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Power Inlet for DIY Build/Ambulance Camper Conversion

Question:

I am converting an ambulance that needs a new electric inlet box. The ambulance has 20 amp service inlet box that is worn out and missing the lid. Will my 20 amp extension cord plug into a 30 amp inlet box or do I need a 20 amp box?

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Expert Reply:

If your electrical distribution system is not rated for 30 amps you should not be trying to plug into a 30 amp RV power pedestal at a camp site. From the attached images you are correct, you obviously have a 20 amp plug as it is clearly labeled for that rating. This does not mean your ambulance conversion project has a power distribution system rated only for 20 amps, just that your power cord is limited to such.

In the RV world you primarily see a camper with either a 30 amp or, the larger 5th wheels and class A motorhomes, a 50 amp service. RV's have their unique plug designs too. From the image attached, you probably have a NEMA L6-20amp locking industrial grade outlet. I am guessing this is because you have an ambulance and for residential/commercial you have 20 amp services, they simply put a twist plug in place for better security of the electrical connection where the vehicle was stationed. They did not run a 30 amp service, or higher, that an RV would use because they did not need it. My speculation is they simply connected to the electric that already exists within the building because that was sufficient.

My recommendation to you is to upgrade to a 30 amp service. You may already have a distribution system within the vehicle that can handle this, you need to verify this for safety. Have someone that is knowledgeable enough examine your electrical distribution panel and internal wiring. If you can confirm that it is okay to connect to a 30 amp service replace the power inlet and power cord.

For a basic 30 amp power inlet, I suggest the Mighty Cord Replacement RV Power Inlet, # A10-30INVP in white or # A10-30INBKVP for black. This twist-lock male plug accepts a 30-amp, twist-lock female plug and comes with a dust cover. It has a polyester construction and is weather resistant. The face plate dimensions are 3-7/8" tall x 3-5/16" wide with mounting holes at 2-7/16" center-to-center. Use the Mighty Cord RV Power Cord - 30 Amps - 25' Long, # A10-3025ED to make your connection to the power pedestal at the campsite or generator.

Once you change out the power inlet, you can also use the Mighty Cord RV Power Cord Adapter Plug, # A10-1530DAVP. This lets you easily adapt your RV's 30-amp power inlet for use with a 15-amp power cord. Doing so limits your power draw and what you can run within your camper, but it does allow you to plug into a residential electric circuit such as an outlet in your garage.

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expert reply by:
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Michael R

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