three power questions for the electrically challenged - Dutchmen Owners

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Old 02-23-2020, 02:59 AM   #1
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three power questions for the electrically challenged

Was comparing my Kodiak to another unit I am looking to acquire (found out half my family hates camping even WITH a trailer, so I may downsize). I am confused.

(1) Wire gauge. I know wire size (thickness, diameter, whatever) is denoted by gauge. The wires connecting my batteries to my Kodiak are 6 AWG. The wires connecting the other unit to the coach are 8 AWG (thinner). Both are 30 amp units. Is this an issue? The thinner ones seem skimpy, but perhaps it does not matter much.

(2) 30 amp receptacles. Both units are 30 amp units. I was looking at the receptacle on the outside of the coach (not sure if this is the male or female end...I can see both ways of looking at it). I am noticing that 30 amp receptacles look different depending on brand. (????). I have attached photos of my Kodiak Furrion vs. the other one (brand is Conntek). WHY ARE 30 AMP RECEPTACLES ON TRAILERS NOT THE SAME? The Furrion has a little bend in one of the prongs and does not have the round prong the other does. I wonder if this is a custom Furrion thing that other brands don't do. I assume it makes no difference...I just thought 30 amp power cords would be universal.

(3) Voltage. Speaking only of typical household AC power provided by normal US outlets, I see it referred to 110, 120, and 125 volts. I see different voltages listed depending on whether I am looking at an outlet, a cord, a generator, a spec sheet, etc... What is going on? Is this important? Which is "correct"?

Thanks!!
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Old 02-23-2020, 04:00 AM   #2
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So before you say anything (haha), I did some research on these 30 amp receptacles after posting. Apparently the receptacle in my Kodiak trailer is a locking NEMA L5. The receptacle in the other trailer is a NEMA TT. What is confusing, and speaks to my OTHER question, is that it said the L5 is rated for 125 volts, whereas the TT is rated for 120 volts. So...........my generator says 125 volts. Does that mean I can't use my generator with the other coach?!
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Old 02-23-2020, 12:25 PM   #3
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the nominal voltage in the US is 115 + or - 10%. That means that it can go as high as 126 (or so). Most plugs and electrical parts would be usually rated higher than what they will actually be used on. (By the way, that can fluctuate LOTS from MANY factors including what your neighbors are doing - including charging a car). One of these guys are HIGHLY recommended.

https://campaddict.com/best-rv-surge-protector/

you can pick any brand but the investment is worth it.

The other thing is with the locking plugs. They usually allow for a slight twist to hold the plug in and keep it from falling out. Much more desirable than just a plug for those larger outlets.

The gauge of the wire is important to current carrying applications. Larger gauge usually means that it will carry current farther (little loss). If you look at standard extension cords, you will find a great disparity in the size of the wire. You will also see that a 50' extension cord will heat up if the wire size is too small (that great deal on that extension may not be worth it). The cord may also not be capable of supplying enough current to run your equipment either. The size of the wire denotes the amount of current (not so much voltage) it can carry. This is a great chart for wire sizes and current capabilities.

https://www.powerstream.com/Wire_Size.htm

Great topic and I know you will be getting a ton of responses.

By the way, the generator is a whole different topic concerning power quality and voltages.

Oh, also, you may find 30 amp cords that have more than three wires sometimes.
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Old 02-23-2020, 08:13 PM   #4
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Thanks franktafl!!

So my conclusion is that when referring to these AC outlets in North America, 110-125 volts is all the "same thing" for my purposes. I do indeed have a surge protector and use on with the generator too (interesting that generators have a topic of their own).

It's funny - I never realized the 30 amp NEMA L5 connectors were for locking (with a twist motion, I believe). I had a threaded spinner cap on my trailer so it locked anyhow.

As for the wire gauge from the batteries, it sounds like I should not be worried. I am assuming that manufacturers use the thinnest wire allowed by standards. Since the unit I was looking at was about 5 ft shorter than my Kodiak, it sounds as if that may explain the change from 6 to 8 gauge wire.
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Old 02-29-2020, 09:49 PM   #5
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A twist lock plug should always be twisted into place . That gives maximum contact of the blades. Other wise you get hot spots on the connector. The spinner cape ensures that the movement of the cord won't untwist the plug.
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Old 02-29-2020, 09:56 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by OldOneTwo View Post
A twist lock plug should always be twisted into place . That gives maximum contact of the blades. Other wise you get hot spots on the connector. The spinner cape ensures that the movement of the cord won't untwist the plug.
Agree 100%. Had no idea that the L5 connection was a twist type. I guess I eventually found out on my own, but it could have been a great thing for a dealer to share with me during my PDI/orientation as a first-time RV owner.
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Old 03-01-2020, 01:32 PM   #7
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anything with an L in the part number is locking. I prefer it use them (must have mate) than the regular type when I am using cords and connectors that could pull out of of the sockets.
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Old 03-01-2020, 02:44 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by franktafl View Post
anything with an L in the part number is locking. I prefer it use them (must have mate) than the regular type when I am using cords and connectors that could pull out of of the sockets.
Makes sense. However, all my shore power cords (whether L5 or TT) have the threaded lock ring too. How many ways must a plug lock? Also makes me wonder how many times someone has driven off with their power cord still in place. Yikes.
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Old 03-01-2020, 03:29 PM   #9
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standard USA household voltage

The standard voltage in the USA is 120V and has been for quite some time
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Old 03-01-2020, 03:32 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by leisuresolar@gmail.com View Post
The standard voltage in the USA is 120V and has been for quite some time
Sounds fine. Just amazed at how many of my US appliances, gadgets, and machines are labeled as 110 V or 125 V. ??? Just confusing to me, that’s all.
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Old 03-01-2020, 07:36 PM   #11
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Wire size.

I agree with all reply's above. I just wanted to add that insulation on the wire also affects the ratings or loads the wire can carry, and if aluminum is used the wire would be one size larger for the same amperage. I haven't seen aluminum in my trailer, don't think its used for RV's anymore. The battery cables are a different story, now your talking about low voltage and hi amperage. Need to be careful there because of the current causing heat and voltage loss.
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Old 03-01-2020, 07:53 PM   #12
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Thanks Larry. I am not doing any rewiring on the unit. I was just surprised at how 'thin' the wires were on a new 2020 travel trailer (22' box length) that connected the batteries to the coach. The last unit I had (26' ft box length) had much thicker gauge.

I can only presume that mainstream manufacturers are attentive to the electrical needs and governing codes.
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Old 03-01-2020, 08:02 PM   #13
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The wires to the battery can be very small depending on your load.
Things that affect cable size: Loads and invertor,. distance to loads from battery.
If the battery's start the gen. you need to consider length.
If you have and invertor, battery charger. Probably more to consider when talking about the batteries. Also need protection on DC and AC. I don't trust the manufacture they only think of liability and cost, the bottom line is there bottom line or profit.
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Old 03-02-2020, 04:16 AM   #14
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National electric codes should be followed on all wiring for travel trailers , Rv etc. 8 ga cu wire such as type SO or SJ is good for appox 45 amps and 6 ga cu SO or SJ is good for appox 60 amps so you are ok with what you have on both trailers. When dealing with batteries which are DC voltage the wire gauge needs to be bigger because voltage is lower so current draw is higher. Look at your car or truck wire size to your battery and you will it is either 8 or 6 ga. 110,115,120,125 volts in the USA are the same as it does vary from minute to minute. Your wire gauges to both trailers are sufficient and I doubt lenth of cable is an issue either if less than 25 ft.
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Old 03-02-2020, 04:37 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edwin sandel View Post
National electric codes should be followed on all wiring for travel trailers , Rv etc. 8 ga cu wire such as type SO or SJ is good for appox 45 amps and 6 ga cu SO or SJ is good for appox 60 amps so you are ok with what you have on both trailers. When dealing with batteries which are DC voltage the wire gauge needs to be bigger because voltage is lower so current draw is higher. Look at your car or truck wire size to your battery and you will it is either 8 or 6 ga. 110,115,120,125 volts in the USA are the same as it does vary from minute to minute. Your wire gauges to both trailers are sufficient and I doubt lenth of cable is an issue either if less than 25 ft.
Amps or watts is what melts the insulation on the wire. The wire has an amperage rating base on the voltage and the insulation the insulation is also rated at different temperatures . The NEC will give you the different ratings. The 25’ comment is true for 120 volts but low voltage like 12 volts you need to pay attention because the voltage is lower. I could go into resistance but I think let’s keep it simple. That’s why transmission lines are much higher. I work on a 765,000 volt line in upstate New York. It carried lots of power over 70 miles, little lose because of the voltage.
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