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How to Run a 30 Amp RV on 50 Amps

by John Cagney Nash

The option to run a 30-amp recreational vehicle, or RV, from a 50 amp outlet is useful to many RVers. To avoid catastrophic damage to appliances, equipment and wiring circuits, and a real danger of fire, the amperage must be stepped down to 30 amps. This is easily done, by using a 50-male to 30-female connector, referred to by RVers and manufacturers as a "dogbone" connector, because it has two bulbous terminals joined by a short, slender cord. Dogbone adapters comprise a heavy-duty three-conductor wire between a 50-amp plug and a 30-amp outlet. They work by leaving one of the 50 amp outlet's two positive 120-volt legs unconnected to the 30-amp outlet.

Step 1

Plug the dogbone adapter's male end into the 50-amp preexisting outlet.

Step 2

Confirm there is power to the dogbone adapter, before plugging in the camper. There will typically be an indicator light on the 50-amp plug, which glows when power is present.

Plug your RV shore power cord into the dogbone adapter's 30-amp outlet.

Tip

  • The dogbone adapter delivers a 50-amp supply unless the circuit breaker serving the 50-amp outlet is exchanged. Its sole function is to prevent 240 volts being delivered. Your 30-amp RV is protected by an integral 30-amp circuit breaker board, which should protect it from exposure to excessive current.

Items you will need

  • Dogbone connector

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