What Makes a Portable Generator “RV-Ready”?

So, you’re thinking about upgrading your RV experience with a portable generator? Good for you!

RV generators are one of the most sought out of our lot, and for a good reason. Many campsites still don’t have an electric outlet per each parking spot.

Or maybe you want to avoid them altogether and go wild! You still need some juice to power your equipment, otherwise you might as well leave the RV home and bring a tent instead.

However, not all generators are great for this purpose. In fact, most aren’t from the get-go! That is why so-called RV-ready generators exist in the first place.

But what does it mean? What should you look out for when buying a recreational generator, to avoid an unpleasant surprise? Let’s dive in and explain stepwise what makes a generator RV ready!

Note: The following applies for North American RVs and generators.

RV-Ready: The TT-30R Outlet

Picture of a TT-30R receptacle

A TT-30R receptacle

The first on our bucket list is the TT-30R outlet, sometimes with the prefix NEMA, or often referred to as RV30. Either way, if your generator has this one, you are set, since you can hook up your RV right into it.

To decode the lingo, so that you understand what the hell you’re plugging in…

NEMA stands for North American National Electrical Manufacturers Association, in the sense that the shape of the outlet is standardized by this association.

The TT stands for Travel Trailer. The RV in the alternative lingo is self-descriptive.

Where your attention should peak is the number 30, which is the most important of the lot, as it indicates the amperage provided by the outlet. Basically, most US RVs are compatible with this receptacle and amperage. This is an important point for adapters.

The last letter, R or P, refers to either a receptacle or prong.

A Compromise: 30 Amp Outlet With TT-30R Adapter

If your generator does not have a TT-30R outlet, all hopes are not lost. However, you will need a proper adapter! When adapting other NEMA outlets to TT-30R, it is crucial to keep in mind that amperage can be adapted only down, not up – see, the 30 is important!

Thus, you can adapt 50 amps to 30 amps, but not 15 amps to 30 amps. This makes the most suitable NEMA outlets to adapt to TT-30R the L5-30R and L14-30R.

The L5-30R is a 120 V outlet, whereas the L14-30R is a 120/240 V one. TT-30 is 120 V. Thus, we recommend a L5-30P to TT-30R adapter.

These adapters are widely available and preferably, since large currents are flowing through the outlet, you should aim to purchase these from a reputable vendor, preferably the manufacturer of your generator. Dogbone-shaped adapters are preferred, as they are considered safer.

Noise Considerations

a woman putting a finger in front of her lipsUnless you expect to encounter a bear, I strongly recommend keeping your activities as quiet as possible. Regardless of where you may be parking.

You don’t want to be the most obnoxious neighbor on the lot. And even in the wild; fish, deer, birds… in general, all animals will be disturbed and scared off by loud noises!

Sadly, many manufacturers are not as considerate and simply don’t pay attention to this aspect, even in models which are designed for RV use. Therefore, if keeping your volume as low as possible is your priority, which it should be, you will simply have to look out for it on your own.

Feel free to use our website to filter and rank generators by noise or using our compare tool.

Conclusion

In summary, a recreational generator can be considered RV-ready if it features a TT30-R outlet. If this is not the case, a generator can be made RV-compatible using a L5-30R outlet with L5-30P to TT-30R adapter. Lastly, I recommend that you also consider the noise rating of your generator, to avoid irritating your neighbors or wildlife.

Did you choose an RV-ready generator? Which one and why? Let us know in the comments below!

Paul

Paul

Manager & Editor of generatorbible.com. Early retired from the OPE industry, living in South Carolina. He now mostly spends his time traveling and taking care of his wife and grand-children.

2 Comments
  1. Thanks for the article but where did the L5-30P come into the mix at the end of your recommendation? You are talking about L5-30R and then all of a sudden there is L5-30P???

    • The final “P” of L5-30P means “plug”. The final “R” of L5-30R means “receptacle”. So the adapter must be L5-30P on one side, and TT-30R on the other.

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