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Author Topic: just melted my extension cord  (Read 1288 times)

Ksummers

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just melted my extension cord
« on: October 23, 2019, 08:21:58 PM »
Hi Everyone,

Need some answers/advice on supplying power to my Jayco 2015/30 amp camper.

We originally had it plugged in with one of those "Camper Extension cords" (10gauge I think) to our Garage.  Our garage is powered by a temporary pole.  We kept blowing the garage breaker so we were told it would be better to plug the camper straight into the temporary pole, which is 20MP.  But the special extension cord wasn't long enough so we used a (one) regular extension cord.  And we were doing fine for a couple weeks until I ran one two many things in the camper this evening by mistake and melted the cord.

Can someone tell me what you can and cannot run at the same time in a 30 amp camper?

I have previously and successfully ran the TV, electric water heater and space heater but this evening I added camper lights and the toaster ( pretty sure the toaster did it).

So, we hooked up another extension cord and everything was fine but my husband wanted to try and hook the heavy duty camper cord into another regular extension cord and into the power pole but nothing would power up.????

So, we are back to one regular extension cord.

Can someone tell me what safely can and cannot run at the same time in a 30 amp camper?

Thank you!
KS
Ksummers

SeilerBird

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Re: just melted my extension cord
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2019, 08:31:04 PM »
The electric water heater, space heater, toaster and microwave are all high draw items. Only run one of them at any given time. Two at the same time is dicey, three is dangerous and all four are suicide. The TV doesn't matter.

Ksummers

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Re: just melted my extension cord
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2019, 09:02:19 PM »
Got it. Thank You
Ksummers

SeilerBird

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Re: just melted my extension cord
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2019, 09:05:17 PM »
And run your refer on propane.

Ksummers

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Re: just melted my extension cord
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2019, 09:16:02 PM »
So, the fridge is a big pull?
Ksummers

LarsMac

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Re: just melted my extension cord
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2019, 09:32:16 PM »
What is the rating on the Breaker you keep popping?

Your rig manual should list the draws on all your appliances. Then just do the math.

And don't skimp on the extension cord. you need the same rating on the whole path.

With a properly rated Cord, we can run the A/C and Microwave at the same time on a 20 Amp circuit, as long as the coffee pot is not on. Those are the Big Three on our rig.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2019, 09:35:17 PM by LarsMac »
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Lou Schneider

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Re: just melted my extension cord
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2019, 09:43:00 PM »

We originally had it plugged in with one of those "Camper Extension cords" (10gauge I think) to our Garage.  Our garage is powered by a temporary pole.  We kept blowing the garage breaker so we were told it would be better to plug the camper straight into the temporary pole, which is 20MP.  But the special extension cord wasn't long enough so we used a (one) regular extension cord.  And we were doing fine for a couple weeks until I ran one two many things in the camper this evening by mistake and melted the cord.

The weak link, as you found out, was the regular extension cord.  I assume this was an orange outdoor cord and not an indoor rated cord?

Even amongst the orange cords, there are variations in the size of the internal wires and how much power they can safely handle.  Look on the side of the cord, there should be something like 16-3 or 12-3 imprinted into the rubber.  The first is the size of the individual wires, and the wire size is in inverse proportion to the wire diameter.  The larger the number, the smaller the size of the wires and the sooner it will overheat.

Any of the orange cords will run something like a power drill or weedeater, but you'll need a cord with larger wires to run more things at once without overheating the cord.

And in any case, you'll be limited to 15 or 20 amps, not 30, when using a regular extension cord because of the limitation of the connectors.  The purpose of a circuit breaker is to turn off the power to the outlet if you're trying to draw more power than the wires can safely handle.   Using an adapter to connect a 15 or 20 amp rated extension cord to a 30 amp outlet defeats this protection, because the 30 amp breaker can pass more current than the cord can safely handle.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2019, 10:06:42 PM by Lou Schneider »

SeilerBird

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Re: just melted my extension cord
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2019, 09:51:17 PM »
So, the fridge is a big pull?
If it is running on electricity. Propane uses a bit of 12 volt but not much.

IBTripping

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Re: just melted my extension cord
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2019, 10:03:26 PM »
I ran my TT on 20 amps for a couple of months. I could run my lights, TV, and air conditioner all at the same time. No problem. However, I always turned off the A/C while running the microwave. I used a heavy duty extension cord rated to handle 20 amps. Also, all my lights I'd converted to LEDs which I suggest you also consider doing. Best wishes.
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Lou Schneider

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Re: just melted my extension cord
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2019, 10:18:22 PM »
My rule of thumb is you can use all of the small stuff you want - the lights, TV, computer, fans, etc. don't use enough power to worry about.  Except for a laser printer - it counts as a major load (see below).

A 15 amp circuit (including a 15 amp rated extension cord) will handle this base load without worry, with maybe one major user for a short time if the refrigerator is in gas mode.

A 20 amp circuit (or extension cord) will safely handle the above plus ONE major appliance at a time.

A 30 amp circuit with 30 amp cords throughout will let you safely handle the base load and TWO major appliances.

Major appliances are those that make or move a large amount of heat, which takes a large amount of power.  They include things like the air conditioner, microwave, an electric frying pan, hotplate or toaster, a room heater or hair dryer, the electric side of the water heater, etc.  Using any of these on a 15 amp circuit is marginal, you can use ONE at a time on a 20 amp circuit or TWO at a time on 30 amps.

The refrigerator uses about half as much power as the other major appliances, so if you're in a marginal power situation switch the refrigerator to gas mode to free up that power for other uses.   Same for a laser printer - it uses about the same amount of power as the refrigerator.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2019, 10:32:08 PM by Lou Schneider »

Ksummers

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Re: just melted my extension cord
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2019, 10:26:05 PM »
Yes, the extension cord we were using was an "outdoor cord" but it wasn't an orange one,  it was blue and yellow and a bit more heavy duty than your average one.  And yes the power supply is 20 amp.
The house we are renovating and our garage are both being powered by one temporary power pole.

The guy from the RV center that delivered our camper helped us set up and told us plugging it into the garage with the "heavy duty camper cord" would be fine.  But that didn't last long, it would blow the garage breaker.  So, we used one long, regular Heavy Duty (blue/yellow cord) to go further to the Pole itself and have been ok for a couple weeks.

Maybe we need to buy a longer Camper cord, the one we have is only 25' and it was pretty pricey.

LED lights... great idea...thank you 

And the AMP List will be very helpful..thank you

Thanks Everyone!
Ksummers

Gene50

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Re: just melted my extension cord
« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2019, 12:23:02 AM »
Hi Everyone,

Need some answers/advice on supplying power to my Jayco 2015/30 amp camper.

We originally had it plugged in with one of those "Camper Extension cords" (10gauge I think) to our Garage.  Our garage is powered by a temporary pole.  We kept blowing the garage breaker so we were told it would be better to plug the camper straight into the temporary pole, which is 20MP.  But the special extension cord wasn't long enough so we used a (one) regular extension cord.  And we were doing fine for a couple weeks until I ran one two many things in the camper this evening by mistake and melted the cord.

Can someone tell me what you can and cannot run at the same time in a 30 amp camper?

I have previously and successfully ran the TV, electric water heater and space heater but this evening I added camper lights and the toaster ( pretty sure the toaster did it).

So, we hooked up another extension cord and everything was fine but my husband wanted to try and hook the heavy duty camper cord into another regular extension cord and into the power pole but nothing would power up.????

So, we are back to one regular extension cord.

Can someone tell me what safely can and cannot run at the same time in a 30 amp camper?

Thank you!
KS

 only one person has mentioned wire size and length of run for the extension cord.

Basically if you want to have a 20 amp circuit you need a  10 gauge extension cord and it is good up to about 100 feet at 20 amps.  If you draw more than that you risk damage to the appliances connected to the circuit. 

If you are under 50 feet of run you should be good for 30 amps draw on the circuit. 

The other thing is every time you go through a plug connector when making the cord longer you introduce extra resistance in the line and that will drop the ability to carry the rated amperage that you are hoping for. 

When you have any extension cords used for electrical hook up please run your appliances for a time and check the plugs for heat buildup - either by carefully placing your over the junction of the connector or using the IR heat gun that many are buying now days - less than $50 and good for checking tires or steak. 
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Rene T

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Re: just melted my extension cord
« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2019, 08:23:13 AM »
Just because the cord looks heavy duty to me doesn't mean much to me. I always look at the cord closely and see what guage wire it is. It's molded right into the outer jacket down the entire length.
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: just melted my extension cord
« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2019, 10:23:22 AM »
Quote
The guy from the RV center that delivered our camper helped us set up and told us plugging it into the garage with the "heavy duty camper cord" would be fine.  But that didn't last long, it would blow the garage breaker.  So, we used one long, regular Heavy Duty (blue/yellow cord) to go further to the Pole itself and have been ok for a couple weeks.
It wasn't the heavy duty extension that was causing the breaker to trip - it was the amount of power you were consuming. The bigger cord simply made allowed you use enough power to trip the breaker (20A or more).   When you changed to a lighter duty cord, the cord became the limiting factor and it "tripped" because it couldn't handle 20A. The extension cord was probably rated somewhere in the 12A-15A range, so it failed (melted) before the breaker opened.  In other words, go back to using the 30A camper extension so that the breaker can do its job. It's never wrong to use a larger amp-rated cord than is necessary.

Things that heat or cool are generally higher powered devices. Water heater, air conditioner, hair dryer, microwave, etc.  When operating on a 20A power source, either the water heater, a/c or microwave will consume most of the available amps, leaving little or nothing for anything else.  Most hair dryers are also big power eaters, 10A-14A.   The fridge (electric mode) isn't so bad, typically 2A-3A. Computers, phone chargers and lighting are minimal consumers and only become significant when used in combination with one of the larger power consumers.
Gary
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SpencerPJ

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Re: just melted my extension cord
« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2019, 10:39:58 AM »
I don't know how long you will be using this camper this way, but you just might consider having a 30 amp RV plug wired, and be done with the guessing game.  You keep living on the edge, something might fail and cost a whole lot more than feeding proper power to the TT.
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JudyJB

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Re: just melted my extension cord
« Reply #15 on: October 24, 2019, 04:39:48 PM »
Gary gave you a good explanation why what happened, happened.

What you need is this 30 amp extension cord available from almost any RV store. 
https://www.campingworld.com/30-amp-25%27-rv-extension-cord-95701.html?cgid=outdoor-electrical#start=3&cgid=outside-rv%2Foutdoor-electrical%2Felectrical-hardware%2Felectrical-cords

You also will need a 30 amp to 20 amp plug, like this: https://www.campingworld.com/30-amp-25%27-rv-extension-cord-95701.html?cgid=outdoor-electrical#start=3&cgid=outside-rv%2Foutdoor-electrical%2Felectrical-hardware%2Felectrical-cords

This setup will not melt because it is the same amp as the RV.  Then you just have to be careful what you try to run on it.  Right now I am in my son's driveway, running my TV and refrigerator.  (Refrigerator is getting fixed tomorrow so it will run on propane.)   It is cold, so don't need AC, but if it were July, I would not even try to run AC because it pulls so much current.

Having a real 30 amy extension cord will be handy when you travel and have to park somewhere where the electric box is a long way away or you want to head in to a spot instead of backing in.
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Ksummers

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Re: just melted my extension cord
« Reply #16 on: October 24, 2019, 08:50:46 PM »
Everyone has been super helpful.  I have learned a lot.  Thank You!!
Ksummers