Very new, electric issue

Hi everyone. Im planning a project involving audio production. My plan was to originally buy a travel trailer (IE: Jayco Jay Feather sport or similar). However, my project requires me to gut the interior of the trailer and rebuild it, which seems like a waste of money. I went to the RV dealer, and he said look into a cargo trailer. SO, I was looking at something like a 8 X 14 or similar cargo trailer. The only thing that I'm not sure of at this point is power issues. How would I get power into the trailer? I read up on breaker boxes a little, but I don't know what type of box to get, or how many AMPS I would need. Also, is this the type of box that allows me to plug it up to an outlet?

To give you an idea, I will be running a baisc desktop computer and monitor, 2 powered studio speakers, a mixing console, keyboard and a roof AC / Heating unit (do they make them together in one unit?). Maybe a few other small things, but nothing major like a fridge. Is this reasonable, or am I thinking the undoable?

I can use all the help I can get, and any feedback would be welcomed! I am an audio engineer, so I do have limited knowledge of electrical things. Thank you in advance.
Re: Very new, electric issue

You really make money selling that stuff? :laugh: ;) (Seriously, it sounds really professional!)

Welcome to the forum, Ryan.

If you are going to air condition a box, then you better insulate the walls floor and ceiling. You'll have condensation issues, too.

Where are you going to "plug it up to an outlet?" We're all used to RV parks. RVs have a particular hookup that differs based on the number of appliances inside. 30 amp service for some and 50 amp service for larger RVs with more conveniences. But if you are aiming to "hook up" at concerts, parks, and portable generators then that's a little different setup.

For what you listed in your post, I'm sure 30 amp service would work for you. The A/C would take about half of that.

For audio work, you'll also need to add some really good power line filtering for those outlets, and I would have a good UPS in between also.

Send me a private message, and I'll get into it some more with you. (It's a bit off the RV topic.)
RE: Very new, electric issue

Thanx for the response. Yes, this will be somewhat like a vendor type thing. The venues I go to will have power. As far as insulation goes, the floors, ceiling and walls will be covered with Dynamat, a sound resistant barrier. Ontop of the dynamat will be studio fabric / foam and Auralex sound proofing material.
Aside from audio recording, I will also be doing DJ'ing and Karaoke. How I do it now is I drop off all the equipment and unload it and go to work. I would love the ability to be self contatined. Just pull up and plug in!


Senior Member
Re: Very new, electric issue

Have you checked with any manufacturers to see if they will build you what you want? That should make the unit much more livable and conveniant, electrically.

Most RVs have propane heaters, which is effective, but requires a propane system. Many RV ACs have 'heat strips' in them, but they are only good for perhaps 50 degress at best. A lot of RVers use 'ceramic' heaters to save on propane, so this might be an option for you.

You say the places you will be 'have power', but unless you can get 30 Amps at least into that beast, A/C will suck up most of your power. A lot of places have 15A and a few have 20A. This is not really enough to support the A/C and everything else.
Re: Very new, electric issue

Ok, so the A/C unit seems to be the hogger. I found a company that is close to me that will customize trailers they sell. I am going to look into the propane heat system. It seems like I may have to run the A/C on a generator and use the "plug" for the rest. That said, someone suggested a Honda Generator. Any suggestions? Also, how many amps are provided from a standard outside outlet on a home? RV park?
Re: Very new, electric issue

Unless the price and size is an object, you probably should be looking at what is called a "toy hauler" style.

If you look hard enough, you might find one that was very minimal in features (since you won't really be RVing), but still be able to stay in it while you are on the job. It will be tough to find one to compete with the 8x14 size trailer, so you might have some parking problems.

The "toy" end of it is generally an open space at the back end where you could install a large window so your adoring fans can see what's going on in there! :laugh:

PS. Ryan, don't forget to check back on that website.


Senior Member
Re: Very new, electric issue

If you are going to have a generator, be aware that most produce 'dirty' power - basically a modified square wave; lots of noise on the line. Plus lots of audio noise. If you are going to do that, you could have the A/C directly wired to the generator, and a standard RV electrical system for the rest.

Honda makes good generators. The 'best' are the 'inverter' style (2000EU and 3000EU). They are very quiet and produce power as clean as the power line is supposed to be. Great for computers and computer based electronics, as well as musical electronics. If you had a setup like this, you might not ever need to 'plug in', although you will want the option to be able to plug in if the situation so dictates.

The EU3000 may do the job, but might be marginal. It drove my 30A, 25 foot trailer if I was careful what I ran with the A/C. At first, it would not reliably start the A/C (generator thermal popped instead), but installing an easy start kit in the A/C fixed that problem. The EU3000 is big and heavy, but has electric start. 2 EU2000 are small and light and can be hooked together to produce 4000 watts which should be plenty for a single A/C trailer. This is a very popular setup in the RV world, as you can run only one when you don't need more than 2000 watts, and because of their size, weight, efficiancy and quietness.

Most houses have 15A (parallel blade) outlets. A few have 20A (parallel with 1 T blade). Most RV parks have 30A (blades at an angle to each other). Many parks also have 20A and/or 50 amp (3 parallel, staggered blades). All these except 50A are single phase/single circuit. The 50 amp is actually 2 50amp circuits, 180 degrees out of phase. There are adapters available to plug 15, 30 or 50 amp plugs into 15, 30 or 50 amp sockets. 15 amp plugs will plug into 20 amp sockets, but being anal, I made my own 30 to 20 adapter.
Re: Very new, electric issue

Wow, Hertig, you sound like you know your circuits. I called up the trailer place today. He says they sell a 7 x 16 trailer wired for 20amp service. Now from what I read, this would be a decent option for me right? Im confused because I'm not 100% clear on the descriptions your giving me. Im guessing here, but when you say "parallel blade" is that similar to a standard lamp or small toaster? "parallel with 1 T blade" would be like the three prong end of an orange extention cord? Maybe I'm way off, I'm just trying to get a visual understanding.

The other thing is this. There are alot of breakers on the market. And truthfully I have no idea what I'm looking for. If I didn't know any better, some of the breaker boxes I'm looking atare ment to be setup outside and plugged into, reather than installed in the trailer. Does that make sense? Could someone suggest a make and model (url link if possible?) of a specific unti I can buy, and have an electrician install?


Senior Member
Re: Very new, electric issue

15 amp plug is like what is on the end of a standard lamp, although it usually has a 3rd, round pin below for ground. The socket looks like most of those in the wall of your house (unless it is real old :). 20 amp is just the same, except one of the blades is rotated 90 degrees. 20 amp plugs cannot plug into 15 amp sockets, however many 20 amp sockets have a 'T' shaped slot for that blade, which will accept either a 15 amp or a 20 amp plug.

If you were not going to have an A/C, 20 amps would probably be plenty for you; even 15 amps would likely do. 20 amps will run an A/C, but might not leave enough left over for your other stuff, depending on the amperage your electronics draws. It will only plug into a 20 amp outlet which could be annoying if all that is available is 15 amp. You can physically make an adapter, but it is a bad idea unless you are very careful to limit your current draw to 15 amps when using such a setup. It will not be 'to code'.

I'm not sure what 'wired for 20amp service' means. It could mean there is a cord, which plugs into an outlet, and provides a couple of lights and some outlets along the wall. Essentially, this is the same as running an extension cord to the trailer, just a little more conveniant. Another interpretation is a true AC only 'service', which has a breaker panel and the lights and outlets inside are protected by the breakers. Better. And finally is an AC/DC 'service', which adds a charger or converter/charger and 1 or more batteries. The lighting is 12v and the outlets are 120v. The adavantage of this is that you have light at least and other 12v options when you are not plugged in.

7' may be adequate for you, but it will be more cramped inside than the 8'. As long as there is a 'people' door in the side, you may want to get the ramp in the rear instead. It would make it easier to get stuff into and out of the trailer, plus if you have a table you can flip down across the end, could make a neat DJ setup, open to the event.

There are 3 types of 'breaker boxes'. One in internal. These are not weatherproof and are designed for inside. They are flush mount (in the wall) and surface mount (on the wall). Flush is 'better', but requires a hole in the wall, and a wall thick enough to contain it. The next is external. These are weatherproof, and you don't need that. The last is a strange beast which includes an outlet to plug into and a breaker to protect that outlet. These are usually for some specific purpose, like an air conditioner. Often these are weatherproof. You don't have a use for this either, so the first type is what you should concentrate on.

You will want 1 main breaker, for whatever the service you decide on (15 amp, 20 amp, 30 amp or dual 50 amp). Then you will want a breaker for each main purpose. For instance, 1 for the A/C, 1 for the built in lights and 1 or 2 for the outlets for your electronics. If you have external outlets, you may want to have them on a separate breaker, so you can 'turn them off' when not in use.

A trip through the electrical department at Lowes/Home Depot might be instructive.