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What is RV Shore Power?

What is RV Shore Power?

What is RV Shore Power?

Initially created for ships, shore power is commonly known in the RV community as where your electricity comes from at an RV park.

But there’s more to it than just plugging your power cord into the receptacle.

Let’s dig in!

What Exactly Is Shore Power?

As mentioned above, shore power was created to give ships tied up at port electrical power for their equipment and lights. Many cities preferred offering the connection to prevent the pollution created by burning fuels such as coal.

On the land, semi-trucks and RVs also connect to shore power.

Shore power is AC (alternating current) power from the electrical grid through sources such as your house’s outlets or a campground pedestal. On the other hand, 12-Volt power comes from your batteries and runs things like your lights and possibly your furnace or water heater.

Your RV connects to the pedestal using a power cord and converts the energy to usable electricity. The type of power cord you use depends on the amount of energy your RV can handle.

What Kinds of Shore Power Are There?

Generally, there are three types of shore power for RVs. Smaller towables often use 20-Amp, so they would connect with the 15/20-Amp power. Medium-sized RVs and travel trailers typically use 30-Amp power as long as they have only one a/c unit.

Larger rigs with two or more a/c units and other appliances require 50-Amp power.

Each kind of shore power uses a different type of plug to connect. For example, 30-Amp plugs usually have three prongs and 50-Amp plugs typically have four. Some parks have pedestals with all three power options, so be sure to plug your cord into the correct outlet.

Adapters and Surge Guards

If you RV long enough, odds are you’ll come across a campground that doesn’t have your specific connection requirement. Dog bone adapters allow you to connect 50-Amp RVs to 30-Amp shore power, and vice versa, as well as 20-Amp rigs to 30-Amp power.

You might want to have one on hand, especially if you’re a larger rig going to older campgrounds.

In addition, a surge guard can help avoid power pushes into your RV’s electrical system. These can be bad enough to cause permanent damage requiring expensive repairs. If you don’t want to use one all the time, you could store one to use in case of lightning storms or funky electrical pedestals.

You’ll also want to check your power pedestal using a voltmeter. Some people say you should do this every time before you plugin. Others say you’ll only need it if something odd is happening with your power, such as it not working at all or breakers keep flipping.

RV Shore Power is Cool

RV shore power keeps your appliances running and your rig cool. It lets you watch the game while enjoying those margaritas.

Electrical power may be complicated in some ways, but you really only need to know the basics to get out there and camp. Just know which type of shore power your RV uses and be sure you’re connecting it properly. Has a dog bone adapter or surge guard saved the day for you?

Tell us about it in the comments!

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Michael Hirsch

Tuesday 28th of September 2021

Suggestion: like all electric extension cables, you should connect the live connection last and disconnect it first.

Steve

Sunday 4th of July 2021

We use a Watchdog every time we connect to shore power. In a park in Tennessee it started cutting power in the evening due to low voltage. After nine every time power was fine. Several sites were affected. Came to find out an all electric class A was dragging the voltage down near 100 volts for the three nights they were there. Always use protection. It's not just for surges.

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