If you’ve stayed in RV campgrounds before, you would probably be aware of the 50-amp or 30-amp power pedestals available on the grounds. If not, it’s okay! Power pedestals and power services are provided in camping grounds to accommodate the power use of recreational vehicles. RV’s are usually 50-amp vehicles. Make sure you find yourself a matching 50-amp pedestal to avoid a tripped breaker and a burned-out plugin.
Different RV Pedestals
Before you start plugging in, here are the types of pedestals you might encounter on your trip. There’s a difference for each one, and identifying them is key for a safe experience.
This is more technically called the TT-30P (plug) and TT-30R (receptacle). The 30-amp are designations that can cater specifically to motorhomes, RV’s, and trailers for power. Its plug is made of 120 vaults. It follows a wiring system consisting of three wires. These wires are black (hot), white (neutral), and green (ground).
The 50 amp is more technically called the 14-50R for its receptacle and 14-50P for its plug. This specific pedestal has 4 wires: two of which are hot. The 50 amp is the standard pedestal for larger RV’s.
The two hot wires are 120 volts each. Aside from these, the 50 amp also has a neutral wire and a half round pin. The half-round pin serves as the breaker’s ground. During the testing phase, a successfully installed 50 amp power pedestal will create 240 volts across the two hot 120-volt wires. You can also test cross each of those hot wires individually along with a ground wire or a neutral wire. It must create 120 volts.
The 15 and 20 amp is the most common type of outdoor outlet. The 20 amp is usually found with outlets that use a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) or Residual Current Device (RCD). 15 amp receptacles are commonly found in residential areas. GFCI receptacles are usually used for outdoor outlets, and it is most probably the most effective type of circuit breaker for that form.
Steps on How to Wire a 50 Amp RV Pedestal
We won’t make you wait any longer! Here are clear instructions on how to wire a 50 amp RV pedestal:
Get the Needed Materials
For a 14-50, you’d need a 50 amp outlet or a 14-50R (usually pre-installed). The common distance is 50 feet, which requires #6 gauge wires. This means that both hot wires and the neutral wire are six-gauge.
Disconnect the Breaker Panel
The breaker panel can be disconnected by shutting off the main breaker. The breaker panel will serve your 50-amp outlet. The set-up of the breaker board is usually split single phase. Its supply is served by two hot wires, one neutral wire, and one ground wire.
Install a 50 Amp Breaker in a Vacant Location
You can also choose an unused 50 amp breaker instead. To install, connect the red wire to a terminal on the breaker’s outlet side. Connect the black wire to the other terminal on the same side as the red wire. Connect the white wire to the neutral busbar and connect the green wire to the grounding block.
Wire the Half-Round Receiver
The Half Round is the U shaped receiver in the breaker found at the upper middle section. Wire or connect it to your ground to which you have earlier connected the green wire. The terminal screw is usually green too.
Wire the Bottom Receiver
Connect or wire the receiver found at the lower middle section to your neutral to which you have earlier connected the white wire. The terminal screw is usually white.
Wire the Side Receivers to the Plugs
There are two receivers on the side, one on the left and one on the right. Connect or wire these receivers to your hots, which are your red and black wires. Don’t worry about the order of these wirings for the hots. The black and red wires are interchangeable and would work either way!
Switch It On and Test It!
First, switch on the main breaker and reconnect the double pole breaker using the switch. The double-pole breaker serves your newly installed 50-amp outlet, so it’s best to test it after turning it on.
DON’T plug in your RV just yet without testing the pedestal. You can test your outlet with your voltage meter. Set it to 240 volts for testing. There are three parts to the testing stage:
Set one probe in a single hot receiver and another probe on a single neutral receiver. The resulting reading should be at 120 volts.
Set one probe on the other connected hot receiver while the other probe remains on the single neutral receiver. The reading should also be at 120 volts.
Lastly, set the probes on both hot receivers. One probe should be located on a single hot receiver. The resulting reading should be at 240 volts.
Reminders on How to Wire a 50 Amp RV Pedestal
Now that you know how to wire your RV to a 50 amp RV pedestal, here are some reminders to take note of whenever you’re wiring power pedestals.
Wire Size Recommendations
For 50 amp pedestals, the size of your wires depends on the distance. Usually, #6 gauge wires are used because the standard distance for RVs is 50 feet. But in case it’s shorter, #8 gauge wires are recommended for 25 feet. If it requires a larger distance, you can go for a hundred feet using #4 gauge wires.
Handling electrical equipment and wiring is dangerous. It’s important to keep safe while you’re working with power pedals and breakers. Here is an acronym to help you remember some tips on electrical safety:
Y- YOURSELF: make sure your hands are not damp, you have no metallic accessories near the equipment, your clothes are not loose enough to touch the equipment, and that you are well-versed on what you’re doing
E – EQUIPMENT: only use non-conducting tools and handles, never use metallic pencils or rulers while working near the circuits,
S – SURROUNDINGS: make sure you’re not working in a damp environment or wet ground, keep away from flammable chemicals, and it’s best if it were warm to prevent condensation
Stay safe and follow the instructions! Happy traveling! Know more about RV power.