Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 12-29-2018, 02:07 AM   #1
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: NC
Posts: 118
Default Need Help Shopping for Electrical Parts

I found an electrician to install my electrical system but, I need to supply the parts and a plan. Please recommend items and add to my list:

I will need a 30 amp service into my van and be able to run a portable AC and a refrigerator. I also will need to be able to charge a lithium battery bank.

Please Help My Shopping List:
30 amp inlet (which one is a good one?)
What size and type of wire to run from 30 amp inlet to circuit breaker panel?
Which circuit breaker panel should I buy?
For outlets, I read use multi strand pure copper wire...what size?
Do I need a sub panel for inverter/charger?
2 outlets...will get the GFI type
Breakers...do I want to have two 20 amp breakers with a main 30 amp breaker?
Clamps

Thank you
__________________

Oliver2017 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2018, 03:25 PM   #2
Platinum Member
 
rowiebowie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Texas
Posts: 1,102
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oliver2017 View Post
I found an electrician to install my electrical system but, I need to supply the parts and a plan. Please recommend items and add to my list:

I will need a 30 amp service into my van and be able to run a portable AC and a refrigerator. I also will need to be able to charge a lithium battery bank.

Please Help My Shopping List:
30 amp inlet (which one is a good one?)
What size and type of wire to run from 30 amp inlet to circuit breaker panel?
Which circuit breaker panel should I buy?
For outlets, I read use multi strand pure copper wire...what size?
Do I need a sub panel for inverter/charger?
2 outlets...will get the GFI type
Breakers...do I want to have two 20 amp breakers with a main 30 amp breaker?
Clamps

Thank you
If you've hired a qualified electrician, he should tell you what is needed for your requirements and obtain the parts locally. If you don't trust him to do that, then why would you trust him to do the work? Just wondering.
.
__________________

rowiebowie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2018, 04:06 PM   #3
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 7,793
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by rowiebowie View Post
If you've hired a qualified electrician, he should tell you what is needed for your requirements and obtain the parts locally. If you don't trust him to do that, then why would you trust him to do the work? Just wondering..

I would tend to agree, and if the electrician is not familiar with RV or marine power systems he won't be able to help much, I think.


While I am a hardcore supporter of DIY stuff of all kinds, I do understand that many folks don't have the skill, time, tools, workshop, etc to do it themselves, so hiring someone is necessary. What can be a problem, though, is just hiring the labor to do the job. In a case like this, I think the person hiring the labor needs to fully understand what is going to be needed and done, which requires a reasonable amount of knowledge of the subject.


I think putting together a parts list based on recommendations from others and then hiring a non system knowledgeable installer just seems like a recipe for a lot of problems. If things don't work out, there is no one that is responsible to get things fixed except the owner who doesn't have the knowledge necessary to sort it out.



The best option probably is to hire someone to specify and install the system, as it puts all the responsibility in one place, but certainly will be more expensive. Another option might be to search around and question/look at what other people have actually built or had built. If you can find a system that does what you want, and you get a good explanation of how/why it works as it does, you could just duplicate that system design. Perhaps posting a very detailed description of what you would like to accomplish on this forum would be a good place to start, as many DIY setups have been done by members. Someone may have a very similar system already in place.



I know from personal experience, and helping others, that even if you are really careful in this stuff, sometimes it doesn't work out as planned , so it is pretty important to make sure that the system is as functional, and safe, as it can be.
booster is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2018, 04:58 PM   #4
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: NC
Posts: 118
Default

I see you point but...my electrician is capable of installing the components safely and by code but, wants me to supply the items. I don't want to waste his time by not having all the parts.

Possibly, there are DIY people on this board that have installed their own 30 amp and a circuit panel box. I would like to hear from them any suggestions for brands, sizes and etc.

The nearest RV place that can install the parts for me is booked until April...not sure if they even have a master electrician on staff. If you know of installers in the Mid Atlantic area, I would give them a call in a heart beat.
Oliver2017 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2018, 05:45 PM   #5
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 7,793
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oliver2017 View Post
I see you point but...my electrician is capable of installing the components safely and by code but, wants me to supply the items. I don't want to waste his time by not having all the parts.

Possibly, there are DIY people on this board that have installed their own 30 amp and a circuit panel box. I would like to hear from them any suggestions for brands, sizes and etc.

The nearest RV place that can install the parts for me is booked until April...not sure if they even have a master electrician on staff. If you know of installers in the Mid Atlantic area, I would give them a call in a heart beat.

Code for RVs is different than for normal buildings, for one thing, and RV components are totally different if he hasn't any experience with them. Will he be able to troubleshoot battery charging, integration to the van systems, if necessary, etc. Not saying he can't, but no guaranty he can either. You don't need a Master for RV or marine wiring, IMO, you need someone who knows those systems, especially if you are going to have things that need to run on shore power, and inverter power, plus charge batteries.



You might want to see if Morehead Designs (now under a new owner) would be interested in the job. I think they would be in your area and it is the kind of work they do. You could also try marina's to find a good marine installer, or maybe even conversion van companies if the have done some RV stuff.
booster is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2018, 05:51 PM   #6
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 7,793
Default

This appears to be the renamed Morehead Designs Lab.


About Us | Blue Ridge Adventure Vehicles
booster is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2018, 04:51 PM   #7
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: NC
Posts: 118
Default

Any thoughts on using a "Temporary Power Distribution Box" for a DIY van conversion? I think it might solve my electrical access needs and I can use it in my future van...once I run the current one into the ground. Just need to install a 30 amp inlet.



https://www.acmetools.com/shop/tools...cal%20products
Oliver2017 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2018, 07:40 PM   #8
Platinum Member
 
GeorgeRa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 1,479
Default

There are many flavors of van conversions from a cargo van with a mattress and a bucket to a full conversion with all appliances like water/space heater(s), stove, fridge. microwave oven, shower, toilet, AC, generator etc. I would suggest to paint a picture of your desired end result, it will help you to relate your objectives to hired contractors and to get some, more specific guidance from here. Finding an existing model representing your final results could help.

The portable AC power distribution (your video) fits nicely with a simple conversion like a mattress and a bucket. You would likely keep it inside so how would you run a shore cable into it, via opened door or window. It seems as a truly temporary solution.

Regarding your question about AC inlet this is what I did back in 2013 using, a very new than, SmartPlug. https://sprinter-source.com/forum/sh...&postcount=391
Attached Images
File Type: jpg ZGR22132.JPG (420.7 KB, 9 views)
File Type: jpg ZGR22130.JPG (465.3 KB, 4 views)
File Type: jpg ZGR22131.JPG (437.0 KB, 4 views)
GeorgeRa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2018, 11:26 PM   #9
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: NC
Posts: 118
Default

What does your AC inlet connect to on the inside of your van? Inside my van, I want to be able to plug in the portable power distributor to the 30 amp power coming in the van.

I plan to have a simple mattress and a bucket type conversion but, a large lithium battery bank for a portable air conditioner and portable AC/DC model refrigerator.

I want to use the portable power distributor to hook up these items when shore power is available and to charge the lithium battery bank.

I do not have a second alternator or generator. I am trying to keep the van items portable so they can be used in future vans. I hope to keep the sting of depreciation at a minimum by having the meat (gadgets/appliances) taken off the bone (van) when I upgrade to a newer van one day.
Oliver2017 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-31-2018, 12:10 AM   #10
Platinum Member
 
GeorgeRa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 1,479
Default

With your objectives I would just go completely portable, Li battery portable pack, fridge etc. No need for an electrician - just plug and play. You could just focus on safe attachments of appliances or cargo containers to the floor or to the walls. A permanent run of a shore power inlet to an inside outlet would be appropriate, but I doubt you really need 30A, this could be work for an electrician.

Regarding what my AC inlet feeds see the diagram attached.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Full schematic final 11 18 2018.JPG (156.0 KB, 21 views)
GeorgeRa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-31-2018, 01:03 AM   #11
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 7,793
Default

If there is going to be a "large lithium battery bank" that is big enough to run air conditioning, there is going to be a need for some large capacity charging source(s).



Those items usually can't be considered as a temporary install very easily as the need big cables and good controls and protection.


Just how big a lithium bank are we talking about? How big an AC unit and how often will it be used and require the lithium to be recharged?


As we have seen in the past, getting the battery capacity to do some of these things is the easy part, while the recharging side of it is harder, and usually underestimated.
booster is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-31-2018, 01:06 AM   #12
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: NC
Posts: 118
Default

Thank you George!

I'm thinking I do need/want the 30A to power the portable power distributer box.

I am keen on using one because it is portable and includes the safety features that will make the plug and plan design of my conversion safer and cheaper than getting a pro to duplicate the various component of the box.

I like to air my plans on this board for posters like you to point out the flaws in my thinking...I get so caught up in my projects that sometimes I don't see the bigger picture.
Oliver2017 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-31-2018, 02:35 AM   #13
Silver Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: New Hamshire
Posts: 59
Default

Although not as critical on the van side, make sure your electrician fully understands that you want 30 amp, 120 volt service and not 240 volt service. If you are installing a 30 amp service at your home, this very important. Many home electricians don't understand RV requirements. You can fry almost everything inside your RV if you connect to 30A/240V service.
Rockwood27 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-03-2019, 06:48 PM   #14
Bronze Member
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: new york
Posts: 28
Default Bad idea

It sounds to me like you were more interested in saving money then doing it right. Everyone on here is giving you good advice when they tell you to hire a qualified RV Electrician. Do you have any idea how hard it is to get a hold of an enclosed space in the middle of the night when itís on fire, or the insulation is burning on the wires and asphyxiating you? Do it right, you wonít be sorry.
cwbrown is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-03-2019, 06:49 PM   #15
Bronze Member
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: new york
Posts: 28
Default Correction

I meant to say get out of an closed space. So much for dictating in this space.
cwbrown is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-03-2019, 10:55 PM   #16
Bronze Member
 
Hatteras Jim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: PA now; Cape Hatteras for 20 years previously
Posts: 47
Default

Pay close attention to what Rockwood 27 said. I have seen very experienced home and industrial electricians with over 20 years of service screw up RV wiring just because they did not fully understand it. Improper wiring could cause a fire; but, IMO, the greater threat is getting "lit up" when opening your door while standing on a damp surface. Electrical grounding is also different from home wiring in a RV.



Having said that, IMO, you can't go wrong with Marinco products for the inlet if installing it on the van's sheet metal. 10 ga wire from the plug to the breaker box would be the absolute minimum; however, I would use 8 ga especially if the run was greater than 5 feet and you are using a rubber jacketed (SJO type) cord.



You should pose this question to your electrician and buy accordingly. You need to decide where your inlet is going to be, and the distance to the point where your breaker box will be.



Another factor to consider is HEAT. Wiring that is between the van insulation and the outside skin will get hot during the summer and that will reduce the current carrying capacity of your wires. If you are using minimum wiring standards and sitting in Arizona in July with your AC on, then pay attention to what CWbrown says.


A qualified RV electrician understands (usually) the environment the wires are in and what the minimums should be.



12 ga wire would work for the outlets. 10 ga for AC/Heat pump due to start up current.


For a breaker panel, I used a WFCO ultra distribution panel, Model WF-8950. This is probably an overkill for you and I'm not sure if they have smaller versions. What I liked about this panel, is that it also has a DC (12volt) side as well. Sorry, but I don't remember where I got it.



Be sure to use the correct size breakers. This is dependent on the anticipated load at the outlet and wire size. Your electrician should tell you.



Codes and standards do change and my knowledge goes back many years and may not be correct today. That's why you need a qualified RV electrician as others have said before. Your guy may be fine; ask him the question that Rockwood 27 poses. If he immediately says "Yes", then he is probably OK. If he hesitates....look around for another option.


If you elect to put a hole in the side of your van, for best results, use a greenlee punch set and not a sabre saw or hole saw. Also, understand that an "electrical" punch may be much bigger than you think. I once asked an electrician to put three 3/4 inch antenna holes in the roof of our brand new rescue truck for the fire department and he used a 3/4 inch "electrical conduit" punch. I got 3 holes well over an inch in diameter. I got what I asked for, not what I wanted.



So be sure to measure a half a dozen times before you put that 1 1/2 to 2 inch hole in your van. I do like the plug that goes in the rear of the van, never seen one.



Good luck.
Hatteras Jim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-03-2019, 11:21 PM   #17
Bronze Member
 
Hatteras Jim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: PA now; Cape Hatteras for 20 years previously
Posts: 47
Default

Check out https://wfcoelectronics.com They have electrical stuff for your RV. I may have purchased my panel from Amazon or ebay.
Hatteras Jim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2019, 01:54 AM   #18
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: NC
Posts: 118
Default

Thank you to all for the electrical advice!

Reading reviews of various RV Service Departments and their long waiting list for service, caused me to seek the help from an electrician that I trust.

I will just have to expand my search range for finding the right RV Service Department...
Oliver2017 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2019, 09:26 PM   #19
Bronze Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: MI
Posts: 33
Default

Regarding your battery system, you need to know what your predicted usage will be between charges. For example how many hours of air conditioning and what watt-hrs will that consume. What other loads will you have in that same time frame. When you add them all up it wouldn't surprise me to see you need a substantial battery and inverter charger. These are not things you can just throw in the back without a hernia and in the case of emergency braking they would be getting intimate with you in ways you won't like.
jaak1993 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-2019, 05:42 PM   #20
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: NC
Posts: 118
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaak1993 View Post
in the case of emergency braking they would be getting intimate with you in ways you won't like.
This is a concern I have for my portable items but...I believe my system will be safer than an RV that is not required to have items secured for a crash test standard.

I plan to anchor the items down to the passenger seating connections on the floor since I removed a row of seats.

Anyone use cargo nets designed to secure items in vehicles?
https://www.adrianssafetysolutions.c...-cargo-safety/
__________________

Oliver2017 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT. The time now is 02:32 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×