32v: Power

Adapters

5-15P/TT-30R power cord adapter – allows us to run the trailer off an outside outlet at the house (anything < 15AMP draw). It came with the trailer and we’ve found it handy to run lights and such in the beginning (see House Hookup below for the replacement).
30AMP NEMA L14-30P to TT-30R power cord adapter – to run the trailer off our gas generator (for home, not RV). The generator is too loud to take to campgrounds but there are places we boondock where no one would be within earshot of it.
50 amp –> 30 amp adapter (“dog bone”). I heard that it was sort of rare to pull into a site that had a 50amp (only) connector on the post. But of course we ran into it in the second campground we ever stayed at! Fortunately, the owners were very nice and loaned us their adapter for the night. I ordered this one as soon as we returned home. And I don’t think we’ve used it yet. lol

House Hookup

30 amp power outlet – I installed this on the side of the house to power the RV while at home. This way I can run the AC when I am working in there or have guests, and I don’t have to worry about tripping house breakers. It also gave us peace of mind in the fall – we turned the thermostat to 40 degrees until we winterized to be sure nothing froze up.

Generator

We have a DuroMax 4500E gas portable generator for the house that we brought along when boondocking in Maine. We used the 4-prong to 3-prong generator adapter (the middle adapter picture above) but found that the surge suppressor (see below) didn’t like it, complaining of an “open ground”.

I hear this is expected so I bought this $12 doodad to change how it is reported (Surge Guard Generator Neutral). We have not used the generator yet with it, I will report back when we do.

Surge Protector

This to me sounded like insurance. No one wants to spend money on insurance because there is no return on it unless something bad happens. The less risk of something bad happening, the less I want to spend money on insurance. BUT then again, if something did happen, the potential cost of repair was high enough that I decided to bite the bullet and protect us. If I was to be perfectly honest, one of the primary risks was opting to wire a power supply for the RV at the house. I’m not an electrician so insurance suddenly seemed a very attractive idea! =)

I kept reading cautions about using a surge protector at the campground power post because it can be an (easy) target for theft. I don’t know how often that happens and I don’t want to believe it of the camping community! But I also honestly didn’t want to deal with another adapter/hookup – it just seemed easier and tidier to install it inside the RV. Plus I’m a gadget geek and I wanted to see what the suppressor was reporting without walking out to the post each time to check.

I bought the Progressive Industries HW30C unit after watching some videos on YouTube about it. I liked how it has the little panel thingy that shows the incoming voltage, amp draw, and any faults.

Note: There is a comment above (in the power adapters section) regarding our generator giving an “open ground” fault on this surge suppressor.

Note Two: I *LOVE* this stupid thing! I can immediately tell if we have lost shore power and are running on battery, and I feel better knowing there are no electrical faults at the campground.

Installation was more than I bargained for, but when is that ever a new thing!?!? The reason: when I pulled the power distribution panel out, I found the WFCO WF-T30 transfer switch mounted to the back of the distribution panel. This component automatically switches between shore power and generator power (we are pre-wired for generator even though we don’t have one). That means the power wire feeding into the power distribution panel is short, running only about 9-12″ from the switch to the back of the panel. And that in turn means that I did not have enough cable to splice the surge protector in between the two. Grrrr.

The lazy side of me was sorely tempted to just split the shore power line coming in because we don’t have a generator (and so shouldn’t need to protect that line). But after some considerable musing and muttering, I decided to do it right and run both power sources through the surge protector, just in case we ever went with a generator or sold the coach.

Fortunately, I had some NM-B 10 gauge on hand so I pulled out the existing (short) wire running from switch to power panel. I used maybe 2 feet of wire to go from switch to surge protector, then from that back to the distribution panel. The switch has an easy access cover plate and is also pretty easy to follow/understand which wires are the output.

I ended up putting the digital readout thingy on the “control panel” wall – below all the slide switches and stuff. It has a red LED display that cycles through the metrics so I didn’t want that flashing in our faces while watching TV or something.  Plus in this location, I can just open the door to see the readout without having to step inside.  That has been helpful when setting up.  As far as I know there is no way to turn the display off. Maybe someday I will search for a cover plate for it. 

Fishing the line through the walls was not easy!  Perhaps someday I will get brave enough to open up some wall panels. =) For now, I worry that I won’t be able to get them back into place without damaging some edges and stuff.  
I never know how much detail to go into for stuff like this – does anyone care how I ran the wire?  If you are doing a similar project in a similar trailer maybe? 
Turns out I had to find the stud behind the TV cabinet and drill the hole for the wire on the right side of that (so I didn’t have to find a way through it).


On the switch panel wall, I removed the slideout switch to work inside.  I found that the space I was trying to access from the TV cabinet was inside another wall.  Of course it was!  :/
I drilled a hole in that one to fish the line through.

I was all set to buy a 20′ fish line from Home Depot but instead opted for the 12 gauge house wire I had on hand – very stiff but bendable.  Worked out ok, but when I pulled it through the TV cabinet wall I made a mess of that hole.

I had originally placed it here on the TV cabinet because it was much easier, but decided I’d rather have it with the other switches and viewable from the door.

The original location for the surge suppressor display


Current location of the display 

 

The power distribution panel. Ignore the Alfa, this is a picture from another project. The yellow circle shows where the generator/shore power switch is mounted, and the blue shows where I attached the surge suppressor. It is off to the side because there was no room behind the power distribution panel.

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