how to wire a 50 amp rv plug

How to Wire a 50 Amp RV Plug for Electric Hookup: DIY Guide

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You took the plunge and bought an RV. Great idea! It’s an excellent way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature. But to stay ready for your next big adventure, you need to learn how to wire a 50 amp RV plug. While you could have this done by an electrical professional, a DIY project will save you a good amount of money.

Why Do You Need a 50 Amp RV Plug?

If you’re like me and spend a significant amount of time on the road, you may want to find an electric hookup from time to time.

A 50 amp RV plug has four prongs instead of three, like the electrical outlet in your house and some campgrounds. These regular outlets supply 15 or 20 amps of current.

Trying to connect your trailer to an electrical supply that is not compatible with your plug creates a significant risk. Without installing 50 amp RV outlet, the plugging will trip the household or campground circuit breaker. It could also cause damage to your vehicle’s electrical system or even start a fire in extreme cases.

So, you want to recharge your RV battery or run all of the appliances at once without tripping any circuit breakers, right? This requires that you do a 50 amp RV outlet wiring outside your garage or wherever you often park your RV.

how to wire a 50 amp rv plug
With a 50 amp outlet, you can recharge the RV battery at your home. Photo: Shutterstock

How to Wire a 50 Amp RV Plug: A DIY Guide

If you are thinking of taking your RV out into the world, you will have to figure out how to install a 50 amp RV outlet for electric hookup. This guide will explain which tools you need and what you should do in simple steps. It’s one of those things that may sound complicated at first but is not difficult once you understand the basics. Let us get started on how to wire a 50 amp RV plug:

Things You’ll Need to Install 50 Amp RV Outlet at Home

  • A 50-Amp 120/240-volt circuit breaker (double hot-pole)
  • One NEMA 14-50R receptacle
  • A four-conductor wire (6 gauge at least)
  • Screwdriver
  • An electrical toolkit
  • Wire cutters
  • Wire strippers
  • Test light/voltage meter
  • Electrical conduit
  • The outlet box and cover

When doing electrical work, safety precautions are something you cannot compromise with. Put your safety gear on and handle everything with caution.

How to Install 50 Amp RV Outlet: Procedures to Follow

Before starting the wiring, don’t forget to switch off the circuit breaker box. The main breaker will have an amp value of 100 or 200 marked on it. Don’t stop there! Make sure that the box doesn’t have any electricity running through it. Is everything set? Follow these steps now:

Locate an empty slot in the breaker panel

You need to install the 50-amp breaker inside the circuit breaker panel. So, look for an available slot and select one. These empty slots might be covered with plates in some circuit boxes. A plate removal will be necessary in that case to set your breaker.

How to install a 50 amp breaker if you can’t find a vacant slot? In that case, the breaker has to be mounted in a sub-panel box. Installing a sub-panel may require professional help.

Related: Is It Bad to Leave Your RV Plugged in All the Time?

Take the breaker panel cover off

After finding an empty slot for your breaker, you can remove the cover of the circuit box. The cover may be held by screws, so use a screwdriver to take them off.

Be careful when removing the cover. Dropping it off will damage the breakers.

Install the 50-amp breaker

The next step of how to wire a 50 amp RV plug is installing the breaker. Push its handle to the “OFF” position and line it with the panel bars. Push the breaker to the vacant slot, and it should be set on the bus bar with a “snap.”

Do the 50 amp RV plug wiring

How to wire a 50 amp breaker for an RV? The first step is to set up an outlet box on a wall and send the wires through the electrical conduits.

The wiring has to be done in two parts: the outlet’s and the breaker’s sides.

Take the receptacle and attach the red and black wires to its side terminals. The green wire will go to the U-shaped side, while the white neutral wire goes below the green one. So, wiring to the outlet’s side is done now.

The breaker has connection terminals, and you need to unscrew them to attach the wires. Loosen the screws and insert the black and red wires into the two terminals. Connect the green and white wires to the grounding and neutral bus, respectively. Finish this step by tightening the loose screws.

installing 50 amp rv outlet
Always check the wiring before running the electricity. Photo: Mortons on the Move

Double check your wiring

Do a visual check of your work to spot loose connections or broken wires. Also, check for short circuits in the wiring, a common problem when doing your own electrical work. If you find any issues, disconnect everything and start from scratch again.

Attach the panel cover and do a voltmeter testing

Now put the cover back on and test whether everything is working fine. If you have a voltmeter, check for voltage flow in your breaker box. The meter reading should be 240V after putting the positive and negative probes into the line ports.

The meter reading should be 120V when the positive and negative probes are in the line port and ground port, respectively. Remove the negative probe from the ground port and put it in the neutral port. The reading should be the same – 120V.

Another way of testing is to keep the negative probe in the ground port but change the positive one to the neutral port. In this case, the voltmeter reading should be 0V.

After this step, your 50 amp RV plug installation will be complete.

Conclusion

So, this is how to wire a 50 amp RV plug for electric hookup. Now, you can charge up the RV battery at your home without tripping off the electric breaker. But again, remember this is something you should not undertake if you are not 100% confident in your abilities. It may be a good idea to get help from a professional electrician if you think you can’t do this independently.

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