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Old 08-10-2016, 02:47 PM   #1
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Wiring my first breaker box

Ok so the previous owner had already loosely installed this square D breaker box, and installed the 30amp shore (not yet wired into the box). I have done some very basic electrical work and know I am capable of finishing this project, but wanted to verify which sides are ground and which are neutral. I'm assuming the right side screw is my hot, so the two on the right have to be my neutral and ground. I just don't know which is which. Also, where does everyone ground? And what is the preferred wiring type?

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Old 08-10-2016, 03:18 PM   #2
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Hard to see from pic because I don't know if this is a split phase box.
To me the lug connected to the blades (looks like bottom right) is your hot.
The lug connected to the screw buss bar above the breaker blades is your neutral.

And looks like the lug on left is just bolted to case (ground) and your missing a grounding buss bar... But I can't say for sure!!!!! As it ALSO could be connected to a second (every other blade) hot for a split phase. You need to continuity check that or exam closer and see if the left lug has a bar under it hitting every other breaker. And you again have no grounding buss bar which many times are sold separately...

Is there an exact model number on that square D?
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Old 08-10-2016, 03:26 PM   #3
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Hard to tell from the photo, but some personal observations:

follow the neutral/earth bus bar to the terminal to figure out which terminal is attached.

Your earth and neutral must be isolated when attached to shore power.

You are missing bushings in the knockouts for preventing abrasion. (I know it's just rough right now, just pointing it out)

The screws and fastening of your panel to the frame do not look "proper and workmanship-like" (if I was inspecting)

There's a bonding screw installed (can't isolate your earth and neutral with that)

There aren't enough bus bars to perform isolated earth/neutrals in this model of box without adding parts.


Please don't take this the wrong way, but you need to read up on electrical conventions for rvs, specifically for the americas (assuming you're in the usa). Determining which terminals are hot, earth, and neutral should be easy enough just by inspecting the box.

If you were to simply install breakers and wire things in an obvious way with how it is currently configured, there is a high likelyhood you could energize the chassis with a single faulted circuit.

This is a good book to start with:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/09...=ATVPDKIKX0DER





Quote:
Originally Posted by bread519 View Post
Ok so the previous owner had already loosely installed this square D breaker box, and installed the 30amp shore (not yet wired into the box). I have done some very basic electrical work and know I am capable of finishing this project, but wanted to verify which sides are ground and which are neutral. I'm assuming the right side screw is my hot, so the two on the right have to be my neutral and ground. I just don't know which is which. Also, where does everyone ground? And what is the preferred wiring type?

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Old 08-10-2016, 03:31 PM   #4
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Do not go by looking!!!. Get a continuity tester and verify with a breaker or two installed with no power connected!!! find the actual path of the flow. Confirm which lug connection is tied to what spot (bus bar, case, blade set 1, Blade set 2) that's the true way to verify.
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Old 08-10-2016, 03:58 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by aaronsb View Post
Hard to tell from the photo, but some personal observations:

follow the neutral/earth bus bar to the terminal to figure out which terminal is attached.

Your earth and neutral must be isolated when attached to shore power.

You are missing bushings in the knockouts for preventing abrasion. (I know it's just rough right now, just pointing it out)

The screws and fastening of your panel to the frame do not look "proper and workmanship-like" (if I was inspecting)

There's a bonding screw installed (can't isolate your earth and neutral with that)

There aren't enough bus bars to perform isolated earth/neutrals in this model of box without adding parts.


Please don't take this the wrong way, but you need to read up on electrical conventions for rvs, specifically for the americas (assuming you're in the usa). Determining which terminals are hot, earth, and neutral should be easy enough just by inspecting the box.

If you were to simply install breakers and wire things in an obvious way with how it is currently configured, there is a high likelyhood you could energize the chassis with a single faulted circuit.

This is a good book to start with:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/09...=ATVPDKIKX0DER


Do you think it would be easier to scrap this box and buy a combo unit? Considering there aren't enough bus bars to isolate, and I would need to invest in breakers and a main? At that point I feel almost like I should just scrap this thing and get a unit made for RV
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Old 08-10-2016, 04:03 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Offgr1d View Post
Hard to see from pic because I don't know if this is a split phase box.
To me the lug connected to the blades (looks like bottom right) is your hot.
The lug connected to the screw buss bar above the breaker blades is your neutral.

And looks like the lug on left is just bolted to case (ground) and your missing a grounding buss bar... But I can't say for sure!!!!! As it ALSO could be connected to a second (every other blade) hot for a split phase. You need to continuity check that or exam closer and see if the left lug has a bar under it hitting every other breaker. And you again have no grounding buss bar which many times are sold separately...

Is there an exact model number on that square D?
I can get the actual model if needed. I'm just thinking it may not be worth investing $100 into parts and breakers, if I can spend a extra hundred and get a combo unit that's easier to install
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Old 08-10-2016, 04:32 PM   #7
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I don't like that box.. But that's me. I would prolly scrap it and do a RV distro box that's documented (for you) and made for your application.

I have a house style split phase box, but have my own made transfer switch, generator input, inverter input etc.. I also use 240v...
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Old 08-10-2016, 05:01 PM   #8
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Scrap it and get an RV specific box. I don't know what your power requirements are, but if they are simple, you can get hybrid ac/dc/inverter charger boxes off amazon for RV applications fairly inexpensive.

If you're doing something exotic with solar and lithium batteries that won't cut it, but if your plan is a few big lead acid batteries and some shore power, it'll be just perfect for you.

example:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002UC8PN0...ing=UTF8&psc=1


Quote:
Originally Posted by bread519 View Post
Do you think it would be easier to scrap this box and buy a combo unit? Considering there aren't enough bus bars to isolate, and I would need to invest in breakers and a main? At that point I feel almost like I should just scrap this thing and get a unit made for RV
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Old 08-10-2016, 10:28 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by aaronsb View Post
Scrap it and get an RV specific box. I don't know what your power requirements are, but if they are simple, you can get hybrid ac/dc/inverter charger boxes off amazon for RV applications fairly inexpensive.

If you're doing something exotic with solar and lithium batteries that won't cut it, but if your plan is a few big lead acid batteries and some shore power, it'll be just perfect for you.

example:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002UC8PN0...ing=UTF8&psc=1

That one looks nice. Because my shore line that the PO installed says 30A, I wouldn't want to exceed that tho I'm guessing
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Old 08-10-2016, 11:15 PM   #10
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I have the smaller version of that Progressive Dynamics power center (PD4045) and I'd heartily recommend it. I'm running a 30 amp AC shore power connection.
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