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Electrical Systems

Electrical Systems

If you are a new RV owner, perhaps the most confusing thing is your RV electrical system. At the most basic level, there are two main sources of power in your RV – 12 Volt DC electricity and 120 Volt AC electricity. 12 Volt DC electricity powers the necessary items in your RV, and 120 Volt AC powers the “luxury” items in your vehicle. 12 Volt DC power comes from your RV’s house batteries, and it powers items like your water pump, furnace, refrigerator, and smoke/CO2 detectors.

RV parks and campgrounds provide your RV with 120 volt “shore power”, which allows you to use the “luxury” items in your vehicle like computers, televisions, and rooftop A/C units. 120 Volt AC delivers power to the outlets in your RV, and it also goes to a converter, or power center. The converter converts incoming 120 volt AC power to 12 DC power, and it keeps the house batteries in your RV charged and full of 12 Volt DC power.

If you are not plugged into shore power, there are a few ways to power your 120 volt appliances. Assuming that your RV house batteries are fully charged, a device called an inverter will “invert” the 12 volt DC battery power to 120 volts AC. Most RV’s come with power centers that convert 120 volt AC power to 12 DC power and invert 12 volt DC power to 120 volt AC power. Inverting power is very hard on your RV’s batteries, as they are good at powering 12 volt appliances, but not so effective at powering 120 volt appliances.

You will likely have either a 30 Amp RV electrical system or a 50 amp RV electrical system. Most campers and travel trailers have 30 Amp service, while motorhomes have 50 amp service. Depending on which system you have, you will need different power cords, plugs, and plug adapters to get electricity to your vehicle.

RV Power Cords

If you are in need of a new RV Power Cord, Hanna Trailer Supply is your one stop shop. We carry a wide selection of power cords from manufacturers like Camco, Voltec, and Furrion. RV Power Cords come in a variety of lengths and styles to fit your particular needs. You will not always be able to park right next to a power pedestal at the campground, so it is a good idea to have a few different lengthed cords to make plugging in quick and easy. If you only have one RV power cord, it is not a bad idea to purchase an additional cord so that you can connect to far-away power sources.

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RV Plugs, RV Plug Adapters, and Receptacles

If you have a 30 amp RV, we recommend you have a 50 amp to 30 amp RV plug adapter, and a 15 amp to 30 amp RV plug adapter. A 50 amp to 30 amp RV plug adapter has a 50 amp male plug, and a 30 amp female receptacle. A 50 amp to 30 amp adapter will allow you to plug your RV into a 50 amp outlet. A 15 amp to 30 amp RV plug adapter has a 15 amp male plug and a 30 amp female receptacle. It is very uncommon that you would end up at a park where there is 15 amp power, but in the case that you would, you would want to have a 15 amp to 30 amp adapter. You can plug your RV's 30 amp power cord into the 15 amp to 30 amp adapter, and use the 15 amp power provided by the pedestal. You will not be able to run the same appliances you can with 30 amp power, but 15 amp service is better than no service.

If you have a 50 Amp RV, we recommend you own a 30 amp to 50 amp RV plugadapter, and a 15 amp to 30 amp adapter plug. A 30 amp to 50 amp RV plug adapter will allow you to plug in your RV at parks that only have 30 amp power, which is fairly common in parks across the United States. A 15 amp to 30 amp RV plug adapter will allow you to plug in your RV during times when you only have access to 15 amp power. You will need to connect your 30 amp to 50 amp adapter to the 15 amp to 30 amp adapter plug in order to get power to your vehicle. Keep in mind that your will not be able to power all of the appliances in your 50 amp rig if your are connected to a 30 amp power source. If you're connected to a 15 amp power source, you will only be able to run a few appliances at a time without tripping the circuit breaker.
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Surge Protectors

RV surge protectors come in portable and hardwired models, and they come in 30 amp and 50 amp models. Surge protectors monitor the amount of power that is being sent to your RV, and they continually protect your RV and its appliances from surges, mis-wired electrical pedestals, high and low voltage spikes, and other miscellaneous electrical problems. It is a good idea to get an RV surge protector so that you do not need to pay for costly repairs down the road. We have a variety of portable and hardwired surge protectors from Camco, Progressive Industries, and TRC.

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Inverters convert 12 Volt DC power from your vehicle's battery into 120 VAC power, which is standard household electricity. They provide electricity to your RV when your are unable to connect to a generator or power pedestal. Inverters are a great source of supplemental power for your RV electrical system.


Hanna Trailer Supply carries a wide selection of replacement switches for your RV. We have motor switches, battery switches, on/off switches, and double, triple and quadruple rocker switches in various sizes and colors to fit your needs.


Cable Hatches

Cable hatches are mounted on the outside of your motorhome or trailer, and they serve as access ports for your vehicle's power cords. Over time, they become damaged by harsh weather conditions and UV rays. We have a variety of RV cable hatches from JR Products and RV Designer to replace your broken or damaged hatches. Hatches come in different shapes and sizes, and they are designed to accept 30 and 50 amp power cords.

Fuses and Circuit Breakers

Hanna Trailer Supply has a wide selection of fuse boxes, circuit buses, and circuit breakers for your RV. Whether you are replacing an old fuse, or working on building your own system, Hanna RV has your electrical needs covered.

Solar Panels and Chargers

Solar Panels provide your RV with peaceful and quiet electricity. They are a great alternative to noisy generators. They are also a great option if you like to RV in remote locations where you don't have access to shore power. We carry a wide selection of solar panels and chargers from trusted manufacturers like Samlex and Wirthco.

Converters and Chargers

A converter is a device that almost every towable RV comes with. Converters take AC power and convert it to DC power. There is a relay switch inside a converter that takes your batteries out of the circuit. It supplies power to the DC appliances in your vehicle so that your battery does not need to power them. The converter's other job is to convert the AC power to DC power and charge the house batteries in your rig.

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You may also be interested in these related product categories:

RV Electronics

RV Lighting

Trailer Lights and Electrical

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