The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide to RV Electrical Hookups

Learn about RV electrical hookups to prevent any mishaps or frustration at the campground. Read Cruise America’s guide to RV electrical systems!
rv electrical hookup

Modern RVs are technological marvels, enabling travelers to have all of the trappings of home with them out in the wilderness. Yes, with propane gas and electric hookups, you don't have to sacrifice comfort to go on an adventure. 

Ideally, whichever campground you end up booking will have full hookups, while others will have either 30 or 50 amp electricity and water. After you arrive, you will need to connect your RV yourself.

If you don't know how to connect your RV electrical system to a campground hookup, or need a reminder of what to do, then now's the time to pay attention!

The Difference Between 30 and 50 Amp Systems

First up, do you know the difference between 30 amp and 50 amp RV electrical hookup systems? You're more likely to encounter a 30 amp RV electrical hookup system in smaller RVs, while fifth wheels and larger motorhomes are generally equipped with a 50 amp system.

In terms of power, 30 amp RV hookups receive 3,600 watts of power, while 50 amp systems receive more than 12,000 watts. In practical terms, an RV with 30 amps of power can run fewer appliances than one with 50 amps.

With a 50 amp RV electrical hookup, you're on your way to bigger and better things. You can run multiple appliances in a 50 amp RV without worrying about tripping the breaker. Try to run multiple appliances in a 30 amp RV, and you'll trip the breaker in much less time than it takes to hook up. 

However, if you hook up your 30 amp RV to a 50 amp hookup at a campsite, know that you're still only going to draw 30 amps; and, if there are only 30 amp hookups, but you've got a 50 amp RV? You're still not going to be able to draw more than 30 amps.

Cruise America RV are equipped with 30 amp and a 15 amp adapter. If you can, try to find campsites that have the appropriate RV electrical hookup for the system in your RV to make things easier for you.

Your Step-By-Step Guide To RV Electrical Hookups

Once you've arrived at a campground with electrical hookups, get to know the system and breaker there. After you've found it and worked out what the power supply is, make sure everything is turned off in your RV, and also shut off the campsite's power supply. That's step one.

Next, pull out your RV's plug, which you will connect to the campground power box you just shut off. But, hang on! Remember what was said about 30 amp and 50 amp systems? If your RV electrical system is being connected to a hookup with different amperage, you'll likely need an adapter. If everything looks correct, plug your RV into the power system. Step two –– done.

The final step? Step three is when you switch your campsite's breaker back on. You should now have power in your RV!

What About Unhooking the RV Electrical System?

To unhook your RV, simply follow the above steps, with the main difference being unplugging your rig instead of plugging it in!

RV Electrical Hookup at Home

There may also be times when hooking up your RV to your actual house will be desirable or necessary. For instance, if you want to check to make sure everything is working well before you head out on a road trip, it makes sense to perform a kind of diagnostic check. Or, it may simply be that you're loading it up with perishable food, and want to keep some things cold. 

Even if you're not an RV owner, you can take an RV rental home and hook it up to your house as you prepare for your next big journey. You won't be able to run everything, or for very long, but think of this as a backup plan to handle things before camping.

You can proceed with an RV electrical hookup at home without too much fuss, provided you have a connector for a three-prong plug. You will also need a 30/50 amp adapter to hook up to a house's 15/20 amp system. 

Make sure the breakers are off at your house, and that everything is off in your RV, too. Once you've connected your RV to your house with a three-prong connector and/or adapter, you can switch your house's breakers back on and everything should be hunky-dory. 

Keep in mind that RV appliances and systems can use a lot of electricity and thus drive up your bill, so try not to rely on your home’s electric grid for too long.

Connect With Cruise Before You Connect With a Campground

If you're going RV camping, you need to know 1) what kind of RV electrical system your RV has, 2) what kind of hookups there are at your chosen RV campsite, and 3) how to proceed with an RV electrical hookup once you've arrived at your campground. 

Surely, by now, you have the basics down to avoid electrical problems, which means it's time to get yourself an RV rental from Cruise America. Our RVs are equipped with 30 amp and 15 amp adapters.

Before you can connect an RV electrical hookup, you have to have an RV, and Cruise America has the one you're looking for. Connect with Cruise America today to power up your next RV adventure!

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