50 Amp 3 Prong Plug: How To Wire a 50 Amp Plug With 3 Wires

Not every camping situation is perfect. You will find over the course of your RV life, that certain camping situations do not meet with your current RV electrical wiring. The temptation to rewire a plug to get power can be strong, but it is not always feasible to attempt. The RV system may not work properly if you try.

This wiring situation may work. What the experts say is that you will be using two hot wires, red & black, and the green ground wire. The white neutral is not going to be used. But this wiring design is not recommended by many RV owners.

To learn more about this wiring situation, just continue to read our article. It has the information you want to know about so you can see if this is a feasible situation for you and your camping situation. When it comes to appliances it seems to be okay but not for general RV wiring systems.

Can You Wire a 50 Amp Plug With 3 Wires?


Yes, you can as many 220 or 240-volt appliances only come with 3 wires and a 3-prong plug. All you need will be two hot wires and a ground in this situation. There are many websites and YouTube videos showing you how to do that.

What the subtitle is hinting at though is if can you rewire a 4-wire plug to go into a three-pronged outlet. This is not so easy to do if you are working with your RV’s electrical system.

Normally, you would simply drop the neutral, white, wire and only use the the two hots and the ground. But what the experts are saying is that the RV system will not work without that neutral wire.

The best advice that we saw was for anyone thinking of doing this they should get a 50-amp to 30-amp adaptor and plug it into a 30-amp outlet. It is not recommended to plug into a 3-wire 50-amp outlet with a 4-wire 50-amp plug, even with an adaptor.

The way it is supposed to work is if the neutral and ground wires are connected at the bus bar or at the plug. However, this is not meeting any code regulations, and good electricians will not do it or recommend that you do it.

One thing we have found out during our research is that you will get a variety of opinions on this topic.

How To Wire a 50 Amp Plug With 3 Wires


Wiring is very straight forward. The key is to make sure you connect the correct wires to their corresponding prong or pin. If you don’t then you will either get a short, a shock, or possibly a fire.

The first step in the process is to make sure you are not connected to any power when you attempt this or any wiring task. Some people are very careful and have done this type of work without shutting off the power.

There is a way to do that but it is not recommended for everyone. Make sure the power is off or your wires are disconnected from any source. When you are wiring a 3-wire cord to a 4-pronged outlet, you are not going to be connecting the neutral wire.

You will connect the two hot wires to the two hot prongs and the green ground wire will go to the green prong or pin. Just make sure nothing touches the neutral prong. If you have 4 wire cord and wiring to a 3-prong plug, make sure the white wire is safely out of the way.

Once you get the wires and prongs matched up, then it is a simple matter of loosening the screws and placing the wires in their place. Take care not to have any loose strands that may touch other connectors or wires.

Tighten the screws and you should be done. But there is a slight catch. When you are doing this you will need 6 gauge wire and that is very difficult to manipulate.

When it comes to this type of wiring, we recommend that you get an experienced electrician to do the work for you. They will know if the task can be done properly or not. As we said earlier, this may work for some appliances but it may not work for RV wiring situations.

Click to read our 4 prong plug wiring diagram article.

50 Amp 3-Prong Plug Wiring Diagram


When you wire for 50-amps, you must make sure that you have 2 hot wires. You cannot get away with one hot wire even though some wiring diagrams seem to indicate that it is possible.

When you are going to connect the wires to the plug or outlet make sure the power is off. Then double-check to see if you understand the color codes. The problem with the color codes is that not everyone uses the right color of wire.

You may see a white wire with red stripes or a white wire with black stripes or you may see other colors than the standard red and black for the two wires. The color of the wires you see will depend on the previous electrician who did the work.

Also, when you tighten those wires down, make sure you have all the strands in the correct place. Then tighten those screws down. This is not the time for gentle pressure. You do not want those wires coming loose at any time.

Some Additional Words

As we said earlier, while it is possible to wire a 4-wire power cord to a 3-wire outlet, and so on, it is not recommended that you do this with your RV. Rv systems are different from traditional house electrical systems.

The best advice we can give you is for you to talk to an experienced electrician that knows RV electrical systems. Not every electrician knows how to wire an RV to a pedestal. You will want someone who really knows his stuff to get the work done.

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