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How many items do you run at once on your 30 amp hook up?


Deezl Smoke

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So to get an idea of what 30 amps might run in an rv, what can you usually run at the same time without causing too much strain on, or issues with, your 30 amp hook up? Say it is a good, quality hook up with proper wire sizing etc.

 

Typically, I would imagine when you are hooked to shore power you would turn your cooler and water heater to shore? Or do you choose to keep some systems on gas so you can run others on shore power?

 

I dont know how much power a converter uses in a typical 2 house battery arrangement. But if you are using lights, I'd think it would require some small percentage of the shore output.

 

I'm sure if you are full time, you may have made a few adjustments to your usage habits are you became aware of possible conflicts, but I'd like to know about any of those adjustments you made. If you are full time, you likely may use a dishwasher and clothes washer/dryer. How would that work on a 30 amp,..........or would it even work?

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coffee pot and microwave - electric heat is too much

A/C, coffee and micro

depends when the water heater kicks in

 

basically most anything just don't be silly and try to run it all at once

 

In 30 years that we've had trailers, I think that we've popped a breaker maybe 5-10 times if that. BUT, if we are in a cold area (last winter in TX for 4 months) I will drop a 20 A cord through the slide seal to run a separate heater line.

 

on edit: long time and far away - in apprenticeship school, A typical house (we are talking early 70's) could get by on a 30 amp 125/250 power service. The what if's, electric dryers, double ovens, electric water heaters, house A/C's, in house spa and sauna's, etc have driven that up so today we "plan" for future additions and have a LOT of extra capacity in a house.

 

a 250 volt 50 amp circuit is an arc welder running 100% 24/7.

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It is difficult to tell you exactly what you can run along with the converter for 12V-dc as that will depend upon how much it happens to be using at the moment. If batteries are full and you are not using the furnace or some other large 12V load, the typical draw is probably less than 5A. You can get an idea of what it may need by estimating the 12V current draw and divide that by 10. In other words, to supply 30A-dc power your converter will use just a little more than 3A-ac @ 120V.

 

The largest 12V-dc load in most RVs is the furnace blower, but you might have a few other big ones. Your slide outs usually draw a lot but only when moving in or out. The refrigerator draws only a couple of amps as does the water heater and both require the 12V supply even if operating on 120V-ac because the temperature controls all operate on 12V-dc.

 

Most RV air conditioners will draw somewhere between 8 to 13A, depending upon how large the unit is and how clean the coils are. Most RV microwaves are of about 800 watts which means about 7A. (Watts = amps x volts or amps = watts/volts) An electric heater will draw about 12.5A if on high and 6 - 7A when on low. Most hair dryers need about 10A or so. Your typical TV set today will need about 3 - 5A if on 120V.

 

Any appliance that uses heaters like an electric fry pan or slow cooker can be expected to draw about 6 - 10A.

 

You can usually look on a tag near the power cord and it will either give the amps needed or the watts which you just divide by 120V to determine amps. Add these up and you get the idea. But there is another factor that enters into the mix which you can't control and that is condition of the circuit breaker on the power pedestal as well as the condition of the power receptacle that you plug your RV into. That is because circuit breakers are designed to get weaker as they age, just to be sure that they won't go the other way so each time one trips is requires just a tiny amount to make it trip the next time so you may not have the full 30A it is rated at. The other factor is that a receptacle that is weathered or burned will consume power just to push through the resistance of the connection and that also is part of the load that your RV draws. And the other factor is that a circuit breaker is not intended to carry it maximum rating as a constant load, but usually will open after a long period if the load is at the max. For this reason, when you add up what you will be able to use, it is a good idea to use about 26A as your target load.

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Our trailer is 30Amp. We do not have a dish washer (other than me) or a clothes washer/dryer so I can not speak to those appliances. The big draws are the converter/charger (really the charger as far as I can determine), air conditioner, microwave, electric water heater, electric heaters, and other heating elements like a hair dryer, toaster or toaster oven. There can be some differences in how 30Amp coaches are wired. Our previous trailer had all the 120V outlets on one 15Amp circuit which was also GFCI protected. In that trailer, running more than one heating element on high was very likely to trip the breaker for that circuit. I ran a second circuit of 120V outlets to the 20Amp breaker for the Air Conditioner so that we could run two 1500watt space heaters at the same time. That worked OK since we never used the heaters and the AC at the same time. Our current trailer has two 15Amp circuits for the outlets with one circuit GFCI protected. So we can run a space heater on each circuit, however; I rarely if ever run them both on high.

 

When we are hooked to shore power, we do use the electric feature of the water heater and I never turn the converter/charger off. I try not to run more than one high power draw appliance in addition to those, but it does happen and rarely does it trip the main 30Amp breaker or the Power pedestal breaker. This is probably because the water heater and charger don't run continuously. Running the microwave and the Air conditioner at the same time is one way to overload the system if the water heater is on electric. I usually turn the water heater off during the day in warm weather.

 

This has been my experience with 3 different 30Amp coaches.

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We have a 50a coach. When on 30a shore power we run the water heater & refrigerator on gas. That allows us to run our dual compressor ac/heat pump which takes 17a on one compressor & 24a if both compressors kick in. (Winnebago sets the system up to run both compressors under 30a) That leaves enough for tv & lights. If we want to run the microwave, hair dryer, or clothes dryer we have to turn off the breaker for the second compressor, or just turn off the ac/heat pump entirely. We have a few times ran a heavy extension cord from the 20a outlet on the shore power pole to the clothes dryer so we could keep the ac on while drying clothes.

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For simplicity, we group electric appliances into two categories - heavy user and light user. The hot water heater, floor heater, kettle, coffee maker, microwave are all 'heavy'. Others such as the fridge and battery charger, TV and computer are 'light'.

 

So our rule is any two 'heavy' at one time, plus all the 'light stuff.

 

In summer mode, where we need the AC, we will turn if off briefly to use one or two 'heavy', and run the water tank and fridge on propane.

 

Using this simple system, we have not popped a fuse or breaker.

 

John

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The converter is really only a big draw when you come in with depleted batteries. Getting silly - 500 amp hour of batteries at 100% discharge - 50 amp converter - 50a into the batteries X 12 hours (REALLY COOKING THOSE PUPPIES) is 5 A at 125 volts. Your water heater is 10 amps. And, once things are fully charged or hot, the loads cycle to maintain the charge or heat.

 

Or, if the batteries are charged and your just living, 6 lights on (1156) @ 2.1 amps = 12.6 amps overall = 1.26 amps at 125 volts.

 

And if you want to reduce - 6 lamps (LED) x 0.160 amp = 0.960 amps @ 12 = 0.096 amps at 125 volts

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We have a MH - when on 30 amps, we don't run the dryer at the same time as the microwave (especially when in convection mode) and can only run 1 a/c and then have to make sure we don't run the a/c when the micro is cooking. Otherwise, we run everything else on electric. It has never been a problem for us. If in cooler weather, we run heaters on low (usually about 8 amps) and we if running two, they are on separate circuits - one of which doesn't go through the inverter. Also I only run the hairdryer on the medium setting and always on a different circuit than the bedroom heater (or turn the heater off while running the hair dryer). So running on 30 amps just isn't that big a deal as long as you know what you have on each circuit. Actually that is more of a problem because you usually have only 2 or 3 circuits for plugging things in and you can overload that circuit quickly if you aren't paying attention.

 

Barb

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We bought a Kill-A-Watt meter for around $20 to measure our power use and found it a great help since the data plates on electronics can be peak numbers and much higher than normal operation.

 

Once I had measured everything I poked the numbers into a spreadsheet so they would be handy. We figured we could plan on 3000 watts of power on a continuous basis leaving some margin for weak breakers and peaks in our load. We found that we could manage things much as others have mentioned but found having the more accurate watt numbers in hand often made a nice difference.

 

We did add an easily reachable power switch and indicator light to the water heater as at 1400 watts it was usually the first load we shed in low power situations, fridge on electric was good for around 400. The converter maxed out around 600 watts into low batteries but soon dropped to under 100 watts.

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I have a surgeguard with the remote readout which is mounted on the wall right by the door. It just takes a second to watch it cycle through amps being pulled on L1 and L2 - add them together and you know exactly what is going on.

 

Having said that - several have already given the rule of thumb - just keeping an eye on the amp hungry stuff and not trying to run them all at once.

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When we hook into 30 amp, I first turn the fridge on and let the inverter charge up. Once one of these 2 things are done, I turn on the electric hot water heater. The rest of our stay, I am usually comfortable with using 2 things at the same time. The only thing I have to remember is that when I use the the hot water, that makes 3 which usually ensures, if I forget, that the power goes off. If I am on the ball, and using several things I just turn the hot water off until we go to bed. This is generally what works for us. Hugs, Di

So to get an idea of what 30 amps might run in an rv, what can you usually run at the same time without causing too much strain on, or issues with, your 30 amp hook up? Say it is a good, quality hook up with proper wire sizing etc.

 

Typically, I would imagine when you are hooked to shore power you would turn your cooler and water heater to shore? Or do you choose to keep some systems on gas so you can run others on shore power?

 

I dont know how much power a converter uses in a typical 2 house battery arrangement. But if you are using lights, I'd think it would require some small percentage of the shore output.

 

I'm sure if you are full time, you may have made a few adjustments to your usage habits are you became aware of possible conflicts, but I'd like to know about any of those adjustments you made. If you are full time, you likely may use a dishwasher and clothes washer/dryer. How would that work on a 30 amp,..........or would it even work?

 

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We have a power management system and can see exactly how much power we are using when on 30 amp. So, our use is pretty much as the above posters and we just keep an eye on the meter. The microwave is a power hog and ours draws around 10 amps. As a note, when we're dry camping and run the mirco off the inverter it draws 119 amps of dc. but it's only for a short period of time.

 

Over the years we have pretty much learned how many of what things we can run on 30 amps. It's second nature for us and we almost don't think about it, it's automatic. Get a Kill-o-watt meter and learn how much each item eats.

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You might also consider getting an electrical management system which can give you an instantaneous readout of your current draw and even save your gear if you draw enough to lower the overall voltage to a dangerous level (brown-out).

 

We use a 50-amp version of this device. It was the second upgrade item I bought when we got our coach. They do have an internal (built-in) version which gives you remote readouts (but has to be installed in series with the incoming power connections) but we just have the portable version. They have both 30-amp and 50-amp versions.

 

Not all RV parks are equal when it comes to their power connections and some are downright dangerous.

 

This is where we bought ours and is the cheapest price I have found for these devices: http://tweetys.com/portable-30amp-electrical-management-system.aspx

 

WDR

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I had no idea the microwave was such a power hog.

Think about it this way.......... The microwave is rated in watts. They usually come in sizes from about 700 watts to as much as 1200 watts. A typical portable heater is rated at a maximum of 1500 watts, by comparison. The microwave is a heating device but does it very rapidly. Watts can be converted directly into BTU's which is heat energy. It takes the same amount of BTU's to cook your food no matter the source of energy but the microwave wastes less but supplies it faster.

 

Like Stanley, I really like the Kill-A-Watt for measuring power use.

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Think about it this way.......... The microwave is rated in watts. They usually come in sizes from about 700 watts to as much as 1200 watts. A typical portable heater is rated at a maximum of 1500 watts, by comparison. The microwave is a heating device but does it very rapidly. Watts can be converted directly into BTU's which is heat energy. It takes the same amount of BTU's to cook your food no matter the source of energy but the microwave wastes less but supplies it faster.

 

I think the basic problem is that we have several different ways to measure power and people get confused. They have a 30-amp circuit but how much POWER is that? I'm not sure telling them about BTUs is going to clarify the issue. :P

 

DIVIDE WATTS BY VOLTS TO GET AMPS.

 

If you have a 1500 watt heater on a 120volt circuit then divide 1500 by 120 to get 12.5 amps. Two 1500-watt heaters would draw 25 amps so you have 5 amps left over for other things.

 

But remember that heaters are not always on; sometimes the room hits the preset temperature and the heater element turns off. If you turn on too many things then - when the heater element turns on again - you'll blow a fuse or circuit breaker.

 

So just assume they are always on... don't load the circuit up just to see if it will work.

 

Get heaters that can be adjusted to lower wattage (usually 750, 1000 and 1500). Once your RV is at a comfortable level, turn one (or both) heaters to a lower setting.

 

Jack probably has an entire page devoted to this subject. :P

 

WDR

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Since Kirk brought up the watts........ (I know most people know this, but it could be helpful for those who don't)

 

V x A = W

 

Or, the voltage times the amperage is the wattage.

 

A 1200 W microwave running at 120V pulls 10A......

 

Wattage is listed on an appliance, amperage not always.

 

Don't forget that anything with a motor has a startup spike. Modern AC's pull in the teens for a few seconds, then settle down to something less than 10A. "Soft Start"technology and the use of different compressors has brought these numbers down, a lot.

 

Anything that heats or cools is a power hog.

 

 

Edit: WDR types faster than I do...... ;-)

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