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Old 07-27-2016, 03:01 PM   #1
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Electrical system upgrade/diagram?

I am starting to think about how to go about upgrading the electrical system in my '67 Caravel. I quickly roughed out the electrical diagram below. Will this work? How can it be improved while still utilizing existing circuits?

Thoughts on equipment:
Converter: PD9130 (Intellipower, 30 amp)
DC distribution panel: PD6000 (DC distribution panel)

Anything else needed?

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Old 07-27-2016, 03:40 PM   #2
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A few suggestions....

Basically, it looks good, but I don't see a battery disconnect switch, or a breakaway switch. Not familiar with the Caravel - does it have electric brakes? The battery disconnect switch should, in my opinion, be just that, leaving the converter connected to the distribution panel. It is usually fitted because things like the furnace, water heater, and newer refrigerators use 12V and take some current all the time. The breakaway switch could (should) be wired direct to the battery(ies) so there is no possibility of moving the trailer with it disconnected.

A good recommendation I have read on here is to add a marine grade fuseholder and fuse rated for the wire size right at the battery positive terminal.

The newer trailers have a propane detector that runs from 12 volts. It is typically on a permanent circuit but will run the battery down in a month or so. The manual for mine says it will false alarm for a while if disconnected from 12 volts. I did it anyway, connecting it to the trailer side of the battery disconnect switch. Mine never false alarmed, and I tested it with a minute quantity of propane and it worked.

They operate from batteries, so no electrical system impact, but as long as we are on safety, a smoke detector and a carbon monoxide detector (or maybe a combined unit) are good ideas. Check the specs. Some residential units are not rated for much over 90 degrees.

Are you planning on only one battery, a Group 24 or 27? If two a larger converter may be appropriate. A 50 or 60 amp unit is typically fitted where there are two batteries, I think.

On the AC side, the converter typically plugs into an outlet which is fed by one of the AC breakers. If you run a dedicated line, it should still have a breaker in the AC panel.

Al
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Old 07-28-2016, 09:46 AM   #3
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You might look into an all in one AC - DC distribution panel. Poke around on the VTS website for an example. I used an Intellipower unit, ran the electrical with 3 120 circuits and 3 12V circuits. Seems to work.
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Old 07-28-2016, 08:37 PM   #4
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Electrical system upgrade/diagram?

Progressive Dynamics ' Mighty Mini'
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Old 07-28-2016, 09:02 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lewster View Post
Progressive Dynamics ' Mighty Mini'
If you're doing all new wiring and can get all the terminal points to one location the mighty mini is a nice option.

Don't forget to consider putting in an inverter!
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Old 07-28-2016, 09:04 PM   #6
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You show the converter running directly off the 120v supply, ahead of the breaker panel. I would move it so that it is protected by a current limiting device (circuit breaker).
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Old 08-01-2016, 01:39 PM   #7
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Thanks all for the advice. Updated wiring diagram below (adds: battery disco, breakaway switch, propane/smoke/CO2 sensors, converter power from panelboard). I am using the existing Caravel wiring and one added circuit for the 120v/propane refrigerator and microwave (I assume original refrigerator was propane only). I have not trace all existing wiring yet and I found one unused wire at the galley. I assumed it was for the original heater (12v?) which was gone. Not sure what it can be used for, if anything. In the '67 Caravel, the 120v and 12v wiring points are separated...120v (panelboard) in front wardrobe and 12v aft at access door/battery location.

Also, not sure how to hardwire an inverter...help appreciated.

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Old 08-02-2016, 04:02 PM   #8
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I am not sure I understand how you are going to run a new circuit for the fridge without removing the interior walls. The 1966 Caravel has a 120V outlet in the galley, but putting in an outlet for the fridge required drilling new holes in the interior structural braces to route the wiring to the fridge area. I also wonder if the wiring in the '67 is aluminum. There were only two pieces of copper wire in the '66: the feed to the breaker box and the lead to the AC. Breakers were in the street side closet (aft), Univolt was behind the street side wheel house, and 12V distribution and glorious 'polarity checker' lived with the water inlet and battery under the street side gaucho with an access door in the side of the trailer for external access. If your layout is similar, you can likely tie the inverter in where the Univolt was, use the 12V out line that went to the 'polarity checker' area to put in a modern fuse block distribution for the 12V circuits. I found that there was one circuit for fans (range hood, ceiling, and heater - that one is the loose galley wire I think), one circuit for the water pump, and one circuit for the lights. All the 12V wiring was 12gauge aluminum romex.
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Old 08-02-2016, 05:42 PM   #9
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Blue sea systems makes nice 12v marine fuse panels. I put a 50 amp 12v resettable circuit breaker in the positive between the battery and fuse panel as a simple disconnect switch. Plus it avoids the 12v auto resetting breakers which are a bad idea.
If you already have a circuit breaker box and want to add a circuit you could reuse it and likely find a slim line double breaker to change one existing slot into two.
As far as aluminum wiring goes, you will want to look into whether it's present. It presents some issues, mostly at the ends where connections are made, which can be addressed in a few ways. See what you've got before worrying to much first.
There are lots of ways to wire and install a inverter. The biggest thing you'll have to decide is what you want to power with it, what circuits those would be on, and how much power that would require. If it's simply some outlets for a laptop and tv, it can be pretty simple. If you want to try running the microwave on it then it can get complicated quickly. Power required, circuits desired, wire already present, battery capacity? One trick is to make sure you're not inadvertently looping the converter back into a circular circuit, or inadvertently powering the fridge when it can easily run on propane.
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Old 08-03-2016, 07:40 AM   #10
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I had the upper wall panels removed for the new A/C installation. Also removed the lower panel on the street side. I fished a wire from the panelboard to the floor of the trailer. I will run the wire exposed parallel to the water piping and surface mount the wire behind the galley cabinets and install a surface mounted receptacle behind the fridge near the exterior access panel. All wiring in my Caravel are aluminum for the most part, even to the a/c. My existing panelboard has a main breaker (assume 30 amp) and double breaker (two 20amps) currently. I have not currently explored how the circuits are wired in the panelboard as I remember something seemed odd before I disconnected power and flipped breakers. One 20 amp did nothing and I assumed it was for the a/c pre-wire. Still need to trace all circuits and test, but so far the wiring matches the factory wiring diagram fairly closely.

The concerns about how to wire an inverter noted above are exactly what I meant when I said I am not sure how to wire in an inverter. If I do install an inverter, I would only want to power a TV, laptop and phone charges (all powered concurrently).
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Old 08-03-2016, 08:11 AM   #11
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highly recommend this for your 12v system

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Old 08-03-2016, 08:40 PM   #12
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If you just want tv and small devices you could wire a couple hundred watt portable inverter to the 12vdcfuse block. It'll have a few outlets on it you could run short extension cord to tv and laptop.
If you want to get fancier you could wire the outlet of the inverter to a 120v double pole double throw switch to power a outlet you could put somewhere. If you've got an electrician buddy he'll probably be able to help easily.
Looks like you're near Austin, sorry too far for me to come help.
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Old 08-04-2016, 06:43 AM   #13
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The only way I would consider adding an inverter is if I could make it all operate seamlessly. For instance when connected to shore power, the inverter is disconnected and when on battery power, the inverter powers all duplex outlets. A shunt device of some sort? I could even mount the inverter fuse remotely and integrate into the 12v fuse panel. This way, if anyone overloads the inverter and it blow a fuse, it can easily be replaced without lifting cushions, etc.
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Old 08-04-2016, 11:31 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David F View Post
The only way I would consider adding an inverter is if I could make it all operate seamlessly. For instance when connected to shore power, the inverter is disconnected and when on battery power, the inverter powers all duplex outlets. A shunt device of some sort? I could even mount the inverter fuse remotely and integrate into the 12v fuse panel. This way, if anyone overloads the inverter and it blow a fuse, it can easily be replaced without lifting cushions, etc.
That starts getting complicated, looking at running extra wiring, including automatic transfer switch and heavy wiring. You'd have to really think that one out in advance. Hard to say without knowing exactly what circuits you'll end up with and what was on them, to prevent powering the fridge and converter from the inverter.
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