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Old 12-18-2017, 07:34 PM   #1
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Electricity for Dummies

I am reading through many of the discussions and while I still have some to go, I have questions I'm not finding clear answers on. I expect these to be ballpark estimates and I know it depends on where i go yada yada, with that common sense stuff behind us,, anyone care to elaberate on these concerns I am having regarding electricity? Thanks!

Thought one: I'd rather leave the installing electricity in the bus to someone other than me that knows what they are doing. I only want to run a medium sized frig, microwave, lamp, and have an outlet for computer/or running a vaccum or something like that, I know i need to tally up these items wattage to determine the total power needed, but I think I should get all the appliances ready, have on the bus and find someone to install everything.

In general, what does anything think I can expect to spend to do this, what is probably to expensive? Or better yet, has anyone else had anyone do this for them, and about how much did it cost ya to have electricity put on a bus?

Any advice for beginners when seeking a place to have this done? Should I just call any electrician or consult in an RV repair/sales/service type center?

How long does this typically take to do?
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Old 12-18-2017, 07:45 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by mdbutler79 View Post
I am reading through many of the discussions and while I still have some to go, I have questions I'm not finding clear answers on. I expect these to be ballpark estimates and I know it depends on where i go yada yada, with that common sense stuff behind us,, anyone care to elaberate on these concerns I am having regarding electricity? Thanks!

Thought one: I'd rather leave the installing electricity in the bus to someone other than me that knows what they are doing. I only want to run a medium sized frig, microwave, lamp, and have an outlet for computer/or running a vaccum or something like that, I know i need to tally up these items wattage to determine the total power needed, but I think I should get all the appliances ready, have on the bus and find someone to install everything.

In general, what does anything think I can expect to spend to do this, what is probably to expensive? Or better yet, has anyone else had anyone do this for them, and about how much did it cost ya to have electricity put on a bus?

Any advice for beginners when seeking a place to have this done? Should I just call any electrician or consult in an RV repair/sales/service type center?

How long does this typically take to do?
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Old 12-18-2017, 07:51 PM   #3
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You have to ask yourself a lot of questions to know what kind of system you need before anyone can estimate the expense. Are you also installing solar for charging your batteries or just charging them off the grid? There's to many unknowns.
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Old 12-18-2017, 08:11 PM   #4
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The electrical can only proceed in relation to the rest of the conversion. Can take a while depending on the complexity. Nobody in their right mind would quote a price, maybe for materials but you can do that part.
In fact learn how to wire it yourself and then you know how to repair it if ever.
Electricity is NOT for dummies, it can and will kill you without respect for it.

John
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Old 12-19-2017, 06:09 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdbutler79 View Post
I am reading through many of the discussions and while I still have some to go, I have questions I'm not finding clear answers on.
For the most part, there are no clear answers because every situation/installation is different. A lot of people have been frustrated looking for "the answer" when it always depends on many factors. If you've never spent time in a motorhome, I would think it will be very difficult to know what you want/need. So, it will be trial and error. I like to design the entire system before starting on it. Many times the choices are intertwined. However; this is not the required approach - especially if your 'wants' are unknown.

My desired electrical system is documented here:
Electrical System Design - JdFinley.com

It is not for everyone and it is not cheap. However; it is what I 'wanted' based on living in motorhomes for a few years.

If you just asking about a simple 120VAC system to run your house items from shore power and do not want to worry about a battery bank, battery monitor, solar panels/charger, generator, etc... right now, the cost is not huge (IMHO). You'll need a breaker box/panel, breakers, a bunch of 12/3 or 14/3 wire, and wall sockets/boxes/plates. Some people run their wiring in conduit, some don't - I didn't. You'll also need a way to connect shore power to the breaker panel. Obviously the cost of this varies based on the number of circuits, length of wire, etc. but you'll probably spend several hundred dollars (the circuit breakers seem to be the most expensive items).

There are a number of decisions mixed into the above - what kind of wall boxes, what size/gauge of wire, how big of a breaker panel (how many circuits), etc... Once you work your way thru that, you'll probably have a much better understanding of AC wiring.

Running all the wire is probably the most time consuming task and anyone can do that. Actually stripping wire and hooking it up is actually pretty relaxing work (IMHO, at least compared to pulling the wire!).

I suppose a warning is in order. If none of this sounds like "fun", a DIY project may not be for you. Because, after the 120VAC system, you get to do the same with the 12VDC system, the plumbing system, the heating system, the cooling system, etc... There is nothing wrong with a motorhome where all of the work has been done and you just get to enjoy it (even a motorhome requires plenty of understanding/maintenance).

Not sure any of this helps... I think I was rambling... Sorry...
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Old 12-19-2017, 07:36 AM   #6
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I'd be glad to stop by and show you what I have done to my bus - you can see what works and doesn't work for me - then build from that.
I will be close to you on Friday.
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