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Old 03-28-2012, 09:18 PM   #1
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Question European Motorhome Touring The USA

This is posted in two places to get a fast answer.

Does anyone really know what would be required to properly wire an adapter so that an European (France) motor-home can safely connect up to and use the 50 amp power pedestals found throughout North America? I was told that the motor-home required 220 volt AC.

The French owner had an adapter that she uses when hooking up shore power to her home.

Initially, the thought was to clip off the male end of the adapter exposing three wires NOT four. Then using a normal RV 50 amp male plug, connect one HOT wire to Leg #1 terminal, the second HOT wire to Leg #2 terminal, and the third wire to the Ground terminal. There would be no neutral.

This was tried and seems to work however, I wanted to submit this post to ask some experts that might know exactly whether it is OK or not.

Any help and advice would be very helpful. They are my temporary neighbors and I am trying to make the start of their 6 month vacation in the USA as enjoyable as possible.

Dr4Film ----- Richard
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Old 03-28-2012, 09:26 PM   #2
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That would probably work on a 50A pedestal, but many US campgrounds only have 30A pedestals. The other thing to consider is that although voltage can be transformed, frequency cannot. Anything European with a 50Hz synchronous motor will be running 20 percent faster than usual on our 60Hz electricity. This could cause problems with the air conditioners, the microwave oven and various extractor fans.

If their RV has a generator, I'd be tempted to advise not to use CG power at all and to rely on their 220V 50Hz generator. If they have big enough batteries and a 220V/50Hz inverter, they might be able to charge their batteries and then run their AC items off the inverter.

I'm not an electrical engineer, and I don't know what risks they would take not having the system grounded.
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Old 03-28-2012, 09:32 PM   #3
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Another source

Just try this site:

www.seabridge.de
or
www.seabridge-tours.de

it's in German, but I think they are able to answer your questions, since they do ship European Motorhomes around the world and organize tours too.
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Old 03-28-2012, 09:33 PM   #4
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Valterra Products - 15ft Dominator hose

Gotta say this is one great company. Had a minor issue and they offered to send me a new hose. Will tell all my camping freinds that are not using the Dominator hose what a great product and company they are. Thank you Valterra Products.
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Old 03-29-2012, 05:56 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankdamp View Post
That would probably work on a 50A pedestal, but many US campgrounds only have 30A pedestals. The other thing to consider is that although voltage can be transformed, frequency cannot. Anything European with a 50Hz synchronous motor will be running 20 percent faster than usual on our 60Hz electricity. This could cause problems with the air conditioners, the microwave oven and various extractor fans.

If their RV has a generator, I'd be tempted to advise not to use CG power at all and to rely on their 220V 50Hz generator. If they have big enough batteries and a 220V/50Hz inverter, they might be able to charge their batteries and then run their AC items off the inverter.

I'm not an electrical engineer, and I don't know what risks they would take not having the system grounded.
There is not much inside this motor-home that needs power. One outlet, some lights maybe, don't know.

No A/C, no electric heater, no generator, no microwave. Fridge, stove and separate oven all run on LPG.

She has one coach battery, 12 VDC which must have a converter to keep it charged. No inverter as it would have to provide 220 VAC.

I need to spend some more time today understanding the systems inside the coach. It's a small Class C.

Thanks again.

Dr4Film ----- Richard
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Old 03-29-2012, 10:08 AM   #6
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Richard:

With so little power required, the easiest fix would be a 2:1 step-up transformer with enough current capacity to run what needs 220V. That would go in immediately behind a regular US power cord with the output connected to the RV's input side.

A transformer with about 1.5X the max output power required with everything switched on would do it. You'd probably have to go to an industrial electrical equipment dealer to get the right one. I doubt Home Depot or Lowe's would carry them.

Going this way, you could use a 30A umbilical, which gives the RV owners more campground options. 50A pedestals are becoming more common, but they're usually installed at the bigger slots for the large coaches that need that much power. With a very small MH that needs a 50A hook-up, they may be denied access to one of those slots if the CG has a lot of big rigs there.
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Old 03-30-2012, 08:19 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankdamp View Post
Richard:

With so little power required, the easiest fix would be a 2:1 step-up transformer with enough current capacity to run what needs 220V. That would go in immediately behind a regular US power cord with the output connected to the RV's input side.

A transformer with about 1.5X the max output power required with everything switched on would do it. You'd probably have to go to an industrial electrical equipment dealer to get the right one. I doubt Home Depot or Lowe's would carry them.

Going this way, you could use a 30A umbilical, which gives the RV owners more campground options. 50A pedestals are becoming more common, but they're usually installed at the bigger slots for the large coaches that need that much power. With a very small MH that needs a 50A hook-up, they may be denied access to one of those slots if the CG has a lot of big rigs there.
Thanks for the comeback.

I have decided to do the following for her as it will be the safest method everywhere she travels in the US & Canada.

50/60 Hz is not an issue with this rig because there are no 220 VAC motors, only 12 VDC motors.

She has two 120 VAC outlets available to her on the front of her Stepping Transformer when needed for American appliances. Thatís how she is powering the cooling fan that was given to her by the campground owner. If she chooses to buy a TV, she has an outlet to use for that.


After thinking about what would be her safest route to do regarding power to her coach, I have decided to remove the 220/240 VAC 50 amp plug that the local Workamper installed onto her adapter and then install a right angle three prong 20 amp plug. She will find that in ALL places around the US & Canada. I will also give to her a 30 amp to 20 amp adapter plug to travel with and let her know that she can ONLY plug into either the three prong 30 or 20 amp receptacles. I have printed out photos of different RV pedestals that she will encounter on her travels. By using only 120 VAC, she will leave the switch on her Stepping Transformer in the 120 VAC input position all the time she is here in North America. When she gets back to Europe, she simply switches it over to the 220 VAC position or removes the Stepping Transformer altogether.

The biggest problem for her will be making sure she keeps the one 12 VDC battery charged up for her coach functions. The engine battery is charged when driving but the coach battery is ONLY charged when hooked to shore power. Therefore, she does need to find shore power often mainly to charge the coach battery.

When she first arrived she had no way to hook up to shore power, therefore her coach battery was being depleted well below what it should have been I am sure. As a result, her master control panel for house functions was not working correctly. Once she got the coach battery charged back up, everything seems to work reliably now.

I believe she is good to go now and will enjoy her travels around the US & Canada. She will be leaving here and traveling to NY to pick up a friend and then off to the west coast, up to Alaska and back to Jacksonville Florida sometime in September for departure back to France.

Dr4Film ----- Richard
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