Bus Conversions dot Com Bulletin Board
November 28, 2014, 11:20:35 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: If you had an Online Subscription: It arrives at least two weeks before the First Class printed magazine.
   Home   Help Forum Rules Search Calendar Login Register BCM Home Page Contact BCM  
Pages: 1 [2] 3 4   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: need help understanding shore power and breaker box  (Read 3511 times)
robertglines1
steam nut
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 4041





Ignore
« Reply #15 on: July 30, 2012, 02:10:54 PM »

This bus has been in use for several years. right or wrong color code. Question is:: is this the first box in the power line? is mentioned elsewhere of powertransfer switches. Gen sets and converters. So not all is known. Sure would from first glance scare me. AC units have been replaced at least once so this is a old conversion --that has been rebuild that the new owner is trying to get correct.  I have have used the wrong colored wire thinking I will never sell this coach--- bad bad Bob.... I don't anymore---don't throw stones!!!  Thanks to this board I am more careful now and more aware of how long I might keep able to keep bus!   We all Don't have PHD in electrical engineering or licenses or whatever or thousands to have a pro to do it.. So we ask for help!!!!!     colored tape could help him correct color code  also mentioned there is a earth ground bar outside box.    I saw the bare ended wires in box but assumed he was doing some testing. do you know he wasn't?  You should have seen the brown lamp cord I took out of a Pro Conversion (2 wire) for receptacles  Bob
Logged

Bob@Judy  98 XLE prevost with 3 slides --Home done---last one! SW INdiana
Len Silva
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 4086


Angle Parked in a Parallel Universe


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #16 on: July 30, 2012, 02:12:01 PM »

Based on what we can see, which probably amounts to less than 5% of the wiring in your bus, I would not waste another minute trying to figure out what is right and what is wrong, what can be fixed and what must be replaced.

Whoever wired this bus did not know what they were doing, had no regard for codes or proper wiring methods, nor good workmanship.

I would just start over from the very beginning, remove every bit of wiring, and get help with doing it correctly.  I wish you were closer to me, I would be happy to help.

To begin to answer your questions,
Quote
if the orange wires were correctly wired with correct type of wire and you found the green wires coming from the outlets not grounded what would you do with them? how would you terminate them and to what?

That doesn't matter since the orange wires are not acceptable to begin with.

Quote
also since it looks like my hot wires are green and black and white is ground in the wire coming from shore power? how would you correct that? I saw mentioned that it should have a 4 wire not 3 wire shore power cord? where would the 4th wire go? to what?

The four wires would be black and red (usually) for the two hot leads, white for the neutral and green for the ground.

The white should never be connected to ground within the coach except on the other side of a generator or inverter transfer switch.

Logged


Hand Made Gifts

Ignorance is only bliss to the ignorant.
belfert
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 5451




Ignore
« Reply #17 on: July 30, 2012, 02:38:14 PM »

I don't see a dual pole breaker in that box unless I'm not seeing something.  My understanding is that a 50 amp connection should come into a dual 50 amp breaker.  Maybe the 50 amp breaker is in that other junction box, but not sure if that is code legal either.
Logged

Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
Van
Billy Van Hagen
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2378


89' Silver Eagle 15/40 6V92MUI Boulder City,NV




Ignore
« Reply #18 on: July 30, 2012, 04:38:33 PM »

That's what I am doing tomorrow once I get this Kohler installed.
Bruiser, Boy are you in luck! I will be flying to Raleigh in about a week, will be around for  10 days or so. Would like to meet up with ya, Maybe I can be of assist. I'll PM ya!

   B. Smiley
Logged

If you are not living on the edge, then you're takin' up too much space!!!
luvrbus
Hero Member
*****
Online Online

Posts: 12930




Ignore
« Reply #19 on: July 30, 2012, 04:46:56 PM »

What is up with the Billy Van Hagen, Van did you get a hair cut or is the FBI looking for you lol
Logged

Life is short drink the good wine first
Sean
Geek.
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2553


'85 Neoplan Spaceliner "Odyssey"


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #20 on: July 30, 2012, 04:47:59 PM »

...
if the orange wires were correctly wired with correct type of wire and you found the green wires coming from the outlets not grounded what would you do with them? how would you terminate them and to what?


The green wires should all be terminated on a "ground" buss-bar, which is separate and isolated from the "neutral" buss-bar to which the white wires are connected.  This ground buss would be connected to the green ground wire from the shore cable, and also must be "bonded" to the metal frame of the vehicle with a minimum #8 wire.  The white neutral wires should all go to the isolated neutral buss, which must be electrically isolated from the frame and ground system, and is in turn connected to the white neutral wire from the incoming shore cord.

Quote
also since it looks like my hot wires are green and black and white is ground in the wire coming from shore power? how would you correct that? I saw mentioned that it should have a 4 wire not 3 wire shore power cord? where would the 4th wire go? to what?


OK, let me say first say that we are treading onto dangerous turf here.  I (or anyone else on this board or other on-line forum) trying to explain the basics of AC power to you in a way that will result in a safe installation is a dicey proposition -- lots can get lost in translation, and you (or a loved one) can end up dead.  I'd have to be there, looking over your shoulder, to have any confidence that you will get this right -- there's lots to learn, and you are not going to pick it up from a web site without a lot of hands-on practice inspected by someone who's BTDT.

I strongly recommend you enlist the services of a professional RV electrician.  Note I said "RV" -- many residential and industrial electricians will get it wrong, because they have never been trained on, and don't understand, the specific code and safety requirements that pertain to RV wiring.

Let me put it this way: If you found out you needed your appendix removed, you wouldn't attempt it yourself.  Likewise you would not represent yourself in court if you were accused of murder.  You probably would not construct your own submarine, parachute, helicopter, or roller coaster.  So why would you risk your life on sketchy electrical wiring directed remotely by self-styled experts (myself included) on the Internet?

With that disclaimer and recommendation out of the way, the answer to your question is that a proper, 50-amp shore connection has four wires: black, red, and white, all minimum 6-gauge, and green or bare copper, minimum #8 gauge (the ground wire is permitted to be one "trade size" smaller than the current-carrying conductors).

Black and Red are the two "hot" wires, each 120 volts with respect to neutral and ground, and 240 volts with respect to each other.  In your panel there are two hot buss-bars, which might be marked X and Y and will have lugs for #6 or larger wire.  The buss bars are what the breakers clip to and look, when the breakers are removed, somewhat like combs.  The white is the neutral and connects to the isolated neutral buss bar, which is a piece of aluminum with a row of holes with set screws in them.  The bare or ground wire goes to the ground buss, which looks a lot like the neutral buss but is separate and probably directly mechanically attached to the metal box, unlike the neutral buss which should be on insulating stand-offs.

The shore cord itself is the only part of the installation permitted to be type SO or SJ (flexible plastic-jacketed cord similar to extension cord).  If the shore cord runs directly to the main panel, it can be terminated there if properly secured and strain-relieved by a fitting made for SO/SJ cable.  As you described it, though, your shore cord runs to a J-box under the coach.  The wiring from the J-box to the main panel must be an approved type such as NM, AC, MC, or conduit (ENT, EMT, etc.) with rated wired such as THHN, THNN, etc..  Note that 6/4 or even 6/3-8/1 cable assemblies will run into several dollars per foot.

If your shore cord itself is not minimum 6/3-8/1, it will need to be replaced with a properly rated cord.

HTH,

-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
Logged

Full-timing in a 1985 Neoplan Spaceliner since 2004.
Our blog: http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
Sean
Geek.
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2553


'85 Neoplan Spaceliner "Odyssey"


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #21 on: July 30, 2012, 05:13:36 PM »

This bus has been in use for several years. right or wrong color code.


The space shuttles Challenger and Columbia had both been in use several years before they crashed.  The same can be said for thousands of aircraft, ships, vehicles elevators, and even nuclear power plants that all had some subtle design or construction flaw that only came to light after people died.  This is not a convincing argument, Bob.  If it was only the color code, we could talk about it, but what we have here is improper materials, undersized wire, incorrect or missing connections, the list goes on and on.  This is UNSAFE -- it should not be a debate.

Quote
... We all Don't have PHD in electrical engineering or licenses or whatever or thousands to have a pro to do it.. So we ask for help!!!!!


Sorry, I don't buy that one, either.  When it comes to life safety matters, if you don't have the knowledge or skill to do it yourself, nor do you have the money to have it done right, then you should not do it at all.  The person who installed this wiring created a death trap, and then passed it along to someone else without warning.  That's just plain irresponsible.  The fact that it has not cause an injury or death YET is unpersuasive.  I'm sure many reading here are aware that no less than four children were electrocuted (as in killed -- dead) by improper 120-volt wiring last month in cases that made the national news.  This stuff can be deadly.

Quote
 ...    colored tape could help him correct color code 
...


Actually, no, it can't.  Colored tape can NEVER be used to re-mark either a white (neutral) wire or a green (ground) wire.  Moreover, colored tape may not be used to designate neutral or ground in conductors of these sizes -- we're not talking about 500 MCM here.

I don't see a dual pole breaker in that box unless I'm not seeing something.  My understanding is that a 50 amp connection should come into a dual 50 amp breaker.  Maybe the 50 amp breaker is in that other junction box, but not sure if that is code legal either.


The code does not require a main breaker in this panel, so long as there is a "main disconnecting means", which could very well be in a panel upstream.

That said, I would be willing to bet that it is also missing in this instance.  I'm with Len -- a complete re-wire is the best strategy.

-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
Logged

Full-timing in a 1985 Neoplan Spaceliner since 2004.
Our blog: http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
belfert
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 5451




Ignore
« Reply #22 on: July 30, 2012, 05:25:11 PM »


...    colored tape could help him correct color code 
...

Actually, no, it can't.  Colored tape can NEVER be used to re-mark either a white (neutral) wire or a green (ground) wire.  Moreover, colored tape may not be used to designate neutral or ground in conductors of these sizes -- we're not talking about 500 MCM here.
[/quote]

Can black wire be remarked with tape to be ground or neutral?  A friend of mine who was a commercial electrician for 30+ years said I can, but he also didn't state it had to be any specific color of wire to start with.  I wouldn't remark 10, 12, or 14 AWG wire, but 6 and 8 AWG get expensive and sometimes one can get a deal on just black wire.

Where does one find an RV electrician?  Do RV dealers have licensed electricians doing electrical repairs?

My electrician friend either did the wiring in my bus, or he inspected the work I did.  I even read the electric code for recreational vehicles.  I won't say my wiring is perfect, but I'm 99% sure I won't have an electrical fire from my 110 volt wiring.
Logged

Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
robertglines1
steam nut
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 4041





Ignore
« Reply #23 on: July 30, 2012, 05:58:37 PM »

Sean nice presentation/explanation. the second one.  We are here to learn and share. I am not a pro but have seam PRO'S do much worse.  Will help what little I can without .... safety and life first..  Hope Van can help hands on and eyes on. I think there is more or less here than what we can see.  Might be as simple as putting conduit in and running new wire without tearing cabinets and walls out. Noticed there are 9 runs involved. Lets hope for best safe solution. By the way not many RV dealers have qualified Rv electricians.  Happy safe bussin   Bob
« Last Edit: July 30, 2012, 08:01:16 PM by robertglines1 » Logged

Bob@Judy  98 XLE prevost with 3 slides --Home done---last one! SW INdiana
Sean
Geek.
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2553


'85 Neoplan Spaceliner "Odyssey"


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #24 on: July 30, 2012, 07:29:33 PM »

...
Can black wire be remarked with tape to be ground or neutral?  A friend of mine who was a commercial electrician for 30+ years said I can, but he also didn't state it had to be any specific color of wire to start with.


Your friend is either seriously out of date, or he only worked with really, really big stuff.

The code only permits this kind of marking (and it does not have to be tape; permanent thermoplastic paint or any durable colorant can be used) on cables above size 4 AWG, because wire mostly only comes in black in larger sizes.  Both the neutral and ground in these sizes are commonly marked by coloring the ends.

Per NEC 200.6(A), in sizes up to #6 AWG, neutral wires may ONLY be marked with continuous white or gray insulation, or three continuous white stripes along the entire length on insulation of any other color (except green, which is not permitted).

Per NEC 250.119 ground wires up to #6 AWG must be bare or insulated ONLY with solid green or green with one or more yellow stripes.  Once again there is an exception for conductors larger than #4 AWG.

Note also that where permitted (i.e. for conductors lager than #4), the marking must be at both ends AND every other place where the conductor is "accessible".

Since few of us will use wire larger than #6 in our conversions, it is safe to say that all neutrals should be continuous white and all grounds green.  This means that you can not, for example, convert an NM cable with Red, Black, and Green wires that was installed for a 240-only circuit into a 120-v circuit by taping one of the former hot wires.

Quote
Where does one find an RV electrician?  Do RV dealers have licensed electricians doing electrical repairs?
...


Some do, but they are hard to find.  Most states do not regulate it, but, frankly, I would not let anyone work on a coach AC electrical system unless that individual or at least the business holds a state electrical contractor's license, or alternatively a professional certification (such as from RVIA) in electrical systems.

-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
Logged

Full-timing in a 1985 Neoplan Spaceliner since 2004.
Our blog: http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
BRUISER
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 319


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #25 on: July 30, 2012, 07:42:58 PM »

thanks again everyone.. there is some great info in here.

lets me clear some stuff up.. this bus was converted in 1999 and yes somehow it ias worked and not burned to the ground Smiley

as I stated before I have 2 power cords.. one is shore power and one is gen power.. both go into a box.. ( I got pics )

here is where the 2 cords go into box




the box cover says this


and here is the inside of box


and then one cord comes out the other side and goes up into my breaker box


the one thing I forgot to get pics of is.. I also have a converter/charger inside bus also..

now does this make it any better then before .. I have no idea... but I figured I needed to show it all and maybe someone with more knowledge can look at what I have and tell me it is all wrong or maybe not so bad and I just need to re wire from breaker to items ( a/c etc )

« Last Edit: July 30, 2012, 07:50:06 PM by BRUISER » Logged

iMPAKS.com
Raleigh, NC
1983 MCI MC-9
belfert
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 5451




Ignore
« Reply #26 on: July 30, 2012, 07:47:47 PM »

...
Can black wire be remarked with tape to be ground or neutral?  A friend of mine who was a commercial electrician for 30+ years said I can, but he also didn't state it had to be any specific color of wire to start with.

Your friend is either seriously out of date, or he only worked with really, really big stuff.

My friend did a lot of really big commercial stuff.  He worked at mines and at an oil refinery.

Too bad black can't be color coded for another color.  I can find all kinds of people selling 6 AWG and 8 AWG wire pretty cheap, but it is always black only for whatever reason.  The 30 feet of 6 AWG and the 30 feet of 8 AWG (4 wires each) I need will cost me as much all the other wire needed to rewire my bus.
Logged

Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
luvrbus
Hero Member
*****
Online Online

Posts: 12930




Ignore
« Reply #27 on: July 30, 2012, 08:17:43 PM »

Is there anyway you can help the guy Sean I know it not to specs but for 13 year old wiring it looks good and neat I have seen  a lot worse done by the so called pros just my 2 cents worth
Logged

Life is short drink the good wine first
Sean
Geek.
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2553


'85 Neoplan Spaceliner "Odyssey"


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #28 on: July 30, 2012, 10:39:57 PM »

lets me clear some stuff up.. this bus was converted in 1999 and yes somehow it ias worked and not burned to the ground Smiley


Well, sure, but the problem with these kinds of things is that they are insidious.  They don't always fail catastrophically in some obvious way.  I already see evidence of thermal cycling and insulation breakdown in your photos -- that installation is a recipe for disaster, and you might not even wake up when the toxic insulation starts smoldering in the middle of the night and the fumes overcome you.

Quote
as I stated before I have 2 power cords.. one is shore power and one is gen power.. both go into a box.. ( I got pics )
...
now does this make it any better then before ..


Well, it clears some things up, but I'm afraid there is more bad news.

This is your Automatic Transfer Switch.  It's pretty clear from the photo that they've run the 240-volt split phase in on a 3-wire SO cable, likely re-purposing the green wire as the second hot leg, as I speculated earlier.  There are no grounds, which is extremely dangerous in its own right.

The good news is that the transfer switch can be reused.  The bad news is that all the 3-wire SO needs to be replaced with 4-wire NM or other approved material.  There is simply no way around this, as you are completely missing a required wire.  I can't tell from the photos what gauge this is, but it looks undersized to me, as well.  You need to use #6 for this 50-amp service.  You will also need to add a ground bar to the ATS if it does not already have one

The SO in this case has been installed with NM fittings, another dangerous mistake.  However, you'll be removing most of the SO anyway.  If your (correct, 4-wire, 6-gauge) shore cord is going to come right into this box, it should be secured with a proper SO fitting and strain relief.

None of the cables appears to be properly secured, so that should be addressed when you replace the cable.

Is there anyway you can help the guy Sean I know it not to specs but for 13 year old wiring it looks good and neat I have seen  a lot worse done by the so called pros just my 2 cents worth


Clifford, I think I am helping.  If what you are asking is if there is a way to make this safe without replacing it, I'm sorry to say but I don't see how.  The ATS, panels, circuit breakers, and some of the fittings can all be reused.  But the wiring needs to be replaced completely, no ifs, ands, or buts about it.  SO/SJ is simply not safe in this application -- these cords are made only for temporary use out in the open, exposed to free air.  That's on top of the lack of proper grounding and the egregious color code issue.

I, too, have seen improper wiring done by so-called professionals.  When I see serious safety issues with those, I make the same recommendation to repair or replace before using the rig.

If I saw any way to make this safe, even temporarily, I would make that suggestion.  But frankly, when things are this Mickey-Mouse at the panel, where it is in the open and relatively easy to get to, I can only imagine what horrors lurk in darker places.  So honestly, even if there was some quick fix at the panel, I wouldn't apply any power to this installation without inspecting and testing every branch circuit.

To put this another way, after seeing that panel, I would not be able to sleep even a wink in that coach with it energized.  I'd be more inclined to run an extension cord in through a window with a plug strip on it to run what I needed until this was fixed.  FWIW.

-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
Logged

Full-timing in a 1985 Neoplan Spaceliner since 2004.
Our blog: http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
luvrbus
Hero Member
*****
Online Online

Posts: 12930




Ignore
« Reply #29 on: July 31, 2012, 06:31:01 AM »

I really don't understand about the cords as they are being call here they look like SO or SJ flexible cables the color doesn't mean that much I seen those in red,black,yellow in about every color and your shore line cable is from the S family.

The mining and construction industry ac powered equipment uses nothing but flexible cable some of those cable are 2 inches + in diameter and carry 480 volts and yes you see the orange color.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           I am not saying his is right but not all flexible cable is for temporary use only unless it just started in the last few years later today I will find my hand book where OSHA tells you what color and where to use a certain color and they do tell you lol
« Last Edit: July 31, 2012, 06:42:26 AM by luvrbus » Logged

Life is short drink the good wine first
Pages: 1 [2] 3 4   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!