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Old 08-12-2015, 04:06 PM   #1
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Upgrade from 30 to 50 amp

Hello, I am new to the forum and new to being a full timer. However I have been camping for a long time and done a lot of traveling with my travel trailer.
Since day one of purchasing my 33ft travel trailer I have been unhappy with the a.c. on it. I realize they can only cool to about 20 degrees cooler than outside but I'm not even getting that. And now that I am living in the north part of sc I am having even more issues.
I have had to replace the plug on the end of my main power cord once before due to hear damage and I'm starting to see similar signs again.
So I'm am starting the planning process to add a second ac unit to my camper and tossing around the idea of either running a separate cord to plug into as standard plug to power the second unit or upgrading my main plug to a 50 amp plug and wiring in a circuit breaker or upgrading entirely to a 50 amp service.
Has anyone done this and if so what are the benfits, down sides, and if anyone has any how to's or even wiring diagrams would be greatly appreciated. I just want to make an educated decision and start to make a plan.
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Old 08-12-2015, 04:18 PM   #2
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I would guess that since you're having issues with your power cord, that you might have a bad/loose connection in your RV, or the pedestals you are plugging into have issues. As for adding an additional ac, I think it would be considerably easier and cheaper to run it on a separate, dedicated 20A circuit instead of changing the RV wiring from 30A to 50A.
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Old 08-12-2015, 04:26 PM   #3
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The air temp output will be 20 cooler than outside ambient temp taken right at the outlet not that the interior temp will be 20 cooler.
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Old 08-12-2015, 07:44 PM   #4
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I guess I should have been a little more specific. I am having plug issues with two different plugs and multiple different campsites. One of which I watch the owner install a brand new plug. But with numerous things this camper has that use a substantial amount of electricity I really feel it should have been. 50 amp camper to begin with. Not mention since im living out of it I am willing to put some time and money into it
To make it so I don't have to turn the a.c. off to run the microwave.
The campground im going to be in long term is a 50amp plug only so I'm going to have to use an adapter already. I just thought maybe either changing the main plug for ease in the future or upgrading the entire system might be a good option.
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Old 08-12-2015, 10:21 PM   #5
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Upgrade from 30 to 50 amp

I would think you would need;
1)50amp plug/cable to the rig
2)50amp connector at the rig bulkhead
3)replace the wire from the bulkhead to the converter box (correct gauge for the load/distance)
4)converter box that can handle 50 amp distribution.

I have the same problem when demand is high in the park (lots of acs running when it is hot). One way to avoid it is to use a line conditioner and keep those blades on the power plug Brite and clean of corrosion, use dielectric grease to prevent future corrosion.

You got me thinking of this now...
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Old 08-12-2015, 10:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mich F View Post
I would guess that since you're having issues with your power cord, that you might have a bad/loose connection in your RV, or the pedestals you are plugging into have issues. As for adding an additional ac, I think it would be considerably easier and cheaper to run it on a separate, dedicated 20A circuit instead of changing the RV wiring from 30A to 50A.
That is true! To do a real upgrade requires an add'l panel and splitting circuits that were not intended to be split. Adding a different converter or inverter, more/bigger batteries if you want to be fully functional for boondocking, new transfer switch and some other stuff I'm sure I've forgotten!
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Old 08-13-2015, 11:02 AM   #7
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Doesn't sound like you'll be doing much boon docking to me.... I understand your problem but this isn't something for an amateur to undertake, if it's going to be done correctly. If the trailer has an option of 50-amp service then there's probably a drawing of the electrical layout somewhere. If you can find it and follow it, and have the wiring skills... go for it... If not, I'd recommend putting a second (15K BTU) unit up there with a 20-A cord and let it go at that. Keep it going while you use your microwave.... but you may have to turn off the original unit.
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Old 08-13-2015, 11:05 AM   #8
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I would upgrade to a 50A circuit. With a 30A circuit you still limited to all the other things in the RV not being able to turn on all at once. 50A is much better.
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Old 08-13-2015, 11:21 AM   #9
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My trailer was upgraded from 30 to 50 by the previous owner. He cut the bus bar in the middle, making a gap between top and bottom and added another main breaker to the end that didn't have one, separating the big power consumers (a/c and water heater). A 50 amp cord and was done. 30 amp trailer with 50a service because the plug was getting too warm for him. He was an electrician and it was what he wanted. Trailer will not draw 50a but plug doesn't get warm anymore.
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Old 08-13-2015, 01:14 PM   #10
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I think it would be a good upgrade and shouldn't be to much trouble as long as you understand how the AC distribution in your trailer works now. May be easier to just buy a 50amp distribution panel than trying to modify the 30amp one you have.
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Old 08-13-2015, 01:34 PM   #11
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My 88 southwind has a 30 amp cord for shore power. But it also has a 50 amp generator.

On shore power (30A) only one air conditioner can be run at a time.

On Generator, (50A) both air conditioner can be run at once.

I am considering breaking the circuit where the generator goes into the camper, and making a female plug out of the output of the generator. Then make the male plug from the end that goes into the power distribution of the MH.

That way, when generator is plugged in, it will be the same as now.

But, I also can make a 50A wire that will have a male plug at shore end, and female at the other (like an extension cord) which would allow me to unplug the generator, and plug in a shore wire instead, that feeds 50A to the MH, as if the generator is on.

This situation would allow me to plug into 30A like now, or 50A when available, but have a minimum impact on rewiring the MH.
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Old 08-14-2015, 07:23 AM   #12
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Thank you all for your input. I ordered my a.c. unit yesterday. I am going to wire it through a switch on the side side of my fireplace and through a circuit breaker then out with the main plug for now. Then make my own 50 amp adapter to allow me to plug both into a 50amp plug where available or a 30 amp and a 20 amp where available. However down the road I think I will get a new power distribution center that is setup for 50 amp and run the additional leg of power to it and go through the time to re wire everything. Honestly even without a schematic it shouldn't be to hard to go through and test everything to find out what goes where none of it is that far away. I'll also drop another wire from the switch below my microwave so that I can run both the electric water heater and the fireplace at the same time. Again the end result will fix all of my problems, but the initial will only fix the a.c. portion but allow me multiple plug styles.
One question i do have as i plan for the future. What is the transfer switch for? I don't plan on doing any boondocking, will I need to upgrade the battery and switch still? I just want to be prepared financially for the task before I take it on.

Thanks again
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Old 08-14-2015, 08:28 AM   #13
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Going back to your plug issues, the problem could be in your RV. Perhaps something as simple as a bad/loose connection.
Do you have an onboard generator? If you don't, you won't have or need a transfer switch. The transfer switch allows you to get power from your generator without having to plug your shore power cord into an outlet from the generator.
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Old 08-14-2015, 08:56 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr_D View Post
The air temp output will be 20 cooler than outside ambient temp taken right at the outlet not that the interior temp will be 20 cooler.
The output temp should be 20 lower then the intake air of the AC unit.
Has nothing to do with the outside ambient temp.

Inside temp will have to do with outside temp and insulation of the RV, sun or shade location, single or double pane windows. How many sq ft trying to cool. And BTU output of the AC unit.

If OP is going to add a AC and separate power cord/breaker for it. Then go with a 15K AC or even a 15K heat pump model.
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