Help adding a 12 volt system to a scamp 13 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-28-2006, 06:11 PM   #1
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Hello all,

I am buying a Scamp 13 that doesn't have a 12 volt system. Since I will be using it at volunteer building projects about once a month where there is no power I want to add a battery and all the rest. I would greatly appreciate any recomendations as to what converter, battery box, water pump,etc. I am thinking about two 6 volt "golf cart" batteries but might just go with one higher capacity 12. What wisdom can you share? I am a contractor so the wiring is no problem, I just need help with some of the components.

I found a source for some nice 12 volt lights also. Some are a little diferent from what I've seen at Camping world.com. It's Here

Thanks in advance
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Old 03-28-2006, 07:07 PM   #2
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Hi Uncle Josh,

I will be rewiring my Burro and have printed off the wiring diagram for Scamp to use as a guide. Here is a link...

Scamp Wiring Diagram

I have a 12v fuse box with the 7345 Magnetek converter with charge wizard. My appliances consist of a 3 way refrigerator and will be adding a 12v pump and misc eletronics.

Have been meaning to ask the question which guage wires to use. Hopefully someone can help decipher the diagram and let us both know what guage the different color wires would be.
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Old 03-28-2006, 07:57 PM   #3
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Hello,

I was looking around and found
This
is this any good?
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Old 03-28-2006, 08:03 PM   #4
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If anyone thinks the following post is too long for readability, please PM me and I'll try to break it up.

Quote:
...Have been meaning to ask the question which guage wires to use. Hopefully someone can help decipher the diagram and let us both know what guage the different color wires would be.
Wire sizes are usually identified by the "gauge", by which people normally mean the American Wire Gauge (AWG) scale - you go to the store, ask for "10-gauge wire", and they sell you some thick stuff which says 10 AWG on the package.

Fundamentally, you need thicker wire if you have more current, so if you know how much current, and you have some sort of rule to follow, you can pick a wire size. Fortunately, that same Wikipedia page has a handy table with a reasonable guide. It seems to match common practices in trailers; for instance,
  • everyone recommends 10-gauge for the supply from the tow vehicle battery to the trailer, with a 30 A circuit breaker, and the table says 10-ga wire is good for 30 amps - that's the black wire from the tug to the battery and the power converter in the Scamp diagram
  • running lights use only a few amps in total, so the table says 16-ga wire would do, and I suspect that's what's in the trailers, although big truck trailers (with lots of lights) use 14-ga - that's the red, brown, yellow, and green wires to the tail lights and markers in the Scamp diagram
  • according to Tekonsha/Cequent Prodigy brake controller wiring instructions, up to two trailer axles of brakes needs 20 A of circuit breaker capacity and 14-ga wire (or 30 A and 12-ga for three or four axles), while the table says 20 A is 12-ga, which is close - that's the blue wire in the Scamp diagram
For the circuits from the power converter to stuff like the refrigerator, each circuit has a fuse (or breaker) to limit current to some level, such as 10 A or 15 A. That tells you how big the wire has to be. Of course, thicker wire is harmless, so I vote for erring on the side of [b]thicker-than-necessary rather than almost-thick-enough. The rule is based on keeping heat (due to resistance to current flow) down so the insulation doesn't melt or break down, but there's no need to let wires get hot.

I notice that the Scamp diagram is really [b]schematic: that is, it tells you what is connected to what, but not really how the wires run. For instance, it shows that the power to everything goes out on some coloured wire and returns on a white wire, which is likely true. It also suggests that everything is connected to the same white wire, which is almost certainly not the case. I would expect to see a few white "ground" (or "neutral", or "return", or "negative", whatever you want to call it) wires coming together in one point somewhere inside a cabinet. That makes it a little tough to figure out how much current might be in that wire - you have to total up everything actually running through it.

And one last note: thicker wire means less resistance, which means less power loss, which means more endurance from the battery or more performance from the device (e.g. brighter lights). Thick is good, within reason.

By the way, for alternative rules, I did a Google search for
wire gauge current capacity DC
and followed the very first link to a page from Powerstream which had a table. In their table they have two "maximum" columns, depending on which rule you want to follow. The Wikipedia one looks reasonable to me, and falls between the two rules at Powerstream, tending to the more conservative side at larger sizes. That's all I did for comparitive research, because what I found in that first table all seemed reasonable to me based on other experiences.
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Old 03-31-2006, 02:53 PM   #5
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I didn't mean to kill the thread!

Hey, I know someone out there has specific Scamp experience to respond the Scamp wire size question, and there's all sorts of good info out there for UncleJosh on batteries and converters. Let's hear it!
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Old 03-31-2006, 03:18 PM   #6
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Quote:
I didn't mean to kill the thread!

Hey, I know someone out there has specific Scamp experience to respond the Scamp wire size question, and there's [b]all sorts of good info out there for UncleJosh on batteries and converters. Let's hear it!

Heres a simple guide for 12V systems based on years of aircraft and auto experience

Look at the current draw and use this as a guide. Never use wire less than 14 Guage
30A draw = 10AWG
20A Draw =12AWG
Everything else is 14AWG

By going this way everything is always safely wired and the heat is kep at a minimum. Sure the radio in the car is an 18 AWG but we as campers will tie several items into one circuit so its always best to have a heavier wire than needed.

Now you have my 2 cents worth (both canadian and US )
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Old 03-31-2006, 04:05 PM   #7
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Thanks, I need some advice about converters. What is a good quality intellegent converter? I would like to buy it once and not just go out and buy the first one that looks like it would work only to upgrade a couple of years down the road.
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Old 03-31-2006, 04:15 PM   #8
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Just some odd thoughts...

I have more questions than answers. Is the trailer already wired for 120v? Is there already a breaker box? You might want to put the converter near the breaker box and the battery near the converter.

I think the battery or batteries should be located somewhere close to the converter. I'd make it vapor proof to the living quarters. Put a louver on the bottom and on the battery door to the outside for "cross ventilation".

After that, you might consider working backwards a bit. Maybe stick a Post-it or something where you want each 12v light, where you want a 12v power outlet. Plan things out a bit. I suggest an 12v outlet by the table so you can recharge devices light cell phones off the trailer battery and not have wires to trip over.

At a minimum, you'll probably want a light over the sink, a light over the stove a light over the bunk a light over the table a light somwhere where you shave, brush, etc. One in the bath if you have a seperate bath, one outside the door.

An ambient air fan is always popular and a stove fan nice to remove cooking odors and keep condensation under control. (You did say "and all the rest.")

Think about how you're going to get the wires to each device. Add up the circuits, number and current-wise. The max. current you're likely to draw will size the converter. Also, sSome converters will come with a built in fuse panel. Automotive fuses (AGC) are common. You'll want to get a panel with enough circuits.

Better not to have two major current devices on a circuit. Amp draw will guide you for wire size. I like Ancor marine wire. Fully tinned throughout it's length. Fights corrosion wicking up the wire. As Brian mentioned, you'll pretty much run a round trip of wire to each device although the lights might be a bit of a daisy chain.

How long a stay at a time? Generator (or solar) for recharging the battery? Need to make the battery last a long time? Make room for a group 27 or 29 battery. Maybe reconsider the water pump and go with a manual pump faucet.
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Old 03-31-2006, 04:19 PM   #9
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I must have been typing away when you posted and much of what I offered is a little off the mark in your application, but I'll leave it anyhow.

I've only had one brand inverter (Magnatek, or whatever theyr'e called these days). I upgraded to a slightly higher amperage unit and a somewhat "smarter" charger version of their product. I have nothing to compare it to, but I've had no problems with it.
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Old 03-31-2006, 04:29 PM   #10
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Hey Steve,

Thanks for the info. To answer some of your questions, it is wired for 120 volts already. I will only need to go for two or three nights at a time with out power. The breaker box is under the sink which I thought was strange. There is a 120 volt fridge which I would like to replace someday with a 3-way and an old air-conditioner installed in the closet which will be removed and may or may not be replaced.
I have a good idea where I want lights placed. I mostly need suggestions about converters and batteries.

Thanks for your interest
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Old 03-31-2006, 09:30 PM   #11
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You've come to the right place. Scads of posts on both batteries and converters on the site. Quick search will net you plenty!
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