I need a wiring education - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-14-2009, 12:50 PM   #1
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I called the local RV place today to find out if they could move the battery out to the tongue, re-wire it from that location, and include a multi-stage charger in the system underneath the front bunk. In response to many of my questions, the guy kind of made me feel like an idiot. I think I need a better understanding of what exactly I will need for this project so I can converse with him, or else I might end up doing things in a way I don't actually want because I cave into his apparently strong opinions.

So, I currently (no pun intended) have only 12v wiring, and the battery is under a dinette bench. There is a small panel of fuses on top of the water tank under the other dinette bench. If I plan to do without AC power and just want to charge the batter with a charger when I have access to shore power, what all do I need to do? He was sort of dismissive about the idea of having a charger rather than a converter, and said that a converter does a better job of charging.

So, if the battery is on the tongue and the wire runs back into the front bunk storage area where there is a charger, I was imagining that I would have a little door to the outside from that storage area where I could run an extension cord. Also, I assume the wiring to the lights would need to start from the front storage area. The RV guy said I need something other than the fuses, but I don't remember exactly what that was. Can someone enlighten me?

The guy also talked about needing to add outlets for this, but I am not sure why. Any ideas?

Thanks.
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Old 12-14-2009, 03:02 PM   #2
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I believe that your plan is good but the RV service will make less money on the charger like project. A charger with an extension cord would likely require less work than hooking up a converter. As long your charger has an "extension cord" hook-up the electrical AC RV wiring code would likely not apply. A converter installation would have to be wired to the RV electrical code.

Your friendly RV service fellow is dead wrong claiming that converters charge batteries in a better way, multiphase chargers such_as_this_one and converters will charge the same way. A converter is a charger built for an RV application. It commonly comes with a fuse panel, requires permanent installation and provides juice for 12V circuit and for charging.

If you end up with an RV service installing a charger or a converter you could be better off buying it on line. I found this best_converter place to be good. I would suggest giving them a call asking about your plans.

Good luck,

George.

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Old 12-14-2009, 04:56 PM   #3
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Amy, The converter runs off 115Volt and you run your 12 volt circuits of it. the converter also charges your battery. You can bring 115 volts ac into the camper. (plug Shore power)
You can run it to a gound fault style outlet. Now you have protected 110 /ac power to your camper.
You now run that 110 power to your converter, which will now charge your battery. and supply power to you 12 volt fixtures.
So now you have 110 volt power / and you can run additional outlets
You can move your Battery any where it will fit.
I would reccomend using a gel cell battery because it doesn't need to be vented.
or enclose your battery and vent it outside.
If you just have a fuse board now?
All your 12 volt circuits are there.
You can just feed that board with 12 volt power from the converter and keeps it simple.
Mike
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Old 12-14-2009, 06:04 PM   #4
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Amy,

Both "his" way and your way are viable, but they are different ways to skin a cat. Personally, I like your way better for how you have stated you plan to use the trailer.

I would be looking for another RV place, as from what you are saying my "red flags" are flying on this place, and I have learned to trust those flags.

--In my opinion, a good service person will start by asking you how you plan to use the trailer*.

--Then, they should explain the various ways to accomplish that.

--If you already have a way in mind (which you do), they should take the time to explain why they feel their way is better (I don't happen to agree in this case, but if they do they should be able to "defend" their way, and why they feel it is superior to your way in this situation).

Their reaction to you makes me think they have "their way" and that is what they push on people. For myself, I've found that that tiny twinge of worry I have when service people start out that way only gets worse the longer I try to work with them.

Of course this is a big part of why I've learned to do things myself. I have a low tolerance for that sort of attitude when I'm paying someone.

On the flip side, if I *do* find a competent, trustworthy, communicative service person, I have no problem paying them well for what they do.

Raya

* To use an analogy, I worked at an outdoor gear store when I was in college. Now let's say someone came in looking for rain gear. Well, of course we had our "best" rain gear, but that doesn't mean it was the right rain gear for them. I would start by asking how they planned to use the rain gear, and what their future plans for the rain gear might be.

If they said "We're going to a football game in an hour, it might rain, and then we're going home to the desert and never leaving," well, I might have recommended a trash bag with holes for the arms (only a slight exaggeration, but you get the idea).

If they were going on a bicycle trip, then clearly packability, weight, and "bum" coverage in the riding position would be key.

If they were looking for a full length coat to wear in a more urban setting it would be a different recommendation.

etc. etc.

There's no way that I could start out by recommending a "best" set of rain gear to buy.
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Old 12-14-2009, 06:55 PM   #5
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Oh, I should add this:

I told the guy I was considering replacing my old propane tank with a new composite one and he said, "I would just get a metal one. They last for 12 years, and your trailer won't last that long."

Seriously?
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Old 12-14-2009, 07:34 PM   #6
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Well there is your answer, loud and clear. "Good bye!"

Seriously, given what you've told us, if you do have work done at this place, by this person, I would not be the least bit surprised if you are unhappy with it.

On the upside, they are giving you some really obvious clues to work with, in deciding whether to stay with them or not.

Raya
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Old 12-15-2009, 08:15 AM   #7
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"I would just get a metal one. They last for 12 years, and your trailer won't last that long."


Obviously they know absolutely nothing about fiberglass trailers which are lasting 30+ years. Like Raya says, the RED flags are up with these people. Don't go looking for trouble.

Don't want to hijack the thread but on another forum I read, they have an area for "reputible" mechanics to work on classic cars. I wonder if this is a thread we could work up with reliable repair facilities in your area thet you have used and are happy with. Over a period of time, should be able to come up with good ones in each state. Might mean a little more driving for the new owners but if you are getting good service, it would be well worth it.
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Old 12-15-2009, 09:35 AM   #8
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Your RV guy sounds like he has 'tude issue, but...

YOU doing something in your trailer one way is one thing. The way you want to do this is *practically* safe and there is nothing wrong with it.

However, certified shops/techs have government safety and legal standards that they must adhere to. If something should go wrong with the installation as you request, its their certification, license and insurance they fear losing.

Its pretty simple, and he should have explained that he "couldn't" do that by law and offered his way in a more open and constructive manor.

Better yet, he could have offered an alternative way that meets both his liability and your needs.

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Old 12-15-2009, 09:50 AM   #9
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To be clear, he did say, "We can do whatever you want," so I assume (barring a glaring safety issue), he would do what I ask. But yeah, he had a major 'tude, which in the face of my shaky knowledge, made me question the plans I had made. I think Brandy has used this dealer and liked them, but both people I have spoken with have been surly at best. I think she is more charming than I am.

I do want to know for my own information what is the best electrical system for my purposes. I feel reasonably confident that I want to avoid getting a converter and just use a charger. I do *need* to know what mechanisms (breaker box? something else?) that I would need to add to the system for safety.

It definitely seems that people would like to know what service providers are out there for us.
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Old 12-15-2009, 11:58 AM   #10
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Any time you installed any AC device permanently, such as a breaker box, you are exposed to potential violation of the electrical code. If your objective is not to have a permanent AC installation I would suggest staying with boxed, coiled extension with ground (3 wires). Any good charger will very likely have a built in fuse for fire safety. You could use portable GFCI extension cord for personal safety, such as electrical shock (What_is_GFCI).

Good luck, George.



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Old 12-15-2009, 01:10 PM   #11
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http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/XANTREX-AC-...sQ5fAccessories

Can't get any better than this
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Old 12-15-2009, 01:25 PM   #12
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Quote:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/XANTREX-AC-...sQ5fAccessories

Can't get any better than this
This is likely a good deal but you would need to add the actual Xantrex_XADC converter for another $200.





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Old 12-15-2009, 01:54 PM   #13
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...I do want to know for my own information what is the best electrical system for my purposes. I feel reasonably confident that I want to avoid getting a converter and just use a charger.

It definitely seems that people would like to know what service providers are out there for us.
Perhaps you've already checked out my recent post here, where I detailed my recent re-wire and re-lighting of my 12v system. Note my comment that it took me over 5 months of study and research before I began this project. I, too, went into it thinking I just wanted a charger; had one all picked out, but decided to call the company to make sure I had picked out a charger that would work with my battery (it [b]is very confusing!). The person at the company quizzed me on how we use the camper - boondocking vs. full hook-up camping and other related things, then suggested I'd be better off with a converter/charger, so I wouldn't have to worry about the charger being off when hooked to 110V. I ended up with this one. Very small, lightweight, and hooked up easily; seems to work just fine. So, if you're not in too much of a hurry, I recommend more study and developing an electrical plan that will work best for your current and perceived future needs.

Good luck!
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Old 12-17-2009, 05:31 PM   #14
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" I need a wiring education "

Amy

A major part of education is BOOK lern'nin!!! NOT GOOGLE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Traditionally, the two weeks before Christmas and New Years are known as Christmas Break. When given the time off the students were wished a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and a reading assignment to begin the new year. There WILL be a TEST!!!

Reading Assignment: MANAGING 12 VOLTS (How to Upgrade, Operate and Troubleshoot 12 Volts Electrical Systems. Author: Harold Barre ISBN O-9647386-2-7 Approx. $20.00

Call your LOCAL : Barns and Noble, Borders, Waldons ---------- they have it IN STOCK!!!
Don't bother with amazon; we don't have the time. This is really very important.

After the first of the year, your " Mentors " on this site will be drawing on their knowledge and skills to help you with your project. It is your responsibility to prepare yourself for this "Gift"of knowledge.
There will be a test.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!!!
Your Loving Support Group


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Old 12-30-2009, 04:09 AM   #15
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Question

Hi Amy -
I don't have the answers to your questions, but I do want to say DUMP THIS SHOP! They shouldn't give customers a hard time, and I've found that shops that treat me like a "stupid WOMAN" aren't ones worth working with (or sharing my hard-earned dollars with). Certainly there's someone else around who will be more helpful, and perhaps even help coach you along the way!

We had a shop like that in town when I bought my trailer in 2008. I walked in with a list of items, including measurements, and other vital details, I needed. I told him I'd juts bought a 35 year old fiberglass trailer in need of several repairs before I hit the road, and that I had a few things I needed to get started. I asked him where I could find the first on my list. His response, "I can't help you unless I SEE the trailer." (What he really wanted was for this woman to drag the trailer down there so he could do the work himself and I could pay him for it.) I tried to continue, pointing out I had all my measurements and info on this bright-yellow, great big pad of paper right there in my hot yellow hands. He continued to be such an ASS that I finally just turned to him and said, "Are you seriously not going to be helpful? I just told you I have a 35 year old trailer that needs lots of parts, all of which YOUR place sells. Apparently you don't want my business."

I never returned...neither did lots of other folks I've since learned were treated similarly.

They're now out of business and I've found a GREAT, SUPER FRIENDLY, HELPFUL supplier of parts and service. Sure, I drive 50 miles for it, but it's worth every darned drop of gas!
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