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Old 01-09-2017, 08:23 AM   #1
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Electric cheater box

We recently bought a MH that requires or has 50 AMP service. My question is and I'm sure it has been asked many times.

Will a cheater box work on the same electric panel breaker box mounted on a single campground site post that does not have 50 amp service but has a 30 and 20 amp service?

Mathematically it should work. Math I understand, electricity ahhhh.... different story.
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Old 01-09-2017, 08:29 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by badrad View Post
We recently bought a MH that requires or has 50 AMP service. My question is and I'm sure it has been asked many times.

Will a cheater box work on the same electric panel breaker box mounted on a single campground site post that does not have 50 amp service but has a 30 and 20 amp service?

Mathematically it should work. Math I understand, electricity ahhhh.... different story.


Cheating electricity is cheating death.
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Old 01-09-2017, 08:33 AM   #3
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Welcome to iRV2.

A 50 amp RV site plug has two hot legs of 50 amp power .100 amps total.
The cheater box will combine 30 amp and 20 amp ( 50 amps total) then split ( depending on the way it's wired ) into 25 amps per hot leg , OR feed 30 amps to one leg in the coach and 20 amps to the other . Your still only getting 1/2 the power the coach needs to operate all it's systems.

NOTE; a 50 amp RV can operate on 30 amp power provided you manage your power use carefully .
Only one Air conditioner, water heater on propane , don't use microwave and A/C at the same time, etc.
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Old 01-09-2017, 08:37 AM   #4
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Yes this is fine and its done everyday. There are solutions from many places, this link is from eTrailer for example: Power Grip RV Power Cord Adapter w/ Handles - 125V - 50 Amp Female to 30 Amp Male Camco RV Wiring CAM55185

I would not really call it a cheater box, simple conversion pigtail or something similar. When used properly electricity is a good friend, cheat on the rules and standards and your mileage will vary!!
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Old 01-09-2017, 08:37 AM   #5
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it may, if you have the space for a dbl pole 50a breaker

I did this in the house we are wintering in for my coach parked next door... there was already room in the breaker box, I already had the dbl pole 50a breaker, the wiring required, and the 50a plug/box ... now the coach has full 50a(100a total) service
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Old 01-09-2017, 09:08 AM   #6
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WOW....Thanks for all the quick replies.

I think I will do the one A/C and run the water heater on propane route. Seems the safest way for now.

Thanks again
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Old 01-09-2017, 09:13 AM   #7
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you can purchase a 'dog bone' RV adapter that may allow you to use both the 30a plug and the 15/20a plug at your site, given the outlet is not a GFCI type.

this would give you a total of 45or50amps instead of only 30
(some residential outlets are 20amps, others are only 15amps)

Camco 55025 Power Grip Series™ 50-Amp Power Maximizer 15-Amp Male & 30-Amp Male
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Old 01-11-2017, 12:08 AM   #8
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"MisterT" noted the one exception. You can use both outlets, as long as the 15/20 amp one is not GFCI protected. If it is, it will just trip. We used a cheater for years for a specific campground, but rarely see campgrounds now that DON't have a GFCI in the second outlet.

If there is an empty campsite next to you, you can use both 30's if you have a long enough cord.
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Old 01-11-2017, 11:24 AM   #9
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Will a cheater box work? Some times but generally NO!

The theory: You can draw 30 amps on on e leg and 20 on the other for a total of 50 amps.

The problems: First. By code any new installation since a specific date (Varies from state to state) the 20 amp outlet MUST BE GFCI. and I have been in parks where the 30 amp was also GFCI. 1.5 of them (one park only selected outlets are GFCI) Now These boxes will trip a properly working GFCI 100% of the time, no exceptions if it does not trip the GFCI is defective.

Now I have used it where I could snag a pair of 30 amp NON GFCI, and where the 20 amp was NON GFCI, but anywhere you have a GFCI, no joy, never, nada.

Problem 2: 50 amps is 50 amps PER LEG, the cheater box at most can do 30 amps per leg. So even if you can use it you will have limited power

Problem 3: IF both legs are the same.. The Neutral can be hauling 60 amps. This is 20% over the wire's rating and may cause issues.
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Old 01-11-2017, 11:27 AM   #10
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In addition to the likely GFCI problem, be aware that the 20A and 30A outlets will be tied to the same wire and power source, and that source will be designed for 30A. Don't be surprised if another breaker elsewhere in the park trips when you exceed 30A, or if wires get hot.

I've also had some parks tell me that this is not allowed after they noticed my cheater box. One refused me even though I offered to pay the same rate as a 50A site (they didn't have any available for me to rent).
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Old 01-12-2017, 04:04 PM   #11
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Thanks for all the good advice.

If I end up at a 30 amp site I'll mind power usage. Run 1 A/C or the microwave not both.

I just bought a surge protector (PI EMS-PT50C). So hopefully I don't end up with fried electrical circuits. Bought that from the advice I read on this site.

Thanks
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Old 01-12-2017, 04:17 PM   #12
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If your MH has a power management panel it will manage the loads for you. I can run both ACs on 30 amps. If I start using other devices it will shut down the 2nd AC, and the electric water heater and the fridge and finally switch the AC fan from high to low. Even if you don't have power management you shouldn't fry anything. Maybe pop a breaker, that's what they're for but not fry any circuits.
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Old 01-12-2017, 05:22 PM   #13
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Regarding that surge protector.. Good choice, I like the HW 50C better but the reason is convenience, not function.. Both operate identically save for the need to plug one of them in every time.
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Old 07-08-2018, 10:14 AM   #14
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Electric cheater box

Another thought is to break the connection to one AC unit and install a pigtail using a short 12/3 extension cord cut in half. This allows me to run both AC units. Havenít tried a GFCI circuit yet. It might work being the ground wire will also be a separate run to the GFCI outlet. Use at your own risk. I do not accept any liability. Click image for larger version

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