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Old 02-15-2010, 09:15 PM   #29
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Rodney,

The only proper way to do this is to add a main breaker. You are only allowed to run two breakers (which you already have) without a main breaker.

A main breaker is very easy to add. Buy a 30a breaker, plus the 15a breaker for your water heater. Mount them on the buss to the left of the two breakers already in place.

Next, disconnect the large black wire from the left hand lug at the top where it is co-terminated with the red wire. Connect the black wire to the bottom of the 30a breaker. You may shorten the wire or just coil it. This 30a breaker becomes your main breaker.

Retighten the lug on the red wire so you have good power across all four breakers. Wire up the 15a breaker to your water heater and your good to go. Connect the neutrals as directed. Be sure you don't cross the grounds and neutrals.
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Old 02-15-2010, 09:54 PM   #30
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Quote:
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Rodney,

The only proper way to do this is to add a main breaker. You are only allowed to run two breakers (which you already have) without a main breaker.

A main breaker is very easy to add. Buy a 30a breaker, plus the 15a breaker for your water heater. Mount them on the buss to the left of the two breakers already in place.

Next, disconnect the large black wire from the left hand lug at the top where it is co-terminated with the red wire. Connect the black wire to the bottom of the 30a breaker. You may shorten the wire or just coil it. This 30a breaker becomes your main breaker.

Retighten the lug on the red wire so you have good power across all four breakers. Wire up the 15a breaker to your water heater and your good to go. Connect the neutrals as directed. Be sure you don't cross the grounds and neutrals.
Am I correct in thinking that this would give me one more circuit and not two?
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Old 02-15-2010, 10:02 PM   #31
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The answer to the amps on the water heater is 11.6666.

What is the black wire attached to the bar on the right—the one with all the neutrals? A black wire comes out of the romex connecter and seems to terminate with some electrical tape and it seems there's a wire bent around toward the back of the box. The black wire is not coded white (it would have some white tape wrapped around it) and may indicate something is wired backwards.

Then there are the two romex cables in one romex connecter at the lower left. It looks like one or two red or black conductors and maybe more have been taken out of the romex sheathing outside the box. Where do they go? They don't seem to have a breaker and may go to the converter.

It looks like the original wiring was aluminum and some of the things added later are copper.

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Old 02-16-2010, 06:16 AM   #32
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Am I correct in thinking that this would give me one more circuit and not two?
Yes. If you need more than one more extra circuit you'll need a larger box. They're not very expensive.

If you buy a larger box, also get a longer neutral bar.
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Old 02-16-2010, 08:48 AM   #33
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would the dual single pole breakers ("thin breaker") work?
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Old 02-16-2010, 12:33 PM   #34
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would the dual single pole breakers ("thin breaker") work?
That's a better idea, no need to buy another enclosure. In fact I think Airstream uses the 1/2" breakers.
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Old 02-16-2010, 05:28 PM   #35
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Rodney, I don't have a good picture of the completed interior of the panel, but pic number one is as I was putting things back together. Basically, removed the original "double sized" 20 amp breakers and replaced them with four smaller size breakers. I believe these may be the 1/2 inch breakers MarkDoan is referring to. At ant rate, the cable from shore power is wired to the 30 amp breaker. Black wire directly to the breaker, white wire to the neutral buss, bare copper to the ground buss.

30 amp is the main breaker, I wanted one of these so that I don't have to go outside and turn power off (like in a storm for example).
20 amp for the A/C unit, another 20 amp for the wall outlets (because that's how the factory did it)
15 amp run directly to a new cable dedicated to the microwave next to the fridge.

Hope this makes sense.
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Old 02-16-2010, 06:25 PM   #36
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The new water heater has an electric heating element that will require new wiring. So, how does one go about this? Does it need its own circuit or should I tap into an existing line? I have no clue where electricity is involved .

Thank you for asking that question! I hope I can understand one of the answers as I anticipate making the same *upgrade*, eventually.
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Old 02-16-2010, 10:09 PM   #37
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Since the CG pedestal will limit you to 30 amps I would just add a 3rd (15amp) breaker run the wire direct to the HWH and see how it all works out.

Long term you could replace the box or add a 30amp main to this one.
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Old 02-24-2010, 08:29 PM   #38
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electrical question

is there a difference between a 120V wall switch and a 12V wall switch? thanks
joe in MN
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Old 02-25-2010, 03:45 PM   #39
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A 120V switch will work for either 120V or 12V - but probably not the other way around - it's at amps that will be a danger in most switches - 12 volt switches will not allow the current draw across the contacts and act like a fuse and blow.

Check the raitings on the package and what you plan to use the switch for and buy the correct one for the job.
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Old 02-25-2010, 04:05 PM   #40
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I wouldn't use a 120V AC switch for DC service. The contacts can arc and weld together.

Some switches will be rated for both AC and DC, use one of those. Avoid the standard wall switches for DC.
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Old 02-25-2010, 04:34 PM   #41
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As usual, markdoane's right

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I wouldn't use a 120V AC switch for DC service. The contacts can arc and weld together...
Markdoane is a constant source of irritation to me. But since I know I tire easily of people who give good advice before the consequences dawn on me, I'm going to let him slide. Again.

FWIW, I believe DC switches/relays usually start out life destined for either AC or DC. DC devices have a diode across the contacts to nip arcing in the bud.

If the only switches you can find are rated for AC service, then let the thread know. Surely there's a practicing EE on the forum to advise you on the correct diode to add to the circuit.

My MN buddy might offer a little more insight if I got it wrong.

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Old 02-25-2010, 07:22 PM   #42
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Switches are designed and built for the maximum ARC before break-over and total amps the contacts can take.

A 12VDC switch installed on a 120VAC line stands a good chance to arc over before the switch "makes".
The switch will fail in short order for standard 120VAC applications. The 12VDC switch contacts are closer together and if you notice the 12VDC switches can be much physically smaller than an AC switch for the same current rating.

120VAC switch can be used in 12VDC applications (within reason).
However; most DC applications require stranded wire while household AC switches are designed for solid wire.
Due to wire resistance in 12VDC applications you have a much higher voltage drop over a given distance and need larger wire over a given distance for equal amps at the load.

120VAC 15 amps 100 ft use 12 gage wire.
12VDC 15 amps 25 ft use 10 gage wire.

Best to use AC for AC and DC for DC.

Nope I am not a EE but I have worked with this stuff longer than I care to remember.
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