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Old 08-29-2010, 06:37 PM   #1
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Should I Install 30 or 50 amp Shore Power?

We will be spending a fair amount of time at my father in laws small farm in Minnesota and I just can't live on the 20 amp outlet next to the barn. I'm going to have an electrician install a dedicated outlet for my 40' DP but have a few questions:

1) The house is nearly 100 years old. I certainly don't want to tie into anything that's been there that long so plan to have the new line run directly from new breakers in the service panel, under ground to a pole near where I'll be parking. Question is... since we're really starting from scratch here is there any reason NOT to put in a 50 amp rather than 30? I'm assuming there's an extra few dollars in material but shouldn't the labor be about the same?

2) I plan to do the grunt work to keep cost down so I'll be digging and recovering the required trenches... about 100'. Am I over simplifying this or should an electrician be able to install the breakers... run the cables... and install the receptical within 3 or 4 hours?

I've found several good references here that I can print and provide the electrician on the proper wiring but I'm trying to estimate how large of a bill I'm signing up for. I'm guessing $250 in material and since it's a rural area, about $80/hr for the electrician... or, something just over $500 total. It's no small sum but considering we average nearly $30/day for campground fees it pays for itself pretty quickly.

Thanks in advance for any insights.

Rick

PS.... we plan to be nowhere near Minnesota in the winter but do need all the A/C we can get in the summer!
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Old 08-29-2010, 06:45 PM   #2
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Sounds like you should put the 50 amp service in.
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Old 08-29-2010, 06:55 PM   #3
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50 amp by all means. That way you'll be able to use everything in your coach.
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Old 08-29-2010, 06:56 PM   #4
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I think the limiting factor is going to be the panel capacity that you are planning to hook to. having said that 50 amp would be better IMHO than 30. Suggest to the electrician that he provide the cable and you trench and lay it in and after his inspection you'll cover the trench. One more suggestion is to use some PVC conduit for you underground run. It will protect the wire and make future repairs much easier for minimal additional cost.
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Old 08-29-2010, 06:59 PM   #5
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Go with the 50 amp circuit using the appropriately sized wiring, you won't regret it. I'd suggest using an RV box that also has a 20 amp plug on it in the event you need to use power tools or something else at the motorhome site. If you have the trench dug and the bulk of the conduit laid, an electrician certainly should be able to complete the job within the 3 to 4 hours you have projected. Remember the vacuum cleaner, plastic bag and string trick when you are getting ready to pull the wire.
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Old 08-29-2010, 07:10 PM   #6
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I think you should install 50 amp, if the panel has enough power. I was able to install 50 amp at my daughter's house in Fla. I installed it in her garage and we just back up to it and hook up. I was lucky that the panel was in the back of the garage and the panel had some empty places to put a 50 amp breaker.
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Old 08-29-2010, 07:29 PM   #7
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I just completed the job you are contemplating. The concern for the "Supplying Panel" is spot on, make sure that when you are installing the subpanel (that is what you are installing), the main panel has the "Juice" to coin a pun. I came out of my Main Panel with a 50 AMP 220 Breaker. The wire is 10/3 UF, no need for conduit, 105 feet to a "Mallard RV Subpanel" that I had one of the 220 hot leads (makes it a 110) to a 110 30 amp RV plug, and the other 220 hot lead feeds my wife's green house thereby killing 2 birds with one stone and a lotta Wifey Brownie points. I would also suggest that since you have a trench dug & open you also install a water line with a Frost Proof faucet (if you are in Southern Maxisnowta, and forget it if you are in Nordern Maxisnowta - Born and raised in Burrrrrrrrrrmidji). The 30 amp service is more than adequate for my coach here at home (hardly ever need a/c).
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Old 08-29-2010, 07:34 PM   #8
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Forgot to add, material costs for my job. 4x6 pressure treated post $10, Frost proof faucet $30, 1/2 inch water line PVC (with fittings & on/off brass valve) $30, Mallard 30/20 amp RV subpanel $125, 50 amp 220 breaker $14, and the real (choke, coff, coff) killer was the UF 10-3 wire, 200 foot roll from Home Depot was $255. Electrician time one hour $80, did the job in less than half an hour. I did the ditch work, and the cost of the BenGay is quite high.
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Old 08-29-2010, 09:07 PM   #9
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Thanks to all and especially to JohnQ for the detailed project cost list. I hadn't figured in the BenGay and the $60 massages I'm sure I'll need! Checking out the capacity of the panel when I get back there in a week or so is my next step.
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Old 08-29-2010, 09:16 PM   #10
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Although it appears others have done 50 amp per your question, let me throw out a big caution. 30 amp is 30 amp but 50 amp is 100 amps which requires 4 wire cable (2 hots/1 common/1 ground) I doubt your older house will have sufficient capacity to supply the 100 amp service. You need to get a license electrician who is familiar with RV circuits or is very knowledgeable about code as it pertains to RV's.
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Old 08-29-2010, 09:37 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ecker View Post
Although it appears others have done 50 amp per your question, let me throw out a big caution. 30 amp is 30 amp but 50 amp is 100 amps which requires 4 wire cable (2 hots/1 common/1 ground) I doubt your older house will have sufficient capacity to supply the 100 amp service. You need to get a license electrician who is familiar with RV circuits or is very knowledgeable about code as it pertains to RV's.
Noted Ecker and thanks for the caution. As Clint once said, "a man's got to know his limitations" and I know mine. I certainly plan to engage a licensed electrician but can you expand about codes pertaining to RVs? I'm currently assuming that in this rural environment there is no way I can find anyone familiar with RV circuits but that I can print any number of documents available on this and other forums to serve as a roadmap for him. I'm acutally starting to learn a little bit about this stuff myself too so by the time we actually break ground I hope to be able to serve as a reality check to what he's doing.
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Old 08-29-2010, 09:43 PM   #12
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I also just finished this job...we just bought a Winnebago Sightseer 29R so it's only 30 amps..the electrician ran a new line from a new 30 amp breaker (box has open slots) to a new outdoor box for the service plug mounted under the main box.

BUT, when we decided where we want to place the motorhome behind our house when not on the road the original power cord only reached half way to the new box. So, the electician built me a real nice 35' "extension cord" (10/3 like was said) with a molded plug on the male end and a weather proof box with clear plastic lid for the female end. I chose not to bury a line because this way I can roll up the extension cord and take it with me...we already used it last weekend when we wanted to pull in nose first and the stock cord would not have reached the shore power box.
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Old 08-29-2010, 09:52 PM   #13
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Quote:
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I new 30 amp breaker (box has open slots) to a new outdoor box for the service plug mounted under the main box.
Just a caution when you check out the supply panel. Room for a breaker does not mean that the panel has the current capacity for added loads.
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Old 08-29-2010, 09:58 PM   #14
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Quote:
I'm currently assuming that in this rural environment there is no way I can find anyone familiar with RV circuits but that I can print any number of documents available on this and other forums to serve as a roadmap for him.
Basically the RV outlet is wired like a 50A range outlet, just in a weatherproof box. These outlets are quite common, I just bought one from Home Depot a couple of weeks ago. Make sure the electrician runs the neutral large enough to support 50A. If you tell him this you'll get the right hookup.



Also, with RV outlets it is best to run the ground wire along with the other wires from the box and not to put in a ground rod to create a local ground on the post (this may be against code anyway, I'm just mentioning it because it has caused some other members trouble and they posted about it).

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