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Old 06-16-2018, 09:53 AM   #1
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Running all exterior lights from House Battery

I have an all mechanical bus. I'm very seriously considering running all of my lights (turn signals, headlights, high beams, clearance lights, etc) from my house batteries. I would leave my brake lights and reverse lights alone. The wiring is a mess, even after I've removed a ton of stuff.

I have to completely redo my dash and gauges anyway, since all the gauge glass is broken and I can't see the gauges while driving. I think that for me, it would be easier to just rewire all my lights to rocker switches on the dash. I would use the appropriate flasher solenoids where needed.

Does this seem rediculious? Maybe it is. I'm not sure, but I'm really kind of annoyed with the drivers area. Has anyone done anything like this?
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Old 06-16-2018, 11:49 AM   #2
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How do you keep your house batteries charged when driving?
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Old 06-16-2018, 11:52 AM   #3
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How do you keep your house batteries charged when driving?
Solar panels. 4 x 350 watt panels and 4 x 200 ah batteries. I'll also have a Genny to run road air from rooftop A/C
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Old 06-16-2018, 02:01 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ninjakitty View Post
I have an all mechanical bus. I'm very seriously considering running all of my lights (turn signals, headlights, high beams, clearance lights, etc) from my house batteries. I would leave my brake lights and reverse lights alone. The wiring is a mess, even after I've removed a ton of stuff.

I have to completely redo my dash and gauges anyway, since all the gauge glass is broken and I can't see the gauges while driving. I think that for me, it would be easier to just rewire all my lights to rocker switches on the dash. I would use the appropriate flasher solenoids where needed.

Does this seem rediculious? Maybe it is. I'm not sure, but I'm really kind of annoyed with the drivers area. Has anyone done anything like this?
Our wiring is pretty scary also. We've taken a fair amount out and traced more. So far the bus still starts and we've only screwed up the windshield wipers and possibly the clearance lights. Not too bad considering. We are buying electrical components now to be able to begin to do the new stuff. I am concerned about the AC and DC wiring in the same area though and using conduits. The new code says A and DC can't share the same conduit unless they have a barrier in between. But I can't find info on how far apart they need to be, or if two different PVC conduits would work, and I don't understand how much wire can go thru one conduit or how long it can be without causing heat buildup problems. I have some PVC pipe that is plumbing pipe about 1.5 or 2" diameter which is much larger than the PVC electrical conduit I've see which was more like 1/2". If I do the long runs in that am I ok? Can I use the flexible split wire protector stuff that the bus came with for one set and the PVC for the other set? I know if they cross it has to be at 90 degree angles to each other (no idea why, but I read it and my son said "Duh." when I asked if he knew that. I asked how he knew that and he said "uh, life?" I'm 50 and life never taught me that, but whatever. I homeschooled for years and I am still amazed at all the stuff my kid picked up one place or another. He also went to an unconventional private HS and learned A LOT of interesting life skills in addition to normal academic things. I digress.

Does one of the conduits need to be metal to shield the other conduit from some elctromagnetic something from the other? If I keep the conduits shorter than a certain length will I avoid heat build up problems?

I am CLUELESS other than knowing there are some potential issues that I need to avoid. My son does have an RV electrical book. Should that be sufficient to avoid problems?
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Old 06-16-2018, 02:14 PM   #5
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Oh boy, I don't really know how to answer your questions but I'm sure some here can. I'm trying to avoid that whole issue by running all my 12v DC lines along the top where the original lines were and all my 120v AC lines under the lip on the chair rail.
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Old 06-16-2018, 02:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ninjakitty View Post
I'm very seriously considering running all of my lights (turn signals, headlights, high beams, clearance lights, etc) from my house batteries. I would leave my brake lights and reverse lights alone. The wiring is a mess, even after I've removed a ton of stuff.

I have to completely redo my dash and gauges anyway, since all the gauge glass is broken and I can't see the gauges while driving. I think that for me, it would be easier to just rewire all my lights to rocker switches on the dash. I would use the appropriate flasher solenoids where needed.
If you have a use case for running all those exterior lights while the engine is off then it could make sense to power them from the house batteries. Otherwise, I don't see a lot of benefit to be gained by going through the trouble of re-routing wiring and installing new switches that do fundamentally the same thing as the old switches.

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I am concerned about the AC and DC wiring in the same area though and using conduits. The new code says A and DC can't share the same conduit unless they have a barrier in between. I'm not sure I've seen a barrier to split a single conduit (except innerduct used in the telecom industry). Better to use separate conduits. But I can't find info on how far apart they need to be, or if two different PVC conduits would work, and I don't understand how much wire can go thru one conduit or how long it can be without causing heat buildup problems. The conduits can be right next to each other if you like. For this application the conduit can be whatever material you prefer: rigid, EMT, ENT, PVC, even split loom tubing for the low-voltage stuff. I have some PVC pipe that is plumbing pipe about 1.5 or 2" diameter which is much larger than the PVC electrical conduit I've see which was more like 1/2". If I do the long runs in that am I ok? The only thing that controls conduit diameter is the amount of fill, in other words, the amount of wire that needs to fit inside. There are tables for this in the electrical code, but for a simple DIY bus-builder rule of thumb, 1/2 to 2/3 full might be an appropriate limit. Length doesn't matter. Can I use the flexible split wire protector stuff that the bus came with for one set and the PVC for the other set? I know if they cross it has to be at 90 degree angles to each other (no idea why, but I read it and my son said "Duh."). To the degree that you're concerned about electrical noise from the AC lines getting into the DC lines, separate them as much as is reasonable and make crossings at 90 degrees. If you're not concerned about it, then don't bother. Typically this might be a concern for cables carrying computer networking, audio, or RF (antenna signals). For DC circuits like lighting it's not an issue at all.

Does one of the conduits need to be metal to shield the other conduit from some elctromagnetic something from the other? If I keep the conduits shorter than a certain length will I avoid heat build up problems? Heating depends only on the amount of wire stuffed inside and the current it carries. Length doesn't matter. Most circuits in an RV should be so low current and intermittent duty that heating won't be an issue.
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Old 06-16-2018, 03:02 PM   #7
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I don't really have any old switches. They are gone
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Old 06-16-2018, 03:32 PM   #8
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Did you see something somewhere that gave you the impression at least that that was dar enough apart? I guess the metal lip of the chair rail is a metal separation and you could do your pet for water BELOW the electrical in that area. I would like to do the "water below electrical" approach.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ninjakitty View Post
Oh boy, I don't really know how to answer your questions but I'm sure some here can. I'm trying to avoid that whole issue by running all my 12v DC lines along the top where the original lines were and all my 120v AC lines under the lip on the chair rail.
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Old 06-16-2018, 06:09 PM   #9
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I've read there needs to be a partition between ac and DC. I'll be having mine almost 5' apart. My AC will be in conduit and my DC will be in some of that plastic wire wrapping. the PEX will be run underneath the conduit
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Old 06-17-2018, 07:25 PM   #10
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The separation and partition thing isn't meant to be so complicated. "Partitioning" is a concept that really has meaning only in a junction box that needs to hold high and low voltage devices. The partition is simply a little piece added in the field as shown here.
https://youtu.be/3gzculQnEpY

Lines for water, low voltage, and high voltage can be installed as near or far apart as may be convenient. There isn't a science, code, or best practices need to arrange them with any minimum separation (excepting noise-sensitive electrical circuits). Separation is important only at places where the water is designed to get out -- sinks and what-not. Even at that, wires routinely run right behind or under sinks; only the separation to actual devices like outlets and switches is controlled by electrical code.
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