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Old 07-10-2020, 10:28 AM   #41
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 25
Year: 1992
Coachwork: International
Chassis: 3800
Engine: Navistar DTA360 6cyl Diesel
Skoolie Homes is more of a cookie cutter build. I can't speak to the quality but I know they charge for every substitution on top of the cost of whatever you're changing. There is a builder in Hendersonville, NC that can be found at skoolie.com.

I had Blue Ridge Conversions build mine. The bus only cost $3k but the build eventually topped $30k. It was not a good experience and my review is on here. Add to that review 20amp wiring from the outside plug to the panel which is a 30amp connection. They literally almost burned my bus down. They also used braided 20amp wiring to connect the fuse panel to the rest of the bus. A shortcut they use if you install solar so you can just plug into the inverter. A horribly unsafe and quite stupid thing to do.

My suggestion is to do as much of it yourself as you can, it will severely cut costs. Plus you know what is done instead of unpleasant surprises along the way. I know Skoolie.com had a couple for sale that are complete and at least from the pictures looks nice. Best of luck to you!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg plug.jpg (52.0 KB, 5 views)
File Type: jpg plug2.jpg (46.5 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg plug3.jpg (51.2 KB, 8 views)
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Old 07-10-2020, 11:24 AM   #42
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Location: Fraser Valley British Columbia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PitskyWitbulls View Post
Skoolie Homes is more of a cookie cutter build. I can't speak to the quality but I know they charge for every substitution on top of the cost of whatever you're changing. There is a builder in Hendersonville, NC that can be found at skoolie.com.

I had Blue Ridge Conversions build mine. The bus only cost $3k but the build eventually topped $30k. It was not a good experience and my review is on here. Add to that review 20amp wiring from the outside plug to the panel which is a 30amp connection. They literally almost burned my bus down. They also used braided 20amp wiring to connect the fuse panel to the rest of the bus. A shortcut they use if you install solar so you can just plug into the inverter. A horribly unsafe and quite stupid thing to do.

My suggestion is to do as much of it yourself as you can, it will severely cut costs. Plus you know what is done instead of unpleasant surprises along the way. I know Skoolie.com had a couple for sale that are complete and at least from the pictures looks nice. Best of luck to you!
Can you please elaborate on your comment of them using braided 20amp wiring to connect the fuse panel to the rest of the bus. How is this a problem? You don't stipulate the size of fuse/breaker that is supplying that circuit? Do you believe the use of stranded wire is the problem?
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Old 07-10-2020, 11:32 AM   #43
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Year: 1992
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Chassis: 3800
Engine: Navistar DTA360 6cyl Diesel
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Originally Posted by Oscar1 View Post
Can you please elaborate on your comment of them using braided 20amp wiring to connect the fuse panel to the rest of the bus. How is this a problem? You don't stipulate the size of fuse/breaker that is supplying that circuit? Do you believe the use of stranded wire is the problem?
If you look at the attached pictures in the last post, the picture titled plug2.jpg shows what I mean about braided wiring.

The big problem is they used #12 house wiring, which is rated for 20 amps, from the plug on the outside of the bus to the fuse panel. ANY shore power you plug into at an RV park will be 30 or 50 amps. The fuse panel they installed is rated for 30 amps.

Stranded wire is for automotive applications more than house wiring, but in and of itself isn't the biggest problem. The amp rating for the wiring they used is an issue. They, again, used wiring rated to 20 amps instead of wiring rated to 30 amps. Huge fire hazard as you can see from the photos attached in the previous reply.
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Old 07-10-2020, 12:10 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PitskyWitbulls View Post
If you look at the attached pictures in the last post, the picture titled plug2.jpg shows what I mean about braided wiring.

The big problem is they used #12 house wiring, which is rated for 20 amps, from the plug on the outside of the bus to the fuse panel. ANY shore power you plug into at an RV park will be 30 or 50 amps. The fuse panel they installed is rated for 30 amps.

Stranded wire is for automotive applications more than house wiring, but in and of itself isn't the biggest problem. The amp rating for the wiring they used is an issue. They, again, used wiring rated to 20 amps instead of wiring rated to 30 amps. Huge fire hazard as you can see from the photos attached in the previous reply.
Yes I understand 12 gauge wire is rated at 20 amps. And yes I understand that the service in from the exterior connection to the panel must be sized appropriate. You indicated 20amp wire from panel to the bus, this implies the circuits, that wire is protected by whatever size breaker is in the panel which is the question I asked. You can supply 30 or 50 amps to the panel, that doesn't mean every wire after the panel has to be sized that large. And stranded wire should be used in a moving vehicle application, regular house wire can fatigue and crack on the connection causing shorts.
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Old 07-15-2020, 04:05 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by Oscar1 View Post
Yes I understand 12 gauge wire is rated at 20 amps. And yes I understand that the service in from the exterior connection to the panel must be sized appropriate. You indicated 20amp wire from panel to the bus, this implies the circuits, that wire is protected by whatever size breaker is in the panel which is the question I asked. You can supply 30 or 50 amps to the panel, that doesn't mean every wire after the panel has to be sized that large. And stranded wire should be used in a moving vehicle application, regular house wire can fatigue and crack on the connection causing shorts.
These guys ran the main power wire (the outside connection) with #12 wire into the breaker panel. They then ran more #12 wire out of the breaker panel to an electrical outlet (also rated at 20amps) which was connected to the rest of the bus. They did that to make it easier to plug into an inverter once solar was added. So it doesn't matter what the rating of the breaker is at the panel if wiring rated for 20amps is connected to a 30amp source. The breaker won't see a problem and won't trip but the wires will burn up.

Stranded wire is used in automotive applications because it's flexible enough to bend over and over without fatiguing. I'm not sure it has much to do with vibrations fatiguing the wire as much as the route to get there. Car wiring has far more bends to go around than a home and is manipulated more often during repairs. I mean, if your wiring is flexing in the car that often to break solid wire, you've got some bigger problems.

Solid wire also has greater heat resistance and lower impedance. It's also AC not DC which affects current differently in stranded versus solid. Most automotive applications are 12v DC and under 20 amps.
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Old 07-15-2020, 06:18 PM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PitskyWitbulls View Post
These guys ran the main power wire (the outside connection) with #12 wire into the breaker panel. They then ran more #12 wire out of the breaker panel to an electrical outlet (also rated at 20amps) which was connected to the rest of the bus. They did that to make it easier to plug into an inverter once solar was added. So it doesn't matter what the rating of the breaker is at the panel if wiring rated for 20amps is connected to a 30amp source. The breaker won't see a problem and won't trip but the wires will burn up.
Stranded wire is used in automotive applications because it's flexible enough to bend over and over without fatiguing. I'm not sure it has much to do with vibrations fatiguing the wire as much as the route to get there. Car wiring has far more bends to go around than a home and is manipulated more often during repairs. I mean, if your wiring is flexing in the car that often to break solid wire, you've got some bigger problems.

Quote:
Solid wire also has greater heat resistance and lower impedance. It's also AC not DC which affects current differently in stranded versus solid. Most automotive applications are 12v DC and under 20 amps.
It is a best practice to use stranded wire for Marine, Automotive, and RV applications. Marine grade stranded copper wire almost always carries a higher temperature rating (105*C) than residential wiring (see UL 1426).


I won't pretend to be an expert on skin effect, but from what I've heard it would take many times the frequency of household electricity (60hz) before skin effect is a concern. Don't take my word for this, its just what I've heard/read elsewhere.


Regarding Impedence, as a general principle you are right that solid core has marginally lower resistance. Marine grade wire is slightly oversized 6-12% compared to automotive, so it is probably pretty comparable to solid core.


Marine wire ampacity and resistance
Solid wire ampacity and resistanct




edit: most of what I've written above is based on my knowledge of marine grade fine stranded wire. Automotive standards are not as high, so the above should not be applied to all stranded wire.


it is very unlikely that with the shoddy craftsmanship you observed that the builders would've paid extra (or even knew about) marine grade wire.
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Old 07-15-2020, 07:00 PM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dzl_ View Post
Stranded wire is used in automotive applications because it's flexible enough to bend over and over without fatiguing. I'm not sure it has much to do with vibrations fatiguing the wire as much as the route to get there. Car wiring has far more bends to go around than a home and is manipulated more often during repairs. I mean, if your wiring is flexing in the car that often to break solid wire, you've got some bigger problems.

It is a best practice to use stranded wire for Marine, Automotive, and RV applications. Marine grade stranded copper wire almost always carries a higher temperature rating (105*C) than residential wiring (see UL 1426).
The point is kinda moot when you're trying to compare RV to skoolie. A skoolie isn't an RV and, while I haven't done the leg work, I haven't come across anyone who has installed a converter to run their skoolie. Everything but the TV, microwave, and 110v outlets are 12v. Marine is too. None of which has anything to do with the crack-head wiring job BRC did to my bus.
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Old 07-16-2020, 12:38 AM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PitskyWitbulls View Post
The point is kinda moot when you're trying to compare RV to skoolie. A skoolie isn't an RV and, while I haven't done the leg work, I haven't come across anyone who has installed a converter to run their skoolie. Everything but the TV, microwave, and 110v outlets are 12v. Marine is too. None of which has anything to do with the crack-head wiring job BRC did to my bus.
I have no reason to doubt that you are right that they did a shoddy job. But the problem isn't using stranded wiring which is a best practice in all mobile electrical contexts that I'm aware of.

Wiring a Skoolie is not conceptually different than wiring an RV (or even a boat for the most part). Both are relatively small, mobile, subjected to stressors that stationary systems don't deal with, have AC and DC electrical systems.

For marine applications AC and DC systems are both required to use stranded wire (the wire is rated up to 600v), and the triplex wire made specifically for AC wiring is fine stranded.

This is kind of an aside from you broader point/argument so its probably not worth getting sidetracked on a single detail. I didn't mean to distract from the broad topic.
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Old 07-16-2020, 05:07 AM   #49
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Looking at the pic of a burned plug wiring was not the cause of that. It would be high resistance from a loose screw most likely. The problem was in your plug
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Old 07-16-2020, 11:20 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by mmoore6856 View Post
Looking at the pic of a burned plug wiring was not the cause of that. It would be high resistance from a loose screw most likely. The problem was in your plug
I never said the stranded wire caused the burned wire. I said using stranded #12 wire to connect a 30amp fuse panel to a 20amp outlet is idiotic.

Comparing RV & marine wiring to building a skoolie is apples and oranges. RVs and boats are all 12v except the electrical outlets. I haven't seen anyone put a converter into a school bus and run 12v components for everything but the outlets. An RV and a school bus are not the same. A bus was never intended to be a living space any more than an RV was intended to be a people mover.

I wasn't looking for an argument about stranded v solid wiring, each has its merits as well as proper applications. My only point was that a monkey with substandard brain power could have wired this bus better than the hillbilly morons who ripped me off and ultimately found themselves on the wrong side of a lawsuit.
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Old 07-16-2020, 01:29 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by dzl_ View Post
For marine applications AC and DC systems are both required to use stranded wire (the wire is rated up to 600v), and the triplex wire made specifically for AC wiring is fine stranded.
I did this in my build. I have only plugged in small extension cord to house so far. Should I replace the 3 feet of 12/3 marine triplex with 10/3 from the shore outlet to auto-transfer to breaker? Just looking for opinions, not professional advice (unless someone willing to offer)
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Old 07-16-2020, 01:52 PM   #52
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dzl_ View Post
I have no reason to doubt that you are right that they did a shoddy job. But the problem isn't using stranded wiring which is a best practice in all mobile electrical contexts that I'm aware of.

Wiring a Skoolie is not conceptually different than wiring an RV (or even a boat for the most part). Both are relatively small, mobile, subjected to stressors that stationary systems don't deal with, have AC and DC electrical systems.

For marine applications AC and DC systems are both required to use stranded wire (the wire is rated up to 600v), and the triplex wire made specifically for AC wiring is fine stranded.

This is kind of an aside from you broader point/argument so its probably not worth getting sidetracked on a single detail. I didn't mean to distract from the broad topic.
I really know little about marine wiring. I only jump off the boat to dive, never drove one.

I didn't consider any of this when mine was built because I (foolishly) farmed it out. I could have screwed up my own bus for a lot less. Knowing what I know now, I probably would try to mimic RV wiring with a converter and everything being DC except for a couple outlets. I mean, almost everything now can charge from a USB port.

If I did mine again, I would have all lighting run on 12v. The vent fans already run on 12v and so does the water pump. So a bank of batteries, an isolater, and an alternator on steroids and conceivably could be off grid for much longer not to mention solar needs would probably be less than a "house wiring" setup with everything but the vent fans and water pump running on 110v.

hindsight is 20/20
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Old 07-16-2020, 02:00 PM   #53
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I did this in my build. I have only plugged in small extension cord to house so far. Should I replace the 3 feet of 12/3 marine triplex with 10/3 from the shore outlet to breaker? Just looking for opinions, not professional advice (unless someone willing to offer)

If you use 10/3 you are good to 30 amps, according to both the marine ABYC regulations, and the National Electric Code. This is what I would do, personally. I prefer erring on the side of caution and following the code if I can.


You didn't mention how many amps the circuit is?
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Old 07-16-2020, 02:16 PM   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dzl_ View Post
If you use 10/3 you are good to 30 amps, according to both the marine ABYC regulations, and the National Electric Code. This is what I would do, personally. I prefer erring on the side of caution and following the code if I can.


You didn't mention how many amps the circuit is?
My circuit is 30 amps. and I do have a source for Ancor Marine Grade Flat Triplex Electrical Cable - 10/3. I'll just order 10' and replace what I have. I like this boat wire because its easy to work with. The connections are a pain because of the stranded but very flexible to fit into my small progressive dynamics mighty mini panel.

I'm really glad the OP made me aware of this. I appreciate this site greatly.
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