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Electrical power adapters

by Tom Jones

Amanda asked about power adapters needed for her trailer. Forum members weighed in with all the combinations of adapters that Amanda would need, and then some she'd never use.

Since Amanda's trailer has a power cord with a 30A male plug on the end, the only adapter she would need is 30A female to 15 male. That would allow her to plug her 30A male plug into a 15A receptacle at a campsite. One caveat - when plugged into 15A she wouldn't be able to turn on all the appliances and air conditioning. But we'd need to know what appliances she has in order to be able to say what can be run at the same time.

It's unlikely she'd need one with a 30A female to a 50A male as I haven't seen campsites with 50A receptacles that didn't also have 30A ones. In this case, she'd just plug her 30A cord/plug into the 30A receptacle without the need for an adapter.

In response to Amanda's subsequent question "If I had a 50A-30A converter, would I have access to 50A?", the answer is simply no. The maximum current her trailer can safely draw is 30A, limited by her power cord, 30A plug and, hopefully, a 30A main breaker.

Some additional adapters that might be useful in different situations, not necessarily Amanda's, are:

  • 50A male to 30A female.

  • 50 female to 15A male.

  • A "Y adapter" that has two 15A male plugs and a female 30A receptacle.

  • A "Y adapter" that has two 30A male plugs and a female 30A receptacle.

  • A relatively expensive "Y adapter" that has a 30A male and 15A male plugs and a 50A female receptacle. One caveat with this solution is it requires the 30A and 15A receptacles at the campground to be on separate phases (legs). Most I've found are not, and it pops a breaker.

  • 50A female to 30A male for use with an extra 30A power cord, to eliminate the need for hauling out the (larger) 50A power cord at campgrounds that don't have 50A service.

Something that might not be clear in the above discussion is that some of these "adapters" are a 1-piece unit, whereas others are a short length of cord with a plug (or two) on one end and a receptacle on the other.