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Author Topic: What Electrical Distribution Panels are you Using?  (Read 2336 times)
TomC
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« on: August 26, 2010, 12:20:34 PM »

I've been looking at various pre made electrical panels by Blue Seas, Newmar, Paneltronics, etc.  Are any of you using these panels?  I got a quote for my 12vdc with multimeter with 100amp main and 19 circuit breakers; 120vac with multimeter with 100amp main and 11 circuit breakers; inverter panel with multimeter and 12 circuit breakers; rotary switch for shore-off-generator all in one panel for about $2,500!  Seems high to me-what are you using?  Good Luck, TomC
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bevans6
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« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2010, 12:27:31 PM »

I am using a Iota load center, pretty basic but it has some AC load breakers and enough 12vdc fuse locations for my application.  I am also using a normal pony panel for ac distribution to inverter-fed loads.  Not very elegant, and no monitoring capability.

http://www.bestconverter.com/ILS-45-45-Amp-Load-Center_p_363.html

Brian
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Paladin
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« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2010, 12:37:43 PM »

Paneltronics for me. All of it was bought on Ebay for less than other places and some were steals, I got several DC 8 pos panels and a DC meter panel for around $15.00 - $20.00 each new in the boxes. I stumbled across a guy who was selling off his boat project and the parts so I picked up all he had.
My 10 pos AC panel with meters was a little more, around $250.00 or so I think. I'd still like another AC panel with about 4 breakers to serve as a separate panel just for the power stuff in the bays.

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« Last Edit: August 26, 2010, 12:53:04 PM by Paladin » Logged

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norules
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« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2010, 01:31:40 PM »

I prefer theses (so does most of the Stick and Staple RV industry)
http://www.progressivedyn.com/prod_details/dist_panels/pd5500_2.html  
I like Model/feature codes 55K102 for my 50 amp service with a trace Prosine 3k inverter
see include picture (50/50/30)
4 C/B's on 50 amp L1 leg +
4 C/B's on 50 amp L2 leg +  
6 C/B's on 30 amp AUX leg + or  4 C/B's on DUAL 50amp AUX legs (different feature#)
split neutrals for the inverter seperation requirement
+ rear 110v 15amp outlet for refer

for DC - I used
http://www.progressivedyn.com/prod_details/dist_panels/pd6000_2.html]

or these IIRC come with a smart battery charger/converter/DC panel combo
http://www.progressivedyn.com/all_in_one_pd4000.html
http://www.progressivedyn.com/all_in_one_pd4300.html
http://www.progressivedyn.com/all_in_one_pd4500_1.html

« Last Edit: August 27, 2010, 06:45:50 AM by norules » Logged
Sean
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« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2010, 04:04:57 PM »

Tom, we made custom panels that use the same Airpax breakers that Blue Sea and many other marine manufacturers use.  That's because I had a dozen or so of the breakers left over from the original conversion.  Also, we have three busses in our panel rather than two.

I recommend using over-the-counter load centers from the home improvement store.  They are much less expensive, there is no question that they meet code, breakers are cheap, and you can get replacement breakers anywhere.  They are available with flush-mount covers if that's the look you prefer; our panels are in a cabinet behind a door, so even though they are beautiful, it's really irrelevant.

Specifically I recommend Square-D "QO" series panels.  That's because standard QO breakers are rated for both AC and DC, so you can use another QO panel for your DC loads, and only have to stock/find one style of breaker.

If you decide on the marine style such as Blue Sea, check eBay first.  When we needed extra breakers I got a whole panel full of them for less than a couple breakers would cost retail.

HTH,

-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
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happycamperbrat
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« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2010, 04:22:21 PM »

After pay day http://www.busconversions.com/bbs/index.php?topic=17088.0   Grin
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« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2010, 11:03:16 PM »

I recommend using over-the-counter load centers from the home improvement store. 

Concur.

I bought a standard panel and wired it myself.

There are two types of panel.  I got the cheap one, and backfeed AC to the X and Y buses through the ganged 50 amp breakers.  This will NOT work with the combined breaker / GFCI units (look for an indication of an input or output side).
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Gary '79 5C
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« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2010, 11:47:48 PM »

Tom,
I have the Newmar unit which you mentioned, pricey, but courtesy of PO. I like it due to is compact presentation, allowing it to be located above the drivers position. The genset start/stop station was also integrated. Obviously, better for single pilot op's than a remote panel.

If you have the space, use the OTC load centers, Sq D or others, replacements avail. around any corner & very cost effective.

Best of luck with your build.

Gary
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Sean
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« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2010, 07:22:52 AM »

... There are two types of panel.  I got the cheap one, and backfeed AC to the X and Y buses through the ganged 50 amp breakers.  This will NOT work with the combined breaker / GFCI units (look for an indication of an input or output side).


Just to clarify this, the two types are called "Main Lug" and "Main Breaker."  The latter has a dedicated space for a main breaker and, in fact, can not be wired without one.  The former has no such space, merely lugs where the incoming power is normally connected.

All main lug panels can mimic a main breaker panel by back-feeding the panel through a two-pole breaker, but the specific breaker chosen for this purpose must be a type that is rated for back-feed use.  The manufacturer's specifications, often found on their web site, will say whether or not any particular breaker can be used backwards.  As noted, circuit breakers with integral GCCI's, as well as shunt trip and other specialty breakers can not be used this way (neither can hydraulic breakers such as those found in marine style panels).  In this type of installation the main lugs are unused.

This can be handy because main lug panels are smaller than their main breaker brethren.  Also, if you need to make up a single-phase panel (as opposed to split-phase), for example to serve as your inverter output panel, back-feeding a main lug panel is the easiest way to do it:  use a single-pole breaker as the back-fed main, and tie the two busses together inside the panel with a short length of #6 wire using the main lugs.

-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
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« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2010, 08:03:58 AM »

What I did was just mount a 50A dryer socket on the bulkhead for the inverter output, wired straight across (linked X and Y).  There is a 15A socket for the inverter/charger shorepower line coming out of the breaker box.

The genset output goes to two sockets (a 50A and a 15A) which are mounted in a way that the 50A main umbilical and 15A inverter/charger umbilical can't both be plugged in at the same time (the 90-degree connectors interfere with each other.

If I have shore power, I plug the 50A main umbilical into it, and plug the inverter line into the 15A socket to keep the batteries topped off.

If I'm on the solar and inverter, I plug the 50A main into the 50A output from the inverter.

If I'm running the genset, I generally have the inverter/charge plugged in, but have the option of going straight into the house AC power lines (in case the inverter dies, or if I need to run something not related to the coach).
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TomC
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« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2010, 12:53:46 PM »

All those plugs are a simple way of doing things.  Course, when there is a power outage and you have to change one of the plugs when it is raining down buckets-personally-will keep inside switching capabilities with all plugs hard wired to the breaker boxes.  Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #11 on: August 28, 2010, 04:22:39 PM »

Hi Tom,

I'm using a Marriah Marine panel with Carling breakers.

2- 50a AC mains with 7 circuits each and 1- 80a DC main with 12 curcuits

Intergrated  DC & AC voltage meters as well as amprage meters.

Nick-
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