How Does A 50 Amp To 30 Amp RV Adapter Work (Explained!)

How Does A 50 Amp To 30 Amp RV Adapter Work

Do you know how a 50 Amp to 30 Amp RV adapter works does? this is one of the questions our readers ask a lot. Well, we´ve got you covered.

Various trailer parks and campsites provide either both or either 50 or 30 amps outlets for their customers to use.

This is because the RVs themself either use 50 or 30 amps shore power outlets.

But what happens when you have a 50 amps RV and you are at a facility with only 30 amps outlets? The simple answer is that you will use a dogbone adapter with 50 amps NEMA 14-50 female and 30 amps male TT-30 connector.

In other words, a 50 to 30 amps dogbone adapter.

If you are wondering how this adapter works, the short answer is by splitting a single live line of 30 amps supply outlet into two live lines needed for a 50 amp outlet.

Let’s first cover the basics of these two connectors, as it is helpful for understanding this answer.

How Does The 50 Amp NEMA 14-50 Connector Works?

The connector which every 50 amps RV uses is called NEMA 14-50 connector.

Besides in the RV, it is often used in some other applications where 240 volts alternating current is needed.

This fact is very often cited as an assumption why you should not be able to connect a 50 amps RV to a 30 amps shore power, but you know what happens when you assume.

NEMA 14-50 does not provide 240 volts, instead, it provides two 120 volts lines, and machines that need 240 volts through their own wiring combine them into 240 volts.

Each of these lines is capable of providing up to 50 amps of current, which means that the whole connector can supply up to 12,000 watts of power.

In the case of the 50 amps RVs, the transfer switch does not combine these two lines into 240 volts but uses them somewhat independently as two separate 120 volts inputs.

In addition to these two live vires, this connector also provides neutral and ground connections.

RV Power Adapter//50 amp Adapter to 30 amp >> Check out the video below:

How Does The 30 Amp TT-30 Connector Works?

While the NEMA 14-50 connector has two live wires, the TT-30 connector has just one, besides the required neutral and ground connectors/wires.

It simply and directly provides one 120 volts and a maximum of 30 amps current between an outlet and a device, in the case of an RV that is the transfer switch.

This means that this connector can provide your RV with up to 3,600 watts of power, which can be a somewhat limiting factor for powering more than a single AC unit in your 50 amps RV.

Read also: Can I Plug My 50 Amp RV into 110V or 220V?

How Does 50 To 30 Amp Dogbone Adapter Works?

The 50 to 30 amps dogbone adapter works by solving two problems.

The first problem is the difference in the physical shape of NEMA 14-50 and TT-30 connectors. The NEMA 14-50 connector has 3 flat prongs, two for live wires and one for the neutral, and one round for the ground.

On the other hand, TT-30 has two flat prongs, one live and the other neutral, and a round prong for the ground.

NEMA 14-50 male connector simply can’t fit into TT-30 outlet. This is solved with dogbone having NEMA 14-50 female connector on one side and male TT-30 connector on the other side.

The second problem is that the TT-30 outlet provides only one live wire, while NEMA 14-50 connector requires two live wires.

To solve this, the NEMA 14-15 female connector of a dogbone adapter has slots for live wires bridged together.

Click the link to Amazon to get NEMA 14-50 connector

Is it Safe To Connect 50 Amp RV To 30 Amp Shore Power?

It is perfectly safe to connect a 50 amps RV to 30 amps shore power, same as it is perfectly safe to connect a 30 amps RV to 50 amps shore power with a proper adapter.

But, it doesn’t go without certain limitations. First potential problem is that the 30 amps shore power can provide up to only 30 amps.

Your 50 amps RV may require a higher current in many situations, for example when starting both roof AC units if they have combined more than 15,000 BTU.

Many modern RVs actually have an automatic energy management system, which automatically powers down appliances when there is not enough current. But in case that your RV doesn’t have, you will need to perform its function.

First, you shouldn’t ever turn on both of the AC units on your 50 amps RV when connected to 30 amps shore power.

Second, you should make sure that if your ACs are rated above 10,000 BTU to have all other appliances turned off when starting the AC.

And finally, by turning on and off other appliances while the AC is running, you have to figure out which combinations work and which do not.

In other words, what you can run at any time besides the AC and the fridge.

Read also: How Much Propane Does A 20,000 BTU Heater Use

Can A 30 Amp RV Be Connected To A 50 Amp Shore Power?

In short, yes, but the longer answer is yes with an appropriate dogbone adapter.

The dogbone adapters for connecting a 30 amps RV to a 50 amps shore power are constructed with inverted male and female connectors.

50 to 30 amps converter has NEMA 14-50 female and TT-30 male connectors, while 30 to 50 amps adapter has NEMA 14-50 male and TT-30 female connectors.

While 50 to 30 amps adapter bridges the two live connections in NEMA 14-50 side, the 30 to 50 amps adapter doesn’t, and has one of the prongs not wired at all.

It is perfectly safe to connect 30 amps RV to 50 amps supply, as the amperage of any electric outlet is just a rating for the maximum it can supply.

If some consumer, such as an RV, is connected to an outlet that can provide higher current than needed, the only thing that will happen is that it will not use the maximum capacity of that outlet.

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Mike Gilmour

Hi, I'm Mike, co-founder, and editor of RV and Playa. My passion is traveling (with my RV) and enjoying the day at the beach (Playa)! Well, I originally created this blog as a way to share what I've learned by experimenting with the RV lifestyle, and I want to help others develop in life through new skills and opportunities.

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