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Old 06-13-2024, 09:59 AM   #1
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50amp Dual Lug Power Distribution Box

I have a friend with a 50 amp trailer, some other brand. An "electrician" installed a WFCO 30 amp panel in the trailer. Certainly not familiar with RV electrical systems. Only one leg of the 50 amp shore power cord is connected to the 120v circuit breakers buss. Guess what, can't run two air conditioners at once, or the microwave and the AC.

So we want to "upgrade" to a real 50 amp distribution panel with a real 50 amp main circuit breaker that is dual pole. The old WFCO panel does have a 120v battery charging converter, and it has a nice 12v fuse panel. We plan on just powering that panel for the battery charger and use it for the 12v fuse panel. Would likely save some money.

I am unsuccessful in finding a 50 amp dual lug 10 circuit breaker box. I need a dual lug box so I can route power to half of the circuits in the trailer and the other half of the circuits like a true 50 amp service does. Each AC will be on a seperate lug of course.

So can you "electricians" out there describe where I can purchase a 50 amp, dual lug, 10 spaces power panel? This old grandpa isn't too good at shopping. Camping World didn't have any, and neither did Home Depot.

Thanks in advance

David
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Old 06-13-2024, 10:30 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by dbj216 View Post
I have a friend with a 50 amp trailer, some other brand. An "electrician" installed a WFCO 30 amp panel in the trailer. Certainly not familiar with RV electrical systems. Only one leg of the 50 amp shore power cord is connected to the 120v circuit breakers buss. Guess what, can't run two air conditioners at once, or the microwave and the AC.

So we want to "upgrade" to a real 50 amp distribution panel with a real 50 amp main circuit breaker that is dual pole. The old WFCO panel does have a 120v battery charging converter, and it has a nice 12v fuse panel. We plan on just powering that panel for the battery charger and use it for the 12v fuse panel. Would likely save some money.

I am unsuccessful in finding a 50 amp dual lug 10 circuit breaker box. I need a dual lug box so I can route power to half of the circuits in the trailer and the other half of the circuits like a true 50 amp service does. Each AC will be on a seperate lug of course.

So can you "electricians" out there describe where I can purchase a 50 amp, dual lug, 10 spaces power panel? This old grandpa isn't too good at shopping. Camping World didn't have any, and neither did Home Depot.

Thanks in advance

David
Not sure why you want to use a MLO (Main Lug Only) panel, you need to have a disconnect so no need for main lugs. RVs use panels without feed lugs, then you install a 2 pole main in the center and backfeed it. You must also secure it with a breaker hold down kit.

Most RV panels have legs A and B arranged in 2 rows next to each other like this "A-A-A-A MAIN-MAIN-B-B-B-B", while a residential panel will have A and B staggered like this "A-B-A-B-MAIN-MAIN-A-B-A-B". This allows for 2 pole loads no matter where the 2 pole breaker is placed, which isn't needed in an RV since the loads are all single pole.

All RV and residential 50 amp or greater panels are 240 volts, with 2 hot buses. You will just backfeed a 2 pole main breaker and re-feed your existing 30 amp panel with a 30 amp breaker on one leg and use the other leg for the new loads, if I am understanding your goal. Having 2 hot exposed lugs would not be useful for anything and would just take up space and pose a shock hazard. You could choose a MBR panel which has a separate main which is supplied with lugs but that is mainly used in sticks and bricks and will not only cost more but takes up quite a bit more space.

Also, when shopping for panels, you will find most have even circuit numbers that divide in 1/2 evenly like 4/8, 6/12, 8/16 etc. The first number refers to spaces and the second refers to total circuits, for example a 6/12 has 6 spaces but up to 12 circuits if you use twin breakers. Don't forget you will have to allow for your back fed main, 2 spaces if using a standard 2 pole breaker and 1 space if using a quad which can give you your main in the center and a single on each side of the main basically giving you 4 circuits in 2 spaces.
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Old 06-13-2024, 10:53 AM   #3
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Here are some RV panels, note one of them is a 30/50 and can be used for either. This would have 2 separate buses, one for each leg

https://www.camperid.com/distribution-panels.html
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Old 06-13-2024, 11:00 AM   #4
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I'm now realizing since you don't need another DC side you may be stuck with a residential MLO. I don't think you'll find an RV panel without a DC section. Here is a typical 8/16 MLO, it would need a 50 amp disconnect ahead of it or a 50 amp 2 pole backfed main (with a hold down kit). You won't find a residential panel like this rated for 50 amps, it will be 100 to 125 amps but you can still use it for 50 amps, the rating is just the max it can be used for. You'll have to remember every other stab is on alternating legs of the service. Due to changing wire bending requirements these panels are bigger than they used to be.

These are sold at home centers pretty cheap. Home Depot does carry some Square D 6/12 panels that are about the smallest I've seen and could work if you use twins but AFAIK Square D doesn't make a 50 amp quad so you'd only be left with 8 circuits after installing a full sized main.

PS: Any residential MLO panel that you buy will have 2 main lugs.
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Old 06-13-2024, 12:26 PM   #5
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Thank you kindly Mr. ItsNoGo, alias Brian: You are very helpful and certainly know electrician work. Here is a photo of the existing WFCO model 8065-AD 30 amp panel for a 50 amp system in my friend's big trailer. Not a successful installation, but no sparks or fires yet.

Thank you for clarifying how a distribution panel works. My friends "main disconnect" is a 50 amp 2 pole breaker. He is using the bottom breaker, and has a piece of tape labeled "do not use" across the top breaker. Open that breaker and we shall have 240 volts applied. Very dangerous.

I can see from your breaker photo the 50 amp inlet power coming in at the bottom of the box: 120v black, 120v red (out of phase to each other. The secret of 50 amp systems for RV seems to me), white common neutral and green ground. But I don't see a 50 amp dual pole "main disconnect" as described in 50 amp RV systems. And all the circuit breakers are 20 amp, no 15 amp ones like I am used to for routine outlets. I use 20 amp circuits for the AC and microwave.

I am no electrician, just a dangerous do it yourselfer. I have installed new 30 amp power distribution panels in my vintage Airstream projects, and wired new circuits mainly for the microwave. I do have a multi meter and wire end crimpers.

Thanks a lot for training me. I'm sure I will have more questions coming up.

David
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Old 06-13-2024, 02:22 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by dbj216 View Post
Thank you kindly Mr. ItsNoGo, alias Brian: You are very helpful and certainly know electrician work. Here is a photo of the existing WFCO model 8065-AD 30 amp panel for a 50 amp system in my friend's big trailer. Not a successful installation, but no sparks or fires yet.

Thank you for clarifying how a distribution panel works. My friends "main disconnect" is a 50 amp 2 pole breaker. He is using the bottom breaker, and has a piece of tape labeled "do not use" across the top breaker. Open that breaker and we shall have 240 volts applied. Very dangerous.

I can see from your breaker photo the 50 amp inlet power coming in at the bottom of the box: 120v black, 120v red (out of phase to each other. The secret of 50 amp systems for RV seems to me), white common neutral and green ground. But I don't see a 50 amp dual pole "main disconnect" as described in 50 amp RV systems. And all the circuit breakers are 20 amp, no 15 amp ones like I am used to for routine outlets. I use 20 amp circuits for the AC and microwave.

I am no electrician, just a dangerous do it yourselfer. I have installed new 30 amp power distribution panels in my vintage Airstream projects, and wired new circuits mainly for the microwave. I do have a multi meter and wire end crimpers.

Thanks a lot for training me. I'm sure I will have more questions coming up.

David
That's definitely a non professional job, switching that other 50 on will result in a line to line short and make some big sparks if that is indeed 240 coming in on the black and red. The bus is not divided into 2 sections on a 30 amp RV panel thus a dead short.

The example I showed was on a boat and while there was no main shown, there could be one further up in the system which would qualify. There is no requirement for the main to be in the panel, as long as it is somewhere in or on the boat/RV/house.

For #12 wire it's 20 amp breakers and for #14 it's 15 amp breakers. Kitchen receptacles are always 20 amps as well as microwaves, water heaters, clothes washers/dryers and AC units. Lights and general use receptacles are usually 15 amps and are referred to as "general lighting" circuits, although more recent codes require more accurate labeling of general use circuits.
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Old 06-13-2024, 02:33 PM   #7
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Looks like Progressive still makes AC only RV panels in several configurations, including a 50/30 split.

https://www.bestconverter.com/PD55B0...anel_p_33.html
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Old 06-15-2024, 06:03 PM   #8
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Thanks a again Brian: Yep, Progressive Dynamics makes a "AC only" 50 amp split phase distribution panel that will hold the main 50 amp dual pole main breaker as well as about 10 circuit breakers split between the two legs of the incoming 50 amp. I think I need a PD55 k 004 showing the main breaker in the middle of the panel. Some of the other panels shown on their web page are designed for solar inputs or maybe generator inputs powering only 3 or 4 circuits. We need to split the two air conditioners between the two 50 amp input legs, which the dual pole 50 amp breaker will do. I know we will not be delivering 50 amps to either leg, likely only half of that.

I do not know where or how to purchase a Progressive Dynamics PD55 k -004. They are not for sale on the Progressive website that I can see. Amazon or ebay do not have the model I think I need. Any suggestions would be helpful.

David
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Old 06-15-2024, 07:01 PM   #9
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Thanks a again Brian: Yep, Progressive Dynamics makes a "AC only" 50 amp split phase distribution panel that will hold the main 50 amp dual pole main breaker as well as about 10 circuit breakers split between the two legs of the incoming 50 amp. I think I need a PD55 k 004 showing the main breaker in the middle of the panel. Some of the other panels shown on their web page are designed for solar inputs or maybe generator inputs powering only 3 or 4 circuits. We need to split the two air conditioners between the two 50 amp input legs, which the dual pole 50 amp breaker will do. I know we will not be delivering 50 amps to either leg, likely only half of that.

I do not know where or how to purchase a Progressive Dynamics PD55 k -004. They are not for sale on the Progressive website that I can see. Amazon or ebay do not have the model I think I need. Any suggestions would be helpful.

David

David, call them on Monday. I've had good experiences talking to the people at PD.
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Old 06-15-2024, 07:14 PM   #10
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The PD55K000 would accomplish the same thing as the PD55K004, one has the 2 pole main on the end while the other has it in the center. With the 000 you would have 8 stabs all to the right of the main with every other stab on the opposing leg. With the 004 you also have 8 stabs with the four on the left being on one leg and the four on the right being on the other. A bit simpler visually when balancing your loads perhaps. Each stab can take a twin breaker giving you a possibility of 8 circuits on leg A and 8 on leg B.

The 000 allows for the possibility of 2 pole loads (240V) just like a redential dwelling panel while the 004 does not but that doesn't mean the 000 cannot be used for all single pole loads (120V), it can be used either way. There is no chance of you accidentally getting 240 to anything in the RV unless you use a 2 pole breaker and run 2 hots to the equipment, won't happen. Even a twin breaker cannot supply 240 volts because it only connects to a single stab, you need both A & B to make 240V. Both panels are 240 volt panels as are all 50 amp RV panels, they just have different bus arrangements.

I like the center main design just because you can easily see which loads are on A and which are on B, with the staggered bus on the 000 it can be confusing but it can still be done.

Looks like the PD55K104 would work too, the only difference is it has a 15 amp outlet on the back

https://www.progressivedyn.com/pd5500-ac/
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Old 06-16-2024, 05:46 AM   #11
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Thanks again Brian: You have been very helpful. I wondered about the model PD55-0000 but didn't understand the stab orientation. Maybe I work better with a split visual. I did "send a message" to Progressive Dynamics, but if they have a customer service phone desk, I will give them a call and confirm my plan and learn where I can acquire the panel box I need.

I'm learning all about the RV 50 amp shore power and find it very interesting. My old Airstreams don't need it, but who knows what the future might bring.

David
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Old 06-19-2024, 09:12 AM   #12
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David airstream 50 amp panel

I have a WFCO 50 amp panel I removed from a 2018 FC27 if your still in need.
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Old 06-19-2024, 06:13 PM   #13
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Mr. Rick: Thank you kindly for the offer. We have ordered a Progressive Dynamics PD55 k 004 50amp dual phase distribution box for less than $100. We are keeping our WFCO 30amp box for the battery converter and the 12v fuse panel. We are doing this to save money as we don't need a new "combination box".

We will see if we can get it wired up correctly without an electrocution or a explosion and fire. Wish us luck. But we will be very careful. And I have an electrician friend who will inspect my work before we power it up to test.

David
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Old 06-19-2024, 06:44 PM   #14
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Mr. Rick: ........

We will see if we can get it wired up correctly without an electrocution or a explosion and fire. Wish us luck. But we will be very careful. And I have an electrician friend who will inspect my work before we power it up to test.

David
Sounds like a good plan. That panel should be fairly straight forward to wire 2 lines (red & black), neutral and ground. Just need a dual 50 amp breaker. Good Luck and NO electrocutions or an explosions and fires.

Rick
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