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The leisure battery of your motorhome provides a steady power supply for small appliances. If you have demanding power requirements, you can connect to an electrical hookup on a campsite. When doing so, it would be helpful to know the maximum wattage you can use.
The maximum wattage you can use in European campsites is 3,680 watts for a 16-amp electrical hookup, 2,300 watts for a 10-amp, and 1,150 watts for a 5-amp. Meanwhile, in the US, the maximum is 6,000 watts for 50 amps, 3,600 watts for 30 amps, and 2,400 watts for 20 amps.
In this guide, I’ll talk about how many watts you can use on a campsite. I’ll also share the wattage of the most common appliances you use in a motorhome and how you can compute your power needs.
Maximum Campsite Wattage
The maximum campsite wattage depends on certain factors. It can vary depending on the campsite location and the type of wiring used to provide electricity in a campsite. Regardless, it’s crucial to observe the maximum wattage and abide by the camping ground’s rules.
Most European campsites will have a 230-volt power supply with a rating of 10 or 16 amps. In some locations, you might find lower amperage, such as connections with 5 or 6 amps.
To determine values in watts, multiply the voltage by amperage. For instance, if the electrical hookup in the campsite has 10 amps, the maximum wattage of the appliances you can connect is 2,300 watts.
On the other hand, if you’re on a campsite with a 16-amp electrical hookup, multiply it by 230 volts, then you will get 3,680 watts. It’s the maximum wattage you can use on such a campsite.
Lastly, in 5-amp European pitches, you will get 1,150 watts (5 amps x 230 volts). It’s pretty minimal, so keep an eye on the appliances you’re using.
In the United States
Campsites in the United States have 50, 30, and 20-amp electrical services. While the amperage may be higher than what you will find in Europe, remember that the voltage in the US is 120.
Using the same formula from earlier, you must multiply amperage by the voltage to get the wattage. Therefore, the maximum wattage in a 50-amp electrical hookup is 6,000 watts. Meanwhile, the maximum is 3,600 watts in a 30-amp power supply and 2,400 watts in a 20-amp power supply.
If the campsite does not explicitly state the power supply’s amperage, look at the prongs. Here’s a quick guide to determine how many amps the electrical hookup has:
- 50-amp: The plug-in has one round prong and three flat prongs
- 30-amp: The plug-in has one round prong and two flat-angled prongs
- 20-amp: The plug-in has one round prong and two straight-flat prongs
Take Note of Wattage Limitations
Before heading out to the campsite, it is good to know your wattage limitations. To do so, you must calculate your power needs, which I will discuss in the next section. You will also know what appliances you can operate simultaneously without risk.
If you do not have time to compute, however, here is a quick rundown of the most common motorhome appliances and their power consumption:
- Laptop: 25 to 200 watts
- Gaming console: 70 to 180 watts
- Radio: 50 to 200 watts
- TV: 150 to 400 watts
- Blender: 450 to 700 watts
- Refrigerator: 400 to 1,200 watts
- Electric stove: 900 to 2,500 watts
- Microwave: 1,000 to 1,500 watts
- Air conditioner: 1,200 to 2,400 watts
- Hair dryer: 1,200 to 1,875 watts
- Coffee maker: 650 to 1,750 watts
Pay attention to wattage limitations so you don’t unintentionally overload the power source on the campsite. Otherwise, the campsite management can end up charging you for the restoration and disturbance you might cause.
How to Calculate Your Campsite Power Needs
When choosing a campsite, you should always consider your power needs. Knowing how much power your motorhome will require and what type of hook-up your preferred campsite offers is crucial. With this information, you may select a site that can provide enough power or the correct electrical connection.
Below, I’ll talk about two of the best ways to identify your power needs.
Watt Meter Measurement
A watt meter is a handy tool you must have on a campsite, as it measures and makes the calculations for you. All you need to do is plug in the appliance or equipment you want to measure. The display, often digital, will then show the power measurement. It lets you quickly determine how much power your appliance needs to run.
You can measure the power consumption of every appliance you intend to use on the campsite. Then, you can add the measured values, ensuring that your appliances stay within the maximum wattage a campsite allows.
If you don’t have a watt meter, you can calculate your power needs manually to determine whether it’s appropriate for the electrical supply on a campsite.
Whether it’s a normal fridge on a motorhome, an electric kettle, or portable AC, most will have their power ratings in power supply labels. If not, check the manual or go online to research the specs depending on the brand or model you’re using.
Here’s a simple formula for calculating wattage:
Power (wattage) = Amp x Volts
So, let’s say you have a 120-volt toaster with a 9-amp draw. Multiplying the two, you get 1,080 watts. You can now add it to the wattage of the other appliances you will use in an electrical hookup.
The maximum wattage you can use on a campsite will vary from location to location. If you’re from Europe, most campsites will have 10 or 16-amp plugs, which can support 2,300 or 3,680 watts.
On the other hand, those in the US will often have 50 and 30-amp electrical hookups, which can support 6,000 and 3,600 watts, respectively.
- A2Z Camping: Understanding Electricity on the Campsite
- Sciencing: How Does a Wattmeter Work?
- WikiHow: How to Calculate Wattage
- Own the Outdoors: Electric Hookup: How to Use a Campsite Power Supply
- Progressive: The RV Hookups to Know Before Your First Trip
- Skip and Jump: The Must-Know Guide to Electric Hook Up – EHU
- Freedom Residence: Campground Electrical Outlets: What Pluhs Do Campsites Use for RVs?
- Cummin: What Size Generator Do I Need to Power an RV