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Old 02-09-2015, 10:22 AM   #1
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Install/Not Install Power Plug

I have read, somewhere, about RV owners installing a power plug next to their RV so they could keep the batteries charged.

I have a generator, installed on RV and I have an external generator, on mine so I shouldn't need one but I also don't have an easy access to put one in. I would have to dig a trench, 2' deep, and 50' long, then pay the electric company $4.75 a foot to run the wire to my pole or building for a breaker box.

Just wondering how many of you, with or without, generator have decided to put in a power plug.

Also, if you have a generator do you even bother with an outside plug, except at camp grounds with power, of course.

Thanks.
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Old 02-09-2015, 10:28 AM   #2
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I installed with the help of a neighbor, a 30amp plug on the side of the house. I bought a 50 ft 30 amp extension cord and plug the RV in while at home. Not a lot of costs.
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Old 02-09-2015, 10:29 AM   #3
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We keep our RV plugged into a 30 amp outlet when we're at home to run the fridge (we keep it on all the time) and keep the batteries charged.

Unless I misunderstand your question, the generator should not really come into play here. You wouldn't want to run the generator to charge the batteries.

Why would you need the power company to be involved? You could just hire an electrician to run another circuit from your main breaker panel the side of the house, then use heavy-duty extension cords from there to the RV.
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Old 02-09-2015, 10:34 AM   #4
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Do you have a shop in your back yard (should have come with retirement ). If you do, just put an outside power outlet and plug in your MH. (Any excuse for a place for my power toys- er-tools.)

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Old 02-09-2015, 10:50 AM   #5
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I have a storage shed that is over a hundred yards from my house. When I built it I dug the ditch 2' deep and laid the heavy line to it. I wired the building so I can run up to 220 volts, and I have both 30 and 50 amps outlets to plug into. I keep it plugged in most of the time when I'm at home.

I rented a Ditch Witch to dig the trench. Piece of cake. I ran the wire and got it all inspected prior to turning it on. Electric company came out and connected it with no charge.
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Old 02-09-2015, 11:11 AM   #6
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An extra plug outside next to the RV is a big convenience and a savings. Why have batteries depleted before the generator kicks in to recharge them. Why have the generator kick on and pollute the air with noise. Why use propane for the refrigerator. Why use fuel for the generator. Be able to plug in a portable electric heater can also be an advantage in cold/freezing temps.

Most of This can be a DIY project. 1. Dig a post hole for 4x4 post to mount exterior plug. 2. Dig a 12" or greater ditch/trench from breaker box to 4x4 post. 3. Lay down 3/4 - PVC pipe for underground conduit. 4. Thread romex wire thru pvc. 5. Mount 110/30 Amp plug to 4x4 pole at desired height.
6. Add a Post light/exterior light fixture to 4x4 so you don't trip or walk into it at night.
7. Find electrician, read a DIY Electrical book or vist You Tube for video on how to do wiring.

In this DIY project you can also add another PVC conduit and use it for Sat/Cable TV coax, land line Telephone allowing you more RV comforts.


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Old 02-09-2015, 11:19 AM   #7
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My current power in my shed is 20 amp. My box in the house is full and I don't have any expansion room. Thus the need to put in another meter on the shed or a double lug meter on the house. Unfortunately, the plumbing pipes are buried just below the house meter so I cannot dig 2 foot down to run the line to the building.

I live in a rural environment so the electric company said I could or they could put a pole next to my shed and they would run a wire from the transformer to the pole. I have done that before, but I would have to remove what little trees we have have on the property to do it.

On a full size MH or TT that is 50 amps do you think 20 amps is enough to charge the batteries? I currently use 20 amps to charge my bass boat batteries, 3 - 12 volt, 550 cranking amps.
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Old 02-09-2015, 11:22 AM   #8
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20 amps will keep your batteries charged with no problem. It will also provide lights and perhaps run the frig. It could run a small AC as well. If that's all you're concerned with that should do it.
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Old 02-09-2015, 11:24 AM   #9
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If you are only plugging in to charge the batteries and start the fridge before you head out for a trip you should be able to plug into a 15 amp outlet.

We had a 50 amp outlet installed in the shed when the shed was built. The rest of the outlets are 20 amp. We use the 50 amp outlet when the coach is in the shed because it is there (have never run the aquahot or AC). Our son stores his trailer in the shed and plugs into one of the 20 amp outlets.
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Old 02-09-2015, 11:33 AM   #10
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IMO if you are going to spend the money to dig a trench you will be sorry if you install less than 30 amp.

We even installed an extra 30amp RV outlet on our pole barn for RV guests.
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Old 02-09-2015, 11:44 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by okie143 View Post
My current power in my shed is 20 amp. My box in the house is full and I don't have any expansion room. Thus the need to put in another meter on the shed or a double lug meter on the house. Unfortunately, the plumbing pipes are buried just below the house meter so I cannot dig 2 foot down to run the line to the building.

I live in a rural environment so the electric company said I could or they could put a pole next to my shed and they would run a wire from the transformer to the pole. I have done that before, but I would have to remove what little trees we have have on the property to do it.

On a full size MH or TT that is 50 amps do you think 20 amps is enough to charge the batteries? I currently use 20 amps to charge my bass boat batteries, 3 - 12 volt, 550 cranking amps.
You probably are using 20 Amps at 12 VDC for your Bass Boat. That is roughly 240 Watts or 2 Amps @ 120 VAC going in. Probably less than 3 A @120 VAC allowing for efficiencies. Even if you double that with a big battery bank when it is run down in your MH it will be manageable on a 20 A circuit. What you will do is learn to manage loads. If you are in storage mode and want to head out and the batteries are down plug in 3 days in advance and give the batteries a day then turn on the refer to cool down put the refer on propane and hit one AC while loading if you need it. That is worst case and very conservative.
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Old 02-09-2015, 11:56 AM   #12
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20 amps will keep your batteries charged with no problem. It will also provide lights and perhaps run the frig. It could run a small AC as well. If that's all you're concerned with that should do it.
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I agree

Although a 50, (or a 30), amp RV outlet would be nice to have, adding one to my storage location would require burying over 150 ft of wire... (under/across two 20 ft wide asphalt driveways).
For 6 Wisconsin winters I've stored my coach at my home .... plugged into a 20 amp GFCI garage/shop outlet... via a 50' 12/3 extension cord.

IMO, (and experience), adding a RV outlet is simply NOT worth the trouble and $$.

Mel
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Old 02-09-2015, 01:35 PM   #13
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I ran a nice extension cord from the house to my pole barn to power the battery tender for my small diesel tractor and powered the block heater for years.

If all you're going to run on that line is a battery tender you should be ok. First determine the amperage your tender will draw, it should be well below 10 amps. Then run a heavy enough buried wire. Just put in a 110 plug for your battery tender. Tap into the plug in your shed.

Or you could get it big enough cable and four conductor so in the future you could upgrade to a 50 amp breaker (running from the new pole you might put in) and a future 50 amp plug on a pedestal at your rig.


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Old 02-09-2015, 02:31 PM   #14
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120vac 20a outlet is fine for battery charge purposes. 30a will allow for air conditioning to be run if that is a need/desire. I have both next to where I store the coach. Seldom use either, instead have solar on the coach and it maintains the batteries.
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