Hooking Up Your Generator To Your Travel Trailer to Power Everything On The Road

hook up generator to travel trailer

Some people living in their motorhome may need a travel trailer generator. A generator is not necessary when you have a motorhome, but you can use it to power up your appliances as well as your lights if you are in a campground where there are no electrical hookups.

There are two ways that a generator can be hooked up to your travel trailer: One way is by using an adapter and the other way is by using a transfer switch. Transfer switches are way more expensive than an adapter but offers more pros. Below you can find a few options on Amazon.

Here is a list of adapters depending on your travel trailer amperage:

Here is a list of transfer switches depending on your travel trailer amperage:

Steps to install

  1. Before you begin, make sure that all of your appliances are turned off and that there is no electricity running through them. You will also want to turn off the circuit breaker that runs from the batteries of your travel trailer to the main electrical panel.
  2. Next, turn on the power cord of the generator and plug it into the outlet. If you have an adapter, then you can plug it into the outlet on the wall and then connect it to one end of the cable.
  3. Most travel trailers don'''t have direct hookups for generators, so you will need to get a dedicated adapter or transfer switch. The one you will use will depend on the make and model of your trailer and generator. Some older type travel trailers run on 30 amps while newer models run on 50 amps.
  4. Once you connect the cord from the generator to the trailer, turn it on and check the voltage. You can do this by checking for 120 volts at an outlet with a voltage meter or multimeter.

You will also want to check the amps coming out of your generator to make sure they are enough to power all of your appliances.

Things to consider before hooking up the generator to your trailer.

  • Some generators produce clean power. By this, we mean that they have smooth sine waves of alternating current (AC). The sine wave has zero distortion and makes appliances work consistently. Other generators produce dirty power. Their sine waves have spikes and drops that can damage a motor or other delicate electrical devices.
  • If you're using a generator that produces dirty power, you need to ensure that it's compatible with the appliances in your home. Before plugging in, read the user manual for your RV to see what appliances can handle dirty power and what needs a cleaner source of electricity. Then, make sure that the generator produces enough wattage for all of your appliances and devices.

  • You should also take into consideration the type of generator you are going to use and what kind of electrical system it has. Some generators have an automatic start-up feature that will automatically turn on when power is lost or when an outlet has been unplugged from an electrical outlet. Others may not have this feature and require that you manually turn them on in order to get it started again.
  • Another thing that you will need to do is choose which type of connector that you want to use. The most common connectors are the NEMA L5-30R and the NEMA L14-30R. with those two choices, you will be able to plug almost any trailer into almost any generator.
  • There are two types of circuits that you can choose from. An AC circuit, which is an alternating current, or a DC circuit, which is direct current. Both can be used for the same purpose, but the DC circuit is more efficient because it does not lose energy as heat. It does this by using a battery instead of an alternator.
  • Both circuits have their advantages and disadvantages, so it really depends on what your goal is. If you are going to be using your generator very often, then it might be best to go with the AC circuit because it will save you money in the long run. However, if you rarely use it, then it might make more sense to go with the DC circuit because it will not cost as much.

Where to safely place the generator?

This is quite important in order to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Also, if you leave the generator outside, you run the risk of having it stolen.

The best solution is to carry a small tent with you where you can safely place the generator inside and fuel it up.

Make sure that there is enough ventilation for the exhaust so that it can dissipate in the air without any risks.

The safest spot to place your generator is at least 10 feet away from your trailer. You should also ensure that the generator is in an open space and not placed under a tent or canopy. The generator should be placed on a flat surface to prevent it from tipping over.

How big of a generator do I need?

The answer depends on what kind of travel trailer that you have and how many devices or appliances are connected to it at any given time. Some people may just want something small so they can run their air conditioner while others may want something large enough so they can run multiple appliances at once.

You can determine the size of the generator you need by adding up the power requirements of all the appliances and electronics you want to use.

You'll find that the figures are listed in watts. For example:
  • A laptop computer requires 65 watts
  • A 19" TV requires 75 watts
  • And so on.

What role does amperage play in generator size and power needs?

A 30 amp rating means that, at maximum, the generator can provide 30 ampsto all outlets combined. These outlets include the air conditioners, lights, microwaves and so on. If you only have one air conditioner blowing at maximum capacity, it will take up most of the power but you will still have some left over for other things like lights and microwaves. The second air conditioner will then obviously take up more power and leave less to be used by other accessories.

When it comes down to the size of generator you need, it really depends on what kind of appliances you plan on running.


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Hooking up a generator to a travel trailer will usually require a Transfer Switch?

A transfer switch needs to be installed between your power source and your power box in the RV or travel trailer. This allows you to turn off the power from the grid and turn on the power from your generator.

Transfer Switch

When you go camping, there are certain conveniences that you should have. One of those is the ability to use your electrical appliances.

What Is A Transfer Switch?

transfer switch

A TS is an electric switch that transfers an electrical power source from its primary source to a standby source. It's the only way of connecting an external generator to your RV, and it ensures that the power generated by the generator doesn't back flow into the utility lines. Other types of transfer switches are automatic, manual and double throw switches.

Automatic transfer switches can monitor the power being produced by the utility lines. When it senses a power outage, it will automatically switch over to another power source such as a generator. This type has five main components: control circuit, sensing circuit, transfer switch, time delay relay and engine starter.

Manual transfer switches on the other hand require you operate them when switching from one power source to another. They are often used for small generators because they are less expensive than automatic transfer switches. They are also easier to install than automatic ones, which makes them ideal for small generators that don't need automatic operation.

There are different types of transfer switches

You will have the option of choosing between different types of transfer switches.

  • Manual Transfer Switch

  • A manual transfer switch offers the most affordable option for connecting your generator to your trailer. This type of transfer switch is operated manually. It usually comes with a 30-amp outlet that plugs into the generator receptacle. The outlet can be connected to an extension cord that runs outside and plugs into your trailer's power supply. This may not work if your breaker box needs 30 amps or more.

    Manual transfer switches are inexpensive and portable. They are often used in small capacities because they are easy to set up and low energy.

    To hook up a generator to a travel trailer, you'll need a transfer switch alongside the generator. The transfer switch will connect with your home's power box so you can use the same power source for your appliances in your travel trailer.

    Make sure your generator is turned off before connecting it to the power box with the manual transfer switch. Once you have connected it, simply turn on the generator and then the manual transfer switch to supply power to your travel trailer from your generator.

  • Pre-Wired Transfer Switch

  • A pre-wired transfer switch is a small unit that connects to the electrical panel of an RV. It allows the user to hook up the generator directly without having to run multiple extension cords inside the RV and connect each device individually. This means less work and fewer worries about tripping circuit breakers or shorting out devices.

    The transfer switch works by connecting two wires from the fuse box of the house and two wires from the RV electrical panel (or battery) through a switch. The switch then switches between these two inputs automatically when power goes out. A pre-wired transfer switch can be purchased online for about $100 (plus shipping).

    The main advantage of this option is that it requires no special tools or expertise on your part. Just follow the instructions provided with the transfer switch and you should be good to go.

  • Automatic Transfer Switch

  • Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) is a device that can automatically transfer the power supply from the main to the generator when there is a power outage.

    The ATS is connected to the electricity meter and in normal conditions, it allows the electricity to pass through the electricity meter, while it automatically disconnects the electricity meter when there is a power failure and connects it to the generator.

    The ATS has two breakers: one breaker designed for connecting to a power source (electrical grid or generator) and another breaker for connecting to an electrical load (for example, a home). These two breakers are interconnected, so that when one of them is open and one of them is closed, no current will flow through the breakers (the breakers are switched off). When both of these breakers are closed, current flows through both of them.

    In automatic mode, the ATS closes its main breaker when it senses that there is a voltage coming from an external source. It also closes its generator breaker if it senses that voltage from its internal generator supply has dropped below a certain threshold. In this case, current flows through both breakers (electricity passes through the electrical grid).


When it comes to RVing, there are few things more reassuring and convenient than knowing you can generate your own electricity. An RV generator can power the essentials while boondocking or let you run all of your favorite gadgets and appliances while plugged into a campground electrical hookup.

A travel trailer is a towable RV that makes up a large portion of the market. While some people think of it as a lower-class RV, there is nothing wrong with them, aside from their lack of mobility when unhooked from a truck or SUV.

When it comes to travel trailer generators, there are dozens of options out there - so many that it can be overwhelming! This article guided you through the process of picking the best generator for your travel trailer.

About Author:

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Hi, I'm Kevin Pommells, a lover of camping and the great outdoors as everyone says nowadays. I'm also a passionate soccer fan and the proud owner of CamperRules.com, a website dedicated to helping campers and outdoor enthusiasts make the most of their adventures. With years of experience exploring the wilderness and a deep love for the sport of soccer, I'm always looking for new ways to combine my two passions and share my knowledge with others. Follow me for tips, tricks, and insights on all things camping and outdoor recreation.

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