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Author Topic: need help understanding shore power and breaker box  (Read 3397 times)
Len Silva
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« Reply #30 on: July 31, 2012, 06:55:19 AM »

The color of the cable has nothing to do with it.  It just happens that the wiring in question was orange, it could have been purple.

The fact is that SO or SJ cable is not intended (or allowable) for permanent, secured, hidden wiring.

Mining and construction have their own sections in the NEC and those cables are permitted for equipment that moves or where flexibility is required.  They are still not permitted, even in construction or mining, for permanent wiring, say in an office or permanently attached to a wall.
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Sean
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« Reply #31 on: July 31, 2012, 07:13:37 AM »

Len's explanation above is exactly correct.  Let me add, however, that even if the correct type and size of cable had been used, say 6-gauge NM, the fact that 3-wire cable has been used where 4-wire cable is called for is also an issue that needs immediate correction.

The SO/SJ branch circuit wiring is certainly a hazard and needs to be corrected.  However that can be mitigated by disconnecting individual circuits that are not strictly necessary, and/or carefully managing loads under close supervision until the situation can be corrected fully.

With limited funds or time, I would start by replacing all the SO from the panel through the ATS to the generator set.  The shore cord can be dealt with temporarily by converting it back to a 30-amp, 120-volt cord, which would limit the coach to 3,600 watts.  (That's still a code problem, but at least it would be safer -- this coach is legally required to have a 50-amp shore service.)

-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
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« Reply #32 on: July 31, 2012, 07:52:18 AM »

few more pics..

here are the ends on my shore power plugs. it has 3 prongs.. do yours have 3 or 4?



here is one side of 30 amp adpater


other side of 30 amp


and here is 20 amp adapter



so do these look like everyone else's?

I am just trying to make a list of all the things I need to change to correct this.. and why not start at plug ends and work my way all the way to breaker box..

if my 50 amp plug looks good how do you wire the 4 wire setup on plug end?

thanks again for all the help



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iMPAKS.com
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robertglines1
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« Reply #33 on: July 31, 2012, 07:59:57 AM »

the most important post is missing on your 50 amp. Look inside and see if your green wire is cut off at end of cable.  Start there. then note which wires are attached to each spade left right bottom.   
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« Reply #34 on: July 31, 2012, 08:05:50 AM »

I have nothing of substance to add, other than that this thread TOTALLY VALIDATES the money I am currently spending in having a professional electrician completely rewire the AC system of my bus.  I wound up gutting it down to the frame, and most of the original wiring went out with the cabinets, furniture, etc.  We're starting from a new breaker panel and shore power cord all the way to sockets and lights in the coach.  I knew I was in over my head, and this thread makes me feel great about having a licensed pro make sure it's all safe and correct.  Thank you for the confirmation, and good luck correcting some of your issues too!

Cheers, John
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Len Silva
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« Reply #35 on: July 31, 2012, 08:09:12 AM »

Every time you post another picture, it only gets worse.

Here, the ground connector, probably the single most important wire there is for safety, is completely missing.  It is just incredible to me that someone would do this.

The very first thing I would do, like right now, is to cut that plug off the cable so that no one could plug it in to anything.  Yes, it is that serious.  Someone touching the body of your bus in wet weather could be killed instantly if there is any wire touching ground inside, and the possibility of that happening, judging from the workmanship we can see, is enormous.

If budget is a concern (a new 50 amp power cable can be a couple hundred dollars), then I would rewire what you have for 30 amp/120 volt service.

I am not being an alarmist here.  I tend to be something of a code wonk, but this goes way beyond wonky.  This is absolutely the worst example of bad wiring that I have ever seen posted here.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2012, 08:20:38 AM by Len Silva » Logged


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« Reply #36 on: July 31, 2012, 08:47:18 AM »

I have no issue with people finding fault in my bus..

reason I keep posting more pics is so I can then fix it correctly and not burn down the bus..

with a few local guys coming in and a few local guys around me, I will start drawing out a new wiring diagram and start replacing stuff to make it correct.. if nothing else this post should help lots of others going forward...
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Len Silva
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« Reply #37 on: July 31, 2012, 09:13:28 AM »

Get George Myers book on coach wiring;  Designing Electrical Layouts for Coach Conversions
by George Myers

 http://www.busnut.com/epicconversionsupport.html

It will be the best $40 you ever spent.  George writes in plain english, easy for the layman to understand, yet highly accurate.
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« Reply #38 on: July 31, 2012, 09:42:36 AM »

Just a long term recommendation here:  I would consider, if time and budget allow it, a night class at a local community college on residential electricity.  I know RV electrical systems are different, but it will build a conceptual foundation and common vocabulary to help understand more of these concepts.  I took residential electricity in high school on a whim and I'm sure glad I did.  Electrical seems to be one the least understood areas of a conversion.  I know I've learned a ton on this site, and I have an engineering background that's fairly heavy in electrical.

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Rick A. Cone
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Sean
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« Reply #39 on: July 31, 2012, 09:51:02 AM »

I will second Len's suggestion on George Myers' book.

We were just in Raleigh a couple of weeks ago -- too bad we did not connect.  We probably could have short-circuited (pardon the pun) a lot of this.

I can't see the markings on your shore cable, but it looks like it might be 10-gauge.  Clearly it is three-wire.  The cord itself is only suitable for 30-amp, 120-volt service.

Because the other end of the cord has been improperly wired, as we've discussed, it's not just a matter of lopping the plug off and installing a 30-amp, 120-volt plug.  But if time and money is short, you can rewire both ends of the cord to achieve this.

The shore plug shown is the correct model for 50-amp, 120/240-volt split-phase shore service, but as others have already pointed out, the U-shaped tang for the all-important ground connection has been removed.  Unless you've got that tang lying around someplace, the whole plug is now garbage and will need to be replaced.  New plugs are about $15, but I recommend that you instead purchase a complete shore cable assembly with the correct plug molded onto the end.  The cable will be either 6/4 or 6/3-8/1 and thus suitable for the whole 50 amps.  If you want to hard-wire it as you have currently, cables are available with the plug on one end and bare wires or ring terminals on the other.  Many prefer a detachable cable assembly, which more than doubles the cost but makes it easier to store and replace the cable.  Plenty of material in the archives about detachable shore cable connectors and fittings.

Your adapters appear to be pre-manufactured store-bought items and are probably fine.  You can check them with an ohmmeter; again, procedures are in the archives.

-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
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bevans6
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« Reply #40 on: July 31, 2012, 10:41:37 AM »

Sean, why do you say "this coach is legally required to have a 50 amp service"?  I'm asking because I put a 30 amp service in my coach.  BTW, the first thing I did when I got my coach was rip out 100% of the house wiring.  It was almost as bad as this - and the guy was a high school shop teacher...renovated homes for a side business.  The only thing I kept was the shore power cord - it was wired wrong inside, but it's hard to screw up a simple extension cord, Marinco twist lock on one end, 30 amp on the other end.  Mind you, having said that the shore power cord in this case was indeed screwed up badly...  Oh well.

Brian
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« Reply #41 on: July 31, 2012, 10:47:39 AM »

I see the green and white wire in his male 50 amp plug picture on the cord before plug.
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Sean
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« Reply #42 on: July 31, 2012, 11:40:09 AM »

Sean, why do you say "this coach is legally required to have a 50 amp service"? 
...


NEC section 551.42 requires a 50-amp, four-wire service whenever there are six or more branch circuits, or more than two thermostatically controlled appliances, unless a "listed energy management system" is employed.  Note that the requirements have not changed, but the wording of this section has been cleaned up between the 2008 and 2011 editions of the code.

This coach is equipped with a six-position panelboard capable of supporting up to 12 branch circuits.  I count nine branch circuit wires but only five breakers, which might be another issue in itself depending on how they are ganged.  And two of the circuits supply air conditioners, which means either a refrigerator or water heater puts it over the two thermostatically-controlled appliance limit.

I see the green and white wire in his male 50 amp plug picture on the cord before plug.


Yes, but if you go all the way back through the thread, you will see that the green wire is improperly being used to carry the second hot leg.  Black is the first hot leg, and white appears to be properly connected as neutral, meaning the required and all-important ground connection is missing in its entirety.  Besides missing the ground, carrying hot current on a green wire is dangerous because anyone working on the system would expect it to be a ground wire, not a hot wire.  A receptacle inadvertently connected to this system with green going to ground would energize the frame of any appliance connected, or possibly the frame of the entire coach.

-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com





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« Reply #43 on: July 31, 2012, 12:13:40 PM »

I have either four or five branch circuits, so I am OK there.  But I hesitate to guess what a thermostatically controlled appliance is... fridge and hot-water heater?  Air conditioner?  If so, are all the 30 amp RV's with a fridge and hot water heater with 120 VAC options and a roof-top AC technically outside of code?

Brian
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« Reply #44 on: July 31, 2012, 01:21:49 PM »

Green ;was looking at plug not power transferr switch.  I do wish him well. I know I have made mistakes and still learn from them and try to improve every day and learn something every day.  I'll go hide now.    Bob
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