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Old 03-06-2016, 01:21 AM   #1
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Air conditioners at 15/30/50 amps

How well do your air conditioners and other power needs work with 50 amp versus 30 amp versus 15 amp hookups?
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Old 03-06-2016, 01:38 AM   #2
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I have successfully run two 13.5 heat pumps on a 30 amp setup.
Never tried a 15 amp and we know 50 amps will support three 15K heat pumps.
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Old 03-06-2016, 01:49 AM   #3
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The startup current of an AC unit is considerably higher than the running current. Depending on the AC units you may be able to operate 1 unit on a 15a circuit, and likely two units on s 30a circuit. With differing RV's I have done both. However soonest any other high draw device (coffee maker, microwave, hair dryer, etc) comes online you will be well over the line and start tripping breakers.

And be aware your onboard battery charger can draw a substantial amount of current, and this need level can vary with the battery bank state of charge. The ability to turn off or limit the power draw of the battery charger is likely a need.
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Old 03-06-2016, 03:42 AM   #4
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My 5vr is 50A
We lived in it parked next to S&B while waiting for escrow to close when we sold
Plugged into 15A outlet using 50A cord to 50A/30A adapter to 30A/15A adapter
WH & Fridge on propane. Winter time so no A/C needed (15K unit and it tripped the 15A breaker in house---I tried it)
But we lived in 5vr for 36 days OK

During our FT travels we used some 30A sites
WH & Fridge could be on electric except when you wanted to run A/C Unit OR Microwave then had to swap them to propane during those times.

Generator is 4KW 30A ......same power management needed when using it for source.

Simply trial & error......see what does work and under which situation
Trip a breaker......try different configuration
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Old 03-06-2016, 08:25 AM   #5
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Some units we have owned have worked on 15/20 amp service, others haven't. All work on 30 and 50. I'm adding a 13.5Btu unit to our current 5er which will probably work while the 15K Btu unit has been tried and will not. I have hard start relays/capacitors to add to both and that may help, but in all honesty, really don't care if they work on that low current as the only place I run into that limit is my driveway. You also have to factor in line voltage loss too as I need a hundred foot 12 Awg lead to reach the 5ers receptacle.

100 Foot 12 Awg extension cord
3.8 V @ 10A (3.2%)
5.7 V @ 15A (4.8%)
7.7 V @ 20 A(6.4%)
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Old 03-07-2016, 08:09 AM   #6
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Are you asking whether they heat/cool the same, or whether they can be run at all? A single a/c should work as well whether 15A, 30A or 50A, but you should be able to run multiple a/c's, as well as other appliances, at the same time if you have more amperage available.
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Old 03-15-2016, 12:16 AM   #7
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I assume if an A/C is running is would cool just fine. I have heard that 30 amps will support only one A/C plus a TV or something, but 15 amps would run an A/C only if you have little or nothing else using power without tripping a breaker. Sound right?
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Old 03-15-2016, 12:19 AM   #8
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Depending on your setup you might be able to run one or two A/C's or heat pumps on 30 amps. I've successfully run two 13.5 heat pumps on 30 amps (which is why I ordered two 13.5's rather than two 15's on our '02 DSDP). 15 amps might or might not run one, it depends on the starting amps, just like trying to run two 15.0 units on 30 amps.
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Old 03-15-2016, 09:46 AM   #9
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A single a/c unit consumes 11-14 amps, depending on the age and model. However, the compressor start-up load doubles that for a second or two, and that start-up surge is what typically makes it nigh impossible to run two large a/c at once on 30A. A smaller a/c, e.g. 8000 or 11,000 btu, may run along with a larger (15,000 btu) model.

The rule of thumb for 30A is that you can probably run an a/c and one other fairly large power consumer, e.g. a microwave or coffee maker, but not a third big one. What messes up most people is that the fridge and water heater are driven by a thermostat and cycle on/off without warning. Both are major amp users (if in electric mode), so everything runs fine until one of them cycles on and then the breaker trips. Best to leave the fridge and water heater in LP gas mode if amps are limited and you need them for a/c or other uses.
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Old 03-15-2016, 04:42 PM   #10
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An easy indication of load is the voltage drop. Check your input voltage with the AC running and if it is below 108 volts , you may not quickly pop the breaker but the motors (fan, compressor) may not fare well. Had a long run similar to IC2 above, had 124volts at the house, 114 volts at the RV which dropped to 110 with only the AC running. Something cycled on, volts went below 108 and my surge protector tripped.
Same situation different house, using only 30 ft of 50amp cord to a 15amp plug, ran AC all day always above 112 to 115 volts.
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Old 03-15-2016, 05:10 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RV Vagabond View Post
I assume if an A/C is running is would cool just fine. I have heard that 30 amps will support only one A/C plus a TV or something, but 15 amps would run an A/C only if you have little or nothing else using power without tripping a breaker. Sound right?
Sounds rational. What most folks seem to be leaving out is converter draw plus anything else on the branch circuit. Your converter is supplying any 12 VDC loads plus topping off your batteries so it can be drawing a couple amps. TV is probably good for another amp. Refer is good for about 1 1/2 amp on 120 VAC. Those extra's can be managed to some extent so that running an A/C on 15 amp is questionable, reasonable on 20 amp. From there it depends on how much you want to play load manager.

FWIW - converter draw - if your batteries are charged is probably not much. The problem is if you are trying to bring a unit up out of storage by running A/C or electric heat plus bringing up low batteries. The converter draws roughly 1 Amp @ 120 VAC for every 10 Amp of output thus a 40 Amp converter can be drawing 4 Amp @ 120 VAC if the batteries are low or the 12 VDC load high. The same issue exists at times like in the morning after a night on battery power.
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Old 03-15-2016, 05:21 PM   #12
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the inrush current ( starting current ) on a electric induction motor is 5 to 7 times
name plate amps. ac compressor also falls into this category.
a electric motor requires name plate voltage plus or minus ten per cent. long cord sized wrong= low voltage which = high amps and high heat in the wiring and motor.
low voltage is the number one cause of motor failure.a simple meter similar to this can save you $$
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Old 03-16-2016, 01:53 AM   #13
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I don't know what size the 2 AC's in mine are but I tested the current draw with an Amprobe. Individually they drew 6 amps. So I thought, what the heck, fire both of them up in the driveway on a 50 foot 14 gauge extension cord plugged into a 20 amp outlet. Worked fine, only downside, plug into the wall became somewhat warm!
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Old 03-17-2016, 10:48 AM   #14
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Newer high efficency A/C's use only 6-8 amps. 2 * 8=16 amps, leaves 14 to spare with 30 amp service. Shedding won't allow 2 to come on at same time.
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