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Old 09-22-2019, 02:39 PM   #1
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Adding An On-Off Switch To Existing RV 50A Home Outlet

My existing 50A Service for my '15 DutchStar at home was installed without an on-off switch and is quite a distance from my breaker box. I'd like the capability of turning the service on and off at the outlet. What is the feasibility at this point and if not cost-prohibitive what is the simplest detailed procedure?
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Old 09-22-2019, 02:51 PM   #2
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There is no harm in adding another switch, It could be an additional breaker or a disconnect switch commonly used on a external appliance like an air conditioner, just know some have fuses too.

It really comes down to how you want to mount a new switch.

I actually installed a RV service panel like used at RV parks, Then I got a 50, 30 and 15 amp plugs each with a breaker.
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Old 09-22-2019, 03:45 PM   #3
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Thanks, gpounder. Was hoping for ideas/guidance as to needed parts, assembly and mounting. Unfortunately, there's no room inside my existing box for a switch of any kind. Possibly can attach to my existing box a second box for the breaker/switch. Details as to how to proceed with the wiring would too be appreciated. Thanks...Larry
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Old 09-22-2019, 04:04 PM   #4
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Why not just unplug it? How often do you find you need to shut it off.
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Old 09-22-2019, 04:46 PM   #5
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Winniman...of course, that's an option. One reason...I never liked the idea of plugging/unplugging in a 50A (or any lesser for that matter) receptical without first unplugging. Not a problem for you? I much prefer the option of having the circuit OFF before plugging in at any campground or at home.There are other reasons I have which prompts me to post this thread. Do thank you for your response, however. Larry
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Old 09-22-2019, 05:52 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hugh37 View Post
Winniman...of course, that's an option. One reason...I never liked the idea of plugging/unplugging in a 50A (or any lesser for that matter) receptical without first unplugging. Not a problem for you? I much prefer the option of having the circuit OFF before plugging in at any campground or at home.There are other reasons I have which prompts me to post this thread. Do thank you for your response, however. Larry
A motorhome isnít like a toaster. The best practice is to plug into a dead receptacle,,,then turn the power to the receptacle ON. Unplug in reverse...kill power to receptacle, then un-plug.

The reason??? Have you ever pulled the cord out of the wall with the vacuum cleaner...then go over and plug back in??? If you did without switching the vacuum cleaner off, you probably got an arc as you plugged in. This arc is heat in the presence of oxygen...it forms oxidation in the conductors of the plug and receptacle. Oxidation does not conduct electricity very well...it adds resistance...which will cause heat...and draw more amps. Eventually, your breaker will trip or worse...the plug if made out of plastic will melt.

So...I am totally onboard with his desire to add a switch...

I fly Airplanes, you should see the sparks that fly when our ground crew unplugs the shore power without letting us switch to the APU or Engine Generator first...
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Old 09-22-2019, 05:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hugh37 View Post
Thanks, gpounder. Was hoping for ideas/guidance as to needed parts, assembly and mounting. Unfortunately, there's no room inside my existing box for a switch of any kind. Possibly can attach to my existing box a second box for the breaker/switch. Details as to how to proceed with the wiring would too be appreciated. Thanks...Larry
Post a picture of the current socket box and wall. I may be able to make a better suggestion.
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Old 09-22-2019, 05:56 PM   #8
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Why not just install a surge protector/transfer switch?
You can get one that is mounted inside your rig permanently that will not send power to the breaker panel for a number of seconds. That way you will never have a load on the plug connections and you will also be protected.
Here's an example.....

"TRC SURGE GUARD AUTOMATIC TRANSFER SWITCHES. Permanently install Surge Guard protection to your RV. Protects RV bumper to bumper from faulty park power. Because of the increased sophistication of top of the range motorized coaches, the extra monitoring and diagnostic features plus the advantages of a transfer switch are a plus for some RV owners. Mechanical interlocking contactors. Time delay at power up. Transfers to generator power robotically when energized after 30 second delay. When both shore power and generator power are to be had, generator dominates after a 30 second delay. Once the generator is shut down, shore power turns on after a three-4 second delay.
TRC SURGE GUARD AUTOMATIC TRANSFER SWITCHES
Permanently install Surge Guard protection to your RV
Protects RV bumper to bumper from faulty park power
Advantages of a transfer switch are a plus for some RV owners; mechanical interlocking contactors, time delay at power up, Transfers to generator power robotically when energized after 30 second delay"

Happy Glamping.
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Old 09-22-2019, 05:59 PM   #9
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SQUARE D BY SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC QO200TRNM 60A Non Fuse Disconect https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002YEN8YK..._MNaIDbH48M3GF

To wire this... First...trip the breaker for your outlet at the distribution panel. Hang a sign, place a padlock...whatever you can do to make sure nobody can reset the breaker while you’re out at the rv re-wiring.

You will need a section of conduit to join this box to your existing receptacle enclosure.

Three lengths of 6AWG minimum wire...Black, Black, White

A length of bare copper wire or Green copper wire for Earth Ground. I believe it can be #8...#6 surely wouldn’t hurt.

With power off...when you remove the outlet you have...study the wires. I don’t know what color scheme your electrician used...but you have to make sure you identify the conductors. You want to identify the Leg 1..and Leg 2...these are usually Black. They fasten to the Left and Right vertical blades. Then identify the Neutral...it should be the vertical bladed oriented on the centerline...opposite the round connector. It is normally a White conductor. Finally the Ground. Usually Green.

After identifying them...study the schematic for your switch box. The switch part should have two terminals...Leg 1 and Leg 2... The box should have two terminals as well for Leg 1 and Leg 2. The wires coming from the house will terminate on the box terminals. The two black wires you bought will connect to the two terminals on the switch (looks like a breaker, but it’s only a switch).

The White wire from the house and the one going to the outlet will both fasten to the Neutral terminal strip. The green wires will connect to the ground terminal strip in the same fashion. DO NOT jump the Neutral and the Ground terminal strips. By code they have to remain separate. The only place they get “bonded” is at the MAIN panel. make sure to reference the included schematic to identify the Neutral vs the Ground terminal strips.

Make sure to purchase a length of waterproof flexible conduit and box fittings.

Hope that is clear... So the wires going into your outlet now...move to the switch...then you run new wires from switch to outlet.

Get those screws tight. Can put a dab of dielectric grease on to prevent corrosion...

Now...triple check your work. LEG 1...LEG 2...Neutral...and Ground.

Okay...close up the housing...

Make sure RV is NOT plugged in...
Turn the New Switch OFF!
Reset your 50A breaker in the house.

Now...let’s use a voltmeter to check your work...don’t plug in yet.

Place voltmeter on AC Volts...

Stick a probe in the Left blade receptacle...and the other probe check both the centerline blade, and the centerline round. Do the same for the right blade.

All readings should be zero with switch off.

Now remove test leads and turn the switch on.

Then place a test lead in the Left blade and the other in the right blade. You should read somewhere close to 240v.

Place one in the Left blade...and the other in the centerline blade...should read 120v +/-

Keep the center probe in and move the other probe to the right blade...also 120V.

If your Main Panel breaker isn’t a Ground fault type...you can check the left and right again using the round (ground) conductor. They should also read 120v each.

Now you’ve proven the wiring was done correctly.

Now...turn the switch OFF.

Plug In the RV

Turn switch ON...

Enjoy!!
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Old 09-22-2019, 06:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unplanned View Post
Why not just install a surge protector/transfer switch?
You can get one that is mounted inside your rig permanently that will not send power to the breaker panel for a number of seconds. That way you will never have a load on the plug connections and you will also be protected.
Here's an example.....

"TRC SURGE GUARD AUTOMATIC TRANSFER SWITCHES. Permanently install Surge Guard protection to your RV. Protects RV bumper to bumper from faulty park power. Because of the increased sophistication of top of the range motorized coaches, the extra monitoring and diagnostic features plus the advantages of a transfer switch are a plus for some RV owners. Mechanical interlocking contactors. Time delay at power up. Transfers to generator power robotically when energized after 30 second delay. When both shore power and generator power are to be had, generator dominates after a 30 second delay. Once the generator is shut down, shore power turns on after a three-4 second delay.
TRC SURGE GUARD AUTOMATIC TRANSFER SWITCHES
Permanently install Surge Guard protection to your RV
Protects RV bumper to bumper from faulty park power
Advantages of a transfer switch are a plus for some RV owners; mechanical interlocking contactors, time delay at power up, Transfers to generator power robotically when energized after 30 second delay"

Happy Glamping.
How does the surge guard know that you are unplugging. There will be a load on the connection then, right?
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Old 09-22-2019, 06:17 PM   #11
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How does the surge guard know that you are unplugging. There will be a load on the connection then, right?
Very true, but you can control that. Just turn off the main breaker inside.
Also, you can turn off all the heavy draw items, and there will be little to no arcing at the plug. I typically turn off the AC or any other heavy loads before I unplug, just as a precaution. The battery charging system will be on float, so little load there as well.
The heavy loads usually occur when you first hook up to shore power and something has been turned on by someone else.
Happy Glamping.
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Old 09-22-2019, 06:28 PM   #12
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Many campgrounds don't even have a breaker at the outlet. You have no control over those. As long as there are no heavy loads like air conditioners on, its not going to hurt. I agree with you about shutting off the breaker when you can. If you want to add one, it should be as simple as shutting off the main breaker at the source, cutting the line feeding the outlet, and adding a shutoff box like the amazon one shown before the outlet.
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Old 09-22-2019, 06:38 PM   #13
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Adding a disconnect just moves the spark/arc to the blades of it. You pull the connecting links out and stick them in, just like your plug.

Adding a circuit breaker moves the spark/arc to it. That OK at a Campground, they have to replace them, but this one will be yours.

A magnetic start switch may work for you but your looking for inexpensive.

Unless you turn off the heavy loads in the MH, your just moving the spark/arc to another device.

Besides, if you need detailed instructions, maybe its time to call an electrician. 50 amp 240 volt service is not for a novice.
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Old 09-22-2019, 06:50 PM   #14
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Adding a disconnect just moves the spark/arc to the blades of it. You pull the connecting links out and stick them in, just like your plug.

Adding a circuit breaker moves the spark/arc to it. That OK at a Campground, they have to replace them, but this one will be yours.

A magnetic start switch may work for you but your looking for inexpensive.

Unless you turn off the heavy loads in the MH, your just moving the spark/arc to another device.

Besides, if you need detailed instructions, maybe its time to call an electrician. 50 amp 240 volt service is not for a novice.

Switches are cheap to replace...quick too. Much easier than swapping out receptacles, or buying a new shore power cord.



I agree with twinboat. Your electrician has the experience. Not worth getting electrocuted.

Did I forget to say...????

Have a spotter to be able to call 911...
Wear rubber soles and don’t stand in a puddle...a big rubber mat would be best.
Don’t work in the rain...

I am sure aslo forgot to mention..there has to be a clear area in front of your disconnect switch box. The code frowns on placing them where you don’t have a clear access and retreat...and NO climbing on ladders to reach.
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