Plug your RV cord into the 30 amp socket, and you will have
sufficient power to run your A/C and other items inside your Pop-Up. But,
what do you do when the campsite only has a 20a receptacle. Well, 30a to
15a adaptors are available at most RV stores for a few dollars.
These come in three types:
1. Adaptors manufacturered with a rubber housing like this
2. Adaptors manufacturered with a "bakelite"
housing. Bakelite is a very hard plastic, kind of like porcelain. Sorry,
I couldn't find one on line to show you, but they look just like #1 but
are a hard bakelite.
3. "DogBone" Adaptor like this
In my opinion, do NOT
use a 30 amp to 15 amp rubber adaptor (#1) to run the A/C if a 30 amp socket is not
available. They are not designed to carry the amperage needed for the A/C
while dissipating the heat that will begin to build in the adaptor. You will at least trip a breaker, and at worst melt the adaptor and
possibly start a fire!!
An air conditioner draws around 12 - 15 amps +/- depending
on brand, BTUs and type of compressor. So it is possible to run an
air off a 20 amp receptacle if you leave off the other heavy appliances
like electric water heater, hair dryer, etc
When using a 15 to 30 amp adapter use a dogbone or bakelite type. Bakelite adapter are also hollow and this
helps to dissipate the heat. The rubber are rated
for 15 and hold heat. Heat increases resistance at the
If you are running an extremely large amount of appliances
inside the pop-up, you can run a second extension cord to the 20 amp duplex receptacle,
assuming that the 20 amp receptacle is on a separate circuit controlled by
it's own breaker. This cord would then be run to the pop up and
under the tenting to supply power to some of your loads . Remember, the heavier the wire in the extension cord the better ( i.e.
an orange cord with #12 wire is better than a brown household cord).
using an extension cord a safe rule is 12 gauge cord can be used up
to 25'; to go to 50' a ten gauge cord is needed.
Testing the Electric
I always carry two electric checkers with me.
One is a wall socket volt meter. If the voltage drops
below 105. I start turning things off. Most appliances
run very poorly, and inefficiently as the voltage drops. Motorized devices
like your air conditioner will not work nearly as well, or last as long,
with improper voltage The biggest problem I
saw with electric was discount store extension cords. They were
listed as "heavy duty" but only the covering was the heavy part.
The wire would be poor quality 14 or 12 gauge.
The other item I always carry is a polarity checker
This is not as critical as it use to be. But if the polarity
is reversed at a campground and the grass is wet you can get a very nasty
shock. Older campgrounds in rural areas are normally the
ones to suspect. It is also possible to have the polarity
reversed in the camper. RV technicians advise me that they have also
worked on many used campers that have had the polarity reversed. You
can't believe how many people think the black wire is ground.
In my camper I leave my volt meter and the polarity checker permanently
plugged into and receptacle where I can see it.
Both volt meters and polarity checkers are available
from many sources, but the most common is the electrical section of your
local home improvement store.
When we talk about electric safety, remember the 30 amp
RV plug is probably not on a GFI so you are not protected and in
some campgrounds neither are the 15 or 20 amp. Campground owners are
not require to bring there electric up to current NEC (National Electric
Code) standards unless that are doing work that requires changing the
fixtures. There are still 15 amp plugs out there that are not
GFI. Depending on how you feel about this issue, Ground Fault Interrupters
are available as a portable plug in model that you can carry if you
encounter an electric panel without one.
Campgrounds that supply electric and are up to code
must have at least one 20a receptacle. So, one would assume that
they will have a 20a and something else. Usually it's a 20a and a
30a or a 20a and a 50a. I have found that most have all three, a
20a, a 30a and a 50a. If power is a concern (like Florida in July
and you need your A/C) give the campground a call and ask.
From Page 70-460 National Electrical Code 2002 Edition:
"VII. Recreational Vehicle Parks
551.71 Type Receptacles Provided. Every recreational vehicle site with
electrical supply shall be equipped with at least one 20-ampere, 125-volt
Electric is the most common brand of RV park power equipment.