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Old 11-03-2005, 11:35 PM   #1
SqurlGurl
 
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Big 'Ol Cut Wire At Breaker Box

Would someone please be so kind as to take a look at this picture and tell me what might have lived (or died) at the cut off end of this wire. It is in a 63 Overlander and is located on the breaker box in the rear just inside the access hatch over the bumper (and under the bathroom sink enclosure that has been removed). The wire says "12/3 S Type 600 Volts" and I have pointed out the end with a pink arrow.

We have not tested our electrical system at all because this looks so darned scary. What's up with AS placing all the electrical biz right in the (potentially) wettest spot in the trailer?

Thanks alot!
-Tracey
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Old 11-04-2005, 12:01 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squrlgurl
Would someone please be so kind as to take a look at this picture and tell me what might have lived (or died) at the cut off end of this wire. It is in a 63 Overlander and is located on the breaker box in the rear just inside the access hatch over the bumper (and under the bathroom sink enclosure that has been removed). The wire says "12/3 S Type 600 Volts" and I have pointed out the end with a pink arrow.
We have not tested our electrical system at all because this looks so darned scary. What's up with AS placing all the electrical biz right in the (potentially) wettest spot in the trailer?Thanks alot!-Tracey
Tracey
It could have been either a feed to some appliance or the pigtail for the trailer that someone has abandoned.
Bad deal, need to get rid of it by disconnecting it from the box. Your other wire that goes through the floor does not look very stout for the trailer main feed. 10/3 SO cord at a minimum, I would use 8/3 SO cord if I had my way. You need to look into a feed-through for the floor, a nipple with a bushing on both ends. Don't forget the strain relief also.
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Old 11-04-2005, 08:34 AM   #3
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We have an identical unit. We have had it since '86. Email me at dwightdixon@yahoo.com I might be of assistance.
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Old 11-04-2005, 09:03 AM   #4
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Warning

You also have another small but very dangerous situaltion here. The picture I attached is zoomed in on the wire nut connector on what appears to be the shore power to the rest of the trailer. The wire from the box is not fully covered by the wire nut. It is the black wire, which is hot. It looks as if the PO might have had a switch at this point and then removed it. You need to redo the wire nut so that you have no exposed wire.
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Old 11-04-2005, 08:00 PM   #5
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Azflycaster thanks for the safety tip!! Gawd knows what the PO had done with the wiring. I think the whole mess looks pretty dangerous so we are gonna replace the enitre box and wiring that feeds into it. As Gary suggested we will go with larger gauge wire also.

My husband guessed that the cut wire might have been to the 110V feed on the hot water heater since there was a glass fuse to it. Any thoughts??
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Old 11-04-2005, 08:07 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janet's Husband
Tracey
It could have been either a feed to some appliance or the pigtail for the trailer that someone has abandoned.
Our 63 Overlander had the same wire, with a 15 amp female connector, that ended in the aft storage compartment, where the shore power cord is stowed. I didn't like the looks of it, as I thought it was a problem waiting to happen, and eliminated it.
If I really want an outlet in that area, there is the outlet for the porch light about 5 feet forward of that location anyway.
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Old 11-04-2005, 08:31 PM   #7
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Thanks Overlander63, Ok, so we can probably eliminate that cord alltogether.
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Old 11-11-2005, 05:58 PM   #8
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Electrical spectical

When it comes to electrical stuff, it really pays to have someone looking at in person who knows it. Saying to remove or eliminate wiring over email makes me nervous.

The 12/3 S wire you refer to is a wire that has two hot leads (usually red and black), one white or neutral wire and a ground wire (green or bare). The 12 size is the size used to supply power to the outlets and your coach most likely was wired with two separate circuits (usually 20 amp), hence the 12/3. This is a more efficient run of wire cause the two hot leads share the ground and neutral but are bound together in sheathing that is neatly bound as one wire instead of two. It cheaper and easier to run, and it looks better from an inspection standpoint.

Your main feed coming from shore would need to be a bit larger since it is supplying power to both of the two separate 12 wires or two separate outlet circuits. That shore wire is usually 10 wire (the smaller the number the larger the wire). So the shore is 10 and the circuits are 12. The "S" rating on the cord stands for Sunlight (as in resistant). The SO rating someone suggested means sunlight and oils or petroleum resistance. That is a more durable wire than just the S rated wire.

10 wires are hooked to 30 amp breakers. 12 wires require a 20 amp breaker. The main shore power is breakered sometimes in the coach but not always, it will usually be at the campsite or park you hook up to, or if your house has a disconnect next to your coach it will breaker there.

Before you go ripping out wires please consult an electrician, ask your friends, someone is bound to know one or can put you in touch with someone willing to make a visit for cheap locally. If that is not an option, go over each move with someone on the forums you trust who knows this business well. Little things like not twisting wires prior to hooking up a wire nut or not securing lug nuts tightly can cause problems. Craftsmanship in electrical work is emphasized as much as proper load distribution. Being neat, means being careful and thorough and safe. Good luck.


Hope this helps you to reevaluate any final installs. You can do it, just do it well.
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Old 11-11-2005, 07:52 PM   #9
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1. 12/3 cord has only a black, white, and green conductor. Jim, you may be thinking of NM cable, which is sometimes listed as 12/3G, which has black, red, white, and a ground conductor.

2. The "S" rating does not indicate sunlight resistance. It is a severe service rating (600V), as opposed to SJ "junior" rating (300V).

3. You cannot run two phase (black & red) in a 30 amp rated travel trailer. The shore connection is only single phase, so if you run black and red legs, they will both be 'black' at the main breaker. This will overload the neutral (white) because the black and red circuits are NOT different phases and don't cancel. You can only run separate phases in 50amp/240v service.
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Old 11-11-2005, 08:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimmyJames
Saying to remove or eliminate wiring over email makes me nervous.
Sorry, I have to take exception to your statement. If you look at the supplied photo, you can plainly see a 110v bare wire dangling in space. It is clearly an open invitation to be electrocuted, and also plainly serves no purpose by being there, or else it would be connected to something.
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Old 11-12-2005, 10:23 AM   #11
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First, let me ask you to notice that this discussion illustrates my point precisely about trying to understand and effectively install wiring , or give advice in this one area over email, plumbing, floor repairs, polishing yeah, but electrical no. I think an electrician should be called. Mark is partly correct in his 1.2.3 point reply but he was anecdotal… we are talking apples and oranges.

“S” does mean duty rating Mark was right and I stand corrected (I am not an electrician and know just enough to be dangerous) . On the other hand, the “O” does mean “Oils” or petroleum but that was not upheld, so I was not completely wrong on that count.

Mark was right, I was fixated on residential wiring when comparing Cord to NM . NM ratings and cord ratings are different when talking about the shared neutral and ground and he is right, cord nomenclature indicates and includes all wires in the bundle including the ground as part of the wire size, where NM cable does not…hence apples and oranges.

Mark says you can not run two phase from a 30 amp RV connection. You can, but most older installs are not set up that way, they were 110. 220 (two phase installs are done today).

I was not discussing 220 install, that was an understandable but wrong assumption, not what you want when installing wires.

The following Q&A might help explain it better.

The following is what I intended in my reply. This is the act of sharing a neutral and ground (which is possible) when the Red and Black are separate and not used as 220. The neutral and ground only receive the unused residual load (so are not “overloaded’) not the full load coming over the hot/lead (red or black wires).

This is from a wiring ‘Question and Answer’ website called "Experts: Electrical Wiring in the home. " A guy (ED) asked if 12/3 (NM) could be used to supply power to two separated circuits. This is the reply from the electrician.

“Ed, it is common practice to use a three wire circuit to obtain two circuits (the black and red) that share a common neutral (the white) ....

Having said this, if you only need the two circuits, approach it like this: at the main panel, use two SINGLE pole 20 amp breakers (one for the red wire and one for the black wire). At the other end of the 12/3, install a junction box (no breakers needed) and run the two new circuits from there to where ever you need them, using two (separate) 12/2w/G cables. At the J box connect all three whites together. Connect the black from one of the new 12/2w/G cables to the red wire on the 12/3w/G and the other black to the remaining black on the 12/3w/G. Connect all the ground wires together. “

Back to the post…..As far as the wire ….clearly hanging in mid air…., that is why I named my reply back “electrical spectacle”. I could see what looked like a 10/3 NM or maybe an SO cord and also a romex type NM going through the floor, perhaps a 12 hanging mid air with wire nuts and one large wire cut off clean at the back. I am not sure what the sheathing is, what the sizes are, I am not sure from the photo which is shore power , the one larger wire cut off at the back or the largish wire going through the floor. I guess I saw an incomplete scene not providing me (a novice) enough information to give tenous advice and the advice I heard gave me the willy’s but I am not that smart so consider the source.

So advising to take it out, if squirrelly and her hubby are not sure, may add to the confusion when the eventual repair does happen if that was not the right thing to do. Also, if wires are cut off and hanging in space, I would definetly not hook it up and leave it or else you might have a fire or an electrocution. I guess the assumption is –

“We have a hole in the boat, don’t put it back in the water before you first find it and properly fix it….. “

Sorry for the long diatribe. My point is this.. A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. I would sooner give advice on sewing up a deep cut in the wilderness with a fish bone and plant fiber than I would electrical installation over email.
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Old 11-12-2005, 11:27 AM   #12
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What I think you guys are saying is that the dangling wire, as suspected, is dangerous. Yep...that's gotta go.
And also that we should consult a professional electrician. Yep. We will do that too.
Hubby is adept at installing wiring and plumbing in boats and those are the systems we are both used to working with so we will re-do the wiring at the breaker box up to marine standards. The proximity of the whole mess to the water works makes me just as uneasy as the current state of the wiring! Guess that's the sailor in me thinking Soon I will be sailing in my Landyacht

Thanks for your responses, and keep 'em comin' if any new thoughts arise.

-Tracey
(squirrelly..hehe!)
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Old 11-12-2005, 11:36 AM   #13
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Jim,

Sorry if you took offense. I questioned your advice only because I think it was not acceptable practice for a travel trailer or RV.

What you recommend regarding the two (black & red) legs does work in a residential setting where there is a 240v panel. In that case you can run two circuits off the separate legs with a common neutral. Since the two legs are 180º out of phase, the load on the neutral is reduced to the difference in load between the legs.

In other words, if you have 12 amps on the black leg, and 15 amps on the red leg, the neutral needs only carry the difference, which is 3 amps.

However, you cannot do this in a 30 amp RV connection because there are NOT two legs, there is only one. Thats why I said that if you run a red and a black circuit, they are both black at the main breaker. In this situation, the neutral would need to carry the total, 27 amps.

It is not proper to put in a 240v 30 amp RV connection. All 30 amp RV systems are 2 wire with ground, or 120V. You can only get a 3 wire, 240V connection with 50 amp service. Then you can run separate red and black legs. This is from NEC 551.42.
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Old 11-12-2005, 03:39 PM   #14
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Terminology

Quote:
Originally Posted by markdoane
... 3. You cannot run two phase (black & red) in a 30 amp rated travel trailer. The shore connection is only single phase, ...
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimmyJames
... Mark says you can not run two phase from a 30 amp RV connection. You can, but most older installs are not set up that way, they were 110. 220 (two phase installs are done today)...
I have no electrical credentials either. But, for the sake of correctness, I believe 220 VAC is considered single-phase power from a lineman's perspective.

If we're lucky, John_HD will catch this post & provide insight.

Tom
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