Trillium battery ground question - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-11-2017, 08:11 AM   #1
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Name: Olivier
Trailer: Trillium 1974
Saskatchewan
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Trillium battery ground question

Hey guys, I know this topic probably has been covered in the past. Although, I find alot of contradicting answers (since some threads discuss about FB trailer and other metal).

I got a 7way pin on my truck / trillium trailer with brakes (already installed). I have a battery on my trailer that that connects to the 7way connector (right now only power the 2 roof lights).

Now, I just bought a fusebox (because I want to connect other stuff like propane gaz detector and a usb later on). Note this is not my setup but the amazon preview:



So here is what I plan to do. Please let me know if you find anything wrong:

- I need to wire the positive post of the battery to the positive post of the fusebox inside the trailer

- I need to wire the negative post of the battery to the negative post of the fusebox inside the trailer

- Do I need to run a wire from my battery negative post to the frame as well as the other one going to the fusebox? If so, how should I do this?

- Should I replace the 2 existing wire that is on my battery right now (14 gauge or so) with my new wires (10 gauge) or leave those in place and just add my new ones on top? The existing ones power 2 lights inside the trailer right now.

Thanks!
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Old 08-11-2017, 09:49 PM   #2
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I recently pulled off my 12v wire grounding to the frame. My 12v is either positive or negative and all 12vdc negative lines split off from an 8 guage wire that runs to the camper battery.

Only the breaks ground to the frame now.
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Old 08-12-2017, 07:16 AM   #3
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- Don't use the frame as 12vdc negative conductor, use wire instead. Why? Your Trillium originally used wire for 12vdc conductor. Furthermore, the frame is a less reliable conductor.

- Move the 14 gauge light wires from the battery to the fuse panel.
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Old 08-12-2017, 02:58 PM   #4
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Thanks guys for you answers. I got a bit confused because alot of people seems to connect the negative wire to the frame but maybe that doesnt apply for fiberglass trailer.
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Old 08-12-2017, 03:14 PM   #5
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One of the problems with electrical systems in trailers and people is that many people equate boat trailers with travel trailers. They're completely different animals. Boat trailers are submerged in water when load or unloading a boat. That along with using the frame as a negative conductor enhances corrosion, hence the myth that electrical problems are ground problems or a short.
Fiberglass trailers are different in that the negative power is run through a wire, except for the Safety Ground provided when plugged into shore power. The appearance of the frame ground is by the current from your ohm meter going through the grounding system in the converter.
As was indicated the electric brakes the the same through the converter ground and frame to work. There should never be any other current flowing in the frame. One and only one connection to the frame does not allow current to flow in the frame.

This is a topic that has been discussed many times on trailer forums and seem to be a difficult concept to grasp.
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Old 08-13-2017, 08:06 AM   #6
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Thanks for taking the time to answer. I will run the positive and the negative wire to the fusebox and wont groud the white wire to the frame. Thanks again!
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Old 08-13-2017, 09:02 AM   #7
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The frame is used as a negative ground return for all running light on any factory wired trailer, ie tail & brake lights as well as return ground for electric brakes on the trailer. It's used so you don't end up with a big ball of wire at some common point that needs to get back to the T.V.. The ground from T.V. wiring is attached to the frame of your trailer through the trailer plug.

So then when you want to charge your trailer battery from your T.V. you would also need to grd. the neg. post of your trailer battery to the trailer frame to complete the ckt. so the battery can be charged.

Why not use the frame for a return path for some of your 12-volt equipment in your trailer if it shortens the length of wire to be used.

As for the size of wire to be used for your lights, check the amperage that each ckt. will be using and use the appropriate wire for that load. 14 gauge wire would be more then adequate for a light ckt especially if you convert to LED lighting.

Wire Gauge Selection Table 12 Volt Circuit

AMPS 3' 5' 7' 10' 15' 20' 25'
0 to 5 18 18 18 18 18 18 18
6 18 18 18 18 18 18 18
7 18 18 18 18 18 18 18
8 18 18 18 18 18 16 16
10 18 18 18 18 16 16 16
11 18 18 18 18 16 16 14
12 18 18 18 18 16 16 14
15 18 18 18 18 14 14 12
18 18 18 16 16 14 14 12
20 18 18 16 16 14 12 10
22 18 18 16 16 12 12 10
24 18 18 16 16 12 12 10
30 18 16 16 14 10 10 10
40 18 16 14 12 10 10 8
50 16 14 12 12 10 10 8
100 12 12 10 10 6 6 4
150 10 10 8 8 4 4
2

200 10 8 8 6 4 4 2

I hope this is some help.
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Old 08-13-2017, 09:44 AM   #8
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Phoneman, fyi, on my 1978 Trillium the 12 vdc systems don't use the frame for ground. All 12 vdc conductors, both positive and negative, are insulated copper wires. This includes:

- 12 vdc lighting and accessories used while camping
- 12 vdc brakes
- 12 vdc lighting used while towing (stop, turn and markers)

That's the way it came from the factory.
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Old 08-13-2017, 09:59 PM   #9
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@John in Michigan

What kind of brakes do you have?

My Dexter brakes have only one wire for positive 12vdc. The frame serves as it's ground or negative but only for that one system.
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Old 08-14-2017, 06:18 AM   #10
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Dexter brake wires

I have Dexter brakes. There are 2 wires at each brake and they have no polarity. One of the wires (either wire) is spliced to the blue brake power wire. The other wire can be attached to the frame near the brake, i.e., at one of the brake plate bolts. Or the other option is to run a wire to the common/white wire at the 7 pin connector. I chose the second option.

If you attach the second brake wire to the frame, then MAKE SURE the common/white wire at the 7 pin connector is also attached to the frame so that the circuit is completed back to the tow vehicle common/chassis/battery negative.
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Old 08-14-2017, 08:43 AM   #11
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John, I bow to the more informed. You are right, my old boler has had so many modifications that I don't believe there is an original wire on it. It would make perfect sense that at the factory they would pre wire all electrical wires before the shell would be even mounted to the frame. I guess I need to forget what was the norm on my other trailers, these fiberglass trailers are in a class by themselves.
Thanks to this forum I've learned so many things..........some a little late, I need to repaint the exterior again of my boler.
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Old 08-14-2017, 09:15 AM   #12
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Rob, my old 1974 Boler 13 was in condition similar to yours when I found it. The interior wiring had been completely removed and not replaced. The towing light wiring had been extensively modified. So I had no information of the original wiring design. In my Trillium on the other hand the wiring is mostly intact and original.

When I wired my Boler 13, I used as a reference a Scamp wiring diagram such as the one in the link below:

http://scamp.n0kfb.org/Manual/electrical.jpg
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Old 08-14-2017, 01:44 PM   #13
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Name: Olivier
Trailer: Trillium 1974
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Thanks again guys! While being at it.. any hint as where to install my fusebox? I was going to install it near the fridge on the driver side (below the bunk bed - in the front part of the trailer - thats where all the wires are coming in). Although, I didnt find any suitable wood plank large enough to receive the fusebox. I dont think I should screw this directly in the fiberglass!? If anyone has pictures of their setup (if you have one), would be nice ! :-)

Thanks,
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Old 08-14-2017, 03:02 PM   #14
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Olivier, do you have a Trillium 1300 or Trillium 4500?

The 70s Trilliums came with a converter that includes one 110vac circuit breaker, one 12vdc circuit breaker and a transformer that uses shore power (110vac) to produce 12vdc for lights when shore power is available. For the Trillium 1300, the converter is located in the kitchenette cabinet. For the Trillium 4500, the converter is located below the closet.

Under the bench in front of the kitchenette might be a good place to put the fuse panel. However, it also might depend on what other electrical features your camper has, or that you are planning, and where they are located. For example:

- Shore power connection
- Battery
- Solar power

What are your plans?
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