What Size Wire for 50 AMP RV Plug [Explained]

What Size Wire for 50 AMP RV Plug

RV camping is the greatest since it provides all the conveniences of home. There is no need to give up the ease and comfort of today’s sophisticated technologies and appliances.

Unfortunately, though, many things need to be plugged into a power source in order to function. Since most recreational vehicles operate on 50 AMP power, you’ll need to know what size wire you need for a 50 AMP RV plug to hook your RV cable directly into a power pedestal or generator.

We aim to dispel any lingering confusion you may have about this matter today. We think we should start straight now.

The 50 Amp RV Connector

If there is power, it’s likely that problems can be fixed. There is also a 50-amp RV outlet for those that need even more power in their mobile homes. However, more power doesn’t always spell danger.

Two 50-ampere, 120-volt feeds are supplied by a 50-ampere plug’s two hot wires, one neutral wire, and one ground wire. So, a 50-amp service RV offers a maximum of 12,000 watts.

A 50-amp service for an RV may have four wires and a four-prong socket, but it is still a three-pole service with hot, neutral, and ground connections. Two hot feeds or legs of 120 volts and 50 amps each set this service apart from the norm.

It’s important to remember that a 50-amp service is not just a 30-amp and a 20-amp service wired together.

Even when plugged into a 50-amp service, the biggest recreational vehicles nearly always take advantage of a double-hot-pole, or double-bus, installation, which allows them to share a single 120-volt supply between two independent 120-volt circuits for a total of 12,000 watts.

What’s the Deal with Wire Size?

There is a correlation between the voltage and wattage ratings of a wire. As a result, the current carried by a wire is proportional to its diameter, with bigger wires being able to carry more current than their smaller counterparts.

Too little of a wire might cause it to overheat and burn if not used properly. Therefore, mishaps may be avoided by utilizing the appropriate wire size for the voltage.

Issues to Think About

The decision of what gauge wire to use is complicated by a number of factors. Here are some of them:

The Wire’s Composition

The specifications for wire size vary with the kind of wire being used. This is due to the fact that aluminum wires have different ratings than copper wires.

50 AWG Aluminum Wire

No.4 AWG aluminum wire is required for 50 amp service. The abbreviation “AWG” refers to the American Wire Gauge. What is meant by “gauge” is the actual diameter of the wire. A larger diameter wire is indicated by a lower number on the wire. The size of No. 6 is smaller than that of No. 4.

Various varieties of aluminum wire exist. Most regular usage is for THWN and RHW types. Number 6 can only handle 40 amps.

Copper Wire Capable of Handling Fifty Amps

It is possible to utilize either No. 6 or No. 8 THWN copper wire. A 60-degree Celsius temperature test shows that a No. 6 copper wire can handle up to 55 amps. It is highly suggested that you use No. 6 wire here. Using a larger gauge of wire is preferable.

Required Travel Time

Similarly, the length of your cables from a 50-amp pedestal affects their size. RV wires are typically spaced at a conventional spacing of 50 feet. #6 gauge wires are the standard.

However, #8-gauge wires are advised for a shorter distance of 25 feet or less. With #4-gauge wires, you may extend your connection up to 100 feet, which is a significant improvement over the normal 50 feet.

Pedestal Connections for 50 Amp RVs: Wiring Instructions

Now that you know what gauge wires to use let’s take a look at how to wire a 50-amp RV pedestal.

Stuff You’ll Need to Have

You’ll need a 14-50R or a 50-amp plug to use a 14-50. (usually pre-installed). For a typical installation of 50 feet, #6-gauge wire is used. This indicates that the size of both the live and neutral wires in six gauge.

First Step: Disconnect the breaker panel.

Disconnecting the breaker panel is as simple as turning off the primary breaker. Your 50-amp plug is connected to the breaker panel. Common single-phase breaker board configurations are shown. Two live wires, one ground wire, and one neutral wire, provide it with power.

Second Step: Include setting up a 50-amp breaker in an empty space.

The red wire must be attached to the breaker’s output terminal. Please join the black wire to the opposite terminal on the same side as the red wire. The white wire should be attached to the neutral busbar, while the green wire should be connected to the grounding block.

Third Step: Connect the wires for the circular receiver.

In the breaker’s top center area, you’ll find the Half Round, which is a U-shaped receiver. Connect it to the green wire that you already have in place that serves as your ground. Typically, the terminal screw is also colored green.

Fourth Step: The Bottom Receiver is Wired

In the center of the bottom portion, you’ll find a receiver; run a wire from it to the neutral terminal you set up previously using the white wire. Typically, the terminal screw will be white in color.

Fifth Step: Connect the Plugs to the Side Receivers

One on the left and one on the right serve as side receivers. Join the red and black wires (your hots) to the back of the receivers. Don’t fret about the sequence of these hot wirings. Both the black and red wires may be used in any direction.

Last step: Turn It On and Give It a Try!

Start by turning on the main breaker and then re-connecting the twin pole breaker. After turning on the power, you should test the double-pole breaker that supplies your new 50-amp outlet.

Please check the pedestal before plugging in your RV. If you’re not cautious, it might drain your battery. Use your voltage meter to check the outlet. You should try it out at 240 volts.

Precautions

There should be no doubt that working with live wires and other electrical components is very risky. To help you remember some important electrical safety guidelines, we’ve created this handy acronym:

Y-YOU: ensure that your hands are dry, that there are no metal objects in the area, that your clothing does not hang low enough to contact the machinery, and that you know what you’re doing.

Using metallic pencils or rulers while working near the circuits is very dangerous and should be avoided at all costs.

S – SURROUNDINGS: avoid working near standing water or on moist ground, stay away from ignitable chemicals, and ideally, keep things warm to avoid condensation.

Conclusion

Do everything you need to do to keep yourself and others safe. With any luck, this article has provided you with enough information to confidently choose the appropriate wire gauge for a 50-amp RV plug and know what size wire for a 50 AMP RV plug.

Let us know in the comments if there is anything you think we should have included. Safe travels!

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