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Home > Common Types of Trailer Power

Types of Trailer Power

While we all know how to plug in our phones, laptops, and tablets, we may not have too much knowledge on how to power our RV home. When it comes to powering your home on wheels, you’ll run into two main types of power. The first one is a 110VAC power which is often referred to as “shore power” or “household power”. This type of power is the only power that is going to enter your vehicle. The second type of power is going to be converted from the 110VAC power that comes into your trailer by a power converting box to power the minimum necessities of your RV. If you’re not too familiar on the power plugs used to power your RV trailer, here are some things you should know about these two types:

110/120 VAC System: “Shore Power” or “Household Power”

It is important to note that 110 and 120 VAC are often referred to as the same thing because they are both essentially the same range of power. This type of power is going to be the only one that enters your trailer to power all of the major extra appliances such as refrigerators, air conditioners, water heaters, TVs, and more that are not absolutely necessary for your trailer to function. Since this type of power is going to be used for major appliances in your trailer, you’re going to have to connect it to a major power source – electric boxes on campgrounds. The following steps provide an overview of how to connect your trailer to Shore Power.


  1. Using a 30 AMP cord set, one end of this cord is going to be connected to the campground. This standard male end is going to be able to connect to standard electric boxes on most campgrounds.


  2. The other end is the female end that will connect to an appropriate inlet inside of your trailer.



  3. Once it is connected, it will run electricity through a circuit breaker which will assign the power to various circuits.




In order to make sure that you’re heavy appliances are working smoothly, it’s important to make sure that the cords, inlets, and breakers you use are all compatible with one another.


12 VDC System: “Battery Power”

The second type of power referred to as “battery power” and it is the source of all of the absolute necessities of your RV. However, this is a much lower voltage than the 110/120 VAC power system. Although this power does not directly come into the RV, it is converted from the 110 VAC power system through a power converting box. This is going to provide electricity for things such as water pumps, battery, interior lights, safety systems, and other essential systems that require minimum electricity. Since you may be wondering how exactly this power is going to come about, here are steps that will explain this whole process:


  1. As mentioned before, the 12 VDC power is converted from the 120 VAC system through a power converter.




  2. Once the 110VAC power is converted into 12VDC power in the Power Converter, it will go over to your 12VDC Fuse Panel. Fuse Panels work in a similar fashion to Breaker Boxes.They house various fuses, each of which is assigned to a 12VDC circuit. Think of Fuses and Breakers as power surge protection- in the event of a power surge, the Breaker or Fuse will trip, cutting the flow of power to the electrical fixture, preventing damage.




  3. This stored power will then go on to power the necessities of your RV.



We know, it seems like a lot of different components just to put a little electricity into your trailer. That’s why we would recommend getting an all-in-one kit in order to get everything you need to get both types of power for your vehicle home. These kits are available in 45 AMP and 60 AMP; the difference being the amount of 12VDC power they can supply at one time. Since this is a very complicated process, we recommend that you consult a certified RV electrician before trying to tackle this on your own. No matter how confident you may be on the subject, better to be safe than sorry!

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