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120 volt - 30 amp RV Plug

All photos are thumbnails, click to see an enlarged version

The electrical connection utilized by pop-up campers is a 110v 30a RV style plug.  We have often talked about putting in a 30 amp breaker and RV style outlet for the camper at the house. The A/C in your unit draws (uses) close to 15 amps when it starts, and around 9 - 10 amps running. Add to that any other electrical devices in your camper and you quickly see why a 30 amp electric supply is needed.  Most standard household plugs only supply 15 amps, so using a common adaptor to allow the 30 amp RV plug to be inserted into a standard household 15 amp outlet may be quickly overloaded.  While this adaptor may be safe to use in limited situations when you closely monitor what devices are being powered, I think the installation of a 30 amp RV style outlet.

It was only when our Air Conditioning went out at the house that we "needed" the camper to use as an "air conditioned lifeboat"!!

The service plug for the camper (the big black wire that comes out the back/side) carries 30 amps, 20 of which are usually used by the A/C and 10 for other devices (like the 12v converter)

To use the A/C at the house you need to do one of two things:

1. Install a 20 amp plug close to where you park the camper, and get a real 20 amp extension cord (the shorter the better). You would plug the cord that hangs down from the ceiling of your camper into this cord, and it would only supply the A/C.

2. Install a 30 amp RV plug plug close to where you park the camper, and into this you can plug the 30 amp RV cord.

We chose to do #2.  After a trip to Home Depot (for the new breaker, box, cover plate and wire) and a trip to a local RV dealer (the 30a plug, neither Home Depot or a local electrical supply house carried them) I had all the parts.

If you are not comfortable working with electric, hire someone to do this!!!!!!!

Open the breaker panel and install 30 amp breaker.  This will be wired to the 30a, 110v RV style plug.  It was easy for me as the panel is in the garage, right by the overhead door.  The new 30a plug could be installed right below the breaker panel.

Remember, just because you have a space to plug an additional breaker in does not mean the panel has sufficient service to handle the load.

OK, I admit it was late at night when I did this.  I went back and turned it over so that it is now oriented correctly.  I will take a new picture when I get a chance.




Photo to the right shows the 30a cord as it exits the camper
This photo shows the 120 volt - 30a plug (male) end.  Note the angled blades, and the round "common" plug.  This is not to be confused with a 220v plug for a clothes dryer!!
If you look at the cord and plug inside the camper for the A/C you will see one of the blades on the plug is turned "sideways", which will only allow it to be plugged into a 20 amp plug.  The corresponding plate (pictured below) will allow a 20a or 15a plug to be plugged in (notice the "T" shaped socket on the right side.

Make sure that the electrical service to the breaker panel will support an additional 30a device being attached to the panel.  Just because you have open spaces, does not mean you have sufficient service.  Also make sure you use a sufficient sized wire for the distance involved (#6 - #8 - #10) and follow ALL local electrical codes! Again, if you are not sure what you are doing, hire an electrician!!!!!!!

Here is another example of a 30a plug installed on the exterior of a house.  

The weatherproof covers have been removed for clarity.

110v 20a outlet on left

110v 30a outlet on right

This was contributed by Jeff Lawrence

August, 2002 update:

I have been advised that Lowes now carries the 30a RV outlet in some of their stores.  Information I received was that it is part number 78748 listed as a "3-wire flush 30a", priced at $7.37 + tax  .


  Revised: September 10, 2006


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