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Old 01-20-2018, 08:58 AM   #1
DJ Cruz
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Thumbs down 30 Amp vs 50 Amp

Hello Campers,

I have a 2018 Cougar 29BHSWE. It can run on 30 Amps fine. However I was warned that I may draw too much amperage to run the microwave and the heater/ac at the same time. (I've operated both at the same time on a 30 amp and all was well; like no fuses blown)

My question is, can I use a 50 amp camp site and be ok? Or is it just a waste of money to spend the extra dollars for a 50 amp when I just need a 30 amp?

Thanks!
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Old 01-20-2018, 09:18 AM   #2
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You're still only going to get 30 amps at a 50 amp site, and will need an adapter to take you from 50 amps at the campground pedestal down to 30 amps at your trailer.
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Old 01-20-2018, 09:29 AM   #3
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Your trailer has a "main circuit breaker" located in the power distribution panel that is rated at 30 amps. That breaker will not allow more than 30 amps to flow through the power cable and into the trailer distribution panel. It doesn't matter whether you're attached to a 30 amp campground pedestal, a 50 amp campground pedestal or a 100 amp campground pedestal, the maximum power that can pass through that circuit breaker is 30 amps. Typically, the air conditioner uses about 12 amps and the microwave about 10 amps. That's 22 amps with both running. When the A/C starts, it uses about 18 amps which would "push the use" to the maximum available in the power center. Usually there are "hidden users" of power that aren't typically considered. The refrigerator uses about 1.5 amps, the converter (supplies all 12 VDC power) uses about 5-8 amps, the water heater uses about 10 amps. Any 120VAC appliances like a hair dryer, coffee pot, toaster, small heater, etc would also add to that power consumption.

It really makes no difference which power plug you connect to at the campground pedestal as long as it's rated at/greater than 30 amps. What does make a difference is how many other campers are on that leg of power, how much they are reducing the available power (brownout) and whether you have a "true 30 amps" available on that leg of the campground distribution. Usually there are fewer trailers connected to the 50 amp system and those plugs are in better physical condition (not as worn with loose connectors in the plugs) so it often is "advantageous" to use the 50 amp power plug.

I'd question whether you should pay for (or be charged for) using the 50 amp plug with a 30 amp trailer. you can argue the point that the maximum you could possibly draw is 30 amps, no matter which plug you use, so effectively you can never "use 50 amp service" with a trailer rated at 30 amps.

That said, if you start plugging in additional extension cords, that's more than 30 amps, but that's not typically what happens......
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Old 01-20-2018, 09:34 AM   #4
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Your breaker in the inside panel has a 30 amp main breaker so that limits it. IF, and it's a big IF the cg is providing 120 volts than you have the full 30 amps to use. If the voltage drops, then the amperage draw will rise (Ohm's Law) and your devises will draw higher amps. My camper has the 15K roof top unit and I can get away with the microwave and the ac on IF the cg is providing 120 volts but then again I have an Autoformer - https://hughesautoformers.com/ to help out with high demand.
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Old 01-20-2018, 09:37 AM   #5
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As has been explained, it would be pointless to pay for a 50 amp site - you cannot pull more than 30A. Now if you opt for a 50A site you will probably pay more if those sites are limited. Many parks only have a certain number of 50A sites and those are more regardless of what you plug into them, some have 15, 30 and 50A in all pads and some have no 50A at all. Just go with the 30A and use what you can depending on the site's ability to deliver power.....make sure you have an EMS/surge protector.
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Old 01-20-2018, 10:07 AM   #6
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According to the info that I'm finding on the Cougar 29BHSWE that unit comes with a 50 service, not a 30. DJ....if you can look at the cord that came with the trailer and let us know if there are three prongs on the end of the cord or if there are four prongs on the end of it. I'm thinking you have a 50A service as per the manufacturer's information that I've seen. Let us know.
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Old 01-20-2018, 10:40 AM   #7
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So I watched the video about the Autoformer, no explanation of how it works. Smoke and mirrors ?

.
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Old 01-20-2018, 11:38 AM   #8
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You could get the surge protector/EMS for 1/2 of the price of the Auto Former. Which you choose is up to you, the main thing is some sort of protection is absolutely necessary, I won't it in without it.
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Old 01-20-2018, 02:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xrated View Post
According to the info that I'm finding on the Cougar 29BHSWE that unit comes with a 50 service, not a 30. ...
The 2018 29BHSWE is a travel trailer and according to the "options list" at the bottom of the page, that trailer comes standard with 30 amp service and 50 amp service is optional.... It's the 12th item in the options list at the bottom of the page: http://www.keystonerv.com/cougar-half-ton/
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Old 01-22-2018, 01:10 PM   #10
DJ Cruz
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Thank you EVERYONE here for your input and knowledge. I appreciate the responses and I'm glad we can contribute to a better camping experience.

We reserved a spot at a KOA which supplies a 30 amp service.
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Old 01-22-2018, 06:50 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Hodgy View Post
.

So I watched the video about the Autoformer, no explanation of how it works. Smoke and mirrors ?

.
It's basically a capacitor bank with electronics to engage it. The people that run very high amperage car audio amplifiers use large capacitors to compensate for high amplifier demands. Motors, like the compressor in the air conditioner use them in the start wiring circuit to offset the high current in rush during start up to correct the power factor.
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Old 01-22-2018, 08:08 PM   #12
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Thanks for explaining.

.
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Old 01-23-2018, 04:04 AM   #13
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Well the OP never did say if he had a 30 or 50amp RV so at this point its all speculation. Is he trying to save money by wanting to use a 30 instead of 50 if his rv is setup to use that or is his rv set to run on 30 amp??
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Old 01-23-2018, 05:26 AM   #14
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This is what works for me

The easiest 'rule of thumb' to me is watts in a service and how I explained it to my non technical DW

30 amps = 3600 watts @120VAC (36 100 watt bulbs)
50 amps per leg is 12,000 watts(120 100 watt bulbs)

Since I carry both 30 and 50 amp cords and adapters make my decision on expected outside temperatures and whether I need both air conditioners. I also factor in length of stay when traveling. Overnight, normally the much easier to handle 30 amp cords, And the DW, she has been 'trained' to not operate too many ' hogs' at the same time.

What 'they' don't tell you is that a 50 amp RV service is really 100 amps and that each leg or conductor is capable of carrying 50 amps.

Easy formulas
20x120 = 2400 watts
30x120 - 3600 watts
50x2x120 = 12000 watts

If the voltage varies, so will the wattage. If a CG system is less or more, then your wattage will change accordingly
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Old 01-23-2018, 06:53 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flybouy View Post
It's basically a capacitor bank with electronics to engage it. The people that run very high amperage car audio amplifiers use large capacitors to compensate for high amplifier demands. Motors, like the compressor in the air conditioner use them in the start wiring circuit to offset the high current in rush during start up to correct the power factor.
You are mistaken about it being a capacitor bank. Here is a link to do some reading about autoformers if you are interested.....

https://www.google.com/search?source....0.4TxK-b8jX54
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Old 01-26-2018, 06:58 PM   #16
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Something else to note between the 30 and 50.

Thirty amp is strictly 120VAC, hot, neutral, and ground.
Fifty amp is 120/220VAC, hence the four wire plug. you have TWO hot wires, a neutral, and a ground.

Had a friend get his trailer fried because the local handy man transferred the wires from the fifty to the thirty because the thirty was having problems and he didn't know what he was doing. Instead of grabbing the hot, neutral, and ground, the idiot grabbed the two hots and a ground pumping 220 into the 110 trailer system. Can we say smoke signals anyone?
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Old 01-27-2018, 03:37 AM   #17
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I'll just use my 50amp cord with my 50amp RV and be happy! Lol!
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Old 01-27-2018, 08:24 AM   #18
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In all our years fulltiming there have only been a couple parks that charged more for 50 amp, some have different areas with 50 amp, on occasion we've had to stay a parks with only 30 amp, but most all parks we've been to have had both at the pedestal & whether I need 2 acs, or none, I'm plugging into 50 amp every time & will pay the couple bucks difference if need be.
Anyone reading this thread that doesn't have a surge protector/EMS ,GET ONE before plugging in your next outing. With all the electronics nowadays it's mandatory to protect it. Yes the protection is expensive, but so is replacing acs, fridges, multiple tvs.
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Old 01-27-2018, 09:09 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gail2568 View Post
Something else to note between the 30 and 50.

Thirty amp is strictly 120VAC, hot, neutral, and ground.
Fifty amp is 120/220VAC, hence the four wire plug. you have TWO hot wires, a neutral, and a ground.

Had a friend get his trailer fried because the local handy man transferred the wires from the fifty to the thirty because the thirty was having problems and he didn't know what he was doing. Instead of grabbing the hot, neutral, and ground, the idiot grabbed the two hots and a ground pumping 220 into the 110 trailer system. Can we say smoke signals anyone?
Be cautious about looking for 220, (actually the proper voltage would be 240 volts), because there are a few parks out there that you will see 208 volts across the two hot legs, instead of 240 volts, because the transformer supplying power is a wye connected transformer instead of a delta connected transformer. You need to only verify that you have 120 volts to ground or neutral from each hotleg. This is the label at the shore cable connector on our rig.
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Old 01-28-2018, 03:49 AM   #20
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Be cautious about looking for 220, (actually the proper voltage would be 240 volts), because there are a few parks out there that you will see 208 volts across the two hot legs, instead of 240 volts, because the transformer supplying power is a wye connected transformer instead of a delta connected transformer. You need to only verify that you have 120 volts to ground or neutral from each hotleg. This is the label at the shore cable connector on our rig.

In that case, the surge protector would say No Way.

Interesting as I have never seen any power service warning label beyond personal safety at any campground
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