Author Topic: Calling out for some electrical help....  (Read 2080 times)

Offline Willingtonpaul

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Calling out for some electrical help....
« on: June 09, 2014, 09:47:14 pm »
so i am gonna move the solar panels over to the moho.  getting that done is pretty straightforward; i just am not looking forward to drilling through that nice one piece fiberglass roof....don't have the fridge vent to make it easy this time.  i might be able to take the fantastic fan out and sneak the wire down that opening, plus there is a plumbing vent up front with coax cable in it for a rooftop satellite install; not sure if i can use that.  but if none of these options pan out, it will be measure 19 times, drill once, drink a beer and a shot immediately after.... :D

so what i am thinking of doing this time is to get a bigger inverter and wire it right into the A/C distribution panel so all of the outlets in the rig can run off the inverter.  i know twoelkhounds you did this, right ?  what is involved/is it difficult ?  do i have to swap out the charge controller ?

any help here would be appreciated....

2018 Newmar Dutch Star 4326
2014 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon
2015 Ford F150 Fing Ranch
Paul('69) Adele('68) Mila('03) Ethan('05)
Lara the Golden ('13)
Brewster the Golden ('17)

Just doing my part to control the flying insect population with camping every trip....

Offline TwoElkhounds

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Re: Calling out for some electrical help....
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2014, 04:46:04 am »
Hi Paul,

Sorry I was delayed in my response, I am traveling so I had limited access.    Yes, I did do this mod.  It is not too difficult, at least on a trailer. Not sure about a motorhome.   Some major issues that you need to consider:

-   The inverter should be installed as close as possible to the battery.  The DC connections should be as large of a cable you can find and be as short as possible.  Use the AC cable connections for any of the longer runs to the panel.
-   What do you have for a battery bank?  To be honest, one battery is probably not going to perform very well.  Any high quality inverter will have a cutoff protection that will automatically shut the inverter down when the DC input voltage drops below around 11.5 volts.  Once you put the battery under load, the voltage will immediately drop, so you have to have some muscle in the battery bank in order to use effectively.  You can get by with a smaller inverter and one battery if you just want to charge a phone or run a laptop.    Powering the AC circuit in the trailer is another story.

 First step is to look at your panel and see what circuits you have.   In the trailer panel, there was one circuit that powered all of the non GFI outlets in the trailer.   On my 301BQ, this circuit also powered the Converter, so I had to remove this load from the circuit and feed it from one of the spare breaker terminals in the panel. Be careful of this, you don’t want to feed the converter off of the inverter when you are running off grid.   Look and determine which circuits you want to feed from the inverter, hopefully one circuit will suffice.

Next you will need a transfer switch.   I used a basic generator transfer switch in my set up, but you can purchase inverters with this switch integrated.  The switch senses when shore power is connected and will select as the default.  If there is no shore power connected and the inverter is on, it will feed the circuit from that source.   Basically you just route the selected circuit through the transfer switch.  Link here will give more details http://www.outbackers.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=34077&hl=transfer&st=0

DAN

Offline Willingtonpaul

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Re: Calling out for some electrical help....
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2014, 08:01:50 am »
thanks dan....

i am solid on all the wiring and connections EXCEPT how it ties into the existing 120v distribution panel.  the way i did my inverter on the 301BQ was to add 4 outlets that only ran off the inverter.  i was comfortable snaking wires around on the outback to the 4 inverter outlets.  i don't want to get involved with snaking a mess of wires on the georgetown.  it will be a ton more difficult, and i don't want to start cutting and chopping on this coach any more than i have to.  one wire from the inverter to the panel would be a ton easier logistically. i have not studied the panel(s) super close yet, but it is not the same as the outback.  the outback has the WFCO unit (i know it's not the greatest panel/converter, but it worked fine for us) which included the 12v and 120v stuff together along with the converter; the georgetown has separate panels inside the coach for each 12v and 120v fuses/breakers, and the converter is in the rear storage compartment next to the generator transfer switch.  meanwhile, the battery bank is mid coach right next to the entrance door.  all the wiring is hidden under the floor; i need to pull the 12v and 120v panels and see what they look like behind them; try to see where the wires might be chased.

an interesting thing is because i have the 120v residential fridge, i already have a 1000 watt inverter coming off the battery bank and then hard wired into the fridge.  but that inverter ONLY runs the fridge, nothing else.  there is a switch by the front entrance door to turn this inverter on; if it is not on and you unplug shore power, the fridge goes off.  turn the inverter on and the fridge comes back on.  so i GUESS either there is some transfer switch / relay wired into the fridge circuit that senses where the power is coming from, or maybe the fridge is just simply connected to both (if that is possible/safe).  i have left the inverter on while i am plugged in, and everything works fine; that way i don't have to remember to turn the inverter on after i unplug from shore power to keep the fridge going.  anyway, i like how that system works: plugged in fridge runs on 120v; unplug, fridge keeps running on inverter's 120v; all i have to do is keep inverter on.  perhaps when the inverter is on, the fridge is running off that, and really the converter is just charging the battery bank; i guess that is a third possibility.  but i want the inverter to run the whole coach (not the A/C of course, but yes on the micro just in case we want to use it). 

i have not explored that inverter wiring fully yet, to see how it is done;  the dream would be to be able to take that inverter out, swap it for something bigger, and then modify the wiring to allow that connection to now run all the other 120v outlets.....but i am anticipating that won't be a straightforward solution because i can't find anyone that has already done it and i certainly can't be the first one to think of it.  there are many people that have added the second inverter and then run extension cords to a couple of things (always an option, but not very "clean" of a solution). 

the coach comes with 4 group 31 12v's.  i am taking them out and moving in my 4 230AH 6V's from the 301BQ.  i have room for 2 more 230AH 6v's, and am considering adding them, but i don't think i'll need them with the 50 amp onboard genset as backup.  i think the 4 batts with the 400 watts/ 20 amps of solar will be enough.  i had a 1500 watt modified sine inverter on the 301BQ; gonna move to a 2500/3000 watt pure sine on the coach. 

your description is very similar to what i have read from others on the procedure....i may just have a local electrician look over my shoulder, too; to make sure i tie into the panel properly...

will keep studying it...electrical is my weakest skill by far....still confuses the hell out of me....

2018 Newmar Dutch Star 4326
2014 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon
2015 Ford F150 Fing Ranch
Paul('69) Adele('68) Mila('03) Ethan('05)
Lara the Golden ('13)
Brewster the Golden ('17)

Just doing my part to control the flying insect population with camping every trip....

Offline chilipyro

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Re: Calling out for some electrical help....
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2014, 10:32:47 am »
Wow Paul, that's pretty complicated stuff. The wiring, except for getting it where you need it with the least damage to the Gerorgetown, is easy. Figuring out how to navigate the converter, inverter(s), generator, and residential fridge issues is the real challenge. I wonder if you would be able to track down an electrician with rv wiring experience? Or, possibly, an electrician with experience in solar would work.

So, are you planning to move your trimetric over to the Georgetown too? I am curious what the draw on that residential fridge is, and how it compares with the standard rv fridges. I suppose it should be obvious, but I didn't realize that 'residential' was truly residential (as in 120v only). I pictured it was residential sized, but still cooled by the same rv absorption system.
2009 Jayco G2 32BHDS
2012 F350 King Ranch 4x4 Dually Longbed 6.7L Turbo Diesel (5990lbs payload - yeah baby!!),
Reese Dual Cam Hitch, Honda 2000 gens x2
Me, DW, DS (14), DS (12), DD (10), and our two little dogs


Offline TwoElkhounds

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Re: Calling out for some electrical help....
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2014, 11:00:57 am »
The fridge circuit is likely wired into the inverter and there is a transfer switch to select one or the other.  I would assume that the inverter would automatically select shore power if available, but would depend on what equipment is installed.   It may hold in on the inverter as long as there is power from it, which I probably would avoid as you would be running your fridge off the battery unnecessarily.   There is no way it can run off of both in parallel.

You should try to install a system that energizes the AC outlets in the trailer.  I will bet that one circuit serves all the outlets with the exception of the GFI circuits in the bathroom, kitchen, and outside.  Given that you also want to run the fridge, you will need at least two circuits, which means that you will probably want to install a small seconday breaker panel to serve the UPS loads.  Alternatively, you could leave the fridge inverter in and install a second inverter to serve the outlets.   You could then get by using a system like I installed with a transfer switch.

As for the batteries, you will need to stay with the four you have now.   It is not advisable to add new batteries to a bank that already has older batteries in it.  When it gets time and your existing batteries go bad, you can then maybe upgrade to 6 batteries.  Given that your fridge is running off the battery bank, it may not be long before your current batteries are depleted. Keep a close eye on it and remember that deep discharges are killers for battery life.   If you see your battery voltage frequently dropping below 11.5 volts, you can expect to have to replace them in the near future.

DAN

Offline LaydBack

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Re: Calling out for some electrical help....
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2014, 03:18:48 pm »
Man am I late to the party.   Looks like at this point all I can be is the grunt.  Dan is spot on, especially with the going from 4-6 batteries.   The key to success there is having all batteries be equally loaded/discharged, and not tying anything to just one battery.  How soon you heading this way,I KNOW a qualified electrician:-[
LAYD BACK is a way of life
Me, DW, 4 DSs (25, 23, 9, 7)...figured out what caused that...had it fixed!
2013 F350 King Ranch DRW 6.7L
2013 Sabre 36QBOK-7 Platinum Edition
B&W Companion,  Trailair Rotaflex Pinbox, Trail Air Equaflex, JTs Strong Arms, 12 Gallon Water Heater, Dual ACs, Central Vac, Fireplace, Ceiling Fan, Super Lounge, Slide Toppers

Mods: VacPan, 50A Hardwired Surge Guard, Vortex II in Half Bath, MaxAir Fanmate Covers, 26" LED in bedroom, Slide out 32" LED in pass thru, 32" LED in Bunkhouse, Screen Door Grab Bars, 50A Home Hookup w/ Cable & Wifi

[Pics of My Mods]


Offline Willingtonpaul

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Re: Calling out for some electrical help....
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2014, 07:04:23 am »

Man am I late to the party.   Looks like at this point all I can be is the grunt.  Dan is spot on, especially with the going from 4-6 batteries.   The key to success there is having all batteries be equally loaded/discharged, and not tying anything to just one battery.  How soon you heading this way,I KNOW a qualified electrician:-[

My 4 batteries are aged the same, and I have a line on 2 more that are a similar vintage from chilipyro. The beauty of the rooftop system is that my bank has never been discharged to under 12.1-12.2 volts and I never plug the trailer in. To me the cost of the solar is worth it's weight in gold for ease of use. I'm gonna have 4 group 31 12v's for sale that are brand new.

With the trimetric monitor and wiring them in series and parallel with a shunt in place the loading / monitoring  thing is taken care of. I am just gonna install all that (I hope on Father's Day) and get it so I don't have to plug this baby in anymore.

But the wiring of the inverter into the panel is something that I am gonna need help with I think. And Steve you are just the man to hire out !  I am seriously trying to find a way to make a trip to St. Louis. There is no one i would rather pay to help me than you - a fellow camper that gets it, plus a licensed electrician that knows solar...

So i am throwing it out there...I'll make the run out if you are available...sometime after 4th of July ? Chilipyro, let's do a dry run road trip for the Kentucky trip we do in the fall....and if we set foot in KY on the way out we have to stop and see trans....

2018 Newmar Dutch Star 4326
2014 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon
2015 Ford F150 Fing Ranch
Paul('69) Adele('68) Mila('03) Ethan('05)
Lara the Golden ('13)
Brewster the Golden ('17)

Just doing my part to control the flying insect population with camping every trip....

Offline chilipyro

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Re: Calling out for some electrical help....
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2014, 11:07:02 am »
So i am throwing it out there...I'll make the run out if you are available...sometime after 4th of July ? Chilipyro, let's do a dry run road trip for the Kentucky trip we do in the fall....and if we set foot in KY on the way out we have to stop and see trans....

You got it! St Louis in July will test that AC for sure too.

2009 Jayco G2 32BHDS
2012 F350 King Ranch 4x4 Dually Longbed 6.7L Turbo Diesel (5990lbs payload - yeah baby!!),
Reese Dual Cam Hitch, Honda 2000 gens x2
Me, DW, DS (14), DS (12), DD (10), and our two little dogs


Offline LaydBack

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Re: Calling out for some electrical help....
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2014, 10:28:52 pm »
I'm thinking this will definitely work.   We're leaving tomorrow and will return on the 22nd.  The Mercedes dealership I'm doing should wrap up within about 3 weeks after that, which should be around the time you're talking.
LAYD BACK is a way of life
Me, DW, 4 DSs (25, 23, 9, 7)...figured out what caused that...had it fixed!
2013 F350 King Ranch DRW 6.7L
2013 Sabre 36QBOK-7 Platinum Edition
B&W Companion,  Trailair Rotaflex Pinbox, Trail Air Equaflex, JTs Strong Arms, 12 Gallon Water Heater, Dual ACs, Central Vac, Fireplace, Ceiling Fan, Super Lounge, Slide Toppers

Mods: VacPan, 50A Hardwired Surge Guard, Vortex II in Half Bath, MaxAir Fanmate Covers, 26" LED in bedroom, Slide out 32" LED in pass thru, 32" LED in Bunkhouse, Screen Door Grab Bars, 50A Home Hookup w/ Cable & Wifi

[Pics of My Mods]


Offline Willingtonpaul

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Re: Calling out for some electrical help....
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2014, 10:59:50 pm »
I'm thinking this will definitely work.   We're leaving tomorrow and will return on the 22nd.  The Mercedes dealership I'm doing should wrap up within about 3 weeks after that, which should be around the time you're talking.

 :thumbsup:

have a great vacation and i will PM and post after the 22nd....safe travels...

2018 Newmar Dutch Star 4326
2014 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon
2015 Ford F150 Fing Ranch
Paul('69) Adele('68) Mila('03) Ethan('05)
Lara the Golden ('13)
Brewster the Golden ('17)

Just doing my part to control the flying insect population with camping every trip....

 

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