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Old 08-25-2015, 03:47 PM   #151
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Since there haven't been any other replies, I'll take a swing. Here's a block diagram for "some day." Protection devices (fuses, over-current/arc/ground-fault breakers) are omitted for clarity.

For now, my combined transfer switches and AC panel: an outlet strip. It plugs to the generator, inverter, or an extension cord as needed! When I get my roof raise and exterior changes done I'll begin wiring the interior and moving incrementally toward the "some day" ideal above.

Now, to your specific question about shore power. Some people simply have a cord with a male end wired into the bus; a compartment door is built somewhere so that the cord can be stowed and deployed from outside. That's how most RVs do it. Others use (or make) a regular extension cord and mount a marine style recessed male shore power connector in the exterior wall. In either case, you get to the point where there's a hot, neutral, and ground coming into the bus. Hot and neutral go to the AC distribution panel; ground goes to the bus chassis (and the panel ground bar is connected to the chassis too). That's about it for shore power. Choose a wire gauge for the shore power cord based on the power needs and length; add a second hot leg if you want to use 240 volts. The distribution panel in the bus is wired like any non-mobile sub-panel would be.
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Old 08-25-2015, 03:57 PM   #152
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Thank you that's exactly what I was looking for. Is there any way to ground the skin? Or a grounding plate like in electric forklifts or is it best to just keep it 100% isolated. For example would it help to bond a ground wire from the skin to the chassis??
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Old 08-25-2015, 04:03 PM   #153
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I don't know about electric forklifts... but yes, the skin should be grounded. If yours is like mine, though, "the skin" is actually 20-30 separate pieces of sheet metal and it wouldn't be feasible to bond each of them. I'd just cross my fingers that there are enough rivets through each of them to the frame structure that somewhere there'll be a "good enough" electrical connection for each, and I'd bond the incoming grounding wire (groundING is the green one, isn't it? "groundED" is the neutral?) to convenient structure somewhere. Probably a rib in the wall, or the chair rail near the bottom of the wall.
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Old 08-25-2015, 04:26 PM   #154
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Careful about putting a dc-dc charger in between the alternator and batteries. Alternators tend to use the batteries to smooth things out and further really hate being suddenly cut off from power output. What you want is a smart regulator such as from Balmar Voltage Regulators or the like.
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Old 08-25-2015, 04:42 PM   #155
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Definitely good advice. I had contemplated that there'd be separate starting batteries, but didn't include them in the block diagram above. Those Balmar regulators are an interesting solution. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 08-26-2015, 02:36 PM   #156
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Remember to only ground the AC to your bus in a Single location.

As noted a few pages back, more than one AC ground point can cause issues.

Nat
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Old 02-03-2016, 03:02 PM   #157
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Quote:
Originally Posted by family wagon View Post
Since there haven't been any other replies, I'll take a swing. Here's a block diagram for "some day." Protection devices (fuses, over-current/arc/ground-fault breakers) are omitted for clarity.

For now, my combined transfer switches and AC panel: an outlet strip. It plugs to the generator, inverter, or an extension cord as needed! When I get my roof raise and exterior changes done I'll begin wiring the interior and moving incrementally toward the "some day" ideal above.

Now, to your specific question about shore power. Some people simply have a cord with a male end wired into the bus; a compartment door is built somewhere so that the cord can be stowed and deployed from outside. That's how most RVs do it. Others use (or make) a regular extension cord and mount a marine style recessed male shore power connector in the exterior wall. In either case, you get to the point where there's a hot, neutral, and ground coming into the bus. Hot and neutral go to the AC distribution panel; ground goes to the bus chassis (and the panel ground bar is connected to the chassis too). That's about it for shore power. Choose a wire gauge for the shore power cord based on the power needs and length; add a second hot leg if you want to use 240 volts. The distribution panel in the bus is wired like any non-mobile sub-panel would be.
would you mind terribly doing a diagram that overlays the things you omitted: fuses, breakers, anything else you'd consider etc. This has been the most comprehensive diagram for what I want to do, and now I'm just curious where those additional elements would fall.

also, if it's worth noting, i won't be using a solar panel at all, so the three ways that i intend to power are: generator, shore, alternator. the generator would go through the inverter to charge up the battery banks, right? (for if there isn't shore power or alternator to charge them)
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Old 07-26-2016, 01:59 PM   #158
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QUOTE=family wagon;121694]Since there haven't been any other replies, I'll take a swing. Here's a block diagram for "some day." Protection devices (fuses, over-current/arc/ground-fault breakers) are omitted for clarity.
[/QUOTE]


Thank you so very much for the diagram. Seeing the system laid out in this manner sure cleared up a LOT of stuff for me.




Quote:
Originally Posted by family wagon View Post
For now, my combined transfer switches and AC panel: an outlet strip. It plugs to the generator, inverter, or an extension cord as needed! When I get my roof raise and exterior changes done I'll begin wiring the interior and moving incrementally toward the "some day" ideal above.
I have questions.

1. In the diagram above you showed TWO "transfer switches", not counting the one at the generator. As I read this diagram, it appears these are fairly simple a/b sort of switches having a center OFF position which will allow the selection of which source for hot (black wire) 110VAC will be used to feed the the HOT bus in the AC panel.

I've been looking at power transfer switches, and apart from being expensive, they seem to be a lot more than what the job calls for especially because we are only breaking the hot wire and not doing anything with the common or the safety ground.

Could someone suggest a simple, and hopefully cheap manual switch that will do this job? I'm thinking if I label everything clearly I should have no problems running this system.

Question 2 ... Unless you are talking about manually plugging and unplugging the various extensions cords, I really do not understand you comments about using a outlet strip as transfer switches and AC panel.


In any event ...thank you again for this extremely useful diagram.
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Old 07-26-2016, 04:27 PM   #159
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Originally Posted by Tedd View Post
1. In the diagram above you showed TWO "transfer switches", not counting the one at the generator. As I read this diagram, it appears these are fairly simple a/b sort of switches having a center OFF position which will allow the selection of which source for hot (black wire) 110VAC will be used to feed the the HOT bus in the AC panel.

I've been looking at power transfer switches, and apart from being expensive, they seem to be a lot more than what the job calls for especially because we are only breaking the hot wire and not doing anything with the common or the safety ground.

Could someone suggest a simple, and hopefully cheap manual switch that will do this job? I'm thinking if I label everything clearly I should have no problems running this system.
Depends on how much power you want to switch. Also, center-off isn't required (but doesn't hurt). Here are some ideas:
  • 120 V, 20 A max: Leviton 3-way switch under the covers, it's just a glorified single-pole double-throw switch. Note that this is the commercial version; the cheaper residential version is a 15 A switch.
  • 120 V, 30 A max: DPDT relay Incidentally, several of the Amazon reviews mention they're using this relay to build a DIY transfer switch... You can make it automatic by wiring the coil to one of the incoming supplies, or you can make it manual by using a smaller SPDT switch so that the coil can be powered by either incoming supply.

A 240 V system could be done similarly, but DPDT switches (also called Form "C") would be needed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tedd View Post
Question 2 ... Unless you are talking about manually plugging and unplugging the various extensions cords, I really do not understand you comments about using a outlet strip as transfer switches and AC panel.
Yep.. that's exactly what was meant. It's a self-documenting control system that virtually anybody can operate and diagnose.
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Old 09-04-2016, 12:47 PM   #160
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HEY FAMILY WAGON,

I discussed adding a 2nd inverter to your diagram. Is this correct? (My up date uses a red pen for the hot 110VAC and switch add on:

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