RV Electrical Adapter Plugs & Cords

Today’s topic is RV electrical adapters. Whenever you plug your RV into a power source the best scenario is for the power source to match the RV’s electrical system, but we all know that is not always possible. That’s where electrical adapters plugs and cords come into the picture, let’s check it out.

state park campground

Campground electrical connections don’t always match your RV’s electrical system. When you travel and camp at different destinations in your RV the day will come when you need an RV adapter plug or adapter cord to make the electrical connection.

There are electrical adapter plugs and electrical adapter cords, and there are a variety of amperage combinations available

RV electrical adapter plugs

There are electrical adapter plugs (pictured) available in a variety of amperage combinations. Starting from the left is a 15-amp male to a 30-amp female adapter. This would be used to plug a 30-amp RV power cord into a 15-amp outlet. Of course, this limits the amount of electricity you can use in the RV to 15-amps.

The second adapter is a 30-amp male to a 15-amp female adapter. An example would be if you have access to a 30-amp receptacle and you want to use a 15-amp extension cord for something other than the RV.

The third adapter is a 30-amp male to a 50-amp female adapter. You use this type of adapter if you need to plug a 50-amp RV power cord into a 30-amp campground pedestal.

The opposite of that is a 50-amp male to a 30-amp female adapter. This would allow you to plug your 30-amp RV power cord into a 50-amp receptacle, but you still only have 30-amps available in your RV.

burnt RV adapter plug

There are precautions to follow when using any of these adapter plugs. If the terminals are not clean, or you have a loose connection, or you use the adapter plug for prolonged periods of time the plug can over heat and melt like the one pictured. I have seen much worse, so only use these adapter plugs when the correct power source is not available to plug your RV in.

RV electrical adapter cords (dogbones)

Adapter cords, or dog bones as referred to, are typically 12 inches long and are available in every combination we discussed a moment ago.  There are 15 to 30-amp adapter cords, 15 to 50-amp adapter cords, 30 to 15-amp adapters, 30 to 50-amp adapters, and 50 to 30 adapter cords. The heavy-duty construction is designed for outdoor use, and if you ever tried to separate some of these cords you will appreciate features like a finger grip or handle to assist in connecting and disconnecting the adapter cords. Like the adapter plugs, you need to exercise caution when using adapter cords, they can overheat and cause problems with your RV’s electrical system.

RV 101 Tip: When I use RV electrical adapters or extension cords, and they are exposed to the elements, I like to keep the connections dry by making a container to protect the connections.

detachable RV electrical adapters

If your RV is equipped with a twist lock power cord connection like ours, it’s a good idea to keep some detachable RV adapter cords on hand in the RV. They are designed to fit standard power inlets and Marinco and Hubbell power inlets. The detachable RV adapter cords, like the others are available in every combination imaginable.

Trust me when I say the day will come when you need adapter plugs and cords like these to make your electrical connections to the RV. I keep an assortment of these heavy-duty adapters on hand for any camping scenario we encounter.

RV extension cords are important too, learn more by watching the video we produced on RV extension cords.

RV extension cords

Happy Camping,
Mark Polk
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