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Author Topic: Please help me understand my RV electric  (Read 16333 times)

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Please help me understand my RV electric
« Reply #90 on: February 09, 2016, 05:38:35 PM »
Quote
When you look at my image in Reply #82, isn't it impossible to power the converter with shore and inverter at the same time? Doesn't the DPDT switch isolate the sources and limits only to only one at a time?

Yes, but you keep missing my point. You aren't powering only the converter from either source.  You are powering the entire AC/DC load center. You need a way to avoid allowing the converter to run along with everything else (does it have a circuit breaker of its own?). And it would be smart to do the same for water heater & fridge electric & a/c units. Flipping their breakers off, if they have separate ones, may be sufficient.

OK, now suppose you have the inverter enabled and the manual switch in inverter position. Now some helpful person comes along and plugs your shore cord into a nearby outlet. What happens?  Is that DPDT switch between the shore cord and the load center? Or on some alternate path you have created when the inverter is added? I can't tell, cause you never described the rest of the 120v hook-up.  I'm not saying its wrong, just warning you that it is absolutely critical to isolate the two system.
Gary
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Re: Please help me understand my RV electric
« Reply #91 on: February 09, 2016, 06:27:25 PM »
Yeah there is something I am missing here. What is wrong with the inverter powering the entire AC/DC load center? (as long as I'm not using it to recharge the battery bank and not trying to run the A/C) I agree it's redundant and probably inefficient to have 12V batteries supplying power to the inverter supplying power to the converter, converting the 110V back to 12V for things like the refrig, heater, etc BUT I'm baffled where to hook the inverter in to avoid all this.

So the friend comes and plugs in the shore while DPDT switch has converter running on inverter mode, I'm relying on the inverter auto transfer switch to pass through the shore power.

To be honest I felt I had shown you the entire 110V system, no I did not illustrate the A/C unit or the multiple wall outlets but that's all she wrote. The system in my rig is pretty simple.
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Please help me understand my RV electric
« Reply #92 on: February 09, 2016, 07:14:39 PM »
That "loss of efficiency" is a major one. This inverter loses more than 10% of the input power when inverting, and then you lose another 5-10% converting back for charging at the converter. And that continuously increases as the batteries run down and the charger raises its output to try to keep up.  Very shortly both inverter and converter/charger are running at max and the batteries die.

As for powering the rest of the circuits, do what you feel is best.
Gary
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Re: Please help me understand my RV electric
« Reply #93 on: February 09, 2016, 08:38:52 PM »
Gary, without a question you've been a huge help but I think we're both missing each other here. I absolutely will not have the converter charging the batteries while on inverter power. There will be no connection between the converter and the battery bank while under inverter power. That will be a manual task of pushing in the push/pull switch but I plan to laminate a hard card of instructions and keep a copy by the controls and by the inverter so simple my young children could follow.

So, knowing that I will not create a loop of battery bank > inverter > converter > battery bank, are there any other concerns?
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Please help me understand my RV electric
« Reply #94 on: February 10, 2016, 08:21:53 AM »
Does the shore power cord connect to the AC input of the inverter?  I would not do that, due to overload concerns. Or I would put a 20A circuit breaker in line with it, to make sure I didn't overload the inverter transfer switch.

Over the years we have seen many electrical problem reports here, and too often they begin with "I forget to...". That makes me inclined to want electrical things to be foolproof. I'm a firm believer in Murphy's Law: "If anything can go wrong, it will!".
Gary
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Re: Please help me understand my RV electric
« Reply #95 on: February 10, 2016, 09:31:03 AM »
Here you can see how I did wire the inverter to the 30amp shore service. I know I need to install a cable clamp but I'm still in 'figuring it all out' mode.

I happen to have a spare sub panel type of box and 20amp breaker!

I'm happy to put that in line TO the inverter.

Maybe I'm starting to over complicate things but I'm thinking a DPDT switch on the 12V converter input might be a good idea. My thought here is that I could run the 12V appliances (heater, water pump, etc) DIRECT from the battery bank and the inverter only powers the converter's 2 15amp breakers which represent the outlets.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2016, 10:49:34 AM by supermanotorious »
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supermanotorious

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Re: Please help me understand my RV electric
« Reply #96 on: February 10, 2016, 11:28:36 AM »
I just sketched this, maybe it is helpful?

But I'm confused on how the converter actually works. Well maybe not, all of the 12V appliances actually do run direct off the batteries correct? Then, the blue wire (CONV POS) must connect to the BATT POS through the circuit board which charges the batteries?

You can see my converter in Reply #1
« Last Edit: February 10, 2016, 11:45:41 AM by supermanotorious »
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supermanotorious

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Re: Please help me understand my RV electric
« Reply #97 on: February 10, 2016, 01:33:22 PM »
To simplify, I want the battery bank to continue to power the 12V appliances DIRECTLY.

I want the inverter to ONLY power the 2 15amp breakers in the panel.
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Please help me understand my RV electric
« Reply #98 on: February 10, 2016, 02:25:17 PM »
I get confused when you say "converter" but appear to mean the more than that, e.g. 120v breakers. The converter/charger is the component that accepts 120vac and produces 12-14vdc to supply coach coach power needs and charge batteries. That's all it does.

You appear to have an integrated power center that has at least these three major components:
A. 120v power bus with 120v breakers
B. Converter/Charger
C. 12v Power bus with fuses

Your 12v appliances are wired to the 12v bus and the bus receives power from both batteries and converter/charger. I can't tell from the pictures exactly how the two power sources get there, nor can I tell what brand of power center you have. The converter produces power when it has 120v input but is dormant otherwise.  There should be a circuit breaker on the 120v side for it, but that breaker may be shared with other 120v devices.  If it does not have its own breaker, you could add a simple on/off switch to the internal wiring to turn off power to the converter component alone.

Your shore power cord connects to the 120v bus which in turn feeds the 120v circuit breakers. I can't tell from the photos how the inverter fits in - it could be in series with the shore cord, or in parallel with it.  I'm guessing you chose series, i.e. the shore cord sends power through the inverter and relies on its transfer switch & output wire to send it back. If so, that means 30A flowing through a device designed for 20A, thus the suggestion to put some kind of 20A limiter in it. But that limits ALL your power to 20A, even when not inverting.  To get around that, you can put a 30A DPDT switch (aka "transfer switch) between the inverter 120v input and output and manually bypass the inverter when you are using 30A shore power alone.

The alternative to the series hook-up is to place the inverter in parallel with the shore cord and have both feed the 120v bus. HOWEVER, that means you MUST add a transfer switch to make sure the two are never active at the same time. The 30A DPDT switch can be used to do that manually, or for more $$ you can install an automatic 30A transfer switch that senses shore power and switches accordingly. The DIYRV article addresses that design.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
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Re: Please help me understand my RV electric
« Reply #99 on: February 11, 2016, 12:32:25 PM »
The converter is a Parallax Model 7345 and has those 3 major components. Currently the inverter is in series with the 30 amp shore as you describe it. This is not an issue for Yosemite but one I'll need to figure out before the summer.

I ordered the Hubbell manual switch and the darn shipping is 4-7 WEEKS- bummer. I'm thinking I could order this relay and set it up as my automatic transfer switch. It seems from the reviews that is exactly what people are doing with it. I would need some guidance wiring it in though.

I think as well, if I put a switch on the blue CONV POS line, that would be a more efficient way to break the loop. Again, this would be a manual procedure but tends to make the most sense IMO.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2016, 12:49:57 PM by supermanotorious »
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supermanotorious

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Re: Please help me understand my RV electric
« Reply #100 on: February 11, 2016, 01:22:21 PM »
I think the relay would work according to this review and answered question:

"I bought this relay to use as an automatic transfer switch in my truck, to switch between shore power and the onboard inverter. I connected the inverter to the normally closed terminals, so it doesn't consume extra power to hold the relay on while using the battery. The shore power is connected to the normally open terminals as well as to the coil, so when external AC is connected, the inverter is disconnected. The common terminals go to a breaker panel in the truck. This relay seems solid and well constructed. I enclosed it in a plastic box (Amico 160mm x 110mm x 90mm Waterproof Plastic Enclosure Case DIY Junction Box), which fit it perfectly and had plenty of space for three #10-3 Romex cables (stranded boat wire; solid wire might be hard to bend in this confined space). I used crimp ring-tongue terminals to make all the connections."

"You need to decide something first... Do you wish solar & battery power to be used whenever it is available, and switch to line power after it is depleted, or do you wish solar & battery power to be used as a line failure backup power source, only when power fails?? If using solar battery whenever solar power is available, the front set of screws in the picture connect to the A.C. line power cord to be plugged into the wall later. (call them the front screws) It's easiest if you use a white wire( or the ribbed wire in a polarized plug cord), on the right side of the pictured relay and the other side use a black wire(or the non-ribbed smooth side) for the other one. the second set of screws on the sides near the front connect to the power inverter and the relay coil screws on the sides in the middle too, each side to the same color wire. the rear screw terminals are connected to the load outlet cord or power strip that supplies your devices. Use wire heavy enough for the system you wish to power, and inverter that you connect to. For 20 amp load use #12 wires, or for 30 amp load use #10 wires. remember that a 12 volt inverter multiplies voltage, and divides the current, meaning that a 100 watt light bulb pulls about .9 amps at 120 volts a.c., but the inverter needs 9-10 amps at 12 volts d.c. to power the inverter. so a 1000 watt inverter puts out about 9 amps at 120 volts, needing about 85 to 90 amps from the batteries needing about #4 battery cables to supply the power. 3000 watt needs a #2 cable. It's best to locate batteries close to the inverter to avoid long heavy cables. If however, you wish to use solar as a power supply when A.C. line quits working, then the line power cord connects to the second set of side screws(lower contact) and the coil middle set of screws. The inverter power cord then connects to the upper set of contacts(front screws) the output to your devices is connected the same at the back set of screws to the armature moving contacts. you may also want to use a heavy continuous-duty contactor to turn off inverter, when line power is used to give inverter a rest, and save battery power. Its best to mount in a metal box, and ground all green ground wires to the box for safety. some solar systems have a Positive ground (red wire) connected to ground instead of the negative (black) wire, so if grounding the solar units separately, you may not be able to ground the inverter, and may have to reverse the black and white inverter power output cord wires to prevent grounding problems in Positive ground situations if needed. If you use a Motor home inverter, this relay will likely not be needed, and will automatically switch over internally to line power when available."
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Kevin Means

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Re: Please help me understand my RV electric
« Reply #101 on: February 11, 2016, 02:01:21 PM »
I noticed that solar was mentioned a few times in that manifesto. If you're planning to install solar, the output from the panels should always be positive to positive and negative to negative, whether wired directly to the batteries or through a controller. Regarding all that other stuff... all I can say is Wow!

Kev
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Towing a Jeep Rubicon Unlimited LJ or an Acura MDX
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Lakeside, California

supermanotorious

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Re: Please help me understand my RV electric
« Reply #102 on: February 11, 2016, 02:09:10 PM »
This is exactly what I want to achieve! How do I interrupt the blue wire in scenario B? Standard automotive relay?
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supermanotorious

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Re: Please help me understand my RV electric
« Reply #103 on: February 12, 2016, 10:40:06 AM »
I think all I need is a relay on the blue CONV POS wire that is triggered by shore power. The wire would be connected to the normally open contacts but would close and complete the circuit when shore power is present.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2016, 10:44:22 AM by supermanotorious »
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Please help me understand my RV electric
« Reply #104 on: February 12, 2016, 10:55:59 AM »
I note in the AIMS manual that it gives 10A as the rating for the transfer switch, even though it claims a 2400W (20A) surge capability.
Gary
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supermanotorious

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Re: Please help me understand my RV electric
« Reply #105 on: February 12, 2016, 01:28:50 PM »
I picked up the 110V relay from Radio Shack and tried to ask the elderly clerk for assistance with the wiring. He could not focus on the circuit but kept getting distracted by the entire system. I asked him multiple times to focus on this circuit and he simply couldn't, a very frustrating experience.

Hopefully you guys can tell me how to wire this up. Here I have a 10amp 110V relay that is only to provide a signal to the 30amp 12V relay so that when shore power is present, the CONV POS is bridged, but when shore power is absent, CONV POS is open.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2016, 01:33:51 PM by supermanotorious »
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boatbuilder

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Re: Please help me understand my RV electric
« Reply #106 on: February 12, 2016, 02:41:26 PM »
On the 12V relay, 85 and 86 are the activation coil terminals, 30 is the common terminal for the contacts, 86A is the normally closed(NC) terminal and 86 is the normally open(NO) terminal.
On the 110V relay, 7 and 8 are the activation coil terminals, 3 and 4 are the common terminals, 5 and 6 are the NC terminals and 1 and 2 are the NO terminals.
Charlie

supermanotorious

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Re: Please help me understand my RV electric
« Reply #107 on: February 12, 2016, 02:44:33 PM »
Thank you, I think this is how I should wire it.
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supermanotorious

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Re: Please help me understand my RV electric
« Reply #108 on: February 12, 2016, 04:01:35 PM »
makin some sweet solderins!
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supermanotorious

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Re: Please help me understand my RV electric
« Reply #109 on: February 12, 2016, 07:26:22 PM »
OMG I am a genius.
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dabrooks

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Re: Please help me understand my RV electric
« Reply #110 on: February 12, 2016, 08:17:38 PM »
I take it that you have everything hooked up and it works?
Dave Brooks
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supermanotorious

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Re: Please help me understand my RV electric
« Reply #111 on: February 13, 2016, 09:39:07 AM »
Well I'm still waiting on the 30amp 110V relay, but after some additional thought, I believe there is no need for 110V pass through on the inverter, the output is all that will be necessary. There will not be a scenario where shore power is present and passing through the inverter, it would be diverted at the relay. This is simplifying the project even further.
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supermanotorious

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Re: Please help me understand my RV electric
« Reply #112 on: February 13, 2016, 11:47:19 AM »
One thing that is bothering me is that the 7-pin truck outlet is not producing 12v + to charge the house battery while in tow. I read somewhere that you might have to have the running lights on for this function but that is not working. I've tested the fuses for the 7-pin and they are good, any ideas?
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dabrooks

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Re: Please help me understand my RV electric
« Reply #113 on: February 13, 2016, 12:38:10 PM »
We have a 2012 Yukon and there was a wire that had to be hooked up in the front at the main distribution box under the hood. It is to cold for me to go out and check now. There is also a separate (either 30 amp or 40 amp) fuse for that charge line.
Dave Brooks
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Maryland

supermanotorious

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Re: Please help me understand my RV electric
« Reply #114 on: February 13, 2016, 01:18:43 PM »
Ah ha! THIS solved the problem!
« Last Edit: February 13, 2016, 01:24:16 PM by supermanotorious »
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dabrooks

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Re: Please help me understand my RV electric
« Reply #115 on: February 13, 2016, 03:00:57 PM »
That's the wire I was talking about.
Dave Brooks
2013 Tiffin 35 QBA
Ford f-53
Maryland

supermanotorious

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Re: Please help me understand my RV electric
« Reply #116 on: February 14, 2016, 02:07:04 PM »
Wiring it all up was something of a PITA, esp without anyone's help but I got it done. I used some marine grade electrical boxes from Home Depot to house all the relays.

This system is beautiful and intelligent. Shore power- powers converter, charges batteries. Inverter/Battery power- powers converter, disconnects the converter charging loop. It all happens automatically.


By default, the RV elects Inverter power, however, in the presence of shore power, it automatically switches over.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2016, 02:11:35 PM by supermanotorious »
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supermanotorious

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Re: Please help me understand my RV electric
« Reply #117 on: February 14, 2016, 09:34:24 PM »
For now, until I decide on the battery bank, which is proving to be a difficult decision, I threw my newer deep cycle on the trailer tongue and ran the welding wire 2ga to the Inverter. American Freedom was such a corner cutter in their builds. I see jagged, ridiculous holes in the frame, walls, cabinets, you name it, for where wire needs to pass. I think they either blasted it with a cutting torch or used a hammer and stake to punch the holes. At first I though maybe it was the material but I used my drill and 1/2" bit to run wire through the floor and the holes were perfect. I've used a chain and pad lock to hopefully secure the battery to the tongue. I have a couple spare car alarm siren horns I may wire up to alert if someone opens the battery box. However, I think a better idea is to weld a battery rack to the frame and store the batteries under the RV as I saw someone makes a product similar to. You can also see I pulled the 110V "IN" cord from the inverter, I used it to run power to the 110V relay behind the Converter.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2016, 01:41:32 PM by supermanotorious »
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supermanotorious

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Re: Please help me understand my RV electric
« Reply #118 on: February 15, 2016, 01:47:56 PM »
Bah, I think I'm going with Interstate GC2 RC107 deep cycle 6V batteries (4), Costco has 'em for $83.99 and suits my budget- which is close to tapped out.
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supermanotorious

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Re: Please help me understand my RV electric
« Reply #119 on: February 21, 2016, 10:09:05 AM »
finally got my batteries and did a quick test fit with some scrap angle from an old bed frame, the weight distributing hitch hook up brackets are in the way of where the battery box needs to be welded and I'm a little jammed here, I know I could cut the brackets off the mounting clamp and weld them to the frame and then they would be a permanent part of this trailer, none of that scares me but I don't want to spend the time, energy, or cut off discs removing the clamp from the bracket so I dunno, will have to think about it, no worries though, steel yard is closed for the rest of the weekend so I have the week to think it over

also, I swapped out all the interior and exterior lighting (less the running lights) with LEDs from Amazon, however they are not as bright as the incandescent automotive bulbs and that's not going to work, so I probably need to send them back and order even more expensive bulbs
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Phoenix Winch wakeboard winches

 

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