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Old 08-04-2003, 12:34 AM   #1
Vince & Virginia
 
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1969 21' Globetrotter
Riverside , California
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Installing an Inteli-power & other electrical questions

We just received our new Inteli-power 9160 with the charge wizard for our 69 Globetrotter and I have some wiring questions. The Univolt is long gone, taken out by a previous owner and what is left is a glass fuse panel wired to a battery and the charge line from the tow vehicle and an AC outlet with an on/off switch.

I need to go buy cables to wire the new charger into the system and I'm not sure the best way to go about it. The instructions that came with charger are vague (at least to me). The charger has two sets of outputs, two positive and two negative, plus a grounding lug.

Should I:

1. Run a positive to the fuse panel and a negative to the fuse panel and a ground from the lug to some point on the frame yet to be determined.

2. Run a postive line to the positive battery terminal, a negative line to the negative battery terminal and a ground from the lug to the frame.

3. Both of the above since I have two outlets from the charger. There's still the existing cables from the fuse panel to the battery - do they need to stay or get eliminated in this case.

4. Do I really need to use the grounding lug if my fuse panel is already grounded to the frame?


Another related wiring question. My polarity indicator light seems to be on the AC Circuit box in the streetside closet. Does it light up ONLY when your polarity is reversed? Or does it ALSO light up when you are plugged into an ungrounded outlet? Is plugging into an ungrounded outlet really dangerous? Is there a good way to ground the trailer if the only available outlet is ungrounded?

We had the trailer plugged into our 60 year old guest house (just a shack really) that is ungrounded and the polarity of the outlets is uncertain. I had been working on the 12V wiring when my 4 year old son touched the shell and said it felt funny. The rest of us couldn't feel anything but the polarity light was ON, and I did have a 12V short that I was investigating. Needless to say, I unplugged the trailer from the shack and replugged it into a known, properly grounded outlet. I also solved the 12V problem. So, can a 12V charge shock a small child or do we have a more serious AC problem that I need to worry about? I recall reading that the reverse polarity lights in some models are a hazard themselves.

Virginia
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Old 08-04-2003, 04:51 AM   #2
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Viginia,

Welcome to the forum!


Based on your questions and my experience I would run a wire to the positive and negative connections on the fuse panel. If there is a convient ground souce to the chassis, go for it. I don't think it is a must have.

The polarity light is oe of those things that can be confusing. Normally if it is on it means the polarity is reversed and the shell of the trailer could be hot. In Your case who knows what was done inside the breaker box. If there was no ground path or a poor ground path there would be no way for the current flow to trip a breaker or blow a fuse where you were plugged in. Hence the funny feeling.

If you look on the rear of your trailer near the water inlet you may find a ground lug. This can be used to wire to a grounding rod. If you have a manual this info may be in it. Not having a ground path is not a big deal, but you should be sure of the polarity.

The reverse polarity lights were trouble in the early 60s models, there was a service bulliten in my 65 that covered it, but I belive by 69 they had it worked out from the factory.
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Old 08-04-2003, 09:07 AM   #3
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Your Intelli Power should be wired as directly to the battery as possible but usually through a fuse that should be as close to the Intelli Power as possible and rated for the max the Intelli Power will put out. The IP is generally protected against polarity and excess current but a fuse is still a good idea.

Don't worry about a separate ground, just get a good connection (as short as possible and 8g or larger wire) to both battery terminals. You can use the 12v fuse panel as a convenient access and terminal point if necessary. Just run the IP cables to connect parallel to the battery cables.

The older converters have an output for battery and lights plus another for 12 volt motors. The gave the motors a bit more as the output was pulsed and this was better for the motors. You don't need to worry about this separation except to make sure that removing the converter doesn't leave one unfed by the battery.

The AC polarity light is for AC connections only. If it comes on, you should immediately disconnect the AC line and find out where the wires got crossed.
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Old 08-04-2003, 09:16 AM   #4
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120 volts!

I've heard this here before so let's be clear on this reverse polarity and grounding issues. The shell of the trailer will not be hot if you have it hooked up with reversed polarity. The neutral and ground paths are separated in the trailer electrical service box. I wouldn't come near any trailer that is not plugged into a properly grounded receptacle. I would say that 99 percent of the time you will get by with running off of an ungrounded receptacle but it is that 1 percent chance that gets people shocked, tingled or worse yet electrocuted. If you have a good ground and the trailer shell is indeed hot the circuit breaker or fuse feeding the trailer will trip as it should.

Driving a ground rod is a good idea, a bit extreme but I have done it in the past where I couldn't get a properly grounded outlet, like my in-laws house.

Chas
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Old 08-04-2003, 09:38 AM   #5
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re "The shell of the trailer will not be hot if you have it hooked up with reversed polarity"

You have a good point. All the AC polarity checkers usually do is to tell you if you have a voltage difference between ground and neutral. If either is disconnected or the two are connected together, you won't get any indication.

I like to have one of those simple AC outlet checkers plugged in because they give you an indication of the status of the voltage between each of the three lines. They also serve as useful 'power-on'; indicators and simple night lights
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Old 08-04-2003, 09:42 AM   #6
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120 v0lts and then some...

chas is correct, the neutral connections in your trailer are floated.
meaning that they are insulated from the shell of the trailer. running with the polarity reversed shouldn't hurt anything UNLESS THERE IS A PROBLEM!

for instance, a wire is chafed in the trailer or you have a bad outlet or light socket. then in an ungrounded trailer the shell could become a conductor. you would never know it until you touched it.

your 12 volt system does use the shell in a couple of places for return current. the marker lights are an example.

as for your outbuilding, being 60 years old it most likely has knob and tube wiring or bx type cable with only 2 conductors. hot and neutral only, no ground.

driving a ground rod and grounding the outlet you use is a good idea, rewiring the building to 3 wires would be best.

a simple way to check the polarity on the suspect outlet is to run a grounded extention cord from the house (assuming it is 3 wire) to the out building. take a voltmeter set on 120 or higher, and test between the ground on the extention cord and the outlet.

you should see 120 volts on the right blade of the outlet. and nothing on the left.

get it fixed, with what your 4 year old said, and the fact your polarity light is on something is wrong.

john
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Old 08-07-2003, 02:35 PM   #7
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An update on my electrical issues:

The outlet in my "shack" DOES have the proper polarity but still isn't grounded. Future plans include a new circuit box, rewiring and a dedicated outdoor outlet for the trailer to have full electrical close by and at all times be properly grounded.

I believe I have tracked the problem down to a bad extenstion cord. I duplicated my reverse polarity scenario (sans the 4 year old) and checked the shell with my voltmeter and got a reading of 27 (hmmmm). I plugged the trailer into a properly grounded outlet with a different extension cord and the reading was 0. I then connected put the "bad" extension cord into the good grounded one (on a GFCI outlet). I then tried to plug the trailer into the "bad" cord and the extension cord kept making a little popping sound (not good) where I was trying to make the connection. That extension cord is now in the trash.

I bought the cord at Christmas for outdoor lights, it still looks brand new, doesn't have any kinks in the cord - but you just never know, do you?

Plugging a different extension cord into the ungrounded outlet in the shack DOES NOT turn on the polarity light or produce a charge to the shell. (But I'm still sticking with a grounded outlet from now on.)

Anything else I should check?

Virginia
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Old 08-07-2003, 06:04 PM   #8
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Thumbs up good deal

virginia

sounds like you have it covered!

john
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