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Old 08-31-2013, 09:32 AM   #29
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Thanks to everyone! Will buy the adapter today!!!
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Old 08-31-2013, 11:39 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Ramblin View Post
I consider it not, at all, a dangerous thing to do. But I will concede that plugging in without using ANY sort of adapter is always preferable.

Plugging a 30A RV into a 50A outlet is exactly the same as plugging a 1A coffee maker into a 15A branch circuit. 99.999% of items are rated for fewer amps than the circuit they are plugged into is capable of providing. It is, in fact, only when it is the OTHER WAY AROUND that problems arise, and circuit breakers need to do their jobs.

And so, I would respectfully submit that plugging a 50A coach into a 30A pedestal is (by far) the more dangerous thing to do, not the other way around. The OP will be perfectly fine using the prescribed dogbone adapter for his 30A coach.

Perhaps one of those "state licensed Master electricians" could weigh in on this.
We actually do disagree on this. I do not see a problem with hooking a 50 amp coach into a 30 amp circuit. However like I have said I think hooking a 30 amp coach into an adapter then into a 50 amp service is dangerous. One of the main reasons is the power cord. The 30 amp cord is made to handle 30 amps. If you have something happen you can put more current through the cord than it can handle before the 50 amp breaker trips. However if you have a power cord rated at 50 amps on a 30 amp breaker you should not have more current through the cord than it can handle before the 30 amp breaker trips. I personally think you have a dangerous situation any time you have a breaker larger than the current capability of a power cord. In the example you used the power cord for that electrical device hooked into a 15 amp outlet will handle 15 amps.

You would not hook up a Hot Tub to a 50 amp breaker with awg 10 gauge wire. Why do people think it is safe to do the same thing with your MH power cord.
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Old 08-31-2013, 11:47 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by hanko View Post
I see you know enough to be dangerous
We have not seen your qualifications but in addition to working on high power electronics for the US Navy, ( high power to me means 440 volt circuits with main power off of ships mains and 3 50kw dedicated generators for power for tranmitter tubes.

Industrial electrician at a small manufacturing facility where among other jobs we completely rewired the plant.

Industrial Electrician at a steel mill where we had our own 1.8kv substation had numerous elecric arc furnaces to melt steel. a 6000 amp 250 VDC system for powering 125 ton cranes. And as much as I hated it and was not very good at it I also had to run conduit

Varous other electronic jobs as a civilian tech rep for the military.

I know some things not sure if it is enough to be dangerous or not but no one has ever died that worked with me.
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Old 09-01-2013, 06:59 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by gemini5362 View Post
You would not hook up a Hot Tub to a 50 amp breaker with awg 10 gauge wire. Why do people think it is safe to do the same thing with your MH power cord.
That's true, if 10AWG wire was not capable of carrying the load of the hot tub. If the hot tub was rated at 20A, I would not hesitate to plug it in using 12AWG wire minimum, and would have no problem plugging it into a 100A branch circuit. (or 200A, or 400A, etc) In residential wiring, the breakers are there to protect the premise wiring, not the items plugged into them.

The flip side to your position is this: would you require that a table lamp's cord be 12AWG when plugged into a 20A branch circuit? If so, why aren't table lamps all equipped with 12AWG cords? (most I've seen are 18awg)

How far up the line to you go? Should my house be wired with wire capable of carrying the loads of the power substation that feeds it?

I maintain that it is far more dangerous to place a 50A load potential on a 30A dogbone, than to place a 30A load potential on a 50A circuit, because the 50A coach BY DESIGN can easily overload the 30A dogbone simply by the owner turning on too much stuff, whereas, the 30A coach would have to have some sort of failure outside of the owner's control and the design of the coach to overload the shore cable to a 50A circuit.

If you counter that the 30A breaker at the pedestal will prevent a 50A coach from overloading the dogbone, I will parry that the 30A coach's main breaker would prevent overloading of ITS dogbone to the 50A.

At the end of the day, it is the COACH's breakers that protect the coach's wiring all the way out to the pedestal and all the way in to the outlets. The pedestal breakers protect the CG wiring, not your coach. Assuming all breakers working and all connections clean and tight, it would be impossible for a 30A coach to overload a dogbone plugged into a 50A circuit.
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Old 09-01-2013, 07:09 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by sclaryusa View Post
I would like to convert my motorhome from 30 amps to 50 amps service. What are the steps needed?

Thanks for your posts!! I really appreciate all of your input!!!
This is where this all started. Look where it has taken us. The poor guy just wanted good advice, not a brawl! We each have our own opinions and experiences. The bottom line is it is a common practice to adapt 50A to 30A and 30A to 50A service at the pedestal. The coach breaker is the important one because it protects the coach. I have never heard of a cord fire in the coach unless the connections are bad or there is an equipment failure. Now at the pedestal? A resounding YES!!!

We trust that the parks are doing maintenance and are replacing receptacles when they show the early signs of failure. Or do we? I think most of us are a bit reluctant to plug in to a warn and degraded pedestal, but we often do it. The problem compounds greatly when we don't maintain our connections and adapters correctly.

If I use an adapter to a 30A service (this is common when volunteering) I check it for heat after my loads have run for a short time. This is simply a good practice. If I find a heat buildup I troubleshoot the problem and fix it. But that is what volunteers do for their host.

The 30A rig need not be converted to 50A, in my opinion, unless some power hungry options have been installed. Then, in my opinion, doing the job correctly means putting in a modern service panel with an energy management system, new inverter, larger battery bank and stronger generator. I think about 5 to 8 grand would cover it with your labor.

Have fun with this one
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Old 09-01-2013, 11:27 AM   #34
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We all have our opinions and our reasons for them. I try to make sure the advice I give can be used by someone with little or no experience in the electrical industry. I am very aware that there are adapters for hooking a 30 amp power cord into a 50 amp breaker. I am very aware that a lot of people maybe even most think it is an acceptable practice. I do not own that adapter so it will not be a problem for me. Once when at the steel mill we had someone from cuttler hammer give a class on his breakers. I was shocked at the percentage of overtrip to time it took for breakers to trip. I think we can all agree that it will take a minimum of 50 + amps to trip a 50 amp breaker. I will agree that the coach 30 amp breaker will trip if something in the coach exceeds 30 amps. The worry I have is between the two breakers. A high resistance connection at the incoming side of the breaker box would be my biggest worry. I am not sure how most coaches are wired but I am under the opinion that the breaker box is in a location that can be accessed easily ( mine is in the kitchen under the refrigerator) the power cable is somewhere else and wiring between it and the breaker panel. this wiring is either under the coach or in the walls or both. A high resistance connection plus the normal electical load for devices used could drive the current on the 10 gauge wiring between the pedestal and the breaker panel to 50 amps. 50 amps on a 10 gauge wire can cause problems and has a good chance of fire.

Everyone is free to do what they think is best and to weigh whether or not they think there is a risk. I have a power management system that is located directly in line after my power cord. It monitors the wiring configuration and the current used in each line. That is probably the best solution for the problem but it is not a cheap solution. The OP has seen the various responses. We have all defended our positions pretty vigorously. I wish the OP the best of luck in his travels and hopefully this will just be a moot conversation an the OP will find 30 amp connections and not have to make a decision on what to do.
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Old 09-01-2013, 11:41 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Ramblin View Post
That's true, if 10AWG wire was not capable of carrying the load of the hot tub. If the hot tub was rated at 20A, I would not hesitate to plug it in using 12AWG wire minimum, and would have no problem plugging it into a 100A branch circuit. (or 200A, or 400A, etc) In residential wiring, the breakers are there to protect the premise wiring, not the items plugged into them.

The flip side to your position is this: would you require that a table lamp's cord be 12AWG when plugged into a 20A branch circuit? If so, why aren't table lamps all equipped with 12AWG cords? (most I've seen are 18awg)

How far up the line to you go? Should my house be wired with wire capable of carrying the loads of the power substation that feeds it?

I maintain that it is far more dangerous to place a 50A load potential on a 30A dogbone, than to place a 30A load potential on a 50A circuit, because the 50A coach BY DESIGN can easily overload the 30A dogbone simply by the owner turning on too much stuff, whereas, the 30A coach would have to have some sort of failure outside of the owner's control and the design of the coach to overload the shore cable to a 50A circuit.

If you counter that the 30A breaker at the pedestal will prevent a 50A coach from overloading the dogbone, I will parry that the 30A coach's main breaker would prevent overloading of ITS dogbone to the 50A.

At the end of the day, it is the COACH's breakers that protect the coach's wiring all the way out to the pedestal and all the way in to the outlets. The pedestal breakers protect the CG wiring, not your coach. Assuming all breakers working and all connections clean and tight, it would be impossible for a 30A coach to overload a dogbone plugged into a 50A circuit.
Ramblin, nice concise discussion points. I believe Iam correct when I answer some of them. Wiring your house to the capabilities of the wire to the substation that feeds it is already done actually. When you look at the transformer for your house there is fuses on that transformer. ( At least that is my understanding and the electric company told me they had to replace the fuse in the transformer for my house after a thunderstorm) The wires that feed your house are matched to the value of that fuse.

Funny you mentioned about the lamp cord. Not long after I moved into my house we had some baby chickens in a storage shed by the house. I had a heat lamp that clamped onto a 2x4 to keep them warm. The heat lamp evidently fell and broke the bulb. The bulb shorted and caught the cord on fire
the cord caught the shed on fire, The fire department arrived as the shingles on my house were starting to smoke. I think that pretty well explains my attitude about 18 gauge wire and lamps.

I am sure if you talk to an electrician that wires houses or even look at the electrical code you will find out that you have the breaker interupt power at a lower level than the wiring which feeds it through the walls.

Yes you can overload the 30 amp breaker with a 50 amp coach and yes the 30 amp breaker could have a problem and not trip and theoretically cause a fire at the pedestal. I worry less about a pedestal a few feet from my coach than wiring going through the floor and walls. or anywhere in the coach actually.

I believe we can agree to respectfully disagree.
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Old 09-01-2013, 11:56 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by gemini5362 View Post

We all have our opinions and our reasons for them.

I am very aware that there are adapters for hooking a 30 amp power cord into a 50 amp breaker. I am very aware that a lot of people maybe even most think it is an acceptable practice. I do not own that adapter so it will not be a problem for me.
The reason you don't own one is your Tiffin coach is a 50/100 amp coach.

I don't own one either nor do I need one.

Do you own a 30/50 Amp Dog-Bone and do you use it?

Have you ever had one of them get hot and melt?

There have been many known failures of those 30/50 amp dog-bones both from being poorly manufactured and from over-loading.

Just my opinion.

Dr4Film ----- Richard
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Old 09-01-2013, 01:05 PM   #37
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I believe we can agree to respectfully disagree.
Yeah, I guess we could. It does a disservice to the readers of the forum, though, because there is no resolution. It would be good for another electrician to weigh in.

What we do agree on is that it is always best to not use any sort of power adapter unless absolutely necessary, and the purchase of incoming power analysis and protection is money well spent that would avoid the majority of these problems.
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Old 09-01-2013, 01:26 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by Dr4Film

Steve,

That method used for battery disconnects is fairly common. Notice the color of wires going to and from the two battery disconnects in my electrical bay photo.

It's only when working on the batteries directly where you should disconnect the negative BEFORE the positive eliminating the possibility of accidentally grounding the tool while removing the positive cable from the battery.

There is NO debate as to which way is safer or correct. It's purely common sense.

Dr4Film ----- Richard
I agree there is no debate between us - but I have read lengthy debate of others saying the ground is the one to disconnect by the switch. Not just here but on that other place. You are right - it is common sense.
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Old 09-01-2013, 11:16 PM   #39
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I guess I'll jump in here for my first post on the forum since I did this conversion last year. It was the best thing I've done to the rig. On 30 amp service, you are just about maxed out running two a/c units (or two compressors in a basement air in my case) so you can't even run a hair dryer or a toaster at the same time as the a/c. With 30amp, you have one 120vac circuit with a max capacity of 30amps. With the 50 amp service, you basically have 240volt (two 120vac circuits of 50 amps each). We can now run the a/c on full, the microwave, a coffee maker and just about anything else we want without the load shedder killing power to appliances.

First off, I did not have to replace my transfer switch as the Itasca already had a 50amp ATS installed, but only had 30 amp service. You have to check the model of yours to see if it's a 50 or 30 amp.

Second, I did not have to replace the circuit breaker panel. The panel was split in two lugs with a jumper between the two to combine all of the breakers into one 120vac service. If it looks like the attached photo with two separate legs and a jumper (black wire lower right) between them, then it is probably usable with the jumper removed and each leg of the service on a separate lug.

The conversion took about a day. The hardest part of the whole thing was finding a way to run the new 6gauge service wire from the ATS at the rear to the breaker panel in the kitchen area. I managed to snake it under the floor after enclosing it in plastic wire loom shield, but it took some work.

This is not something for someone not well versed in electrical work to undertake, but I have a lot of experience in that field. I recommend contacting a master electrician to at least oversee the conversion and make all your connections.

There is a web site that has step by step information on a conversion that helped me a lot. There were some differences in his procedure and what I had to do, but overall it was pretty much the same.
Converting the Rig to 50 amp service
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Old 09-02-2013, 06:04 AM   #40
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To Lt Dan: What great input. The few 30A RV services I have seen were low end and dedicated to 30A. Your conversion was made to happen at the factory. I wonder if it was an option in your model year? But, great job and fantastic input. I think we who have been following this were all thinking 'true' 30A service. You certainly got to the chase with this post! Thank.

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Old 09-02-2013, 09:04 AM   #41
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The reason you don't own one is your Tiffin coach is a 50/100 amp coach.

I don't own one either nor do I need one.

Do you own a 30/50 Amp Dog-Bone and do you use it?

Have you ever had one of them get hot and melt?

There have been many known failures of those 30/50 amp dog-bones both from being poorly manufactured and from over-loading.

Just my opinion.

Dr4Film ----- Richard
Yep you are right I do not need a 50 to 30 amp adapter and if I did I still would not own one.

Yep I have a 30amp to 50 amp adapter. I use it all the time. Not for a reason that I figure will put any stress on it. Just because I can get old fashioned lazy and I have other higher priority projects I have not hooked up a receptacle for my RV. I really do not have an excuse I have a shop with a seperate 200 amp service that I can wire the receptacle to. Anyway I hook my 50 to 30 adapter together then I add a 30 to 15 adapter and hook that into an extension cord that I hook into an outdoor plug at my shop. I use it for running the refrigerator if we get in later from a trip and want to unload the refrigerator the next day. During the summer I turn one of the exhaust fans to pull air in and another to push air out so that I have a constant flow of air through the coach and keep temps inside it from getting too hot.

It also keeps my coach batteries topped off. According to my data readout I am pulling around 7 amps through that circuit. I do not worry to much about those adapters getting too hot.

I may have used the 30 amp adapter to hook up in a park once but really do not remember doing that because I usually try to make sure any park I go to has 50 amps. If I have to use it I will make sure to keep one air conditioner powered off at all times and monitor the current going through it.

I am sure that people have used them incorrectly and get them hot. Since you are pretty adamant that the 30 amp breaker in a coach will protect it if the coach is hooked up to 50 amps then I am sure you will agree that the 30 amp breaker at the pedestal will protect everything there.

I also am not nearly as worried about something on the pedestal getting hot and melting as I am the wiring in the coach.
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Old 09-02-2013, 09:09 AM   #42
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I guess I'll jump in here for my first post on the forum since I did this conversion last year. It was the best thing I've done to the rig. On 30 amp service, you are just about maxed out running two a/c units (or two compressors in a basement air in my case) so you can't even run a hair dryer or a toaster at the same time as the a/c. With 30amp, you have one 120vac circuit with a max capacity of 30amps. With the 50 amp service, you basically have 240volt (two 120vac circuits of 50 amps each). We can now run the a/c on full, the microwave, a coffee maker and just about anything else we want without the load shedder killing power to appliances.

First off, I did not have to replace my transfer switch as the Itasca already had a 50amp ATS installed, but only had 30 amp service. You have to check the model of yours to see if it's a 50 or 30 amp.

Second, I did not have to replace the circuit breaker panel. The panel was split in two lugs with a jumper between the two to combine all of the breakers into one 120vac service. If it looks like the attached photo with two separate legs and a jumper (black wire lower right) between them, then it is probably usable with the jumper removed and each leg of the service on a separate lug.

The conversion took about a day. The hardest part of the whole thing was finding a way to run the new 6gauge service wire from the ATS at the rear to the breaker panel in the kitchen area. I managed to snake it under the floor after enclosing it in plastic wire loom shield, but it took some work.

This is not something for someone not well versed in electrical work to undertake, but I have a lot of experience in that field. I recommend contacting a master electrician to at least oversee the conversion and make all your connections.

There is a web site that has step by step information on a conversion that helped me a lot. There were some differences in his procedure and what I had to do, but overall it was pretty much the same.
Converting the Rig to 50 amp service

Nice job good post. I think you emphasized what a lot of people have said on here. You have the experience to do it yourself but for someone that does not have a lot of electrical experience have someone else at the very least make the connections. Nice to know that your unit was set up to make it an easy conversion. My wifes cousin has an itasca and they really love it.
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