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UPDATED June 19, 2020  
by Kyle Roberts

How To Wire Shore Power For An RV: A Beginner’s Guide

How To Wire Shore Power For An RV A Beginner’s Guide

Whether you’re a newbie RV user or an experienced RV camper, one of the first things you should consider is the energy or power source of the camper. Generally, there are two methods often used by RVers: plugging the vehicle into a direct shore power or using generator power. But before you go choosing between the two, let’s first find out the basics such as how to wire shore power for RV, and what are the types of generators. You have to know the notable difference between the two options first.

As we all know, RVs require some energy source to run certain appliances as well as special electronic features of the trailer. However, getting electricity to run into your RV isn’t exactly as easy as the electric power in your home. As opposed to direct power lines used in residential homes, RV campers and trailers need a specific type of connection to get electricity into the trailer.

What is Shore Power?

Also referred to as Truck Stop Electrification (TSE), shore power for RV is used to run electricity to various appliances and other electrical items in a vehicle by directly plugging it into a power source using a specific type of power cord. Shore power has a variety of applications. It can be used in RVs, boats, trucks, and other vehicles that need some electrical power.

Typically featured in campgrounds and dedicated lots for RV camping, power connections using 120-volt shore power comes in a wide range of sizes and shapes. Generally, differently sized and shaped power cord means varying amps and overall power capabilities. It is important to know the power capacity of your RV and to use the appropriate power source accordingly.

​Shore Power vs. Generator Power

​Shore Power

Shore power hubs are readily found in camping sites and RV carparks that feature vehicle docking. Docking your RV to a direct power line can provide your trailer with a continuous and reliable power source with little fear of power outage. While most modern RVs feature a dedicated rig to accept either 30-amp or 50-amp power, there are generally three basic outlet and cord sizes commonly available to either recharge your batteries or power your trailer directly:

  • A 15/20 Amp Duplex provides 15/20 amps at 120 volts or about 1,800/2400 watts of power
  • A 30-amp power cord can provide up to 30 amps at 120 volts which is about 3,600 watts of power
  • A 50-amp receptacle can provide a maximum of 50 amps at 240 volts or 100 amps at 120 volts

​Generator Power

Most RVers use generators to power up their vehicles simply because its convenient to use. Generators are easy to transport and portable, thus, making it ideal for frequent travelers. Aside from its portability, generators are reliable equipment that can provide power whenever and wherever you are. There are several developments in this field, and modern-day generators have come a long way from their massive, noisy, and ridiculously expensive models from the early days. However, a 2,000 to 3,000-watt capable generator could never compete with the amount of electricity shore power can provide for the RV.

​How to Wire Shore Power for RV

If you're starting to learn about the knicks and knacks of RV living, knowing how to wire shore power for RV is fairly important so that you can effectively have electricity running in your RV whenever you go camping. Modern RVs are usually supplied with a specialized shore power cord that is used to hook your camper to a direct line. But how do you exactly and properly do it?

  • Identify the power capacity of the hookup box available and the capacity of your RV. Generally, RV docking sites feature either 30-amp or 50-amp outlets. Typically, most modern RVs either require a 30-amp or 50-amp plug connected to at least a 120-volt power source.
  • Position your RV along the hookup box that will protect it from direct rain or any accidental contact. To even make sure that the hookup box is protected and secure, you can purchase a rainproof electrical hookup box cover with cut out design. We also suggest using a master disconnect switch and a quality circuit breaker in your system to protect your vehicle from the power supply further.
  • When connecting the RV, use a 10-gauge three-core wire to supply 120 volts to the hookup box at 30-amp capacity. In this case, the color-coding for the wires would be black for the hot terminal, white for the neutral terminal, and either green or bare for the ground.
  • To connect the RV to a 50-amp provision hookup box, make sure to use 10-gauge four core wire to supply 220 volts to the trailer. In this case, the color-coding scheme for the wires would be typically red for a hot terminal, black for another hot terminal, white for the neutral terminal, and green or bare to the ground.
  • Keep in mind that a 50-amp power capacity is generally for relatively large RVs with a ton of electrical on-board equipment and appliances. In essence, most of the time, RV equipment runs on 120-volt electricity unless stated otherwise. Make sure to use the proper outlet to avoid any risk and danger of fire.


You need to know how to wire shore power for RV to get the best out of your vehicle's power capacity. While it isn’t as portable and flexible than generators, shore power can provide you with continuous energy source so that you can comfortably stay in your RV with all appliances and electrical features fully functional. Our suggestion is to avail both generator power. Also, make your trailer hookup capable so that you can easily go on living in your RV with a reliable source wherever and whenever.

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