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Old 12-30-2020, 01:33 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Posts: 17
120 volt wiring and 12 volt wiring help

Hey folks. I've been dealing with trying to come up with our plan of attack for wiring our skoolie. I had an electrician come check it out (also my neighbor) and he seemed more confused on how to make it work then I had and then stood me up when he was scheduled to work on it for me. I have a pretty good idea of what is needed as far as the concept of all the units needed, i.e. 30 amp breaker box, converter, inverter etc. Our 12 volt system is already installed and we have solar power charging the batteries. We now need to incorporate the 120volt into outlets and to power our ac unit. The shore or genny power would also charge our batteries via a converter. I drew up this diagram and would appreciate any critique or suggestions on how to make this work and safe. Im considering just working on it myself since I have a fair bit of an idea of what i want and how to wire stuff from working with the 12 volt. I do understand though that 120 is a completely different animal. Does anyone have any good online resources maybe amazon lists for components i need or maybe just pick up the wire and breakers and stuff at home depot? Also is it recommended to use conduit throughout the bus? (already have 12volt in plastic loom). My electrician kinda poo pooed that when I suggested it saying its not needed. I've seen people use the metal loom conduit throughout their skoolie. I think 30 amps is plenty for what I need, just to power our pioneer 9000 mini split and some outlets for small appliances or charging. Thank you for your help

https://ibb.co/YR5KbMg
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Old 12-30-2020, 07:19 PM   #2
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2020
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This may help

This may help: https://faroutride.com/

Check out their electrical section.
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Old 12-30-2020, 09:32 PM   #3
Skoolie
 
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Location: Cerrillos, NM
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Year: 2002
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Engine: DT466E
Rated Cap: 72
IMG_7354.jpg
This may help, itís my diagram.

120v systems I think are totally fine to run on romex and standard house components but some disagree. You can use SJ cord if it makes you feel better, basically extension cord wire, but itís not that hard if youíre mindful as you work.

Make sure the wires are protected from nails and screws and whatever else in the build and make sure the inverter 120v doesnít ever mix with the generator 120v (transfer switch or inverter charger combo) and the rest is kinda common sense.

Grounding is important but gets a little weird with generators and inverters so read up on that a bit, and some inverters have the neutral as a hot and not tied to ground so you need to pay attention to that aspect of things. I highly recommend using a victron or xantrex or Schneider or another higher end pure sign inverter charger combo over Amazon cheap Chinese inverters as it makes everything simpler, more reliable and consistent with norms and eliminates the transfer switch. I really love the victron I just installed, and returned several Chinese Amazon units that were just weird and annoying, 55v neutrals 55v hot as opposed to 110v hot and bonded neutral and ground.

As you get going youíll have more specific questions that arise that people will be able to help with but the link and my diagram should get you into the beginning of things and give you an idea of where itís headed.
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Old 12-30-2020, 11:08 PM   #4
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I got a call one day from a fellow who had a huge metal pile barn on his property. He told me he thought he may have an electrical problem because his vet determined that one of his horses death was due to electrocution. Have troubleshooting his problem, I finally came to the conclusion that his barn was HOT due to Romex dry rotting and neutrals insulation coming in contact with his barn. Everything works fine(sort of) until you breaking that continuity and become one with the circuit. Neutral carries amperage and it is amperage that kills you. I finally went in and demoed all of the romex and piped in EMT conduit and grounded everything properly. The moral of the story is romex is ok as long as it is in a raceway. But if you are going to use conduit, then single #12 and #10 is sufficient.
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Old 01-05-2021, 07:21 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rffffffff View Post
Attachment 52508
This may help, it’s my diagram.

120v systems I think are totally fine to run on romex and standard house components but some disagree. You can use SJ cord if it makes you feel better, basically extension cord wire, but it’s not that hard if you’re mindful as you work.

Make sure the wires are protected from nails and screws and whatever else in the build and make sure the inverter 120v doesn’t ever mix with the generator 120v (transfer switch or inverter charger combo) and the rest is kinda common sense.

Grounding is important but gets a little weird with generators and inverters so read up on that a bit, and some inverters have the neutral as a hot and not tied to ground so you need to pay attention to that aspect of things. I highly recommend using a victron or xantrex or Schneider or another higher end pure sign inverter charger combo over Amazon cheap Chinese inverters as it makes everything simpler, more reliable and consistent with norms and eliminates the transfer switch. I really love the victron I just installed, and returned several Chinese Amazon units that were just weird and annoying, 55v neutrals 55v hot as opposed to 110v hot and bonded neutral and ground.

As you get going you’ll have more specific questions that arise that people will be able to help with but the link and my diagram should get you into the beginning of things and give you an idea of where it’s headed.

Hey do you have any input on a type of transfer switch to use? I can't seem to find what Im looking for on amazon. I will have the inverter and shore power coming into the breaker panel. I will need to switch from either one to avoid back feeding the inverter. What type of switch is compatible to this?
Edit:
I found this would it work?

https://www.amazon.com/YXQ-Changeove...9892823&sr=8-9
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Old 01-05-2021, 07:33 PM   #6
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Cerrillos, NM
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Chassis: Front Engine
Engine: DT466E
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlycappy View Post
Hey do you have any input on a type of transfer switch to use? I can't seem to find what Im looking for on amazon. I will have the inverter and shore power coming into the breaker panel. I will need to switch from either one to avoid back feeding the inverter. What type of switch is compatible to this?
Edit:
I found this would it work?

https://www.amazon.com/YXQ-Changeove...9892823&sr=8-9

This is what I used:

Baomain Universal Rotary Changeover Switch SZW26-63 660V 63A 3 Position 3 Phase https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01IZ5ZFYC...ing=UTF8&psc=1

Buuut, I would highly recommmend buying an inverter/charger instead of separate pieces because it makes the whole thing so much simpler and you donít need a switch. I have one in my well house on my property now and I canít imagine going back. Pure sine wave is a lot better than the old one I had but the cheap ones on Amazon are kinda wonky and weird. It was $1250 or so but Iím thrilled with the Victron I bought. 24v or 48v also makes life so much easier.
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Old 01-05-2021, 07:42 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rffffffff View Post
This is what I used:

Baomain Universal Rotary Changeover Switch SZW26-63 660V 63A 3 Position 3 Phase https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01IZ5ZFYC...ing=UTF8&psc=1

Buuut, I would highly recommmend buying an inverter/charger instead of separate pieces because it makes the whole thing so much simpler and you donít need a switch. I have one in my well house on my property now and I canít imagine going back. Pure sine wave is a lot better than the old one I had but the cheap ones on Amazon are kinda wonky and weird. It was $1250 or so but Iím thrilled with the Victron I bought. 24v or 48v also makes life so much easier.
I should have bought that in the beginning but ended up buying separate units. We have a pure sine inverter. We will try this set up currently and see how everything works out. May upgrade later. Im assuming if I have the inverter suppling power to the breaker box I should therefore manually switch off the converter to the batteries?
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Old 01-05-2021, 08:28 PM   #8
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
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Chassis: Front Engine
Engine: DT466E
Rated Cap: 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlycappy View Post
I should have bought that in the beginning but ended up buying separate units. We have a pure sine inverter. We will try this set up currently and see how everything works out. May upgrade later. Im assuming if I have the inverter suppling power to the breaker box I should therefore manually switch off the converter to the batteries?
I have the switch wired so the shore power port and the charger are both connected to switch in position 1, the breaker box is "common" and the inverter is position 2.

This way the charger is on always when I'm plugged in but it can't turn on when I am on batteries. It would be nice on occasion to be able to turn the charger off when I am on generator power, so you can add another switch if you like but I didn't. When I was running the AC and the charger was going full tilt it would overload the generator at times so having an opt out for the charger would've been good, but if you leave that switch off accidentally you may not notice and you'll end up kicking yourself because you have dead batteries.
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Old 01-16-2021, 07:40 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Posts: 17
So everything is connected and working properly. I am just a bit stuck on connecting power to my 9000 BTU Pioneer Mini Split which is 120volt. I have a 120volt inlet plug on the rear end of my bus that I was thinking of using as a power source to the mini split. I would run wire to the breaker panel to this inlet plug (male inlet not outlet, I bought this early on thinking we'd use it for shore power but have since upgraded to a 3 prong 30 amp plug. And then to connect the mini split I would wire a female ended plug to the outdoor unit of the mini split. We would plug it in to the inlet when we were using it, and coil it and stash it when not using it. Does this seem like a possible way to do it? Or should I just hard wire the thing to the breaker panel via a permanent wire that runs into the bus through a hole or something? Thanks!
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Old 01-16-2021, 08:06 PM   #10
Skoolie
 
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Year: 2002
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Chassis: Front Engine
Engine: DT466E
Rated Cap: 72
I think that what youíre proposing will work but itís gonna feel sloppy and give you one more thing to do when you want to run the ac.

Look for SJ wire and run some 12/2 or 14/2 SJ from the breaker panel through some sort of gland or grommet to the outside and secure it along the way so you donít have to ever worry about it again. Youíll thank yourself afterward.

Maybe change the inlet to an outlet that you can use for external power if you need it and run a wire for that at the same time?
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Old 01-16-2021, 10:50 PM   #11
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Please remember, this is a house that vibrates, bounces and twists going down the road, worse in some states like New Mexico. So make sure you keep that in mind when you pick your materials. And yes you can get most of it at Home Depot if you have one in your town. I didn't. I found a local wholesale electrical place that had better quality stuff at about the same price. If your 12 volt wiring shorts to ground you blow fuses. With 120 volts you may be killed! I used metal conduit and #14, 12 and 10 stranded THHN with plastic inserts at the wiring exits for all my 120 volt in my bus. Solid is more prone to vibration. Drawings or chalk on the walls will do too. And think about every thing you do from a safety point of view.

Remember, when working on the AC in our buses or anywhere else, never join the resistance and be forced to go underground
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Old 01-17-2021, 07:08 AM   #12
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Cerrillos, NM
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Chassis: Front Engine
Engine: DT466E
Rated Cap: 72
New Mexico roads are cake compared to NY!

Itís the big cities that jostle stuff way more than the rural areas, nyc and Indianapolis were the worst in my cross country trips.

That all said, the vibration is what kills things so itís more important to me that the rub points are taken care of more than anything else. I have had no problem with romex at all inside, but ran thhn in conduit under the bus and SJ for my 30a inlet power. Itís all held up fine. As long as the wires are tight to the bus itíll all vibrate together, as opposed to against each other, so I think itís important to make sure itís all tight above all else.

Lastly, the powered inlet, as I think of it, is dangerous as hell. Having exposed prongs that can be turned on as 120 volts exposed is a bad plan.
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Old 01-17-2021, 01:03 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rffffffff View Post
I think that what youíre proposing will work but itís gonna feel sloppy and give you one more thing to do when you want to run the ac.

Look for SJ wire and run some 12/2 or 14/2 SJ from the breaker panel through some sort of gland or grommet to the outside and secure it along the way so you donít have to ever worry about it again. Youíll thank yourself afterward.

Maybe change the inlet to an outlet that you can use for external power if you need it and run a wire for that at the same time?
Just a heads up on using cord for your hookups. SJ is related for 300 volts where SJO is rated for 600 volts. Even though you can do just fine with the SJ cord. The SJO cord has a heavier duty insulation.
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Old 01-17-2021, 01:52 PM   #14
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Cerrillos, NM
Posts: 205
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: Front Engine
Engine: DT466E
Rated Cap: 72
120 volt wiring and 12 volt wiring help

Yeah there are a lot of variants of SJ but I think I used SJOOW or something like that, one of the letters has something to do with oil and gas resistance, which I thought was great under a bus.

Apparently J means 300v, no J is 600v, O is oil, W is weather.

This is really useful:

http://www.chem.cmu.edu/groups/bier/...powercords.pdf
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