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Old 09-12-2013, 09:33 PM   #1
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Help! 2-50ft or 1-100ft shore power cord?

Hi All,
first time poster and a lurker for 2 months.

Just bought a trailer 4weeks ago and tried to hook up at home the night before my first trip and had a problem. Backed my TT near house and used 1-50 ft 30 amp cord and I had shore power from my home. AC worked and all electrical stuff. thought i was pretty smart. TT was in middle of street so to park " properly" I need 75 foot of cord, so I bought a 2nd 50 ft RV approved 30 amp cord and surprisingly, it does not work.

does anyone use 2electrical cords to power their TT? I can't find a 100 footer or I would buy it. Ideas??
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Old 09-12-2013, 10:45 PM   #2
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100 foot chord

Suggest you try the new 50 ft. chord in the same manner that you tried the first to determine if it works. Then if it works I would hook them up in series again and see what happens . The longer the total chord length the higher the energy loss.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RRLover55 View Post
Hi All,
first time poster and a lurker for 2 months.

Just bought a trailer 4weeks ago and tried to hook up at home the night before my first trip and had a problem. Backed my TT near house and used 1-50 ft 30 amp cord and I had shore power from my home. AC worked and all electrical stuff. thought i was pretty smart. TT was in middle of street so to park " properly" I need 75 foot of cord, so I bought a 2nd 50 ft RV approved 30 amp cord and surprisingly, it does not work.

does anyone use 2electrical cords to power their TT? I can't find a 100 footer or I would buy it. Ideas??
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Old 09-12-2013, 11:06 PM   #3
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Welcome to the forum. I hope that you will find many opportunities to participate now that your lurking days are over.

There are two factors in 110v power cords - length and gauge. Let me see if I can help you understand the gauge part.

Suppose that you had a water tube that was 100 feet long. You could get all of the water that you need from it right? Probably not if that tube is only a quarter of an inch in diameter..

On the other hand, a 100 foot hose that is 3/4 of an inch in diameter is going to deliver a lot more water. The question is will it fill a swimming pool quickly? Probably not.

The same is true with electric cords. In addition, the longer an electric cord gets, the greater the voltage drop. There is a formula for figuring that out but let's not get too technical with this yet. The important part is that you understand that, like a pipe, an electric wire is designed to carry a certain amount of capacity.

Let's suppose that the voltage where you plug in your TT is 118 volts. That's good. But now you put together two 50 foot 22 gauge wires and your voltage where you are trying to run an air conditioner is suddenly 99 volts. What happened? A humorous but somewhat accurate answer is that the wire ate the difference in voltage. Actually, it just won't let that difference pass.

For a long run, you need to use a much heavier gauge wire. Here is an example
US Wire and Cable 99100 - U.S. Wire Extreme Cold Weather 100-Foot Extension Cord (12-Gauge) Notice that the cost is a lot higher than the wires that you can get at the local home improvement store. But the gauge on that wire is not going to drop the voltage as much. The same is true for the type of wring that is inside your house. If the runs are long enough, those wires will drop voltage, too.

I recommend that all RVers get a VOM (Volt Ohm Meter) and learn how to safely use it. Even the very cheap meters at Harbor Freight that cost less than $5, will tell you what your voltage is at the air conditioner at the end of a 100 foot extension cord. If that voltage is too low, you will burn up the A/C unit with continued operation or it may not even start. That is because the electrical "pipe" is to small to carry the capacity of electricity that is required.

I hope this helps.
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Old 09-13-2013, 01:38 PM   #4
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Yes, voltage drop is a big concern but I'm not sure it is here? When parked at home, do you need to be running the AC and other things so you'd be near max. amp draw? If you just want to be able to run some lights, the battery charger, fridge and other low wattage things, you can probably get away with a 30 to 15 amp adapter and 15 amp cord. But I would use a 12 gauge cord minimum. Copper is expensive so you don't really want to run long lengths of heavy gauge wire if you don't need to.

You don't state that you are plugging in to a 30 amp receptacle in your house. I am guessing then, that it's a regular 15 amp-er? If so and you ever decide to install a 30 amp outlet, make sure it is not wired at 240 volts. If you are plugging into a 15 amp receptacle, you don't want it to be GFCI.

As said, you would be wise to get a voltmeter. Measure the voltage at your main panel (or close to it) to see what you start with. Then measure what it is at your TT with all the loads on that you will normally be using at home only (eg., no AC?). You never want the voltage to get below 105 volts or you can cause serious damage, esp. to the AC unit. A good investment is a line voltage monitor. You can buy the RV plug-in ones for around $20 or less.

I installed a dedicated 30 amp receptacle in our carport for our TT and ran #8 gauge 50 amp wire to it because of the overall length of the run back to the main panel. Besides the actual overall length of your extension cord, don't forget to include how long the wiring run is from the receptacle in your house to your main panel. That can be 50' or even a lot more. This will also increase the voltage drop.

Do you really have 50' cords? They are usually 25' long. Are your cord the detachable type? If so, you can buy a generator adapter (any RV parts vendor). It has a female straight blade plug on one end and twist-lock male connector on the other. Then you can connect two detachable type cords in series. We carry around a spare detachable 30 amp cord and have the generator adapter. If a cord gets stolen, we have a spare. If 25' feet is not long enough, we can get 50'.

If your cord is non-detachable (goes into "mouse hole"), you can buy 30 amp extension cord with a straight blade plug and connector. I think CW has them on sale right now. If you shop around the internet, chances are you'll find great deals. I was able to get a new Marinco 30A detachable cord on ebay for $75. They are typically 2-3 times that.

If I can offer one piece of advice, never plug your cord in when the power is turned on. You will cause pitting to the contacts and blades which will eventually lead to higher resistance and overheating and a meltdown or even a fire. If at home, turn off the breaker in the house first. The best thing to do would be install a switch (heavy duty "motor" rated). Same when at a cg. The converter has a high momentary inrush current that causes a zap and flash and arcing. I burned out two light gauge extension cords in our driveway before installing a permanent 30 amp receptacle.
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Old 09-14-2013, 07:06 PM   #5
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We use a 30amp extension cord regularly with no issues. Sounds like you got a cord with bad connectors. Return it for an exchange. It happens.
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