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Old 03-09-2014, 09:25 AM   #1
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1978 28' Ambassador
Byfield , Massachusetts
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Combine AC and DC Breaker/Fuse Panel

Hi all,

I am completely rewiring my 1978 Ambassador International.

I would like to combine the AC and DC panel by using a marine AC/DC panel from BlueSea (Model 8084)

Per original design the two panels are mounted on the opposite ends of the trailer, the DC panel all the way up front and the AC breaker box in the back in the bathroom.

I was wondering if there are any concerns in combining the two panels. Especially regarding grounding. The AC breaker box was grounded to the end of one main frame member and the DC panel to one of the shell ribs.

Combining the boxes would mean bringing the two grounding points closer together. Could this create a hazard?

I believe the newer trailers have a combined AC/DC panel as well. How does the grounding look in them?

Any input on would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Georgie
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Old 03-09-2014, 09:56 AM   #2
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1981 31' Excella II
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Are you planning to rewire the whole trailer in the process? There is no reason they can't being in the same general area but I would not have AC and DC systems in the same box. There is too much potential for the DC circuits getting energized with AC if something were to come loose. You also don't want AC going through the ground for the DC. Normally, the DC system uses two wires and the need for ground at the point of use is not needed because of the low voltages. The DC is usually grounded at the distribution point. You want a separate ground to the frame and shell for each system. There is no reason you can't have box for the AC and a different one for the AC. I think the fuse box in most trailers is located close to the batteries. You want the converter and batteries to be close to each other. 12V systems tend to drop voltage pretty quick and that gets worse the more current you are trying to use. You also want to minimize the distance as much as possible. The most current is shared between the converter and the batteries. To me it makes sense to have the 12V system panel up front where all the DC stuff is and the battery boxes are. Also the pig tail to the tow vehicle is up front as well. You can run your AC stuff up front but then where you going to put the shore power pigtail? My center bath trailer has the AC panel in the closet about mid ship on the street side and it makes sense for it to be there. I would think the AC panel being up front would be in the way.

Perry
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Old 03-09-2014, 01:59 PM   #3
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1978 28' Ambassador
Byfield , Massachusetts
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Perry,

Thank you for your post.

I am working with an empty shell and will overhaul the whole interior including brand new wiring.

You are bringing up very good points, regarding the proximity of the batteries, converter and the 12V pig tail.

Those combined panels I am looking at are prewired and have house-style curcuit breakers in them. Therefore I am less concerned about the two different systems energizing each other as long as the wiring is solid.

My major concern is the grounding of each system. Like you said I would ground the 12V at disribution from the panel to the shell. The ground from the AC system would also come out of the same panel, but to the main frame.

However, this means having both grounding points within a of few feet of each other. Therefore I was wondering if that could be a potential hazard.

Thanks again,

Georg
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Old 03-09-2014, 03:37 PM   #4
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1981 31' Excella II
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I don't see why it would be a hazard. As long as you are not using the ground to carry current there should be no hazard. The only hazard is if the shell were to become energized with AC.

Perry
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Old 03-09-2014, 03:56 PM   #5
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1975 31' Sovereign
Palomar Mountain , California
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I did the same thing you want to do last year when I rehabed my '76. I went with a 'Watco 45' unit. It included 110 and 12v distribution panel with brakers plus a modern three stage converter and battery charger in the one unit. Easy to install and have been using it on three trips thus far and am very happy with it - it's a wall (or cabinet) mount.
Am starting to rehab a 27' '69 and will use the same unit.
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