.
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Unread 01-23-2009, 12:53 PM   #7
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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...
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Unread 01-23-2009, 01:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Divemaster View Post
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.
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Unread 01-23-2009, 01:07 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KC_Bobby View Post
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...
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Unread 01-23-2009, 01:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Divemaster View Post
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.
Quote:
Originally Posted by CajunSmoker View Post
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.
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Unread 01-23-2009, 01:39 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottie View Post
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!
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Unread 01-23-2009, 01:43 PM   #12
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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.
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Unread 01-23-2009, 01:53 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottie View Post
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.
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Unread 01-23-2009, 01:55 PM   #14
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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.
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Unread 01-23-2009, 01:56 PM   #15
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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"
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