Electrical - adding AC wiring to 12 volt system - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-10-2013, 10:09 AM   #1
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Electrical - adding AC wiring to 12 volt system

We are preparing to install electrical system in Love Bug. Already purchased a PD9245C, 30 amp, converter intending to run strictly 12v in the camper. Have since decided to add some AC power to the camper.

When operating on 12 volts we have minimal led lights and periodic charging of electronics.

1. can we run shore power to breaker panel with a single circuit or must we use 2 circuits dedicating one for the converter, and the other to the 110 auxiliary outlets in camper?

2. If we have 2 breakers, must we ad an outlet to plug the converter into or can we cut off converter plug and wire directly to breaker?


3. If we do wire the shore power inlet for 30 amp (using a 110 adapter when at a house) will we need multiple female plug adapters for different campgrounds or is there a standard 30 amp plug at all campgrounds having 30 amp service. (understanding the difference between 220 and 120 power supply)

Thanks,
Cat
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Old 08-10-2013, 10:16 AM   #2
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1. Two circuits (2 breakers) is always better.
2. It would be easier to replace the converter with a plug on the end.
3. As far as I've been able to determine and observe 30 amp connections are all the same. It might be a good idea to also carry a 50 amp to 30 amp adapter.
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Old 08-10-2013, 10:20 AM   #3
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Thanks Byron, good info.
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Old 08-10-2013, 10:52 AM   #4
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The load (amperage) of a single appliance (converter ) according to the NEC shall not exceed 50% of the branch circuit rating and also feed additional loads . IE if your converter draws more than 7,5 amps and is on a 15 amp branch circuit you cannot legally have that branch circuit feed other loads . Byron is correct ,put the converter on it's own separate circuit --it is just good practice.. 2) If the converter comes from the factory with a male cord cap attached so you can plug the converter into an outlet , you cannot legally cut off the cord cap and connect it directly to a breaker panel. Cord is not an approved permanent wiring method and by hooking it directly to the breaker panel you are violating the NEC and violating the UL listing of the converter . 3) All receptacles & cord caps are designed and manufactured to UL and NEMA standards so the 30 amp 120 VAC receptacle and cord cap required for your trailer only come in one configuration. You cannot plug your 30 amp cord cap into a receptacle with a different voltage or amperage, it will not fit . That's why they make adaptors and they are designed and manufactured for a vary limited number of applications . Splitting the 120 VAC into multiple circuits is the right way to go and will lessen your chances of nuisance tripping . I would buy a 30 amp 120 volt AC to 15 amp 120 volt AC adaptor
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Old 08-10-2013, 11:21 AM   #5
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Somewhat on the same topic - My Escape 17B was ordered with the removable power cord option - I wanted the space in the cord storage area for the installation of an inverter & power conditioner. After a couple of adapter failures, I made this one:

Since I always carry a 30', 20 amp standard extension cord in the RAV4, this works well for 15/20 amp campsites. It also gives me an efficient way to carry a replacement Marinco connector, something that can be hard to find in some areas.
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Old 08-10-2013, 11:39 AM   #6
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Thanks Jon.

Another question please.. Just realized (duh) that our converter is a 45 amp converter.

1. Does that mean that we must plug into a 50 amp service?

2. Converter draws 475 watts.. Does this convert to 6 + amps which means it must have a 15 amp breaker?

3. Will 50 amp service be adaptable to 110 house outlet?
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Old 08-10-2013, 11:47 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat futrell View Post
Thanks Jon.

Another question please.. Just realized (duh) that our converter is a 45 amp converter.

1. Does that mean that we must plug into a 50 amp service?

2. Converter draws 475 watts.. Does this convert to 6 + amps which means it must have a 15 amp breaker?

3. Will 50 amp service be adaptable to 110 house outlet?
1. NO
2. This converts to 3.58 Amps at 120Volts and 35.8 Amps at 12 volts. A 15 Amp breaker would be fine.
3. See 1 above. No need to worry about 50 amp service. The size of the service in Amperes is the maximum the service will supply. Your trailer will probably never need the fully 20 Amps provided for in most 13' trailers. As we speak my trailer is plugged into a 20 Amp circuit at my house.
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Old 08-10-2013, 11:58 AM   #8
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Here is why...

Originally we were planning only off grid camping. No fridge, no heater, no t.v. We have since decided that we want to take the camper to some locations with power supply. Well, if there is a power supply then we can take some small electric conveniences that we would not use off grid.

We are going from scratch and have already run the 12 volt wires, fiberglass over them and installed ensolite. All of the 12 volt wires have been attached to the 12 volt fuse panel. Each 12 volt light/ outlet having its own circuit. We want to add four 110 outlets. Planning to put all four of them all on 1 circuit.

Advice please
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Old 08-10-2013, 12:00 PM   #9
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When I re-did my Trillium , this is what I ended up with:
Shore power cord: 1)15 amps, wired with #12 SO cable (120 Volts)
2) 6 circuit breaker panel
3) a separate breaker for converter, outside plug, water heater, fridge, A.C.(not installed yet), inside plugs.

So far, I have never tripped a 15 amp breaker at a campground, I'm not sure what will happen when I add the A.C.
I have a PD 9245 that i purchased from a fellow member of our group.

Over all, NEC not withstanding, not trying to cause any controversy, it is all on 1 -15 amp plug in cable that is factory , just with a better converter.

Joe
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Old 08-10-2013, 12:02 PM   #10
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And as to question 3 - There are adapters that will allow a 30 amp trailer male connector to be plugged into a campground 50 amp receptacle. The adapter uses only one leg of the 120/240v 50 amp receptacle, so it provides 120V.

While some are concerned about plugging a 30 amp cord into a 50 amp receptacle, as long as you have a 30 amp main breaker in the trailer there are very few situations where it would cause a problem since the 30 amp trailer main protects the internal trailer wiring.

That said, it is also rare to find a campsite that has only 50 amp receptacles. Most sites that have a 50 amp receptacle will also have a 30 amp & 15 amp in the pedestal. One advantage of carrying a 50 amp to 30 amp adapter is that some 30 amp campground receptacles are very worn & will not make a good, secure connection. Since the 50 amp receptacle is not used as much, it may be better to use the adapter. Also, because the wire size is larger & sometimes newer, the 50 amp receptacle may have less voltage drop when the campground electrical system is strained, letting you use your AC.
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Old 08-10-2013, 12:23 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Cat futrell View Post
Here is why...

Originally we were planning only off grid camping. No fridge, no heater, no t.v. We have since decided that we want to take the camper to some locations with power supply. Well, if there is a power supply then we can take some small electric conveniences that we would not use off grid.

We are going from scratch and have already run the 12 volt wires, fiberglass over them and installed ensolite. All of the 12 volt wires have been attached to the 12 volt fuse panel. Each 12 volt light/ outlet having its own circuit. We want to add four 110 outlets. Planning to put all four of them all on 1 circuit.

Advice please
The receptacle in the kitchen area and the outside GFCI outlet should each be on their own separate circuit . The largest current draw besides the A/C is in the kitchen IE coffee pot ,toaster , electric fry pan , electric griddle.
I just spent part of a day adding a kitchen receptacle on a separate circuit to our new Casita . It's nice to be able to run the coffee pot at the same time as the toaster. The cost for a few extra feet of wire and a couple of circuit breakers is minor when compared to the time to redo the wiring once the trailer is finished.
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Old 08-10-2013, 12:47 PM   #12
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My diy electrical project of Trillium 1300 includes one single wire feeder to connect to shore power AC at park-30feet, rated 30Amp and an extension cable with it when necessary-75feet, rated 50Amps-When comes into the trailer, it first reaches a single adjustable breaker, rated at 30amps. From there it goes into converter after main circuit panel. Within converter housing, it has 2 branches of 110VAC and one input into converter. It is very simple, saving cost and wires with assurance of utilization of power supplies. Before distributing to equipments, light bulbs, pumps...ect...it goes thru: a home-made panel with 4 DC fuses(4 DC branches) and 4 AC fuses(4 AC branches). The designed capability could handle more than it needs, including air conditioner and 110vac heater. All went thru: tests and trials with...more than 5 camping trips without a single blown fuse so far. Inside the Trillium, it has 4 12VDC outlets, 4 110VAC outlets plus one 110VAC exterior. Trust me, this is my own design and experiences after all of my hard works. References thru: my photos...Thanks for reading..
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Old 08-10-2013, 12:49 PM   #13
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If we have a 30 amp service and Use a 15 amp circuit for the converter, then we only have 15 amps left. Why does it matter if a kitchen outlet pulling 5 amps is on its own circuit? Doesn't it add the same load to the power supply as it would on a shared circuit?
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Old 08-10-2013, 01:04 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Cat futrell View Post
If we have a 30 amp service and Use a 15 amp circuit for the converter, then we only have 15 amps left. Why does it matter if a kitchen outlet pulling 5 amps is on its own circuit? Doesn't it add the same load to the power supply as it would on a shared circuit?
...When the supply service could give you 30Amps and you only need 15Amps, you'd better be happy with it. The latter phrase of your quote is actually in need to be straighten out, Buddy. AC circuitry must be separated from DC, 12 volt circuitry. No matter kitchen outlet has it's own fuse or share with others, the designer/owner must have it in his/her mind of choice-For example, I design my 110VAC air conditioner connection with THE SAME OULET of 110VAC for electrical heater because of course, I wouldn't plug both air conditioner and heater in the same outlet/otherwise, using them AT THE SAME TIME, would you?..Just my input...
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Old 08-10-2013, 01:08 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Cat futrell View Post
If we have a 30 amp service and Use a 15 amp circuit for the converter, then we only have 15 amps left. Why does it matter if a kitchen outlet pulling 5 amps is on its own circuit? Doesn't it add the same load to the power supply as it would on a shared circuit?
NO ; You are assuming that your converter is taking a full 15 amps , which it not. One of the main reason to place your converter on it's own separate circuit is not because of it's amperage draw but to help insure that another load on the same circuit does not cause the breaker to trip and in the process cause your battery to be drained . When wiring houses I always put the freezer on a separate circuit .The freezer only draws 4 amps but I would hate to come home to a freezer full of rotted food because some other piece of equipment running off the same circuit caused the breaker feeding the freezer to trip . It is the same reason home furnaces must be on their own separate circuit , again who wants their home to freeze up because another piece of equipment caused the breaker feeding the furnace to trip. We have never tripped the thirty amp main breaker feeding our trailer but have tripped the branch circuit breakers on several occasions. I have been a licensed electrician for over 40 years and have taught at the local Vo Tech for over 30 years . I am speaking from experience
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Old 08-10-2013, 01:16 PM   #16
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Ok, I am confused..

The converter will have a dedicated circuit.

And, if the circuit for the converter is 15 amps, isn't that 15 amps reserved for that circuit alone and not available to any other power draw.

Can it be smaller than 15 amps since it does not share the circuit?

If so, how would you divide the power?
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Old 08-10-2013, 01:23 PM   #17
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Steve, we are talking about multiple circuits, one for the converter and the other(s) for the remainder of the camper. My question is how many circuits can you put to carry 15 amps? A 10 and a 5? Or have I missed something (again)?
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Old 08-10-2013, 02:58 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Cat futrell View Post
Steve, we are talking about multiple circuits, one for the converter and the other(s) for the remainder of the camper. My question is how many circuits can you put to carry 15 amps? A 10 and a 5? Or have I missed something (again)?
The sub breakers do not add up to the amperage rating of the main breaker. In a house, the main may be 200 amps, but you can have as many 15 or 20 amp circuits as will fit in the box. That is because the sub breakers will trip if you exceed their rating on that circuit or the main will trip if the sum of the current draw on the sub breaker circuits exceeds the main breaker rating.
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Old 08-10-2013, 03:45 PM   #19
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Tom,

Are you saying that if, for example, our service is 30 amps we could put five 10 amp sub breakers in the box?
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Old 08-10-2013, 04:01 PM   #20
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Yes, I believe that is what he is saying. The load attached to each circuit is what determines the current drawn through the circuit (and corresponding breaker). For simplicity, think of it not so much as what current you put in, but what current you draw out. So if the current drawn by the devices attached to a particular 10A breaker exceeds 10 amps, then that breaker will trip. If the load drawn by all the devices on all the 10A breakers together exceeds 30A, then the main breaker will trip.

Does that help you to make sense of the earlier explanations?
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