Advice Installing Power / Electrical from Scratch - Fiberglass RV


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 04-07-2008, 03:52 PM   #1
Junior Member
 
Trailer: 13 ft Boler 1972
Posts: 8
Send a message via MSN to RussP
Thumbs up

Hi,
We have a 1974 13" Boler with out any power or wiring at all. Only have wires to tail lights and side markers. We don't even have any wiring where the shore power once was. Previous owner removed all this. Should mention we don't have a fridge but may consider putting in high efficiency 12v fridge down the road.

Would like some advice on some options and how to go about doing a install of basic battery power setup or powerpack (really keen on powerpack) without costing too much. Try to keep costs down and not go over board.

We use AA battery type lights at the moment.

We want to power the following.
1. Inside Lights
2. Roof vent with electric fan
3. Possibly charge a camera battery or cell phone
4. Will NOT be using Microwave or other kitchen applicances.

Option 1.
Purchase power pack from Canadian Tire ($179) and keep in trailer under sink and wire lights & fan to 12v input on powerpack.

http://www.canadiantire.ca/browse/product_...D=1207600349560

Powerpack can be easily removed from trailer and recharged in the house...may consider buying solar panel next year to charge powerpack on longer trips or borrow family generator.

Powerpack is basically a battery & inverter all in one unit with a handle on it. Has 3 plugs on it and 12v input.

Has anyone has experience using a powerpack as a main power source for lights, fan, fridge...

Great thing about a powerpack is I can use it other places, nice and mobile.

Option 2. Cost???
Purchase 12v deep cycle battery mount on trailer tongue. I guess you would need some 12V wiring and possibly and inverter. The powerpack seems to accomplish all of this in one unit???


Your thoughts.

Cheers Russ




Attached Thumbnails
Powerpack_800A.jpg  
__________________

__________________
RussP is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2008, 04:27 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Booker B.'s Avatar
 
Trailer: 1976 Trillium 13 ft
Posts: 983
If you are going to get a 12v fridge then you will probably be best served with a good 12v system (couple of 6v Golf Cart batteries / 3 stage charger, good converter etc...) but I am still learning about all this myself (good article here)

However, I do know about Canadian tire:

Rule #1: Only buy when it's on sale.
Rule #2: Everything Goes on Sale.
Rule #3: Everything with their house brand will be 50% or more on sale within a month.
__________________

__________________
Booker B. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2008, 05:54 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
brendadave's Avatar
 
Trailer: 1976 Trillium 13 ft
Posts: 218
We have that very battery in our trailer. Simple to connect, simple wire a male cigarette style 12 volt plug to the 12 volt system where it enters the trailer, plug it into the 12volt socket on the side of the unit, and there ya go.

It looks like you are in Edmonton, run down to the Millwoods Canadian Tire, they have those for $99.98 for a refurbished unit, in most cases those units are only "refurbished" because someone brought it back because they didn't want it. I bought mine for $89.98 when they had a $10.00 off internet coupon...nice deal.

By the time summer summer comes, I shall have it configured for charging in the trailer either by solar, 12volt, or 120.

As you said, it is also nice to be able to use it away from the trailer too.

If you are to hook up a 12volt fridge, this wouldn't be enough power to last you very long, we only use it for lights, small 12volt fans, and maybe to run mobile phone or computer when batteries are dead.
__________________
brendadave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2008, 08:17 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Name: Darwin
Trailer: 2002 19 ft Scamp 19 ft 5th Wheel
Posts: 3,029
Send a message via Yahoo to Darwin Maring
Install no wire smaller than 12 gauge. 10 Gauge is better and 8 gauge is best.

West Marine states that Marine Grade wire is based on American Wire Gauge and is 6 to 12% larger than SAE gauge wire. They also state that the marine wire has more strands and is individually tined so it will not corrode as ordinary auto type wire will and it is more durable and can withstand vibration where ordinary auto type of wire will have a loss of conductivity due to vibration.

This is a most informative catalog to have as there are many items that campers can use.

Go to the following web sites to read about wire and/or to order a catalog.

http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs/store.../MarineWire.htm

www.westmarine.com

Go to this page, enlarge and read more about wire.

http://ecatalog.westmarine.com/full.asp?page=430


__________________
Darwin Maring is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2008, 12:52 AM   #5
Senior Member
 
John Perry's Avatar
 
Name: John
Trailer: 1996 13 ft Scamp
California
Posts: 471
Send a message via AIM to John Perry
I have to agree with Byron 14 gauge wire is all you should ever need in your trailer.
I just installed a charge line from the TV battery to the trailer and a brake line from the controller to the trailer and I did use 10 gauge wire. I was almost $20.00 for only 40 ft.. 10 gauge is an expensve and unnecessary expense for your needs.
You do not lose due conductivity due to vibration in a marine enviroment. You lose it because of corrosion. I know from experience because when I lived in Southern Cal. I had an off shore fishing boat.
John
__________________
John Perry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2008, 09:16 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
Victor Benz's Avatar
 
Name: Vic
Trailer: Fiber Stream 1982 16 ft
Alberta
Posts: 361
Registry
I have no real comments with those mentioned here, but I would start one step before that.

1) On a clean sheet of paper, draw a layout of your trailer.
2) Make several copies of that layout.
3) With colored pens, lay out where you may want 12 volt items, and where you want 120 volt items. Include all the ones you may eventually have. (e.g. furnace or heater, fridge, water pump, lights etc.)
4) Don't forget to include the 12 volt cigarette lighter outlets for chargers, TV, and computer.
5) I have wired each 12 volt circuit individually back to the battery connection block.
6)I would allow for at least 2 - 120 volt outlets in the trailer, one near the back and one near the front.
7) Decide on how you are going to power this, buy it, and install!

Vic
__________________
Victor Benz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2008, 09:30 AM   #7
Junior Member
 
Trailer: 13 ft Boler 1972
Posts: 8
Send a message via MSN to RussP
Post

Quote:
We have that very battery in our trailer. Simple to connect, simple wire a male cigarette style 12 volt plug to the 12 volt system where it enters the trailer, plug it into the 12volt socket on the side of the unit, and there ya go.

It looks like you are in Edmonton, run down to the Millwoods Canadian Tire, they have those for $99.98 for a refurbished unit, in most cases those units are only "refurbished" because someone brought it back because they didn't want it. I bought mine for $89.98 when they had a $10.00 off internet coupon...nice deal.

By the time summer summer comes, I shall have it configured for charging in the trailer either by solar, 12volt, or 120.

As you said, it is also nice to be able to use it away from the trailer too.

If you are to hook up a 12volt fridge, this wouldn't be enough power to last you very long, we only use it for lights, small 12volt fans, and maybe to run mobile phone or computer when batteries are dead.
Wow, thanks for the tip on the reburbished unit at Millwoods C.T. I be sure to check it out. You mentioned you have 12V lighting in your trailer. Where do a person find specifically 12V lighting or do you use just regular wall mounted lights from a hardware store. I'm new to this so not sure what I'm supposed to be looking for. I'm hoping to find some high efficiency really bright lights probably 3-4 of them. Was hoping for L.E.D or flouresents or those new high efficiency curly type bulbs.

Typically how long does a powerpack like the Canadian Tire one we are talking about last you when you go away for a weekend. How long does it usually take to get a a full charge?

Thanks Russ
__________________
RussP is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2008, 05:03 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
brendadave's Avatar
 
Trailer: 1976 Trillium 13 ft
Posts: 218
Quote:
1. You mentioned you have 12V lighting in your trailer. Where do a person find specifically 12V lighting.
2. Was hoping for L.E.D or flouresents or those new high efficiency curly type bulbs.
3. Typically how long does a powerpack like the Canadian Tire one we are talking about last you when you go away for a weekend.
4. How long does it usually take to get a a full charge?

Thanks Russ
1. You can get 12volt fixtures at any RV store, sometimes you can find them at Princess Auto as well.
2. You won't find these at any local RV store yet, I have not been able to find good LED lights locally yet, except you may have read on this forum about using some from IKEA.
3. The longest we were away from electricity last year was 6 days, we had a smaller battery then, but recharged everyday with the 13Watt folding solar panel they have on sale at Princess Auto right now for $99. Using the Canadian Tire one you are lookig at, we were away for 2 nights, we didn't recharge, and it still showed 90% on the meter (it only increments by 10) when we left for home.
4. I would have to check the manual, but if I remember correctly, I can do a solar charge in about 8 hours...can't remember the 120volt, I just leave it overnight. That unit is nice because it has protection from overcharging, that is how I killed my cheaper one.

That battery is versitle because you can charge by solar, 12volt from your Tow Vehicle, or by 120Volt.
__________________
brendadave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2008, 06:42 PM   #9
Moderator
 
Gina D.'s Avatar
 
Name: Gina D.
Trailer: '77 Leocraft 17 & Former Burro owner and fan!
West Coast USA
Posts: 9,016
Registry
Really, I have no clue why anyone would claim that vibration affects conductivity accept for, as Byron mentions, pure marketing hype. The claim of extra strands might have, in the farthest stretch of the imaginable circumstances, and REALLY far, a higher chance of prevention of total loss of a connection.. just by shear luck of a strand holding on. Personally, I would rather have total disconnect than something hanging on by a thread.. it makes troubleshooting SO much easier.

Most of my trailer, including the solar charging system, is 12-14 gauge wire. The wires coming from my panels, the ones installed at the panel manufacturer, are 14 gauge, with what appears to be 16 gauge to parallel the 2 panels in the folding arrangement together. (The little 13 watt panels Brenda mentions) I keep my runs as short as possible, but am not too freaked out about the Nth loss if I have to use a longer line from my panels to charger.

10 gauge for charging from car to trailer is reasonable, especially if running your fridge on 12v while underway, but with the small current requirements in most 12v systems IN your trailer, it isn't needed and provides no additional benefit. It's like using a jack hammer to install paneling nails.

And Victor has an excellent plan of attack.
__________________
Gina D. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-09-2008, 03:54 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
Name: Art
Trailer: Helite
Posts: 164
Victor was right on with his advice where Darwin might have misquoted a tad however once reading the boat site I found some very interesting and most informative information and see what Darwin was trying to convey. Both had objective information and I can see where the others think it might be to expensive to install the boat wire.

There is nothing wrong with either auto or marine grade wire as long as it is used and installed according to the codes specified for the installation. The number one thing to remember is your safety and the wrong wire, a wrong covering, a wrong fuse can be deadly. Do your math and install the correct size wiring for the application and remember, Installing a larger gauge wire gives you an additional margin of safety.

I took the time to read the West Marine chart information and found it to be most informative and scientifically correct. They have correct and concise charts to use and it takes the guesswork out of the planning.

I also took the time to enlarge and read the catalog page and once again I concur that marine grade wire is superior to ordinary auto vehicle wiring.

The thin strands are tined and the size of the wire make it superior to most other wiring that you would install in a boat, camper or other vehicle. The tinning of the copper strands provides some corrosion resistance and the number of thin conductors make it more flexible and able to withstand vibrations better than ordinary auto wire. Vibrations at the connections is most critical.

The cost is more expensive than auto wire, is superior to auto wire, so if you want the absolute best and want to do it only once the cost may be warranted.

Direct current has a great loss over distances and even more loss in smaller wire so it is quite important to use larger gauge wire in this circuitry. When you look at the rewired camper to tow vehicle wiring you will find several gauge's of wire. It is engineered for the load of each circuit. Tail/Stop lights use a small gauge where the battery circuit and trailer brake circuit use larger gauge's.

On the inside DC circuits such as lights, I would use 12 or gauge and only go bigger should the calculations say so. The chart on the marine web site will give you an idea of what size to use and it states that if your calculations state 12 gauge and you are going to have a round trip loop in excess of 10 feet, to go to the next larger size of wire.

Alternating Current travels much better over wire with less loss than DC however larger gauge is better. I would never use any thing smaller than 12 gauge and fuse accordingly.

For heavy loads such as an air conditioner I would use 12 or 10 gauge (Based on length and amps) and fuse accordingly.

Just because a wire will take 40 amps does not mean that you should fuse for 40 amps, you should fuse for the intended load such as an air conditioner that is rated over 15 amps but not 20 amps, fuse for 20 amps. This will allow your air to work and will protect the circuit should something go wrong.
__________________
Art VanDelay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-09-2008, 04:42 PM   #11
Senior Member
 
Trailer: 1970 Campster
Posts: 253
The timing for this topic is perfect since I am buying my first FGRV on Saturday and am going to need to put in lighting and 12v receptacles. I came across this website which has quite a variety of 12v appliances, lights, etc.

http://www.swego.com

Here are two 12v LED light fixtures that may have potential but I could not get the pictures to come out:

http://www.swego.com/mall/eyelight_9341_led.asp
12 volt, 1 watt, LED Surface Mount Ceiling Light, Adjustable"Eyelight 9341" Plastic, surface mount, adjustable LED light with switch. Colors: white, chrome, matt silver or sandstone. Includes 12 volt, 1 watt LED cluster (comparable to a 7 watt Xenon bulb). Prices range from $30-$35.00 depending on color.

http://www.swego.com/mall/tube-led-9006.asp
12 volt, 1 watt LED, Adjustable Wall Mount Spotlight "Tube 9006" Plastic LED light with switch. Colors: Base white, gold, chrome, matt silver or sandstone. LED cluster Included (comparable to a 5 watt Xenon bulb). White $36.76;
Gold $43.96; Matt Silver, Sandstone, and Chrome $43.96.

Please feel free to state your opinions about the lights above, as I prefer to learn from your experiences and wisdom rather than from my mistakes! (Especially since I know nothing about electrical systems and appliances )
__________________
Lisa H. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-09-2008, 06:03 PM   #12
Moderator
 
Gina D.'s Avatar
 
Name: Gina D.
Trailer: '77 Leocraft 17 & Former Burro owner and fan!
West Coast USA
Posts: 9,016
Registry
Lisa, those look like some good alternatives and certainly would be easy for the novice to install because the switch is built in.

They are much handsomer than a lot of the LED lighting options we have seen in the past. Altho these are not cheap, they are certainly much lower in price than we have seen for cosmetically nice fixtures.

I am going to put the link in our helpful links section. Thank you.. and now you are making me spend more money :-P
__________________
Gina D. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-09-2008, 06:36 PM   #13
Senior Member
 
Greg A's Avatar
 
Name: Greg
Trailer: 2015 Escape 19
Arizona
Posts: 1,828
After a lifetime of wiring vehicles from VW Beetles, kit cars, and now fiberglass travel trailers my personal opinion is that wiring these circuits with anything smaller than 12ga is akin to killing an ant with a shotgun.

Like Gina said above, if one is trying to support a 12V fridge during travel then you might consider a 10ga recharging line from the TV, but I've had a 12ga on mine for a year and it tops my battery right back up when we move without any excess heat on the wire.

Is marine wire better than automotive wire? Probably.
Is it necessary? In my experience, no. Never had an automotive wiring failure in all my years of wiring 12v circuits.

I guess, if it is important to someone that they have marine wire in their egg, then I would certainly go for it. Me personally, I'd rather put the excess funds from using perfectly adequate wire, into something you see, like PeterH's new shower and cabinet doors.

Just my wiring 2 cents.......
__________________
Owner:
Fiberglass-RV-4Sale.com
Scamp Owners International
2015 Escape 19 & 1997 Scamp 19
Greg A is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-09-2008, 09:24 PM   #14
Senior Member
 
Bigfoot Mike's Avatar
 
Name: Mike
Trailer: Bigfoot 25 ft
Posts: 7,317
Greg A. - I am almost with you 100%. Where I vary is that I had to do three things in order for the frig to run properly while traveling. I had shorten the length of run to my Frig, eliminate the number of connections (each connection lowers the voltage) and increase the size wire to 10 AWG in order to be able to run the frig while towing.

I think I just spent part of your 2
__________________

__________________
Bigfoot Mike is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Build one from scratch Holger Care and Feeding of Molded Fiberglass Trailers 8 06-01-2008 08:44 AM
12 Volt Electrical System From Scratch Al POGUE Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 2 09-17-2007 09:20 PM
advice for installing a shelf Candi Woods Modifications, Alterations and Updates 8 03-13-2007 12:42 AM
Electrical Power Discharge Episode RonnieV Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 16 07-31-2006 04:22 PM
Advice Installing Power / Electrical from Scratch RussP General Chat 0 12-31-1969 07:00 PM

» Upcoming Events
No events scheduled in
the next 465 days.
» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:49 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.