How Long Are RV Power Cords (Do I Need a Longer Cord?)

How Long Are RV Power Cords (Do I Need a Longer Cord?)

One of the most important pieces of equipment for an RV is the power cord. Without this you would not be able to run key appliances, have lights or more importantly, have air conditioning. Taking care of these little details enhances your RV experience and make your vacation even more enjoyable

How Long Are RV Power Cords? Most RV power cords that come with modern RVs measure roughly 20 feet as a minimum length. The power cord you get with your RV should be long enough in most cases but carry a small extension just in case. There will be those occasions where your RV will be a little ways away from the power source.

To get all the information you need about RV power cords, simply continue to read our article. Understanding the electrical needs your RV has will help you have a safer vacation

30 Amp Extension Cord Maximum Length

When it comes to power cords one length does not always fit all. There are longer cords and shorter extensions available but the majority of 30 amp power cords run about 30 feet in length.

When combined with the power cord that comes with your RV you should be able to meet most camping hook up situations. There will be those rare occasions where you will need more than 50 feet.

Using RV Power Cords Correctly

Some RVs come with 30 amp capacities and others will have a 50 amp limit. Sometimes, there will be those newer RVs that have both. You need to know how to use your power cords correctly.

A lot of inexperienced and experienced RV users tend to plug their 50 amp power cord into a 30 amp hook up using an adapter. This is not a good scenario as the 30 amp hook up only produces about 3600 watts.

Even if you use an adapter, your 50 amp power cord will not pull more than 3600 watts when plugged into a 30 amp hook up. If you do this, you will find that many of your electrical appliances will not work. There just isn’t enough power.

A 50 amp power cord hooked into a 30 amp hook up is only getting 1/3 the power it needs to run your RV correctly.

What RV Power Cord Length Should I buy?

To find the power cord you should buy, you need to check what amperage your RV is wired to. If you have a 30 amp rig, then you need to buy a 30 amp power cord. If your rig is wired for 50 amps, then you should purchase a 50 amp power cord.

Also, you shouldn't buy more than 30 foot power cords. This extension size should give you the reach you need when you need to hook up for the night.

The Difference Between an RV 30 amp & 50 Amp Power Cord

You may think that all power cords are the same but they are not. There are subtle and not so subtle differences between the two power cords:

  • A 30 amp cord is for a 120 volt system; it has 3 prongs - one power, one neutral, one ground.
  • Don't confuse a 30 amp RV cord with a 30 amp dryer or range cord (which often have only three prongs) for they are 240 volt cords with two power leads and one neutral with no safety ground.
  • A 50 amp power cord is designed for a 240 volt system. It has two power leads at 120 volts each, a neutral and ground wire as well.
  • A 50 amp power cord is designed safely to supply up to 12,000 watts of power.
  • A 30 amp power cord is designed to supply only 3,600 watts.
  • If you allow 50 amps of electricity to flow through an RV designed for 30 amps, you could cause a fire or other damage to your RV and its equipment.
  • The amount of current that flows through your RV and its wiring is not determined by the wiring or by the power cord, but by the appliances and by the voltage potential at the power source.

The Importance of an RV Power Cord Adapter

You may be carrying the right size of power cord but what happens when you pull your 30 amp RV using a 30 amp power cord into a campground that only supplies 50 amp power?

To solve this issue you can either carry more power cords but that may add to your weight and storage issues. Or you can carry a power adapter with you. These are lightweight, don't take up a lot of room and can help you get power when your 30 amp RV is in a 50 amp campground.

These adapters work the other way as well.

RV Power Cord Tips

To help you find your way through the RV power cord issue, here are some tips to keep you aware of any difficulties you may encounter:

  • Do regular maintenance- inspect your power cords on a regular bases to make sure there are no splices, cuts or frays. Check to make sure the plugs are still connected properly.
  • Know your fuse box location- it may not be the power cord that has gone bad. Check the fuse box first to make sure the breaker didn’t switch off before checking the power cord.
  • Check the campground’s electrical hook up- use a polarity tester to make sure those electrical hook ups are in top working order. If they aren’t you may save yourself from shorting out all your electrical equipment. Preventive maintenance is worth high repair bills.
  • Turn all electrical units off- you do this before you plug into the hook up. After your power cord is securely in place, then turn your electrical items on. This will save you from damaging power surges.
  • Watch your electrical use- many appliances, etc.,in RVs use a lot of power to work. When you are on a 30 amp power source, you need to be selective in which ones you operate. You won’t be able to run them all at the same time.

Some Final Comments

You may be one of the lucky RV owners whose rig has two amp power options. That means you should be able to camp anywhere you want and not worry about how much power you are getting.

The key to good RV time is making sure you have the right RV power cord handling the electrical supply. The right lengths of power cord should not really be over 100 feet and it is recommended that you use as short a cord as possible.

A short cord helps you save voltage and keeps your RV from becoming a fire hazard.

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