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Author Topic: need help understanding shore power and breaker box  (Read 3402 times)
luvrbus
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« Reply #45 on: July 31, 2012, 01:41:00 PM »

I don't buy the idea OS cable cannot be used for permanent use I saw miles of the stuff in elevator shafts in mining and commercial buildings  

I asked the electrical inspector for the City of Phoenix if I could use cable wire from the breaker box to a freezer his answer was sure as long as it was under 14 ft 5 inches long and was the right gauge SOOW/UL cable where does he get that type info ? sounds like your shore line cable can only be 14.5 long lol

good luck
« Last Edit: July 31, 2012, 02:15:44 PM by luvrbus » Logged

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« Reply #46 on: July 31, 2012, 02:33:11 PM »

I don't buy the idea OS cable cannot be used for permanent use I saw miles of the stuff in elevator shafts in mining and commercial buildings  


Elevator shafts and mining operations are listed permitted uses.  You need flexible cable to wire an elevator.

You will not find it inside of walls in commercial buildings.  It is permitted for pendants and certain exposed uses -- that's it.

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I ask the electrical inspector for the City of Phoenix if I could use cable wire from the breaker box to a freezer his answer was sure as long as it was under 14 ft 5 inches and was the right gauge where does he get that type info ?


SO or SJ can only be used in this application exposed and unsecured.  Even in Phoenix, where I used to own a restaurant.  If you put it inside a wall, you can't use SO or SJ -- I can show it to you in black and white.

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sounds like your shore line cable can only be 14.5 long lol


Shore cables are permitted uses.  You are comparing apples and oranges -- shore cables are exposed to free air, not buried inside a wall.  The only other permitted use of SO/SJ cable in a motorhome is to connect between a slide-out and the main coach.

BTW, shore cables must be a minimum of 25' in length, and may be required to be longer depending on where they connect to the coach.

Look, Clifford, if someone came to you for help with their steering system, and you looked under their coach and discovered that the steering box had been substituted by one from a Toyota Corolla, would you not tell them it needed to be replaced, because it was dangerous?  I'm certain you would not be persuaded by an argument that the box had worked fine for 10,000 miles already, or that Bob's sister's brother-in-law did this all the time with no problems, or that the motor vehicle inspector in Chihuahua didn't see any problem with it.  You would probably not let a friend drive away from your place with something that dangerous.

The fact that extension cords are permitted to be used, and relatively safe, for your power drill or your Christmas lights doesn't mean they are safe to use to wire your whole house, just as using a kerosene heater is permitted and relatively safe on a job site but not in your living room.

There is a reason we have these codes and rules, and virtually every provision in them is founded on a history of failures and accidents that caused many injuries or deaths.  SO and SJ cables are not permitted to be used in this case because they are dangerous when installed in this manner.  That does not make them dangerous for use in places where they are permitted, such as elevator shafts, shore power cables, or temporary extension cords, just as an undersized steering box that could be deadly in a 25-ton motor coach would be perfectly fine in a Volkswagen.

-Sean
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« Reply #47 on: July 31, 2012, 02:41:38 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?


All of the above.  If the appliance has a thermostat that makes it go on and off, it counts -- refrigerators, freezers, cooktops, ovens, air conditioners, electric heaters, water heaters, etc. so long as they are 120-VAC.  Free-standing plug-in appliances don't count (such as a coffee maker or a toaster oven), nor do appliances that have the option of running on a different source, such as absorption refrigerators or water heaters that can run on LPG.

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  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?


Yes, BUT: there is an exception for listed energy management systems, and isolating/selector switches.  Many 30-amp rigs with two air conditioners are wired so that only one can be used at a time when on shore power, with a selector switch to choose between them, so that would count as only one air conditioner, leaving room for, say, an electric water heater.

This has been code now for at least 15 years, maybe longer.  I have never seen a commercially-built rig (not custom conversion) since then that did not comply when it left the factory.

-Sean
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« Reply #48 on: July 31, 2012, 02:54:47 PM »

That is not what I am saying Sean I just made the comment the guy said I could use SOOW  cable for a 15 ft run it had to me hard wired at the compressor.

Wiring codes are getting to be about the same all over the world now but Europe and the USA for a long time were different I have saw building in Germany wired with OS cable and it hasn't been that long ago they do thing a little bit different than we do.  

I know the guy has a mess on his hands and you want him to wire it safely it just pisses me off when people see a orange cable and start in about extension cords that is not always the case you can buy SO cable in rolls

You answered my question it is used for permanent use I never one time said anything about walls 

The next time you are in Phoenix give me call I will fix you and the wife up at one of the Sushi restaurants we have a interest in

Sushi Brokers @

Scottsdale and Frank Loyd Wright, and the new one at 44th and Indian School I think I could even swing a free meal at Macayos those belong to our daughter in law

good luck
« Last Edit: July 31, 2012, 03:13:10 PM by luvrbus » Logged

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« Reply #49 on: July 31, 2012, 03:37:33 PM »

... I know the guy has a mess on his hands and you want him to wire it safely it just pisses me off when people see a orange cable and start in about extension cords that is not always the case you can buy SO cable in rolls


I make no assumptions about the source of the SO and SJ I see in the pictures -- I think some others suggested it was from extension cords.  My concern is that it is unsafe and not permitted in the use shown -- it makes no difference whether it came from a roll or by lopping the ends of of cords.  FWIW, when I need a length of SJ, I buy an extension cord and cut the ends off -- it's way cheaper.  SJ is SJ.  That's how I make all my shore cords and adapters.


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You answered my question it is used for permanent use I never one time said anything about walls 


Well, if I said "no permanent use" without qualification, then I mis-spoke (but I don't think I said that).  There are many permitted "permanent" uses for SO and SJ cables, such as pendants, hoistways, slide rooms, theatrical lighting -- the list goes on.  But hard-wiring a motor coach is not one of them.

To clarify, my first biggest concern with what I have seen is potential undersizing of the conductors.  My second biggest concern is lack of proper grounding from the panel back through the ATS enclosure and all the way to the pedestal.  My third biggest concern is the improper color coding, nearly tied with my fourth biggest concern which is use of SJ cable for the branch circuit runs.  After that comes improper fittings, lack of proper securement, etc.

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The next time you are in Phoenix give me call I will fix you and the wife up at one of the Sushi restaurants we have a interest in

Sushi Brokers @  Scottsdale and Frank Loyd Wright, and the new one at 44th and Indian School I think I could even swing a free meal at Macayos those belong to our daughter in law


Clifford, I will definitely take you up on that.  I certainly hope your family has better luck in the restaurant business there than we did -- three restaurants, all now out of business after sinking tons of money into them.  At least we kept a bunch of folks there employed for a few years.  I think I should stick to electrical wiring and computers Smiley

-Sean
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« Reply #50 on: July 31, 2012, 05:47:47 PM »

Sean,  what about DLO diesel locomotive wire in a DC application from the alternator to battery bank and then to inverter?    It says electric trolley cars, bus trolleys and locomotives.
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« Reply #51 on: July 31, 2012, 06:45:11 PM »

Sean,  what about DLO diesel locomotive wire in a DC application from the alternator to battery bank and then to inverter?    It says electric trolley cars, bus trolleys and locomotives.


Type DLO is my preference for heavy DC wiring, including battery cables.  But note that we are talking in this thread about 120 (or 240) VAC systems.  Systems below 30 volts, nominal, are subject to different standards, and a much wider range of materials is permitted.

We used DLO extensively in the telecommunications field for 48-volt battery plant wiring.  Note that, generally speaking, heavy hydraulic or electric crimpers are required to affix lugs to DLO.

DLO is hard to find in the residential or commercial electrical trades, but is commonly available from telecommunications suppliers such as Graybar.

-Sean
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« Last Edit: July 31, 2012, 07:41:22 PM by Sean » Logged

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« Reply #52 on: July 31, 2012, 07:05:57 PM »

well I opened up the 50 AMP plug and found that it is only a 3 wire plug that is 8/3.. so yup I need to go buy some 4 wire and rewire the shore power plug.. I also found the wiring instructions for the ATS 100 box and it is designed for a 4 wire shore.. which is good cause I can reuse the box..

I also looked at the orange wire inside RV and it is 12 gauge wire.. 12/3 it also has some UL rating stamped into the orange but I could not read it all and some other numbers.. need to get a good flash light and see if I can read what it says ( I am curious now )

just means more work to do Smiley  I bought the bus knowing it needed work and well I guess it needs more then I thought Smiley
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« Reply #53 on: July 31, 2012, 08:11:09 PM »

well I opened up the 50 AMP plug and found that it is only a 3 wire plug that is 8/3.. so yup I need to go buy some 4 wire and rewire the shore power plug..


You might find it cheaper and easier to just buy a cordset with a molded plug, such as this one:
http://www.factoryrvsurplus.com/products.php?product_id=72

I prefer these molded plugs because they are more weather-resistant than add-on ones.  You will probably find the assembly is cheaper than buying 25' of 6/4 SO and a plug, too.  Shop around -- I've seen them as low as $80.

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I also found the wiring instructions for the ATS 100 box and it is designed for a 4 wire shore.. which is good cause I can reuse the box..


Yes, as I wrote earlier, the ATS and the main panel can both be reused.  QO-series breakers are available in "twin" models that have two trip handles in one panel space, so this 6-position panel can actually support 12 circuits.

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I also looked at the orange wire inside RV and it is 12 gauge wire.. 12/3 it also has some UL rating stamped into the orange but I could not read it all and some other numbers.. need to get a good flash light and see if I can read what it says ( I am curious now )


The UL number will not tell you anything -- the numbers are unique to each and every product tested by UL.  The information you want is the "type marking" which will be embossed or stamped on the jacket at least every 24 inches, along with the gauge and number of conductors.  It's hard to tell something like this from a photo, but from experience I can tell you it is most likely Type SJ and/or one of its derivatives (such as SJE, SJT, SJEO, SJTW, etc.), also known as "junior hard service cord" and familiar to most people as the type of cord from which heavy-duty extension cords are made.

By contrast, the larger black cables will be "hard service cord," type SO and/or a derivative such as SOOW.  Neither type is permitted or safe for this application.

-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
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