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Old 08-12-2011, 01:33 PM   #1
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Running AC on less than 30 amps?

When I picked up my Jayco X18D hybrid, the dealer told me not to run the AC on less than a 30 amp supply. They did give me an adapter to plug in the trailer on a lower supply and said I could run everything except the air conditioner, and that although it would run plugged into 20 amp, it would overheat and damage the unit.

Is this true? I can't find the exact specs on my airxcel 48000 series AC unit, but from some other threads it doesn't seem like they tend to pull more than 15 amps. What would be the problem with running the AC on a 20 amp supply?

Also, if the AC can't run on 20 amp, what about the fan? I haven't run the fan in that unit when it is plugged in at home yet, but it would be nice to be able to at least run the fan while I'm loading it up in the driveway.

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Old 08-12-2011, 06:06 PM   #2
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Running the ac on 20 amps is ok in a pinch if you do not use an extension cord and the voltage stays at least 110 volts. Make sure the pigtail or plug does not get hot. The fan will be ok on 20 amps.

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Old 08-12-2011, 07:04 PM   #3
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I second what 82corvette says. Also, you will probably have to run your refrigerator and water heater on LPG. If your batteries are already charged up, your converter can probably run normally; but if your batteries are discharged and your converter is trying to work hard, you may not have enough electricity.

I've been doing some interior work on my fifth wheel this week, and have been running the AC successfully on a 20 amp circuit. But it does not leave much electricity for anything else. But I was cool!
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Old 08-13-2011, 07:52 AM   #4
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Just remember that if you run the A/C on a 20 amp service you CANNOT RUN ANYTHING ELSE.
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Old 08-13-2011, 08:13 AM   #5
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One note of caution. Consumer and standard Commercial grade electrical equipment (receptacles, breakers, plugs etc.) are manufactured to a basic standard of 80% contiuous use of the rating. That is, a 30 amp receptacle and plug are built to continually allow 80% of 30 amps, or 24 amps, continuously without building up excess heat, breaking down insulation, burning contact points etc. These items can run 100%, or 30 amp, for a short period of time.

Are continuous duty rated receptacles, plugs etc. available. Yes. At a cost. A 20 amp duplex receptacle, like in home, standard grade, costs $2.37 at Lowes. The higher grade receptacle costs $24.14.

Another example is the service equipment coming from the electric company. It, too, is rated at 80% continuous duty. A 200 amp service is designed to provide 160 amps continuously, a 400 amp service-320 amps cont. etc.

Exceed this, and trailer plugs melt and burn. Receptacles do the same thing. Cords breakdown over time. It may not an instantaneous occurrence, but overheating electrical equipment over time slowly breaks it down as well. If you want 100% continuous duty, EVERYTHING must be within that specification.

I've noticed and maybe you have as well, at many campgrounds, the 30A receptacle often looks charred or may even be damaged to where I am afraid to plug into it. I've heard that you can do damage to your trailers electrical system if the receptacle is bad. Don't know if that's true, but it does make sense. I've noticed most times the 50A receptacle looks new because it is not used as often. So, I ended up buying the 50A to 30A pigtail and use it if I feel the 30A receptacle might be damaged. It just gives me piece of mind.
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Old 10-31-2011, 01:54 PM   #6
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I run two trailers in my CAMP BACK YARD both run from separate 120VAC 20AMP service coming from my garage. I have been doing this at this location for over 5-years with no ill effects. I use heavy duty 10-GAUGE extension cords to plug into the garage separate circuitsreceptacles and run them out over the ground to my two trailers - one is a 75-foot long 10 gauge (10-3) extension cord and the other one is 50-feet long. I use the RV30A-15A DOGBONE 18-inch long adapter (WALMART) at the end of the extension cords and then plug my RV 30A Shore Power Cable into that connection. This long extension cord and RV30A-15A adapter is also part of my "PLAN B" RV tool box to. If my 30A Pedstal at the camp site looks like it has been through WWIII and they dont have another spot to put I can plug into their 20A service and get by just fine.

The thing to watch is always check the trailer 120VAC reading (I use a Receptacle PLUG-IN 120VAC METER that has a nice "GREEN" scale on it to riemind me what is good) to always read in the green scale on the meter and DO NOT turn on the air conditioner if the AC is lower than 110VAC I think it is... Your Air Conditioner will moan and groan and may do some damage before it trips out.

I have had absolutely no ill effects on anything and everything I run using these two connections. Like mentioned above since I only have a 20AMP circuit breaker involved that if I turn on a couple of larger current items at the same time like the Air Conditioner and then turn on the high wattage microwave the circuit breaker in the garage will trip. The other to constantly keep an eye on it feeling your connection and plug in the garage. They should not be running warm-to-hot.

Being connected to the the garage AC POWER souce allows me to keep my on-board converter/charger on keeping my batteries charged and is a great place to get out of the house once in awhile. We actually camp quite a bit in the back yard here. It also gives you another fridge to use to suppliment the house fridge...

Like I mentioned - I have been doing this for years - Just DONT USE those small round BLACK RV30A-15A adapters - they all seem to get hot when I use those...

Works great for me... I just got back in from turning on my oil-filled radiator looking electric hearter in each trailer to a low temp setting to try to keep the inside of the the trailers around 45-50 degrees all the time...
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Old 10-31-2011, 02:15 PM   #7
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I can't believe that a dealer told you that you would burn up an AC running it on 20A service. Wait, yes, I can believe it. The 15K BTU unit will draw around 14A running and the 13,500 a little less. Both will start and run fine for as long as you want to. You won't be able to run high current appliances at the same time, but both should start and run fine. The start current(LRA) is a little higher with the 15K BTU, but that only lasts a few milliseconds, so you'll be fine.
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Old 10-31-2011, 11:55 PM   #8
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I think the biggest thing to watch for is the cord size. If possible I would just use the adapter and the 30 amp cord.

Personally, I don't use the microwave or the AC when I am plugged into 15 or 20 amp service.
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Old 11-01-2011, 05:22 PM   #9
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If you do decide to run the AC on a smaller service, I would cut all the breakers but the AC. My converter regularly pulls about 8 amps when lights are on and/or it is charging up the battery - so that would take you over what you want to go. I have an EMS as well to protect against low voltage - which I would highly recommend. While it is not a total failsafe in this situation, it will help keep you from doing something stupid
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Old 11-02-2011, 11:37 AM   #10
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There are a couple of things that you are not taking into consideration here. Is this a dedicated circut with no other draws on it within your home or location? If it is not a dedicated circut then it's most likley going to keep popping the breaker when it tries to kick on if there is another draw outside the trailer.

Another concern is that the wire is 12/2 guage copper not 14/2 guage and a true 20A outlet as mentioned above. 14/2 is rated to run 13AMPS constant draw with 15AMP spikes. As mentioned above deteriation over time could occur if you exceed the ratings. The run length from your breaker panel to your outlet has a bearing on this whole deal as well. Longer run = higher guage wire requirement for heat.

You can determine this by turning of the breaker and pulling the outlet to read the back of it and guage the wire size and type. If your at all uneasy about this call an electrician and confirm your options.

While I don't think you will damage the A/C unit unless your voltage is extremely variable or spikes, the breaker will most likely kick off once you exceed it's rated draw to prevent damage.

The bigger concern is that the breaker is overrated for the wiring and allows the wires to heat and possibly melt just because a breaker or outlet was changed for higher rated loads.

Just some concerns since some people really don't know the history of their homes mods if not the original owners.


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