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Old 01-23-2008, 07:40 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lundfog
I think I've seem aluminum wire behind the control panel too...Should I be concerned about this
Fog,

I also have a '67 with aluminum wire. The issue with aluminum wire is in the connections. There is a fix, but it is kind of expensive. I posted some links a while back in THIS POST. They include a few options for making the fix. Since I ultimately decided to re-skin my interior, I am going to do a re-wire.

Good luck!
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Old 01-23-2008, 07:55 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crowbar68
from what i understand you have a 4 circuit 30amp panel. it is directly wired to the bus w/ 2, 20amp brkrs and fed from the street w/ a 10ga. wire from a 30amp breaker(from house).

this is fine and by code.
Quite right.

Quote:
Originally Posted by crowbar68
the 30amp brkr protects the cord and the 20amp brkrs in your camper protect those devices.
Exactly!

Quote:
Originally Posted by crowbar68
between the 2, 20 amp brkrs, if you draw potentially 40 amps the 30a brkr will pop protecting your camper. this is the cheesey way to do it.
Right! This is the critical point about the protection: as designed, all devices downstream from the 30A breaker in the feed (whether that breaker is in your house or in the campground stand) are protected from overload by the 30 amp breaker.
- Until the electricity gets to another breaker (for example a 20A in your panel), the cord and every device the electricity flows through must be rated to handle the 30 amps.
- In the camper, the 10 gauge wire used for shore power and the little circuit breaker panel are both rated to handle 30 amps (or more).
- It is accepted (within a certain range) in a circuit breaker panel to have more amperage in breakers than the amperage rating of the main breaker. For example, a house may have a 100A main breaker, but have 16 20A breakers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by crowbar68
you can however do what you said, add a 30 amp main, feed the panel thru the 30 amp brkr and thus the other breakers/panel. hope that helps.
As noted and as Empresley has done, you can add a main breaker (or change out the panel to include a main breaker). That is a belt and suspenders type approach to power protection, and maybe, just maybe, with the overused and untested breakers in the campgrounds, a new and modern 30A breaker protecting your camper is not a bad idea.

Good points on this thread, but please make sure a qualified person verifies what you plan to do, and how it's done.

And aluminum wiring can be a concern. In some houses with aluminum wire, loads turning on and off caused some heating/cooling expansion/contraction and eventually loosened some wires under lugs. One thought: be aware of any warm or hot spots in receptacles that may be an indication of a loose connection causing heat.
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Old 01-30-2008, 06:46 PM   #31
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Thought I’d update this thread with what I figured out. The original panel from the factory can accept ˝ sized breakers, as the PO discovered. As discussed earlier in this thread, I decided to use those. The “main” coming in from shore power was wired to a 30 amp breaker. The air conditioner was wired back to its own 20 amp breaker. The “general circuit” that powers the rest of the 110v wall outlets was placed on another 20 amp breaker. I’m going to add a 15 amp ˝ sized breaker and a new dedicated circuit for the microwave. You can see these in the picture top to bottom. More in a few minutes.
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Old 01-30-2008, 07:26 PM   #32
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After rewiring the breaker panel, I noticed that the 110v wall receptacles were getting pretty warm. Hadn’t really worried about before, except to notice that it was happening. I’m using a 1000 watt ceramic heater out there because it’s cold, even in Georgia, in January. I had it plugged in, usually, in one of the front receptacles in the front of the camper. Many of the receptacles behind it, going back toward the breaker panel were getting warm. So back to inspecting the wiring, etc.

What I found was that the wire coming out of the polarity light junction box had burned thru at some point. To the point that the insulation on the plastic jacketed 12/2 Romex was completely gone and had to begun to corrode to the point that it had green stuff all over it (and the ground wire as well). The burn thru was on the back side of the wire, so I missed it first time around.

I replaced this wire in it’s entirely from the polarity light forward to the first wall receptacle. The wall receptacles were still getting very warm. Humm, ok, what next?
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Old 01-30-2008, 07:35 PM   #33
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It turns out that the wall receptacles were actually bad (most of them). I wound up replacing all of them. Lesson learned is that even if things look good, after 35 years, they may not be. Everything is nice and “cool” now front to back. If anybody needs info on how the polarity light is supposed to be wired, let me know.

I do have a question for one of you out there with more knowledge than me. What is a good replacement for the wire nuts inside that box? I have zero faith that these things will stay in place after a few years of vibrations. As always thanks for the help, folks.

Jim
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Old 01-30-2008, 07:57 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim & Susan
I do have a question for one of you out there with more knowledge than me. What is a good replacement for the wire nuts inside that box? I have zero faith that these things will stay in place after a few years of vibrations. As always thanks for the help, folks.

Jim
Dare I suggest new wire nuts? I seem to remember seeing some that had a gel inside for "moist locations", but i haven't seen them in years. Does anybody else remember them?
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Old 01-30-2008, 08:03 PM   #35
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I did replace one of them with a brand spankin' new one, but it doesn't seem all that secure either. I suppose a bus bar arrangement could work, but would be very large and more or less on the order of the breaker box, minus the breakers, of course.
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Old 01-30-2008, 08:51 PM   #36
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Gel wire nuts

Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander63
Dare I suggest new wire nuts? I seem to remember seeing some that had a gel inside for "moist locations", but i haven't seen them in years. Does anybody else remember them?
I had some left over from rewiring a small brit car and used them the other day on the Airstream. They came from an autoparts place. The "filler" in these was more like latex caulk. Messy and by the time I got through trying to stuff all of the wires in it most of the glop was all over the place. Wiring has move down on my list. It rests near plumbing now.
cheers, bill b.
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Old 01-30-2008, 09:15 PM   #37
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I use european wiring terminals. They're a bit smaller than domestic, but still able to accomodate up to #12 stranded.

If I use wire nuts, I twist the conductors together, trim the tip to a point, apply a little anti-ox paste, twist the wire nut on with pliers (use the hard plastic ones). I then wrap it with tape to keep the wire nut from vibrating loose. For stranded wire I use crimp fittings.
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Old 02-10-2008, 07:34 PM   #38
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Related 30 Amp question

Not wanting to start a new thread, this seemed close enough to mildly hijack.

I installed a 30 amp 125 v receptacle outside my shop (Colorado talk for really big garage). I connected it to a 30 amp single throw breaker. It has 2 hot connections. The receptacle tests at 120 v at each hot lug. It is the proper receptacle for my Safari.

I am probably being too cautious, but am afraid of 240 v somehow feeding into the trailer. I assume each leg goes to a different branch circuit or circuits and there is no way I could blow all circuits with 240 v. I don't really assume it because I wouldn't be asking this question if I did.

Also, I do wire nuts much like markdoane—twist the conductors together with a linesman's pliers and make them tight, screw the wire nut on and then make it as tight as possible with the pliers, then make sure none of the conductors are loose, then use electrical tape, first winding it around the wires really tightly too (the good stuff stretches) and then onto the wire nut (it's easier to unwind it if you have to from the wire nut). Sometimes I try to make the longest wire pointy because the spring inside the nut sometimes like that. Also it's important to use the right size wire nut.

And if you have aluminum wiring, replace it if you can. I forget how to deal with it if you aren't going to replace it, so find our how to make it as safe as can be. I wouldn't feel good with aluminum wiring in a trailer. The stuff causes enough fires in houses.

Gene
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Old 02-10-2008, 07:49 PM   #39
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Where is this 30 amp, single throw, double wire breaker? In the camper or in the shop?

When all is said and done, from the breaker panel in the shop going towards the Airstream, you should have three wires.

1) Bare copper Ground wire connected to the ground lugs on both ends in both panels.

2) White Neutral wire connected to the Neutral lug in the breaker panel on both ends.

3) Black Hot wire that is connected to ONE of the lugs inside ONE 30 amp breaker in the panel in the shop, the other end will be tied to either a distribution bus inside the panel in the camper that the camper's breakers are plugged into, OR to a single breaker in the camper that feeds that same bus.

One hot wire and one neutral wire equals 110v.

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Old 02-10-2008, 08:04 PM   #40
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Jim,

The breaker is in the subpanel in the shop. A 125 v, 30 amp. has 3 places to connect the conductors. 10 ga. wire has a black, red, white and bare ground. Bare ground get connected to the exterior box green screw. Black and red to the to female straight things for the spades on the make plug. White to the semi-round neutral on the receptacle. It doesn't feel right and maybe I should have ignored the 2nd connection on the breaker (one throw, not linked, but just a single one, 2 hot connections and the red wire and connected the bare ground to the box and the receptacle ground and white and black to the two other connections on the receptacle. But if so, why are there two connections on the breaker? The receptacle is on the shop wall for the shore power wire from the trailer.

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Old 02-10-2008, 08:08 PM   #41
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Gene, some of what I wrote above is wrong and I'm havin computer issues, give me a few minutes to sort it all out and I'll correc the post above. Sounds like you have something wrong....

Jim
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Old 02-10-2008, 08:16 PM   #42
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Definitely something is amiss. Does the breaker have two clips on the back? If is attaches to both the feed busses, then it's a 240V breaker, even if it only has one toggle switch.

Don't connect it to your trailer until you have checked the voltage with a voltmeter. You're right to be cautious. Jim's advice has to be followed.
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