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Author Topic: 15-50 (range plug) or CS50 to L14-30 distro  (Read 596 times)

Andrew Pantess

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15-50 (range plug) or CS50 to L14-30 distro
« on: September 17, 2020, 07:56:27 am »

I recently acquired a Motion Labs Rac Pac that's L14-30 in as this is a pretty common connector to generators.  I also bought a 14-50 (range plug) adapter to hook into this source of power if available in a facility or on a generator. However, my friend told me this is a bad idea and I can fry the cable.  Going from a 30A source to a 50A distro is ok but not the other way around.

I have seen this done with RV's and there are a lot of pigtails/adapters sold online for this purpose, so why is it bad for running sound? The 50A supply has a breaker (at 50A) and my Rac Pac has a breaker (at 30A) - so how can the system pull more than 30A?  My feeder cable is 100' of 8/4.  WOuld 6/4 be better? I had also planned to buy a CS pigtail to connect to that power source as well.

What are your thoughts on this setup, and should I be doing something different?  I hear "DIY" distros are bad which is why I bought the 30A Rac Pac, but do I need to breaker the 50A feed at the source down to 30A? with DIY subpanel?  Like with a short length of 6/4 to a subpanel, with 30A breaker and L14-30 out? Or do I need to bite the bullet, get another 50A RacPac and 6/4 feeder (probably $1,000 for all that kit)?

Please let me know how this is commonly done because I see a lot of 30A L14-30 Rac Pac in the wild and never thought connecting to a 50A supply was bad juju.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2020, 10:56:58 am by tazunemono »
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Brian Adams

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Re: 15-50 (range plug) or CS50 to L14-30 distro
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2020, 07:04:38 pm »

Hi Andrew, welcome to the forum!

First off, Motion Labs builds amazing stuff, so you've chosen wisely there.

Technically, everything in the path should be sized for the maximum current that could be on the circuit. If the breaker at the panel is 50A, there could theoretically be 50A on the line before it gets to your 30A breaker, which would be too much for your 8/4 to handle.

Does your RacPac have a 30A main breaker? I don't think I've ever seen a RacPac with a main breaker, so that's why I ask. If it does, that kind of changes things slightly. If the max your distro will pull is 30A, due to voltage and current loss over the length of the cable, you can pull more than 30A from the main panel without tripping your breaker. Probably not 50A, but more than 30.

8/4 is more than enough for a 30A circuit, so that extra capacity gives you a bit of a safety net. It wouldn't be legal to use on a 50A circuit, but if you have a 30A main breaker, I don't foresee too many scenarios where you'd be in actual danger.

Your first suggestion of a small panel with a 50A (or higher) input to a 30A output would allow you to connect to a 50A circuit, and would probably pass an inspection.

I primarily use 50A RacPacs with 6/4 cable, and it works well. However, with everything being so much more efficient these days, 50A is overkill in most situations. It's amazing the amount of stuff I can run on a single 20A circuit. I doubt that it's worth upgrading your whole setup and carrying even heavier cable for extra capacity that you'll probably never use.
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doug johnson2

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Re: 15-50 (range plug) or CS50 to L14-30 distro
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2020, 01:09:38 pm »

In much of this area, the only way to do this and pass an inspection would be to have a 30 amp main breaker on the service end of your feeder.  So, 50 amp plug to 6/4 or better to 30 amp breaker to 30 amp receptacle.
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Andrew Pantess

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Re: 15-50 (range plug) or CS50 to L14-30 distro
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2020, 10:48:48 am »

In much of this area, the only way to do this and pass an inspection would be to have a 30 amp main breaker on the service end of your feeder.  So, 50 amp plug to 6/4 or better to 30 amp breaker to 30 amp receptacle.

Hello and thank you - regarding a subpanel - do these need to be UL/ETL listed as well?  That's why I got the Rac Pac (ETL listed).  But constructing a small subpanel with a 50A CS input on a 10' length of 6/4, a 30A breaker, and a L14-30 output is not difficult. From there I can run my 8/4 to the Rac Pac and be in compliance? I suppose this varies from region to region (AHJ ...)
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Andrew Pantess

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Re: 15-50 (range plug) or CS50 to L14-30 distro
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2020, 10:57:02 am »

Hi Andrew, welcome to the forum!

First off, Motion Labs builds amazing stuff, so you've chosen wisely there.

Technically, everything in the path should be sized for the maximum current that could be on the circuit. If the breaker at the panel is 50A, there could theoretically be 50A on the line before it gets to your 30A breaker, which would be too much for your 8/4 to handle.

Does your RacPac have a 30A main breaker? I don't think I've ever seen a RacPac with a main breaker, so that's why I ask.

My mistake, it does not - it has individual breakers and no main breaker. It's this one: 1104-2-DD-053-0003

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8/4 is more than enough for a 30A circuit, so that extra capacity gives you a bit of a safety net. It wouldn't be legal to use on a 50A circuit, but if you have a 30A main breaker, I don't foresee too many scenarios where you'd be in actual danger.

Your first suggestion of a small panel with a 50A (or higher) input to a 30A output would allow you to connect to a 50A circuit, and would probably pass an inspection.

This was same suggestion as someone else offered up.  I could use a 10' length of 6/4 to a subpanel with 30A breaker and L14-30 out. Run my 8/4 from there .. to the Rac Pac

I found this commercial option, not sure if it's listed or not: https://www.badassextensioncords.com/30a-power-distribution-breakout-box-w-2-circuit-quad-box or this one https://www.badassextensioncords.com/bad-ass-50a-power-distribution-breakout-box-w-2-circuit-quad-box - same idea though, short length of 50A rated to a subpanel with step down outlets.

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I doubt that it's worth upgrading your whole setup and carrying even heavier cable for extra capacity that you'll probably never use.

I run a small reggae sound system with all Crown Marcrotech ... soooo :)  I can use the capacity! Ultimately I need a 50A distro or switch to PowerSoft/LabGruppen amp tech (on 220v) but working with what I have for the time being :)
« Last Edit: September 22, 2020, 10:04:16 am by Andrew Pantess »
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Re: 15-50 (range plug) or CS50 to L14-30 distro
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2020, 10:57:02 am »


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