Master the Basics of Wiring a 50 Amp RV Plug Today!
If you don’t have a 50-amp outlet to power your RV plug, you can buy a 50-amp service RV or install a 50-amp RV outlet yourself to be able to use its plug.
But, keep in mind that you need to have knowledge about electricity if you plan to do the latter. Some of the things you need to know are know-how on safely disconnecting the power and using electrical tools.
If you can work with electricity, you can learn how to wire a 50 amp rv plug.
Read on to know all about 50-amp RV plug, steps on how you can install one, and some safety tips.
Installing a 50 Amp RV outlet at your home – Why Not RV
What is a 50-Amp RV Plug?
Before learning how to wire a 50 amp RV plug, you need to understand the basics of a 50-amp RV outlet. You need 4 wires and a 4-prong plug to install a 50-amp RV outlet. You also have to understand that a 50-amp RV outlet and 110-v service aren’t the same. That’s because every 50 amps are equal to a pair of
110 volts transmissions.
30-amp and 20-amp services connected together aren’t also the same as 50 amps. Remember not to connect a 220V receptacle to a 50-amp outlet if you don’t want to end up having burnt electronics.
When you’re out camping, and you can’t find a 50-amp outlet to connect your RV plug, you can use an adapter to connect it to a 30-amp outlet. The same applies if you connect 30 amps to a 50-amp outlet.
A 50-amp RV has enough power to operate electronic devices and appliances with high voltage. This service has 2 separate sources of 50 amps. Each source has 110 volts.
Now that you understand how a 50-amp RV plug works, let’s go on to the steps on how to wire it.
Steps on How to Wire a 50 Amp RV Plug
It’s important to go through these steps carefully so that you can do the wiring properly and safety is observed all the time.
Step # 1 – Gather your materials.
You have to make sure you have all the materials and tools on hand before you start the process. But, you can get most of these, especially the electrical wires, at your nearest hardware store. It’s likely that you already have some of the tools you need.
Here are some of the tools and supplies you need:
- NEMA 14-50R outlet
- 50-amp Double Pole Circuit Breaker (120/240 Volts)
- Wire Cutters
- Voltage Meter
It’s also recommended to use electrical conduit for your wires to keep them organized. and prevent hazards. You can use a soft rubber tube for better control or a hard conduit such as a PVC pipe. If you’ll set up your plug at home, a PVC pipe is recommended.
Step # 2 – Shut down your main breaker.
Before working on the wiring, turn off your main breaker. You need to find a 100-amp or 200-amp main breaker that will turn your entire unit off. Remember that all the lines that operate the main breaker will continue to run, so they’re still hot or live.
If you don’t have this main breaker where you’ll install your new 50-amp breaker, look for another breaker box that provides power to your installation box. After you find it, shut it off and put a warning saying that no one should turn it on.
Remember that your main breaker still has power. So, you better use your voltage meter to make sure that there’s no power in your other breakers. You need to be extra careful to avoid hurting yourself. It’s best to get the help of an expert if you’re not 100% sure how to work with live power.
Step # 3 – Prepare the area where you’ll install your RV outlet.
After making sure you’ve turned off the main breaker, you have to pick the location for your RV outlet. Make sure you choose a dry and even area that’s not near water sources. There should also be enough space around it to ensure good airflow and prevent sparks that can cause a fire.
The installation begins after you’ve found the ideal spot for your RV plug outlet. You have to put a power box. It should be big enough for a 50-amp double-pole circuit breaker. Prepare the wires needed, as well. Make sure that your wires are insulated.
Step # 4 – Check how much cable you need.
For this step, you need a wiring diagram for a 50-amp RV plug outlet to check how much wiring you need. After examining the diagram, you can make your own diagram that shows how you’ll configure the wire. You can measure from your outlet to the ceiling. If you want to do side installation, you measure until the side of your panel. It’s best to add more feet when purchasing wires to cover the bends.
Step # 5 – Install your circuit breaker.
We can’t stress enough how important it is to ensure that you’ve turned the power off when using your breaker box and working on the wiring.
Install the circuit breaker and be very careful not to touch the live wires. You should see that the breaker fits easily in the power box. Screw it and connect this breaker to your main breaker. Double-check the placement by giving it a light pull.
Step # 5 – Test the wires using the conduit.
We recommend running your wires first through the conduit first before attaching them to your new breaker. The wire should be in a protective tube and located above or underground.
Step # 6 – Work on the green and white wires.
Now, it’s time to do the wiring. You connect the green wire to the ground bus in your circuit breaker. Then, you connect the white wire to the neutral bus.
Then, you connect the other end of the green and white wire to the terminal in your outlet. You can find these terminals easily since they’re labeled green and white.
Step # 7 – Attach the two hot wires.
Next, you hook the hotlines at the top and bottom output points of your breaker. But, you can’t do this right away because they have a rubber sheath covering. Get your wire cutter so that you can take this sheath off. You need to be very careful in doing this. That’s because you can damage the wires if you cut them too deeply.
You start from the top and create a small incision to expose the wire. Then, you cut around an inch and pull the wire back to ensure that your incision isn’t too deep. After that, you can continue cutting for around 6 to 8 inches to make sure there’s enough wiring.
When you’ve successfully taken the sheath off, you connect the two hot points to your new circuit breaker.
Step # 8 – Turn on the breaker and test if the wiring is a success.
You flip the lever to switch the main breaker on again. Then, you switch your new circuit breaker on, which is your 50-amp outlet. You get your voltage meter so that you check your outlet before you test it on your RV.
You place the probes on the receivers properly by placing one in the hot receiver and the other in neutral. You should get a reading of 120 volts. Interchange the probes and do the same thing. The reading should also be the same.
Lastly, you place both probes on the hot receivers. The reading result for this should be at 240 volts. You can also check it on your appliances. If you get all these readings from your voltage meter, you are ready to check it on your RV.
Safety Tips When Wiring a 50-Amp RV Plug
Safety should always be the priority, so here are some of the things you better follow all the time:
- Avoid touching any electrical wire, circuits, or equipment with wet hands.
- Don’t risk trying broken electrical equipment with broken parts such as damaged plugs.
- Never forget to turn off the main breaker and leave a note saying that no one should ever turn on the breaker.
- Use insulated tools all the time.
- Don’t work on multiple sections to avoid touching live wires or circuit breakers when they’re turned on.
- Keep children away from your work area even when the circuit breaker is sh
- When wiring, use an electrician’s tape. Aside from providing insulation, it’s also useful when you mark wires.
- Make sure that there’s good lighting when you work.
- Have a fire extinguisher near you in case a fire happens.
- You better get help from a professional if you’re not confident in wiring. This is also recommended if you’ve never done it before.
- Use appropriate protective gear such as rubber gloves or goggles when working with circuit breakers and outlets.
That’s it! You know how to wire a 50 amp rv plug on your own. The given steps are fairly easy if you can work around wires, circuit breakers, and outlets. But, we like to emphasize following safety precautions when you do wiring projects.