electrical from scratch - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-30-2011, 11:25 AM   #1
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Name: Kyle
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electrical from scratch

It seems each time I resume my research, there are more questions than answers! great help everyone, but sometimes you just feel like describing what you want to do and have an expert tell you yes or no. considering the experience here, please let me spout what my plan is, and let the opinions flow. don't hesitate to tell me how wrong I am. I am starting from scratch, so there lies my dilemma and opportunity. Here's my plan. I was going to use the 4 pin connection to the towing vehicle and rewire the lights. simple and completely separate. some diagrams show running lights hooked up to the battery on the trailer, i don't know why. done. i want to then take the 110 coming in, add a small breaker splitting the 30 amp to a panel that splits into two. one circuit running a couple of plugs, perhaps one inside and one outside. I can't see the need for more than one inside, but can add another one down the road if i really had to. I also will install a few lights, and not sure about the location. one over the table, one over the sink, perhaps on the cupboard over the sink and the top of the long cupboard. Not too worried about the placement of these lights at this time. then the second circuit running from the 30 amp panel goes to a converter/inverter. there is some debate, but I'm looking at the one from power dynamics :9100 Series. either the 30 amp or the 45 amp. great thread in another forum on these items but my thought is that I only need the smaller considering my expected humble 12 volt requirement. I plan on installing a 12 volt plug (cigarette lighter) for charging an ipod or perhaps a portable lamp or two. also, i want to run some led lights in the interior of the boler, perhaps inside the tall cupboard, overhead light and by the bunks (kids reading lamps). so, I will take the power off the 30 amp panel to the inverter converter. run that to the battery. then run the 12 volt stuff off that inverter that is being supplied by the batter. Fuse the power coming off the battery. Fuse the power going to the plugs and lights. fuse the power to the 12 volt stuff. done. i want to be simple. i want to be economical. i want to be safe. is it as simple as I think? get the parts, run the wires, install the hardware? i am a do it yourselfer, i don't want to pay to have someone else do what I can do. it feels like all the back and forth makes it more complicated than it actually is. Yes, safety first, I know how to make sure it's safe. simple, i have reasonable electric demands so the system should be similar. expense, that's where I want to make sure I don't throw away money on any invested equipment. I have to buy a battery, I have to buy a new exterior connection, i have to buy an extension cord to connect to power, i have to buy wires and inverter/converter and all the plugs and switches and fixtures. so, if you take the time to read this, am I far off? should I just take this baby into a dealer and pay the piper, as much as I hate that idea! Thanks in advance for those who chose to post an opinion. winter is drawing to a close...I have to have all of this planned out for when the spring allows me to bring the boler home from it's winter hiding spot.
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Old 01-30-2011, 12:29 PM   #2
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RV Electrical Source

Go to EBay and search for this:

NEW 20 AMP 110 -12V CENTURION RV POWER CONVERTER CAMPER

Or search for Tri State Surplus or item Number 350434851633

They have all amperage units so don't worry about the 20 AMP as it will get you to his store then you will B able to further refine your search for a higher AMP rating.
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Old 01-30-2011, 12:49 PM   #3
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If you want it simple, Kyle, you don't need 110V lighting or an inverter. Stick with the 12V LED or flourescent lighting. Most 12V fixtures can be retrofit to take LED replacements. 12V flourescent fixtures typically can't, although they are more efficient than incandescent lighting to begin with.

110v runs are a concern. They need to be kept dry and protected with ground fault current interrupters at the fusebox or the outlet themselves. The fusing needs to be apporopriate to protect the wiring so you don't inadvertently start a fire, particularly with kids involved. There should be a sample wiring diagram in the Document Center, and there is good reading on the 'net. Check out http://www.marxrv.com/12volt/12volt.htm .

Regards,

Matt
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Old 01-30-2011, 01:58 PM   #4
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Question How confident are you in your electrical knowledge?

Quote:
Originally Posted by astroboy View Post
I am starting from scratch, so there lies my dilemma and opportunity.

i want to be simple. i want to be economical. i want to be safe. is it as simple as I think? get the parts, run the wires, install the hardware? i am a do it yourselfer, i don't want to pay to have someone else do what I can do. it feels like all the back and forth makes it more complicated than it actually is.

am I far off? should I just take this baby into a dealer and pay the piper, as much as I hate that idea!
In one sense, I think the bold statement above is spot on. I consider myself to be somewhat of a Renaissance man. But I have found in today's world of specialists I am amongst a rare breed. The most common encounter I come across in my daily life is a chemist who is a genius at chemistry, but who is totally oblivious to physics. They can think up ingenious recipes, but have no clue how their tools function, or where their clean water comes from, or how their ingredients are refined out of the rocks in the ground. They need to pay someone else to accomplish those things.

If you understand exactly how the light becomes bright beyond "It just does that when I flick the switch" then I say proceed.

If you need more education to understand, and don't have the patience for your learning curve, or have a deadline fast approaching, then you're better off paying a professional (or several of them) to do it for you.
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Old 01-30-2011, 06:23 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Frederick L. Simson View Post

If you understand exactly how the light becomes bright beyond "It just does that when I flick the switch" then I say proceed.

If you need more education to understand, and don't have the patience for your learning curve, or have a deadline fast approaching, then you're better off paying a professional (or several of them) to do it for you.
thank you Matt for the link. I have already read that reference before, both parts, and it was a great education. Again, one of the reasons for considering it less complicated considering the simplicity of my set up. Matt, the reason for the 110 is to get a charging unit to the battery if I have hope of getting a charge to the battery while away. If i'm going to have 110, then why not run a plug and a light like the original boler had. Frederick, i am on that learning curve part of this project and it doesn't seem like the end is near. so many options still and perhaps I need to eliminate options rather than solicit more advise, if that makes sense. there is an opposite phenomena to your "expert" scenario where someone knows everything about one topic, and thats the "jack of all trades and expert at none" situation. I guess there's a balance to be struck but this project is not beyond my capacities to learn and implement. Thanks in advance all for the continued perspective.
look forward to new posts.
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Old 01-31-2011, 06:19 PM   #6
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Hi,

If you want it to be simple, then maybe you do not need a converter at all. I ran my Boler for years without a converter and did not miss it.

The trailer had (and still does, with its new owners), completely separate 110V and 12V systems. The 110V system came in to the trailer on a ground fault protected power bar with circuit breaker on it. I only used a single 15 amp circuit, using an adapter on the campground to convert the 110V, 30 amp supply into standard extension cord-type 110V, 15 amp power. Then I could use standard outdoor extension cords to run the power to the trailer, where it was connected to the power bar within the trailer covered electrical port so that it would not get wet. Once inside the trailer, the power bar then fanned out to the 110V lights, of which there were two: one over the kitchen and one near the roof on the cupboard by the front door. I put two electrical outlets in the trailer for 110V, and sometimes used them both. One was on the kitchen counter and one on the rear dinette seat near the cupboard. This, along with the fridge plugged into the power bar, gave me protected 110V power. When I hooked up our TV/DVD player later, I put in an electrical power conditioner to those lines only, just plugged it into the power bar outlet and then plugged my TV/DVD player line into that. It worked flawlessly. As a bonus, I could disconnect any single circuit to work on it simply by unplugging whatever wire the circuit was connected to from the power bar. Like a primitve breaker box.

The 12V side was even easier. The battery was wired to a main 12V wire going back into the trailer, which I put on a removable fuse plug near the battery so that I could disconnect everything when I wanted or if a fuse blew (it never did). In the trailer, the battery ran 12V lights over the kitchen and the cupboard (which I installed within the 110V lamp fixtures for looks but is not necessary), and two more over the front and rear beds. I put in a 12V cigarette lighter socket attached to the battery for charging computers or whatever. That was it for 12V.

I had light switches on the kitchen counter and by the front door, so we could turn on the main 110V or 12V lights separately, or at the same time. The two overhead 12V lights for the front and rear beds each had a pushbutton switch on it, for independent operation.

To charge the battery I used a battery charger from Canadian Tire, which I plugged directly into the cigarette lighter socket (I made a lighter plug adapter so that I could plug it in directly). It worked great. Later I had a solar panel setup with the solar controller inside the battery box with the battery, which charged the battery constantly, a refinement.

There is a description of my setup (sort of) with pictures on this thread here: http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f56/reno-s-gone-wild-exterior-access-doors-42298.html

Anyway, you can keep it simple and get results which will work.

Rick G.
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Old 01-31-2011, 07:35 PM   #7
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My advice would be to draw a diagram starting with block diagram (see diagrams on attached web pages) then exploded it to all components and to individual cables and wires and perhaps even color of wires. This forum is very capable to give you a feedback as you go through this process resulting with fewer mistakes during installation. Attached picture represents block diagram of my Bigfoot 21RB trailer modification as an example.
The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1) Where RV Now? Where Amp I Now?
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Electrical schematic.jpg  
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Old 01-31-2011, 10:18 PM   #8
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I would say two 110 outlets in the trailer. One for a small electric heater and the other for a small coffee maker.
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Old 02-01-2011, 07:17 AM   #9
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Name: Kyle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeR View Post
My advice would be to draw a diagram starting with block diagram (see diagrams on attached web pages) then exploded it to all components and to individual cables and wires and perhaps even color of wires. This forum is very capable to give you a feedback as you go through this process resulting with fewer mistakes during installation. Attached picture represents block diagram of my Bigfoot 21RB trailer modification as an example.
The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1) Where RV Now? Where Amp I Now?
George.
George,
Thank you very much for the suggestion. I'm already working on this diagram, perhaps I'll post for advise. Your diagram and the one link I hadn't seen before, thank you very much.
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Old 02-01-2011, 07:25 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Bruce H View Post
I would say two 110 outlets in the trailer. One for a small electric heater and the other for a small coffee maker.
Bruce,
Thank you for the reply. two plugs won't be a problem in my opinion. I'm going to have the hydro coming into the trailer and split into a plug for the inverter/converter likely, then the 110 lights (not too many) and then another plug. Not sure if I need a second plug to the outside of the trailer. Just as side note, I have a potential power requirement for a table mechanism I'm working on.
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Old 02-13-2011, 08:43 PM   #11
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Kyle

I responded to a query similiar to yours which was posted by Sam and Jess. My response may answer some of the questions that you have posed. Contact me if you would like to discuss further. I might even get up your way (after the snow goes away) and offer on-site assistance. (I have a brother in Barrie and a brother in law in Penetang !)

Here is a copy of my notes to Sam and Jess:


I am not an electrical engineer either nor am I an electrician. I do have a background in boat building with the related demand for on-board wiring. I purchased a Trillium Jubilee on August of 2009 and with some major modifications ( including the electrical ) we took a trip to Alaska in July and August of 2010. Our new electrical systems worked very well.

There are a number of paths you can go down to re-wire your trailer. I opted to take out a very old non-functioning converter and install a 30 amp service. To feed the 12 volt frig and 12 volt lights, I installed a battery and a battery charger. The system works well and I now plan to put in a generator to feed the 30 amp service.

I purchased a service panel from Home Depot. It provides the entrance point for the power as well as the distribution point for the 5 circuits which I installed. This is probably overkill but it allows for greater flexibility when wiring. Presently the circuits are
  • Battery charger and 110v outlet at the forward berth/sofa
  • Outlets over the sink
  • External plugs
  • Refrigerator
  • Microwave oven
  • Air conditioner and 110v rear berth plugs
I plan to add another circuit for some 110 volt interior lights and perhaps another external plug. ( I find these very handy when camping ! )

The power enters the panel through a newly installed 30amp Marinco inlet device which can be purchased through any RV outlet. ( Don’t use a marine device – they don’t accept a regular RV cable ! ).

When underway, the alternator in your tug will charge the battery. If you are using a seven pin connector, the black line will be linked to your vehicle charging circuit and thence into your trailer mounted battery. When camped and hooked up to “shore power” the battery charger will top it up.


I used standard boxes for all 110 volt wiring. I saw no need to equip the system with GFI outlets. One could use these for the external outlets if desired.

The entire system, including the service panel, battery charger, 50 ft cable, inlet device, appliance boxes, wiring, breakers and miscellaneous parts cost about $300.00.


Best of luck with you project.

Bill Reilly
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