Hot!Planning for electrical needs in a concession trailer

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jtetterton
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2011/06/13 00:50:36 (permalink)

Planning for electrical needs in a concession trailer

First off, great site!  Very informative, I've been searching the forums and it's a wealth of information!
 
My better half and myself are starting a mobile concession stand and I have a few electrical question to ask of you fine people.  We are purchasing a 6x10 enclosed cargo trailer, brand new, completely bare (except for plywood walls, etc).  I'm pretty good when it comes to extending a circuit inside my house or adding a new outlet and that sort of thing, but I need a little help with this project.  I'll start with the equipment we expect to have inside:
 
Hot Dog Steamer: 1200 watts
Holiday 7cu ft Chest Freezer : not sure (haven't purchased yet and can't find info online)
Vita-mix blender: 11.5 amps/1380 watts
50 cup coffee maker: ~1000 watts
6000 btu a/c: 5.4 amps/560 watts
1x 4ft fluorescent light strip(2 bulbs)
A couple extra outlets for charging cell phones and running laptops as well.
 
I'm pretty sure that covers the BIG items, we may look into adding a small dorm style fridge later on.  That covers what we have inside, now I need to know how it will all be connected.  I'm perfectly comfortable running conduit and wiring all the outlets, etc.  What I need assistance with is:
 
1.  How it all ties together at the main panel.. (is a 60 amp panel sufficient?)
2.  How I should segregate the circuits.. (separate circuit for lighting, freezer, a/c)
3.  What size generator should I buy.
4.  How do I actually get power to the panel (be it plugging into a house or from my generator) 
 
If I haven't been clear on anything, please ask me, thanks again for the great site!
 
#1

18 Replies Related Threads

    chefbuba
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    Re:Planning for electrical needs in a concession trailer 2011/06/13 01:30:37 (permalink)
    Welcome.....
    Keep searching!
    There are many threads on power, how do I convert watts to amps, what size generator do I need etc.
    I believe these questions have been answered here time and time again.
    There are several very knowledgable people here that have contributed to these threads. I think you will find your answers there.
    #2
    JodyP
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    Re:Planning for electrical needs in a concession trailer 2011/06/13 07:25:12 (permalink)
    To convert to amps divide the watts by the volts.
    1200 watts divided by 120 volts = 10 amps.
    Then add up the total amount of amps to see what you need. If you are doing festivals don't plan on more than a 20 amp supply. If you are using a generator purchase one with a higher amp rating then you need. If not your generator will run at full tilt.(your usage with the equipment you listed would be around 39 amps.) You need to install a electric panel with a split 240 four wire coming into it and add breakers for each of the major units. We sometimes run two electric cords at festivals to power our trailer.
    #3
    jtetterton
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    Re:Planning for electrical needs in a concession trailer 2011/06/13 07:48:44 (permalink)
    Thanks for the replies, so if I 'm reading right, for 39 amps, I would need a 5000 watt generator (6k watt peak).
     
    I'm still confused about how the power gets into the panel though, do I hardwire the female end of extension cords and let them dangle out of the back of the box?  Hardwire 2 20's and one 50 and use whichever the situation calls for?  I guess I will call an electrician and ask.
     
    Thanks again,
     
    Jason
    #4
    Buck & Vi's
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    Re:Planning for electrical needs in a concession trailer 2011/06/13 11:17:06 (permalink)
    you'll need a 50 amp. wire, to run from your panel box at the trailer to a recpt. at a pole , genset, etc. where ever you get your power from.. when you plug that in, that powers up your panel box. 
    #5
    Chicnscoop
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    Re:Planning for electrical needs in a concession trailer 2011/06/13 12:04:11 (permalink)
    You will probably need to get a 100amp panel because the 60 amps are getting harder to find all the time.
     
    If you have a friend with a travel trailer check out the cord and cord storage on that. You can get small access doors from rv parts suppliers. Be sure to get all your water pumps and accessories for 120v ac power then you will not have to get a power converter like in an rv.
    #6
    jtetterton
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    Re:Planning for electrical needs in a concession trailer 2011/06/13 20:08:38 (permalink)
    Ok, that makes sense, probably looks like a dryer wire or my stove wire right?
     
    What do I do if the venue only has 20amp connections available?  Is there a way to feed several 20 amps into a 60 or 100 amp panel?
    #7
    Buck & Vi's
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    Re:Planning for electrical needs in a concession trailer 2011/06/14 05:35:29 (permalink)
    you will need the adapters i wrote about you can get these at any r/v store or some home depots, and lowes have them from 50 amp to 30 amp the 30 amp will be like any reg. household 110 plug around 20 -30 bucks, of course you will not be able to run all your equipment on that 20 amp plug... you'll have to pick and choose what you want running at any particular time... with us we have to of course have the refridgeration first, then we pick and choose ... the exhaust fan, micro wave, etc most time we have to shut one thing off to turn another on like shut the fan off to run the micro wave, when done nuking turn fAN BACK ON. etc. etc.of course we turn the hot water off get it hot first thing then it goes off t stay's hot quite a while. you get the picture...? never can have the a/c running any where with only 20 amp 110 volts
    #8
    JodyP
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    Re:Planning for electrical needs in a concession trailer 2011/06/14 07:44:39 (permalink)
    Our trailer came equipped with a 50 amp outside connector. Since I knew that it would almost be impossible to get a 50 amp service at a festival I converted it to a 25 amp. I went to Home Depot and actually purchased 25 amp male and female connectors. The male connector is attached to the trailer electric panel and the female connector is attached to a electric cord. If you plan on running off a quiet generator then wire up your trailer for it and use it for primary power. We do like Buck & Vi's and turn things off if we need power for another piece of equipment. Our biggest problem is running the air, our unit draws 14 amps. We are probably going to add a Honda generator for backup power.
    #9
    Dr of BBQ
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    Re:Planning for electrical needs in a concession trailer 2011/06/14 08:06:37 (permalink)
    Electrical used equipment is always less expensive than propane or natural gas used equipment because it's not the choice made by most people in the restaurant industry. That by it's self should tell you which way to go. And if it doesn't push you in one direction or another remember the very recent news story that forecast a 20 to 40% increase in electrical rates for the country.
    #10
    chefbuba
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    Re:Planning for electrical needs in a concession trailer 2011/06/14 11:13:04 (permalink)
    Buck & Vi's

    you'll need a 50 amp. wire, to run from your panel box at the trailer to a recpt. at a pole , genset, etc. where ever you get your power from.. when you plug that in, that powers up your panel box. 

     
    6ga/4 wire cable.........$3-4 per foot + cost of ends, water proof marine ends are about $100 ea.


    #11
    Buck & Vi's
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    Re:Planning for electrical needs in a concession trailer 2011/06/14 18:04:00 (permalink)
    my ends are'nt water proof but yup .....
    #12
    jtetterton
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    Re:Planning for electrical needs in a concession trailer 2011/06/15 08:38:44 (permalink)
    Great info, thanks all.
     
    I'm rethinking if I even want to wire the trailer to start, but I have decided to go with the Honda eu3000is quiet generator.
     
    Jason
    #13
    chefbuba
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    Re:Planning for electrical needs in a concession trailer 2011/06/15 10:17:28 (permalink)
    I have the same generator, it's 10 yrs old, never skipped a beat.
    #14
    roadkillgrill
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    Re:Planning for electrical needs in a concession trailer 2011/06/20 00:20:37 (permalink)
    I bought a 16,000peak 8000w power inverter 12vdc / 110v ac off of Ebay, that shipped from MS. I figured I had just thrown $359 away, but it has been GREAT. I have run two ac's, refrig, two freezers. In a pinch, it's been a life saver.
     
    post edited by roadkillgrill - 2011/06/20 00:22:38
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    akgouger1113
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    Re:Planning for electrical needs in a concession trailer 2014/05/02 22:11:41 (permalink)
    I just purchased a concession trailer for my mobile coffee shop.  It has a 4 pronged HUGE electrical plug that I thought I could fit into my dryer outlet but could not cause it is a 3 prong receptacle.  Pardon the lack of knowledge but I am so clueless on this!  I was wanting to practice my espresso skills at home and check to make sure everything works before doing my first show.  Here are some questions maybe you guys could help me with.  I might add that I am a female so please use laymen's terms. 
     
    1.  Is there an adapter so that I can plug it into my dryer receptacle?
    2.  What will I need as far as power at festivals if they offer electricity?
    3.  If I have to run a generator what size do I need? 
     
    #16
    Midnights
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    Re:Planning for electrical needs in a concession trailer 2014/05/05 11:25:47 (permalink)
    Posting pictures of the plug and receptacle will help us in answering your question. If your plug is a 240v/50A plug, and your outlet is a 240v/30A, then there are adapters. If it's a 120v/30A, then there aren't adapters.
    You will likely need an RV "dogbone" adapter to convert your four prong to the standard RV (which might be the same as your dryer outlet). Many festivals will only have 110V.
    The generator size question can't be answered unless we know how much total power you need.
    #17
    TamaleTrolley
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    Re:Planning for electrical needs in a concession trailer 2014/05/08 00:31:15 (permalink)
    I'm not competent to speak to your questions about an A/C shore power panel--but I will tell you that a 5K generator is not adequate for you, not even close, let alone a 3K. Even assuming manufacturer's specs are correct (they aren't) and that you won't add a buttload of equipment later (you will) and generator breakers throw precisely when they are supposed to (they don't) you are still calculating within a hair's breadth.
     
    Juggling appliances sucks. You most need to do it during peak periods when you're too busy to do it or even think about it. Juggling is not a tenable way to address your electrical requirements.
     
    I don't know how you could make any money just with hot dogs and percolated coffee, but you will need at least 7K watts to do that without shore power, better plan for 10K. Sorry if I'm being abrasive but you really can't budget watts like you would balance a checkbook, you need to way overshoot and then overshoot some more.
    #18
    Midnights
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    Re:Planning for electrical needs in a concession trailer 2014/05/09 00:27:00 (permalink)
    Also remember that you can never count on pulling the max power from a generator for long without burning it up. The info I read when researching generators said to account for 20% more wattage than your max usage to not burn up your generator prematurely.
    #19
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