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Old 03-17-2019, 08:11 PM   #1
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Romex in RV

Do you use Romex cable for 120v in your RV?
I read on a marine web site the Romex cable is inappropriate in a boat because vibration. It is forbidden. What do you think about that ?
The vibration may broke the cable and cause fire.
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Old 03-17-2019, 08:32 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Sebas View Post
Do you use Romex cable for 120v in your RV?
I read on a marine web site the Romex cable is inappropriate in a boat because vibration. It is forbidden. What do you think about that ?
The vibration may broke the cable and cause fire.
I don't think I would want to put Romex in my trailer. I believe Romex is solid copper wire. A stranded wire will work better in the trailer/vehicle environment. The other consideration is the insulation. Automotive wire has a non-fire sustaining insulation. It should be listed as either GXL or SXL. If the wire is going to be moving and against something that might cause abrasion you would want SXL which and thicker insulation.
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Old 03-17-2019, 08:35 PM   #3
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The 120 VAC wiring in Scamps ,Casitas , Escapes , Forest River and most other trailers is done in type NM cable
( Romex) Wiring of RVs & travel trailer is covered in the NEC Art # 551 and type NM cable is legal ( Extension cord is not )
A boat is not a travel trailer nor is an automobile
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Old 03-17-2019, 08:46 PM   #4
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The cable used in boats consists of stranded conductors and anon metallic jacket that is much tougher than Romex. Romex has a paper filler but marine cable does not have any paper filler. Marine cable is LOTS more expensive.
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Old 03-17-2019, 09:23 PM   #5
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The marine type "Romex", as described by Jack, also has tinned wire. So it is very corrosion resistant. I would not hesitate to use it in my trailer, and have used it to wire utility trailers and a solar systems on my other travel trailer. Excellent stuff.

Standard household Romex is not a good idea since it is single strand and more likely to break with vibration, among it's other weaknesses.
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Old 03-17-2019, 09:53 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
The 120 VAC wiring in Scamps ,Casitas , Escapes , Forest River and most other trailers is done in type NM cable
( Romex) Wiring of RVs & travel trailer is covered in the NEC Art # 551 and type NM cable is legal ( Extension cord is not )
A boat is not a travel trailer nor is an automobile
The NEC lists approved wiring methods for travel trailers in NEC 551-47 A
NEC 551-47A says the wiring method listed in Art #334 is an approved wiring method for travel trailers . Art #334 covers NM cable ( Romex)

My Scamp , Casita and Escape all were wired with NM cable from the factory
Type NM cable is an acceptable , code approved , cost effective wiring method
The idea that it is unsafe or a poor choice is BS
Romex has a plastic jacket that is flame resistant
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Old 03-18-2019, 06:45 AM   #7
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If worried about fire from broken wires arcing replace your circuit breakers with the new arc detect breakers now required for bedrooms in houses.
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By William Atkinson Published In May 2017
An arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) is an advanced circuit breaker that, as a way to reduce electrical fire threats, breaks the circuit when it detects a dangerous electric arc in the circuit that it protects.

An AFCI is able to selectively distinguish between a harmless arc that is incidental to the normal operation of switches and plugs, versus a potentially dangerous arc that can occur, such as in a lamp cord with a broken conductor. An AFCI is designed to detect a wide range of arcing electrical faults that help reduce the electrical system from being an ignition source of a fire.
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Old 03-18-2019, 08:07 AM   #8
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If worried about fire from broken wires arcing replace your circuit breakers with the new arc detect breakers now required for bedrooms in houses.
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By William Atkinson Published In May 2017
An arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) is an advanced circuit breaker that, as a way to reduce electrical fire threats, breaks the circuit when it detects a dangerous electric arc in the circuit that it protects.

An AFCI is able to selectively distinguish between a harmless arc that is incidental to the normal operation of switches and plugs, versus a potentially dangerous arc that can occur, such as in a lamp cord with a broken conductor. An AFCI is designed to detect a wide range of arcing electrical faults that help reduce the electrical system from being an ignition source of a fire.
I did electrical fire inspections in a large metropolitan city for several years
Red Baron is correct . Many of the fires I inspected were started by arcing faults ,often in small household cord connected appliances and overloaded receptacles
Many of these fires happened in winter by the use of portable electric space heaters
We are experiencing problems with the receptacles in our 2018 trailer
Our furnace failed so we plugged in a electric space heater The continuos load of the space heater caused the connection to the receptacle to fail
The connection to the receptacle is the crappy pushin type installed in a sloppy unprofessional manner .
The Romex used for the branch circuit wiring did NOT fail , the 37 cent device did
Most wiring fails at termination points !!
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Old 03-18-2019, 08:43 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
...
The connection to the receptacle is the crappy pushin type installed in a sloppy unprofessional manner ....
I too have had a failure at home from the push-in terminal that caused overheating, and I have a cousin who had a house fire from the same thing. They are only used because it saves the "professional" electrician a minute or two (per outlet). IMHO they should be outlawed.

Rather than worry about the wire that currently exist in a commercially built camper, I would sooner advise to redo all the 120 volt outlets using the screw terminals instead of the push-in's (if that is what they used).
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Old 03-18-2019, 08:59 AM   #10
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I too have had a failure at home from the push-in terminal that caused overheating, and I have a cousin who had a house fire from the same thing. They are only used because it saves the "professional" electrician a minute or two (per outlet). IMHO they should be outlawed.

Rather than worry about the wire that currently exist in a commercially built camper, I would sooner advise to redo all the 120 volt outlets using the screw terminals instead of the push-in's (if that is what they used).
The NEC has placed more restrictions on where / when you can use pushin terminals on devices . When I wired homes I spliced everything out and used the screw terminals on plugs and switches not because it was code but I knew it was a better job for the homeowner
To be fair when we were doing tract homes our profit margin was under $200 per home so you used every legal shortcut available .

In my Casita they used # 12 AWG NM and connected the wires to the screw terminals
In my 21 ft SOB they used #14 AWG NM and they used the pushin type terminals
I will be rewiring my 21 SOB as soon as the weather warms up or more problems occur , whichever comes first
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Old 03-18-2019, 09:07 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
...
To be fair when we were doing tract homes our profit margin was under $200 per home so you used every legal shortcut available .
...
And therein lies the problem.

If I knew then what I know now, I would have personally paid the electrician extra out of my pocket to use the screw terminals.
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Old 03-18-2019, 07:23 PM   #12
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I think Romex is use in new RV. I see this in the Progressive Dynamics installation guide named: How to Wire PD5000
"To wire this or any other 120 VAC outlet . Using Romex cable."
If PD or manufacturer use this wire, is it a good idea to use it ?
What type of wire I am supposed to use for my 120v if Romex is not good enough ?
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Old 03-19-2019, 06:02 AM   #13
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My R-Pod is wired with "Romex". You know it must be safe or Forest River wouldn't use it! Or maybe its just the lowest cost option!
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Old 03-19-2019, 06:40 AM   #14
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As a DIY'r, wiring outlets with the stranded cable is a major PITA and requires special outlets. Probably just a technique problem on my part. I thought long and hard about replacing it with Romex instead.

+100 Always use the screw terminals on outlets when using Romex.
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Old 03-19-2019, 07:39 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by thrifty bill View Post
As a DIY'r, wiring outlets with the stranded cable is a major PITA and requires special outlets. Probably just a technique problem on my part. I thought long and hard about replacing it with Romex instead.

+100 Always use the screw terminals on outlets when using Romex.
The code allows you to use 15 amp receptacles on both 15 and 20 amp rated branch circuits . The same 28 cent receptacle was used everywhere in a home
The 28 cent receptacles has pushin terminations on the back and they accepted #14 or #12 wire . We soon discovered that on 20 amp circuits the wires were burning off the receptacles leading to dead receptacles and open neutrals
The code changed , # 12 wires no longer fit in the pushin terminations only #14 wire and on multiwire circuits the device could no longer be used to splice the neutrals
Backwired devices have their place ,mainly on circuits that are normally not heavily loaded such as bedrooms .

In trailers they use a similar type of cheap receptacle which the connection is pushed on plus it doesn’t require a box. They are junk in my estimation but they are fast and inexpensive .
I was an electrician for over 40 years plus did inspections and you soon learn what works and what fails .
What was really bad was when they used aluminum Romex with the cheap receptacles .
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Old 03-20-2019, 05:19 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Sebas View Post
I think Romex is use in new RV. I see this in the Progressive Dynamics installation guide named: How to Wire PD5000
"To wire this or any other 120 VAC outlet . Using Romex cable."
If PD or manufacturer use this wire, is it a good idea to use it ?
What type of wire I am supposed to use for my 120v if Romex is not good enough ?
what you are seeing and calling "Romex: in RVs or in Boats is not the same "Romex" as what is used in houses. It does look pretty much identical but it is not identical. In other words you are judging a book by it's cover but what is inside that cover is not identical.
the house wiring has solid wires in it and a somewhat stiff outer covering.

the RV and marine wiring has multiple small sized stranded, wires in it (wiring for automobiles is also stranded) and it has a more pliable outer covering.

The reason for the difference. The solid wires in a houses primary wiring never move, they are fixed in position and do not flex. But think about the kind of wire that is inside of an extension cord that is used in a house. It is made of a multiple small strands of wire. The reason is that extension cords, lamp cords, appliance cords, etc do get flexed.

A single, thick solid wire will work harden if it gets bent back and forth numerous times and that will break the wire. But multiple thin strands of wire support each other and can take that movement without fracturing.

So that is difference, an RV, automobile, airplane, extension cords, or basically any electrical wire that has the potential for flexing needs to be made of stranded wires. Wiring inside of a house can be a single thicker wire because it is not subjected to flexing. They look similar on the outside but they are different on the inside.


However I have seen some solid Romex house type of wiring used in an RV. In was in my 1980 Sunrader, there was one piece of it that was installed to be used for an optional air conditioner. Good thing no one ever put one in because when I took off the passenger side tail light I discovered that the a screw that mounted the tail light had been driven right into that Romex wire and would have caused a short. That wire was fortunately never hooked up inside of the converter.


So while solid house wiring type of Romex is not a great thing to put into an RV that does not mean they used always used the stranded wire type in every RV. You will need to actually look at the stripped ends of the wires to know what type is inside of your RV if you have some that looks like "Romex" on the outside.


As far as the marine wiring that looks like Romex, it is all made with multi stranded wiring but there are two versions of it. One version has the stranded wires that are tinned throughout the whole length of the bundles. The other version is not tinned. The tinned version is the corrosion resistant one and it is higher priced. People who have salt water boats generally install the tinned version because of the increased potential for corrosion created by the salt. So remember all the "marine Romex" is not created equal, there is more than one version of it. It is not all tinned.
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Old 03-20-2019, 09:03 AM   #17
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I took a quick read thru NFPA 70 articles for RV wiring and found no reference to stranded wiring requirements except for bump outs and cords. Does anyone know if there are articles referencing fixed wiring?
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Old 03-20-2019, 09:08 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by k corbin View Post
what you are seeing and calling "Romex: in RVs or in Boats is not the same "Romex" as what is used in houses. It does look pretty much identical but it is not identical. In other words you are judging a book by it's cover but what is inside that cover is not identical.
the house wiring has solid wires in it and a somewhat stiff outer covering.

the RV and marine wiring has multiple small sized stranded, wires in it (wiring for automobiles is also stranded) and it has a more pliable outer covering.

The reason for the difference. The solid wires in a houses primary wiring never move, they are fixed in position and do not flex. But think about the kind of wire that is inside of an extension cord that is used in a house. It is made of a multiple small strands of wire. The reason is that extension cords, lamp cords, appliance cords, etc do get flexed.

A single, thick solid wire will work harden if it gets bent back and forth numerous times and that will break the wire. But multiple thin strands of wire support each other and can take that movement without fracturing.

So that is difference, an RV, automobile, airplane, extension cords, or basically any electrical wire that has the potential for flexing needs to be made of stranded wires. Wiring inside of a house can be a single thicker wire because it is not subjected to flexing. They look similar on the outside but they are different on the inside.


However I have seen some solid Romex house type of wiring used in an RV. In was in my 1980 Sunrader, there was one piece of it that was installed to be used for an optional air conditioner. Good thing no one ever put one in because when I took off the passenger side tail light I discovered that the a screw that mounted the tail light had been driven right into that Romex wire and would have caused a short. That wire was fortunately never hooked up inside of the converter.


So while solid house wiring type of Romex is not a great thing to put into an RV that does not mean they used always used the stranded wire type in every RV. You will need to actually look at the stripped ends of the wires to know what type is inside of your RV if you have some that looks like "Romex" on the outside.


As far as the marine wiring that looks like Romex, it is all made with multi stranded wiring but there are two versions of it. One version has the stranded wires that are tinned throughout the whole length of the bundles. The other version is not tinned. The tinned version is the corrosion resistant one and it is higher priced. People who have salt water boats generally install the tinned version because of the increased potential for corrosion created by the salt. So remember all the "marine Romex" is not created equal, there is more than one version of it. It is not all tinned.
I suggest you take a close look at the "Romex" used in RVs. While there may be some RV manufacturers that use the marine version (stranded) I don't know of any. Standard off-the-shelf NM (Romex) is used for most RV 120V circuits. I agree that the marine version would be a better choice, although that would add to the cost & eliminate the use of Speedwire connectors commonly used in RVs. (A good thing to eliminate!)
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Old 03-20-2019, 09:33 AM   #19
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The 120 VAC wiring in my Scamp , Casita and SOB is standard NM ( Romex)
cable and is labeled as such . The cable contains solid copper conductors .
If you check at the converter and the devices the wire is solid copper
I have also done work on Forest River , Heartland and Keystone trailers
All of them were wired with standard NM cable ( Romex ) and with solid conductors.
Using a more expensive wiring method does not make the system safer or more dependable or more efficient.
That’s the reason we use copper wire instead of gold


Romex is a brand of NM cable originally produced by the Rome Wire Co
The NEC does NOT use the term Romex
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Old 03-20-2019, 09:51 AM   #20
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To add insult to injury, some trailer manufacturers are now installing self contained device 120v outlets that use a special tool https://www.magicmobilehomesupply.co...ool_p/2187.htm
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