Issue 849 • February 14, 2018
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RVing Tip of the Day
Care and feeding of your shore power connection – Part 1
Part 2 coming next Wednesday
By Mike Sokol
Power available from different shore power plugs
While plugging in an extension cord at home is generally done without a second thought, connecting your RV to shore power is a little more complicated and requires a bit more planning. First, there are three types of power outlets available at a campground pedestal: 20 amp, 30 amp and 50 amp (which is actually 100 amps, but we’ll cover that shortly).
Almost nobody uses the 20-amp outlet since that’s hardly enough power to run a hair dryer plus anything else at the same time. Consider that an 1800-watt hair dryer uses 15 amperes of current, and that only leaves 5 amps for everything else. (Hint: To find the current drawn by any appliance, divide its listed wattage by 120 volts. So 1800 watts divided by 120 volts = 15 amperes.) And a 20-amp outlet can only provide 20 amps x 120 volts which equals 2,400 watts of power.
Most of you will use a 30-amp RV cordset, which is officially called a TT-30 (for Travel Trailer 30) and unique to the RV industry. It’s so unique, in fact, that some residential electricians not used to RV power may miswire a pedestal outlet to 240 volts, even though they’re clearly marked for 120 volts. That’s bad for your RV’s electrical system and appliances since it can do many thousands of dollars’ damage in a few seconds. So always test any unknown 30-amp outlets for correct voltage BEFORE plugging in. Some quick math shows that 30 amps x 120 volts = 3,600 watts.
Large RVs typically use a 50-amp/240-volt shore power cordset, which actually consists of two separate 120-volt wires of 50 amps each. Together they add up to 100 amps of total current, which is why they can operate a lot more appliances at once compared to a 30-amp outlet. That’s because while 30 amps x 120 volts = 3,600 watts of power, 100 amps x 120 volts = 12,000 watts of power. That’s more than three times the wattage in a 50-amp/240-volt outlet compared to a 30-amp/120-volt outlet, and wattage is POWER.
Never use a skinny extension cord to hook up the shore power to your RV. The more power your RV uses, the heavier the extension cord needs to be. So if your RV has a 30-amp shore power plug you’ll need a 10-gauge extension cord.
And if your RV has a 50-amp shore power plug, then your extension cord needs to be 6 gauge. Note that the lower the gauge number, the thicker the extension cord will be; and the higher the gauge number, the skinnier the extension cord will be.
Plus, don’t use a longer extension cord than you really need. So don’t use a 50-foot-long cord if a 20-foot cord will do the job. The longer the extension cord, the more voltage drop you’ll get. And since many campgrounds have low voltage to begin with, even losing a few volts from a too-small extension cord can make your appliances malfunction.
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Remove ugly black streaks from your RV!
Camco’s Pro-Strength Black Streak Remover is a specially formulated cleaner & degreaser that removes stubborn black streaks caused by window & door sealants & roof coatings. Also powers through bugs & built-up tar, grease, oil & dirt, helping to restore a like-new appearance. 32-ounces. Learn more or order.
Don’t use non-skid pads on refrigerator shelves
Non-skid pads have their place – but not on refrigerator shelves. These can block air circulation and make it hard to cool food. Reserve their use in the fridge for door shelves only.
Help for emptying tanks on a slope
Pull into a dump station with a slope away from the dump? Getting the tanks empty can be difficult – until you crank up your leveling jacks on the far side of the rig to give your sewage a little lift.
Clean water stains off your RV ceiling
Water stains on your RV ceiling? Take a clean sponge and soak it with hydrogen peroxide straight out of the bottle. Carefully rub the stain with sponge and follow up with clean paper towel. Test inconspicuous spot first, and be sure to protect the floor or anything else below where you’re working from drips.
HOT TOPIC AT RV TRAVEL.COM
Fairgrounds camping: Alternatives for RVers “on the hoof.”
The best book on RV electricity, hands down!
RV Travel contributor Mike Sokol is America’s leading expert on RV electricity. Mike has taken his 40+ years of experience to write this book about RV electricity that nearly anyone can understand. Covers the basics of Voltage, Amperage, Wattage and Grounding, with additional chapters on RV Hot-Skin testing, GFCI operation, portable generator hookups and troubleshooting RV electrical systems. Learn more or order
WEBSITES OF THE DAY
The Frugal RVer
Whether or not you own an RV, this is the right place if you want to travel and explore North America but wonder if you can afford it. You can! The Frugal RVer will show you how.
National Park Travel Tips
Visiting a national park is easier than you might think. The hardest part is choosing among all of the parks and activities. There are more than 400 national parks. If you need a little help picking one this is the right place. And here’s good news: Most national parks do not even charge an entrance fee!
Used and salvaged RV parts
Here’s a long list of places where you can buy used and/or salvaged RV parts. Can’t find a part for your RV at your local dealer or Camping World? This website will likely lead you to what you need.
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Choose Americas Mailbox! It’s the best, endorsed by RVtravel.com which has toured its South Dakota facility and interviewed its very customer-oriented owner. Many plans available. Learn more. Or view the video interview RV Travel editor Chuck Woodbury conducted with Americas Mailbox owner Don Humes.
VIDEO OF THE DAY
One way to replace an RV window
Resealing or replacing a window is a common RV repair. An owner typically takes the RV to a service facility to have it done. Here, Mark Polk of RV Education 101 demonstrates how the do-it-yourselfer can reseal and replace RV windows using a Seal-Tite Foamcore Window Kit.
See all of our videos on our YouTube Channel.
Add an outdoor water faucet to your RV!
This lead-free outdoor faucet is really handy. If you don’t have one, here’s a super inexpensive way to add one. No tools required and it installs in a minute (just screw it on). Brass T included with the plastic faucet, just as it’s shown in the product photo. Learn more or order.
MORE QUICK TIPS
Avoid bird droppings on your RV roof ladder, etc.
If birds are perching on your RV roof ladder and ruining your parade (or spare tire, bumper, chairs, etc.), discourage the little feathered poopers. Clamp a flag pole to the ladder rack and raise your banner. The flapping ensign will send them elsewhere.
Be prepared for favorite recipes on a trip
Favorite recipes look good for the road? Take a photocopy of them, note the ingredients needed. Next trip, pack the ingredients – and the recipes – in your galley items. Thanks to Denise P.!
Power tools galore!
If it’s not at Amazon.com it’s probably not easily available anywhere! Check out this huge selection of power tools — drills, saws, air compressors, impact wrenches, car vacuums, sanders, polishers, tool boxes — the list goes on! See what’s available and maybe pick up a great deal!
LEAVE HERE WITH A LAUGH
A motorhome got hopelessly bogged down in a muddy hole along a dirt road. After a few minutes, a passing farmer approached on his tractor and offered to pull it out for $20. After the RV was back on dry ground, the RVer said to the farmer, “At only $20, I bet you’re pulling vehicles out of this mud day and night.” The farmer shook his head. “Can’t,” he said. “At night I haul water for the hole.”
Pot of Gold. Did you win?
Here are today’s Zip and Postal Codes. If you’re the winner, let us know immediately. If you are, you’ll win $116. Good luck!
RV Daily Tips Staff
Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Managing editor: Diane McGovern. Staff writer: Emily Woodbury. Contributing writers: Russ De Maris, Bob Difley, Gary Bunzer, Roger Marble, Deanna Tolliver, Mike Sokol, J.M. Montigel and Andrew Robinson. Advertising coordinator: Gail Meyring.
ADVERTISE on RVtravel.com and/or in this newsletter. Contact Gail Meyring at Gail(at)RVtravel.com .
Everything in this newsletter is true to the best of our knowledge. But we occasionally get something wrong. We’re just human! So don’t go spending $10,000 on something we said was good simply because we said so, or fixing something according to what we suggested (check with your own technician first). Maybe we made a mistake. Tips and/or comments in this newsletter are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of RVtravel.com or this newsletter.
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