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Author Topic: 50A motorhomes vs 30A motorhomes: what is the difference?  (Read 623 times)

Bobetpine

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50A motorhomes vs 30A motorhomes: what is the difference?
« on: October 07, 2017, 06:48:34 PM »
Hello,

Read that there were 2 kinds of MH: 30A and 50A.

Googled to learn what the difference was but what I found was technical with explanations about how many neutral and hot pins in each etc, which left me clueless.

I'm new here, just trying to figure out what kind of rv would be ideal for our retirement. More about us here: http://www.rvforum.net/SMF_forum/index.php/topic,109219.0.html

I'm interested in a smaller class A. 30 feet more or less.

So do they come in 30 or 50A? What difference does that make?

Thanks

Pascale
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SeilerBird

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Re: 50A motorhomes vs 30A motorhomes: what is the difference?
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2017, 06:56:53 PM »
If you have never owned an RV I would not worry about it. Virtually no one gets it right the first time so consider the first RV a learning experience to find out what you really want in an RV. There are too many things you won't know about until you have experienced them.

A 30 footer is a very small RV and you will probably want a larger one for your second one. Most RVs 30 feet and under are 30 amps and the longer ones are 50 amps. The difference is the amount of electricity you can use at any given moment. If you have a 30 amp RV and it has two A/C units you will not be able to run them both at the same time. With a 50 amp you can generally run everything in the RV at the same time. With a 30 amp you can't run the A/C, the microwave and the hair dryer at the same time. Learning how to manage your energy usage is one of the hardest parts for a new owner. By the time you get to your second RV you will know if you need 30 or 50.
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RedandSilver

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Re: 50A motorhomes vs 30A motorhomes: what is the difference?
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2017, 08:15:22 PM »
Hello,

Read that there were 2 kinds of MH: 30A and 50A.

I'm new here, just trying to figure out what kind of rv would be ideal for our retirement. More about us here: http://www.rvforum.net/SMF_forum/index.php/topic,109219.0.html

I'm interested in a smaller class A. 30 feet more or less.

So do they come in 30 or 50A? What difference does that make?

Thanks

Pascale

Just so you know a 30A or 50A isn't considered 2 different kinds of MH's
Like SeilerBird said it's more about the size of a MH and it's options that determines which power system it has.

I also agree that a 30ft MH is very small especially for 2 people.  I doubt that many if any 30 ft MH's have a washer/dryer in them.
Also that size will have a 6 gallon water heater vs. a 10 gallon water heater in the larger MH's.  So almost all 30ft will have only a 30A system.
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malexander

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Re: 50A motorhomes vs 30A motorhomes: what is the difference?
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2017, 09:07:16 PM »
You actually can run 2 ac's on 30 amps. But you may not be able to run much of anything else if both ac's are running.
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SeilerBird

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Re: 50A motorhomes vs 30A motorhomes: what is the difference?
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2017, 09:13:49 PM »
You actually can run 2 ac's on 30 amps. But you may not be able to run much of anything else if both ac's are running.
Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It depends on the size of the air conditioners, the length of wire to the power box and how efficient the air conditioners are.
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NY_Dutch

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Re: 50A motorhomes vs 30A motorhomes: what is the difference?
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2017, 09:34:10 PM »
My wife and I manage quite nicely in our 34' 50A single super slide gas motorhome, even when our 75 lb dog was still with us. While a washer/dryer would be nice to have onboard, it's far from a necessity since many parks have laundry facilities. And those that don't usually have a one or more nearby. Our 6 gallon water heater serves us well even for back to back showers. We've looked at larger coaches from time to time, but we've yet to find anything about the extra space that was appealing enough to justify the upgrade expense. We frequently stay in state parks with 30A only sites and rarely find it a serious limitation. We also tow a Toyota RAV4, and haven't found a hill yet that had us wishing for that diesel low end torque. But then we're typically not in any hurry, so if we go a bit slower climbing one now and then, it doesn't bother us. We still pass our share of trucks and occasional RV's...
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Isaac-1

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Re: 50A motorhomes vs 30A motorhomes: what is the difference?
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2017, 10:00:06 PM »
I too have a sub 30 ft motorhome, and mine does have 50 amp electrical service, though I can manage nearly life as normal on 30 amps since I have only one air conditioner.  Still if I am running on 30 amps I have to be selective what else I run, for example I can't run the air conditioner, the microwave/convection oven and the electric element on the water heater at once.

Having said that it should be pointed out that a 50 amp RV connection is really over 3 times more electricity than a 30 amp connection, as it is 2 line to neutral connections at 50 amps allowing for 12,000 watts of power, vs 1 line to neutral at 30 amps which only provides 3600 watts of power.
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Tom

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Re: 50A motorhomes vs 30A motorhomes: what is the difference?
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2017, 02:06:04 AM »
As others have said, the 30A v 50A issue has nothing to do with the size of the motorhome; It has more to do with the total electrical loads which, in the case of 50A service, need to be distributed among the 'hot' leads in the incoming electrical wiring.

This should not be the deciding factor in which RV you buy. In any event, for a given make/model of RV, you won't have a choice between 30A and 50A; It will have been determined by the manufacturer.
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Memtb

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Re: 50A motorhomes vs 30A motorhomes: what is the difference?
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2017, 07:24:48 AM »
     You're in the right place to get many of your questions answered, the more you ask...the more you learn. It cost money to make mistakes....so obviously knowledge can save you money!!!!


    You mentioned your desired MH length but didn't specify whether full time or just a vacation RV. If you're going to be "full timers", then 30' is a bit small. If only for vacations of shorter duration then 30' should be adequate.

    As others have stated, the more "stuff" you want/need to run, the more amps required. When you go larger MH ( more stuff...2 ac's, etc.), 50 amp is pretty much a "must"!
« Last Edit: October 08, 2017, 07:29:08 AM by Memtb »
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QZ

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Re: 50A motorhomes vs 30A motorhomes: what is the difference?
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2017, 08:24:50 AM »
A 30 amp rig has a single 120 circuit feeding it and will usually have one air conditioner. My older 30 amp rig will usually operate the ac unit and the microwave at the same time depending on the quality of the shore power. 30 amps x 120 volts = 3600 watts. They usually use 10 gauge wire.

A 50 amp rig has two 120 volt circuits going to it. If you were to measure the voltage between those two 120 v circuits you would see 240 volts BUT it's not wired to use 240 for anything. It is two separate 50 amp 120 volt circuits going into the power center. By wiring it this way it gives you two "banks" of power so you can run two ac units along with other heavy draw appliances at the same time.  50 amps x 120 volts = 6000 watts BUT you have two banks of 6000 watts for a total power supply of about 12000 watts. 50 amp circuits are usually wired with 6 gauge wire iirc.

Because a 50 amp pedestal is wired with a heavier gauge cable we will often times use an adapter for our 30 amp systems that lets us plug into and utilize that heavier 50 amp cable for less voltage drop. The adapter just uses one of the 50 amp legs but being a heavier gauge wire it gives us the potential to have a better or more solid power supply with less voltage drop.

Voltage drop is related to the size of the conductor, the length of the conductor and one other factor which doesn't really effect us as RV'ers but is  more of a concern in a laboratory and that factor is temperature.  When you are looking at RV's check out the size, weight and bulkiness differences between 30 amp and 50 amp cords. 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: 50A motorhomes vs 30A motorhomes: what is the difference?
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2017, 09:37:25 AM »
It's true (at least technically) that length is not tied to 30A vs 50A, but smaller Rvs are nearly always equipped with lesser equipment, probably because of price sensitivity. You may not find many short ClassA's with 50A power systems on the sales lot, but they are available and can be special ordered if necessary.

I think QZ gave the most useful answer.  50A give you the capability to run much more electrical gear. 30A power systems are limited to 3600 watts, which isn't much by todays standards. One a/c unit and a water heater can consume that entirely.  Think about it at home - you probably have multiple 15A outlets in the kitchen alone, and something plugged into many of them. And that's not including the air conditioning, heating, or water heater.

You can get by on 30A alone, but most people find it very limiting. On the other hand, quite a few campsites have only 30A power available. 50A power service costs more to build at each site and 50A users consume more kilowatts of power, so the site rental is higher. I suggest that you want to buy a 50A power coach. You can still use campsites that have only 30A available, but you can enjoy the greater power of a 50A when available.

Gary
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Bobetpine

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Re: 50A motorhomes vs 30A motorhomes: what is the difference?
« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2017, 10:27:23 AM »

A 30 footer is a very small RV

Just convincing my GF to ditch the class B Winnebago View idea is going to take me the 4 years that are left until I retire so I think i'm not going for the long ball and try to talk her into buying a 30+ MH!

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Bobetpine

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Re: 50A motorhomes vs 30A motorhomes: what is the difference?
« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2017, 10:31:38 AM »
My wife and I manage quite nicely in our 34' 50A single super slide gas motorhome (...) We frequently stay in state parks with 30A only sites and rarely find it a serious limitation.

So you mean that even though your rv is 50A you can still plug it on 30A? Is it the same kind of plug?
I guess you can't do the opposite i.e. plug your 30A MH on a 50A outlet (i guess it would be like plugging a 110V appliance in a 220V outlet?)
Two French-speaking ladies and their dog.
Counting sleeps until retirement.
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Bobetpine

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Re: 50A motorhomes vs 30A motorhomes: what is the difference?
« Reply #13 on: October 08, 2017, 10:37:20 AM »

You mentioned your desired MH length but didn't specify whether full time or just a vacation RV. If you're going to be "full timers", then 30' is a bit small. If only for vacations of shorter duration then 30' should be adequate.

Our plan is to travel south from November to April. Will we like it? I don't know. Maybe after our first winter as retirees we'll realize that we get homesick after 2 months (we spent 2 months in Thailand a few times when we were younger and although I absolutely love Thailand, after a month or so I was fantasizing about lasagna...). Of course getting lasagna in the US is not a problem! So I don't know.

But let's say that at least we could spend 3 months away in our MH.
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SeilerBird

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Re: 50A motorhomes vs 30A motorhomes: what is the difference?
« Reply #14 on: October 08, 2017, 10:39:42 AM »
Just convincing my GF to ditch the class B Winnebago View idea is going to take me the 4 years that are left until I retire so I think i'm not going for the long ball and try to talk her into buying a 30+ MH!
The way you talk her into an A is not to talk to her about it at all. Simply rent one for a weekend camping trip and by the end of the trip she will be trying to talk you into getting an A. Rent the biggest and baddest you can find. She will be gobsmacked. ;D
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Bobetpine

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Re: 50A motorhomes vs 30A motorhomes: what is the difference?
« Reply #15 on: October 08, 2017, 10:41:06 AM »
50A give you the capability to run much more electrical gear. 30A power systems are limited to 3600 watts, which isn't much by todays standards. One a/c unit and a water heater can consume that entirely.  Think about it at home - you probably have multiple 15A outlets in the kitchen alone, and something plugged into many of them. And that's not including the air conditioning, heating, or water heater.

You can get by on 30A alone, but most people find it very limiting.

I must add that we would like to have solar panels on top because we would like to boondock regularly. I guess that would help quite a bit to have the solar panels?
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SeilerBird

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Re: 50A motorhomes vs 30A motorhomes: what is the difference?
« Reply #16 on: October 08, 2017, 10:45:32 AM »
So you mean that even though your rv is 50A you can still plug it on 30A? Is it the same kind of plug?
I guess you can't do the opposite i.e. plug your 30A MH on a 50A outlet (i guess it would be like plugging a 110V appliance in a 220V outlet?)
There are adapters available that allow you to plug a 50 into a 30 or a 30 into a 50. Of course when you plug a 30 into a 50 you still only get 30 amps and when you plug a 50 into a 30 you only get 30.

https://www.amazon.com/Camco-55175-PowerGrip-Dogbone-Electrical/dp/B000BUTDCA/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1507477315&sr=8-4&keywords=50+to+30+amp+rv+adapter

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000BUQOGI/ref=psdc_6359402011_t1_B000BUTDCA

And there are adapters that allow you to plug either one into a normal 15 amp household outlet but you will only get 15 amps. These adapters are usually called dog bones by RVers since they look like dog bones.
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sadixon49

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Re: 50A motorhomes vs 30A motorhomes: what is the difference?
« Reply #17 on: October 08, 2017, 10:51:53 AM »
So you mean that even though your rv is 50A you can still plug it on 30A? Is it the same kind of plug?
I guess you can't do the opposite i.e. plug your 30A MH on a 50A outlet (i guess it would be like plugging a 110V appliance in a 220V outlet?)
Actually, yes you can plug a 30amp RV into a 50 amp receptacle. It's all in the adapter you buy. I have both a 50 to 30 adapter, and a 15 to 30 adapter for my 30 amp RV. This allows me to plug into a 50 amp circuit where available, or a 15 amp circuit when needed. I use the 50 amp adapter at campgrounds sometimes because the 30 amp receptacles see more use and are often loose, the 50 amp circuits are newer and tighter connections, and as QZ said often wired better. The 15 amp adapter just lets me plug in at home, or at other places without 30/50 receptacles.

Oops, I see SeilerBird beat me to it
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QZ

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Re: 50A motorhomes vs 30A motorhomes: what is the difference?
« Reply #18 on: October 08, 2017, 11:02:23 AM »
BUT, no matter what adapter you use for a 50 amp rig, you are not running on 50 amps. If you adapt all the way down to your standard 15 amp wall plug that you see in your house or garage, you only have 15 amps to work with. If you want to dry camp solar is the way to go. People will use a variety of methods to meet their energy needs. you can utilize generator run time in the AM to sock some of the heavy amps into the battery that it will accept during the early stage of charging and finish off the day with solar. It's best to calculate what you needs are before building.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2017, 11:04:06 AM by QZ »

Bobetpine

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Re: 50A motorhomes vs 30A motorhomes: what is the difference?
« Reply #19 on: October 08, 2017, 11:05:04 AM »
I too have a sub 30 ft motorhome, and mine does have 50 amp electrical service

Could you mention a few 50A MH in the 30F range that you know of?

Thanks
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Counting sleeps until retirement.
Low on money but high on ideas for our golden years

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: 50A motorhomes vs 30A motorhomes: what is the difference?
« Reply #20 on: October 08, 2017, 12:03:40 PM »
Winnebago Vista & Vista LX. The 30T model is available as either 30A or 50A, Larger ones come standard with 50A, shorter ones with 30A.

Tiffin Allegro 31MA has 50A standard.
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BobNSam

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Re: 50A motorhomes vs 30A motorhomes: what is the difference?
« Reply #21 on: October 08, 2017, 02:30:50 PM »
Primary difference is a happy wife! She can toast bread, have both AC on and run microwave at same time. She doesn't like load shedding required with 30 amp.
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Isaac-1

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Re: 50A motorhomes vs 30A motorhomes: what is the difference?
« Reply #22 on: October 08, 2017, 02:35:48 PM »
My 2002 Safari Trek 2830 is a 50 amp coach, it was marketed as a 28ft model, actual bumper to bumper is 29'3", the Trek's were (production stopped in 2008)a different concept in small motorhomes, as they were not designed as entry level coaches, instead they had the same sort of features as Safari's diesel pusher, just in a smaller package (solid wood cabinets, full body paint, filon, fiberglass or aluminum roofs) as well as nicer  amenities, 50 amp electrical, corian countertops, convection/microwave, inverter, hydraulic leveling jacks, the other big thing is most Trek's did not have bedroom instead there is a queen size bed that lowers from the living room ceiling (I am laying on mine as I type this).  The thing I like most about the Trek is with a 177 inch wheel base I can fit into many places a larger coach can not go.  See attached photo of parking at a museum in Kansas this summer.  Now I don't think I would like living in it full time, but I have done close to a month in it and it worked great.

p.s. There were also the short lived Trek Sports in 01-02 which were build as a sub $100,000 economy model with 30 amp electrical, no inverter, particle board cabinets, ..
« Last Edit: October 08, 2017, 02:38:52 PM by Isaac-1 »
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ArdraF

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Re: 50A motorhomes vs 30A motorhomes: what is the difference?
« Reply #23 on: October 08, 2017, 05:51:18 PM »
I suggest that you start learning about how much electricity you use by going around your current stick & brick and looking at each appliance, especially those more likely to go with you in the motorhome.  These include toaster, toaster oven, crockpot, hair dryer, heating pad, TVs, DVR, DVD player, CD player, mattress warmer, etc.  Each will have its amperage on a label.  Write each one down and you'll soon see which items are the power hogs.  You'll also see why we say you probably cannot comfortably run two air conditioners at the same time on 30 amps or an air conditioner and microwave or an air conditioner and hair dryer.

Solar panels are useful, primarily because they charge the batteries when boondocking.  Many newbies think they can have solar panels and use all their goodies like air conditioners but it doesn't work that way.  Laptops don't use much power so you can use them on battery power but once you turn on those energy hogs you either need to be plugged into 110 v electricity or you need to turn on your generator.  Of course, when you turn on your generator that uses gas. diesel or propane.  What I'm saying is you need to learn how all these things work together for it to make sense.  The reality is that 50 amps are better than 30 amps just because you can manage electrical usage easier - but the manufacturers don't usually give you an option.  Just keep in mind as you're shopping that the more electrical goodies you have, the more amperage you'll have to learn to manage.

ArdraF
« Last Edit: October 08, 2017, 05:53:17 PM by ArdraF »
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: 50A motorhomes vs 30A motorhomes: what is the difference?
« Reply #24 on: October 08, 2017, 06:57:35 PM »
Some appliances are typically labeled with watts rather than amps, e.g. heating appliances like toasters and hair dryers. The purists will surely elaborate on this, but for most things you will be looking at that run on 120v house power, you can assume 1200 watts means that 10 amps of power is used. Or that 120 watts = 1 amp of power consumption.
Gary
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