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Confused about using RV shore power versus an RV generator? Many RV amenities don’t run without power and today’s growing list of electronic gadgets means your RV electricity needs are higher than ever. Which type of power should you depend on to keep your RV humming?
RV shore power is a land-based power supply named for the power source used by boats when docked on shore. Most modern RVs come equipped to accept 30-amp or 50-amp power. Although many campsites provide both, some only have 30-amp outlets, so it’s a good idea to carry an adapter that allows a 50-amp system to tap into 30-amp shore power.
Smaller power receptacles provide about 3,600 watts, whereas larger ones offer about 12,000 watts. For reference, it takes about 125 watts to run a 32” LED television and about 700 watts to run a small microwave. Using 50-amp power ensures you can run your RV’s air conditioner and other large appliances.
Using a portable generator provides freedom from the confines of traditional campsites. Choosing a generator involves tradeoffs between size, noise, price and output, typically 2,000 or 3,000 watts. RV owners should go for inverter technology and steer clear of conventional units that are noisy and disruptive to other travelers. Inverter units provide 120-volt power to internal outlets and charge your RV’s 12-volt battery, which runs native appliances, hardwired lights and your RV’s furnace. If you are planning to run your air conditioner, you will need a large generator or two units.
Shore Power, Generator or Both?
Do you need access to both sources of electricity? If you plan to dry camp in remote sites without utilities, a generator is a must. If you plan to stick to campsites where shore power is readily available, you may not need a portable power source. Specialists at Lakeshore RV, your local Michigan RV dealer, can answer additional questions about your RV’s electrical system and help you choose a generator that fits your preferred destinations.