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Thread: Charging at Campgrounds and RV Parks

  1. #21
    mod squad TEG's Avatar
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    Even though the Tesla MC240 says "30 amp capable" right on the front, I don't think it is compatible with the RV TT-30 socket. An adapter cable such as this:

    only provides 120V, and the MC240 expects 240V.
    I think the 'proper' way to hook to a TT-30 would be using the Tesla MC120 with a TT-30 to NEMA5-15 adapter like this:

    Unfortunately the MC120 is designed for lower current applications, typically drawing only 12amps. What would be nice is yet another charge cable that had a TT-30 end, 30amp GFCI, and the pilot signal electronics to tell the Roadster that it can draw 24 amps @ 120V from the circuit.


    The 50 amp RV socket (AKA "NEMA 14-50 Range socket") is used a little differently in RV campgrounds than it is in home use. Rather than powering a 240V device directly (such as electric range or welder), the RV typically splits the two "legs" of the 240V into two 120V circuits. One powers all the 120V outlets (e.g., TV, Microwave, lights) and the other is used solely for the air conditioner. Because some RV/campsites only have the 20amp 120V outlet + 30 AMP 120V outlet, and many RVs want the NEMA14-50 socket, some have created so called 'cheater cables' that let you take the two campground 120V outlets, pass them through the NEMA14-50 then split them right back to two 120V paths in the RV. Even though the NEMA14-50 socket & plug were used, no 240V devices would be drawing from both legs. Those wanting to charge a Tesla from a NEMA14-50 should be weary of these 'cheater cables', particularly with the "Roadster Foundry" kit. The circuit breakers behind the cheater cable probably don't have the right amp ratings to support full 40 or 50 amp charging. If you plugged both legs into TT-30s at separate camp sites you might get 240V@30amps (if the two TT-30s are different phase) which might work with the MC240, but if you use the NEMA5-15 adapter and have one leg hanging off of a 20 amp breaker, the max charge current could be very limited. (Is it possible to tell the VDS to draw 240V@16amps in this case?)

    By the way, much of what can be said for campground hook ups is also true for "shore power" at boat docks.
    Last edited by TEG; 06-16-2009 at 03:29 PM.

  2. #22
    mod squad TEG's Avatar
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    Last edited by TEG; 06-07-2009 at 10:44 AM.

  3. #23
    mod squad TEG's Avatar
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    A bit more on the TT-30 to NEMA14-50 adapter cables that can be found at some RV supply stores:

    NEMA14-50 based RV owners sometimes use them when stuck at a campsite with only a TT-30. Instead of running two out of phase 120V legs to the NEMA14-50, it takes the one 120V leg and presents it twice. This lets both RV circuits draw from the same 120V source, but could easily trip the breaker behind the TT-30 if you turned on all the appliances (including air conditioning) in an RV that was designed for a NEMA14-50 that has a 50 amp breaker.

    "Dog Bone Adapter"

    The 50 amp, female end of the adapter. It has 2 hots, one neutral, and the ground plugs. There is a jumper built into this end of the adapter that joins the 2 hots together. 30 amps of 120 volt power is then fed to the main breaker box in the RV, via the shore power cord. Think of it like having an extension cord with 2 plug's.
    Unlike a "normal" NEMA14-50, taking a reading between the two "hots" would likely produce 0V, not 240V, so I suspect the MC240 wouldn't work with this.

    I find that the RV community is rather lax about the term "50 amps".
    For instance, all sorts of places sell this as the "30 amp to 50 amp adapter":

    Just because you see a NEMA14-50 don't assume it has a 50amp breaker, or is even 240 volt capable.
    You really have to know what is behind the NEMA14-50 as I belabored in the "NEMA14-50: How much current can you pull?" topic.

    I gather some campgrounds dislike those adapters.
    http://www.sacredrocksreserve.com/rv.../electric.html
    ...connecting 50 amps to a 30 amp adapter is absolutely forbidden, not to mention hazardous to the entire Reserve. Don't underestimate electricity!...
    Last edited by TEG; 06-07-2009 at 10:11 AM.

  4. #24
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    Any way to map out RV parks with true 14-50 outlets?

    For longer road trips, stopping for a one hour break to gain another 35 mile range would be convenient. But where are all the possible locations?

  5. #25
    mod squad TEG's Avatar
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    This site shows many RV parks with 50 amp service. Pick your state and search on "50 amp".

  6. #26
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    Thanks, TEG. That looks useful for the west coasters and will be a good resource. For me, I'm interested in the east coast.

  7. #27
    mod squad TEG's Avatar
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    East Verses West RV Parks
    ...we traveled on the Eastern Seaboard of the United States....
    ...We stayed at a lot of campgrounds and discovered some interesting differences...
    ...the majority of the campgrounds only have 30 amp service...
    ...it wasn’t until we hit Nebraska traveling back west that we found regular 50 amp service at the majority of campgrounds...
    ...The East Coast does in fact have campgrounds with 50 amp service but they are few and far between...
    Many who commented on the above site agreed with their assessment.

  8. #28
    mod squad TEG's Avatar
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    Google on things like RV 50 amp and a state and you may find some.
    For example, Maryland in particular:

    Antietam Hagerstown KOA
    5 30-amp electric sites, 7 50-amp electric sites

    Aqua-Land on the Potomac CG & Marina
    84 30-amp electric sites, 2 50-amp electric sites

    Bar Harbor RV Park and Marina
    3 30-amp electric sites, 49 50-amp electric sites

    Buttonwood Beach RV Resort
    537 50-amp electric sites

    Castaways RV Resort and Campground
    18 30-amp electric sites, 318 50-amp electric sites

    Cherry Hill Park
    350 30-amp electric sites, 300 50-amp electric sites

    Double G RV Park
    130 30-amp electric sites, 48 50-amp electric sites

    Duck Neck Campground
    52 30-amp electric sites, 1 50-amp electric site

    Duncan's Family Campground
    225 30-amp electric sites, 20 50-amp electric sites

    Fort Whaley Campground
    34 30-amp electric sites, 134 50-amp electric sites

    Frontier Town Campground
    50/30/20 amp electrical service on 544 sites

    Holiday Park
    42 30-amp electric sites, 3 50-amp electric sites

    Little Orleans Campground & Park Area
    102 30-amp electric sites, 20 50-amp electric sites

    Morris Meadows Recreation Farm
    50 30-amp electric sites, 25 50-amp electric sites

    Ramblin' Pines
    4 30-amp electric sites, 147 50-amp electric sites

    Take It Easy Campground
    230 30-amp electric sites, 30 50-amp electric sites

    Woodlands Camping Resort
    56 50-amp electric sites

    Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park Camp-Resort
    80 30-amp electric sites, 91 50-amp electric sites









  9. #29
    Thanks for the info TEG! I never knew there were so many complications, but now I'll be on the lookout.

    When Tesla delivers my MC240 I'll be ready for roadtripping this summer.

    Another suggestion: if you want something more specific than a whole state, you can Google map a town, then do a "Search nearby" and look for RV Parks.

    One note though, I've found that some parks don't really have sites for travelers. Instead, they are full of folks who lease a site for the entire season. That's especially true near the beach and on the Chesapeake Bay.

    It's always a good idea to call first!

  10. #30
    Roadster#433, Model S#S37 Cottonwood's Avatar
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    I made up a set of Charger Adapters to use most plugs that have 240V service.

    An addition that I created was a "Y" adapter so that I could share the power with an RV and not need my own 14-50 receptacle. See Tesla Adapters for details of this "Y" cable. Here is my RV "Y" being used at the High Plains Raceway with my mobile version of the HPC: RV "Y" at HPR This RV owner had a 14-50 pass through to her race car workshop trailer that I tapped into.

    The "Y" works well in a sharing mode because most RVs don't pull anywhere close to the 50 Amp rating. In fact, because the RV at HPC was not doing much, I pulled 40 Amps most of the day with no problems.

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