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Post Info TOPIC: Extension cord


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Extension cord


Our mpg has 30A electrical service, and a 30' detachable cord. We're going to be camping at a campground that says we may need an extension cord. A 50' cord sells for  only about half again what a 25' cord does. Will the longer extension cord have a significant voltage drop, or would it have bigger wires to start with? I don't want to buy more cord than I need, but on the other hand I don't want to be a foot short, either.



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David, kb0zke

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You need to buy a power cord that is specifically rated for 30+ amps. If both cords are rated for 30 amps I would buy the longer one as it will have little or no effect on the overall power available to your coach. Don't be fooled into buying a "heavy duty" extension cord as this will not fit the bill. You need an RV power cord with the proper rating.

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Bill Adams



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As bill said go with the correct longer cord, you never know when you will need it again, G

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I'm not sure that I would go with a 50 foot extension cord.  You would be in a position of having either 30 feet or 80 feet with nothing in between.  I would look to an electrician for your answer on this one, as I do know that longer cords do have some voltage drop, but I have no idea how much.  There might be some electricians on the forums, so I hope that they would chime in on this answer.  On the other hand, your MPG may not draw enough electricity to make a difference.

Terry



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I'd go with the short extension. We have been in 325 campgrounds now and have never needed anything longer than the 25' ours came with. The odds of you ever needing something longer than 60' is pretty slim.

If in doubt, why not call them and ask?

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In 8 years there has only been one campground we needed more than one 25' extension cord, a county park close to Rochester, NY and that was in 2003. The only other time we have used more cord is driveway camping and 15amp extension cords worked for those. (You have to be careful of your usage while driveway camping, we stay below 10amps and mostly below about 7 amps).

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Well, I am an “electrician” or at least I used to play one on TV.  The voltage drop is not all that significant between 25 and 50 feet IF you get a true “30 AMP” RV type extension cable.  The key is to get the real deal with the proper 30 AMP connectors, not a “heavy duty” 20 amp type “extension cord” as Bill A. commented.

 

Now, here is the deal as to length:  It depends on where your RV “hard wired” cord goes into to the trailer or motor home and how long the rig is.  For example, mine is at the far rear.  My built in cable is 30 feet and the trailer is 39’.  So many times the pedestal is easily over 50 feet away in my case. Needing over 50 total feet happens to me all the time, so I have more than 25’ of extension cable, lots more. I have used over 80 feet once in a commercial campground in Pennsylvania and that was “normal” there. It happens.  But If your connection is in the middle of the rig, maybe 25’ will work fine with the hard wired.

 

The deal, with the exception of getting the correct 30 amp cable, is not what “we have needed for years in our rigs,” it is what you may need.  I need more than 25 feet.  You may not.  But the first time you get set up and the pedestal goes bad and you have to jump over a lot to the next pedestal you’ll be glad you have more.  (Yes, it happened to me even after I checked the power before I unhooked with is the first thing I check after parking and before leveling.)

 

My 2 cents

 

Safe travels

 

Bill



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Bill and Linda wrote:

  

The deal, with the exception of getting the correct 30 amp cable, is not what “we have needed for years in our rigs,” it is what you may need.  I need more than 25 feet.  You may not.  But the first time you get set up and the pedestal goes bad and you have to jump over a lot to the next pedestal you’ll be glad you have more.  (Yes, it happened to me even after I checked the power before I unhooked with is the first thing I check after parking and before leveling.)

 

My 2 cents

 

Safe travels

 

Bill


 Bill,

Thanks for bring this part up as I'm not exactly sure of what to do to "check the power."  I've seen comments elsewhere stating that one should check the polarity at the pedestal as well as the voltage.

Is it necessary to check polarity?  And, in regards to checking the voltage, how should one do that and what kind of multimeter readings on AC should one be getting for each "leg"?

Is there something in the range of power fluctuations that one should be wary of?

Maybe I haven't researched this quite enough, but I've not seen anyone actually spell out how to check the voltage on both 30Amp and 50Amp sockets.

Thanks for any help you can give us.

Terry



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bjoyce wrote:

In 8 years there has only been one campground we needed more than one 25' extension cord, a county park close to Rochester, NY and that was in 2003. The only other time we have used more cord is driveway camping and 15amp extension cords worked for those. (You have to be careful of your usage while driveway camping, we stay below 10amps and mostly below about 7 amps).


 Was that at Webster Park, Bill?  We stayed there last year while visiting our daughter and family and had to use our 25' extension too. We've had to use our extension several times, especially when the electrical pedestal is on the wrong side or if it's in a shared central location.  Never have noticed any loss of power as far as we remember.

 



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RVRon wrote:
bjoyce wrote:

In 8 years there has only been one campground we needed more than one 25' extension cord, a county park close to Rochester, NY and that was in 2003. The only other time we have used more cord is driveway camping and 15amp extension cords worked for those. (You have to be careful of your usage while driveway camping, we stay below 10amps and mostly below about 7 amps).


 Was that at Webster Park, Bill?  We stayed there last year while visiting our daughter and family and had to use our 25' extension too. We've had to use our extension several times, especially when the electrical pedestal is on the wrong side or if it's in a shared central location.  Never have noticed any loss of power as far as we remember.

 


Webster Park it was.  I guess some things never change. 

 

 



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We have to use an extension cord for our power about 3-5 times per year. That's not a lot but it would really be bad if we did not have that extension cord when we need it. As always, YMMV, but I would not be without at least a 25' extension cord of the right rating and if I camped in a lot of remote or COE type sites I think I would carry 2 or 1 50'.

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Terry and Jo wrote:
Bill and Linda wrote:

(Yes, it happened to me even after I checked the power before I unhooked with is the first thing I check after parking and before leveling.)

 


 Bill,

Thanks for bring this part up as I'm not exactly sure of what to do to "check the power."  I've seen comments elsewhere stating that one should check the polarity at the pedestal as well as the voltage.

Is it necessary to check polarity?  And, in regards to checking the voltage, how should one do that and what kind of multimeter readings on AC should one be getting for each "leg"?

Is there something in the range of power fluctuations that one should be wary of?Thanks for any help you can give us.

Terry


Hey Terry:

 

You asked what “I do” so here it is:  Yes, you should check voltage and polarity.  What “you” (that means me) should do is install a Progressive Industries EMS power monitor / surge protection system; either the 30 or 50 amp version depending on your rig.  (The 50 will work fine with 30 amp service.)  While nothing is fool proof it will check the power when you plug it in, voltage, polarity / neutral /ground and the like.  If any are out of spec it won’t turn the rig on. (You can override it with a built in switch – but I wouldn’t.)

 

When we park, the first thing that happens is the power cord goes in the pedestal and the DW says, “OK,” or not, on power.  We have the hard wired version with a read-out in the rig.  She knows that if the voltage looks low, or high, i.e. in the low teens or high 120’s to let me know; most of the time I look as well.  If the power voltage is marginal then I may get out my meter and check other pedestals.  The one next door could be on a “better leg” from the power pole.  (I won’t try to explain 3 phase delta or “Y” power distribution systems, but the one next door could be better with or without a load - depends.)

 

This is my old, over said advice; “you” need one of these power monitor / protectors.  I know some have said, “We’ve never had a problem.”  Good, but just because I have never had a flat on this trailer doesn’t mean I don’t carry a spare.

 

The campground I was at where I needed all this cable also had very high voltage – and it went up through the night as the loads dropped off and the power monitor saved the rig from 140 volts.  I actually put in an extra 30 feet of 30 amp cable between the pedestal and the trailer to get more voltage drop down to around 130 volts in the morning.  Sometimes voltage drop can be a good thing.  Without the EMS I would have fried the electronics in the rig.  This is just one of many stories where the EMS has been very important.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Bill 



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Bill, I just added Progressive Industries EMS to my list of Thingies" to buy for our RV (when we get one!) :

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Thanks for all the good advice. Strange as it might seem, two 25' cords are cheaper than one 50' cord, so I ordered two 25-footers. That way I'll be able to use the minimum amount of cord necessary to make the connection.

Yes, all of the cords I've been looking at are 10 ga wires with the proper 30A connectors on the ends.

I did call the park and asked about how far the pedestals were from the campsites, and the person I talked to didn't know. I got the impression that she wasn't even in the same state as the park.

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Bill,

Our Mobile Suites has a Surge Guard ATS #41260.  Looking at the specifications, I see that I do have some protection with this unit.  However, another Surge Guard (#40250) has a better list of coverages than te 41260.  The 40250 runs from $600 to $700, depending on dealer, where the 41260 would be under $300.

With the Progressive Industries HW50C, I saw a price of $409 on their website.  I'll need to look more at the specs between the Progressive Industries and the Surge Guard.  I don't know enough about either one to know what all each has and whether the Surge Guard would be enough better for the price difference.

Now, with a multitester checking the sockets, could you give me an idea of what to check, what order (if important), and what readouts I should see on each "leg"?

Thanks for your help and suggestions.

Terry



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Terry and Jo wrote:

Bill,

Our Mobile Suites has a Surge Guard ATS #41260.  Looking at the specifications, I see that I do have some protection with this unit.  However, another Surge Guard (#40250) has a better list of coverages than te 41260.  The 40250 runs from $600 to $700, depending on dealer, where the 41260 would be under $300.

With the Progressive Industries HW50C, I saw a price of $409 on their website.  I'll need to look more at the specs between the Progressive Industries and the Surge Guard.  I don't know enough about either one to know what all each has and whether the Surge Guard would be enough better for the price difference.

Now, with a multitester checking the sockets, could you give me an idea of what to check, what order (if important), and what readouts I should see on each "leg"?

Thanks for your help and suggestions.

Terry


 

Well, in general, which I don’t really like – if 50 amps - the two hot sides - each should read between 110 (or so) and 128 volts measured to the neutral and to ground.

 

You can purchase a little “polarity checker” at Camping World that you can plug in the 120 volt pedestal outlet before plugging in the rig, but that only measures one side of the 50 amp service.  It does tell you if the neutral, hot and ground are wire correctly – but only on that 120 volt plug.  It doesn’t tell you the 50 amp or 30 amp is wired correctly going to the trailer before you plug the rig in.

 

You see, in my opinion, you really can’t check this and “make sure” with just a multi-meter.  It depends and is beyond the scope, again in my opinion, of the average Joe (sorry, that is the phrase) in understanding all those “it depends” factors.  That’s why "I", and some others, prefer an installed unit that also looks at things like open neutrals, etc. AND, continuously monitors the voltage, etc. and will protect you in real time when conditions change with the rig plugged in.  And they will change.

 

The reason I prefer the Progressive Industries product is that it has a higher surge capacity (measured in Joules) than the Surge Guard Products around the same price point. (The Surge Guard 41260 and 40250 are also automatic change over switches.  That’s why they are so expensive and both the surge ratings are less than the Progressive Industries product.  “I” wouldn’t install a combination change over switch / surge / voltage protection system; too many eggs in one box.  That’s another discussion.) Also the Progressive Industries has the option for a rather inexpensive remote metering and by-pass control switch that is easily installed in the rig.  That’s just so important when you want to run a lot of things on a 30 or 20 amp outlet.  You can see not only what the voltage is doing, but the amps as well – so you can monitor just how close you are coming to tripping a breaker or going towards a low voltage condition.  I’m not knocking the Surge Guard; it is just that the specs on the Progressive Industries product, along with the remote readout, were worth the extra expense to me to get a unit that did the best jobs.

 

At the last RV-Dreams rally I had people come up to me and thank me for the Progressive Industries suggestion.  Saved more than one rigs “bacon.”

 

My 2-1/2 cents.

 

Bill 



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Thanks, Bill.

It sounds like I may look into the Progressive at some time.  As for now, we've only had a year with the coach, so I'll try to get by with the Surge Guard for now.

Terry



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I agree with everything Bill said.

Don't underestimate the usefulness of the remote panel on the Progressive. You will learn a lot about your coach appliances, and it is by far the best way to manage power when connected to "less power" than you would normally want.

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Terry and Jo wrote:

Thanks, Bill.

It sounds like I may look into the Progressive at some time.  As for now, we've only had a year with the coach, so I'll try to get by with the Surge Guard for now.

Terry


Terry:

 

What you have in the rig now is very good.  It will work just fine and it is to the credit of the manufacture that they are now including this type of protection.  (When I was at the MS factory three years ago I made a point of asking about this which, at least at that time, they were not including with the high end MS rig.  Good for them. “We” shouldn’t have to know all this – that’s what we pay them for.)

 

What we are all talking about here, in some people’s opinion, are nuances.  Important, but to some “down in the weeds.”  The Progressive Industries “specs” are better, but the Surge Guard’s are not “bad.”

 

With what you have, unless you want a “belt and suspenders” system, there is no pressing need to install the Progressive Industries unit, IMO.  If you do, however, it will possibly better protect the changeover switch. If this switch goes bad you get no shore power and most likely none from the generator either.  You would also get the power read out which the model of the Surge Guard you have does not offer as an option.

 

The reason I don’t care to have the protection device in the same box as the change over switch concerns the following:  If you get a big surge and for some reason the surge protection unit has to “give itself up” to protect the rig you can’t easily by-pass it because you still have the generator change over switch “in the same box” and the chances are the main change over relay is fried.  This is a “form factor” issue.  Most people would not be able to re-wire the rig’s input power around the failed change over relay safely. I, and others could, so we want that flexibility.

 

To finish the thought, with a mulitmeter you can check the voltage at another pedestal if the one your at is “bad.” If the Surge Guard is installed and working when you plug the rig in it will check the polarity, neutral and ground, etc. and protect the rig.  So you can check the power before you move (so you don’t move for nothing) and the Surge Guard will check the rest before it turns on the power to the rig.

 

If you didn’t get this with the MS, here is a link to the trouble shooting guide on the product you indicated is in your rig.  This guide was apparently not in the main manual.  It might help some day.

 

http://www.surgeguard.com/pdfs/ATS-trbl-shooting.pdf

 

I hope I didn’t “over confuse” you more.

 

Safe travels

 

Bill 



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I'm the OP, and almost as soon as we got our mpg I ordered a surge protector. I elected to get a Progressive Industries portable unit. I chose the Progressive because it is made in America. I chose the portable one because our mpg has a detachable cord, and I'm not sure where the "other end" comes out, but I suspect that it would have been quite a bit of work to put a permanent unit in there, and it might have voided the warranty. When we go full-time, though, whatever rig we buy WILL have a permanently-mounted unit. If there isn't one already there, I'll have a Progressive Industries one installed.

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