RV Electricity Basics. Part One

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RV electricity expert Mike Sokol covers the basics of electricity for RV owners. In this first installment he discusses volts, amps, watts and how to use a digital meter to measure them for your RV. Mike recorded this for the FMCA international rally in late March after his seminar on the topic was scrubbed along with the rally itself due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The video runs close to 30 minutes, but it’s well worth the time if you are interested in understanding RV electricity, which has significant differences from home electricity.

We’ll have part two of this on Saturday, May 9.

The best book on RV electricity, hands down!
RV Travel contributor Mike Sokol is America’s leading expert on RV electricity. Mike has taken his 50+ years of experience to write this book about RV electricity that nearly anyone can understand. Covers the basics of Voltage, Amperage, Wattage and Grounding, with additional chapters on RV Hot-Skin testing, GFCI operation, portable generator hookups and troubleshooting RV electrical systems. This should be essential reading for all RVers. Learn more or order.

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Jim
4 months ago

Mike, if I have a rv with 50 amp service,and hook It up using a 30 to 50 amp adapter,will the 30 amp Shore power supplied to the camper be distributed on BOTH 50 amp legs but only give me a total of 30 amps of power TOTAL.? Will this apply when hooking up to a champion 3400 watt gen set with a RV 30 amp output connection..? Would a 3000 watt inverter wired internally do the same thing… .(But only 25 amps) ?
I am asking as I was told it would only supply on leg on the A/C panel, meaning some of my stuff wouldn’t work.. Or would have to be put on one side of the panel.

If it can be done, from the inverter, are you just splitting the out puts of the inverter to both sides of the panel to both hot legs, while the neutral and ground are just hooked normally..

If I didn’t explain myself perfectly , please rectify so I can be more clear…
Thanks ,jim in NC .

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Mike Sokol (@mike)
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim

Yes, a properly wired 30 to 50-amp adapter will send 120-volts to both legs of your RV’s electrical system. And yes it will only be 30 amps of total current available to power everything, compared to the 50+50 amp (100 amps total) from a normal 50-amp 120/240-volt outlet. And as you surmised a 30-amp connection from your generator only gives you around 3,,600 watts or power compared to the 12,000 watts you have available from a 50 amp connection to a campsite pedestal.

Jim
4 months ago

Mike is great.. wish I knew what he does about electrics… everything he puts out has good value for RV people.

Member
Mike Sokol (@mike)
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim

Thanks very much. I really love electrical power and electronics.