Question about wiring a House on Wheels

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  #1  
Old 08-25-13, 06:25 PM
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Question about wiring a House on Wheels

I live in a tiny house on wheels that I built last year. I've been getting by running a typical 12 gauge extension cord from a 15amp recepticle from the main house on the property, but I've tripped the breaker many times and I am ready to upgrade and install a sub-panel in my tiny house on wheels. I currently have a surge protector where all my cords go into. I will be moving this house around and I want my house to be as flexible as possible for accepting power from different sources. I want to be able to either pull power from a 15amp recepticle, a 20 amp or a 30 amp. Currently, there is a 20 amp recepticle and a 30 amp receptical on the main house I could plug into. How would I wire my subpanel to accept these different amounts of power based on where I might be parked at the time?

I have 2 stovetop burners. One pulls 10.83 Amps at 1300 watts. The other pulls 9.16 Amps at 1100 watts. I have two lights in my house. One pulls 1.25 Amps at 150 watts. The other is about the same.

I also want to be able to run the occassional appliance, such as a blender or a space heater.

I bought a 100 amp sub panel with a few 20 amp breakers. Does this make sense? And can anyone tell me a way to wire the incoming sub panel to accept different amp inputs - 15, 20 or 30? I realize I would have to adjust my power usage inside my house based on which receptical (15,20 or 30) I';m hooked into at the time.

Any guidance would be appreciated. Thank you!!!
Jeff
 
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  #2  
Old 08-25-13, 06:58 PM
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100% Sure that 30 amp. is not for 220?
RV Electric
FTLS - Electrical Basics
 
  #3  
Old 08-25-13, 10:26 PM
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With RV electric the 30amp service is 120vac. The 50amp service is 240vac.

On an RV they use a 30amp 120vac cable with an adapter for 15/20 amp service.

It would make the most sense for you to make up a 30amp cable for your home and and get an adapter for 15/20amp service.

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30 amp RV plug

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30 amp to 15/20 amp adapter
 
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Old 08-26-13, 03:31 AM
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I bought a 100 amp sub panel with a few 20 amp breakers.
99% sure that is a 240 volt panel. 120 volt panel are rare birds. A 240 volt panel will work and is probably a lot cheaper than a 120v panel. There are two ways to use a 240 volt panel as a 120 volt panel.

Given the probable number of spaces with a 100 amp panel you just use only the spaces connected to one bus bar of your panel. The black of the power cable goes to that busbar. The other busbar for breakers is not used. The white of your power cable goes to the neutral bar. You will need to install a ground bar (usually purchased separately) and the green goes to the ground bar.


The other method is to install a 30 amp two pole 240 volt breaker in the panel. The two poles of that breaker are connected to each other with a #10 insulated wire (jumper). The other connections are the same as detailed above. The black of the power cord still goes to one pole (busbar) of the breaker box but now the second pole (bus bar) is energized also and all breaker spaces can be used.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 08-26-13 at 03:58 AM.
  #5  
Old 08-26-13, 05:52 AM
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Thank you for your help!

Would a 30 amp cable be 10 AWG?

I may need to run the 30 amp cable up to 100 ft from the outlet. Will a 10 AWG still be adequate for this distance?
 
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Old 08-26-13, 06:47 AM
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Would a 30 amp cable be 10 AWG?
Yes, and it should be good for up to 100 feet. What I would suggest is install a 30 amp inlet on the trailer then you can use a #10 extension cord for whatever you need. More expensive but maybe cary a 10', 50' and a 100'.

This one could be mounted on the outside:

[ATTACH=CONFIG]16802[/ATTACH]

If you can put it in a spot protected from weather you could save some money with one like this:

[ATTACH=CONFIG]16803[/ATTACH]
 
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Old 08-26-13, 06:55 AM
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Is the 30-amp inlet you refer to the same at the TT-30R? Thanks!!
 
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Old 08-26-13, 07:00 AM
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No, that seems to be an adapter. Please view the pictures I posted in the preceding post. Basicly it is a male plug that you plug the female end of an extension cord into. It is hardwired to the breaker box. You would use a 30 amp 120 volt RV extension cord.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 08-26-13 at 07:17 AM.
  #9  
Old 08-26-13, 10:50 AM
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Not directly addressing your question, but if I were you I'd switch to a gas RV stove (and 2-way fridge too, if you can afford it). Would greatly cut down on your electrical requirements, and allow you to use an air conditioner if you wanted to. You'd need a spot for at least a 30 lb propane tank but that's about it. And you'd end up with more room since RV appliances are smaller than regular ones.
 
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Old 08-27-13, 08:07 AM
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What kind of breakers make sense for this application?

As I had mentioned before, I have a 100 amp panel and I was going to use three 20-amp breakers for my house on wheels. One 20-amp breaker would be for the gfci kitchen outlets (3) which would have my two electric burners plugged in (and one outlet would remain open for an appliance like a blender). One of the stoves pulls 10.83 Amps at 1300 watts. The other pulls 9.16 Amps at 1100 watts. The blender runs at 200 watts so just under 2 amps. Am I understanding correctly that if I tried to run all 3 appliances at the same time, I would trip the 20-amp circuit, correct?

I am also planning to have a dedicated 20-amp circuit for the lights in the house, which wouldn't be more than 6 amps.

The last circuit would be for 3 additional outlets for plugging in a computer, a small fan, etc.

Since I will be hooking up my house to either: 15-amp, 20-amp, or 30-amp service, does my panel/breaker set-up make sense? Right now we are hooked up to 15-amp just using extension cords and a surge protector. But there is both a 20-amp and a 30-amp recepticle about 80-90 feet away that I could tap into. Another house on wheels on the property (which is a vacation home for someone else) uses the 30-amp recepticle when they are here. So, I always have access to the 20-amp recepticle and sometimes to the 30-amp. I would like to assume I'll be hooked into the 20-amp most of the time.

And, if I am hooked up to the 20-amp power source, does it makes sense to three 20-amp breakers? Since I'll never be hooked into more than 30-amp recepticles, shouldn't my maximun amount of breakers add up to 30-amps? Such as one 30-amp breaker?

Thanks!!
 
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Old 08-27-13, 09:18 AM
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shouldn't my maximun amount of breakers add up to 30-amps? Such as one 30-amp breaker?
No. Not everything will likely be on at the same time and even if they are they are unlikely to draw anywhere near the full breaker amps. The breaker is just there to protect the wires. Remember if you use 20 amp breakers you must use #12 cable. You can not use a 30 amp breaker on a 120 volt general purpose circuit. It is not code compliant and you would have to use #10 wire. Any #14 wire you used must be on a 15 amp breaker.

I have 2 stovetop burners. One pulls 10.83 Amps at 1300 watts. The other pulls 9.16 Amps at 1100 watts.
Now that is a problem. Assuming one circuit for both burners you would need a 30 amp breaker on #10 just for that. You really need to switch to propane. Those burners are too high amp for even a 30 amp feed.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 08-27-13 at 04:17 PM.
  #12  
Old 08-27-13, 03:53 PM
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Why are you even limiting yourself to 30A at 120V? I wouldn't want anything smaller than 50A, if this were mine I'd be doing 100A with cam-loks. You can purchase a 30A to 50A adapter, as well as a 30A to 15/20A adapter.
 
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Old 08-27-13, 07:13 PM
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A 100 amp feed/receptacle would very hard to find on the road. I would stay with what the others have suggested and go with a 30 or 50 amp service for your RV. IF you go with the 50 amp you would have the most flexibility using the adapters the others have posted.

You could also wire a cord into the panel like "real" RV's do. Then you just need to pull out the cord and plug it in.
 
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