The good news is that you are not stuck with the power rating your RV comes with. The bad news is the cost may be more than the convenience offers. It will be expensive to make this change but some people may think it is worth the effort and the cost as they can run more appliances at the same time.
If you are going to make the conversion you will have to change a lot of components. A new power center, transfer switch, power cord, change the master breaker to 50 A/240 V, and possibly add a new circuit to take advantage of the higher power.
To learn more about this upgrade and if it is worth it, just continue to read our article. It has the information you want to know about and the first tip we will give you is to let the pros handle the upgrade. This is not a DIY project.
Yes, this is possible and you may want to do this project for any number of reasons. One owner, like many others, has got tired of alternating their appliances. They want more power to run them at the same time.
The first thing you need to know about this project is that you simply cannot plug in a 50 amp to 30 amp adapter and get more power. Your RV is still wired for 30 amps and that will be the maximum amount of power your RV receives.
As we mentioned there are many components that need to be changed or added to your RV before you can access that extra power. One is the distribution box. It is only capable of handling 30 amps so that needs to be changed or you simply add a new one.
A professional may take up to 8 hours to get this project done for you as the shore cord would have to be changed as well. There is more to this project than simply changing the power cord and adding an adapter.
The answer to this question is positive. Yes, you can plug your 30-amp RV into a 50-amp shore power outlet. However, there is one caveat to this simple task. You will need a 50-amp to 30-amp adapter to be successful.
As we said earlier, just because you plug into a 50-amp outlet, does it mean you are getting 50-amps of power to your RV or trailer. You will only be getting 30 amps because your RV is wired for 30 amps only.
The 50 to 30-amp adapter does not bring 50 amps to your RV, etc. The adapter restricts the flow of electricity and your RV, etc., will only receive the normal 30 amps your trailer, etc., is wired for.
The only way to get 50-amp power is if your RV, etc., is wired for 50-amps or if you rewire your trailer. The latter option is very expensive in relation to normal repairs and not the purchase cost of a new 50-amp RV, etc.
Weigh this out carefully and be careful, plugging into a 50-amp power source does not let you run more appliances unless your RV is wired for 50 amps.
No, they are not. The 50-amp plug comes with 4 prongs in most cases and the 30-amp plug always has 3 prongs. Even when some 50-amp plugs have 3 prongs, they are not designed the same as the 30-amp plugs.
We wrote an article on this issue recently and you can find it at this link. In that article, we provided a diagram with the images of all 15, 20, 30, and 50 amp plugs.
Even the 30-amp plugs are different from each other. There are several designs you have to choose from. This goes for the 50-amp models as well, as you will need to match the plug to the outlet for specific appliances.
All appliances do not use the same plug design. On that chart, you will notice that 15 -amp plugs have 2 and 3 prongs, and the 20-amp has 3 and 4 prongs. You really need to make sure you are buying a true 50 or 30-amp plug before you get to the cashier.
This is a subjective question. It is not really a question of which is better as both systems work well. It is just that one system provides more power than the other. What makes one better over the other is how much power you will need at any given time.
If you like to run many appliances at the same time, then the 50-amp option is best for your RV or trailer. If you do not mind alternating appliances, then the 30-amp option is better. It will also cost you less.
In terms of power, the equation goes like this: 30-amps x 120 volts = 3600 watts. That is how much power you can use at any given time. Compare that to the 50-amp equation- 50 amps x 240 volts = 12,000 watts.
Obviously, you can run more appliances with the latter system. You will also pay more for that privilege. You are going to have to decide which is better for your RV lifestyle and budget. The RVs and trailers do not care as long as they are wired correctly.
This is a very detailed and time-consuming project. There are a lot of components that have to be removed and replaced. You cannot use components or wiring that is rated for 30 amps with your new 50-amp system.
Those components include all new wiring rated for 50 amps; new power outlets; a new power cord rated for 50 amps; and a new power control center to just name a few parts. You may have to upgrade your batteries as well.
These purchases can get costly not to mention the time involved. This may be at least an all day project if not longer. While many RVers have nothing but time, there are quite a few who do not. You have to consider the time factor not to mention the tools you will need.
Before you decide to do this project, not only read the next section first but also talk to experienced electricians to see what is involved. This is not like wiring a new outlet and it takes a lot of skill to get everything wired correctly, especially to avoid getting an electric shock.
Because this is a risky job and a lot can go wrong, there is only going to be one way we will tell you how to do this conversion. Unless you are a retired electrician that has handled more than fixing t.vs and other smaller electronic devices this is not a project for you.
The retired electricians already know how to do this conversion so we do not need to bore them and tell them how to do the job they already know how to do. We are not going to tell you how because we do not want to encourage or advise you to take on a project you can’t handle.
The only way non-electricians who own RVs can do this project is to hire a professional electrician. This is not someone who thinks they can handle the job but one who knows how to do it and do it right.
We take this serious tone as your expensive RV or trailer is the one that will be damaged or you may be severely injured. So know your limits and hire a professional so both are safe.
There are none. We fond 30-amp conversion kits, and 50-amp conversion kits but they are not designed to go from 30 amps to 50 amps or vice versa. These kits seem to just add an extra power supply you can tap into but does nothing to convert your trailer or RV to either power source.
When we searched all Amazon results came up with was an adapter. It was a 30 amp to a 50 amp adapter and that marketplace seems to have numerous models for you to look at.
That option would be your conversion kit and allows you to use a 50-amp-powered campground. But it won’t provide you with 50 amps of power. Furrion has a 30 amp conversion kit but there is no mention of it being wired to handle 50 amps for you.
Camping World has a 50-amp conversion kit but the description does not indicate you can go from 30 amps to 50 amps. In other words, you cannot escape the expense of converting your RV through an inexpensive kit.
The technical details of this device will be left up to skilled electricians. The simple explanation is that the adapter restricts the flow of electricity as it only connects one hot wire to the 50-amp system.
You will only get 30 amps as both 50-amp hot wires carry 120 volts each. If you use the equation above you will see that the 30-amp side is only providing 3600 watts. Not 12,000 watts under normal 50-amp service.
Using the adapter is fairly simple. You plug the 30-amp side into your RV’s power cord first, then you plug the adapter into the 50-amp shore power. Do not do the reverse as you risk an overload and you can burn out the adapter.
There is no special technique, other than what we just told you. If you know how to use extension cords and power cords, then you can use this adapter. The good news is, that despite what other websites claim, these adapters are on sale everywhere.
Amazon has the best selection but you will find these adapters just about at any store that caters to RV supplies and needs. This includes some big box chain stores, electrical supply outlets, and so on.
While we provide you with the basics here, we strongly recommend that you hire a professional who knows electricity and is not afraid of working with it.
To start, here are the tools and supplies that will be needed:
Correct wire gauge for 50-amp breaker (8-gauge)
Rubber or insulated gloves
A 30-amp breaker requires 10-gauge rated wires. The 8-gauge wire has to be more than long enough to make sure you can reach your incoming power supply outlet.
The next step, after getting the tools is to SHUT OFF the power to the breaker box. Then when it is safe unscrew the 30-amp breaker. After that put the 50-amp rated wire in place of the 10-gauge wire.
Finally, attach the 50-amp breaker to the breaker box, connect the wire and then turn on the power supply. If all goes well, nothing will happen. If you need to rewire the panel, that is a job for a professional. It is not a DIY project.
The answer will be 'barely'. You would need a 50-amp to 30-amp adapter to make the connection. Due to the differences in outlet and plug designs, this connection cannot be made directly.
Keep in mind that once you do this, you are not going to get true 50-amp service and still may not be able to run all your appliances at the same time. The minimum size generator you would need to effectively run a 50-amp RV or trailer will be a 7500-watt generator.
These units usually have around 9400 starting watts and 7500 running watts and they should come with a 50-amp outlet. When you go buy your generator talk to the salesman, if they know anything about this topic, and see what size of generator would be best.
You really do not want to go too small as all you will be able to run will be a few lights and not much else. For 50-amp RVs, etc., you need to go large.
It would be a good idea to have one. You never know when a power spike will happen and it is always a good idea to be protected. There are more uses for the surge protector than just protecting your appliances, etc.
Many of these devices can tell you if the shore power is wired correctly. That knowledge can give you peace of mind. There should be no problems when you plug your RV into the power pole.
These surge protectors should be found in the same locations that sell power adapters. It is a good investment after spending tens of thousands on a good RV, 5th wheel, or travel trailer.
The cost of these devices will range and be approx. Between $50 to $100 for a good one. When you look for a power adapter, also look for a surge protector. Save yourself some worry and stay fully protected.
The terminology for this adapter is dogbone. It is named this because it probably looks like a dog bone in some way. Don’t let the slang term fool you., It is a simple device with a 3-prong outlet on one end and a 4-prong plug on the other end.
The wiring diagram is very simple and you won’t be tearing it apart to do any repairs on it. These adapters are supposed to be waterproof so damage to them will usually come from bad power connections and then you would merely replace the adapter.
If you can and they are on sale, buy two so you have a spare just in case. You never know what will happen when you are on the road and the campground is not wired correctly.
The diagram below will provide you with a quick look at the system and the link underneath will provide more diagrams if you need them.
If you are bored and have nothing to do, you may consider taking this project on. But it is a very difficult project that is both time-consuming and expensive. Plus, it is very risky.
The best thing to do when you want to make this upgrade is to call an affordable professional and get the job done right. This is not a DIY project and while you can buy the equipment needed to save a little money, it is best not to do the work yourself.
An adapter and power surge protector may be all that you need to use 50-amp campgrounds.