Electricity at European campsites: how does this work?

Camping electricity? How boring!?

Well, boring or not, when we started RVing, we had some blackouts. Not because of a storm or bad maintenance of the electricity net, no, it was because I used too much kitchen appliances at once.

If you don’t have a clue about how the electricity on campsites in Europe works, read on. I’ll explain it to you in simple words so you can prevent a blackout.

(You can thank me for it later;) )

Electricity at campsites in Europe

Most campsites offer 6 ampère (A) (or charge you an extra fee for 10 A) and with 6 A you cannot even use a few essential kitchen appliances while having your boiler switched on as well. In the beginning, we had some power blackouts when we used our coffee machine and electrical heater simultaneously. Well, we learned the hard way (we had to wait for an hour before the electricity was back on) and from that moment we never forget to switch all kitchen equipment and other power users off before using the microwave or coffee machine.

For preventing a little blackout in your RV, you need to make a simple calculation.

Multiply the amount of ampère with 230 volts (which is the standard voltage in Europe).

The outcome is the maximum Watt you can use at the same time.

Let’s do some math

For example: 6 A * 230 V = 1380 Watt. This seems like a lot but mind the ‘silent’ users. Most boilers and refrigerators in RVs use (on average!) respectively 300 and 100 Watt. And you probably keep these running 24/7.

Also, think about lighting (approximately 40 Watt) and chargers (5 Watt for one smartphone and 30 Watt for charging a laptop). In total, this is 475 Watt.

Before you use a coffee maker or electric kettle, check its Watt usage and see if there is enough Watt left. Some electric kettles use 1000 Watt, which means you exceed the maximum of 1380 Watt.

The solution is very simple: just switch off the boiler before using any other electrical equipment.

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