Wiring - Boat Cable? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-01-2010, 06:21 PM   #1
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Has anyone used stranded marine boat cable to rewire their trailer? I debating on whether to use it or standard "Romex" type cable.

Thanks,
Carl
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Old 06-01-2010, 06:51 PM   #2
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Has anyone used stranded marine boat cable to rewire their trailer? I debating on whether to use it or standard "Romex" type cable.

Thanks,
Carl
Technically, the stranded cable will hold up better to the vibrations of traveling down the road, however it is quite a bit more expensive, and there are lots of RVs going down the road using "Romex". In either case, it is a good idea to check the tightness of all your connections at least once a year. It is amazing how much damage a loose connection can do to a distribution panel...
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Old 06-01-2010, 07:12 PM   #3
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Has anyone used stranded marine boat cable to rewire their trailer? I debating on whether to use it or standard "Romex" type cable.

Thanks,
Carl
Yes I have used marine grade wire and cable, as the strands are tinned for their whole length.I think it is worth the extra cost.
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Old 06-01-2010, 08:34 PM   #4
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All I will use is the Stranded Tinned Marine cable.
It is better as it is stranded and tinned and it is a lot more flexible too.

I use the Ancor if I can buy it right or there is a generic cable from Terminal Supply that I like that is at least 1/2 the price of the Ancor.
In general I get what I can from wholesaler,it is just better cable than Romex for a trailer.
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Old 06-02-2010, 11:36 PM   #5
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There are exceptions to this general rule, but it applies pretty well to trailers & RVs. Romex is typically used only for 110v wiring, stranded cable is typically used only for low-voltage (12v) purposes. Marine cable is stranded and designed to work in wet, salty marine environments. If you camp or park your trailer at the beach most days of the year, I'd suggest using it. Beyond that, the standard 12-gauge stranded cable wire is cheaper and quite sufficient for just about any other environment carrying 10 amps or less where the wire is secured so it doesn't move around much when your trailer is in motion. (Connections from the battery to your trailer's fuse block and from the converter/battery charger back to the battery should probably be 10-gauge stranded.)

I use marine cable for only one application in my trailer, and that's to connect my roof-mount solar panels back to the solar charge controller inside my trailer. The wiring to the solar panels has a 2' long, unsecured "pig tail" that allows me to pull the panels up and move them around a bit without yanking the cable out. I'm sure there's a bit of movement there as my trailer bumps down the road, so I used the more flexible and vibration resistant marine cable for that application.
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Old 06-03-2010, 08:23 PM   #6
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re: " (Connections from the battery to your trailer's fuse block and from the converter/battery charger back to the battery should probably be 10-gauge stranded.)"

The '86 16 ft Scamp I recently bought and am working on had two pair of 14 gauge wires coming out the front, to the battery, (red/white and black/white) using the same hole as the wire bundle to the Tow vehicle. Since this 12volt wire was ugly, (wrapped with tape, with missing in-line fuses,) I replaced it with similar 14 gauge wire--- !?

I assumed the old wires were factory installed, in that once inside the hatch area wires were off to their receptacles throughout via in-line splices. Looked like factory work. Must add that the 14 gauge red/white pair just ended up disconnected under cabinet. There was no converter in the vehicle, only a big two- switch fuse box that had its own cabinet door beside the fridge, and with a direct 120 line for pulling outside through a port.

Was I wrong? I will be adding a converter.
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Old 06-04-2010, 01:59 AM   #7
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The layout you just described -- a pair of wires running the perimeter of the trailer with in-line taps heading off to the various trailer lights and devices, all wired back to a single fuse -- is not uncommon in trailer wiring. I, personally, prefer to run separate circuits with separate fuses for my lights, furnace, inverter, converter, and other devices, but doing so is not a safety issue, it's a convenience and ease-of-troubleshooting issue. With separate fuses for different functions the whole trailer's lighting system doesn't go out if there's a short in the furnace or other device. As long as you stay within the safe load limit of the wiring a single fuse is fine.

Similarly, wiring your trailer with 14 gauge wire is adequate, from a safety perspective, for most trailer applications (lights, furnace, ceiling fan) that draw 15 amps or less. (Some guides say 20 amps.) Its drawback is that, should you decide you want to wire in a small inverter, 12VDC 'fridge, or other high-demand device, 14 gauge really isn't big enough to handle the load without loosing a lot of your battery power to wire resistance and heat. Wiring your base runs with 12 gauge gives you the flexibility to run a small, 150-300 watt, inverter so you can charge your cell phone or laptop.

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Old 06-04-2010, 07:04 AM   #8
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Similarly, wiring your trailer with 14 gauge wire is adequate, from a safety perspective, for most trailer applications (lights, furnace, ceiling fan) that draw 15 amps or less.
Peterh
I assume your talking about all the 12 volt applications in the trailer..... but what type of wire do you prefer for all the ac 110 volt applications that goes out to the various 110 volt plugs...Romex, 14-2, 12-2 ?
Not Stranded to these points?

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Old 06-04-2010, 11:48 AM   #9
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14/2 Romex, with one run for our outlets, one for the fridge/water heater (I retrofit the water heater it with a Lightning Rod heater), and one run for an AC, should I ever install one. All the cable is zip-tied or otherwise secured every foot or so to minimize vibration, and I don't use push-terminals on outlets and switches. I use the screw terminals, wrap the wire around the post into a "U" shape backward against the direction the screw is tightened. (This is opposite of how you wire screw terminals in a standard installation; winding it in the reverse direction maks it so any tugs on the cable pulls the screw head down more tightly instead of loosening it. I have to use needle-nose pliers to hold the wire tight while I tighten the screw down to make sure the rotation of the screw head doesn't unwind the wire as I tighten it down.)
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Old 06-04-2010, 03:59 PM   #10
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Very good answers for me as i plan on some wiring in a van and maybe some casita upgrades and this will help..... I especially like the idea of wrapping the wire around the oposite direction in case something tugs on it and it will tighten it more...... good stuff

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Old 06-04-2010, 04:16 PM   #11
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It's a technique commonly used in aviation and high-performance (racing) engines. Bolts are wired in pairs such that, should one bolt head turn and loosen, it pulls on the wire and tightens its neighbor.
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