Burro 8 circuit 120v panel - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-07-2016, 11:10 AM   #1
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Name: Duane
Trailer: 1978 Burro
Michigan
Posts: 75
Burro 8 circuit 120v panel

Well I kinda got the panel in place and wired. Will probably change things around after going to Arizona this winter again which will be my second outing with my old girl.

I used 14-3 to about 5 out of 9 outlets so I can control half of them with a switch that is on the front of the sink/refrig cabinet (used to be an outlet there).

Right now I have 4 designated circuits for my microwave, refrigerator, coffee maker and electric heater. Just thought I may bring along my toaster too this year for some homemade garlic toast. Might have to change things up a little but that's ok.

I am going to bring along some various led lighting. Strips, single super bright ones etc. I'm hoping to work on the lighting for the Burro this winter as I'm living in it. Probably just some prototype work since I dont' want to really work while I'm on vacation.

As you can see I pulled the green wire out of the connection with the white wire. I had to do this after I kept tripping the gfi outlet on my back barn as I was trying to check out the operation of the panel The load side of a gfi does not like the grounding wire and the neutral together.

The red #10 jumper wire is tying the two separate bus bars of the panel together. They are normally used for the 240 volts coming into our homes.

The panel is being "backfed" thru the 30 amp breaker on the right with the black wire from the 30 amp Burro power cord.

I also realized that I will have to glue small pieces of plywood between the two halves of the fiberglass shell in a couple of places. I have some 120 volt wires that run close to the openings between the two halves and I don't want any wires getting chaffed while I'm pulling the trailer down the road.
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Old 09-07-2016, 11:50 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DuaneQ View Post
Well I kinda got the panel in place and wired. Will probably change things around after going to Arizona this winter again which will be my second outing with my old girl.

I used 14-3 to about 5 out of 9 outlets so I can control half of them with a switch that is on the front of the sink/refrig cabinet (used to be an outlet there).

Right now I have 4 designated circuits for my microwave, refrigerator, coffee maker and electric heater. Just thought I may bring along my toaster too this year for some homemade garlic toast. Might have to change things up a little but that's ok.

I am going to bring along some various led lighting. Strips, single super bright ones etc. I'm hoping to work on the lighting for the Burro this winter as I'm living in it. Probably just some prototype work since I dont' want to really work while I'm on vacation.

As you can see I pulled the green wire out of the connection with the white wire. I had to do this after I kept tripping the gfi outlet on my back barn as I was trying to check out the operation of the panel The load side of a gfi does not like the grounding wire and the neutral together.

The red #10 jumper wire is tying the two separate bus bars of the panel together. They are normally used for the 240 volts coming into our homes.

The panel is being "backfed" thru the 30 amp breaker on the right with the black wire from the 30 amp Burro power cord.

I also realized that I will have to glue small pieces of plywood between the two halves of the fiberglass shell in a couple of places. I have some 120 volt wires that run close to the openings between the two halves and I don't want any wires getting chaffed while I'm pulling the trailer down the road.
There are a number of reasons a load center in a trailer should be treated as a sub panel, i.e. the neutrals & grounds must be wired to separate busses, and there is no bonding between the neutral & ground. This is why the ground wire had to be removed when you connected it to a GFCI receptacle. You can purchase an additional ground buss, bolt it to the case of the panel & move the grounds to it.

If they are combined, some of the neutral current will be carried on the equipment ground, an unsafe condition that could create a shock hazard, even to unusual things such as a campground water faucet. Modern GFCIs detect the combined neutral/ground and trip.

If the campground, an adapter or your wiring has an open ground combined with reversed polarity, any grounded part of the trailer becomes a 120V source to the earth or a good ground, with no circuit breaker protecting it, again a dangerous situation.
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Old 09-07-2016, 05:14 PM   #3
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Name: Duane
Trailer: 1978 Burro
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Originally Posted by Jon Vermilye View Post
There are a number of reasons a load center in a trailer should be treated as a sub panel, i.e. the neutrals & grounds must be wired to separate busses, and there is no bonding between the neutral & ground. This is why the ground wire had to be removed when you connected it to a GFCI receptacle. You can purchase an additional ground buss, bolt it to the case of the panel & move the grounds to it.

If they are combined, some of the neutral current will be carried on the equipment ground, an unsafe condition that could create a shock hazard, even to unusual things such as a campground water faucet. Modern GFCIs detect the combined neutral/ground and trip.

If the campground, an adapter or your wiring has an open ground combined with reversed polarity, any grounded part of the trailer becomes a 120V source to the earth or a good ground, with no circuit breaker protecting it, again a dangerous situation.
I'm not sure I understand all you are saying. I worked as an electrician for a local business for around 4 years. I had considered adding another buss bar to separate the grounding and neutral wires. After giving it some thought I could not see any reason not to wire the Burro panel like a main panel.

Are there any other electricians out there that have an opinion? I guess I admit I should have looked at other panels in other RVs like the Scamp. I do have a friend up the street that has a new one.

I also think any outlet in a small trailer should have most if not all gfci circuits esp when there is water or any other way to "find" ground. A short extension cord to a non gfi outlet and then a blow dryer/ hair curler etc. over a sink could spell trouble.

No gfi for the fridge I'd say and that outlet should be hidden under the counter and not accessible.
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Old 09-07-2016, 05:50 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DuaneQ View Post
I'm not sure I understand all you are saying. I worked as an electrician for a local business for around 4 years. I had considered adding another buss bar to separate the grounding and neutral wires. After giving it some thought I could not see any reason not to wire the Burro panel like a main panel.

Are there any other electricians out there that have an opinion? I guess I admit I should have looked at other panels in other RVs like the Scamp. I do have a friend up the street that has a new one.

I also think any outlet in a small trailer should have most if not all gfci circuits esp when there is water or any other way to "find" ground. A short extension cord to a non gfi outlet and then a blow dryer/ hair curler etc. over a sink could spell trouble.

No gfi for the fridge I'd say and that outlet should be hidden under the counter and not accessible.
I am an electrician (although retired), and have taught electrical theory as well as wired numerous commercial buildings, theaters, & homes. I do suggest getting the opinion of another electrician that understands RV wiring since the way you have wired your trailer is incorrect.

The reason a trailer or motorhome is wired as a sub panel is because there should be only one place where the ground & neutrals are tied together (bonded). In a campground this is either at the pedestal or the campground service entrance, depending on local code.

Code requires that the chassis be connected to your AC ground (as well as any other exposed metal in the trailer). This is to protect you from faults between the hot wiring & the metal frame. If a fault occurs between the hot & the frame & the frame is grounded, it will open the circuit breaker.

By combining the neutral & ground in the trailer distribution panel you are making the frame of the trailer and any other grounded parts (as well as the ground conductor) current carrying conductors since the ground & neutral wiring is paralleled and will share the current. The only time a ground should carry current is during a fault. This presents a shock hazard between the trailer chassis & a good ground (such as the campground water system).

A couple of additional problems will occur when other parts of the system fails. The loss of the trailer ground connection, either in the trailer or in the pedestal will result in a greater shock hazard between any grounded part of the trailer and a true ground because you no longer have the ground carrying part of the neutral current.

As I mentioned in a pervious post, in the worst case, a combination of a missing ground combined with reverse polarity would put the grounded parts of the trailer at line (120V) potential. When the polarity is reversed, the circuit breakers will be in the neutral side. A connection between the chassis or any other grounded part of the trailer & a real ground will not trip the breakers.

You don't have to accept my suggestions or explanation, but for the sake of you & those using the trailer please talk to another electrician.
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Old 09-07-2016, 06:07 PM   #5
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Name: Duane
Trailer: 1978 Burro
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120 volt grounding wire to trailer frame?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Vermilye View Post
I am an electrician (although retired), and have taught electrical theory as well as wired numerous commercial buildings, theaters, & homes. I do suggest getting the opinion of another electrician that understands RV wiring since the way you have wired your trailer is incorrect.

The reason a trailer or motorhome is wired as a sub panel is because there should be only one place where the ground & neutrals are tied together (bonded). In a campground this is either at the pedestal or the campground service entrance, depending on local code.

Code requires that the chassis be connected to your AC ground (as well as any other exposed metal in the trailer). This is to protect you from faults between the hot wiring & the metal frame. If a fault occurs between the hot & the frame & the frame is grounded, it will open the circuit breaker.

By combining the neutral & ground in the trailer distribution panel you are making the frame of the trailer and any other grounded parts (as well as the ground conductor) current carrying conductors since the ground & neutral wiring is paralleled and will share the current. The only time a ground should carry current is during a fault. This presents a shock hazard between the trailer chassis & a good ground (such as the campground water system).

A couple of additional problems will occur when other parts of the system fails. The loss of the trailer ground connection, either in the trailer or in the pedestal will result in a greater shock hazard between any grounded part of the trailer and a true ground because you no longer have the ground carrying part of the neutral current.

As I mentioned in a pervious post, in the worst case, a combination of a missing ground combined with reverse polarity would put the grounded parts of the trailer at line (120V) potential. When the polarity is reversed, the circuit breakers will be in the neutral side. A connection between the chassis or any other grounded part of the trailer & a real ground will not trip the breakers.

You don't have to accept my suggestions or explanation, but for the sake of you & those using the trailer please talk to another electrician.
Oh I have no trouble with more information and can add a separate bus bar very easily to the panel.

My burro frame wasn't grounded when I got it but you are saying that I should ground my panel bare wire to the frame? Is that common practice with the new fiberglass trailers now?

I have heard of people connecting at an RV park and destroying electrical equipment inside but I would never connect before testing the outlet at the pedestal.

I emailed a buddy up the street to look at how his Scamp panel is wired. When I am convinced I will make the change but I'm a hard sell because of all the opinions I sometimes read online.

Thanks for the feedback I do appreciate it.
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Old 09-07-2016, 06:32 PM   #6
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Name: Duane
Trailer: 1978 Burro
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electrical panel in rv

Jon, I also found this wiring diagram. I guess I had tunnel vision along with assuming the panel would be considered a sub panel.

Looks like an additional bus bar is going in my new panel!

Thanks again.
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Old 09-08-2016, 05:01 PM   #7
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Name: Duane
Trailer: 1978 Burro
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Burro sub panel

Well it took me about 1/2 hour to install the other bus bar. Hope nobody copies my old panel wiring.
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Old 09-08-2016, 07:30 PM   #8
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Glad to see the ground buss. I would still add a bond between the chassis & the trailer frame. If you have access to a copy of the National Electrical Code, Article 551.56 covers trailer bonding. While there is more to it, basically you need a #8 copper wire going between the ground buss & the chassis.

Good luck with your project!
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