Is a 30 amp RV plug 220V?

In today’s blog post, we will answer the following question: Is a 30 amp RV plug 220V? We will tell you how to have 220V in a motorhome and explain the basics of connecting your RV to electricity. 

Is a 30 amp RV plug 220V?

No, a 30 amp RV plug doesn’t have 220V. A 30 amp RV plug has three prongs of 120V: a hot wire, a neutral wire and a ground wire. If you want to have 220V in an RV to use electrical appliances such as microwaves, ovens, blenders or hair dryers, keep reading.

Most motorhomes and campervans have 12V inputs powered by auxiliary batteries, but what happens when we plug-in devices that require higher power? For this, we will need, at least, to have 220V plugs and a three-phase charging cable. 

We say at least because this is the easiest way to get 220V in our motorhome, but then we will see other alternatives to not depend on auxiliary batteries. Another easy and cheap way to have 220V power in our motorhome or camper van is the power inverter.

They are particularly useful not only because they do not require any type of installation but also because they usually include a USB input in addition to the 220V input. For them to work, we will only have to connect them to a 12V socket or “cigarette lighter” that goes to an auxiliary battery. We can also connect it to the engine battery, but it must be turned on. 

The only negative point of the investors is that they will continue to consume batteries and we will not have electricity in the “unlimited” motorhome as with the power cables.

Another method that can be very useful is the solar panel.

Although they do require installation, the truth is that it is quite easy to attach the solar panel to our motorhome and camper van, so if you feel capable you can do it yourself. If you have doubts, you can always consult with a professional or specialist company. 

Installing solar panels is an ecological, economical and reliable solution, and it will also give us autonomy and independence that we could not achieve otherwise. Most solar panels are universal and adapt to any type of motorhome, so you will not have compatibility problems either.

The last alternative is gasoline or diesel generators.

A useful alternative if we want to charge high-performance equipment without wasting batteries or depending on any type of cable. Their weak point is that they are somewhat noisy and can give off a certain smell of fuel. 

Gasoline generators can be mobile or they can be installed in the lower part of our motorhome and camper van. This last alternative is the most advisable since it will partially isolate us from noise and odours.

Now that you know how electricity works in a motorhome and what methods are available to increase energy production, there is no other choice but to start preparing for your next trip, getaway and vacation!

The input of alternating current into an RV

Connecting an RV to a camping outlet is not a trivial task, the input of current in an American RV requires a different voltage and frequency.

The voltage at which an American motorhome works is 120 volts / 60 hertz. The standard voltage throughout Europe is 220 volts / 50 hertz. You can use a transformer to lower the voltage from 220 volts to 120, but the transformers do not convert frequency, so you will be injecting 125 volts into your motorhome, but at 50 hertz.

All electrical appliances that use a motor, such as a refrigerator, air conditioners, washing machine, dryer, etc. they will have a substantially lower performance due to the 15% loss of frequency. In an air conditioner, this will mean that it will have much less power (more or less 25% less), in a refrigerator that the compressor load cycles will be longer.

The main problem with the transformer is that the motors will overheat, and therefore will have a noticeably shorter useful life. The risk that an electrical appliance designed to operate at 60 Hertz, and connected to a frequency of 50 Hertz, will ignite is low, but not zero.

To make matters worse, at dusk, when everyone returns to the campsite, it is very common to see how the voltage of the campsite falls below 220 volts, this will affect your transformer that you will not be able to bring inside your RV 120 volts. 

If the voltage drops to 100 volts, electronic equipment such as televisions, DVDs, etc. can be irreparably damaged.

There are two solutions to the above problem:

  1. Have equipment that not only converts voltage but also converts frequency. The English firm RV Transformers Ltd manufactures equipment specifically designed for use in American RVs. They have two models: one of 4KVA capable of generating 28 amps at 120 volts / 50 Hertz, and another of 6KVA capable of slightly more than 40 amps.
  1. Have a battery charging system that works at 220 volts / 60 hertz and have the battery bank and inverter dimensioned for the consumption of household appliances that adapt to your lifestyle.

In my opinion, the option that completely solves the problem is the first, but it requires that the camping connection has sufficient capacity. That is why I believe that the option of sizing the batteries, inverter and solar panel system to allow you to enjoy the vehicle without the need for an external electrical connection, is absolutely necessary.

Plug-in your RV at a campsite

Alternating current enters your motorhome from an electric pole at the campsite. All American motorhomes come from the factory with connection systems to the campsite of 30 or 50 amps at 125 that follow the NEMA connection standards.

In American campsites, the system used is that of ‘straight NEMA-locking blade’ or straight connectors, although the NEMA standard also has the possibility of using a secure connection for the elements, or ‘locking plug’, which uses a nut to ensure tightness. plug.

The NEMA system of a secure connection is used in some marinas in Europe, as a deference to the boats that use this system. You will not find any campsites in Europe that use NEMA connectors.

In Europe, the normal thing in campsites is to find IEC 60309 connections, also known as CETACT although this is a registered trademark, with a power of 16 amps. Standard 50 amp American patch cords are too thick to accept a 16 amp Euro plug, the cord just won’t fit!

In the CETACT pins the earth contact that connects before and disconnects after the active contacts. They are mechanically interlocked, dust and splash resistant (IP44), can operate in very high and very low temperatures, and construction materials are self-extinguishing in the event of a fire.

The bottom line

Now you already know how electricity works in an RV, in addition, you know alternatives to increase energy production. 

We wrote in another article about how to increase the autonomy of your RV. Make sure you check it out and let us know if you have any tips or suggestions on the content. 

FAQ on Is a 30 amp RV plug 220V?

What happens if I connect a 110 to 220 charger?

If you connect the device from 110 V to 220 V, it will burn out (whether or not it has motors inside) and cause a fire. Always check the data stickers to avoid these problems.

How to get a line from 220 to 110?

Just take one phase and put in a thermomagnetic to protect that new downspout. 220v is two phases, 110v is a phase and neutral. You need to add a neutral. With the neutral, with either of the two phases, you will have 110v.

What is the minimum voltage in a house?

The minimum voltage in a house is 132 volts. Thus, as the equipment is turned on, the voltage will behave in a descending way in each of the homes. 


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