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Re: [classicrv] 50Amp upgrade

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  • Matt Worner
    Hi, brownc24, (got a real name?) Just remember, from any circuit breaker or fuse, you need wire sized to carry the number of amps at which you are protected.
    Message 1 of 11 , Jan 13, 2003
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      Hi, brownc24, (got a real name?)

      Just remember, from any circuit breaker or fuse, you need wire sized to
      carry the number of amps at which you are protected. Thus from a 50 amp
      breaker, (the plug in receptacle), 50 amp wire (without code book in
      front of me I have to rely on memory here, should be #6 AWG IIRC). Once
      you get into the panel in the rig (yes, a residential panel from Lowes,
      Home Depot or any electrical supply house is appropriate) you have a
      place to use smaller breakers, thus can use smaller conductors, e.g..
      #12 wire will carry 20 amps, #14 wire carries 15 amps. I would be
      surprised if you need a 30 amp branch circuit (that's what circuits from
      the panel are called) for any load in an RV, but if you do the wire of
      choice would be a #10. All of these cables will have a ground wire
      included which must NEVER be connected common to the white (neutral)
      conductors, ANYWHERE in the circuit. There MUST be two separate
      terminal blocks in the panel, one insulated from the backbox for the
      white neutral conductors in each cable, and one bonded (connected) to
      the backbox, and also the frame of the rig for the bare or green
      conductors (depending on who makes the cable, and what type it is). The
      black (hot) wires of each cable will be protected by the appropriate
      sized breakers in the panel. Probably the panel you buy will be set up
      for 220 volts, and assuming that the plug at the campground is 110, you
      will have to jump the two hot leg connections in the panel to each other
      and the black wire in the feeder cable.

      Holler if you have I haven't made myself clear on anything.

      Matt

      "brownc24 " wrote:

      > I just purchased a 76 Motorhome. Its a dodge chassis and says
      > Woodsman on the front and flagship on the side. I have all interior
      > walls torn out and am adding insulation during remodeling. I want to
      > upgrade to 50amp service so I can run both AC's and because I will be
      > staying in it 5 days a week so there will be 3-5 computers going. I
      > didnt trust the wiring in it because of several splices so I have
      > pulled it all out. If I upgrade to 50A then do I need different
      > internal wiring or just heaver to the breaker box? Also, is it OK to
      > use a regular breaker box from Lowes or do I need special equipment
      > for RV use? I promise I plan to have an electrician look at it, but I
      > was hoping to do most of the work and pay an electrician to inspect
      > it before I put the walls in. The rv has no generator so thought I
      > could run the 50Amp cable to the box, then split off with 15-30 amp
      > breakers from there, with the computer plug and rear ac on its own
      > circuit. I appreciate any advice/criticism, I can learn from both,heh.
      >
      > BTW, this is a great group, I have been using a wireless network and
      > laptop to look up info on here while I was working on my RV and this
      > has been extremely helpful.
      >
      >
      > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
      > classicrv-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
      >
      >
      >
      > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.

      --
      Pam, Matt and Darrell Worner
      WBCCI, VAC, WNJU & WDCU #4971
      1975 31' Sovereign (The Tinsel Tubesteak)
      1976 24' Argosy rear door (The Bun Metallica)
      1957 16' Bubble (The Tin 'Tater Tot)
      2000 F-350 PSD
      Hensley Arrow
    • brownc24 <brownc24@yahoo.com>
      Thanks Matt, I was really hoping I could use a regular breaker box, the one in it is rusted out and is full of 30amp breakers. I will most likely wire the
      Message 2 of 11 , Jan 13, 2003
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        Thanks Matt,
        I was really hoping I could use a regular breaker box, the one in
        it is rusted out and is full of 30amp breakers. I will most likely
        wire the whole camper with #12 then use 10amp breakers except for
        15's on AC. I am guessing I can not run both ac's and the computers
        as well. I can run the 110 wire fine but I am a little confused on
        the 220 coming in from the 50amp. I understand this is dual hot leads
        from the pole to the main 50amp breaker, but I dont understand how I
        should wire it so everything will potentially have power, although
        not all at once, if I have to use a 30amp adapter. At least I know I
        can finish the interior wiring now, just wanted to make sure before I
        did all that work and had to tear it out again,heh. I'm confused but
        I'm tryin ).

        Charlie Brown
      • Matt Worner
        OK, Charlie, it would seem then that you have a 220 volt feed from the plug. In that case, the black and red leads in the cord set go to the main lugs in the
        Message 3 of 11 , Jan 13, 2003
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          OK, Charlie, it would seem then that you have a 220 volt feed from the
          plug. In that case, the black and red leads in the cord set go to the
          main lugs in the panel, the white lead is the neutral (insulated from
          ground in your rig) and the green is the ground (bonded to panel, rig,
          water pipes if they are copper, and any other metal stuff you can
          reasonably access)

          "brownc24 " wrote:

          > Thanks Matt,
          > I was really hoping I could use a regular breaker box, the one in
          > it is rusted out and is full of 30amp breakers.

          If your rig is not wired with all number 10 wire, you have a fire trap.
          Of course you have probably figured that for yourself or you wouldn't be
          re-wiring the whole thing.
          ;^)>

          > I will most likely
          > wire the whole camper with #12 then use 10amp breakers

          10 amp is not a standard residential size, I've never seen one in 38
          years in the trade. You can't hurt your self if you stay at 20 or 15
          amps on #12 wire.

          > except for
          > 15's on AC.

          Absolutely right about being able to use smaller breakers on wire rated
          for 20 amps.

          > I am guessing I can not run both ac's and the computers
          > as well. I can run the 110 wire fine but I am a little confused on
          > the 220 coming in from the 50amp. I understand this is dual hot leads

          The hot leads connect to alternate bus stabs in the panel (where the
          breakers plug in). Thus circuits 1 and 2 (left and right, top row) are
          on A phase, 3 and 4 on B phase, 5 and 6 back on A phase, and so on.

          >
          > from the pole to the main 50amp breaker, but I dont understand how I
          > should wire it so everything will potentially have power, although
          > not all at once, if I have to use a 30amp adapter.

          Your adapter will have to make the cross phase jumper (black to red)
          happen, or you will have to wire so all your essential load is on one
          phase (hot) leg and you can leave the other un-powered.

          > At least I know I
          > can finish the interior wiring now, just wanted to make sure before I
          > did all that work and had to tear it out again,heh. I'm confused but
          > I'm tryin ).

          Label every cable before you close the walls and you will save much
          grief later on.

          >
          >
          > Charlie Brown
          >
          >
          > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
          > classicrv-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
          >
          >
          >
          > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.

          Matt
          --
          Pam, Matt and Darrell Worner
          WBCCI, VAC, WNJU & WDCU #4971
          1975 31' Sovereign (The Tinsel Tubesteak)
          1976 24' Argosy rear door (The Bun Metallica)
          1957 16' Bubble (The Tin 'Tater Tot)
          2000 F-350 PSD
          Hensley Arrow
        • tmead17327@aol.com
          Charlie / Matt / all interested, I d like to try to clarify the differences between 30 amp and 50 amp RV service, as well as make a few points about their use.
          Message 4 of 11 , Jan 13, 2003
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            Charlie / Matt / all interested,

            I'd like to try to clarify the differences between 30 amp and 50 amp RV
            service, as well as make a few points about their use.

            30 amp service is actually 30A 120V. It is provided by one hot (black) and
            one neutral (white) wire. If you measure with a meter between the hot and
            neutral, you get 120 volts.

            50 amp service is 50A 120/240V. It uses two hots out of phase with each
            other (either two blacks or sometimes one black and one red) and one neutral
            (white). If you measure between either hot and the neutral, you get 120
            volts. However if you measure between the two hot wires, because they are
            out of phase with each other, you get 240 volts. Very few (if any) RV
            appliances need 240 volts (like your clothes dryer or electric oven at home).
            Because each hot wire can provide 50 amps of 120 volt power, you can
            actually have a total of 100 amps of service at 120 volts, which is a lot in
            an RV!

            I used a Home Depot (Square-D brand)breaker box when I re-wired my motorhome.
            Because most breaker boxes are set up for 120/240V wiring, there will be two
            "main lugs."

            If you have 30A 120V service, connect the hot wire to either one and use a
            jumper wire to connect the other one.

            If you have 50A 120/240V service, connect one hot wire to each main lug.
            When you install the breakers and connect the branch circuits, try to keep
            the load somewhat balanced between the two.

            One other thing to keep in mind is the quality and availability of electrical
            service at campgrounds. Many places only offer 30A service. Others may not
            offer true 50A 120/240V service because the two hot legs are not out of phase
            with each other. In other words, if you measure with a meter between the two
            hots, you get zero. If this happens, any 240V appliances won't work. More
            importantly, though, is that you risk overloading the neutral. When 50A
            120/240V is connected, the maximum load the system sees is 50A in each leg.
            If there is 50A on one leg and nothing on the other, the hot provides 50A and
            the neutral carries it back to earth. Without going into too much detail, if
            there is 50A each on both legs, the currents in each leg cancel each other
            out and the neutral wire carries little or no current. If the 50A legs are
            in phase with each other, the neutrals do not cancel each other out and the
            neutral wire (sized for 50A) has to carry 100A back to earth.

            I have omitted discussion of the green or bare ground wires. All your
            cabling (per code and in my opinion) should have a properly-connected ground
            wire. As Matt mentioned, in an RV the ground and neutral should not be
            connected anywhere. Ground wires are to provide a safety outlet for short
            circuits, and if everything is working correctly should never carry any
            current.

            I hope this is helpful!

            Tommy
            TMead17327@...


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Matt Worner
            ... Excellent point. Probably the biggest draw would be the air conditioners. I would make sure they are on different phases for sure then look at things
            Message 5 of 11 , Jan 13, 2003
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              tmead17327@... wrote:

              > Charlie / Matt / all interested,
              >
              > I'd like to try to clarify the differences between 30 amp and 50 amp
              > RV
              > service, as well as make a few points about their use.
              >
              > 30 amp service is actually 30A 120V. It is provided by one hot
              > (black) and
              > one neutral (white) wire. If you measure with a meter between the hot
              > and
              > neutral, you get 120 volts.
              >
              > 50 amp service is 50A 120/240V. It uses two hots out of phase with
              > each
              > other (either two blacks or sometimes one black and one red) and one
              > neutral
              > (white). If you measure between either hot and the neutral, you get
              > 120
              > volts. However if you measure between the two hot wires, because they
              > are
              > out of phase with each other, you get 240 volts. Very few (if any) RV
              >
              > appliances need 240 volts (like your clothes dryer or electric oven at
              > home).
              > Because each hot wire can provide 50 amps of 120 volt power, you can
              > actually have a total of 100 amps of service at 120 volts, which is a
              > lot in
              > an RV!
              >
              > I used a Home Depot (Square-D brand)breaker box when I re-wired my
              > motorhome.
              > Because most breaker boxes are set up for 120/240V wiring, there will
              > be two
              > "main lugs."
              >
              > If you have 30A 120V service, connect the hot wire to either one and
              > use a
              > jumper wire to connect the other one.
              >
              > If you have 50A 120/240V service, connect one hot wire to each main
              > lug.
              > When you install the breakers and connect the branch circuits, try to
              > keep
              > the load somewhat balanced between the two.

              Excellent point. Probably the biggest draw would be the air
              conditioners. I would make sure they are on different phases for sure
              then look at things like microwaves, convection ovens, hair dryers, the
              plug for the waffle iron, etc. Any thing that makes heat takes amps. A
              1200 watt hair dryer (not very big one) will pull 10 amps or more.
              That's a lot if you only have 30 to work with to start.

              >
              >
              > One other thing to keep in mind is the quality and availability of
              > electrical
              > service at campgrounds. Many places only offer 30A service. Others
              > may not
              > offer true 50A 120/240V service because the two hot legs are not out
              > of phase
              > with each other. In other words, if you measure with a meter between
              > the two
              > hots, you get zero.

              Hoo, boy, wouldn't that be a kick in the head. I've never had to look
              at a motor home system, only trailers with single pole 30 amp 120 volt
              services. But if I have a 4 wire outlet, I durn sure expect 220 for my
              money. You are absolutely correct about neutral overload.

              > If this happens, any 240V appliances won't work. More
              > importantly, though, is that you risk overloading the neutral. When
              > 50A
              > 120/240V is connected, the maximum load the system sees is 50A in each
              > leg.
              > If there is 50A on one leg and nothing on the other, the hot provides
              > 50A and
              > the neutral carries it back to earth. Without going into too much
              > detail, if
              > there is 50A each on both legs, the currents in each leg cancel each
              > other
              > out and the neutral wire carries little or no current. If the 50A
              > legs are
              > in phase with each other, the neutrals do not cancel each other out
              > and the
              > neutral wire (sized for 50A) has to carry 100A back to earth.
              >
              > I have omitted discussion of the green or bare ground wires. All your
              >
              > cabling (per code and in my opinion) should have a properly-connected
              > ground
              > wire. As Matt mentioned, in an RV the ground and neutral should not
              > be
              > connected anywhere. Ground wires are to provide a safety outlet for
              > short
              > circuits, and if everything is working correctly should never carry
              > any
              > current.
              >
              > I hope this is helpful!
              >
              > Tommy
              > TMead17327@...
              >
              >
              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >
              >
              > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
              > classicrv-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
              >
              >
              >
              > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.

              --
              Pam, Matt and Darrell Worner
              WBCCI, VAC, WNJU & WDCU #4971
              1975 31' Sovereign (The Tinsel Tubesteak)
              1976 24' Argosy rear door (The Bun Metallica)
              1957 16' Bubble (The Tin 'Tater Tot)
              2000 F-350 PSD
              Hensley Arrow
            • Sterling Voth
              Tommy, I quoted the last part of your post about the RV wiring as I had a question myself. You mention the ground wires in your cabling (bare wire)... Are
              Message 6 of 11 , Jan 13, 2003
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                Tommy,
                I quoted the last part of your post about the RV wiring as I had a
                question myself. You mention the ground wires in your cabling (bare
                wire)... Are you saying that it should be connected up properly to all the
                outlets but not to the RV itself, or that it shouldn't be used at all?? I
                got confused on this one. :-)
                Sterling.....

                ----------
                From: tmead17327@...
                To: classicrv@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: Re: [classicrv] Re: 50Amp upgrade
                Date: Mon, Jan 13, 2003, 5:14 PM



                I have omitted discussion of the green or bare ground wires. All your
                cabling (per code and in my opinion) should have a properly-connected ground
                wire. As Matt mentioned, in an RV the ground and neutral should not be
                connected anywhere. Ground wires are to provide a safety outlet for short
                circuits, and if everything is working correctly should never carry any
                current.

                I hope this is helpful!

                Tommy
                TMead17327@...


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


                To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                classicrv-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com



                Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service
                <http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/> .


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • tmead17327@aol.com
                Sterling (and others), Yes, always use the ground (green or bare) wire. From the shore power cord, it should be connected to the ground bar in the breaker
                Message 7 of 11 , Jan 13, 2003
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                  Sterling (and others),

                  Yes, always use the ground (green or bare) wire. From the "shore power"
                  cord, it should be connected to the ground bar in the breaker box, which is
                  bonded to the metal box itself. At each outlet, switch, or appliance, it is
                  connected to the outlet/switch box and the outlet/switch ground terminal or
                  the appliance ground wire. The breaker box ground bar should also be
                  grounded to the frame of the RV.

                  What should NOT be done is to connect the neutral and ground. To do so
                  bypasses the safety feature of the grounding system. Do not install the
                  bonding screw in the neutral bus bar in the breaker box, as this also
                  connects the neutral and ground.

                  The neutral and ground should only be connected in the service panel in the
                  campground, not on the RV.

                  Tommy
                  TMead17327@...


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • brownc24 <brownc24@yahoo.com>
                  You guys are great, thx. I feel pretty confident I can wire it up now, still going to have an electrician look at it when I am done. Basically I always use a
                  Message 8 of 11 , Jan 13, 2003
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                    You guys are great, thx.
                    I feel pretty confident I can wire it up now, still going to have
                    an electrician look at it when I am done. Basically I always use a
                    volt meter to make sure I can measure 220 between the hot leads, if
                    not then can I use a 30amp adapter and just connect to one lead?
                    Seems to me that would be ok. If I understand correctly when on 30
                    amp service I have to make a jumper wire so all circuits are
                    connected to the single hot lead then I can throw the breaker to the
                    second ac to be sure it doesnt get switched on.
                  • tmead17327@aol.com
                    Charlie said: The jumper
                    Message 9 of 11 , Jan 14, 2003
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                      Charlie said:

                      <<If I understand correctly when on 30
                      amp service I have to make a jumper wire so all circuits are
                      connected to the single hot lead>>

                      The jumper wire I referred to was to be in the breaker box if the rig is only
                      wired for 30A service.

                      If you wire for 50A 120/240V, but need to connect to a 30A 120V campground
                      connection, there are commercial adapters (Camping World, etc.) available.

                      One style of adapter simply plugs into a 30A 120V outlet and to your 50A
                      120/240V cord. I do not know for sure if it has the jumper built in to
                      connect both legs of the 50A cord to the single hot input. Whether it does
                      or not, if you use one of these, you've only got 30A at 120V of electricity
                      available.

                      The other style I've seen has two plugs: One is a 30A RV plug, the other a
                      15 or 20A household-type plug. You plug both of these in to the campground
                      panel, and the third end connects to your 50A cord. The 30A hot provides
                      power to one leg, and the 15 or 20A hot to the other leg. This way, you've
                      got a total of 50A at 120V. Remember that the RV is wired for 50A 120/240V,
                      which is actually 100A at 120V capacity.

                      Yes, in either of these circumstances you should not try to run both air
                      conditioners at once.

                      Tommy
                      TMead17327@...


                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Jeff F
                      Interesting thread ! Guys, a word of warning: I happened to have an electrician at the house when I noticed a problem with my RV. He took a look at the RV
                      Message 10 of 11 , Jan 14, 2003
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                        Interesting thread !

                        Guys, a word of warning: I happened to have an
                        electrician at the house when I noticed a problem with
                        my RV. He took a look at the RV and noticed some
                        potential problems that could start a fire.

                        I'm sure there are many qualified members of this
                        group who would have found these problems, too and
                        would have known how to correct them. I'm not one of
                        them and just know enough about electrical wiring to
                        keep my hands off and leave the work to people who
                        know what they're doing.

                        I don't mean to rain on anyone's parade who wants to
                        convert an RV all by himself but paying an electrician
                        for a few hours of work is like insurance that the RV
                        doesn't burn up and neither I nor any of my travel
                        buddies are going to be in harm's way.

                        I understand you want to pay an electrician to check
                        on your installation. If he's got some common sense,
                        he'll know that it's not good business for him to
                        approve someone else's installation so that he becomes
                        at least partially liable in case something goes wrong
                        in the future. He can't check "everything" without
                        spending hours on the job. So, you may as well leave
                        the tricky stuff to him from the get-go.

                        Just my opinion...
                        Jeff


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