To wire up a 50 amp RV plug, disconnect the main breaker. Put the outlet box in place. Connect all wires properly and screw the box back in place without crimping the wires. The 50 amp breaker should now be present in the switch panel. Test the current, switch off the breaker and connect the motorhome to the socket.
In this article I will guide you how to wire a 50 amp RV plug. But before that, I’ll explain what a 50-amp RV plug is and show you the tools you’ll need to make the connection. Read to the last word of this article because I also answer some frequently asked questions about how to wire a 50-amp plug.
Before you start wiring, you should familiarize yourself with electrical terms and tools. However, if you are afraid of working with electricity, you should hire a professional instead.
What is a 50 amp RV plug?
Each RV has a 30- or 50-amp plug for its power requirements. You can check your RV manufacturer’s manual or check the RV manually to determine which plug your RV uses. A 50-amp plug has four pins on the end, while the 30-amp plug only has three. A 50-amp plug will give your RV 12,000 watts.
How is that even possible? A 50-amp RV outlet has four wires, two of which are 120-volt hot wires (one is neutral and the other is ground). So you get 50 amps from each hot wire.
- 50 amps x 120 volts = 6000 watts.
Since there are two hot wires, multiplying 6,000 watts by two results in 12,000 watts.
If you connect a 30-amp plug to a 50-amp system (via an adapter), you will not receive any additional power. So if your RV has a 50 amp system and you only have access to a 30 amp system, you will need to purchase a 50 amp plug. A 50 amp plug will only provide 30 amps of current when used with a 30 amp system.
Keep in mind that the electrical system in your home may not be compatible with the one in your RV. Therefore, you will need to adapt the power supply in your home to the 50 amp system in your motorhome. First make sure that the wiring has been carried out correctly and that you have observed all safety precautions.
Tools required for 50 amp RV plug wiring
Make sure you have everything you need to connect the 50-amp receptacle to your RV before proceeding. You will find all the tools and equipment you need in the following table.
|50 amp switch||A double (pole) 120/240 volt circuit breaker rated at 50 amps. The 240 volt supply is split into two hot feed points.|
|Both breakers are bridged in the double breaker and trip simultaneously.|
|Some breakers have an internal bridge.|
|Wire||The 6 AWG (6 gauge/3 wire) is best suited for 50 amps. The wire can carry 50 amps without overheating.|
|The cable should be UF certified (this means that the cable is suitable for outdoor use).|
|The cable should be long enough to be connected to the power supply in your home. If your cable is in conduit, is connected to other cables that prevent heat loss, or if your run is longer than 100 feet, you should choose one inch higher.|
|Measure the distance from where you will likely park your RV to determine the correct length.|
|50 amp motorhome socket (NEMA 14-50R)||A grounded four-prong receptacle rated at 50 amps, 120/240 volts.|
|It is wired with two hot wires and a ground wire, but not a neutral.|
|It is mainly used for larger appliances and has two vertical blades for the hot wire, a U-shaped pin for the earth and an L-shaped blade for the neutral wire.|
|Electrical cable conduit||A structure through which you can route your cables to create order.|
|Soft rubber hoses that are much easier to maneuver or change.|
|A solid line made from a standard PVC pipe. If you charge your motorhome frequently, a private installation is more suitable.|
|Other equipment||A voltmeter, wire cutters, wire strippers and a screwdriver.|
|Weatherproof motorhome socket connection.|
Did you already know? The National Electrical Manufacturers (NEMA) is the largest trade association representing American electrical appliance manufacturers.
How to proceed 50 amp motorhome plug wiring
After you have gathered all the tools and equipment from the table above, you are ready to start working. Remember that you must exercise extreme caution when working with electrical currents. You must follow the following steps carefully to avoid incorrect connections.
1. disconnect the main breaker
Before starting any electrical work, switch off the main switch and disconnect it to prevent an electric shock. Use a voltmeter to check that no current is flowing. Attach the voltmeter to the output points of the circuit breaker to obtain a measured value.
2. install the 50 amp socket
To begin wiring, install your 50-amp RV outlet (NEMA 14-50R) in the proper location. The outlet should be in a location where you can easily park and charge your RV. Get a cover for the outlet to protect it from the elements.
You can set up a 50 amp socket in two different ways.
- A wall bracket.
- A power socket mounted on a motorhome power base (most motorhome parks offer this option).
I recommend the pedestal because it gives you more flexibility. You can set up a power pedestal near your RV site. A wall mount requires more work, such as cutting into the walls while you figure out where to put it.
3. install a 50 amp breaker
Install the 50 amp circuit breaker. The 50 amp circuit breaker is often easy to snap into place.
Attach the 50 amp circuit breaker to your main switch by screwing it in. You can check whether it is firmly tightened by pulling it gently.
4. wiring the 50 amp socket outlet
There are four terminals or four screws on the back of your 50-amp RV outlet, which are often color-coded. Silver is used for the neutral wire, two brass terminals are for the two hot wires, and green is for the ground wire. The hot wires are usually both black or black and red.
The two hot wires are connected to the brass terminals. Attach the earthing wire to the green terminal located behind the U-shape. The neutral conductor is located on the silver screw under the green terminal. Earth the green wire.
The two hotpoints are often provided with a rubber sheath. Use wire cutters, an exacto knife or a box cutter to remove the sheathing. Be careful not to cut and destroy the wire.
Connect the two circuits to your 50 amp breaker after removing the sheath and exposing it.
If possible, route all cables in conduit to avoid exposure, which is an electrical hazard. Turn the power back on after you install the 50 amp circuit breaker and route all cables in conduit.
5. test your outlet
Measure the voltage with your voltmeter (multimeter). However, I strongly recommend using a non-contact voltage tester to test your socket.
Here are the readings you are likely to see on the voltmeter and what they mean.
- There are 240 volts between the hot wires.
- 120 volts are present between HOT and neutral.
- 120 volts are present between HOT and earthed wires.
- There is no voltage between neutral and earth.
You can also plug in an overvoltage protector, which lights up green if the connection is OK.
WhyNotRV shows how to install a 50 amp RV outlet at home on his YouTube channel.
What are the safe wiring rules for your motorhome?
Be especially careful when working with electricity. Avoid electrocution, even when doing something as simple as charging your RV. Here are some tips for safe electrical wiring.
- Before you start wiring, carefully read your motorhome manufacturer’s manual. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the electrical components of the motorhome in question. Motorhome models differ depending on the make, model and date of manufacture.
- It is best to switch off the main power when working with electricity. You must take all reasonable precautions to avoid electrocution, which can even be fatal. If you leave the power on during the process, you risk serious damage to your RV and surrounding property.
- Wear the appropriate safety equipment, e.g. gloves and safety goggles, when working on electrical wiring. Have safety precautions ready, including a voltmeter and fire extinguisher.
- Call a professional if you feel uncomfortable performing the task. First, make sure the person is familiar with RV wiring.
I hope that after reading this article, 50 amp RV plug wiring should not be complicated. However, I strongly recommend that you hire a professional if you are not familiar with installing electrical components.
Don’t forget to turn off the main switch before you start the whole process. When the wiring is complete, check it with a voltmeter before plugging in your motorhome.
Frequently asked questions
Can you plug your motorhome into your house without a 50 amp plug?
Connecting your RV to your home without a 50 amp outlet is not recommended, but it is possible. The average household plug is 15-20 amps, which is significantly less than 50 amps.
For your RV, the 15/20 amp outlet is too low. Also your appliances (15/20 amp outlets are not enough to run your washer, air conditioner or dryer). You can temporarily purchase a 15/20 amp adapter for your motorhome.
Is a 50-amp RV plug 110 or 220 volts?
If both the male and female plugs have four prongs, a 50-amp RV plug is 220 volts. The four prongs consist of a ground wire, a neutral wire and two hot wires, each 110 volts.