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Old 04-07-2021, 02:04 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Year: 2002
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Interior wiring placement

Hi!

I can't seem to find any definitive answers on WHERE to place the interior wiring.

I've seen them attached to the wall frames, I've seen holes drilled out of the wall strips for piping, I've seen wall strips with a 1"-2" pocket at the bottom for wires, and I've seen wired pulled through between the bus ribs and the wood furring strips. But nothing about the reasons for each method.

Can anyone give guidance on how to place the interior wires? Thanks so much!

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Old 04-09-2021, 10:39 AM   #2
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Your big considerations are going to be:
-Time
-Money
-Ease of maintenance/repairs
-Special considerations unique to your build

If you run wires and then spray foam it, it’ll be fast, but you’ll be limited on how much work you can do on your electrical when done.

If you run conduit, then you’re limited in how many wires per conduit, increase the thickness of your walls and increase cost. But, you have a little more flexibility in future work.

It’s always a set of trade offs unique to your build. What do you want to do?
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Old 04-09-2021, 12:04 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biscuitsjam View Post
Your big considerations are going to be:
-Time
-Money
-Ease of maintenance/repairs
-Special considerations unique to your build

If you run wires and then spray foam it, it’ll be fast, but you’ll be limited on how much work you can do on your electrical when done.

If you run conduit, then you’re limited in how many wires per conduit, increase the thickness of your walls and increase cost. But, you have a little more flexibility in future work.

It’s always a set of trade offs unique to your build. What do you want to do?
Oh goodness, these are all great questions. Thanks so much!

I'm planning on using Havelock wool for insulation. The conduit sounds nice and clean but also more difficult for repairs and such, so I probably wouldn't do that? My main concern is probably space and ease of repairs. I can work out the time and money as needed. Every time I feel like I get the electrical thing, something comes up that reminds me I don't haha
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Old 04-09-2021, 05:03 PM   #4
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If there's even a slight chance you will have to come back to do work on something, use conduit. Everywhere. Think hard about every wire you run- ask yourself how you'll replace it if it gets cut or add more wires to an area.


You can't make everything 100% futureproof, but you can reduce your future headaches 80% by making your infrastructure easy to work with, and by being consistent. I used the harshest part of the curve in the roof as a dead space for wire runs and still have room to work with if I need to run more stuff.
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Old 04-09-2021, 05:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kazetsukai View Post
If there's even a slight chance you will have to come back to do work on something, use conduit. Everywhere. Think hard about every wire you run- ask yourself how you'll replace it if it gets cut or add more wires to an area.


You can't make everything 100% futureproof, but you can reduce your future headaches 80% by making your infrastructure easy to work with, and by being consistent. I used the harshest part of the curve in the roof as a dead space for wire runs and still have room to work with if I need to run more stuff.
Oh amazing, THANK YOU! I'm definitely trying to invest more time/money/energy on the infrastructure - how know how the foundation of anything impacts the thing itself.

Knowing the thing about conduit really helps, and I'll definitely do more research, as well using the curve part of the roof for wire runs. WHERE to run the wires keeps tripping me up - do they go through the wood frame strips? Under them? Over the wood and under a nail plate? Behind the wood but over the metal ribs? It's all very confusing.
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Old 04-09-2021, 05:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RebekahZ View Post
WHERE to run the wires keeps tripping me up - do they go through the wood frame strips? Under them? Over the wood and under a nail plate? Behind the wood but over the metal ribs?
Depends on preference, you generally don't want (even insulated) wire touching metal directly. In home construction, holes are made through the frame to allow wires to pass inside the wall. I would run alone the curve of the roof as I stated then go down into the wall where you want the wires to end up- I did this for my light switches. My lights in the ceiling ran parallel to the ceiling boards to the nearest end of the bus, the switches ran along the curve of the ceiling to the nearest end into a barrier strip, and then from the barrier strip to my electrical cabinet. You could do the same, run the light switch wire to the nearest end of the bus.



That's if you want stuff IN WALL. If you like the look of metal, metal EMT can be done ON WALL- where you seal up your walls first then run all electrical in EMT on the outside of the wall- instead of switches embedded into the wall itself, you have a metal box mounted to the wall with a switch in it, and a thin metal conduit running back to its destination. I think metaspencer did a prison bus conversion with metal conduit on wall...


If you are going for a wood/cabin look, metal conduit runs actually kinda look nice. I went with a wood/stainless theme in our bus, but I didn't run conduit on wall. A more modern/sheet rock/whitewall look might not go so well with metal conduit runs.
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Old 04-09-2021, 05:32 PM   #7
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To confuse you more, some one else here once suggested that you add extra wires in your conduit - all that you can without overheating them. Then if you want to add another circuit for something in the future that you simply can not forsee now, you are already set up.


Good Luck!
Aloha!
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Old 04-09-2021, 05:49 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kazetsukai View Post
Depends on preference, you generally don't want (even insulated) wire touching metal directly. In home construction, holes are made through the frame to allow wires to pass inside the wall. I would run alone the curve of the roof as I stated then go down into the wall where you want the wires to end up- I did this for my light switches. My lights in the ceiling ran parallel to the ceiling boards to the nearest end of the bus, the switches ran along the curve of the ceiling to the nearest end into a barrier strip, and then from the barrier strip to my electrical cabinet. You could do the same, run the light switch wire to the nearest end of the bus.



That's if you want stuff IN WALL. If you like the look of metal, metal EMT can be done ON WALL- where you seal up your walls first then run all electrical in EMT on the outside of the wall- instead of switches embedded into the wall itself, you have a metal box mounted to the wall with a switch in it, and a thin metal conduit running back to its destination. I think metaspencer did a prison bus conversion with metal conduit on wall...


If you are going for a wood/cabin look, metal conduit runs actually kinda look nice. I went with a wood/stainless theme in our bus, but I didn't run conduit on wall. A more modern/sheet rock/whitewall look might not go so well with metal conduit runs.
Ohhhh gotcha. I see it now (visual learner and dyslexic, over here lol). That makes complete sense and like a good idea. :] Thanks so much, I so appreciate your insight!
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Old 04-09-2021, 05:50 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mountain Gnome View Post
To confuse you more, some one else here once suggested that you add extra wires in your conduit - all that you can without overheating them. Then if you want to add another circuit for something in the future that you simply can not forsee now, you are already set up.


Good Luck!
Aloha!
Ha! Confusion is the definition of Skoolie Conversion. ;) That definitely makes sense and probably smart if you anticipate continuing to build onto the bus post-moving in. I'll definitely keep it in mind, thanks so much!
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Old 04-09-2021, 07:15 PM   #10
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We ran our conduit on the outside of the walls, at the top edge of the windows, all the way around the bus (except the cab area), with the outlets and some sconces attached to the posts between the windows. It's kind of an industrial look, I guess. It was easy to install this way, and we use the conduit as a curtain rod.
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Old 04-09-2021, 08:41 PM   #11
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My two cents for wiring:
On Crowns, there are extruded aluminum channels mounted just above the windows that contain 12 vdc lighting and speakers. I will be routing my solar array wiring through that channel. I will also be running additional 12vdc wiring through those channels. Integrated into the Unistrut framing for my walls will be electrical conduit that I will use to carry most of the 120 VAC wiring. The 240 VAC wiring from the generator and outside power is also being carried in conduit. Don't run 12 vdc wiring and 120/240 VAC wiring together. I like circuit breakers much more than fuses.
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Old 04-09-2021, 09:03 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drew Bru View Post
We ran our conduit on the outside of the walls, at the top edge of the windows, all the way around the bus (except the cab area), with the outlets and some sconces attached to the posts between the windows. It's kind of an industrial look, I guess. It was easy to install this way, and we use the conduit as a curtain rod.
Share some pics here for the OP if you can
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Old 04-09-2021, 11:06 PM   #13
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Unless you were going to look up the code for RV wiring, I think you'll find, as you have, there's all sorts of ways. The way I chose was 1) Safety 2) Accessible. Safety means simply following normal house wiring best practices. Accessible for me meant as little hidden wiring as possible. I also went for as little wiring as possible. Less is more in cost, trouble shooting, fixing, etc..

A) 100/125a AC panel with 12 half/6 full slots.
B) Separate 20a breakers and 120v/20a GFCI sockets for high wattage cooking appliance, refrigerator, air conditioner and three 120v/20a GFCI sockets on one 20a breaker
C) 12v/100a DC flat fuse block with fuses for my propane furnace fan, house lights, wired alarms, water pump and refrigerator
D) TBD, 2000w minimum, likely 3000w, pure sine wave inverter with ~100a charger
E) 30a shore/gen power exterior plug
F) 70a Main breaker panel with on 30a breaker
G) House batteries TBD
H) Solar panels TBD

Hope this helps.
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Old 04-09-2021, 11:38 PM   #14
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drill holes through the hat channel , install grommets, rinse lather repeat and run your wires For God sakes your not building a school bus you are converting one ,one of the happiest days in my build was scrapping that 400 lb guard around my diesel tank before the tank was moved to the drivers side...
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Old 04-09-2021, 11:41 PM   #15
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Share some pics here for the OP if you can
How about no you demanding pice of crap
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Old 04-10-2021, 03:14 AM   #16
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One of the reasons I am using conduit is safety and support for wiring. When you run wires in your bus you do need to support them, keep them away from water and rodents. Where I live out in the sticks, pack rats are a problem. They will eat the insulation off of wires and eat through hoses. If your wiring is next to metal and the insulation can be compromised, and get shorts or open connections. Rats (indigenous to the woods here) cannot eat through steel. In my Crown, I am running the generator wiring more than 15 feet in one span. I am using two runs of conduit, one for the 240 VAC from the generator, and another for the control/gauge wiring. I used water resistant couplings where needed. This wiring is underfloor as is the generator (mounted where the spare tire used to be) Rats can't get to it and water won't either. It is very probable that I will drive the bus in the rain, so this matters. The elbow fittings adapt the conduit to black iron pipe (or zinc plated) where each bundle of wiring passes through the floor of the bus. My connection for outside power is a similar setup but the last 8 inches is thoroughly sealed with electrical tape where the wire passes into the outside power connector. Using the pipe/conduit may be considered overkill by some (I don't think factory built RVs use conduit), but commercial wiring does use it. It is more expensive to use conduit to support wiring, and I am sure this won't be the last word on the subject. I get told by my brother that my design is overkill, but that is my way.


One last word:
Once you have walls up and you find the need to add or replace wire(s) passing the new/replaced wire through conduit will be easier than going inside a completed wall. There are tools made for that purpose. Also don't try to use the smallest possible conduit diameter. A little bigger is better.
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Old 04-10-2021, 07:10 AM   #17
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Quote:
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How about no you demanding pice of crap

Hey now! Peace and love, it's all good, I'm sitting here laughing my ass off at this, drinking my coffee trying to avoid starting my day anyway.


Some of them have an outlet box below the sconce...
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Old 04-14-2021, 10:30 PM   #18
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There is no reason why you canít run 12 volt and 120 wire in the same raceway, just so long as the wire for both is rated at 120 volts. Actually I believe the wiring will be rated at 300 volts because of 240 volt. The NEC has always aloud it. The only time you may need to consider separating the two would be because of critical communication equipment. You can control that for the most part by using a shielded cable.
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Old 04-15-2021, 08:32 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drew Bru View Post
Some of them have an outlet box below the sconce...
I think that looks very nice! Thank you for sharing.
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