Is a 50 amp RV plug 220 or 110 Volts?

In today’s blog, we are going to answer the following questions: Is a 50 amp RV plug 220 or 110 Volts? And Is there a 220V current in an RV? We will finally give you a few essential tips to increase the autonomy of your RV.

Is a 50 amp RV plug 220 or 110 Volts?

A 50 amp RV plug is neither 220V nor 110V. An RV plug usually has two prongs that have 120 Volts each. What we are saying here is that the two parts of the plug both offer separate 50 Amp/120V and a total of 240V. A 50 Amp RV plug is 220 Volts only if it has four prongs. 

Many of you ask if it is possible to use electrical appliances such as microwaves, ovens or hair dryers by connecting them to 220V. Most motorhomes and campervans have 12V inputs that are powered by auxiliary batteries, but what happens when plugging in devices that require more 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 most basic way to obtain 220V in our motorhome, but below we will see other equally useful options so as not to depend on auxiliary batteries.

If we have a power cable, we will only have to plug it into our motorhome in the corresponding socket, which is normally located outside, and plug the other end into a socket in a campsite, car park or parking area. It is convenient that we have a three-phase adapter to be able to connect to any type of outlet.

What alternative options are there to have 220v in an RV?

Another simple and inexpensive way to have 220V power in our motorhome or camper is the power inverter.

They are especially 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 plug it into the engine battery, but it must be on. The only downside of the inverters is that they will continue to consume battery and we will not have “unlimited” electricity as with 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 it to our vehicle, so if you feel capable you can do it yourself. 

If you have doubts, you can always consult a professional. 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 option is gasoline generators. A useful option if we want to charge high-performance equipment without wasting batteries or depending on any type of cable. Their downside 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. This last option is the most recommended as it will partially isolate us from noise and odours.

How to increase the autonomy of your RV

One of the aspects that causes the most headaches for caravanners who want to buy or equip their vehicle are the improvements that can be made to increase its electric autonomy, undoubtedly one of the greatest limitations that we find when travelling in a motorhome, especially when we spend several nights in the same place, without using the motor or having alternative power outlets.

In this sense, there are many aspects that we can improve but, before deciding on one or the other, we must bear in mind that there is no ideal formula for all travellers, but that each one has to find the recipe that best suits your way of travelling. That is why, below, we offer you the best systems to increase the autonomy of your motorhome, with its pros and cons.

Storage capacity: The first improvement that most consider is to increase the storage capacity or, in other words, the capacity of the battery. To do this, the first thing we have to know is the characteristics of our battery. 

There are several types of batteries: AGM, lead, gel and lithium, with really different properties and prices, you just have to see the type of battery that best suits you and the necessary amp capacity, and replace it.

Another option is to place a second battery in the passenger compartment (adding a total of three in the vehicle). In this case, both batteries must be the same and be connected in parallel. You also have to find a place for its location, so that it is properly fastened. That is why, in this second case, we advise you to contact a professional to carry out such work.

Optimize the loading: On the other hand, it is useless to increase the capacity of the battery if we cannot make it charge correctly. In this sense, we must know that, in motorhomes, the battery is charged through the engine alternator, to which both the engine battery and the passenger compartment battery are connected. 

However, when the engine battery is at an optimal level of charge, the alternator stops working, regardless of the charge level of the living area battery, which can cause the latter to never be fully charged, despite having travelled many kilometres.

To solve this problem there is a simple device called “Perfect Charge”, manufactured by Dometic, which is connected to the alternator of our vehicle making it much more efficient. 

Its function is to control the current-voltage generated by the alternator, thus allowing us to feed one, two, three, or how many batteries we have in our vehicle, making sure that the charge level of all of them is always the maximum possible. It is undoubtedly an essential element for those travellers who like to move independently during their travels.

Photovoltaic panels: Once the storage capacity has been increased and our charging resources maximized, if our autonomy is still insufficient, we can only resort to obtaining an alternative source of electricity supply. In this sense, one of the elements that are most often used is photovoltaic panels. 

However, the performance of photovoltaic panels is low, despite the significant technological development they are undergoing, offering maximum powers of 100 to 300 W.

Likewise, we must also bear in mind that in a motorhome the panels are not oriented to the sun and that the incidence of the same is not the same throughout the day; which causes that the useful power that these will offer us, will be approximately 60% or 70% of the maximum power indicated by the manufacturer.

Electric generators:  The most common are gasoline or diesel generators, whose latest generations of inverter models, much more soundproof, can offer us between 1,200 W and 6,000 W of power.

This will allow us not only to charge the batteries but also to power other alternating current electrical elements such as air conditioners or microwave ovens. On the other hand, it is very heavy equipment that, despite being better insulated, still produces noise levels that can be annoying.

Fuel cell: But there are not only gasoline and diesel generators and, despite being much less known, but there are also other types of generators: methanol, a derivative of alcohol present in nature that is produced on a large scale from raw materials renewables such as biomass, is a fuel that is respectful with the environment.

FAQ on Is a 50 amp RV plug 220 or 110 Volts?

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 may 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, in each of the homes the voltage will behave in a descending way. 

References 

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