Having the right converter with you makes connecting to RV electrical connections smooth sailing
I had a good friend ask me, the local “RV Guy”… “What receptacle should I get so that I can have friends RV's be able to connect to my cabin's electric and visit me on a weekend?” He wanted to know what are the correct RV electrical connections?
It turns out that I didn't have any article describing RV electrical connections on good ole RV52.com so this article is really just an article to help people identify by site the different receptacles you can plug into with your RV.
Before reading this article I have some background articles that will help you to understand electricity better :
- If you know nothing about electricity – “A Good Starting Point for learning about RV electrical systems“.
- Great article on “What are Volts and Amps?”
- Excellent article on “What is Power or Watts?”
There are four possible types of electric services (shore power) at the RV Park and 4 possible RV electrical connections:
- 15 AMP – has receptacles (what you plug INTO) just like your home. I won't even show a picture for that receptacle.
- 20 AMP – has a different receptacle VERY similar to your home connector
- 30 AMP – Very common – great for most RV's – but probably won't power your second A/C
- 50 AMP – Very common – will power most RV's
In the 20 Amp AC receptacle pictured above, it looks pretty much like a regular US 110Volt outlet. But there is a difference – one of the prongs looks like the letter “T” laying on its side. Plugging you RV into a 20 AMP Receptacle will be enough power to supply your AC appliances, and certainly enough power to get to your converter so that it can put plenty of power into your DC system for your DC appliances and lighting. I don't think you could reasonably expect to run your air conditioner and running your heat (because of the blowers) might be marginal if you have everything else turned on.
Pictured above is a 30 AMP connector. 30 Amps is adequate for MOST RV's, particularly fifth wheels and travel trailers. I'd say the biggest differentiator is that if you have a 2 (or more) air conditioner rig, then 30 Amp won't cut it for you.
So if you DO have a 50 AMP RV and you HAVE to plug into the 30 AMP system, you'll need to have a 50-30 Amp Adapter and you'll have to keep your 2nd air conditioner turned off.
I've heard that the experienced RV'ers typically check voltage with a voltmeter before plugging into a 50 Amp connector – just in case the connector is miswired.
I'd say that advice is even MORE wise on mom-n-pop RV parks or RV parks where either the park is new OR the pad site you will be using looks new. But if the park has been around awhile, I would think that it would be correct OR leaving a trail of destroyed stuff ahead of you.
I do think a GOOD practice is to turn OFF the breaker on the park pedestal BEFORE connecting your 50 AMP. Here is why… there is a way, accidentally, by the angle you plug in the plug, that you might put 230 Volts onto your 115 Volt appliances, if even for a brief moment. When that happens, your 115 Volt items might get blown up. So this seems like a solid piece of advice to follow.
All for now, Marlan
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