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Post Info TOPIC: Major appliances...


RV-Dreams Community Member

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Major appliances...


G'day All:

 

I'm fairly new to this site as a member, but I've been reading for some time now and I think this may be one of the best sites for advice.

 

We're looking to buy a large toy hauler fifth wheel to go full-time and I've been giving some thought to power loads, and keeping the better half happy, and a best way to handle them without short changing myself on the house power.  We want to have the full 50A house service available for everything in the house at all times AND still operate standard 120VAC, household Kenmore cloths washer and/or gas dryer installed in the garage at the same time.  We will have a 120V Kenmore refrigerator running off the batteries through an inverter also.  But that will come out of 50A budget for the house, of course.  I know this is a tall order, but it is certainly reasonably doable, but not from the 50A shore power pedestal alone of course.  Nor is it reasonably doable with a 5.5kw gen set.

 

I thought of one theory of doing this, is to mount the Onan 7kw generator set and run it to the 50A house breaker to the buss as normal factory wiring.  Then just add a dedicated circuit direct from the generator to a protected 20A circuit going to the garage for the washer/dryer.  This would require no modifications to factory house wiring so in normal operations on shore, or generator, power there would be no change other than the addition of the dedicated 120VAC/20A protected circuit for the washer/dryer.  It would just require the use of the generator to operate the washer/dryer.  With shore power, and the power supply switching defaulted to shore power, which it's my understanding is done by convention, there would be no problems running the generator to power the washer/dryer through the protected and dedicated 20A circuit.  This would be the only load on the gen set.  Then shut down the generator when the laundry is finished.

 

In the absence of shore power, the generator set would still supply the full 50A to the house as usual AND still have enough capacity left to operate one OR the other of washer/dryer.  This generator set is rated at 58.3 amps at 120 volts.  The only problem I see with this theory is if both washer/dryer were attempted to be used while on generator power while drawing nearly the full 50A of current for normal house loads, it could possibly exceed the capacity of the gen set and trip the gen set protection and all power would be lost.  This could be prevented by shedding some loads in the house first.

 

Your ideas and thoughts on this theory are greatly appreciated.

 

Dave



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Dave



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"We want to have the full 50A house service available for everything in the house at all times AND still operate standard 120VAC, household Kenmore cloths washer and/or gas dryer installed in the garage at the same time."

Ok. Your choice but why?

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As I'm sure you are aware Larry, the 50amp service in a large trailer is at best marginal.  You probably have read many of the same stories that I have.  The addition of 120VAC household appliances is out of the question without shedding considerable load from that 50AMP budget to do laundry.

 

As for wanting the larger capacity appliances, simply put, we're spoiled.  I've been "instructed" to make this happen.  lol.  The other half doesn't want to have to do laundry any more often than we do it now in our B&S house.  So about the only way I can see to do it is to add greater power capacity without making any changes to factory wiring, only adding a dedicated, protected circuit.  We don't want to be restricted to using park laundries or by smaller appliances.  Even with the smaller appliances, you still must keep an eye on current draw.  We're both from the south and will be spending much of our time in that part of the country.  This means running two AC units much of the time and we don't want to have to turn one off to do laundry.  We want to be able to do laundry while we have dinner and watch a movie in south Florida in July and be comfortable and get it all done when we want to be home.

 

We both have read many stories on here, and on other forums, about overloading the 50AMP services, and stories of the small appliances not drying completely or taking much longer to do so.  We're just trying to avoid the "wish I'd done this or that" syndrome.  And if a greater capacity generator set and an additional circuit can reasonably solve this particular issue, then I'm all in.  I know this isn't the perfect solution.  But it's by far less expensive than rewiring the house.  On top of that, I freely admit, if Mom Ma isn't happy, no one is happy.  Sorry guys.  I just wish there was an easier way.  But I just don't see it.



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Dave



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I'm always learning. Thank you.

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The 50 amp RV service has 2 legs of 120 v service or a total of 100 amps available to a 50 amp coach.   That's up to 12,000 watts of power available.  Where that might become a problem is if you would overload one of the legs on the breaker causing the breaker to trip.   You should probably do an energy audit of appliances you plan to be running in the rig to see if this is even a problem.   With the 7kw generator you would have just over 1/2 the available power when not on shore power.   



-- Edited by heyjohnm on Saturday 11th of March 2017 01:23:57 AM

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Yes, you can do as you are talking about in running. Another thought, when installing W&D be able to unplug the washer and run a cord direct to shore power and plug in there. This way the washer is not running through coach. A household dryer is normally 220v you are not able to run that from the shore power. "The 50 amp RV service has 2 legs of 120 v service or a total of 100 amps available to a 50 amp coach" Shore power is made up from ONLY using 1 hot leg of 120v and splitting it into 2 legs, If the pedestal is set up using only 1 50amp breaker, then that is all you have. So in theory yes he is right as to the 100amps but in reality you only have 50amps, the breaker is only designed to handle 50amps. NOT 2 hot legs(which makes it 220v) from the shore power into the coach. Most CG shore power pedestals are set up by having A) 15-20amp B) 30amp C) 50amp, so you have 100amps available at the pedestal.

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CJSX2fromCT wrote:

Yes, you can do as you are talking about in running. Another thought, when installing W&D be able to unplug the washer and run a cord direct to shore power and plug in there. This way the washer is not running through coach. A household dryer is normally 220v you are not able to run that from the shore power. "The 50 amp RV service has 2 legs of 120 v service or a total of 100 amps available to a 50 amp coach" Shore power is made up from ONLY using 1 hot leg of 120v and splitting it into 2 legs, If the pedestal is set up using only 1 50amp breaker, then that is all you have. So in theory yes he is right as to the 100amps but in reality you only have 50amps, the breaker is only designed to handle 50amps. NOT 2 hot legs(which makes it 220v) from the shore power into the coach. Most CG shore power pedestals are set up by having A) 15-20amp B) 30amp C) 50amp, so you have 100amps available at the pedestal.


 You may want to further research this.  The correct 50 amp outlet will read 240 v when checking accross the two hot circuits and you wouldn't get that the way you described the wiring of the pedestal.   The correct 50 amp breaker is a two pole breaker meaning each hot leg has a 50 amp breaker ganged by the single throw of the breaker.

Check out this link and many others by searching "NEC standard for 50 amp RV service":

http://www.bobhatch.com/electricStuff/whats_it_mean.htm



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Thank you folks.

 

Do the parks not mind you plugging into the 30A and 50A service at the same time?  If not, running a second power cable to the 30A service and dedicating it to operating only the washer/dryer is certainly doable.  I would have thought the park would not allow you to plug into both the 50A and 30A services on the pedestal at the same time.  We would certainly not want to knowingly create any ill feelings with park management.  Are there any folks out there that do this?  Have you had any dealings with park management over this?  To be honest with you, I would like not to power the refer through an inverter either.  An inverter with that capacity surely generates a lot of heat and has to cost a pretty penny to replace when and if it goes down.

 

In reference to the dryer requiring two legs of 120V, this is the main reason for having a propane dryer.  Typical household gas dryers only require one leg of 120V.  There's no electric heating element to power.  Of course this requires propane plumbed to the garage and the nozzle in the burner changed.  Sears, for example, will sell you the required nozzle to convert their household natural gas dryers to burn propane instead of natural gas.  Plumbing the propane to the garage is another point for research which I have not done yet.  This is not my area of expertise so I would certainly need the assistance of someone who is qualified in this area.

 

Thanks again for your comments.



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"Do the parks not mind you plugging into the 30A and 50A service at the same time?"
Many parks forbid this in their rules.

I think you will be disappointed by the electric power available and are putting a lot of work into trying to workaround it. Most RVers use laundromats, often the ones in the campground. We have a Splendide vented washer/dryer, but it sounds like this such a unit will be unacceptable for you. RVing is all about compromises.

Personally with all the changes you have planned, I would go with a bus shell and build your own bus conversion. You can get an old bus and do all the work yourself, making something unique and personal.

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Thanks Bill for the heads-up about plugging into both the 50A and 30A service being a no-no.  I assumed this since I have seen some parks charge a higher rate for 50A service than they do for a 30A service.  I visited some pages linked to earlier and in fact found that one of the writers actually admitted to having a run-in with park management about plugging into both services at the same time.  The writer of one of the articles actually began by implying not to worry about the electrical codes and go ahead and perform his suggested modifications.  Really?  Yep, really!

 

You may be right about starting from the ground and building what the boss wants.  But if I wait until she decides to freeze design and go to production, I may never get to my bucket list.  lol.  The big thing working in my favor is limiting us to factory wiring capacity for the house, other than the washer/dryer, and the physical size of the generator set that can be installed in the trailer without modifications.



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Not to rain on your "boss" desires, but everything I have read on RV sized washers and separate dryers tells me they do a decent job for the task demanded of them. So it occurs to me that you should try gentle persuasion to bend her wishes to adapt to the new paradigm you are embarking on. I get the whole "do it all in one or two loads" mentality but in reality, laundry is but a five minute task repeated over and over until done. So it takes five minute to load or switch over a load to dry, it's not life altering or any kind of poisonous inconvenience. Laundry boils down to a time management calculation. It just is, what it is. Heck you can dump in a load during a commercial break on TV... how hard is that? Not saying your idea isn't worthy, it's certainly creative or will require creative problem solving and therefore is not insurmountable, but why reinvent the wheel when it already works just fine? Maybe it's you and your better half that would be easier to change to accomodate your other aspirations. Just sayin'. Consider your problem with an open mind from all perspectives before launching off in one direction.

FWIW



-- Edited by BiggarView on Saturday 11th of March 2017 12:12:56 PM

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bjoyce wrote:

"Do the parks not mind you plugging into the 30A and 50A service at the same time?"
Many parks forbid this in their rules. 

 

 Beyond "park rules" you are likely to blow the breaker feeding the post at the RV.  That is the 30 amp receptacle uses the same leg as one of the sides of the 50 amp.  So, especially if running an AC unit in the rig on the same leg along with other "stuff," it would be pretty easy to pop the breaker in a distribution box one probably doesn't know about and may be locked.  The 120 volt outlet in pedestal will likely be on one of those 50 amp legs as well.  So there likely isn't really more than 50 amps per leg available regardless of how many receptacles one uses. 

Bill N



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Dave MW wrote:

Thanks Bill for the heads-up about plugging into both the 50A and 30A service being a no-no.  I assumed this since I have seen some parks charge a higher rate for 50A service than they do for a 30A service.  I visited some pages linked to earlier and in fact found that one of the writers actually admitted to having a run-in with park management about plugging into both services at the same time.  The writer of one of the articles actually began by implying not to worry about the electrical codes and go ahead and perform his suggested modifications.  Really?  Yep, really!

 

You may be right about starting from the ground and building what the boss wants.  But if I wait until she decides to freeze design and go to production, I may never get to my bucket list.  lol.  The big thing working in my favor is limiting us to factory wiring capacity for the house, other than the washer/dryer, and the physical size of the generator set that can be installed in the trailer without modifications.


 I get the feeling you really don't understand the difference between 30 amp and 50 amp RV service.  You really need to do some studying so you understand the difference.

And no, you don't need the huge residential washer/dryer.  First, your RVing, so who cares if you were the same pair of jeans each week.  Yes, the 120v combo units, or stavked units do smaller loads.  So what?  You don't stand and watch them go round & round.  Throw load in and go do something.  Come back later, fold and put away.  And have you considered the weight of those huge appliances?

if your wife is putting up road blocks maybe you need to stop and rethink this.  Unless both REALLY, REALLY want to g fulltime it will be a miserable time and most likely 3 yrs you'll be off the road.



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I certainly appreciate all the comments made by all.  There were certainly good points made for consideration.

 

The weight and balance issue is not an issue for us.  Having been involved in weighing vehicles and airplanes and calculating center of gravity balance points, I am keenly aware of this very important point even to the extent of being anal about it.  A good point it is for certain.  Every operator should know the load and how it's balanced, or distributed, and what to do if it isn't right.  But that is one I have, and actively give consideration to.  Old habits are hard to break and some serve us well in other areas.

 

I still have an awful lot to lean and certainly plan to do more and more research as we get closer.

 

I would certainly use the 30A leg in a 50A service for the regular 30A service as well.  If for no other reason than to prevent someone from plugging into both and attempting to pull 80A.  It's easy insurance for park management.  If you pay for a 50A service and attempt to draw more, when the breaker opens in the middle of the night, don't call me, just unplug what you have in the 30A service.  Of course, like someone mentioned, the guest may not access to all breakers in the pedestal.

 

I'll still be reading this thread with hopes for more comments, so other members, please add your comments.

 

Thanks a bunch,

Dave



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Dave, when plugged into a 50 amp RV pedestal, you have 50 amps ON EACH LEG. Total is theoretically 100 amps for use. Where did you get the idea that more than one unit plugs into a pedestal in a park? And yes, there are times that a 50 amp wired RV draws over 50 amps - like when we have BOTH of the ACs going, use the microwave and a couple of other things, we are over 50 amps - -which is ok because it is 50 amps on each LEG. The ACs are on separate legs (back on on the same leg as the inverter/microwave). It is just a matter of learning about your unit.

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You must be scared of Laundromat's. We go 8-9 days then hit laundromats, two hrs and done. Wife cleans house while I go wash and dry. Take me a good book or Ipad play games or read. I wouldn't want a couple hundred extra pounds bouncing up and down in my rear bay. That part of the RV takes a good bouncing. Just my opinion. Good luck and enjoy the life style.

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Barb & Dave:  Are you saying I could honestly load each of two legs enough to draw 50A each, or 100A total?  That would be in the neighborhood of 12kw.  That would be sweet!  That adds to my confusion since I don't know much about this yet.

 

In his comments above, John posted a link to another site.  On that site, there are a number of other links to other personal sites.  On one of those, and I forget which one, the fellow told how he made up his own modified power cable assembly to plug into two services at once.  This honestly struck me as rather odd since he had to make up his own cable to do it, and because I have not come across anything like that before.  I don't understand why he did this really since I don't know the standard for wiring park power pedestals.  I know there are a number of different ways the pedestal could be wired, but who knows really exactly how a particular pedestal is wired?  I would love to see an actual schematic of the standard, if there is one.

 

Dave



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Theoretically yes, you could pull 50 amps on each leg. In practice that isn't what happens, but when we're in hot weather (100+) we will have both ACs going, water heater, frig both on electric, still use microwave, washer/dryer without a problem. Of course, in real hot weather I'm not doing laundry during the day, but you get the idea.

Lots of people come up with different DYI projects, doesn't mean it is correct.  And a lot of these people end up causing a lot of damage to their rigs and to park pedestals thinking they "know" how to get more power which they don't need.

Go read: https://www.rvtechmag.com/electrical/chapter3.php and see if that doesn't help better understand what is going on.

 

 



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Dave MW wrote:

Barb & Dave:  Are you saying I could honestly load each of two legs enough to draw 50A each, or 100A total?  That would be in the neighborhood of 12kw.  That would be sweet!  That adds to my confusion since I don't know much about this yet.

 

In his comments above, John posted a link to another site.  On that site, there are a number of other links to other personal sites.  On one of those, and I forget which one, the fellow told how he made up his own modified power cable assembly to plug into two services at once.  This honestly struck me as rather odd since he had to make up his own cable to do it, and because I have not come across anything like that before.  I don't understand why he did this really since I don't know the standard for wiring park power pedestals.  I know there are a number of different ways the pedestal could be wired, but who knows really exactly how a particular pedestal is wired?  I would love to see an actual schematic of the standard, if there is one.

 

Dave


 Yes Dave, a pedestal properly wired for 50 amp service gives 2  legs(circuits) of 50 amps each and as long as you don't go over 50 amps on either leg you can get up to 100 amps total.   If you go above 50 amps on one circuit you lose power to the rig as the breaker gangs the two circuits through the one breaker.  Perfectly balanced you can get up to 100 amps!   

You will find many examples where someone tries to game the system by making their own cheater pigtails or try to wire up their rig in an unorthodox manner.  These practices are highly discouraged as they can be highly dangerous and present untold liabilities that if you don't know what you are doing can be life-threatening.  Yes, the Internet is an invaluable resource, but be sure to do "due diligence".   Anyone can make a YouTube video so beware of the pitfalls that presents.  

My recommendation is that you and your wife attend a RV-Dreams Rally,  especially before investing in any equipment.   We went to the 2010 rally in Longs SC and stayed off-site in a hotel, so don't think that you have to already have an RV to attend one of the rally's.  There is so much information and experience to learn and gain by doing so. The added benefit is the fellowship with other folks just starting out and the friendships you gain that will last a lifetime.  

 



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Well, with all the comments here, and elsewhere, I certainly have plenty to digest.  That's for sure.  In addition to comments here, I had breakfast this morning with a friend and his wife who just traded in their coach and towed on another fifth wheel and tow vehicle. They told me they are currently plugged into the 50A service at a nearby park and that this 50A service consists of two legs, and each leg is protected by a 25A breaker.  How can much more than 25 amps be drawn from either of these circuits?  hmm  In any case, I still don't see how 100A could be pulled from this service.  I'm starting to fell like I'm "sleepless in the ether".  lol.

 

On a different note, an interesting thing my friends told me this morning is that even though there are two, 25A circuits running to the house, they may be the same leg, or phase.  The only way to know is to measure the voltage between the two "legs" and it should be 0 volts if they are the same phase.  In this case, I would imagine there might be a 50A breaker imbedded in the pedestal before this leg is distributed to other circuits within the pedestal.  Would that be a safe guess?  This is really a non-issue for guests, or home owners.  The power companies in some areas of the country change phase paring in residential neighborhoods to equalize loads around town.  I hadn't thought about parks changing phase parings, but it does make sense.

 

Thanks again to all for your comments and patience with the new kid on the block.  



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Lots of RV parks have pedestals that are wired incorrectly. In this case it appears the park has determined that no more than 25 amps will be on any leg in order to reduce costs, and most people won't notice difference until they have 2 compressors and other equipment try to come on, that's when breakers will trip and people will get angry.



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