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Old 09-30-2013, 11:26 AM   #1
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Wire to Battery safe distance?

Context: 65 TW, we have already moved batteries to tongue from under bed, converter is on street side on bottom of bath cabinet, power distribution panel is on curb side rear access.

Question: Since we moved the batteries to tongue do we meed to move the converter closer to it or can it stay back where it is?

Conflict: We are getting conflicted advice about running the new wire ALL THAT WAY to battery, if we leave the converter in back. Are we creating a fire hazard or other problems by leaving converter so car away from battery.
Thanks in advance for advice.
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Old 09-30-2013, 11:43 AM   #2
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Actually, the problems are the distance from the batteries to the load (distribution panel), and fuse protecting the long wires to the batteries.

You can run wires to the batteries where they are and leave everything else where it is, but you need to install a big fuse(guesstimate would be 50 amp) in the wires, and locate it close to the batteries. Also the wire needs to be really large, like at least #4, but bigger would be better. And the wire needs to be protected well from any abrasion point.
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Old 09-30-2013, 11:55 AM   #3
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Steve, that was what I was intending to ask. Thank you for the feedback. We bought 4g wire to run. We'll get a little more input on the size fuse and make a decision.
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Old 09-30-2013, 12:07 PM   #4
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What Steve said is correct. Large wire, and fuse at the back as well as front. Back to protect the converter/charger and front to protect the battery. That way any fault on the line between would be safe from power from the battery or converter.
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Old 09-30-2013, 01:18 PM   #5
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Closer to the batteries the better. You will get voltage drop and may not get the voltage to keep the batteries charged The converter will give the proper voltage for battery maintenance but the voltage may be significantly lower and may starve the batteries
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Old 09-30-2013, 01:27 PM   #6
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Thank you both/all for your input. So the batteries are already on tongue in a protective box (just moved them there). Would it be of value to move the converter forward , that is still a option. As of now we do not plan a shell off whole trailer rewiring so I don't think we'll be moving the power distribution source forward. We have purchased the wire in 4G and will add two 50 amp fuses one for each end.
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Old 09-30-2013, 01:28 PM   #7
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I always thought it was the AMPERAGE involved which determined the need for those huge battery cables. I use 10 gauge wires and a 35 AMP fuse about 12 to 18 inches from the batteries. But, I am certainly not an electrician.
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Old 09-30-2013, 01:35 PM   #8
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Calculating wire and fuse sizes.

If you want to check yourself, you can use the Circuit Wizard on the Blue Sea website: Circuit Wizard - Blue Sea Systems# You just fill in the blanks and the tool does the math including any additional de-rating factors. Notice that this tool is also available a free app for IOS or Android devices.

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Old 09-30-2013, 01:39 PM   #9
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One uses larger wire to overcome the loss due to length.

More simply, a 12 gauge wire might safely carry a 15 amp load 6 feet, but increase the length to 20 feet, and the wire would need to be 8 gauge to safely provide the same current and voltage.

As for fuses, because the converter supplies power when plugged in, and the batteries have a reserve of power, this means the connecting wire is "double fed". So, a fuse at both ends protects the circuit in the event problem at either end, or in the middle.

Simply put, in the limited length of an Airstream trailer, so long as one runs a large gauge wire, any component can be anywhere.

In our '09 front bed, the batteries are on the tongue and the converter is midship, under the pantry.

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Old 09-30-2013, 01:59 PM   #10
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Thank you everybody keep it up and eventually we may feel like we know what we're talking about. This is quite a team effort. We have us and a friend working on trailer at his place because we can't store at home, we have a couple local streaming friends we email, we have VTS & INLAND on speed dial, and we have the forum family to enlighten us. Hubby and friend do most of the mulling over, wife reads forum and asks the questions, shows the answers to hubby and we both try to regurgitate the correct info to fixer friend. AND... we are meeting new streaming friends over Thanksgiving 4 Corners get together for more imput.
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Old 10-04-2013, 11:24 AM   #11
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Which cable to install the breakers?

To follow-up: We are going to install 4ga wire, we are going to install two 50AMP, Type III, manual reset, circuit breakers, we just ordered from Zoro Tools Industrial Supplies. Item Number:SAE J1117.

We are going to install one breaker, 12" from the batteries on the positive side. This matches the recommendation from the manufacturer of the converter.

Question 1: At the other end, which cable (positive or negative) should the 2nd breaker be attached to?

And Question 2: Would it be better to place that 2nd breaker between the power distribution panel and the batteries OR between the power distribution panel and the converter?
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Old 10-04-2013, 12:49 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hittenstiehl View Post
To follow-up: We are going to install 4ga wire, we are going to install two 50AMP, Type III, manual reset, circuit breakers, we just ordered from Zoro Tools Industrial Supplies. Item Number:SAE J1117.

We are going to install one breaker, 12" from the batteries on the positive side. This matches the recommendation from the manufacturer of the converter.

Question 1: At the other end, which cable (positive or negative) should the 2nd breaker be attached to?

And Question 2: Would it be better to place that 2nd breaker between the power distribution panel and the batteries OR between the power distribution panel and the converter?
Always fuse the positive lead as the negative should be tied to ground, and fuse the wire going front to the batteries. The converter should already have it's own fuse. The idea is you want to protect the long cable on each end from possible shorts in the center.
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Old 10-04-2013, 01:24 PM   #13
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Breaker, Breaker

Thanks Steve for the follow up clarification, the 2 circuit breakers are already on their way.

PS Am using a home computer today as opposed to Droid APP (big pages and big print) and we see you are on, or have had 8 different trailers and are from Common Sense, Texas. It is nice to get good advice from someone with so much experience and sensibility.
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Old 10-04-2013, 02:30 PM   #14
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Thanks, but just don't try to find it on the map. :-)
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