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Old 05-26-2005, 04:05 PM   #1
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Need Electrical Help !!

hi gang,
Does anyone have any info about how to wire a breaker box correctly???

Moss is doing the electrical and is hung up on this part.Thanks !!-Pix
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Old 05-26-2005, 05:17 PM   #2
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To be more specific, I am wondering about two things. First, does anyone have a simple diagram of where the wires go in a regular breaker box? Does it matter where the white and black cords go since it is alternating current? (I am speaking of the main wires not the ones conected to the individual breakers)
The second is about the relay on the batteries. There are two big terminals ,I know they are connected to the positive terminals of the baterys, but there is athird terminal on top . It is smaller and I assume it is a ground. Does it get ground to the bus or to one of the ground terminals? If it go's to one of the ground terminals, which one? Is it the battery I wish to start the vehicle with or is it the batterys I wish to power the electricity? Thanx for any help you can provide.
Moss,
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Old 05-26-2005, 05:39 PM   #3
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I'll try to help but I have to admit I don't completely understand what you are asking.

The breaker box can go anywhere, preferably a central location so that you can run shorter wires to all the outlets. You can physically run your AC cables anywhere, keep in mind you don't want them to get creased, pinched, cut, or worn. If you mean, where should the main wires run; at most campsites the electrical hookup is on the left side. So put the plug for shore power on the left side of the bus.

I don't understand what you are asking about the batteries. Are you using a relay to turn on and off power from the batteries to the inverter? As for hooking up a three terminal relay, the two big terminals will connect between the source and destination of what you want to turn on and off. The third wire is called the signal wire, this activates the relay to connect and disconnect the two larger terminals. You will want to connect it to a switch, or a remote sender on another device to turn it on automatically.
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Old 05-26-2005, 06:06 PM   #4
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Thanks for the reply!!

Actually, what I was asking about was where the black and white wires go in the breaker box not where the breaker box goes. There are two screws besides the grounding screw and I don't know If it matters where the white and black wires go.

The other problem I am having is that I am trying to isolate the starting battery from the reserve batterys. I was told to get a relay. Whenever I read about what I am trying to do , they mention the word Isolator. Are these two items the same thing or was I given bad advice ?? -Moss
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Old 05-26-2005, 06:30 PM   #5
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Here is a guide on hooking up your breaker box:

Installing A Circuit Breaker

An isolator is NOT the same thing as a relay. A relay is an electronically activated switch. An isolator is a set of diodes that allow current to only flow in one direction. Here is a picture of the isolator in my bus:



The isolator will allow your alternator to charge both the engine battery, and battery bank without needing to be switched back and forth. It will also allow you to run your inverter off your bank and not have to worry about draining the engine battery because it will not allow current to flow in that direction.
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Old 05-26-2005, 06:45 PM   #6
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Hi Pix and Moss,

The breaker box should be easy to connect. There are three connections in a breaker box, one is the Hot, another is the neutral, and the third is ground.

The easy thing about the box is that everything is that it's all color coded. The black wire goes to the brass colored connectors of the box (the connector that goes through the circuit breaker), the white goes to the lighter colored connector of the box, and the green goes to the green colored screw of the box.

When connecting the box, make sure that the box is not grounded to the bus chassis (isolate the box from any metal on the bus) and connect all of the green wires to that green wire.

I hope this makes sense but, if it doesn't, go to the nearest Home Depot and ask the guy in electrical, on how to connect the box.

I hope this helps.
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Old 05-26-2005, 07:28 PM   #7
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Steve,

Thanks for the link, that should help them a lot.
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Old 05-26-2005, 09:00 PM   #8
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You guys are awsome! Thanks for the info. -Pixie
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Old 05-27-2005, 06:43 AM   #9
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I believe that you do want your AC box grounded to the bus body. If it were not, and the hot lead were to make contact with the body, your whole bus would have a 110 volt potential to ground – which would be a nasty surprise to anyone walking up and laying a hand on it….

What you don’t want is for the neutral (white) wire to be grounded to the body. A lot of the breaker boxes that you might buy in a Home Depot-type store will have a bolt you can install to short the neutral to the box (ground). If this were done on a box installed in a bus, some of the current that would normally flow through the neutral might decide to shortcut through someone touching the bus. Not as nasty as scenario #1, but it could still be hair-raising.

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Old 05-27-2005, 07:34 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Bullwinkle
I believe that you do want your AC box grounded to the bus body. If it were not, and the hot lead were to make contact with the body, your whole bus would have a 110 volt potential to ground – which would be a nasty surprise to anyone walking up and laying a hand on it….

What you don’t want is for the neutral (white) wire to be grounded to the body. A lot of the breaker boxes that you might buy in a Home Depot-type store will have a bolt you can install to short the neutral to the box (ground). If this were done on a box installed in a bus, some of the current that would normally flow through the neutral might decide to shortcut through someone touching the bus. Not as nasty as scenario #1, but it could still be hair-raising.

A. Moose
THE INFORMATION BELOW ABOUT GROUNDING THE AC IS WRONG! YOU DO GROUND THE AC TO THE BUS. NEUTRAL SHOULD NOT BE BONDED TO THE GROUND, BUT THE AC SHOULD BE GROUNDED TO THE CHASSIS. Edit added after I went back and read the instruction manual again....

Negative, negative. Do NOT ground the AC to the bus body. RV's should have a "floating" ground. That is, the ground should ONLY connect to the ground through the ground on the shore power cord to the campgrounds ground at the campground's distribution box. You are absolutely correct that you do not want a hot or neutral wire to short out to the body. If you ground the bus body, there is a greater likelihood of YOU being the ground to the bus if you touch a hot wire. If you have no ground to the body, and touch a hot wire and the bus, there will be a less effective path for the electricity to follow.

First, there are two kinds of breaker boxes, "mains breaker" and "mains lug". The difference is that in one there is a big breaker on the incoming hot supply line(s), while with the other, the incoming hot supply lines are just screwed down with a lug (bolt), and there is no breaker between the bus and the "mains" (service line).

Inside the breaker box (distribution panel) there should be two bars with a bunch of screws in them. One is for ground, and one is for neutral. All the ground wires (including the incoming service ground) get hooked to the ground bar. All the neutral wires (including the incoming service line neutral) get hooked to the neutral bar. All of the hot wires get hooked to breakers (including the incoming service line hot wires).

Some breaker boxes give you an option to connect the ground terminals directly to the neutral terminals via an optional connecting do-hickey that swivels over from the ground to the neutral side. DON'T. The ground and neutral on the bus should remain completely separate. Be sure not to bolt the service box to any metal on the bus -- don't bolt it to a wood panel and run the bolts into the bus, either, as that's the same as bolting to the bus. Absolute separation.

Extremely good information on this topic in http://www.phrannie.org/battery.html . Phred recommends the following book:

"Another must-have book is "RV Electrical Systems" by Bill and Jan Moeller. With both AC and DC electrical systems and excellent 12 volt coverage, it is the best source I've seen on 120 volt AC systems. If it's not covered in this book, you can probably get along without it. The authors go into extraordinary detail without getting into engineering "lingo" and tell you things nobody else does (and those things many authors assume we already know--that we don't). With this book you won't be the dumbutt at a rally who miswires something and screws everybody else up. $19.95, 265 pages, detailed illustrations. In many bookstores, RV stores and from Amazon."

I got the book. WELL WORTH THE PRICE. Extremely valuable information. Saved me more than the price by just preventing me from making ignorant screw-ups.
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