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Old 01-16-2021, 04:23 PM   #1
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Electrical questions

Hello everyone,
I was just wondering if anyone can help me with electric stuff. I dont fully understand anything with electricity, it just does not compute in my brain. I dont know what to buy or where I should start with anything. I have most of the set up for 110V but I also need 12V wiring. I would like to get professionals to do the work, but they've let me down before and now it's only me left to do it.
Can someone please give me a list of things to buy? Or even give me advice on how to do it, but I honestly do not understand any of it. Feeling really down and out about it. any advice is appreciated.
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Old 01-16-2021, 04:50 PM   #2
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Study up on it. Buy some books about:
wiring houses,
Basic electricity
Rv maintenance
Wiring for solar

Read and read. You will learn a lot.

Bill
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Old 01-16-2021, 04:51 PM   #3
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ajankows38290, don't get too bummed! you're on the cusp of starting a couple significant projects it sounds like. it's like Alfred says to Bruce Wayne when he's a kid, "...what do we do when we fall?"
"...we pick our selves up again.' ... or something like that. POINT IS,
how do you eat an elephant? one bite at a time. getting to the top of a mountain is just one step at a time.
i recommend focusing on one system at a time. this isn't to say you can't start 'installing two systems' at the same time, but given your level of experience and comfort w/ doing it solo.. maybe just focus on the 12v system. head over to the used book store and grab a book or two of basic, entry level 12v systems or 110AC wiring installations.
OR
think about the 'appliances' you'll want to power later down the road.
water pump?
lights?
heater?
fridge?
stereo?
blender?
small assortment of AC power tools?

i'm extremely new here and learning as i read thread after thread, but i think i would lean towards operating a primarily 12V system. are you hoping to 'plug into campsite power' when camping?
lots of things to consider while moving forward. one thing at time.
hope this helps. good luck with the build.
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Old 01-16-2021, 04:57 PM   #4
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I found that Will Prowse on YouTube was great start for me to learn the components of diy solar and how they fit together. Plenty of basic electrical resources here on this forum as well. Just keep reading and asking questions until you're comfortable enough to do it yourself.
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Old 01-16-2021, 05:09 PM   #5
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How about a sketch of what you have to work with, where are components now, what you want to add and where. I'm sure that there's some people here that will lend a hand.

_
Try to look up and learn as much as you can so you can ask the right questions and understand the answers.
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Old 01-16-2021, 10:23 PM   #6
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Ajankows38290, I don't mean to sound condescending but, can you use a garden hose? I think you can. Now think of your wires you will be using in your skoolie as lengths of garden hose. Instead of water you will be moving electrons. Those are the little things we annoy and inconvenience when sending e-mails and surfing the web. Every thing that you connect that uses electrical energy 12 volt or 120 volt will have to have a complete circuit or 2 hoses. How far along are you into your conversion? Tell us more and the community will all freely give you their advise and opinions. Free of course. Not one of us here was born knowing the first darn thing about electricity. Hell I was just 6 years old when my little brother was playing with his tootsie toy metal car and it fell down the wall onto the night light and went across the prongs and blew the little car up and popped the fuse for the west side of the house. Yep 60 years ago. No GFCI or breakers back them. I have been hooked on the wonders of electricity ever since. Go you tube people blowing up water melons with high voltage and large capacitors. So don't feel like you are asking dumb questions. There are no dumb questions. We don't want you to make dumb mistakes that can harm you or your property. Get back to us as soon as you can. We are here to help.
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Old 01-16-2021, 10:32 PM   #7
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Totally unrelated to the OP's question...but s2mikon's story reminded me of my first experiment with electricity. I'm 59 now...but I still remember this, when I was 5. I knew that wrapping a coil of wire around a nail and connecting it to a battery made an electromagnet. So, my 5-year-old brain thought...what if I used the house electricity? So I took that wire, wrapped it around the nail, held it in some plastic, and put the ends into the receptacle on the wall. POOF! sparks and black marks on the cover plate and a blown fuse, my dad had to replace. Thank goodness I thought to use some plastic as an insulator. And, now I know that AC wouldn't have made an electromagnet anyway...

So...my grown up self has since done commercial electrical work in the US, Europe, India, Japan, South Korea, Turkey, Vietnam, The Philippines, Singapore...and perhaps others I've forgotten. If that dumb kid (me) can learn...then certainly so can you!
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Old 01-17-2021, 08:58 AM   #8
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Electrical is so much about planning, I would venture a guess that 60% of the job is in the plan you make before you ever touch a piece of wire. Good news is once you have your plan then you're more than half way there!

Power sources: How many and what type?
Solar? this would charge batteries that can run 12v stuff or an inverter to
run 120v stuff.

Shore power? this is a 120/240v connection that can be used to charge batteries as well as run any high amperage loads.

Generator? depending on size this could run the whole bus on 120v or possibly plug into a shore power cord.

Loads: everything on the bus that's asking for volts and amps.
heater fans
lights
laptops
'fridges
electric tea kettle
microwave
inductive cooktop
insta hot for heating water for shower
etc.

make a list of all the loads you plan on running and separate them into categories based on voltage.
what will you be running solely on shore power? (120/240v)
what will you run off an inverter off of batteries while boondocking?(12v and some 120v)
this is where you need to decide what you'll use and when, how long you will use it?
think about your normal day, will you be working out of your bus remotely?
will there be meal prep for one or two people or a whole family?
do you plan on utilizing shore power often or hardly ever?
what's the weather going to be like (especially how often you'll be in extreme cold or heat)?

this is where your designing you bus life at least in the electrical sense.

Once you have your list of Loads separated by voltages (or at least what your hoping for). Now its time to gather all your info for the build: for each item you will need to know the voltage and either the watts or amps. Some things are measured in watts others will have an amp rating. Some things will display it prominently (lighting and heating) some things you will have to dig a little to find (laptops will show this info on the power brick in tiny writing).


Take a breather...wrap your head around that, it seems like a lot but it's really going to make your experience better down the road. Doing electrical work is really gratifying, as an electrician I always look forward to the day the permanent lighting on a job is turned on it literally improves everybody's mood but at least 30%. I can't explain why but I have witnessed this Soo many times.

Now that you have a "picture" of what you want to power on your bus you can start figuring out what you need in order to power it and inevitably refining your list (for me at least it started out as a wish list and then reality hit and I had to take some stuff of the list or find alternatives at least).

I'm going to end this post here (my kids are awake now)but once you have that info then you can move onto the next phase: Sizing your solar array/battery bank, or your breaker box. I'll keep an eye on this thread for phase 2.
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Old 01-20-2021, 09:48 PM   #9
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Hi there. I am new here also. I am taking on the challenge of doing all of the wiring myself. There is a site called Explorist Life that really helped me have the confidence to move forward. I am in the throws of it right now, with the cold weather slowing me up a bit. But I ABSOLUTELY believe that i will get through this successfully. Try not to get overwhelmed and take it step by step. BTW...I am not doing solar panels for now. I have set up about 6 AC outlets inside and one outside. Put out 2 porch lights on each side of the bus. I installed 30amp power supply outlet. Still have to install the ceiling LED lights, fantastic fan, TV antenna, and stereo. I cross each bridge as i get to it. Breathe. Step by step. You can do it.
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