Electrical Question

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esim134

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Baton Rouge, LA
The owner of the storage facility that I keep my RV in just put in a receptacle for us to use.  It's a regular house outlet (can't remember if it's GFCI).  The outlet will service two storage bays.  The neighboring RVer has a Seneca Super C currently plugged from a 50a to 30a to 15a in the bottom male outlet of the receptable.  Can I plug a 30a to 15a in the top male outlet of the receptacle?  If so, what can I get out of plugging in? A trickle charge? Would I be able to run the refridgerator? So confused when it comes to amps!
THANKS!!
 

BobNSam

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Yes you can connect your RV also. Just know that no matter how many total RVs are plugged into outlets, standard household type outlets should be limited to a total of 15 amps.
What you can run will depend on the total shared by you and your neighbors. 15 amp service should allow two RVs to keep their batteries charged using the on board converter/charger. Refrigerator should also be supported for two RVs with no major issues.
To further limit what can be used, how many other outlets does the site have hooked up to the circuit breaker feed? If others are hooked to same circuit breaker, once again it is a shared resource that is limited.
Does your storage site allow refrigerator's to operate while in storage? They do present a slightly higher fire hazard.
 

Jim Godward

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bobsharon said:
Yes you can connect your RV also. Just know that no matter how many total RVs are plugged into outlets, standard household type outlets should be limited to a total of 15 amps.
What you can run will depend on the total shared by you and your neighbors. 15 amp service should allow two RVs to keep their batteries charged using the on board converter/charger. Refrigerator should also be supported for two RVs with no major issues.

One point on Refers, two or even one cannot be run on a shared electrical outlet if it is 15 amps.  Each refer on electric will draw about 1250 watts which is more than the outlet can provide in conjunction with the other stuff you are running.  They can be run on propane.  Also remember a 15 amp breaker will not provide  a continous 15 amps.  They will overheat and trip.  Rule of thumb is to operate at or less than 80%.

I hope you are good friends with your neighbor as you will both have to cooperate for this to work.

Staff edit: Fix quote
 

Mopar1973Man

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So if both of you are sharing a 15 Amp outlet I would say as long as both you are just using the battery charger to maintain battery charge then your fine. But add in refrigerator on AC power might be too much. But now refrigerator on propane would be fine because DC usage is very small.
 

kenz

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Yep, no matter how many outlets are on a breaker, and how many items are plugged into the outlets, when the breaker senses 15 amps it will trip instantly. Being a commercial building I would venture to say its probably on a 20 amp breaker. Only way to know for sure is to actually see the breaker.

last summer I was curious as to what my rig would pull for amperage, as I was in the market for a small genny for a weekend of boondocking. My rig with fridge, tv, sat box, and some 12v lights draws 8.5 amps. So if both of you are just plugged in to maintain battery levels, there should be no problems.
 

BobNSam

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Jim Godward said:
One point on Refers, two or even one cannot be run on a shared electrical outlet if it is 15 amps. Each refer on electric will draw about 1250 watts which is more than the outlet can provide in conjunction with the other stuff you are running. They can be run on propane. Also remember a 15 amp breaker will not provide a continuous 15 amps. They will overheat and trip. Rule of thumb is to operate at or less than 80%.
I was using a Dometic three-way for reference which uses 300 watts at max 3.5 amps 120VAC. 1250 watts is the consumption expected of a small compressor cooled refrigerator.
My measured power consumption with refrigerator on shore power and a couple lights on and battery on charge has never exceeded 6 amps (theoretically it could go to 8 amps which is max).
kenz said:
Being a commercial building I would venture to say it?s probably on a 20 amp breaker. Only way to know for sure is to actually see the breaker.
Even if the breaker is 20 amps, the standard household 120VAC receptacle is only rated at 15 amps. Whether the breaker is 20 or 15 amp rated, it would be wise if the receptacle you are sharing were upgraded to a 120VAC 20 amp version. You can see the physical differences at http://forums.isxusergroups.com/servlet/JiveServlet/download/13-32-52-7/03.1%20-%20NEMA%20Plug%20and%20Receptacle%20Descriptions.doc. This receptacle is a little more robust and would not tend to overheat at near 15 amps continuous operation.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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I would suspect that the outlet is not the only one on a single circuit breaker either. In other words, more than one outlet may be sharing the 15 (or 20) amp max capacity.

In any case, go ahead and plug in. It will probably support your battery charging needs, assuming they just need to be kept up and are not badly discharged to start with. And you can probably run the fridge in propane mode, which adds very little to the total power draw.

Don't be surprised if the breaker in the facility trips occasionally - or even often. Using a shared power source is rarely without occasional loss of power.  That's probably a good reason to avoid use of the fridge.
 

esim134

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Thanks to everyone for their replies!!  After much thought I'm not going to plug in at all.  In fact, I'm strongly considering moving the RV to another storage unit.  I have to find out some information from the owner first.  Here's the story...  I live in a small country community.  The place where I have the unit stored is a mini storage place with a few parking pads for a couple of RVs.  We previously talked to the owner about building covers.  He said he would consider it.  His close friend had also been asking so he built a storage bay for two RVs a few weeks ago.  He said he was going to run a line to it so we could trickle charge the batteries.  So as of last week, my RV is currently parked under the new carport cover next to his friend's RV.  Upon closer inspection, I realized the outlet isn't a GFCI.  I think it should be since it's outside and is susceptible to moisture among other variables.  I am also unsure of his insurance on the structure.  All of this mixed with it being a VERY VERY tight squeeze getting under the carport to begin with is leaning me towards finding another place to store the RV.  I do however like the closeness to my house and the security at the current location.  I'm going to talk to the owner before making my decision but my gut says go elsewhere.

What would you do?  Any thoughts?
 

Lou Schneider

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The outlet could be protected by a circuit breaker with GFCI protection in the breaker itself, not in the outlet.  But I wouldn't let the lack of GFCI talk me out of plugging into an outlet.  Fire protection (overheated wiring from short circuits or overloads) is provided by the current rating of the circuit breaker or fuse.  GFCI is for avoiding shocks if there is a short to the vehicle's exposed metal parts that doesn't conduct enough current to blow the fuse or trip a breaker.

IMO, a storage GFCI outlet can cause more trouble than it's worth.  In return for rarely required  protection against shocks, you install a hair trigger device that will shut off the power to your rig if someone looks crosseyed at it.  I don't think this is what you want in a storage situation.
 

Jim Godward

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Lou Schneider said:
IMO, a storage GFCI outlet can cause more trouble than it's worth.  In return for rarely required  protection against shocks, you install a hair trigger device that will shut off the power to your rig if someone looks crosseyed at it.  I don't think this is what you want in a storage situation.

I will make a stronger statement, You do not want a GCFI for your storage unit.  We had a freezer plugged into a GCFI outlet that tripped while we were gone on a short trip.  Ruined food when we came home.  In the RV make that discharged batteries.  Not good!!
 

Alfa38User

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And, the outlet you plug into does not have to have the GFCI there. The outlet itself can be an ordinary outlet but wired from a GFCI further up the line. A GFCI outlet can protect up to 6 other outlets daisy chained from it.

That said, I would follow the advise from Jim Godward above. Just one more PITA should the much more sensitive GFCI decide to go on vacation itself. After all, it would be a motorhome plugged into it and not the old electric drill which you have in your hand!!!
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Despite our concerns (which I fully agree with), the electrical code requires that newly installed outdoor outlets be GFCI protected. That doesn't mean the one in the storage shed is one, though. Sounds like it may be owner-installed, so perhaps not conforming to code.
 

John From Detroit

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OH So true Gary,, Alas, usually the code is a good thing.. Occasionally it misses a point or several.  But of course how do you know the next person to plug in there won't be using that old drill someone mentioned or the hand grinder I actually used.  With gloves on.
 

Jammer

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Jim Godward said:
One point on Refers, two or even one cannot be run on a shared electrical outlet if it is 15 amps.  Each refer on electric will draw about 1250 watts which is more than the outlet can provide in conjunction with the other stuff you are running.  They can be run on propane.  Also remember a 15 amp breaker will not provide  a continous 15 amps.  They will overheat and trip.  Rule of thumb is to operate at or less than 80%.

I am not aware of any RV fridge that draws 1250 watts.  Most typical 2-way and 3-way RV fridges draw around 200-300 watts with the very largest being between 300-400 watts. 
 

BigDfromTN

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esim134 said:
Thanks to everyone for their replies!!  After much thought I'm not going to plug in at all.  In fact, I'm strongly considering moving the RV to another storage unit.  I have to find out some information from the owner first.  Here's the story...  I live in a small country community.  The place where I have the unit stored is a mini storage place with a few parking pads for a couple of RVs.  We previously talked to the owner about building covers.  He said he would consider it.  His close friend had also been asking so he built a storage bay for two RVs a few weeks ago.  He said he was going to run a line to it so we could trickle charge the batteries.  So as of last week, my RV is currently parked under the new carport cover next to his friend's RV.  Upon closer inspection, I realized the outlet isn't a GFCI.  I think it should be since it's outside and is susceptible to moisture among other variables.  I am also unsure of his insurance on the structure.  All of this mixed with it being a VERY VERY tight squeeze getting under the carport to begin with is leaning me towards finding another place to store the RV.  I do however like the closeness to my house and the security at the current location.  I'm going to talk to the owner before making my decision but my gut says go elsewhere.

What would you do?  Any thoughts?

Im not sure I understand this statement.  What type of insurance are you concerned with.  I would not be concerned if he insured it against physical damage (wind, fire, etc.).  And as for Liability.  I dont really see much risk there either. 

The tight squeeze would be a real issue for me.  Maybe he can add more and make them wider??
 

John From Detroit

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I can think of several insurance issues.. When you trust your property to a storage facility normally they have a "Not responsible" clause in the contract.

However... In many cases, that clause does not apply... I will give an example.

If you park under an awning/cover or in a building... Well let me give you an actual case. A genuine happening.

A friend of mine called his insurance agent: Uh, A telephone pole hit my heilocopter.

The agent expressed doubt that it happened that way.

However .. That is exactly what happened, The telephone pole HIT the copter, not the other way around,, At the time the copter was tied down INSIDE a hanger.. The owners of the building were working on the roof, and out of concern for the load the men and tools added they had "Shored it up" with several telephone poles.. A gust of wind came along, raised the roof just enough to allow the poles to fall.

One of them fell on the 'copter.

That is why the owners of the hanger had insurance.
 
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