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Old 07-05-2006, 09:29 AM   #15
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Keep in mind that the fittings on most breaker boxes work best with solid wire, not stranded. Most internal RV wiring is 14/2 Romex solid stuff just like used in houses for the shorter runs.

Putting stranded wire in fittings not designed for it is not a good idea. They tend to loosen and that can cause poor connections and heat.

Wire sizing is a matter of length and maximum load. The typical 10g for 30A RV service is for 30'. You can find some charts somewhere I think. For the short run from plug to box inside the trailer, 12g would probably do but larger sizes provide a safety margin - as long as the fittings fit the wire type and size! Both the box and the plug are designed for a wire size range and type and best results are obtained if you make sure that your wire is within its spec.
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Old 07-05-2006, 09:55 AM   #16
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Bryan:

Thanks a lot.

We used 12 gauge BX armored cable thought-out.

Could I just use a 10-gauge run of that from the inlet box, through the belly pan area, up to the Main?

If we use stranded cable, which the consensus here supports, could we use a soldered or clamped on lug were the wire connects to the main panel?

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Old 07-05-2006, 10:05 AM   #17
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Breakers for use in a house type box are made to snap onto a rail (bus) and for solid wire. There are panels, like for boats that don't do this and are designed to be more mechanically robust and provide a better contact in an environment like a boat. They have scew terminals and are designed for use with ring lugs. Crimp on lugs are good IF you buy quality crimps (I like nylon over PVC insul but both can be good) AND you use the right tool to crimp the lugs. The right tool is a ratcheting crimper, not the cheap "pliers" that you get at the auto parts store with an assortment of crimps.

PS Don't use stranded wire in a breaker designed for solid. Or vice a versa for that matter.
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Old 07-05-2006, 11:22 AM   #18
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Bryan and Bernie,

Good advise about keeping stranded wire in stranded design breakers. The problem with solid wire is that in an RV situation where it is getting bumped and vibrated constantly, it eventually work hardens and breaks. I have found numerous electrical problems on RV's that were caused by a solid copper run that had broken from flexing and vibration.
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Old 07-05-2006, 01:39 PM   #19
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Lew, the problem also exists with people who solder to tin a wire to go under a lug or to solidify a crimp. Soldering is not usually a good idea for wire under a screw or anywhere near a flexing situation.

RV's are usually wired internally with household fixtures, sockets, boxes, wire, and circuit protection. These usually age fairly well. It is the interface from the internal in the wall stuff to the external world where there is more exposure to flexing and bumping and other abuse that causes problems.

Many Airstreams going back to the indedependent Airstream company era (60's) have original solid A/C house wiring in good condition.

One should also note that the 110 VAC wiring and the 12 VDC wiring have significant differences in rules, codes, practices, policies, equipment, colors, materials, insulation, and so on.
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Old 07-05-2006, 01:44 PM   #20
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Bryan:

Can I use a 10-gauge run of BX armored wire from the inlet box, through the belly pan area, up to the Main?
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Old 07-05-2006, 02:05 PM   #21
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. . . Many Airstreams going back to the indedependent Airstream company era (60's) have original solid A/C house wiring in good condition.
Yeah that! Although it looks like it was done by an apprentice, I have to say it was functional after 47 years.

I don't know why there was a big kink in the cable lower center.
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Old 07-05-2006, 03:47 PM   #22
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SmokelessJoe - I don't know. 10g sounds adequate. Armored sounds good. But you will need to decide it it fits your boxes and equipment.

Markadoane - Is that factory installed wiring you pictured? Is that masking tape? One rule is that all junctions for 110 VAC are in boxes. What I have seen so far indicates Airstream follows this code so I don't know the provenance of your pic. Interesting what one can find, though.
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Old 07-05-2006, 03:51 PM   #23
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Markadoane - Is that factory installed wiring you pictured? Is that masking tape?
Yeah, that's how it came from the Ohio factory.

My wife's uncle bought the '59 Tradewind new, and I have all his logs and records. It was never modified or re-wired.

Here's another of the same general area.
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Old 07-05-2006, 04:44 PM   #24
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Sergie,
What is the connection to the Marinco plug? What I found on line looks like they have some pretty specific guidelines for choosing the wire.

All power inlets covered by this instruction are equipped with compression
screw terminals, which are suitable for use with stranded wire complying with
Paragraph 183.425(a) of 33CFR Part 183.

I'd follow that and if you need to make a switch from stranded to solid do it in the main distribution box between the Main AC breaker and the power bus the home style breakers snap into. The screw type compression terminals are pretty robust. The style I'd stay away from are the push in blades. Sort of like the type of connection you often see for stereo speakers. Good strain relief should take care of most problems associated with flex and vibration. If you get a chance take a look at how it's done for [proper] marine applications. Overkill for an RV maybe but might give you some ideas.

Wire nuts in my house bug me, in an RV they scare me, in a boat it's just plain stupid.

-Bernie
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Old 01-05-2007, 09:14 PM   #25
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Friends:

Thanks to all who helped with the re-wire of my Argosy 24.

This work was completed late last summer. I should have expressed gratitude before now.

We stripped out all of the old cloth covered wire from another era and installed BX armour shield cable through out, 12 ga.


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Besides the original 3 circuits I added 3 more separate runs: air conditioner, water heater, inverter.

In the end I used a 10-gauge extension cord from a farm supply place for the main feed (from the new Marinco inlet to the distribution panel). It is the very flexible, very tough yellow stuff, more or less exactly like a Marinco power cord (which I also acquired).


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The reason I sliced up an extension cord for this was that I couldn’t find 10 ga. cable anywhere that day. In the end, it didn’t cost any more and the left over cord and plugs will make a very nice 20 amp to 30-amp jumper. (What I call a happy accident).

I increased the 12-v circuits to 8 in total.

We had to build a scaffold-like support to get the centre panel, now with its new Xenon pot lamps, back in place. It was not hard.


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The lamps are on 12v dimmers from Sweden. Nice looking ones are hard to find but these are cool.

The panels have long been back in place, the walls and ceiling painted and new plumbing installed. We are working to complete the hydronic heating system just now.

Once the already dry fitted furniture goes back in we’ll install the electrical distribution panels.

I’m hoping to use marine type panels, such as Blue Sea.

Thanks again to all who helped.

Sergei
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Old 01-05-2007, 09:25 PM   #26
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Electrical Engineering for laymen

As an Mechanical Engineer, I understand electricity in small terms. Electricity is magic, like smoke. Insulation keeps the smoke in the wire. Big Wires carry big smoke. If the wire and the insulation is too small, the smoke gets out and the wire will not work any more. Lots of small wire keep the smoke in better than one big wire as long as the ends are hooked up good.
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Old 01-05-2007, 10:20 PM   #27
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Blue Sea = Quality

Sergei,

I would use just about anything that Blue Sea makes. All of their products are top shelf and exceed what is normally found in modern RV's
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Old 01-05-2007, 11:46 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiHoAgRV
As an Mechanical Engineer, I understand electricity in small terms. Electricity is magic, like smoke. Insulation keeps the smoke in the wire. Big Wires carry big smoke. If the wire and the insulation is too small, the smoke gets out and the wire will not work any more. Lots of small wire keep the smoke in better than one big wire as long as the ends are hooked up good.
I probably understand electricity even less - But, I do understand smoke (and fire). In my estimation, electricity and smoke in any combination usually spell trouble.
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