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RVing message boards => General Discussion => Topic started by: Rbuff on November 13, 2017, 10:46:15 AM

Title: New RV park owner
Post by: Rbuff on November 13, 2017, 10:46:15 AM
I recently bought a small cabin and RV park. I want to upgrade the 30 amp hook-ups to 50 amps. Do I just change the breaker or do the plugs and wiring also need to be changed??
Title: Re: New RV park owner
Post by: Larry N. on November 13, 2017, 10:54:57 AM
I'd expect that the wiring, etc. (including the underground part that runs back to your source) also needs changing/upgrading, since it has to handle up to at least three times the load--overheating from inadequate wiring can cause serious problems, and with no change you get, at best, serious brownouts on a 50 amp rig. Long runs are even more serious if under gauged.
Title: Re: New RV park owner
Post by: sadixon49 on November 13, 2017, 11:20:00 AM
A 30 amp pedestal has 3 wires, 1 hot (30 amp), 1 neutral, and a ground. A 50 amp pedestal needs 4 wires, 2 hots (50amp each), 1 neutral and a ground. Years ago you could use a single wire for neutral and ground, but that hasn't been legal for quite some time, I believe the early '90s, and no electrical inspector worth his salt would let you get away with that now.
Title: Re: New RV park owner
Post by: HappyWanderer on November 13, 2017, 11:23:49 AM
You might be looking at replacing the entire system: beginning with service from the street, then everything up to and including the pedestals. The place to start would be getting a qualified electrician in to look things over.

Good power is essential to keeping your customers happy. I know that we don't return to campgrounds with voltage issues.
Title: Re: New RV park owner
Post by: NY_Dutch on November 13, 2017, 12:28:06 PM
As said, it's possible everything from the street in may need replacing or upgrading. And a visit from a licensed commercial electrical contractor would be a good starting point. Unless your park is in some really remote area with no regulations, you will need permits and UL or equivalent inspections before offering the service to the public.
Title: Re: New RV park owner
Post by: SeilerBird on November 13, 2017, 12:40:17 PM
As said, it's possible everything from the street in may need replacing or upgrading. And a visit from a licensed commercial electrical contractor would be a good starting point. Unless your park is in some really remote area with no regulations, you will need permits and UL or equivalent inspections before offering the service to the public.
^^^ :)) :)) :))
Dutch nailed it. A normal electrician will do you no good. He won't know enough and he won't be able to tell you how much it will cost.
Title: Re: New RV park owner
Post by: KandT on November 13, 2017, 01:20:03 PM
So it took me a little to figure this out (and members please correct me if I am wrong) but the difference between 30 amp service and 50 amp service sounds like 20 amps.  However since there are two 50 amp hot wires you are really comparing 30 amp service to 100 amp service or 3.33 TIMES the amount of electricity potentially flowing to the RV.

Also your system has to deal with someone's electronics running while 20 air conditioners (or whatever the number) cycle on and off - sometimes at the same time drawing a lot of start up current.

So no I would not recommend just changing out the breakers.

If you choose to upgrade, while the ground is ripped up you may want to factor in that within the next 10 years there will be a lot of electric cars on the road that those campers may be towing (yes I know details have to be worked out on drive systems) but it may be WAY cheaper to run the copper now and be over prepared than rip everything up again later.

By small how many spots??
Title: Re: New RV park owner
Post by: kdbgoat on November 13, 2017, 01:51:03 PM
So it took me a little to figure this out (and members please correct me if I am wrong) but the difference between 30 amp service and 50 amp service sounds like 20 amps.  However since there are two 50 amp hot wires you are really comparing 30 amp service to 100 amp service or 3.33 TIMES the amount of electricity potentially flowing to the RV.

Correct. It's sometimes better to think in watts of available power. an RV 30 amp service delivers 3600 watts, while an RV 50 amp service delivers 12,000 watts.
Title: Re: New RV park owner
Post by: HappyWanderer on November 13, 2017, 02:08:07 PM
It's not exactly rocket surgery, the National Electric Code spells out the requirements for campgrounds pretty clearly.
Title: Re: New RV park owner
Post by: ArdraF on November 13, 2017, 02:09:36 PM
Others have mentioned getting a good electrician, but let me add that it's really important to have one who is knowledgeable about RV systems.  Many people, including regular electricians, think our big 50-amp plugs are for 240 volts but they're not.  RVs have 12-volt systems and 120-volt systems.  A 240-volt outlet will fry our electronics!

It's really important that you have good electricity.  We have left some RV parks early because their electricity was bad.  We've also been in a couple where we felt the electrical system was unsafe so we unplugged and used the generator.  Last year we ran into an old campground the owners had bought the previous year.  After the purchase they realized they needed to upgrade the electric but hadn't planned on that so didn't have the money.  We changed sites a couple of times, stayed over the holiday weekend, and then left a couple of days early because it was so bad.  Upgrading the electricity should be one of the first things you do and it will be expensive.  It needs to be done and it needs to be done correctly or you will have nothing but problems.

ArdraF
Title: Re: New RV park owner
Post by: WILDEBILL308 on November 13, 2017, 02:20:12 PM
I recently bought a small cabin and RV park. I want to upgrade the 30 amp hook-ups to 50 amps. Do I just change the breaker or do the plugs and wiring also need to be changed??
First welcome to the forum. Where are you located so we can come buy for a visit.
How many cabins and how many RV sites?  Are they all pull through? Are your sites wired for cable? You may have a pretty big project on your hands and it would be best to do it right the first time.
Bill
Title: Re: New RV park owner
Post by: gravesdiesel on November 13, 2017, 02:33:52 PM
Others have mentioned getting a good electrician, but let me add that it's really important to have one who is knowledgeable about RV systems.  Many people, including regular electricians, think our big 50-amp plugs are for 240 volts but they're not.  RVs have 12-volt systems and 120-volt systems.  A 240-volt outlet will fry our electronics!

It's really important that you have good electricity.  We have left some RV parks early because their electricity was bad.  We've also been in a couple where we felt the electrical system was unsafe so we unplugged and used the generator.  Last year we ran into an old campground the owners had bought the previous year.  After the purchase they realized they needed to upgrade the electric but hadn't planned on that so didn't have the money.  We changed sites a couple of times, stayed over the holiday weekend, and then left a couple of days early because it was so bad.  Upgrading the electricity should be one of the first things you do and it will be expensive.  It needs to be done and it needs to be done correctly or you will have nothing but problems.

ArdraF

The 50 amp plug IS 240v if measured between the two "hot" legs, just like a household 240v system.  In the RV setup, nothing goes between the two "hot" legs, but instead the load is spread nearly equally between one 'hot" and the neutral and the other "hot" and the neutral, giving 100 total amps of 120v power.  I have a diesel welder/generator unit that I can use to run my farm when the power goes out and its 50 amp receptacle will also run an RV.
The best setups I have seen at RV parks have a 50 amp receptacle/50 amp breaker, a 30 amp receptacle/30 amp breaker and 20 amp receptacle/20 amp breaker.  Do it right the first time.
Title: Re: New RV park owner
Post by: kdbgoat on November 13, 2017, 02:49:52 PM
Yup, the 50 amp RV service is just like your electric kitchen range. The 30 amp is what gets a lot of electricians that don't know the difference between 30 amp RV and 30 amp dryer service.
Title: Re: New RV park owner
Post by: RedandSilver on November 13, 2017, 03:47:49 PM
I recently bought a small cabin and RV park. I want to upgrade the 30 amp hook-ups to 50 amps. Do I just change the breaker or do the plugs and wiring also need to be changed??

Do you have any 50 amp hook ups now?

If all you have now is 30 amps is your SMALL RV park able to handle a 45ft coach towing a vehicle or trailer behind it?

If there is room for big rigs then I would work on those sites first IF you don't have enough money to do everything at once because
like stated it will be expensive especially if you thought you could just change out the breakers.  That won't cut it - as your finding out.
Title: Re: New RV park owner
Post by: Rbuff on November 13, 2017, 05:15:06 PM
Thanks for all of the input. We have 7 cabins and 6 RV spots but are interested in converting 2 spots to 50 amp, at this time. We are located on Lake Sam Rayburn in the Angelina National Forest, in East Texas.
Title: Re: New RV park owner
Post by: SeilerBird on November 13, 2017, 05:41:17 PM
Two spots should not be too expensive. Once again you need a contractor and not an electrician. And I am a retired electrician. Most electricians won't have the ability to do the complete job.
Title: Re: New RV park owner
Post by: SuwanneeDave on November 14, 2017, 04:57:20 PM
I always wonder why people get involved with things without doing some research. It would seem that if one was buying an RV park, one would know the difference between 30 and 50 amp service, and what it would take to re-wire.
Title: Re: New RV park owner
Post by: SeilerBird on November 14, 2017, 05:27:13 PM
I always wonder why people get involved with things without doing some research. It would seem that if one was buying an RV park, one would know the difference between 30 and 50 amp service, and what it would take to re-wire.
For the same reason people buy an RV having not a clue how to operate it or people who buy a large trailer when they only have an SUV.
Title: Re: New RV park owner
Post by: LarsMac on November 14, 2017, 05:55:55 PM
I always wonder why people get involved with things without doing some research. It would seem that if one was buying an RV park, one would know the difference between 30 and 50 amp service, and what it would take to re-wire.

Sometimes, people are presented with an opportunity, and they take it. Then, study up on how to make the most of it.
We did that with a B&B. We had a lot to learn, and it was a lot of work. We learned what we needed to and had a great adventure.

Never let not knowing get in the way of doing.   
Title: Re: New RV park owner
Post by: Sun2Retire on November 14, 2017, 06:42:13 PM
Sometimes, people are presented with an opportunity, and they take it. Then, study up on how to make the most of it.
We did that with a B&B. We had a lot to learn, and it was a lot of work. We learned what we needed to and had a great adventure.

Never let not knowing get in the way of doing.


 :)) :))
Title: Re: New RV park owner
Post by: NCSU Dad on November 15, 2017, 09:14:38 AM
Scanning the posts I do not see a mention of wire size. If a novice thinks all they need to do is swap a 50 amp breaker for the 30 amp it does not work that way. Wire size (minimum size per the NEC) and maybe even a larger size wire to handle voltage drop for wires running any distance from the main panel.

I do not understand why any licensed electrician wouldn't be able to figure this out. If they can't they should not be licensed.

If you are renting out spaces you will want your electrician to get permits and an electrical inspection by your local jurisdiction to prove all work was done to code in case tragedy strikes your campers. 
Title: Re: New RV park owner
Post by: Corky on November 15, 2017, 11:17:48 AM
Sometimes, people are presented with an opportunity, and they take it. Then, study up on how to make the most of it.
We did that with a B&B. We had a lot to learn, and it was a lot of work. We learned what we needed to and had a great adventure.

Never let not knowing get in the way of doing.

Now THAT is the quote for the day! - Or longer
Title: Re: New RV park owner
Post by: LarsMac on November 15, 2017, 09:35:11 PM
Thanks for all of the input. We have 7 cabins and 6 RV spots but are interested in converting 2 spots to 50 amp, at this time. We are located on Lake Sam Rayburn in the Angelina National Forest, in East Texas.

We'll be coming through that way on our way to Florida some time in the early Spring. Save us a 30A slot
Title: Re: New RV park owner
Post by: BRex on November 16, 2017, 12:19:33 PM
RBuff,

It is an exciting idea, IMO, on the route you have taken for a business.

I for one would love to hear updates about your experience with the power upgrades and other facets of the business as time goes on.
 
Any room for 40 footer (and up) motorhomes?


Good luck and please keep us posted.

BRex
-----------
Title: Re: New RV park owner
Post by: malexander on November 16, 2017, 07:55:41 PM
Thanks for all of the input. We have 7 cabins and 6 RV spots but are interested in converting 2 spots to 50 amp, at this time. We are located on Lake Sam Rayburn in the Angelina National Forest, in East Texas.


Hey, I'm an Okie in OK City. I may have to venture down your way some time and take a look. I am a licensed electrician (contractor).......and I do understand RV electric. It's the same as any other electric.
Title: Re: New RV park owner
Post by: mralex on November 16, 2017, 08:20:45 PM
I too am an electrical contractor in Oklahoma and what some of you folks are telling these people, that 2 50 amp legs is a 100 amp service is WROOOONG. It's still just 50 amp, yes you may be able to carry 50 amps on each leg but you'll only have the unbalanced load through the neutral. You cannot put an amp meter on any leg of a 50 amp circuit and see 100 amp draw, if you do the breaker is going to trip.  Bottom line, a 50 amp circuit is only a 50 amp circuit whether it is a single pole, 2 pole or 3 pole (3 phase) breaker is only 50 amps. A 3 pole 50 won't give you a 150 amp circuit. A 50 is only 50.
Title: Re: New RV park owner
Post by: SeilerBird on November 16, 2017, 08:29:50 PM
No one said that 2 50 amp legs are a 100 amp service. This is what was said:

"...but instead the load is spread nearly equally between one 'hot" and the neutral and the other "hot" and the neutral, giving 100 total amps of 120v power."

And that is absolutely correct.
Title: Re: New RV park owner
Post by: mralex on November 16, 2017, 08:39:05 PM
I totally disagree, it's just 2 single 50 amp legs of power, not a 100. Just like a 3 phase 50 amp is just 3 single 50 amp legs, not a total of 150 amps. Put an amp meter on any leg and only see 50, period. I'll argue this point till the cows come home.
Title: Re: New RV park owner
Post by: NY_Dutch on November 16, 2017, 10:28:12 PM
I totally disagree, it's just 2 single 50 amp legs of power, not a 100. Just like a 3 phase 50 amp is just 3 single 50 amp legs, not a total of 150 amps. Put an amp meter on any leg and only see 50, period. I'll argue this point till the cows come home.

If I connect a 50 amp load to one leg and a 50 amp load to the other leg, what would you say is the total load capacity of the service?
Title: Re: New RV park owner
Post by: kdbgoat on November 17, 2017, 06:38:42 AM
Quit overthinking and trying to work the numbers to satisfy a discussion. As I said before, think about available watts. 30 amp, 120 volts is 3600 watts, and 50 amp, 240 volt is 12,000 watts. And don't keep trying to tell me 50 amp service is not 240 volts, because it is. It's the same exact 50 amp, 240 volt service that runs the electric range in your kitchen.

Title: Re: New RV park owner
Post by: SeilerBird on November 17, 2017, 06:50:18 AM
If I connect a 50 amp load to one leg and a 50 amp load to the other leg, what would you say is the total load capacity of the service?
Don't bother arguing with this guy, he is clueless. He is arguing with himself. No one is saying what he is saying.
Title: Re: New RV park owner
Post by: NY_Dutch on November 17, 2017, 01:05:11 PM
Don't bother arguing with this guy, he is clueless. He is arguing with himself. No one is saying what he is saying.

A good point, Tom...
Title: Re: New RV park owner
Post by: SeilerBird on November 17, 2017, 01:11:24 PM
A good point, Tom...
He fails to comprehend that 50 + 50 = 100.
Title: Re: New RV park owner
Post by: OBX on November 17, 2017, 01:30:37 PM
If he was going to have ten 50-amp pedestals (sites) on a single run, wouldn't the line have to be able to carry at least 1,000 amps or 24kw at a bare minimum?  I could see the OP having the pedestals wired for 50 amp service but not have an adequate power source (feedline to the main disconnect) and an undersized line feeding the pedestals.
Title: Re: New RV park owner
Post by: SeilerBird on November 17, 2017, 01:33:36 PM
If he was going to have ten 50-amp pedestals (sites) on a single run, wouldn't the line have to be able to carry at least 1,000 amps or 24kw at a bare minimum?  I could see the OP having the pedestals wired for 50 amp service but not have an adequate power source (feedline to the main disconnect) and an undersized line feeding the pedestals.
I think they would each have to have their own run back to the main panel and each one on a separate circuit.
Title: Re: New RV park owner
Post by: kdbgoat on November 17, 2017, 03:24:01 PM
It's legal to run , it's either 8 or 9, pedestals off of a 200 amp breaker. It's been too many years since I've done the calculations, and quoted the NEC code requirements to explain it all. It doesn't seem like it would work, but apparently it's good enough to meet code.