Question about installing 50-amp RV outlet at home

Question about installing 50-amp RV outlet at home

 

Hi Mike,
I’m about to have a 50-amp RV outlet installed at my home. I’ll have the 50 amp installed or purchase a 50 to 15 adapter and run an extension to the garage. The 15 amp would probably be fine as the only reason desired is to charge the batteries overnight. Worst case would be to run 15 amps from one of the two outlets in my 2016 F250. Thank you. —John

Hi John,
So, if you’re going to use a 15-amp male to 50-amp female adapter (rather than a 50-amp male to 15-amp female adapter) that will be safe for charging batteries and running some lights, but you’ll certainly not be able to start an air conditioner with that limited amount of power. I think when you said 50 to 15 you really meant a 15-amp to 50-amp dog-bone. Here’s the difference and why it’s dangerous to run a 50-amp to 15-amp adapter.

To the right is a 15-amp male to 50-amp female dog-bone. Since the circuit breaker feeding the 15-amp outlet will limit the current to 15 amperes, you’re safe using this with a standard 14-gauge extension cord. And if you do happen to draw too much current, the 15-amp circuit breaker in your house will trip, protecting the extension cord from overheating and possibly catching on fire.

However, I’ve seen a few forums that recommend the opposite, where you use a 50-amp male to 15-amp female adapter to power a small RV from a 50-amp pedestal outlet. Usually it’s by a combination of two adapters, a 50-amp male to 30-amp female, then going to a 30-amp male to 15-amp female.

That would allow you to easily overload a 15-amp extension cord with up to 50 amps of current. And that’s not only an electrical code violation, it’s a real fire hazard. Watch my video below where I overload an extension cord on purpose while monitoring it with an infrared temp gauge.

Let’s play safe out there….

Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 40 years in the industry. Visit NoShockZone.org for more electrical safety tips. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at Amazon.com. For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here

##RVT777

 

Facebooktwitterpinteresttumblrmail

Related

7 thoughts on “Question about installing 50-amp RV outlet at home

  1. Wolfe

    Mike (posted by Chuck?): First off, thank you for mentioning the 50-to-15A issue — I’ve seen people doing exactly that setup with light 15A extension cords WHILE RUNNING FULL POWER in campgrounds, because the plug adapter is MUCH cheaper than buying proper 30/50A extension cords. Most suppliers I have seen refuse to sell that 50A-to-15A adapter because there are a lot more accidents waiting to happen than legitimate uses (after all, every 50A pedestal I’ve seen HAS 15A outlets… making the main reason for buying this adapter *TO* dangerously mis-use it).

    John G. — TOTALLY agree… If you really only top-off your batteries, 15A is fine, but (whether 30 or 50A) if you use your camper AT ALL at home, install proper and FULL power capability. SO much more useful, and safer when someone turns on too much draw by accident.

    Expense: I haven’t done a 50A, but when I installed a 30A outlet in my house, it was a TOTAL of $110 including the 150′ of heavy wire, outlet, breaker, etc. (Because I’m a data-whore, I added $30 to have a V/A/W/AH meter on the pedestal as well). For that money, you’re a darn FOOL to not install it if you use your trailer in the driveway! Imagine how expensive browning out equipment on the end of a 15A extension cord is going to be!

  2. Wolfe

    Chuck: First off, thank you for mentioning the 50-to-15A issue — I’ve seen people doing exactly that setup with light 15A extension cords WHILE RUNNING FULL POWER in campgrounds, because the plug adapter is MUCH cheaper than buying proper 30/50A extension cords. Most suppliers I have seen refuse to sell that 50A-to-15A adapter because there are a lot more accidents waiting to happen than legitimate uses (after all, every 50A pedestal I’ve seen HAS 15A outlets… making the main reason for buying this adapter *TO* dangerously mis-use it).

    John G. — TOTALLY agree… If you really only top-off your batteries, 15A is fine, but (whether 30 or 50A) if you use your camper AT ALL at home, install proper and FULL power capability. SO much more useful, and safer when someone turns on too much draw by accident.

    Expense: I haven’t done a 50A, but when I installed a 30A outlet in my house, it was a TOTAL of $110 including the 150′ of heavy wire, outlet, breaker, etc. (Because I’m a data-whore, I added $30 to have a V/A/W/AH meter on the pedestal as well). For that money, you’re a darn FOOL to not install it if you use your trailer in the driveway! Imagine how expensive browning out equipment on the end of a 15A extension cord is going to be!

  3. Rick

    it’s easy to install a 50 amp plug into the garage. just run the line to a new breaker. you’ll be surprised how cheap it is to buy the parts at the local hardware.

    50 amp future proofs your installation, and it’s not any harder or more expensive to install a 50 vs a 30 amp outlet.

    makes it nice in the summer that you can pack up the camper with the AC running so you don’t sweat to death.

    1. Wolfe

      Plugs and breakers are probably within a certain margin of the same, but 50A@240V (Hot1-Hot2-Neut-Ground 4ga?) *should* require heavier wire by amperage and an extra wire compared to 30A@120V (Hot-Neut-Ground 6ga?)…

      Don’t quote me on code-required gauge, but almost 4X the power IS going to take more copper.

    2. Mike Sokol

      The NEMA 14-50 outlet you need for a 50-amp RV service is exactly the same as a 50-amp stove outlet in your home. So any electrician will know how to install it. However, if you’re mounting this outlet outside make sure it’s in a weatherproof box like this one: http://www.homedepot.com/p/GE-50-Amp-Temporary-RV-Power-Outlet-U054P/100193650?cm_mmc=Shopping%7cTHD%7cG%7c0%7cG-BASE-PLA-D27E-Electrical%7c&gclid=CPefrMSL1NECFcpLDQodj_wC5Q&gclsrc=aw.ds

  4. John L. Gasowski

    We have a 38′ Class A Motorhome that is parked in our driveway for the summer. We use it from December to April when we go south for the winter. Installed 50 Amp service at the front of our home in 2009. When we have family gatherings some people stay in the RV . These events occur in the summer so the air conditioner units are in use. It becomes a guest house!

    Put the 50 amp service in if your electrical service can accommodate. You will not regret it.

  5. Simon Kenton

    If only using this for charging batteries or light loads why install a 50 Amp service at all. Save the extra expense and install only a 30 amp service. 30A is plenty to run most things in a parked RV unless you are going to live in it and run all of your electrical items at the same time.

Leave a Comment