Are you new to RVing and a fan of DIY? Do you want to fix all the minor issues related to your RV electrical system by yourself? This post will outline a comprehensive guide on how to wire a 50 amp RV plug or outlet.
Suppose you are new to RVing but already have a basic knowledge of the electrical system, and don’t have any problem identifying components like electrical toolkits, gauge wires, and 14-50R outlets. In that case, I strongly recommend reading the post.
I’ve already discussed in my previous posts that a 50 amp RV service comes with four wires. These wires include two 120V, ground wire, and a neutral wire. However, since it has hot wire, neutral, and ground, it is a three-pole service.
What makes 120V different from a 3 amp RV service is, 120V comes with a pair of 120V hot wires, and each of them is 50 amp. Like many other RVers, if you also have this misconception that a 30 amp and a 20 amp service, when joined together, become a 50 amp, then it is not true.
Even the enormous recreation vehicles with a lot of amenities when plugged into a 50 amp service use double-hot-pole to draw 120V simultaneously from two 120V circuits to access 12,000W power.
So, why do you need to learn how to wire a 50-amp RV outlet?
It is more likely to happen that your recreational vehicle won’t run every appliance because of insufficient power. However, you can hook up your recreational vehicle to your house’s electrical power source. You should know that your house has a standard three-prong outlet, so you are required to wire an electrical line for your recreational vehicle. It is because your recreational vehicle is only compatible with either a 30 amp or a 50 amp RV outlet to supply power, and you are restricted to the home’s 15 amp or 20 amp power.
Well, you certainly are not ready to compromise on much of your RV comforts to enjoy the RV lifestyle while camping, however, all the appliances and electronics inside your RV that are essential to keep yourself comfortable need a power source.
When at a campground, you will see a generator or power pedestal there. However, if the luck is with you, you will also find a 50 amp service, which you can use to directly connect your RV. But what if the campground you are camping at has only a 30 amp outlet? Or what if you want to hook up your recreational vehicle to a home outlet during the off-season?
Well, you can hook up your recreational vehicle into either a 30 amp or a 50 amp outlet, but it varies depending on how your RV is wired.
So, let’s discuss everything related to a 50 amp RV plug!
What is a 50 amp RV Plug/Outlet?
Before we discuss how to wire a 50 amp RV plug, you are required to have enough understanding of the 50 amp RV outlet and its basics. A 50 amp RV outlet comes with four wires and requires a four-prong plug. You should also know that a 50 amp RV outlet and a traditional 110V service are not the same since every 50 amps have a pair of 110V hot feeds.
Moreover, as I have described above that, it is also not equal to 30 amp and 20 amp service when connected together. Another critical factor that you should always keep in mind is that you should never plug a 50 amp outlet into a 220V receptacle. In doing so, you will get nothing but fried electronics. However, if you cannot find a 50 amp hookup for your RV when at a campground, you can hook it up to a 30 amp outlet through an adapter. The same applied to plugging a 30 amp into a 50 amp outlet.
Furthermore, 50 amp RV service is powerful enough to run high-voltage appliances and electronics. It is because it features a pair of two separate 50 amp, and each of them is 110V.
So, let’s come to the main topic now – how to wire a 50 amp RV plug?
How to Wire a 50 amp RV Plug/Outlet?
Before we proceed further to the steps of how to wire a 50 amp breaker for an RV, you must make sure that you have the necessary tools ready with you. The tools that you are going to use are stated below,
Once you have the necessary tools that I have just mentioned ready with you, you are good to go further. Follow these guidelines to wire a 50-amp RV plug in the safest way;
- Step One: Firstly, gather all the prerequisites items. Make sure that both the neutral wire and hot wire are six gauges in length. At the same time, NEMA 14-50R is a 50-amp plug that will be pre-installed into a self-contained box.
- Step Two: Secondly, make sure that you have disconnected the 50 amp RV breaker panel by shutting off the main breaker. This panel will serve as the new 50 amp plug. The supply that will go to the breaker board will be a single-phase (two hot wires and a single neutral connection along with a ground wire) will serve to the breaker board.
- Step Three: Now, you may want to find if there is any unused double-pole 50 amp breaker. If you cannot find one, you will have to install a 50 amp breaker at any spot but make sure it is vacant. After you have installed the 50 amp breaker, you will now have to connect the red wire to the terminal on the breaker’s plug side. Similarly, connect the black wire to another terminal on the outlet side of the breaker panel. After that, now connect the white wire to the neutral bus bar. The last remaining wire is the ground wire that you will have to connect to the ground block.
- Step Four: Once you have connected all the cords appropriately to their points, you will now have to wire the U-shaped receiver. It is also called a half-round receiver. It will be similar to a 12 o’clock face to the ground. The wire will be painted green or bare wire. You should know that the neutral terminal will be in green color.
- Step Five: At this step, you will have to wire the receiver below the half-ground to the white wire, which is the neutral wire. If you are struggling to find the terminal screws, they will be painted with white color. You’ll also find two more receivers, and both are wired to a pair of hot wires in black and red colors. You shouldn’t worry about what receiver you have to connect to what wire, as a pair of 110V are being supplied through both of these wires.
- Step Six: Finally, the last step of how to wire a 50-amp plug. Now, you have to switch back on the main breaker, as well as turn on the double-pole breaker that is intended to deliver current to the 50 amp setup that you have just wired.
Done! Now you have successfully wired a 50 amp RV plug. However, before you plug the RV into the setup for the first time, it is safe to test the setup first. In this regard, you have to utilize a voltmeter set on 240V as per the manufacturer’s guidelines. Now, attach one of its probes to the hot receiver and the other one to the neutral receiver. The reading you will get should be anywhere between 110V to 120V.
Similarly, now locate the two probes to two hot receivers, and the reading output that you will get should be 240V.
Note: You should be extra careful not to touch any wire at the top of the breaker box panel since the wire is live and coming directly from your home.
Safety Tips to Follow When Wiring a 50 Amp Outlet
When wiring a 50 amp RV outlet, the very first priority that you must consider is safety. You are required to be very, very careful all the time. Even a minor mistake can cause severe results. I strongly suggest that if you are not comfortable and don’t feel confident around electrical systems, don’t do this by yourself. In that case, you must speak to an electrical system professional who can do that for you.
However, if you are doing it by DIY, here are the safety tips that you must consider,
- Although the existence of a ground wire in the 50 amp electrical system is for safety purposes, you should never overlook the National Electrical Code.
- It is obvious that you will find 220V outlets in homes that are intended to supply power to electronics and appliances, such as dryers and cookers. However, you should not confuse 14-50R with the 240V outlets. This 220V is the standard type where a pair of 110V sources serves together to generate 220V for 240V electronics and appliances. While on the other end, a 14-50R is not a standard type, and it is intended to supply power to a pair of 110V sources.
- Almost all the RVs come with 110V power plugs, and the appliance and electronics inside the RVs can perfectly work with these outlets. However, people who are new to RVs or inexperienced electricians may think they are compatible with 220V outlets. And if any appliance or electronic is plugged into the 220V outlet, the result will be damaging that appliance or electronic.
- You should make sure that the 50 amp RV outlet you have wired is ok and everything is wired correctly to get 220V electricity.
There you go, In just six easy steps, you have successfully wired a 50 amp RV plug. Now, you should have no issue while installing a 50 amp RV outlet. If you are going to wire a 50 amp RV outlet and need guidelines, you should follow the steps, as I have mentioned above. Although it is a simple process, do not take it lightly. You must stay attentive and careful all the time. A little mistake can be deadly since it involves a high voltage current. The most important thing is if you don’t feel comfortable around electrical systems and undecided that whether you should do it by DIY or not, it would be great to hire a professional with extensive electrical knowledge. If you have got any queries, let me inform you in the comment section below.
Can I hook up my RV into my house outlet?
In a nutshell, yes. Although it is not recommended to plug your RV into your house outlet, still, if you are going to do that, ensure that you have wired a 50 amp RV plug first. Without it, plugging your RV means all the connected appliances and electronics will blow out.
Can I wire a 50 amp RV outlet by myself?
If you have a basic electrical knowledge that can operate basic electrical tools, then yes, you can wire a 50 amp RV outlet by yourself. However, if you don’t have any prior electrical knowledge, I recommending hiring an expert electrician who can do the job for you.
Is a 30-amp plug and a 20-amp RV plug is equal to a 50-amp RV outlet?
No, 30-amp and 20-amp plug when combines cannot be equal to a 50 amp RV outlet plug.
Is it dangerous to wire a 50 amp RV outlet?
Yes, if you don’t follow the precautionary measures, the results can be severe.