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Old 10-26-2011, 07:44 PM   #1
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Home made cheater box

This is my home made 50amp from a 30 and a 20 cheater box. The 30amp plugs came from extension cords we had from a previous MH. The 50amp outlet, box and faceplate were about $15 from Lowes but I had a gift card so free.

The grounds (green) are tied together as are the neutrals (white) while the hot leads (black) make up the two sides (L1&L2 or X&Y). The old cords wire is color coded and the new outlet not only marked but has instructions.

I got the idea from Progressive industries Cheater Box while shopping for the surge protector I bought. Progressive says "Will not operate on a GFCI circuit" Does anyone know why? I should know from school but that was a while ago. I did ask this once before but never got an answer.
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Old 10-26-2011, 07:48 PM   #2
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Old 10-26-2011, 11:50 PM   #3
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It will not work on a 20amp GFCI because the neutrals are tied together and the GFCI breaker will see an imbalance between the hot and neutral. You may also find that many CGs wire the pedestal such that the 20 and 30 amp feeds are actually the same since they expect you to only use one or the other, not both. You will find that you overload and trip the breakers much sooner than you thought. You will probably also run into pedestals where only one, both or neither neutral is bonded to ground. Don't be surprised if strange things (hopefully not involving fire) happen from time to time.
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Old 10-27-2011, 10:41 AM   #4
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HD4Mark......I'm sure you saved some money if you had the parts and you did a nice job in assembly. I'ts one of those things that if you had to buy all the parts it wouldn't be much cheaper than buying new.

I use mine about once a year. In our boating years, we stayed at a park that had back to back pedestals. When no one was in the other site, I was able to connect to both 30 amp boxes. A lot of people poo poo them, but most don't have or tried one. The response is usually that the other plug will be GFI protected and it won't work. We've found that the times we needed it, the park was older, had only 30 amp and GFI outlets were never used. Most of the parks that have GFI have often upgraded to 50 amp.
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Old 10-27-2011, 12:47 PM   #5
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Thanks Lou and Don,

Since it didn't cost me much other than ruin two cords we never used I will take it along but be careful when using it, if I ever have a need.
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Old 10-27-2011, 07:10 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diplomat Don View Post
I use mine about once a year. In our boating years, we stayed at a park that had back to back pedestals. When no one was in the other site, I was able to connect to both 30 amp boxes. A lot of people poo poo them, but most don't have or tried one. The response is usually that the other plug will be GFI protected and it won't work. We've found that the times we needed it, the park was older, had only 30 amp and GFI outlets were never used. Most of the parks that have GFI have often upgraded to 50 amp.
The OP asked if any one knew WHY the box (as he designed his) would not work on a GFCI breaker...... I simply answered his question.

The 30/30 adapter that you described, and your method of using it, is a different animal than the 30/20 cheater box designed to make use of power from the same pedestal.

I never POO POOed the idea and DO NOT have to try it to know it's potential short comings. Just FYI.
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Old 10-27-2011, 09:19 PM   #7
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I also made a "cheater box" from mostly parts I had available. I have not used it yet but am aware of the GFCI problem. The reason I wanted this box was so I would still be able to hook up to 30 amp if necessary. I like to camp at state parks, C of E parks, national and others that still only have 30 amp. I can only run one AC but I try and plan it so that I am not on 30 amp in Texas in the summer (that means from May thru Sept).

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Old 10-28-2011, 07:59 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by loulong View Post
The 30/30 adapter that you described, and your method of using it, is a different animal than the 30/20 cheater box designed to make use of power from the same pedestal.
Lou, The box I made should work with two 30amp outlets. Both plugs are 30 so I would need to use our 30 to 20 adapter on one for 30/20. We stayed in a CG last year with a kind of goofy layout where with a 30amp extension I could have easily reached another pedestal and it was empty enough where no one was taking the next site. Would have been nice for that.

I appreciate any input BTW.
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Old 10-28-2011, 11:31 AM   #9
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I have parked in 3 places (out of many) where that will work.. but a 30/30 works better (Which is what I have) One place I simply take up 2 30 amp sites.. the way they have the sites set up it's easy to do that.. But there are only 2 pair I can use.

The next place is in Las Vegas and the park is all 30 amps, in August the manager has informed secuirty to only let people use every other site so they can use the cheater boxes and run both A/C's.

The third park is a vintage park and does not have GFCI's.
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Old 10-28-2011, 10:32 PM   #10
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I made one and found that it would trip in most cases so I unmade it.Only so much room for seldom or never used items.
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Old 10-29-2011, 09:54 AM   #11
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The reason it does not work with a GFCI outlet is simple.. GFCI's measure the current in the black and white wires and demand it be balanced. If there is any difference it ASSUMES the current is passing through you and clicks off to protect you.

Since both "legs" share a common neutral and since the 30 amp side has heavier wire, it will carry slightly more current than the 20 amp side... Thus tripping the breaker.. 100% of the time. the breaker sees the shared neutral as a ground fault. Which, by definition, it is. (The one the breaker uses) Or is not (The true definition) .
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Old 10-29-2011, 10:55 AM   #12
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Hi Mark,
One other problem you might run into is which live leg the 20 amp feed is wired to your power cord. If it's connected to the live leg that normally feeds the 30 amp leg then you might experience some load limitations on that leg and you will need to swap the live legs in your receptacle box.
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Old 10-29-2011, 10:19 PM   #13
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"loulong".......Sorry......My post was not directed at you. If you did a search, you would see that a post about these cheater boxes comes up about every six months and there are often multiple posts about what a bad idea it is and why they would never have one.
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