How To Hook up an RV outlet

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May 6, 2020
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Hi everyone, I’m looking to run electric to my travel trailer. It has 30 amp service. I am digging a trench and going to get 10 gauge direct burial wire. Wondering if I can use this outlet? ( with an additional breaker in the basement)

 
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Nov 2, 2019
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2,156
Location
WA, MT or somewhere else!
RV Year
2018
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Newmar
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Mountain Aire 4047
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40'
TOW/TOAD
2014 Honda CR-V
That box should work fine, though you could probably find a less-expensive option.

Don't know how long your wire run is from the breaker panel in the house to the RV box, but if it totals more than about 100' you should upsize your wire to 8AWG. And, if it was my project, I would run 8AWG anyway, just in case I ever wanted to change to a 50A service.

TJ
 
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May 6, 2020
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Thanks TJ. I need both the 30 amp and the regular house current. This is the only unit I’ve seen with both. I was tempted to go with eight gauge but I’m not sure my breaker box can handle 50 amps because I’m at my limit. I’m running about 200 feet. With the limited amount of power I’ll be using for the camper people seem to think it’s OK. Hope so! I talked to one electrician and he said a “70 amp” unit could not be used with 10 gauge wire and I understand that in theory but I do not believe he is correct.
 
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Location
WA, MT or somewhere else!
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2014 Honda CR-V
Thanks TJ. I need both the 30 amp and the regular house current. This is the only unit I’ve seen with both. I was tempted to go with eight gauge but I’m not sure my breaker box can handle 50 amps because I’m at my limit. I’m running about 200 feet. With the limited amount of power I’ll be using for the camper people seem to think it’s OK. Hope so! I talked to one electrician and he said a “70 amp” unit could not be used with 10 gauge wire and I understand that in theory but I do not believe he is correct.
With a 200' run, you absolutely need 8WG...maybe 6AWG! Your electrician is correct. The voltage drop with 10AWG wire over a 200' run will be substantial. And, using undersized wire could pose some insurance issues as well should you ever have an electrical fire. Saving a few bucks in the short term may not be a good long-term investment.

TJ
 
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Thanks. I think you misunderstood me. Every electrician I’ve talked to said that the 10 gauge wire for 200 feet is fine for my needs. I don’t believe I have enough power in my circuit breaker box for 50 amp (8 gauge) as well. My question is whether or not that outlet would work with the 10 gauge. I appreciate your help.
 
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Messages
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Location
WA, MT or somewhere else!
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2018
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Newmar
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Mountain Aire 4047
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40'
TOW/TOAD
2014 Honda CR-V
The size of the wire has nothing to do with how much amperage you draw from your main panel. Using 8AWG will not, in itself, draw any more amperage than 10AWG. The load you plug in at the end of the circuit governs how much amperage is drawn and since you will have a 30A receptacle for the RV and two 20A general use receptacles, your potential draw could be 70A if you use all three circuits at the same time.

TJ
 
Last edited:
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May 6, 2020
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So you’re saying I could go up to an 8 or 6 gauge and that won’t affect the breaker box it would just would perform better?
 
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So you’re saying I could go up to an 8 or 6 gauge and that won’t affect the breaker box it would just would perform better?
Yes. Just be sure that the individual breaker in your main panel will accept the larger wire size. It most likely will, but if not, just replace the individual breaker with one that will.

TJ
 
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May 6, 2020
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Great, thanks TJ. I think I am going to go up to the eight gauge in conduit and there is no breaker in at the moment so I will put in a GFCI type. Somebody mentioned I need two 30 amp breakers and one 20 amp breaker. Now that I’ve got the wire figured out I will look more into that.
 
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2014 Honda CR-V
It looks like the power outlet box you have chosen comes with a 30A and a 20A breaker installed. The 30A protects the RV outlet and the 20A protects the two household outlets. All you need now is a 30A (or 50A if you want) breaker for the main panel at the house.

The breakers in the power outlet box (aka "sub-panel) will protect the circuits connected to it. The breaker at the main panel in the house protects against a short circuit between it and the sub-panel (or, an unlikely failure of one of the breakers in the sub-panel).

Good luck.

TJ
 
Joined
Dec 26, 2019
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I would not put a GFCI breaker in your main panel. Many RV systems do not play well with GFCI’s. I would add a GFCI outlet at the point of use if you feel you need one there for other use
 
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Hi everyone, well it’s been a while! I’ve decided to go with 4 or 6 gage wire for the 200 foot run. Probably 4. The last electrician I had at the house told me that I need to run separate wires for each breaker which is getting a little pricey. $600+. I was under the impression I could run a single wire to this outlet and put in a jumper to each breaker. Am I correct in thinking this?
 
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WA, MT or somewhere else!
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2018
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2014 Honda CR-V
You should be able to run a single heavy wire (#4) to a "sub-panel" at the RV connection point. The sub-panel would then have breakers in it for the individual circuits it feeds. This is similar to putting a sub-panel in a detached building like a shop, garage, etc.

Where are you finding your "electricians?" Are these licensed and bonded electricians, or handymen that do occasional electrical work? From my experience, you are receiving some questionable information. Or, the electrical code in your state is a whole lot different from the one in states with which I am familiar.

Get a state-licensed electrician and do it the way he says. And, get an electrical permit from the state to have the work done. That will get you an inspection and assurance that the job has been done correctly.

TJ
 
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Thanks TJ. The subpanel in question is the one in the link above. It has a 20 and a 30 amp circuit breakers. That is why I’m questioning the number of wires. I’ll link it again.


I have been talking to quite a few certified electricians and everybody seems to have a different opinion, that’s why I’ve been coming on here. The first electrician wanted me to use 10 gauge wire which now that I’m educating myself I realize is far too small. The second one wants me to run two 4 gauge wires which seems like overkill.
 
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I don’t know, the more I talk to licensed electricians the more I realize that even though they have the title they might not know exactly what they’re doing. The last guy I talk to you also was planning on running 240v out there which is not at all the right thing to do and could damage my RV wiring! Before I drop $1200 on this project I want to do it once and make sure it’s done right.
 
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Messages
2,156
Location
WA, MT or somewhere else!
RV Year
2018
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Mountain Aire 4047
RV Length
40'
TOW/TOAD
2014 Honda CR-V
Contact the state electrical inspector in your area and ask how to do it properly. He/she likely won't recommend a specific electrician to do the work, but in my experience they will tell you what you need to do.

Best I can suggest at this point.

TJ
 
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May 6, 2020
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Thanks, I’m not sure the inspector is going to know whether or not that outlet needs to have two wires as it is very RV specific and I feel as if I would be wasting his time by dragging him over here to ask such a simple question. This is really the last piece of the puzzle. Once I find out this answer for sure I can order the supplies and have the electrician begin. I’ve learned a lot and I’m almost there!
 
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Messages
2,156
Location
WA, MT or somewhere else!
RV Year
2018
RV Make
Newmar
RV Model
Mountain Aire 4047
RV Length
40'
TOW/TOAD
2014 Honda CR-V
At least in my state (Washington), you can call and leave a callback number. The inspector then gets back to you (they spend most of their time in the field) and can answer your question.

Running 240V from your main panel to the sub-panel at the pedestal is perfectly fine. The 120V circuits will be split out in the RV box. Just because a 240V line goes out to the sub-panel doesn't mean that you will only have 240V circuits.

A standard four-wire 240V feed consists of two 120V legs (aka "hot legs"), one neutral leg and a ground leg. Each 120V leg is connected to a separate "buss bar" in the box. The neutral connects to its own buss, as does the ground. Connecting a circuit to one buss and a neutral gives you a 120V circuit. Grounds are all connected to the ground buss. This is how it is done in your house panel.

Circuit breakers for 120V are designed to pick up only one "buss bar" and the neutral "buss bar" inside the box. Breakers designed for 240V pick up both 120V "buss bars" and do not use the neutral. All circuits use the separate ground buss.

The correct way to run your circuit, IMO, is to run 240V out to the sub-panel and split the 120V circuits out there.

TJ
 
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