50 Amp Cord Reel?

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kenz

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Mine has a dedicated storage area for my 50 amp cord. Long and narrow, I just loop it end to end. When I need to pull out the cord, all that comes out is what I need. Seems that all the rage in new RV design is to have the 50amp cord as one big extension cord that is just plugged in to the unit then plugged into the electrical box. So every time you plug in you have to haul out all 30 feet or so of cord. If you only need 15ft then all the rest is just laying in the mud so to speak. To me that's just cost cutting and lazy on the engineering part. One less compartment that has to be installed in the unit. Just make a big extension cord and let the new owner figure out what to do with it.

That being said, a standard cord reel, big enough for a 50 amp cord would probably become very hard to manage. One of the things I've seen used is a round clothes basket. Wind cord up in the basket then its easier to handle.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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I just coil ours in the bay dedicated to the power cord. Have thought about a powered cord reel at times, but they are pricey and mostly I have no problem getting the cord in and out. And the powered reels are slow in/out.
 

Ned

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We have a motorhome, not a 5th wheel, but our 30' power cord is permanently attached and I just coil it in a figure 8 in the utility bay.  By doing the figure 8 it doesn't get kinks or twists in it when I pull it out.
 

brmike

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Feb 17, 2012
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our new 2012 Stone Ridge 38fl came with a powered cord reel. It freewheels when you pull the cord out. You pull out only as much as you need. When you retract it, you just push the button and guide it as it spools in to make sure it level winds. Works well and very easily. The system is available as an aftermarket item, but would be a pretty big project to install. Unless you really hate fighting with that cord, probably not worth the trouble and expense on an existing unit, but if you are ordering a new unit and they offer it as an option, get it.
 
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bucks2

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I'll second brmike's comments. Electric cord reel is quick and easy. So much so, I'm thinking about one for the water hose also. Reeling in 40 feet of 50 amp cord takes all of 45 seconds. I use a rag or paper towel around the cord as I reel it in and it's always clean and mostly dry when stored.

I watch people fight even 30 amp cords and I see that one of the biggest hassles is the quality of the cord. The cheaper the cord it seems, the stiffer and less manageable it is. You've all seen the difference in cords on household appliances, some are soft and easy to store and others are board-stiff and hard to manage. If I was fighting a cord into a compartment each time I'd definitely buy myself a higher quality cord rather than the cheapo stiff ones I see in many RV's.

Ken
 

Jeff

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I added a 50 amp cord electric reel six years ago and it probably the single best buy I have made of alllllllll the things I have added.
 

rikmac

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Escambia County, Florida
So, I am debating on buying one of these cord reels but I have a question.  When you unplug the cord from shore power where does the reel get it power to wind the cord up?  The ones that I looked at are tied into the coach electrical system.  I have yet to find one that is powered from the house batteries. Maybe someone could guide me in the right direction.  Thanks Rick

My bad...  It is spring operated.  Okay I feel foolish now!!!  lol. I just have to read the fine print.
 

boatbuilder

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Glendinning Products makes cord reels in all size ranges.  Their Cablemaster is the gold standard for handling shorepower cords on boats and RVs. There are no brushes or slip rings. They also make cord reels that are pull out-power in that run off house battery power. Their customer service is first rate.  I do not work for them but have known the family for years.  They are one of the few companies that i would not hesitate to recommend.
 

Jeff

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Ours is a Shoreline that runs off 12 volt power and has never missed a beat. When I tried to take out a power pedestal they had a replacement  to us in the high country of Colorado in 2 days.
 

Tom

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Another vote for Glendinning; The 50A power out/in plus wireless remote on our boat is far superior to the el cheapo pull out/power in on our coach. They both run off 12V. I would have switched out the one on the coach, but there's not enough room in that bay for the "tub" that comes as part of the Glendinning system.
 

denmarc

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brmike said:
our new 2012 Stone Ridge 38fl came with a powered cord reel. It freewheels when you pull the cord out. You pull out only as much as you need.

A possible safety question...

I was taught to always extend a service or extension power cord to full length to keep the cord cool.  Assuming the power cord is sufficient for power demand, of course. 

I did see the result of not extending an extension cord once.  A 50' 12/3 outdoor extension cord with approx. half of it's length coiled up and layed on top of a tire to a trailer.  It was plugged into a dedicated outlet for an engine block heater and was being used for that reason (Winter time).  The coiled half of the extension cord overheated, started to melt and caught fire.  Luckly, someone noticed the fire before any drastic damaged resulted.

I am thinking there will be many replies of "been doing it for years without any problems" type of answers.  I have been fully extending any service or extension cords since seeing the results of the fire.  I just never wanted to take any chances.

Thoughts or suggestions?



 

SeilerBird

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bucks2 said:
I watch people fight even 30 amp cords and I see that one of the biggest hassles is the quality of the cord. The cheaper the cord it seems, the stiffer and less manageable it is
I am not sure the quality of the cord has anything to do with how hard it is to roll up. I think the temperature of the cord has more to do with it. If I roll my cord up first thing in the morning when it is cold it is very difficult to roll up. If it lays in the sun all day then it is very easy to roll up.
 

Molaker

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denmarc said:
A possible safety question...

I was taught to always extend a service or extension power cord to full length to keep the cord cool.  Assuming the power cord is sufficient for power demand, of course. 

I did see the result of not extending an extension cord once.  A 50' 12/3 outdoor extension cord with approx. half of it's length coiled up and layed on top of a tire to a trailer.  It was plugged into a dedicated outlet for an engine block heater and was being used for that reason (Winter time).  The coiled half of the extension cord overheated, started to melt and caught fire.  Luckly, someone noticed the fire before any drastic damaged resulted.

I am thinking there will be many replies of "been doing it for years without any problems" type of answers.  I have been fully extending any service or extension cords since seeing the results of the fire.  I just never wanted to take any chances.

Thoughts or suggestions?
Better safe than sorry, I suppose, but I also suspect there was something wrong with the extension cord.  Being a 12/3, it would have had to draw a lot of current to overheat, probably more than the circuit breaker rating - assuming there was a proper circuit breaker.  Most likely, the cord had a section where many of the wire strands were broken or the insulation bad between wires.
 

denmarc

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I thought the same thing.  But the cords were bought new every Fall for the up coming cold season.  Not to say that a manufacturer defect wasn't the culprit in this case.

I had also heard it might have something to do with the fact that the coiling the cords by not extending them created an inductance issue creating heat.  Too much heat caused the fire.  I can find my way around electrical things.  But an electrial pro, I am not!
 
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bucks2

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zzyzx said:
I am not sure the quality of the cord has anything to do with how hard it is to roll up. I think the temperature of the cord has more to do with it. If I roll my cord up first thing in the morning when it is cold it is very difficult to roll up. If it lays in the sun all day then it is very easy to roll up.

The type of insulation is directly related to how easy it is to roll up at different temperatures. Each rated cord will have the type of insulation stamped/printed on it. The more flexible cords will typically be the more expensive cords.

You probably have noticed that if you buy the $75 garden hose it tends to be easier to roll and unroll than the $10 bargain hose. They are made of different materials with different characteristics. It's easy to compare garden hose at the big box store. Feel how stiff the cheap one is and then how supple the expensive one is. It's much more difficult to compare wire because the stores generally only have one type. There is a difference.

Ken
 

Molaker

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denmarc said:
I thought the same thing.  But the cords were bought new every Fall for the up coming cold season.  Not to say that a manufacturer defect wasn't the culprit in this case.

I had also heard it might have something to do with the fact that the coiling the cords by not extending them created an inductance issue creating heat.  Too much heat caused the fire.  I can find my way around electrical things.  But an electrial pro, I am not!
The amount of inductance in a coiled up 50' extension cord would be neglible.  Besides, if I recall (there's that IIRC I mentioned in another discussion), inductance alone would not cause heat generation, only the resistance of the wire would.  For inductance to cause heating, it would have to generate eddy currents sufficient to generate the heat across internal wire resistance (or ferrous core if wound on one) and I really don't think there would be enough inductance or current in the situation you describe.  Here's a Wiki on the subject.

But, as I said, better safe than sorry.
 

denmarc

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Thanks Molaker.  And I agree with leaning on the safe side. 

Also as mentioned in an earlier post,  the cords do coil up a lot easier when warmed up in the sun.
 

boatbuilder

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The quality of the cord definitely makes a difference in how easily it handles.  The material the insulation is made of, the construction method of the cable and the number of strands in each conductor all contribute to the suppleness of the cable.
12/3 is a little on the small side for 30 amp service. Most shorepower cords are 10/3 for 30 amp and 6/3-8/1 for 50 amp. I install a bunch of them on the different model boats. 

Tom,  You can probably fit a Cablemaster in your coach. You don't need to use the tub that Glendinning sells. Call John and he can lay out a system for you. I have seen some of his pictures where the storage compartment is nowhere near the unit. On a couple of the boats it is about 20' away. They make roller assemblies and some other neat gadgets to keep it moving.
 
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