Electrical Circuit Wiring for an RV
What gauge wire do I need to run for an outdoor sub panel? How to Install Electrical Wiring that Provides Power to an RV Unit.
Wire Size for an RV
Electrical Question: What gauge wire do I need to run for an outdoor sub panel for a RV?
Brad, a Handyman in Florida asks:
- My father has a RV that requires 30 amp 120volt and I was going to run from an outdoor sub panel at the meter.
- I need to know what gauge wire I need to deliver 30 amps over 200 feet.
- The plan is to run outdoor wire without conduit just when they visit. Any suggestions?
Dave in Ohio asks:
- I have a trailer approx 650 foot away from my 200 amp panel.
- If I run #6 underground feeder to it how much can I draw?
- Basically all I want to run is few lights and a dehumidifier. Is that a problem?
Thanks for your electrical questions.
Installing an Electrical Circuit for an RV
Application: Install Wiring for an RV.
Skill Level: Advanced – Best installed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor or Certified Electrician.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and a Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with tools and install electrical circuit wiring for an RV.
Precaution: Identify the panel circuit, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with wiring connections.
Notice: Installing additional electrical circuit wiring should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.
Wire Size for an Electrical Service
Example for Brad in Florida:
- The wire size for the RV should be determined by the type of wire that will be used and based on the type and size of the electrical loads and circuit that will be used at the RV unit, such as air conditioning, space heaters, microwave oven etc.
- A basic voltage drop calculation for a circuit of 30 amps, 120 volts at a distance of 200 feet would require installing #3 copper wire based on the NEC Table 310-16.
- I do not recommend temporary wiring but rather an approved underground or overhead installation.
- This electrical project should be done with a permit and all work should be inspected.
For Dave in Ohio and Similar Questions about Wire Size:
Factors for Sizing the Electrical Service
- The size of the wire will depend on the size of calculated electrical load.
- The load information is obtained from the equipment specification label which is provided on electrical equipment, such as a dehumidifier.
- Once the load information has been determined, the distance of the underground service may be factored in to allow for voltage drop which is vitally important to determine the correct wire size.
- Additional decisions are necessary about the type of wire that will be installed for the underground service which also affects the wire size.
- As you can see, there are several factors and information that must be identified to correctly plan an electrical circuit. The Electrical Load Calculator listed below will assist you with this process.
Online Electrical Load Calculator
- The Electrical Load Calculator is an Interactive tool that will assist you with electric panel load calculations.
- It is Pre-Loaded with electrical information for you to select for typical electrical loads in the home, including General Electrical Load Requirements, Appliances and Motor Loads, Heating and Air Conditioning equipment.
Online Wire Size Calculator
- The Voltage Drop Calculator will assist you determine the wire size which will be based on the information that has been entered into the Electrical Load Calculator.
- The wire size is based upon the distance and the type of wire or cable that will be installed.
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My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets..
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