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Old 11-27-2006, 12:12 PM   #1
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1973 27' Overlander
1972 29' Ambassador
St. Paul , Minnesota
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a call for layouts and/or photos of AC/DC power control panels

This is a request to *show off* layout plans and/or photos of AC/DC power control panel examples to copy for my 27-foot Airstream. Anyone seen any slick central panels I should copy? I have about a two by four foot area to lay it all out on. I've found a nice stainless refrigerator door to use as PC hutch desktop - AC/DC controls, converter & inverters and 1/2 the battery bank will be built in underneath it. Most of the items I've already collected like a Trace U2512SB with transfer switch built in, TM-500 cumulative amp-hour meter w/ digital readout, fuses and fuse holders, circuit breakers, 400-amp switches, etc...

Eventually the trailer will be used as temp housing to homestead (boondock!) a piece of land and system used for tools, etc. Also I need to provide for future wind and solar inputs, am running extra conduit and pre-wire for two (2) future inputs and leaving a blank panel face for future controls & indicators. Four (4) golf-cart batteries will be 1st bank and later may go much larger and am wiring the DC primaries with 4/0 Cu cable. I have 8awg circuit in from hitch area to keep generator near door (or in TV) and away from sleeping area.

What am I missing? In a IRC chat channel a suggestion was given to fabricate a "Tilt-out" rack for easy access to wiring (which sounds doable) and I have plenty of aluminum angle and box to fabricate modules out of... Having the spendy items locked in place but w/ quick-disconnects for putting them in secure storage is another good IRC idea.

Anyhow, I've also lost all my bookmarks here - PC motherboard finally went & am dizzy from googling everything from Yachts to custom coach RV's and every link from 10's of pages of search results here trying to find examples of layouts... Any and all ideas welcome to keep me from re-inventing the wheel. Thanks for reading this far, hope you post links, photos or ideas...


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Old 11-27-2006, 01:39 PM   #2
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I located both the ac and dc panels in an overhead rooflocker because I want to have as much as possible at eye level. Here is a picture with a hole where the 12v panel will go, and another with the 12v panel partially installed.

All the dc wiring is in conduit, and all the ac is MC armored.

I like the idea of a fold down panel. I terminated all my ac wires with marine quality cable because it's very flexible. My panel is pull-out rather than fold down, but I would definitely go with stranded & tinned marine cable if you want to access behind the panel.

I'll look forward to seeing what you do with the 4/0 cable.
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Old 11-27-2006, 11:57 PM   #3
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You raised the bar a couple of miles with that install markdoane. I guess drywall screws tacking gadgets to chip-board won't cut it here

I am stuck with my under-the-tub wiring scheme for the time being, but I plan to move the intellipower forward and extend all cables up through conduit to overtop the front axle area.

It isn't the 4/0 cables that worry me - it is the battery boxes. I suddenly remember sulphuric acid is poor aroma therapy for electronic devices. I sure don't want finishing-equalizing charge fumes hovering about in a living area. I will move the battery pairs aft so they can be vented to the outside through the utility hatches that whenever they are getting charged.

Again - begging for links to or pictures of upgraded Airstreams, buses, cabooses, anything with wheels and multiple batteries?

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Old 11-28-2006, 01:10 AM   #4
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That is a particularly nice installation!

My contribution would be to say: get a labelmaker and label everything - every switch, breaker, and cable (or at least a legend for the cables). When you're installing, it all seems obvious because you have the whole layout in mind. 5 minutes later - well, for me at least - I have no idea what any of those pretty coloured wires are connected to. Even if you don't want to get a labelmaker, at least make a diagram with a key on it and tape it up.

I learnt this the hard way getting stuck doing sysadmin, pulling the wrong power cable more than once. By the end, virtually every one of the dozens of cables in our cabinet full of servers was labelled or colour-coded, which made working on it much safer & faster.
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