Choosing the Right Extension Cord

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If you an extension cord to plug in your RV to the shoreline power, it’s essential that you utilize the right one. We’ve seen it happen far too many times: an RV owner uses a standard orange extension cord with a 15 amp rating to run their 30 amp power center. This is asking for trouble as the excessive power draw can overheat the cord and connection which can melt the cord and possibly cause a fire.

This issue can be easily avoided by taking advantage of an extension cord with the right rating. In this lesson, Dave Solberg teaches you how to select the proper extension cord for your needs. He explains why lower rated cords crumble under the pressure of the high amp draw associated with roof AC unit and other RV appliances, and introduces a simple tip to guarantee you get your RV appliances up and running without risking damage to your vehicle or your home. You’ll also learn why it’s so important to understand power rating and amp gauge when selecting an extension cord to power your unit. When in doubt, go with the heavier option!

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5 Responses to “Choosing the Right Extension Cord”
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Ken. Thanks for visiting the RV Repair Club and the opportunity to assist with your extension cord question. For a 30 amp service I would recommend using a 10 gauge/30 amp cord which will match up exactly to your existing shoreline cord and you will not experience any drop out. Plus do not go any further than 25 feet for a total of 50 otherwise you will experience power drop. For 50 amp service, most shoreline cords are 6/3 + 8/1 STW. If you must use a residential cord, stay with the heavy duty 10 gauge – 15amp and make sure you understand the limitations of what you can and can’t use inside the rig!

      Reply
  1. trish

    So if I”m plugging in my 40ft Coach with a 50amp plug – I put on the 30amp adapter, followed by the 15 amp adapter to plug into my house plug (using a typical orange extension cord)….. What should I do different? Still unclear. Thanks

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Trish. Thanks for visiting the RV Repair Club and the opportunity to assist with your electrical question. First I would recommend having a certified electrician install a dedicated plug in for your rig in the garage. It can be a 20 amp, however if you are reducing a 50 amp coach down to plug into a typical 15 amp garage outlet, you are asking for trouble. Most outlets are “ganged” or connected to other outlets along the wall so if you have a refrigerator, freezer, or air compressor plugged into that same circuit, now you don’t have a full 15 amps. Also, your 40’ rig will draw about 8 amps for the refrigerator, but will also draw anywhere from 3-9 amps for the converter to charge the batteries periodically! Do yourself a favor, get a dedicated outlet for your rig!

      Reply

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