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Old 01-26-2007, 09:30 PM   #1
Bus Nut
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Shore power questions!

I'm only going to put one AC unit on my bus and figure that 30A service will be all I will need. The only other electronics I am going to have are a small fridge, microwave, lights, propane furnace and a radio. I see no reason for 50A service. Anyways, how exactly do you hook up the service? The best I can gather from what I've read, you hook up the shore power and wire that directly to the inverter right? Then your inverter is hooked to the items like the lights and furnace and the battery bank runs the items other than microwave and AC. Do I hook the AC and microwave directly to the shore power line? Thanks for any input!
1993 International Carpenter 10 Window bus
7.3L diesel w/AT545
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Old 01-27-2007, 12:25 AM   #2
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Read your inverter/converter's manual.

Mine is set up in the most simplistic method possible. I have a short 10 gauge feed into a 2 gang outlet in the inverter compartment. You plug that into shore power or the gennie and it powers up those 4 outlets. My inverters have a three outlets each for a total of 6 outlets. I have three circuits in the bus. Each 120v circuit comes down into the compartment with a male plug on it. I plug the fridge and TV circuit into one inverter and the other two into the other inverter. If I want to use shore power, I just plug the circuit's male end into the outlet box in the compartment. I can use any combination of the inverters and the shore power outlets to power the system and cannot possibly have the gennie and inverter powering the same circuit so there is no risk of feedback. A small UPS for the TV and playstation mean that there is no risk of losing game progress when switching power supplies. It also helps the inverter deal with the surge on the off chance we have two fridges on that circuit and they both happen to start up at the same time. The fourth outlet on the shore power outlet box can be used for a charger for the battery bank.

If you are using an inverter/converter, more power to you, but the wiring will be much different. I do not have a circuit breaker box in my setup as all outlets are GFCI protected and the inverters will disconnect in the event of a short or groundfault. I know a whole lot of guys here run a similar setup to what you are talking about and hopefully they will be able to help you out. The purpose of my post was simply to show yet another method because I think it's good to step back and take a simplistic approach to things sometimes too. It all really depends on what your intended purpose is for the bus.

To help everyone out, let us know what kind of inverter you have and how you plan on integrating the 120 and 12 volt systems.
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Old 01-27-2007, 01:41 PM   #3
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my elec

A quick run down.

the center of the system is a iota 50a transfer switch.
The main leg of that transfer switch is powerd by the 6 house batteries and a 3000w inverter. the other leg is powered either by shore or gennerator. in the wiring for the shore power ckt there will be a tap for the iota 55a battery charger. This will eliminate the charger from operating unless i am plugged in or running a generator. there will be an outlet on the outside of the bus to plug the bus into either shore power or my 8000w gennerator. after power exits the transfer switch it goes to a 12ckt breaker can and spreads out to the appliances.
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Old 02-28-2007, 11:14 AM   #4
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OK, you asked about SHORE POWER.

Where you bring the power into the bus, use a large cable made for it...I scarfed mine out of a fifth-wheel rig. it's set up for 50 amp service, but I have 30 and 15 amp adapters.

OK, now that the power is in the bus, run the 120VAC to a breaker panel.
The hot and return wires go through the main breaker, then to the panels's "Bus" bars. Yes, they're called bus bars.
There are three wires, the three wires are:
Hot (black)
Return (white)
Ground (bare wire or green insulated)

You MUST wire the ground wire to the ground/metal of the bus! If you ever get a short, this will protect anyone touching the bus and the outside ground at the same time.....there are many cases of dogs and people being elctrocuted because they were leashed to/touching the bus, and a bad connection grounded them to the soil.

OK, then from the panel, wire the bus as if it were a house. Do NOT use the push-in connections on the back of switches and outlets, as they will probably begin to flex or loosen and cause an intermittant, or even a poor connection leading to a fire. Use the screw-post connections.
Size your wire to an electrician about what guage wire to use.
Install GFCI breakers or outlets, especially where you use outlets in kitchen, bath, or outdoor sockets/outlets. A GFCi breaker pprotects the whole circuit, whereas a GFCI outlet only protects that outlet and any others DOWNSTREAM of it.
Support all wires where they go through bulkheads, cabinets etc. Dangling wires flex and can snap with fatigue.
Lots of folks use heavy GROUNDED extension cords as material for bus 120VAC wiring, as it's meant to flex...buses move and shake, and rigid NM or UF cable doesn't, much.
I recommend tinning the ends of the wires so they STAY wound around the screw connections.

Sure, RV manufacturers use NM cable in the interiors, but they're making a house that moves, NOT a moving shaking bus that also gets lived in.
I'm a fan of heavy extension cords for my bus wiring.

IF you run a gennie, make sure you install a service disconnect. That way you won't accidentally backfeed to a huse, which can elctrocute a power serviceman repairing the wires.
Many folks use a plug/outlet instead of a service disconnect switch:
they run the bus electrical system to a male plug. From there it can either plug into the gennie OR the house/shore connection, but not BOTH.

Hope this answers your questions, NOW go look into the section about Bus Electrical Systems in Tech Discussions, it's a Sticky all Skoolie owners should read.
The tool storage is nice, but where do I put the bed?
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Old 02-28-2007, 08:31 PM   #5
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Great posts all. The only thing I will add is look closely at what kind of equipment you are using. I have two inverters. One is very fancy (expensive) and the other simple (less expensive). The Tripp inverter is my transfer switch, converter and main inverter in one. I also run a second 1200 watt inverter that just gives a modified sine output. This is the backup or high draw unit. Research, ask many questions and READ THE OWNERS MANUAL.

Good luck and be sure to read phred's poop sheets at as they are a wealth of information.

If somthing is unclear, ask and research until you are.

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