What are your power needs for your RV?

What are your power needs for your RV?

How much power do you normally want when traveling with your RV? Do you need all you can get — preferably a 50-amp shore power hookup? Or can you get along with 30 amps? Or are you perfectly fine with your onboard 12-volt system, maybe using solar power to keep your batteries charged? 

We realize that your needs will vary depending upon your circumstances. For example, when boondocking your needs will be different from when you’re at a full-hookup RV park. So please answer as many of the options below that are most relevant to your lifestyle.

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36 thoughts on “What are your power needs for your RV?

  1. Diane Md

    We get 50amp when available so we don’t have to worry. If only 30 we can manage making sure not to run both A/C’s or turn off when running other high drawing devices. When we go to Speed Weeks for Daytona 500 we dry camp for 10 days….no solar. Use our inverter & generator. Inverter allows us to have our DVR going when not at the MH & the coffee to come on in the AM. Or watch TV w/o the noise of generator….although ours is pretty quiet.

    Diane M.

    Ps…recently bought a surge protector after 20+ yrs of RVing because of you! Thank you.

  2. Frank

    My 34ft gas motorhome was setup with 30 amp service. I have a 6kw generator. Its a noisy one so I only use it when I need power without access to shore power. I’ve got a 2 kw inverter with 4 6 volt batteries which will run everything except the AC’s. Living in the SW part of the country 1 AC sometimes are not enough. I’ve added a separate 20 amp circuit that allows me to use both AC’s when the extra 20 amp plug in is available. I use a spdt solenoid to isolate this circuit when its used. Probably better to rewire for 50 amp service but this works for me. Lots of the smaller coaches are wired so you can only run 1 AC when plugged in.

  3. Jon Granger

    Two of our previous 5vers had 30 amp, but out west 3 summers ago with 95 degree heat almost every day, 30 amp was unsatisfactory. Our latest Montana High Country with 50 amp and a bedroom ac is a great improvement. No issues with lack of power to run everything we need.

  4. Teresa Meyer

    I use 30amp when available, otherwise generator. Thank you so much for doing this newsletter. This is the hardest area for me to understand.

  5. G13Man

    20 ft c class micro mini has 30 amp con & 20 amp plug , i switched all the inside lights to LEDs and the battery will last a week . i can live with out the radio in nature . future plans are for solar panels .
    gas runs frig and heater
    can plug in small heater if i have electric
    ac works , i think
    future rv improvement might need 50 amp
    Any one else thinking electric RV with gen recharge available when driving ? i am !

    1. G13Man

      did not see Elon mention it yet
      haha

  6. Larry Lee

    50 amp service for our 40 foot class A diesel pusher. Why? Because it keeps my wife happy.
    And that keeps me happy because otherwise I would not get to go “camping”.

  7. Jillie

    After reading the short story of going from a gas stove, gas lantern and radio I realize one thing. I remember doing that with a tent and a pop up camper. Even though the pop had electricity. We still relied on the gas stove and lamp. Now? I have a trailer that has a microwave, hot water (awesome), toaster oven and stove built in. I too wonder one thing. What really happened to camping. But I hate to say it, I do not want a camper over 25 feet in length. I love my 20 x 8 aka a mini apartment that just does four things. Eat, sleep, hot water and easy set up. Now to find my roku device.

  8. Butch

    We have a 50 amp shore power connection, 1100+ watts of solar with 830 amp hours of batteries (at 24 volts), a 4000 watt inverter and an 8000 watt generator. Obviously, we don’t use it all at the same time.
    All that said, we’ve survived fine, on just a 20 amp outlet for over one week at a time, as long as the weather was relatively moderate.

  9. Elaine Schuster

    I have a Class B with 30 amp connector. I like having that, because I like to have my microwave and fridge available. I also like my AC, fan and heat pump. I can use my generator if needed, bu for short periods. However, I can also get by on battery power, and even without that, being from the old days. I have a battery powered LED lantern, and my fridge is OK overnight without power. I am envious of the solar options, and my next Class B will have Eco=Trek to be truly off grid independent.

  10. Retired firefighter Tom

    My wife and I both have sleep apnea and use CPAP machines when sleeping. A/C is necessary as warm weather hits [86 Sunday 11/26 in Phoenix]. Heat during the night [50 degrees] is also necessary. 30-amp is fine but I will take 50-amp so we can use the toaster with electric heaters in the morning.

  11. Luke

    It seems that our needs for power in our 34′ 5th Wheel are met at 30 amp hook ups, however, if 50 amp is available we’ll take it. That being said, more and more parks want extra bucks for 50 amp and in those cases we stick with 30 amp.

  12. Patti Lounsbury

    We run a 36ft fiver and prefer 50 amp but have run on 30 and 20 when the need arose. We are going full time and have purchased solar panels but as we know our limitations, will have them professionally installed probably next year. Our reefer is electric w/o a gas option, our furnace is gas and our water heater can do either. We don’t boondock as we enjoy our creature comforts at this time of our lives, but we started with tents and truly enjoyed it.

  13. Tom

    We have a class A, 30 amp with: 2 AC, 1500 heater, gas furnace,, microwave, 2 LCD TVs with satellite, LED interior lights, a seldom used iron and a hair dryer. When we stay at RV parks we use 30 AMP connection. We have a 5K onboard generator we use when AC is required when driving or after a few days without hookups. We do not have solar panels.

  14. Dick and Sandy near Buffalo, NY

    Power requirements are very dependent on what type of rig you have and what power requirements your rig is built for. Back in the 1960’s we started out with a 18 trailer that had 30 AMP power requirements. Now we have a high end diesel pusher Class A that is built for 50 AMP service and that is what we request at campgrounds and RV Resorts when available.. Yes we can survive on 30 AMP and have done so year after year at campgrounds and State Parks that only have that to offer. We also attend events where we can only use generator power and have also relied on our batteries when power requirements did not require the generator. Top of the line Class A.s are now all electric and if you are used to all those electrical options running all the time, then 50 AMP or the Generator are your only options.

  15. RONNIE

    We now have a 50 amp Class A When we had a class C with a 30 amp. You couldn’t use but one little electric heater in it. I checked all the receptacle and all 10 I think we’re on the same 15 amp breaker. So when we moved up that was the first thing I wanted was 50 amp

  16. Fred Burns

    We’ve been fulltiming 8 years in a 34ft true 4 seasons fifth wheel w/ 3 slides & can get by just fine on 30 amp if we’re careful, but prefer 50 amp if available at a reasonable price. We boondock fairly often. Our power sources & usage include the following:
    -50 amp wiring/breaker box or 30 amp w/ bone adapter
    -400 watts solar w/45 amp soar charger, four 6V golf batteries
    -3000 watt pure sine inverter/charger
    -2 Honda eu2000i generators hooked up in parallel in truck bed
    provides 27 amps continuous service
    – 60 LED lights throughout, not including running lights
    -One 1350 watt air conditioner, 1000 watt microwave, 2 laptops, HP printer/scanner, 32″ LCD tv, surround sound stereo, 1800 watt hair dryer, toaster, crock pot, two 1500 watt portable heaters, 150psi air compressor, a Segway w/ 2 large lithium batteries that require charging, portable fan, sleep sound machine, asst gadget & tool chargers, elec/gas 10 cu/ft fridge & 10 gal water heater.
    With 30 amp service we’ve learned what we can run simultaneously with little inconvenience, but no problems with 50 amp. We have all the comforts of home & lack for nothing.
    The joys of this nomad lifestyle are hard to explain to those who have not yet experienced it.

  17. Richard Trapp

    My Class A is a 30amp shore power rig however after upgrading all electric and AC I can now run the refrigerator, air, tv, and led lighting off a 20 amp system. No microwave but I have a Colman stove.

  18. David Ozanne

    Only have 30 Amp in my motor home. need it for my CPAP machine because my wife is afraid to let me run it on 12 volts.

  19. Stuart Syme

    Our 28-foot Timber Ridge is all LED and the TV is 12-volt. With water heater and fridge on gas, I can run a/c or the microwave (one or the other) on 20 amp during the summer. For the other three seasons, I can run on 15 amp. Having said that, when we are on 30 amp, there is no need to use gas for the heater and fridge.

  20. Gene

    We have 30 amp service for our 5th wheel. The issue is we can’t run a coffee pot and toaster at the same time. I also like to use a small electric heater instead of the furnace. I can’t run the heater and the coffee pot or the toaster without blowing the breaker. I like the idea of adding a separate 15 or 20 amp circuit as mentioned before. I don’t see why the mfg cant make two circuits for outlets to enable running more than one appliance at at time.

    1. Mike Sokol

      Be aware that not all campgrounds have both 30 and 20 amp circuits in a pedestal available at the same time. Older campgrounds often had a single 30-amp circuit running to the pedestal, so you could use either the 30-amp OR 20-amp outlet, but not both of them at full current rating. Never assume that all outlets can give you their fullrated amperage at the same time.

  21. Linda

    Our TT has 30amp service and it is sufficient for us. We rarely use the a/c (generally only to keep the cat comfortable,) do use the microwave from time to time and an outlet or 2 to charge our laptops & such, and sometimes we watch TV. No solar (yet), but we are looking into it, if only to keep the fridge running when we have no shore power. Most of the rest we can live without as we tented for many years.

  22. Robert Pulliam

    I have used it all 15 amp in a pop up, 30 in a tt without a/c or microwave, and now in our 38’ motorhome. Loved every minute with each one and appreciated each one as I aged. Now I carry adapter cords for each, just in case 50 amp is not available and remind my wife what she’s not able to use. Which we usually don’t stay very long without 50 amp service.

  23. Ian Batley

    In Australia all of our connections at 15 amp. So it is 15 amp or nothing bit at 240V. I do not understand why you would need so many options.

    1. Stuart Syme

      Unless my understanding is wrong, 15 amp at 240 V gives the same watts as 30 amp at 120 V.

      Your 15 amp is like our 30 amp service … unless I’m wrong.

      1. Mike Sokol

        Yes, in much of the world outside of the USA they have a 230/240-volt electrical service. Since volts x amps = watts, 120 volts x 30 amps = 3,600 watts, and 240 volts x 15 amps = 3,600 watts. So there’s exactly the same amount of power available in both situations. In the USA we actually have 240 volts coming into the service panel, but it’s split in half by a center-tap on the utility transformer. Even though we call it a 50-amp shore power here, it’s actually 2-legs with 50 amps each, and that adds up to 100 amps of total current available.

        1. Ted DeGroot

          Twenty amps is nice. The only thing we regularly use A/C for is for the coffee maker and tv. In the deep south in summer we sometimes use 30 amps for air condtioning. We have but almost never use the generator, too loud. So we are most happy when we can stick to the 12v system and propane. But then we rarely spend more than three days in a single location. Afterall, life is short and there is so much to see.

        2. Edward Price

          “Even though we call it a 50-amp shore power here, it’s actually 2-legs with 50 amps each, and that adds up to 100 amps of total current available.” No, I don’t think so. You can draw 50 Amps from either “high” line, but that current cannot sum and be returned through the neutral or center-tap line. Remember that, with respect to the neutral line, one high line is going positive while the other high line is going negative. In the worst-case scenario, you can draw 50 Amps from a high line, be returning 50 Amps through neutral, and drawing zero Amps on the other high line. As you start to add load between the second high line and neutral, less current will flow on the neutral and more on the second high line. When the second high line gets up to 50 Amps, there will be zero Amps on the neutral line.

  24. Tom

    Use 50 Amp for 5th Wheel we don’t tow anymore. 30 Amp for Truxk Camper.. Have several small solar lights some with motion detectors we use outside of 5th Wheel for night time safety and as flashlights, and also take them with us in Truck Camper when staying at the beach or parked for the night without access to electrical power.

  25. rob

    I actually have a 45 amp set up. I have the 30 amp that came with the camper, but the slide out had no AC. So I put a couple of outlets and two reading lights in the slide out area with an outside male recptical. Then I run a #12 wire fro the to the campground pedestal and plug into the 15 amp out let. Works great and I can run my small electric heater from there leaving the rest of the camper available for 30 amp.

  26. WALDO GILLY

    30 AMP IS GOOD, BUT WE HAVE A INVERTER & 6 GOLF CART BATTS. IF AC NEEDED GEN.
    WALLY & WIFE WITH 2 DOGS

  27. Dave

    I probably do everything.
    Toy hauler came with 50 amp. I added a 30 amp and a 20 amp independent services.
    Also have generator and solar.

  28. Bart Bartling

    I like the 50 amp service but many times run on 30 amp and have gotten by with 20 amp. Just as long as we can run my wifes oxygen concentrater and her bipap machines we are good to go.

  29. Cindy

    We have a 50 amp 5’r. Can get by on 30 if we have to but was under the impression that running on 30 amp for any length of time could be detrimental to the electrical system

  30. Mel Goddard

    I’m happy with 20 Amps. but there are times when I need 30 for AC or furnace.
    I seldom use the Micro-wave

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