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Old 03-11-2017, 12:43 PM   #1
evy
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Elctrical drawings need approval! Help!

Hi everyone,
I'm working on my first DIY camper conversion, using a 2010 extended Ford E250.

Right now I'm trying to figure out how the electrical setup around the batteries will work (see drawing) and where to install the components (switches/breakers/etc...) I also added question marks on the drawing itself.

I added three other AC and DC distribution drawings (after the AC/DC panel) they're also work in progress, please don't hesitate to comment on them as well.
you can click on the pictures to go directly in my photo bucket and zoom in if you want to.

I also would like to get your opinion on this issue, I had a hard time finding some genuine good 12V DC wiring, 100% stranded copper (not aluminum) + real AWG (not the smaller made in China kind) and all I could find was speaker wiring and I couldn't find the specs for wire temp...
So my brother got his hands on the real stuff where he works, and he got it all for free!! all the 18AWG and 14AWG I needed for the DC distribution circuits, I was really happy since I'm on a tight budget and all.
BUT!! the only issue is the wire colors, he could only get RED and WHITE... So I got the equal length in both colors...

I know it's going to work but is the color an issue? safety wise? I normally see black/white or black/red.

I still didn't get the bigger gauge wiring yet for all the components, what color should I get? and what gauge? I'm having a hard time figuring out these big wires around the batteries and alternator.

Last question, should I install big breakers with switches or a basic fuse holders?

I purchased most of the main components (AC-DC panel/charger/converter/transfer switch/inverter/batteries/etc...)
Now I need help to finalize these drawings to purchase the smaller components (kill switch/breakers/big wires/isolator/connectors/etc...)

Again thanks!







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Old 03-11-2017, 03:49 PM   #2
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Wire colors make zero difference in the ampacity of the wire you use, it's just a way of identifying what a circuit may be used for. If you install everything correctly, you can use all orange wire if you want, but if you have to trouble shoot somewhere down the line, it will be much harder, not to mention that someone who buys your van and then needs to trouble shoot will have more difficulty. Never the less, I've seen tons of wiring that was all black. As for what size wire you need, you mentioned using some 18 gauge, and I'm not sure what you plan to run with that small wire,but it's pretty small. Here is a description of how to size your wire correctly.
https://www.bluesea.com/resources/1437
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Old 03-11-2017, 04:55 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by arctictraveller View Post
Wire colors make zero difference in the ampacity of the wire you use, it's just a way of identifying what a circuit may be used for. If you install everything correctly, you can use all orange wire if you want, but if you have to trouble shoot somewhere down the line, it will be much harder, not to mention that someone who buys your van and then needs to trouble shoot will have more difficulty. Never the less, I've seen tons of wiring that was all black. As for what size wire you need, you mentioned using some 18 gauge, and I'm not sure what you plan to run with that small wire,but it's pretty small. Here is a description of how to size your wire correctly.
https://www.bluesea.com/resources/1437
Thanks for your input!

When I said :
"I know it's going to work but is the color an issue? safety wise?"
I meant exactly what you mentioned, is it safe if I eventually sell the camper? but hey if I use white for negative and red for positive, also each circuit will have the white and red wires twisted together, so I wont have any single color wire loose.

I used this page to size the wire gauge (using amps/temp/length) but I will definitely re-check them all before doing this, thanks for the heads up

Circuit Wizard - Blue Sea Systems
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Old 03-11-2017, 05:20 PM   #4
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Offhand, I rarely if ever, use my floodlights on the drivers side. The passenger side ones however see use just about every time I set up camp after dark, which happens more often than not.

Ideally, you'd have separate colors for every wire in a bundle. Putting tags on each wire will help work around that to an extent. Get the good electrical tape that won't melt and a pack of nice sharpies. Silver shows up well on black.

I also wonder if you're intending to use the vehicle ground for the AC circuits. I'm not sure whether or not that's common, of if there's an issue with that. I'll have to think about that for a bit. My van is not wired that way, but it used to be a news van, so it may be an outlier. I would at the very least worry about damaging the vehicle electrical if something goes wrong with a generator.
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Old 03-11-2017, 07:31 PM   #5
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Offhand, Get the good electrical tape that won't melt and a pack of nice sharpies. Silver shows up well on black..

There's a silver sharpie?
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Old 03-11-2017, 07:49 PM   #6
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I also wonder if you're intending to use the vehicle ground for the AC circuits. I'm not sure whether or not that's common, of if there's an issue with that.
This is quite an important issue in RV and marine applications.

First, a conceptual explanation; second, a NEC-based explanation; and third, a reference to a useful white paper on the topic:

NOTE: the following applies to 110v AC wiring in RVs--NOT to 12v DC RV wiring.

Conceptual
Scenario #1: Imagine that you have wired your van for 110v power. You recall that the neutral conductor is supposed to be bonded to ground, so you run a bond between the neutral bus bar in your breaker box to the vehicle chassis.

During your wiring work, you made an inadvertent mistake and switched the neutral and hot wires at one of the electrical outlets. The result? Once your plug in your van to 110v power, there will be 110v running through your neutral wire, back to the neutral-chassis bond, and to the vehicle chassis. When you walk up to the rig and grab the door handle, you will be shocked to discover that your door handle is now charged with 110 volts. Not a nice way to wake up in the morning.

Scenario #2: As in Scenario #1, you have wired your van, and run a bond from neutral to the chassis at the breaker box. Unlike Scenario #1, however, you have not switched neutral and hot wires.

Again, you plug in the van to external 110v power.

At this point, you do not have what the NEC refers to as a "Single Point Grounding System." Your external power line runs to a shore-based breaker box that has neutral bonded to ground. But your internal breaker box also has neutral bonded to ground. When neutral is bonded to ground in more than one location, a voltage difference can develop between neutrals at different components in the system, which can lead to risk of shock or damage to electrical components.

NEC-Based Explanation
Moral of the Story:
The NEC requires a SINGLE POINT GROUNDING SYSTEM. That single bond between neutral and ground is located at the shore-based breaker box for external power connections.

RV inverters that are directly wired into the RV's 110v system are required to meet UL specification 458. A 458 inverter has a relay that connects and breaks a neutral-ground bond inside the inverter. When the RV is plugged into shore power, the inverter breaks the internal bond, so the single point ground is located in the shore-based breaker box. When the RV is unplugged and the inverter is turned on, the inverter connects the bond, so that the single point ground is located inside the inverter.

Note that many inverters do not meet UL458. Proceed with awareness when selecting an inverter for your rig.

As I understand it, RV generators also provide a neutral-ground bond when they are in use, but not when they are not in use. However, I have not looked sufficiently into how the wiring is done for this to be able to comment on it any further.

Summary: Do not install a neutral-chassis bond in your van's 110v electrical system. That bond will be located at the external shore power breaker box when you are on shore power; in your rig's UL458 inverter when you are using inverter power; or in your rig's on-board generator when you are on generator power.

Recommended Reading
I am not an electrician. Don't take my word on this. One great place to start your reading on this topic is a white paper published by Samlex. You can find it here: http://www.samlexamerica.com/support...plications.pdf
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Old 03-11-2017, 08:30 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by arctictraveller View Post
There's a silver sharpie?
You've been missing out:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B001AZ3KHY/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1489289247&sr=8-1-spons&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_FMwebp_QL65&keywords=silve r+sharpie&psc=1&smid=AY2ANYVC1YIBT

Glider: Thanks for articulating that. I was pretty sure it wasn't a good idea, but didn't mange to put my finger on it off the top of my head.
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Old 03-11-2017, 10:41 PM   #8
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HOW DID I NOT KNOW THIS? Thanks, as a Sharpie addict, I'll be on the look out.
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Old 03-11-2017, 10:44 PM   #9
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This is quite an important issue in RV and marine applications.

Recommended Reading
I am not an electrician.
I am an electrician, and your explination was clear and to the point. Good job.
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Old 03-11-2017, 10:59 PM   #10
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I am an electrician, and your explination was clear and to the point. Good job.
Arctic, thank you for checking my work. I feel very lucky to be part of such a knowledgeable and talented group of people. I learn something valuable from this gang almost every day--and I have made some good friends here, as well. I couldn't ask for more.

Speaking of which, was it you who recommended the Boatowner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual? I just picked up a copy for my bedtime reading. It is a great reference.

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