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Old 09-03-2014, 06:10 PM   #1
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30 amp service really 20 amp

Camped this weekend at a site with alleged 30 amp service. Electric center read out in coach displayed 20 amp. We have a 50 amp rv. We were able to run one ac and watch tv threw post breaker when we also used the microwave. This is the second campground we have seen this. Both were old campgrounds.

Has anyone else seen this?


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Old 09-03-2014, 06:21 PM   #2
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Your 30 to 50 amps adaptor , splits the 30 amp to the 2 legs that should have 50 amps each, basically 15 amps feeding a circuit that would like to have 50. There will be loads other than the A/C and microwave; convertor/charger/inverter, hot water 110 if you forgot to turn it off, fridge on 110..
Old park wiring could be partially to blame, but operating a 50amp coach on 30 amp pedestal is a touchy thing, at least it's tripping the breaker and not browning out and killing the A/C compressor.

EDIT: I believe if you read up on your amp display, the 20 amps will be your current draw, not the line current available, current draw probably spikes to 35>40 just as the breaker trips.
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Old 09-03-2014, 06:23 PM   #3
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Dunno about the 20a vs 30a readout, however old campgrounds and marginal electric service is a not uncommon problem. Low voltage, pedestal breaker tripping, outright power outages, etc. I have experienced. Especially evident in the summer months when many RV are running AC units.
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Old 09-03-2014, 06:48 PM   #4
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dvmweb......Some of the electrical centers, where you said you saw 20 amps, are adjustable. Some times when camping with less than 50 amps, you need to turn the knob from 20 amp to 30 amp.
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Old 09-03-2014, 06:55 PM   #5
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Perhaps your incoming line amperage display is designed to be manually assigned when on less than 50 amps. That's the way mine is.
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Old 09-03-2014, 07:01 PM   #6
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If your readout says 20 amps it should be because you programmed it that way.

The sensor can not tell the difference between 20 or 30 amps. it only knows the difference between 15/20/30 and a PROPERLY wired 50 amp (it reads fake 50 as 30) this is why there are overrides.

Some parks. the power is a touch anemic, so an air conditioner, normally 13.5 amps (in my case) might be pulling 15 or more, add to that a few amps for the fridge or converter and a 12 amp load for the microwave (or more) and CLICK goes your 30 amp breaker.

JUST ONE AC, partnered with my Progressive Dyanmics 9180 in BOOST mode (under wizard control) and pop goes a 30 amp breaker, NO Fridge, No water heater No anything else,, JUST those two items alone can pop a 30 amp breaker (Both can be unplugged from the rest of the house and connected to the park's 20 amp outlet by 12ga lines on my rig).
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Old 09-03-2014, 11:27 PM   #7
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What type of device is being used to determine the available amperage?

I work with electricity on a daily basis and never heard of such an instrument. An Amprobe type device will measure the amperage flow through a wire but can not tell the amperage available.

I can understand older parks where smaller wire was run before some of the large motor homes and campers evolved. Trying to draw higher amperage through smaller wire will cause a voltage drop which will cause an increase in amperage and cause a breaker trip.
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Old 09-04-2014, 12:20 PM   #8
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Yes, I understand. The 20 amp reading is on the surge protector panel. It tells you if the polarity is correct, how many amps and volts are on leg 2 and 2, what each system/appliance is drawing, etc. The system is as factory, I haven't changed any thing or reset it. For instance at home (50 amp) or on a newly upgraded 50 amp service, it reads 50 amps, good voltage per leg, and so on.

At this last cg the single ac worked fine, it was shown to draw about 13 amps. It was just when we, DW, attempted to use the microwave too that we had the post breaker go. I had neglected to mention to turn the ac off first.

So, my question is does this detect the available amperage from the service breaker, ie. At home it reads 50 amps. I have had "30" amp posts in campgrounds read 30 amps. This last cg had a 30 amp outlet but seemed to have only 20 amps available. The voltage was around 120 on L1 and L2. Does the adapter, 30 to 50, change the amperage, maybe split the 30 amp available to two 15's or 20's?

The upshot will be that I will just be more careful in the future with electical protocols. I am usually very cautious.


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Old 09-04-2014, 12:29 PM   #9
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WE once stayed in a park that advertised 50 amp service, problem was that one leg had a 30 amp breaker and the other had a 20. That does add up to 50 but it's sure not the correct one of two 50 amp breakers!
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Old 09-04-2014, 12:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dvmweb View Post

Does the adapter, 30 to 50, change the amperage, maybe split the 30 amp available to two 15's or 20's?

The upshot will be that I will just be more careful in the future with electical protocols. I am usually very cautious.


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No it does not split anything. It combines the two 50 amp legs, #1 & #2 into one 30 amp Leg at the 30 amp plug.

Your coach determines how and where the power is used.

Sure sounds like you were cheated on the 30 amp service.

Not surprised at older campgrounds where shortcuts are done all the time. There have been times where older campgrounds modify their pedestals to use 50 amp plugs BUT they are wired incorrectly with only 50 amps of service. So you end up with only 50 amps of power to use instead of the normal 100 amps. This is called a Fake 50 amp Service.

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Old 09-04-2014, 12:33 PM   #11
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No, it cannot detect the available amps other than 50A/240v vs 120v service, which includes 15, 20 and 30A.

The adapter does nothing but connect wires. The 30A adapter is a simple Y that connects the single 30A hot wire to both of the two hot wires in your 50A plug. You can use the entire 30A on one or the other, or any lesser amount on either with the balance available on the other, as long as the total does not exceed 30 (trips the post breaker).
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Old 09-04-2014, 12:41 PM   #12
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Sure! And if you're in old park you can also blow the park's breakers when others are using their a/c too.
We have surge guard that also protects agains brown outs (low voltage)


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Old 09-04-2014, 12:50 PM   #13
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There seems to be a lot of confusion on how electricity and electrical components function.

I found the below link which gives some basics that may help explain some situations.

Hope it helps!!


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Old 09-04-2014, 01:12 PM   #14
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By the way, there is no guarantee that a 50A outlet actually has 50A available, or 30A on a 30 amp outlet either. You could sue the campground for misrepresenting their services, if you like, but as far as the electrical codes are concerned the amperage is just a maximum current rating and not a promise to deliver any given amount. The campground could wire five 30A outlets to a single 30A breaker and be perfectly legitimate. The 15A outlets in your home are the same way - they each can handle a max of 15A but typically there will be several 15A outlets sharing a single 15A source (breaker).
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