As RV owners – screwing up the wiring process is a nightmare. Believe us, we’ve been there.
As intimidating as it looks, our failed attempts taught us how to properly wire a 30 amp RV outlet WITHOUT the possible explosion that could happen due to faulty wiring.
Don’t worry, all it takes is a few minutes and you’ll be on your way!
The fact that you searched and came across this article means you have an idea of what a 30 amp RV is. But other than it’s an outlet, what else do you know about it?
Let’s take a closer look to make sure we’re both on the right page.
First, make sure you know how to determine if this is really the outlet you’re looking for.
- It has a U-Shaped Pin (1 hole on top, and 2 on the bottom).
- It’s a 120-volt receptacle (TT-30R) with a three-prong male cable or plug (TT-3oP).
- It usually comes with a 30-amp breaker.
- The designated name of the receptacle is NEMA TT-30R.
- The designated name of the plug is NEMA TT-30P.
These things usually come with a male end and a female end.
Make sure NOT to confuse this with the L-Shaped Neutral, which is inverted, and the holes themselves look different – so it’s pretty easy to spot.
But other than that it looks the same, the volts are different and could seriously damage your RV appliances.
The U-shaped pin is a 120-volts receptacle, while the L-shaped neutral is 240-volts. It’s often used for dryers that require stronger power.
Now that you have an idea of what kind of outlet you should have, let’s proceed to the reason why you’re here!
Here’s a list of materials you’ll need. We’ll also place some descriptions to help you better understand what they are.
For a 30 amp RV outlet, the usual sizing of the 10/2 wire is 25 ft.
Make sure your wire gauge has a ground wire.
The 10-gauge wire comes with three wires with basic types and color codes:
- Black: Hot wire (to be attached to the brass-colored screw)
- White: Neutral wire (to be attached to the silver-colored screw)
- Bare (no coat) or sometimes green: Ground wire (to be attached to the green-colored screw, or if there’s no green screw, to the or ground outlet)
If you need a wire longer than 25 ft., get a 50 ft. 8/2 size wire. Yes, they’re different. (See FAQs section below.)
Make sure you really get a single-pole, with 120-volts.
DON’T MAKE THE MISTAKE OF USING A DOUBLE POLE BREAKER WITH 240 VOLTS unless of course, you want to fry your appliances (but please don’t).
And of course, the most obvious material you need is the power outlet box.
This is where you’ll connect the power supply from your main to the 30 amp RV breaker.
Some receptacles already come with the electrical box, while some are sold separately.
We’ll be giving you practical steps and tips, don’t worry.
Before you get all excited, make sure your power sources are turned off so your mains will not supply power for the time being.
It’s common sense alright, but it can be easily overlooked and can be extremely dangerous. Remember you are working with electricity here, so do it with extreme caution, or else it could be fatal.
So, it’s best to be equipped with wireless tools and flashlights if you need them to start working.
You can also use the electricity from your travel trailer if you have an inverter or if it’s fully charged. Most fifth wheels or larger trailers and pickup campers usually have the capacity to supply power for short periods.
Of course, how in the world will you install your new breaker if your main panel has no space?
Make sure to properly label them, so you won’t confuse them with others and risk tipping the main breaker.
If flush mounting or surface mounting is possible, it’s a better choice especially if it’s indoors. You can use an electrical cap for additional safety.
Here’s what flush/surface mounting looks like:
It’s a bit more complicated to do, but flush mounting enables your wires to be inside the wall. This makes it easier to pull it out and it’s just overall more organized and again, safer.
If you have a power pedestal on your porch, that’s good for an RV outlet too! (But since not everyone will have a power pedestal at home, it’s best to surface mount your boxes instead.)
Once you’ve found the perfect spot for the new outlet and new breaker, it’s time to figure out how to loop and run the wires.
We can’t give you exact directives for this, since all houses are built differently, and the distance and circumstances vary.
You can watch this video by Fate Unbound on Youtube for some ideas.
Or if you’re really unsure, please seek professional advice from your electrician or someone who’s knowledgeable.
After extending the wire gauge, connect them to the breaker and electrical panel.
We’ve already discussed this above, but we’ll reiterate here:
- Black is the hot wire which you should attach to the breaker.
- White is the neutral wire which should be attached to the neutral port.
- Bare (no coat/jacket) or sometimes in green is the ground wire which you’ll attach to the ground port.
Again, you should be familiar with your breaker panel to know which goes where. IF YOU’RE CLUELESS, PLEASE CONSULT A PROFESSIONAL.
Be sure to cut off the tip of the cord’s jacket cover with a wire stripper. The copper wire needs to be bare for the power to flow through.
Remember the DON’Ts:
- DON’T connect 2-3 wires to the same port. One wire per port and per specific panel only!
- DON’T connect a wire to the wrong port.
This follows the color codes we’ve discussed above. Your receptacles will usually come with instructions too, so you’ll be alright.
Unscrew the receptacle to see the wiring on the back. Connect the wires slowly and properly. Here’s a clear diagram of what a receptacle is:
After which, put the receptacle back and you’re almost good to go!
And we say almost because there are just additional safety tips =we’d like to recommend.
- Test the 30 amp RV outlet with a multimeter to see if it’s producing the right voltage.
- Use a surge protector for RV to triple-check. We also recommend making this a normal routine before connecting your RV plugs to any outlet to protect your RVs – regardless if you have smaller tent trailers or larger tent trailers.
After doing the steps above, you’re most likely set – your lights, air conditioners, and water heater should be working fine, yippee!
But there are some additional tips to make the process easier.
- Make sure your wire size and size breaker is correct.
- Ensure you have enough wire length running from your mains to the RV receptacle.
- Use accessories such as brass pins, wire stapes, and small straps to secure the wiring.
- Use male-female adapters if needed.
And last but not the least, here’s the Q&A portion where we answer a lot of the FAQs.
We certainly know that it’ll make your RV life so much easier and more convenient.
- You often go on a camping trip and you need to conveniently charge your truck at home.
- You want to turn on or keep the air conditioner and other appliances running while parked at home.
- You want to skip the fussy extension cord situation while you charge your RV.
- You have friends/family who come by to your home to charge (or vice versa).
- You don’t want to go to charging stations anymore just to charge your RV.
As we’ve repeatedly mentioned, the power capacity of RV outlets is 120-volts.
That’s why you need to ensure you have a 30 amp RV plug because a 30 amp RV plug has 120-volts. No more, no less.
Especially if you have smaller motorhomes, remember to be careful or else you’ll ruin your appliances and tip your breakers.
The wire size for a 30 amp RV plug is usually 10/2 with 25 ft. and 120 volts.
If you need something longer, you’ll need a different amp plug and that will require a different wiring size.
- 8-gauge wire: 40 amps
- 12-gauge wire: 20 amps
- 14-gauge wire: 15 amps
A lower amp will not be enough to power your RV, while a higher one will fry your appliances. So stick with the right one to avoid further breakdowns and problems.
Assuming that you’re using a 30 amp RV outlet – yes you can, since your power capacity is 120 volts.
But it’s still not advisable to do this frequently. And make sure there are no other appliances plugged at the same time.
As we’ve discussed above, DON’T DO THIS.
We know they look similar, and it seems like a convenient choice to just use your existing dryer outlet instead of buying a new one.
But it’s not the same.
The dryer outlet runs at 240 volts, which exceeds the capacity of RVs.
Realistically, installing an RV 30 amp plug at your home is really not that difficult if you’re familiar with electrical components and technicalities.
If you’re confident you know what you’re doing, then it’s not just safe, but it also saves you additional costs from paying an electrician.
But if it’s your first time, or if you have absolutely no idea what to do, then please don’t risk it.
It’s far more worth it to pay for safety!
The 50 amp outlet runs at 220 volts – which is not recommended for RVs.
The 30-amp outlet runs at 120 volts – which is the correct one for your RV.
Again, do not use a 50-amp outlet on your RV. The power exceeds the RV capacity, and it will ruin your appliances and electrical system.
We know it can be difficult to follow everything without visual guides.
Luckily for all of us, there are many RV owners on Youtube who are more than willing to help us.
We’ll link the videos we found most helpful:
- 30 Amp RV Outlet Install – DIY Electrical Receptacle Wiring by Fate Unbound
- Install an RV Power Outlet / Install RV Outlet At Home / 30 or 50 Amp RV Outlet DIY / How To by RV Living Yet
- Installing a RV 30 Amp plug to your home by Turtle3863
Here’s a quick rundown of the materials needed and steps we’ve discussed!
- Wire gauge
- 30 amp single pole breaker
- 30 amp receptacle
- Electrical box (may or may not come with the 30 amp receptacle)
- Accessories and tools (i.e., brass pins, wire stapes, small straps, etc.)
- Turn off all power sources; observe safety precautions
- Allot space in your electrical panel for your new 30 amp breaker
- Mount electrical box and outlet (near your RV)
- Run the wire from your main to the 30 amp RV receptacle
- Connect the wire gauges properly (both in the service panel and receptacle)
- Double-check if the power’s correct and everything’s set correctly
There you have it!
We hope this article was able to help you learn how to wire a 30 amp RV outlet CORRECTLY AND SAFELY.
As much as we want you to enjoy fully-charged camping trips with fully charged energy, we also want you to be SAFE above all else.