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120 volt into RV


GVJeeper

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I want to install a "plug" on the outside of my RV so that I can use the 120-volt on the pedestal to run a portable heater inside of my RV. Is there a "receptacle" that will let me plug an extension cord from the pedestal to the RV on the outside - but be a 120 wall receptacle inside the RV that I can plug my heater into? Hopefully that made sense, lol.

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None that I know of. And, if it was direct, source for cold drafts and condensation.

 

What we do, is run an Appliance extension cord (120 volt, 20 amp), Home Depot, Lowe's, through the slide seal at the bottom. I angle it down to the outside so if there is any rain, moisture, it will run down the cord and outside. It is also under the slide so that the cords are out of the direct weather.

 

What I have also done is to wire "special" heater plugs in the trailer that are commercial grade and do not come through the inverter connections. I tied them into the A/C breakers in the 'main' power panel.

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Jack - yes, that's what I was looking for on the outside. I was just hoping to get one that was already wired for the inside plug/receptacle. One where I could just drill a hole in the wall and have a plug/receptacle on each side of the wall.

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Another thought: I have a two plugs on the outside (for an outside TV) with a cover over both of them (two plugs are side by side). I guess I could rewire one of them to a new inside plug/receptacle.

 

Your outside outlets are standard female, not the male variety required for your application. A male/male cord used to backfeed a female outlet is called a "suicide cord" for good reason. The type Jack linked to will get the job done safely, with a standard wall outlet on the inside.

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A male/male cord used to backfeed a female outlet is called a "suicide cord" for good reason. The type Jack linked to will get the job done safely, with a standard wall outlet on the inside.

Ok I get that I would need a m-m outside. But I don't quite understand the first part of the last sentence: The type Jack linked to will get the job done safely.

 

Also if it's called a "suicide cord" is it safe? Sure doesn't sound safe, lol.

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A male-male cord is definitely NOT safe! If the RV end of the cord is accidentaly unplugged while the other end is still plugged in to a live outlet, the exposed blades on the plug would be live and could possibly injure or even kill anyone that comes in contact with them.

 

The Marinco device that Jack linked to is an "inlet", not an outlet. The female end of a standard extension cord can be plugged in to its male blades safely, with nothing live exposed.

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If the external Male receptacle is only connected to an inside Female receptacle, there is no "suicide" issues. You would use a standard extension cord from the power pole to the external Male receptacle. Preferably a #12 or #10 wire cord.

 

Using a Female receptacle as a power inlet, means you will be using a power cord from the power post to the inlet that has a Male plug attached end of the cord. If you plug the cord into the power post first, the end for the RV with be hot and you have an excellent change to electrocute yourself. Or a kid could by pulling the cord out of the inlet receptacle.

 

This is just too hazardous to do.

 

.

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If the external Male receptacle is only connected to an inside Female receptacle, there is no "suicide" issues. You would use a standard extension cord from the power pole to the external Male receptacle. Preferably a #12 or #10 wire cord.

 

Using a Female receptacle as a power inlet, means you will be using a power cord from the power post to the inlet that has a Male plug attached end of the cord. If you plug the cord into the power post first, the end for the RV with be hot and you have an excellent change to electrocute yourself. Or a kid could by pulling the cord out of the inlet receptacle.

 

This is just too hazardous to do.

 

.

OK That makes sense....thanks!!!

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Jeeper Man, Call me over cautious, call me too safe, call me picky picky picky lol. HOWEVER, I cant help myself as for most of my engineering career I designed strictly per the NEC plus I had a very safety conscious very NEC compliant grouchy BOSS. That being said, here are my thoughts and some technically correct (as I best recall no warranty its been a long time) terminology which may help when you're shopping for parts: PS Marine Electrical and Wiring Devices is where you might start. I linked a couple sites below.

 

 

1) FIRST if you plan to use a typical say 1500 Watt max 120 VAC Electric Resistance Heater, on high it will draw something like 12.5 amps and its been a while but as I best recall that probably qualifies per NEC standards as a "continuous" load. That being said, I would NEVER design for more then 80% or 12 amps continuous current draw through a 15 amp rated electrical device (plug, receptacle etc.) HOWEVER that's (12.5) awfully close and I probably wouldn't loose much sleep over it.

 

2) As noted for obvious safety reasons, and to get the terminology hopefully correct (as best I recall no warranty), you need what I would call a "Power Inlet" device which would be a "MALE" plug that is "Flush Mounted" and equipped with a "Weatherproof Cover or Enclosure". That's what is flush/flange mounted on the RV exterior and into which you plug your matching FEMALE receptacle cord (pedestal to RV) end.

 

3) If I had my "druthers" I would use a TWIST LOCKING Power Inlet and a TWIST LOCK female receptacle cord end so gravity etc wont so easily pull them apart.

 

4) The Female Receptacle and Male Power Inlet will be what are called "2 Pole 3 Wire Grounding" Devices. That's One (Hot) Ungrounded Conductor, One (Neutral) GrounDED Conductor, and One Safety Equipment GroundING Conductor.

 

5) If it were me and my wife and children were sleeping inside I would be more comfy, feel safer, and probably use 20 Amp rated devices instead of only 15. That means your "Power Inlet" device would be 20 amp (not just 15 amp) and its wiring to your interior 20 amp rated NEMA 5-20R receptacle would use 12 Gauge wire. PS NOTE: It also matters if the pedestal Receptacle is a 15 or 20 amp device and if its overload protection device is 15 or 20 amp.

 

6) Its a piece of cake to run 12/2 w/ground wire from the Power Inlet over to you interior 120 Volt 20 Amp NEMA 5-20R Receptacle to plug your heater into.

 

SO there it is, do as you wish its your RV, your money, your safety and your call NOT ours. This assumes your heater is 1500 Watt max, and if so 12.5 amps is awfully close to 12, but if its bigger then 1500 watts (which I doubt) its more problematic. If smaller then NO PROBLEM using 15 amp rated electrical devices.

 

 

http://www.go2marine.com/category/13115/shorepower-inlets-connectors-and-accessories.html

 

http://www.go2marine.com/product/70936F/marinco-standard-boat-power-inlet-30a-125v.html

 

Best wishes

 

Safety minded CONSERVATIVE designer, John T

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Ok I get that I would need a m-m outside. But I don't quite understand the first part of the last sentence: The type Jack linked to will get the job done safely.

The outside outlets that you have now are supplied by the RV power cord that you presently have and even if you did somehow connect a power cord to them that would not do what you want. To use the plug that Jack linked to, which is the proper way to do this, you then install it on the outside and then run wires from it to a new outlet that you install inside of the RV. All of the outlets presently in your RV, no matter where located are supplied by circuit breakers from the main power distribution box that is supplied power by the cord that you plug into the pedestal. You can't just add a power plug somewhere and change your system unless you add an entire new circuit with a new outlet inside of your RV. It sounds to me as though you have little electrical knowledge and if that is true you take a great risk in fooling with the electrical system when you don't understand how it works. You should know that the #1 cause of RV fires is owner made modifications to the electrical systems. In addition to fires, mistakes can also electrocute people.

 

John T is correct that this is not something that you should do until you learn the proper way to do it and learn at least a few basics of electrical theory.

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post-47573-0-95231100-1430225988_thumb.jpg

 

If I did it correct, here's a picture of a Marine Grade 125 Volt 30 Amp Power Inlet. As far as branch circuit overload protection, the circuit out the pedestal to your RV has, I assume, a 15 or 20 amp circuit breaker at the pedestal. While the picture is just a typical Marine grade device for illustration purposes, I'm sure there are 20 amp rated "Power Inlets" out there as 30 is a bit more then what you describe you need (but would still work). If you wire it yourself (like Kirk I cant recommend it if you're not experienced) be sure proper safety equipment grounding (the green or bare wire) is in place and that includes any non current carrying metal receptacle enclosures or junction boxes etc. IN ADDITION TO the third wire grounding terminal on the receptacle itself. NOTE the normal RV power inlet circuit would have its Safety Equipment GroundING conductor bonded to the RV's metal frame such that a shorted to frame Ungrounded (Hot) Conductor has a fault current return path to trip the breaker and clear the fault. There shall however NOT be any Grounded Conductor (Neutral) to Equipment GroundING Conductor bond in the RV main panel such as that found in your home wiring system, that's already in place at the pedestal.

 

Best wishes, keep safe.

 

John T

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GV - All the 'stuff' to do this right is why, in the end, I mentioned the easiest way to do this is the cord through the slide seal. Another point in all this, the walls that your working with are probably only 2" thick. Most everything is going to be surface mounted.

 

With the surface mounting, look into the "WireMold" brand electrical boxes. They've been in the retrofit business a long time and make reasonable looking stuff.

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Guest Caseyj

You should know that the #1 cause of RV fires is owner made modifications to the electrical systems

 

 

Where did you get this information? Sounds kind of silly when you consider the research that would have to be made to validate this.

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Wow - tons of good information that I will digest today...much appreciated!!! And although I'm a woman I don't want to be pigeon-holed....so know that I'm very "mechanical" and do most of my own repairs. I'll get back to you all later today with any questions or thoughts...thanks so much!!!!

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I have to ask, why cant u use an existing receptical to plug heater into?

Typically the reason to have a separate circuit not on the 30 amp shore circuit is to have more total power available to the RV. This is really only a factor on 30 amp RVs. Fifty amp RVs have plenty of available power (100 amps).

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Where did you get this information? Sounds kind of silly when you consider the research that would have to be made to validate this.

Consider it silly or anything else that you wish, but it comes from an RV safety seminar that we attended with the speaker from the insurance institute and he quoted statistics from insurance claim investigations.

 

If memory serves, #2 was absorption refrigerators.

 

As one who spent a 40 year career in electro-mechanical repair work I take safety quite seriously.

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Bob, when you ask "I have to ask, why cant u use an existing receptical to plug heater into?"

 

I agree with Jack.

 

Sure, an existing receptacle would likely suffice and there are a ton of RV's out there which use 1500 watt electric resistance space heaters plugged into typical RV 120 volt 15 amp NEMA 5-15R Receptacles. A problem could be if a heater is drawing say 12.5 amps and the total amperage available to the RV is 30 amps, the heater sucks up nearly half of the available power. Of course, if you tried to run two such heaters on high long term, and if there were other electrical loads the main breaker may trip. Its just that a 1500 watt heater uses up so much of the available power.

 

Another concern I have (was a used RV dealer for a period) is how some RV's use push in or snap on type of receptacles as opposed to screw down residential types of devices. If you couple that with the fact the branch circuit is only 15 amps anyway wired with 14 gauge conductors and then you start to plug in a heater that draws 12.5 amps plus other loads are on the same branch circuit, the wire and devices can run fairly warm prior to a thermal magnetic circuit breakers tripping out on the thermal element.

 

The posters addition of a 120 volt 20 amp "Power Inlet" that feeds a new dedicated heater branch circuit such that he isn't using the available 30 amp shore power system is actually a safe and engineering sound idea in my opinion, provided its done safe and proper. Sure, he could likely get by using an existing receptacle.

 

That's my story and I'm stickin to it

 

John T

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I have to ask, why cant u use an existing receptical to plug heater into?

One of the reasons that I did separate heater circuits is the is all the plugs in the trailer come through the inverter. In the event of a power outage, it will discharge the batteries in a hurry.

 

Second reason (cause I can disable the invert portion) is the inverter internal transfer switch and throwing a ton of load at it that the inverter is never going to power anyway and 'stressing' those contacts.

 

Third reason is in spite of having a 125/250v 50 amp service to the trailer, the main power panel breaks off (powers 'separately') the refrig, water heater, and the 2 A/C units, there is a 30 amp, single pole, breaker that feeds the inverter and then the rest of the trailer. While it is a substantial part of the summertime load being 'alternatively' powered, not so much with winter heating loads.

 

Consider it silly or anything else that you wish, but it comes from an RV safety seminar that we attended with the speaker from the insurance institute and he quoted statistics from insurance claim investigations.

Kirk, I would agree, BUT I would attribute a lot of that to the questionable methods and materials used by the industry.

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I do turn it off, Jim. I was using that as an example.

 

I also use a CPAP machine at night and if it is NOT powered, it is like a space alien is sitting on your face, sucking your breathe away. I use a UPS at home to power it and for the trailer, I have bought the 12 v adapter and have it wired into the batteries (800 ah). It draws 40 watts at 12 and 50 watts at 120. So, at 120 v, on the inverter I 'pay' to step it up and 'pay' to step it down again (or just run it on 12 v without the extra losses). Inverter + converter lost watts for that is about 25 watts (50% penalty)

 

During inclement weather, even in a park, I might leave it on, just so everything keeps on working. Then there is not having to reset everything in the morning.

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To answer some of your questions:

I have a 30 amp travel trailer.

With the TV and portable heater on and fireplace "heater," the circuit will pop if I use the microwave or just about anything else. Sometimes when it's really cold the fireplace heater isn't enough - plus I'm 35 ft long so the bedroom needs a portable heater. It really doesn't take much to pop a breaker with this portable heater. So I want to run it from the pedestal and not have the extra load on my RV electrical.

 

So, I had though of the electric cord through the slideout and am thinking I will just go that route with a proper extension cord (I have 3 slideouts). The receptacles you all talked about cost way more than I want to spend when I already have a good outdoor extension cord. Tho I really did like learning about all this from each of you. Maybe the RV industry will give us a plug one of these days to use the pedestal 120v plug.

 

Thanks again for helping me figure this out!!!

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