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The RV plug looks similar to the dryer plug in the house, but are they the same, and can you plug your camper into a dryer outlet?

Using the dryer socket would be so convenient as it would allow the RV to be used as a spare room when friends and family visit. The two families could spend time together, yet they would have their own space and privacy.

If your dryer plug has three prongs and your camper has 110 volts, 30 amp receptacles, you probably can’t plug the camper into a dryer socket. While the two plugs look similar, the 110 volts, 30 amp circuit in the camper will be overloaded by the 220 volts, 30 amp circuit from the dryer socket.

There are some exceptions, so in this article, we will talk about why the voltages are different, how to overcome the issue, and help you enjoy the maximum camper use while staying safe.

I have traveled across a few continents through multiple countries in various forms of RVs and campers, and now, at 61 years old, it's time for me to pay back some of the hard-won and expensive lessons I have learned over the years.



You Cannot Plug Your Camper Into A Dryer Socket

That is a very blanket statement, and while generally true, there are exceptions to the rule and modifications you can make, allowing you to plug the camper in at home.

The problem is that while the dryer outlet and a 110-volt plugs area are similar in shape and can be connected, the RV electrical circuit is designed to accept a 110 volt, 30 amp service, while the dryer outlet offers a 220 volt, 30 amp service.

Two variables will determine the ideal solution. The circuits will select the one which works for you in the camper. The two typical courses in RVs are.

  1. 110volts, 30 amp service.
  2. 220volts, 60 amp service.

A Camper With A 110 Volt, 30 Amp Circuit

The dryer outlet attached to the house will generally offer a circuit rated at 220 volts and run at 30 amps.

A camper that will accept a 110 volt, 30 amp service has a three-prong receptacle similar to the dryer outlet’s plug. The plug has three prongs for the earth, neutral and live wires.

Plugging a 110 volt, 30 amp camper into the dryer outlet will, in the best case event, cause the circuit to trip; however, in the worst case, it could cause damage to the RVs electrical circuit batteries and appliances.

Inside the RV is a converter (opposite an inverter) designed to change the AC power supply from 110 volts AC (alternating current) to 12 volts DV.

If a 220-volt current is pushed through a 110-volt converter, it will burn out.

A replacement converter, which costs approximately $60.00, will be needed.

In addition to the converter damage, if you connect a 220-volt power supply to the 110-volt camper power supply will generally damage the following appliances first.

  1. Microwave.
  2. Televisions.
  3. Gaming devices.
  4. Laptop computers.

While these are the appliances that are most likely to be damaged, all electrical consumers are at risk.

There are two options available to provide electrical current to the RV in this instance.

Use An Extension Cord

You can plug a sufficiently long extension cord from the RV, and it can extend to a normal 110 volt, 30 amp plug in the house or garage.

Install A Dedicated RV Plug

Have a qualified electrician install an external, weatherproof plug onto a conveniently close wall to the camper.

Request that the electrician installs a 30 amp 110-volt plug for the RV.

A Camper With A 220 Volt, 30 Amp Circuit

While a camper can accept the electrical current from the dryer outlet, the plugs are different and so won’t fit.

The standard electrical power supply in North America which 110 volts.

There are four prongs on the attachment plug to provide a 220-volt current into RVs with a 220 volt, 30 amp circuit.

The four prongs are.

  1. Top centre                 –         Ground.
  2. Middle left                -          Live wire one (L1)
  3. Middle right        -          Live wire two (L2)
  4. Bottom centre        -        Neutral

Each of the live wires (L1, L2) carries 110 volts of AC. AC stands for the alternating current, which changes direction with each pulse in the "phase" of the current.

The current from L1 and L2 are in 1800 opposite phases, which means when L1 is at 110-volt positive phase, the L2 current is at 110-volt negative phase, and the difference between the two is 220 volts.

This long explanation explains that, although the RV could handle the voltage from the dryer outlet, the three-pin plug won't fit into the RV's plug.

You need to purchase an adapter plug as listed in this Amazon offer.

This plug splits the single live wire in the three-pin plug onto the four-pin side. The three-pin side of the adaptor plugs into the dryer socket, and the four-pin side plugs into the extension lead from the RV.

A cautionary note related to this solution is that the RV will accept a 50 amp supply, and the dryer socket only provides a 30 amp supply. If you have multiple appliances switched on in the camper that collectively draws more than it could cause the wiring to overheat, which is a fire risk.

To prevent this, always ensure that the appliance draw in the RV is never more than 30 amps.