Camper plug-in

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  #1  
Old 03-27-05, 05:09 PM
Tryton
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Camper plug-in

Hi all. My wife and I just bought a camper. Our old popup was just a 15 amp service. The new one is a 30 amp. I've bought an adapter to plug into the 15/20 amp service and it's fine as long as we don't want to run the air conditioner, but I'd like to have an outlet dedicated for it anyway. My house service is only 60 amp (will be getting rewired within the next couple years) so I don't want to plug into the house so right now I'm running an extension cord to the garage. The garage has a separate (same meter, separate breaker box) 100 amp service. In that box I have an unused 30 amp breaker that right now is 220. I think the former owner said he hooked it up for a welder but it's not the right kind of outlet. It's just dryer outlet. He probably never used it since I'm sure he couldn't weld to save his life. Anyway, my plan is to take that unused circuit and run it out to where the camper is parked. But obviously I need to hook it up as 110 instead of 220 and install a 110 breaker instead. I am pretty handy and I do have rudimentary knowledge of wiring. It's one of those things that I don't do often enough to remember things and when I do it, I have to sit and think about how to hook things up. But when I get it done it's right and it works. I haven't messed with 220 much except for replacing outlets or pigtails on appliances. Can you help me out?
 

Last edited by Tryton; 03-27-05 at 05:10 PM. Reason: Addition
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  #2  
Old 03-27-05, 06:18 PM
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You can use the breaker as is. But tell us whether the dryer receptacle has three holes or four. If it's an old circuit, it's almost certainly just three. Then tell us the color of the two wires connected to the 30-amp double-pole breaker.
 
  #3  
Old 03-27-05, 06:45 PM
Tryton
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It has the white wire and ground coming out of the top and two really big wires coming out of the bottom. Those wires appear to be going directly to the receptacle.
 

Last edited by Tryton; 03-27-05 at 10:15 PM.
  #4  
Old 03-27-05, 07:33 PM
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Although you can use the breaker, you probably need more wire. Code requires a 10-gauge neutral to be white and the ground to be bare or green. You can use one of the two black hot wires, and remove the other hot wire from the breaker. If you have a 10-gauge white wire running from the breaker box to the receptacle, then you can use that, but you'll need to run a grounding wire, since you probably don't have separate neutral and grounding wires to the receptacle. Then all you need is a 30-amp 120-volt receptacle (probably a 5-30R).

Check to see what wires you have in the receptacle box.
 
  #5  
Old 03-27-05, 07:43 PM
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That is copper SEU cable. Looks like #8 to me and in fine condition.

It is a slight code violation to remark smaller than #6 with tape, but I will conceed that you will be OK by taping one of the blacks with white electrical tape for the neutral. The other black will be your hot and the bare the ground. You will need to get a single pole 30 QO breaker for the panel. I would not use the 2-pole in there now, you can but I wouldn't. Get a single pole 20 as well to fill the other hole left by the old two pole as opposed to a breaker blank. Use it for a future project.

The receptacle you need is a travel trailer receptacle. I believe it is a non-NEMA configuration. I can find a link to one.
You may need to get a double gang weatherproof enclosure for it as it is larger than a standard receptacle.
 
  #6  
Old 03-27-05, 07:46 PM
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Speedy, would you explain exactly why you would feel uncomfortable about using half of the 30-amp double-pole breaker that is already there? Unless you need the panel space, I don't see any downside to it at all. And if you do later need the panel space, you can always replace it then.
 
  #7  
Old 03-27-05, 07:49 PM
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For me it's just a personal thing. I don't like doing it. And for the cost of two SP breakers, even QO's, it's not worth it IMO. Just opinion I guess.

Here is the travel trailer receptacle/plug I was talking about. The pic comes from the store on this site:
<img src="http://doityourself.com/tvi/200x200/u756833.gif".
 
  #8  
Old 03-27-05, 08:36 PM
Tryton
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I went back and looked. First, the wires coming into the receptacle are the two big black wires and a ground wire. The ground wire coming out of the receptacle into the box is the large bare wire on the right of the picture I took. So there is a ground. I agree I would get different wire anyway. I think that wire's too heavy to connect to the new receptacle. The neutral wire that's on top was throwing me, but after doing some reading I realize that's the bus bar and the wire that's there is for another breaker. So I would run the hot wire into one side of that breaker and connect my neutral and ground like the rest of the breakers are connected and I should be good to go, right? And, yes, that is the correct receptacle. Someone on a camping forum I go to said they were able to find one at Lowe's with a little searching. Thanks. Oh, and I may not run it outside for the time being. I may get a 30 amp extension cord (gonna get one for the campground anyway) and just leave it in the garage for a while.
 

Last edited by Tryton; 03-27-05 at 08:49 PM.
  #9  
Old 03-27-05, 10:13 PM
Tryton
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Ok, new plan. It occurred to me when I was looking at the breaker box in the garage that there was no main breaker so I couldn't shut off the power to be able to safely install anything. Then I remembered that there was a box on the house where it ties into the main service to provide separate power to the garage. This is the fuse box for the garage and has 2 40 amp fuses in the fuse holder. I pulled this and checked for power in the garage and it was dead. Also, if you notice from the picture, there is service provided to the a/c. With the fuse holder pulled, I went inside and kicked on the air and it came on. Opened the box just to make sure and those wires only run into the box to connect to the main service. They run to a separate box beside the a/c. There is, however, an outlet on the deck that is connected to this service and is wired in properly. My plan now is to use that connection to run to a 30 amp breaker in the same box with an outlet. This would be just like the campground connections where the breakers are right there where you plug in. So I'm assuming I have to probably use heavier gauge wire for this? Using this connection puts me within a few feet of where the camper is parked and doesn't require running any wires underground. Even if I have to use one box to mount the breaker in and one for the outlet, it will work out much better.

Picture:

http://home.insightbb.com/~billbosworth/
 
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