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Old 10-18-2010, 05:41 PM   #15
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Lucymcdog,
My 1963 has two completely seperate electrical systems, 110 volt and 12 volt. Every light fixture has a 110 bulb and a 12 volt bulb.
I have a 110 breaker box with 2 cuircuit breakers that distributed 110 power throughout the trailer.
I installed a 12 volt fuse panel to distribute the 12 volt power. The battery is in an enclosed box accessed from the exterior. Batteries need to be vented to the exterior.
I have no converter, and don't need one, to charge my battery when hooked up to shore power, I installed a Guest marine charger to charge and then maintain my battery.
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Old 10-18-2010, 07:19 PM   #16
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Ground wires.

You mentioned in your first post that you didn't have ground wires. In all of the pictures you've posted I see ground wires for the AC circuits. When you go to the big box store, a 30 amp breaker box should be big enough. Just check to see how many circuit breakers will fit in the box. Is there one place where all of the AC wiring comes into? You will need one breaker for each of the romex cables that exist at that common point. It should be near where your shore power cable is. It looks like you will need a new shore power plug as well, the one mounted on the side of the trailer. It appears to be a 30 amp unit. Have all of the devices, lights outlets etc been removed from the trailer? Is any of the wiring aluminum, if so you should replace it with copper, aluminum in the smaller wire sizes is a fire hazard.
It's too bad that you didn't post this a couple of weeks ago, I was just in your area on a trip to Durango to ride the train. I would have been glad to be of assistance. Great train ride by the way.
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Old 10-19-2010, 10:34 PM   #17
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Neither Lucy nor I mind being called by the other one's name. And since I don't let her use the computer very often, she didn't even know she was the one addressed.

Made the 2 hour trip to Home Depot today and bought a breaker box, circuit breakers and wiring. Since we don't have a a/c in the trailer, I'm keeping it 20 amp. I have ordered the Hubbell power inlet and am looking for a new shore power cord. I'm pretty sure I can use all new wiring and not have to run too much line in a chase since most everything can be run behind cabinets. Hopefully, I won't have to use the old wiring at all and can leave it totally unconnected from the system.

I'm studying up on the 12V system and hope to get all the parts together soon so I can try to figure out how to tie it all together.

My biggest concerns include: 1. Where do I put the battery? (on the tongue, under the dinette, in the rear storage space); 2. Does the battery have to have outside venting? and 3. How do I wire it so the tow vehicle can charge the battery (tie it into the blue wires at the front of the trailer where the little glass fuse box was?, hook it up to solar? run a separate wire that ties into my pigtail?).

I REALLY appreciate all the help and resources that have been provided. It is so cool to have someplace to go with questions and get answers right away.

Stay tuned for further progress!

Lindy
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Old 10-19-2010, 10:40 PM   #18
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Lindy no comment since according to some I know nothing
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Old 10-19-2010, 10:58 PM   #19
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moving right along...

Quote:
Originally Posted by TG Twinkie View Post
You mentioned in your first post that you didn't have ground wires. In all of the pictures you've posted I see ground wires for the AC circuits. When you go to the big box store, a 30 amp breaker box should be big enough. Just check to see how many circuit breakers will fit in the box. Is there one place where all of the AC wiring comes into? You will need one breaker for each of the romex cables that exist at that common point. It should be near where your shore power cable is. It looks like you will need a new shore power plug as well, the one mounted on the side of the trailer. It appears to be a 30 amp unit. Have all of the devices, lights outlets etc been removed from the trailer? Is any of the wiring aluminum, if so you should replace it with copper, aluminum in the smaller wire sizes is a fire hazard.
It's too bad that you didn't post this a couple of weeks ago, I was just in your area on a trip to Durango to ride the train. I would have been glad to be of assistance. Great train ride by the way.
Oh darn. Sorry I missed out on getting some experienced assistance. At this point I can use all the help I can get.

The trailer is 20 amp. There are 4 of the original lights and one original outlet still in the trailer but they are in pretty bad shape. I hope to replace them with vintage looking fixtures and replace the outlet with grounded ones and a GFCI plug near the kitchen sink.

There is one original cloth covered wire coming from the power inlet into the trailer and one same kind of wire (with only black and white, no ground) going inside the interior skin to the lights and the one outlet. The PO put in the two outlets with a ground and with those little fuse looking things in the box itself (I have never seen those used before) as well as a large green ground that goes from the new metal box and was screwed into the wall. The breaker box I just bought has space for 2 double circuit breakers. Since I have no a/c, no microwave, no electric coffeepot, and no TV, I thought that might be enough. Fortunately, the old wiring is copper, not aluminum. But I was thinking I could do away with the old wiring and run new wiring with a ground to the 5 lights and 4 plugs that I want to put in. One plug will be a dedicated plug for a new fridge should my old propane one not work (haven't checked it out yet). However, if I have a new grounded power inlet and cord, would that make the old wiring ok to use or is it going to be best to do away with the old and bring in new?

I have ordered a new power inlet and will also find a safer, grounded, power cord.

Now.... on to the 12V part...

Next time you're down this way let me know - I will STILL be working on my little trailer...
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Old 10-19-2010, 11:28 PM   #20
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The batteries definitely need to be vented outside. When charging they release gases you don't want in your living space.
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Old 10-20-2010, 08:03 AM   #21
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Moving forward.

Looks like you are on the right track. This forum is a great source for info. Have fun with your AS. You should make sure any existing wiring is rated for 20 amps. It will be 12 gauge for 20 amps. If you have 14 guage wire and don't plan to replace it, you should use 15 amp breakers. Grounded wiring is safer, don't ground the neutral in the trailer.
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Old 10-20-2010, 11:43 AM   #22
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More Info

Here is a website that may be of some use to you. RV Electric
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Old 10-20-2010, 11:56 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucymcdog View Post
My biggest concerns include: 1. Where do I put the battery? (on the tongue, under the dinette, in the rear storage space); 2. Does the battery have to have outside venting? and 3. How do I wire it so the tow vehicle can charge the battery (tie it into the blue wires at the front of the trailer where the little glass fuse box was?, hook it up to solar? run a separate wire that ties into my pigtail?).
Hi Lindy,

As already mentioned, the battery needs to be vented. If you install it inside the trailer, then you'll need a vented battery box, and that will require two holes to the outside for airflow. One at the bottom of the box, and one at the top. The bottom hole can let air in through the floor, so you could get by with only hole in the side of the trailer. I'm installing our batteries on the tongue, behind the propane tanks. I'll need to move the propane tanks forward a bit to fit a battery box for two gold cart batteries. If you only install one battery, you may have enough room on the tongue without moving anything. Only on-site measurements will tell you that.

You'll have to check out the old umbilical cord and install a new 7-prong plug on it if you want the TV to charge the battery. There are web sites that show umbilical wiring. Here's one: Trailer Wiring Diagrams | etrailer.com.

Best of luck!
Chris
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Old 10-20-2010, 11:59 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wasagachris View Post
Lindy no comment since according to some I know nothing
Sorry Chris. No insult was intended.
My Apologies.
Chris
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Old 10-20-2010, 12:22 PM   #25
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Lindy,

Do you have a picture of the inside of the breaker box you bought? It has space for 4 circuits, so one of them should go to the electrical connector & cord feeding the trailer. That leaves you 3 circuits for the lights and outlets in the trailer. That should be more than enough I would think for what you mention you're doing and not doing (like no a/c). If you can, put the lights on two circuits. That way if a breaker trips, you don't lose all your lights at once (unless the main breaker trips of course). You can have outlets and lights on the same circuit in case you were wondering that.

Regarding the wiring, I'd use all new if you can. Then you know the condition of it all.

Since you say you're a novice regarding all of this, would a brief primer on 110 VAC US electrical wiring help?

The black wire is what carries the 110 VAC. Commonly called the hot wire. It's the wire that attaches to the circuit breakers. If the load on the wire exceeds the amperage of the breaker (15 or 20 amps), the breaker will trip.

The white wire is the neutral, also called the return. All the white wires are connected together in the breaker box, typically with a bus of some sort. This is a metal bar with a bunch of set screws in it. Each white wire goes underneath one set screw and is tightened down.

The bare wire is the ground. This is your safety wire. All the ground wires are connected together to a grounding bus in the breaker box. This bus must be connected to the traler frame with at least the same gauge wire as you use on the power cord. If you're using 12 gauge wire on the power cord, then you need at least a 12 gauge ground wire to the frame. Larger on this wire is better.

The neutral bus needs to "float" in your trailer. That means it's not connected to ground. Do not connect the bare ground wires and the neutral white wires together at all. If your breaker box came with a green bonding screw, do NOT install it. If there is no green bonding screw, then your breaker box may not have a floating neutral bus, which would mean you would be connecting ground and neutral together if you use the bus bars.

Hope this helps. If nothing else, I hope it helps you decide if you really want to do this by yourself or not.

Chris
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Old 10-20-2010, 03:39 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minno View Post
Lindy,

Do you have a picture of the inside of the breaker box you bought? It has space for 4 circuits, so one of them should go to the electrical connector & cord feeding the trailer. That leaves you 3 circuits for the lights and outlets in the trailer. That should be more than enough I would think for what you mention you're doing and not doing (like no a/c). If you can, put the lights on two circuits. That way if a breaker trips, you don't lose all your lights at once (unless the main breaker trips of course). You can have outlets and lights on the same circuit in case you were wondering that.

Regarding the wiring, I'd use all new if you can. Then you know the condition of it all.

Since you say you're a novice regarding all of this, would a brief primer on 110 VAC US electrical wiring help?

The black wire is what carries the 110 VAC. Commonly called the hot wire. It's the wire that attaches to the circuit breakers. If the load on the wire exceeds the amperage of the breaker (15 or 20 amps), the breaker will trip.

The white wire is the neutral, also called the return. All the white wires are connected together in the breaker box, typically with a bus of some sort. This is a metal bar with a bunch of set screws in it. Each white wire goes underneath one set screw and is tightened down.

The bare wire is the ground. This is your safety wire. All the ground wires are connected together to a grounding bus in the breaker box. This bus must be connected to the traler frame with at least the same gauge wire as you use on the power cord. If you're using 12 gauge wire on the power cord, then you need at least a 12 gauge ground wire to the frame. Larger on this wire is better.

The neutral bus needs to "float" in your trailer. That means it's not connected to ground. Do not connect the bare ground wires and the neutral white wires together at all. If your breaker box came with a green bonding screw, do NOT install it. If there is no green bonding screw, then your breaker box may not have a floating neutral bus, which would mean you would be connecting ground and neutral together if you use the bus bars.

Hope this helps. If nothing else, I hope it helps you decide if you really want to do this by yourself or not.

Chris
Thanks Chris - I am taking this one step at a time and all the info really does help. I have wired workshops and house stuff before and it seems this is very similar.

I do have a question though. I will be replacing the power intake plug (where the shore power cord is plugged in) and was wondering if I can or should use a 30A intake plug or will the 20A be ok. The one I took off of it is by Bargman and says it is 120V 35A. The replacement I'm looking at is by Hummel (?) and is 20A.

I'm posting pictures of the breaker box I bought and if it isn't the right kind I can take it back tomorrow when I go to the "big city".
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Old 10-20-2010, 07:39 PM   #27
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Hi Lindy,

Yes, this is like wiring a home workshop. And I think this box will work ok. This is a 220 VAC subpanel, but we can make it work for what you need. Here's your picture of the inside of the box with some colored boxes added.
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The neutral bus (outlined in white) is floating, so itís not physically attached to the metal box. Thatís good.

Youíll need to pick up a ground bus, which will attach to the box on the little raised platform I outlined in green. That ground bus also needs to be connected to the frame of the trailer.

The two primary lugs (outlined in black) are normally where the black wires attach. In a home, you would have a 220 VAC line feeding this box from the main circuit breaker panel. Each of the black wires in the feed line would attach to one of the lugs. Then you have space for 4 circuits. Two circuits would feed off of each one of the black wires, giving you a total of 4 110 volt circuits.

Since you are only bringing 110 VAC into this box with your power cord, you will only have one black wire. I would wire the box this way:

Use a short piece of black wire to jumper the two black lugs together. This needs to be at least the same gauge as the input wire youíre using. 12 gauge for 20 amp. While at Home Depot buying the ground bus, check to see if they have a premade jumper for this. I donít know if HomeLine makes one or not, but it canít hurt to look.

Attach the black wire from your power cord to the breaker on the left. This is where I have the red outline on the picture. This breaker will become your main circuit breaker for the trailer, which in your case will be 20 amps. It could just as easily be the breaker on the right, or any of them really. Iíd keep it on one end or the other just for a nice layout.

The other 3 circuit breakers are now feeders for the 3 circuits for your trailer. Attach one black wire from each circuit to the breaker. Connect all 4 white wires to the neutral bus, and connect all the ground wires to the ground bus you need to buy and install in the box. Donít forget to ground to the frame.

Now youíll have a fully protected input power line, and 3 protected circuits. You can install GFCI outlets on any of these circuits and theyíll work as theyíre supposed to.

Since youíre not installing an a/c or any other big power hog appliance, 20 amp service should do you just fine. You may want to go up a gauge size for the power cord (10 gauge), just to help with voltage lost over a long length of wire.

Chris
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Old 10-20-2010, 07:48 PM   #28
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oh - you'll need wire clamps like the one in the picture in your first post where the yellow wire goes into the metal box. 1/2" ones will work ok. One hole, one clamp, one wire please. Do not put two wires through one clamp.
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