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Old 11-18-2009, 08:12 PM   #1
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1977 31' Sovereign
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Need advice with electrical upgrade/renovation

I am preparing to begin the electrical restoration of my 71 Sovereign. I would like to replace the 120v breaker panel and the 12v fuse panel. Are there more compact breaker panels than the current residential style that is installed in my trailer? I am thinking of something like the marine type breakers that I think I have seen on boats. Where are these available for RVís? Are there breaker panels for the 12v system as well or are fuses the only way to go? The existing fuse panel is a little corroded and part of the panel has been replaced by the PO. I would like to relocate both panels to a central location towards the front of the trailer. I have searched the thread and donít see much on replacing the panels with more modern style panels.
The trailer is currently is wired with romex. I am a little concerned that the insulation may have been or will be nicked or damaged in 30+ years of towing. Is that a legitimate concern? I donít have any current problems with the wire but wonder what others experience has been? Should I replace with bx cable if I can?
I read in the service manual that came with my AS that the main center interior ceiling panel is removable to access the wiring...correct? Is it hard to remove this panel? I also plan in eliminating all of the existing lighting and replacing with puck or spot style lights. I assume I should be able to access most if the ceiling area to install lights if I remove this panel?

Thanks for any help and advise you care to give. Steve
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Old 11-18-2009, 08:21 PM   #2
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Steve,

How about this: Progressive Dynamics

or this: Distribution Panels

Bill
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Old 11-18-2009, 08:40 PM   #3
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Steve, West Marine will have a very nice ac/dc panel with switches and amp meter, etc. by Blue Seas. They are a little expensive but very compact and easy to work with. Try westmarine.com and put in the search ac/dc panel. I'm thinking about redoing my service and have been looking at the Blue Seas systems. Judy
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Old 11-18-2009, 08:58 PM   #4
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I'm going to go with the Blue Seas stuff on mine. I've used it on the boat for a long time and it is really good quality.

Often Defender.com Panels will be cheaper than West Marine.

cheers,
steve
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Old 11-18-2009, 09:36 PM   #5
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There's noting wrong with using bx cable, but MC-lite is lighter, and it's aluminum. The cost is reasonable, not much more than Romex. Best of all, it comes with black, white, and a separate full gauge green ground wire, not the aluminum tape like some of the other AC products.

It's available at many home centers. I bought mine at Menards.
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Old 12-09-2009, 05:13 PM   #6
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Steve,

I just did all of that.... just about exactly... right down to the puck lights (mine are on a track).

I kept my breaker box above the water heater (which I replaced new) and I replaced the univolt with a blue seas 5025. I relocated the power supply to the front of the trailer. While pulling wires, this is what I learned:
1) All existing ROMEX cables were fine... however, if you have access to your inner walls like Mark, running that MC-Lite cable is the way to go.
2) BE WARY of the rivet patterns if you are not pulling the inner panels off; if you see rivets in a row, there is a spine there and fishing wire through it will be an exercise of futility.
3) There is an easily accessible bundle of all circuit wires under the Air Conditioner cover.

There should also be +12VDC and ground local to the areas you would like to have lights already... in the port openings. If you strip the existing port cover off, you will find it, and then you can fish it to where you need it. That's what I did...

Good Luck!!!
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Old 12-25-2009, 06:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markdoane View Post
There's noting wrong with using bx cable, but MC-lite is lighter, and it's aluminum. The cost is reasonable, not much more than Romex. Best of all, it comes with black, white, and a separate full gauge green ground wire, not the aluminum tape like some of the other AC products.

It's available at many home centers. I bought mine at Menards.
This looks great, Mark. How does the MC Lite Cable attach to the plastic boxes? Is it the standard screw-on clamp that's used on a metal box?
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Old 12-25-2009, 08:35 PM   #8
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I used the red bushings for chaffing against the cut end of the armor, then wrapped it with a couple turns of vinyl tape to keep the bushing from pulling out. I drilled the plastic boxes with a step drill about 1/8" larger than the cable, and used hot melt glue to bed the cable in the hole.
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Old 12-26-2009, 12:38 AM   #9
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Use of Marine AC breaker Panel

I used the Blue Sea AC panel with 8 breakers for the ac in my Trade Wind. I ended up with twice as many breakers in less space. I am replacing my DC fuse/distribution panel with a custom designed panel using standard marine breakers and switch breakers to replace all the fuses. As far as I am concerned that is the only way to go. The up-front cost of the Blue Sea panel is offset with it long life and high realibility. Also the breakers have individual indicator lights so you can see that the breakers are on and the panel can be back lighted with white leds so you can read the identification on each breaker.
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Old 01-14-2010, 10:36 AM   #10
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So I have ordered a PD ac/dc panel and am beginning to relocate all the ac/dc wiring to the install location for the panel. I am wondering what are folks thoughts are for the recommended method for making dc splices? I will only have a couple of ac splices but will have many dc splices and would like a recommendation on the best method. Wire nut? Solder? Solder and heat shrink? I want to make sure I use a method that will hold up long term. I thought I had seen some posts from owners that had found problems with wire nutted splices from the factory? Any guidance would be appreciated.
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Old 01-14-2010, 06:44 PM   #11
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I am wondering what are folks thoughts are for the recommended method for making dc splices? I will only have a couple of ac splices but will have many dc splices and would like a recommendation on the best method. Wire nut? Solder? Solder and heat shrink?
I solder all 12 volt connections and then cover with heat shrink tubing left about a half to 3/4 of an inch longer than needed. Then I fold the end over and put another layer of heat shrink tubing over that.
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1946 Spartan Manor
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Old 01-14-2010, 07:46 PM   #12
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Iota Distribution Panel

This is an awesome distribution panel for a VERY reasonable price! It handles both the 12V and 110V loads. I updated to this when we did our solar installation, and it was easy to wire and works flawlessly. Looks pretty cool too!

IDP-30 AC/DC Distribution Panel from IOTA Engineering

Check out our installation at:

http://www.ecodiscoverytour.com/thef...larsystem.html
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