Can I Plug My 50 Amp RV Into a 15 Amp Plug?

by Bobby G. Ratliff
(Bedford, Virginia)

How to Plug a 50 Amp RV into a 15 Amp Plug

How to Plug a 50 Amp RV into a 15 Amp Plug

Can I plug into 15 amp power at my home while my coach sits in my driveway and runs one ac? It has 50 amp power. If not, what can I use?

ANSWER: Hi Bobby, Yes, with a couple of adapters, you can plug your 50 Amp Motorhome into a 15 Amp household plug. First, you will need a 50 Amp Female to 30 Amp Male adapter. Either one of the 2 adapters listed below will work for you.

Camco 55185 RV 18" PowerGrip Dogbone Electrical Adapter with Handle

Dogbone Adapter with Handle, 30 Amp Male to 50 Amp Female

You will also need a 30 Amp Female to 15 Amp Male Adapter. The one listed below will work.

Camco 55165 RV 12" PowerGrip Dogbone Electrical Adapter with Handle

Now you can plug your RVs 50 amp cord into the 50 Amp to 30 Amp adapter and plug the other end of the adapter into the 30 Amp to 15 Amp Adapter and plug that adapter into your home electric or a 15 Amp extension cord.

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Once you have installed the three-prong adapter on the power cord from the Motorhome, it is time to plug it in.

Here are the steps to take the first time you plugin.

1. Make sure all electrical appliances in the Motorhome are turned off.

2. Turn off the breaker on the house circuit you are using.

3. Plug the Motorhome electric cord into the house receptacle you have chosen.

4. Reset the house circuit breaker; you should now have electric to the Motorhome. If the circuit breaker goes off again, double-check to ensure that all electrical appliances in the Motorhome are turned off.

Special Note: If for some reason the power cord on the RV does not reach the receptacle you are going to plug into on the house, you may want to use an
extension cord. If this is the case, it is important to understand that you cannot just use any extension cord that you buy at a hardware store.

The extension cord should be at least a 10 Gauge Vinyl Outdoor Extension Cord and should be just long enough to reach the receptacle you are plugging into. Using a longer extension cord can create more heat and also becomes more inefficient.

Limitations On Running Appliances

First, understand that the circuit or plug you are using may have other plugs on it as well. If the circuit you are using is a 15 amp circuit, it means that the total amps on that circuit cannot be greater than 15 amps, or the breaker will trip. So you may not actually have 15 amps available to you, depending on what else is operating off of that circuit.

So, just because you are now plugged in does not mean you can run all of the electrical appliances at one time like you could if you were hooked up at a campground or RV Park. You have to limit your usage to be below the 15 Amp limit for the circuit you are hooked up to. If you exceed the amperage limit, you will continually trip the house circuit breaker.

Here are some Amp usage numbers for common electrical items found in an RV.

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These appliances should not be run at the same time, or you will trip the circuit breaker;
Roof Air Conditioner, Hair Dryer, Microwave, Toaster or Toaster Oven.

OK To Run Together

These appliances can be run safely together, TV, DVD, Laptop Computer and RV Refrigerator.

If you are not sure how many amps an appliance uses, here is a simple formula to determine amps.

Divide the Watts by the Volts, and that will give you the Amps for that appliance.

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Comments for Can I Plug My 50 Amp RV Into a 15 Amp Plug?

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Why 50 to 30 to 15?
by: Anonymous

What’s the point of running all those reducers when they make a 50 to 15? Is it a safer way of doing it? I only plan to use a house plug to charger the battery

AC Power
by: Jacob

Most RV AC Units take 20 amps to start. Begging for serious problems by ever running ACs on 15 amp. Many RVs don't have a way to avoid permanent AC damage when underpowered.

battery issue
by: Anonymous

had plugged into 15 amp as described and battery (coach) blew up, cracked and blew the caps off from it. ? removed it and then plugged back in and hear a clicking noise so unplug, what is causing this ?
Also someone ran over my 50 amp cord across driveway, how do I tell if did any damage to it?

thanks for help, newbie and now scared of coach.

50amp RV to 120v
by: Mike L

Can I swap the 15amp breaker to a bigger breaker 30am (single pile 120v) I have a 50amp RV

Slide-out Amperage
by: Anonymous

Thank you for the very informative article. I'm looking to plug-in my new 50 amp trailer to a 15 amp socket at my home. I'm only doing it to open the two slide outs, take some measurements and then close the slide outs. Does anyone know how many amps (on average) that would take? Also, with regard to the procedure for turning off the main breaker to the house before plugging in the RV to the 15 amp socket, does this need to be done every time you plug the RV in? Ex) I plug in my RV today and unplug it tomorrow. If I plug it in again next week I will need to turn the main breaker off first? Thanks in advance.

Do batteries charge?
by: Harold of Austin

Once installing the pigtails as you explained and NOT turning the coach breaker on, as I do not want to use anything inside the coach, do the batteries charge while plugged into the 15-amp source?
Harold of Austinb

Powering RV From Home Electrical Service
by: RCAircraft

All of the above comments are spot on. One more comment - - a qualified electrician could install a 50 amp outlet at the home however the incoming house service capacity should be considered. I still see homes with 30, 50 and 100 ampere load centers. As noted in previous comments the normal total load at home plus the RV load should be evaluated because the home main breaker/ fuse could trip/open when the additional RV load is turned on/operating.

Also worry about your charger setting
by: Bill Joyce

One "appliance" that is often forgotten is your battery charger, be it a converter or inverter/charger. If your batteries are drained when you plug in, the load of the charger can be 5 to 20AMPs (with a large inverter/charger that thinks it has 50AMP service).

Exercise caution
by: Teri B

While, in a technical sense you CAN adapt a 50 amp service vehicle to use a 30 or 15 amp plug, I have seen too many problems (fires, ruined appliances, etc.) because it is often difficult to tell exactly how many amps an appliance uses to start and be in use.

Many people are not even sure if the plug they intend to use is dedicated or if it does have other house appliances, etc. associated with it. Especially if you plan to use an AC you would be much safer having an electrician make sure that the wiring is appropriate and then install a 30 or 50 amp plug along with the respective 30 or 50 amp breaker.

by: Anonymous

There are adapters to convert 50-30amp, 30-15amp, 50-15amp and even a Y cable to convert 2 15amps-50amps. These cables are called dogbones and can be found with a simple internet search or on eBay. Even walmart
icon has them.

AC and 15 amps
by: Anonymous

You should note that some air conditioners take more than 15 amps to start, even if their running amperage is lower than 15 amps. Therefore, starting an air conditioner can trip a 15 amp breaker.

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