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RVelectricity: Can I power my 50-amp RV from an F-150 PowerBoost generator?

Dear Readers,
It looks like a number of readers have recently bought a new Ford F-150 PowerBoost hybrid pickup truck with the optional built-in 7.2kW inverter generator. As many of you know, I had a loaner PowerBoost for two weeks last July.

So in addition to some basic towing tests with a Rockwood GeoPro toy hauler, I did a number of tests to see exactly how its built-in 7.2kW 120/240-volt generator actually works under real-world conditions.

What have I learned so far?

Ford’s documentation and dealer training about the PowerBoost generator is pretty limited. So I ran my own experiments in the back lot of my FunkWorks Lab. Now, this wasn’t a fully documented test of all possible powering situations—which could takes weeks on its own. And I needed to make test drives from Maryland to Goshen, IN, and Maryland to Nashville, TN, and back, so there was limited generator testing. But I know the basics of how it works and what it can power in an RV.

Just the basics

The F-150 PowerBoost truck has a ProPower 7.2kW generator option that includes a pair of 20-amp, 120-volt duplex outlets as well as a twist-lock 30-amp, 120/240-volt outlet in the bed. There’s also a courtesy 20-amp, 120-volt outlet on the dashboard—which is really handy for powering your laptop computer or whatever.

There is a 1.5kWh battery under the back seat which shares duties providing electricity to the 35kW traction motor when you’re driving around town with the gasoline engine shut off, as well as powering the 7.2kW inverter generator automatically.

Note that this is a Hybrid version of the F-150, so its main power plant is a 3.5L twin-turbo V6 engine. I haven’t been able to get a loaner F-150 Lightning for testing, which is the all-electric version of the truck. So it doesn’t include a Bi-Directional charger like the Lightning does.

However, I believe that the Hybrid PowerBoost truck is a great interim solution for towing and powering small- to medium-size RV trailers until the USA charging infrastructure catches up in a few years.


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So what do I need to plug in an RV to the ProPower 7.2kW generator?

It’s really very simple. You just use the twist-lock 30-amp receptacle in the bed of the PowerBoost truck, just like any other 7,000-watt generator. It does indeed make 120/240-volts with a bonded neutral, so you just need an off-the-shelf 4-prong dogbone adapter. There’s a selection on the main video screen of the PowerBoost truck that allows you to turn on the generator, monitor the power, and reset the built-in GFCI protection. That’s the only real caveat with the ProPower generator, as the GFCI can interfere with using this truck to provide emergency power to your house. But I may have a workaround later.

Powering your 50-amp RV from a PowerBoost truck

Just buy a quality dogbone adapter with 4 prongs on the generator side for a standard 7,000-watt split-phase generator. Make sure you get one with the female outlet side having a standard NEMA 14-50 receptacle—just like a campground 50-amp pedestal. So, plug the dogbone adapter into the twist-lock outlet in the bed of the truck, and plug your 50-amp shore power cord for your RV into the 50-amp outlet on the dogbone adapter.

That’s exactly what I did for the Airstream Rally in Lebanon, TN, last July. Interestingly, a few of the bystanders told me I was going to fry the Airstream by plugging into the 240-volt outlet, and suggested that I “talk to the NoShockZone guy about this.” 😆 But, hey… I AM the NoShockZone guy and I had already tested this outlet for proper voltages. So it worked perfectly.

Powering one or two 30-amp RVs from a PowerBoost Truck

That’s equally simple once you get the proper dog-bone adapter. In this situation you just need to add a NEMA 4-15 male to double 30-amp TT adapter. So you first plug in a twist-lock 30-amp generator to RV 50-amp adapter, and then plug the 50-amp male to double 30-amp outlets to that. I haven’t found a single dogbone solution yet, but there’s probably one out there.

Now you can plug in one or two RVs to your PowerBoost truck, and it will easily power both trailers for several days on a single tank of gasoline. I tried this in my own backyard and it worked perfectly for an entire day.


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Why does this work?

The twist-lock receptacle in the bed of the F-150 is a standard 120/240-volt Split-Phase outlet just like a 50-amp pedestal is supposed to be wired. Note that it does have 2 poles with 120 volts each, and when wired properly it can provide either 120 volts (1-pole) or 240 volts (2-pole).

This is exactly how your own residential wiring works, since a house will have a mix of 240-volt appliances like an electric water heater and oven, as well as dozens of 120-volt receptacles in your rooms.

RVs are a little different in that they generally don’t use 240-volt appliances, so everything in your RV uses a 1-pole, 120-volt connection. But because you have two separate poles in a 50-amp outlet, you actually can use 50+50 amps at 120 volts. So that’s really 100 amps at 120 volts of available current. Read more about that HERE.

Let’s play safe out there….

Send your questions to me at my new RVelectricity forum here.

Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 50+ years in the industry. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at Amazon.com. For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.

For information on how to support RVelectricity and No~Shock~Zone articles, seminars and videos, please click the I Like Mike Campaign.

##RVT1048

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Left Coast Geek
1 month ago

A 1.5KWh (1500 Watt*hours) battery will run a 2000 Watt rooftop air conditioner for about 40 minutes before it completely flattens the truck motive battery.

If the RV has the typical dual golf cart batteries, those have about 2000 watt*hours of useful capacity before they are run down 75%, so your 1500 watt*hour truck will not even fully charge the RV battery before it runs out of juice.

EdG
1 month ago

That is true about the battery, however the engine will kick on and charge the system to deliver the full 7.2 kW of power

Sean M
1 month ago

Did the hybrid truck you had as a loaner have copilot 360 2.0? (Not the assist) and I was wondering if it had ACC?

Bob M
1 month ago

Is there a way to use my F150 to power my house thru the elect panel during a electrical outage. Since both the F150 on board generator and electrical panel each have a bonded neutral. I have a 30 amp generator receptacle hooked up outside to the panel that manually switches electric from the generator or electric coming in from the pole. When Ford loaned F150’s to people in Texas to power their house. Many think you can plug it in and do it. Other than plugging a 20 amp extension to the fridge or furnace or some how jerry rigging a 30 dogbone adapter. Good article above. Thanks

Bob M
1 month ago
Reply to  Mike Sokol

Thanks, appreciate you looking into it Mike.

Dennis
1 month ago

Two 50 amp poles are NOT the same as 100 amps. In fact, that is very dangerous advice you are giving. They have a shared neutral, which is only rated for 50 amps, so it is still 50 amps TOTAL, not per leg. A circuit’s rating is based on the weakest link, which is the neutral in this case. A 100a load will melt wire and possibly cause a fire, assuming it didn’t trip a breaker first.

Thomas D
1 month ago
Reply to  Dennis

Because its ac there will be no current on the neutral if its a balanced load. Say you have 2 100 watt bulbs, 1on each “phase” no current will be on the neutral. Now unscrew one . Measure .83333 amps on neutral. Screw bulb back in and amp neutral. No current

Trevor K.
1 month ago
Reply to  Mike Sokol

Regardless of the balanced load, a 14-50R on #8 or #6 cable is rated for 50A. Not 100A total or 50+50. So I would not have mentioned anything otherwise in this article.

Mike ODONNELL
1 month ago

How to make the simple complicated!
The generator produces 7.2 kw [7200 watts].
If your rig needs are greater than that, the SIMPLE ANSWER is NO!!!

Stephen Brazil
1 month ago

Question, I have a 2022 F-150 with the 2000 watt 0n board generator. If I install a “soft start” on my 13.5 but a/c will the peak surge allow the A/C to start? The normal post run of the air is well within the 2000 watts

Dave Johnson
1 month ago

You might consider using an image of a 50amp RV for this story. On the other hand you’ll be hard pressed to find a 50 amp rig a F-150 can pull safely. Sure it will “pull” 14,000 lbs! But can it take the 1,100 lb hitch pulse gas, passengers and cargo? I doubt it

EdG
1 month ago
Reply to  Dave Johnson

Yes. The F150 3.5L PowerBoost™ Full Hybrid V6, 4×2 with the Max Tow Package, Supercrew cab, 5-1/2′ Bed, with the 7.2kW Generator has a payload capacity of 2,090 lbs. and tow capacity of 12,700 lbs. Take the 1100 lbs hitch weight from 2090 lbs. leaves you 990 lbs. for gear in the bed and two more passengers in the back seat.

You can check me on the quoted specs here
https://www.ford.com/cmslibs/content/dam/brand_ford/en_us/brand/resources/general/pdf/guides/2022_Ford_F-150_Towing_Info_r4_Mar30.pdf

https://www.ford.com/trucks/f150/models/f150-xlt/?gnav=vhpnav-specs

Drew
1 month ago

Mike, are both legs of the 30a twist lock plug hot? I must be missing something. Help.

Drew
1 month ago
Reply to  Mike Sokol

OK, then how do you plug that straight into a 30a rv? Do you buy a special dog bone with only one hot to the rv end?

EdG
1 month ago
Reply to  Mike Sokol

Drew,

To go from the F-150’s 30 Amp 4 prong L14-30 to your RV’s 30 Amp TT-30 plug you need something like this: Power Grip Generator Adapter for RV Power Cord – 125V – 30 Amps – 4 Prong Twist Lock – 12″ Long
Item # CAM55382 https://www.etrailer.com/RV-Wiring/Camco/CAM55382.html

The 30 Amp 3 prong outlet found in a typical RV pedestal is a TT-30R which has only one hot leg, a neutral system ground, and an equipment
ground. The single hot leg makes it a 125V 30Amp receptacle. See diagram
https://www.leviton.com/en/docs/7313-Instruction-Sheet-English.pdf

When you use the dogbone, it will only connect to one of the two hot legs coming out of the 4 prong L14-30 in your generator or the F-150’s 4 prong 30 Amp twist plug

This site explains it well and sells products to connect most generators to most RVs, both 50 & 30 AMp

https://www.etrailer.com/faq-30-amp-50-amp-rv-service-adapters.aspx

Drew
1 month ago
Reply to  EdG

Thanks for taking the time with this info. EdG