By Mike Sokol
Welcome to my J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session, a weekly column where I answer your basic electrical questions. If you’re a newbie who’s never plugged in a shore power cord (or ask – what’s a shore power cord?), or wonder why your daughter’s hair dryer keeps tripping the circuit breaker, this column is for you. Send your questions to Mike Sokol at mike (at) noshockzone.org with the subject line – JAM.
What’s the best way to run a power cord to my 50-amp RV out in the driveway that’s 40 feet from my house outlet? The only thing I want to run is the refrigerator, and I really don’t want to drag out my 25-ft., 50-amp shore power cord, plus an extension cord. What would you do? —Jim
Here’s how I would do it. Since you can easily get by on 10 amps or so, I would get a nice 12-gauge/50-ft. extension cord rated for 20 amps of current. Yes, you could probably use a lighter/cheaper cord, but to minimize voltage drop I would stick with a 12-gauge cord.
Next, I would get a 15/50-amp dogbone adapter that plugs right in the side of your RV’s shore power inlet. I like the ones with the short whip hanging straight down and the right-angle head. This eliminates any torque moment that would twist a side-mounted plug out of the extension cord socket.
Then plug this into a dedicated GFCI-protected outlet mounted on the side of your house fed by a 20-amp circuit breaker. If you do get a random GFCI trip, then turn off all the circuit breakers in your RV power panel except for the one powering the refrigerator.
There you go, all done. Please let us know how this works. —Mike
OK, everyone. Remember that electricity is a useful and powerful force, so we all need to pay attention to safety precautions while using it.
Let’s play safe out there….
Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 40+ years in the industry. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at Amazon.com. For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.