RV Electricity – 30-amp to 50-amp generator connections

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Dear Mike,
Most generators, with the exception of really large units, 10kw or bigger, do not have a 50-amp plug. I currently have a 3000 Honda and am looking to upgrade to the 6000 … the 6000 has both a 30-amp/120-volt and a 30-amp/240-volt connection. Is it possible to wire the 50-amp plug to the 30-amp/240-volt outlet on the Honda 6000? And if so, is there any advantage to doing this?

I may be thinking crazy but it seems that the 50-amp plug on the RV has two hot legs and the 30-amp/240-volt outlet on the generator has two hot legs, and other than the reduced amperage the direct connect should work? What is the right way to hook my 50-amp shore power cord to the generator? —Bob Tavenner

Dear Bob,
Camco already makes that exact product. It has a male, twist-lock, 30-amp 120/240-volt plug on the generator side, and a female, 120/240-volt, 50-amp, NEMA 14-50 outlet on the camper side.

As for operation, since this class of generator outputs around 30 amps of current per each of its two legs, and each leg is tied to one of the 50-amp bus connections inside of your RV’s distribution panel, you’ll have a total of 60 amps of current available (30+30 amps) from the generator, rather than 100 amps (50+50 amps) from a pedestal with a 50-amp/120/240-volt outlet. It should work perfectly within the power limitations of the generator.
But remember that many inverter generators from Honda, Yamaha and others have a floating neutral bus. So if you want your generator to power an intelligent/EMS surge protector, you’ll probably need to add my G-N bonding plug to the generator’s 20-amp outlets.
Here’s the dog-bone adapter from Camco.
Here’s my article from last week’s RV Travel newsletter on how generator Neutral/Ground bonding works.
Here’s where you can purchase a Neutral/Ground bonding plug directly from Micro-Air if you don’t want to wire one yourself.

Let’s play safe out there (especially around electricity)….

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.

##RVT870

 

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Mike Sokol
Editor

Update: Honda is sending me a pair of their new EU2200i generators and a parallel kit, so I’ll be able to do some interesting generator demonstrations at my RV Electricity seminars in 2019.

david shipp
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david shipp

Dear Mike, I have found it is easier and more efficient to use the 20 amp duplex outlets instead of the generator adapter. I use two of these https://www.amazon.com/EPICORD-Adapter-Connector-Electrical-Dogbone/dp/B073RDTT6N/ref=sr_1_18_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1541708636&sr=8-18-spons&keywords=generator+adapter&psc=1 and one of these https://www.ebay.com/itm/New-RV-Power-Cord-Adapter-Y-Split-50-amp-Female-to-2-30-amp-Male-Connectors/172817159847?hash=item283cb496a7:g:w2EAAOSwfLVZji26:sc:USPSPriorityMailPaddedFlatRateEnvelope!28739!US!-1:rk:4:pf:0 This way I get the full out put from the Generator. you will find that many generators are rated for the value of both duplex outlets and not for the 30 amp outlet. There is then no need to add or adapt the un-bonded ground or any other small detail. 2 times 120 times 20 Amps equals 4800 watts / vs 120 times 30 Amps equals… Read more »

Mike Sokol
Editor

You’re forgetting that the 4-pin “30-amp” connector is actually two 120-volt hot legs of 30 amps each. So that’s 30 amps plus 30 amps equals a total of 60 amps. And 60 amps times 120 volts equals 7,200 watts. Remember, that 240 volts inside of the generator is split into two hot lines of 120/120 volts. You’re not getting all the power that your generator is capable of supplying if you’re only using the 20-amp outlets. Believe me, this is how it works.