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Old 02-04-2010, 09:11 PM   #1
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Electrical questions

I'm in the beginning stages of putting my electrical plans together. I was wondering what kind of method members are using to switch on their interior lights.

Are you using wall mounted switches? If so, are there 12volt ones available?

Do you have self-contained fixtures with switches built in?

What about R/V Distribution panels? Are most of you using them? I'm going to have 12v and 120vac

When you run your 12v wiring, are you running a ground wire for each fixture? Or are you just branching off from each one? What about grounding the battery bank to the chassis? That way the ground of every fixture could be just screwed into the bus steel.

I see that some inverters have a built in transfer switch to switch from shoreline or gen to inverted power. What about the folks that have a gen AND shoreline power? Do you have to physically switch between the gen plug and shoreline plug going into the inverter?

Hope this makes some sense.

Dan
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Old 02-04-2010, 09:27 PM   #2
Ob1
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Re: Electrical questions

I have 12vdc and 120vac lighting at each light location. Whoever built the rig wired it that way. I have changed one light to a store-bought fixture. That fixture I rewired to accept a single 120vac bulb, and use the 12vdc wire to power a 12v bulb that matches the standard light bulb base.

12vdc light is available anytime, and the 120vac when the generator/shore power is hot. Control is by simple toggle switches. Most any switch that is rated for 120vac use easily handles 12vdc use.
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Old 02-04-2010, 09:33 PM   #3
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Re: Electrical questions

I also wanted to add that I will be putting all the electrical under the master bed. I was wondering if I should have a battery bank monitor and switches for water pump, water heater etc.. on an end wall for easier access? Is it even really necessary to have a switch for the water pump or water heater? I would assume that the water pumps are usually "On demand" type?
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Old 02-04-2010, 10:00 PM   #4
Ob1
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Re: Electrical questions

An "on demand" pump will be "on" when there is no pressure in the lines. One of the easiest ways to have no pressure in the lines is to have no water in the tank.

I like my water pump switch!
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Old 02-06-2010, 09:21 AM   #5
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Re: Electrical questions

The voltage rating on switches is based on the insulation - higher voltages (electrical pressures) are more likely to arc over (rupture the 'container') than lower voltages. The current ratings are based on ability to avoid heating - even fractions of an ohm will cause significant heat at high current flows.

DC is tougher on switches than AC. In AC, since the current is changing direction 60 x 2 times per second, the electrons all don't actually have to cross the contacts, as long as they can magnetically influence the electrons on the other side to keep changing direction in sync with them. This is how capacitors work. In DC, the current flow is one-directional, and all electrons must actually cross from one contact to the other. Any poor connection will cause heat with high current, heat causes failures and/or fires.

Up to about 3 amps, I wouldn't worry too much. One switch for one light should be fine. You can even use failure-prone Radio Shack switches. Start running strings of marker light bulbs for illumination at 2-6 amps each, and we are talking currents enough to stress weak connections and components. That's why you usually have a solenoid in the bus to handle the accessory current, instead of running all the accessory power through the key switch. Check for DC ratings for switches used for higher loads, and if possible try to leave a 50% safety margin (i.e. use a 30-amp switch for a 15 amp load).

Yes, you will have to have a means of switching from shoreline to generator and back, whether you have an inverter or not. This could be an automatic transfer switch, a manual transfer switch, or a socket to plug the shoreline into the generator. If the generator is permanent, you could have a cabinet with two outlets instead of a switch, and move a plug from an outlet off of the shoreline to an outlet off of the generator feed.

Reminder: Do not tie the neutral and ground together inside the bus when running on the shoreline. The link is provided by the campground/house providing the power. The difference between RV inverters and residential ones is an extra contact to break the neutral to ground link when external AC is available, and connect them when AC power is coming from the battery. When on generator, the generator wiring should provide the neutral to ground link.
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Old 02-06-2010, 10:26 PM   #6
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Re: Electrical questions

Nice. Some good info here to absorb.

Thanks guys!
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Old 02-08-2010, 12:52 PM   #7
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Re: Electrical questions

That info is not bad. It seems to refer alot to solar panels. I was wondering what most members are using for wire size on the 12 volt side. Preferably the wires feeding the 12 volt lamps and accessories.
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Old 02-08-2010, 08:37 PM   #8
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Re: Electrical questions

Nice Smitty! Thanks!
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Old 02-09-2010, 08:51 PM   #9
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Re: Electrical questions

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Old 02-09-2010, 10:41 PM   #10
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Re: Electrical questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smitty
Don't think I'd wanna buy a mile of 4/0

Smitty
Just imagine what that much copper would be worth! Largest wire I have used is 00 and that was some thick stuff. Don't forget, you would need 2 miles...need a ground cable too!
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