Friday, October 14, 2016

Dogbones for the Beagle Bus

A dogbone in RV parlance is a nice electrical adapter.  These adapters allow you to plug your RV into an electric socket that is different than the one your  RV comes with.    Why do they call them dogbones?  Because the best ones have an connector on each end of a thick electrical cord and looks like a dogbone.

RV Dogbones

I prefer things that are easy to use.  I like the dogbone adapters that have grips and handles I can get my hands on.  This makes it easy to connect and disconnect the adapters from the motorhome power cord.

RV Power adapter

There are some adapters that are much smaller, but I don't think they are made as well as the dogbone types.  They place all the stress of a connection on the RV cord.   I try and baby anything permanently connected to the RV so I don't like this added stress. They can also be a pain to get on and off since they sometimes are hard to get a good grip on.

If you buy a dogbone adapter make sure the cable is thick.  Thicker is better and it should be as big around as your thumb - 10awg or better.  Remember a smaller number is thicker/better in this case  than a larger number.

For the Fuse, make sure one end is a female 30 amp connector.  You plug the Fuse's shore power cable  into this side.  Make sure the other end is male so you can plug it into the outlet on the other side.

30 Amp Connector
30 amp connector

The Fuse and most small RVs come equipped with a 110v 30 amp connector.  This connector prongs look like a V with a ground prong at the bottom.  This is very common and for most places you go you will not need any type of adapter.  But there are 3 cases when're you might.

15 amp connector
15 amp connector

The most common case is when you want to plug your RV into a standard plug at your house. This plug is a 15amp plug.   I do this often when getting ready for a trip to get the refrigerator down to temperature.  Remember with 15 amps, you have to be careful you do not draw too much current.  On  my Motorhone,  with the batteries full, powering the refrigerator and running the A/C on low takes all 15 amps.   Anything else will trip the house breaker.

50 amp connector
50 amp connector

What if you go to a nice RV park and they put you in a huge pull through site designed for a Prevost bus.  You will most likely find 50 amp connection.  In many cases you will find both a 50 amp and a 30 amp plug.  But if there is only a 50 amp plug or the 30 amp plug does not want to work you will need one of these.

L5-30 Conector
L5-30 connector

Another dogbone I carry is a 30amp L5-30 adapter.  This is used to connect into most portable generators that supply 30amp power.  It is an L or locking connector since once you plug it in you twist it slightly and it locks in place so it won't fall out.  I have a large gasoline generator for other purposes.  If I was running it for other reasons (like keeping my refrigerator running in the house if the power was out) I would connect the Fuse to it as well and save the LP gas.

Safety is important when working around electricity.  When using an adapter, you need to occasionally check it.  Make sure the connection is solid and not loose.  Make sure you keep it off of the ground so it does not get wet and cause problems.  One of the most important things you can do is to feel it and make sure it is not getting hot.  If it is,  you are pulling too much current for the setup and you need to re-think how you have things connected.

The dogbones I have purchased and carry with me are:
Camco 55175 PowerGrip Dogbone Electrical Adapter with Handle, 18-Inch, yellow  -  This is the 50amp adapter I carry

Camco 55165 15M/30F 12" PowerGrip Dogbone Electrical Adapter with Handle - This is the 15amp household adapter I carry.  You really need one of these even if you do not get the other ones.

Camco 55272 12" L5-30 AMP Locking 3-Prong Plug / TT-30 30 AMP Standard Receptacle PowerGrip Generator Adapter  -  This is  the adapter I carry to connect to an external generator.

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