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Author Topic: Electrical panels AC, 12v & 24v. What does everyone use for panels.  (Read 2500 times)
scanzel
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« on: November 17, 2012, 06:48:55 AM »

I am ready to start terminating some of my wiring and would like to know what everyone is using for electrical panels. I like the Blue Sea panels but they can get pricey. I have contacts that can get me the Blue Sea panels at practically cost and I like the meters they have to monitor  volts/amps etc. I will need three panels for ac 120/240 50amp service, 12V & 24v. What are you using for transfer switches between shore and generator power and inverter power ? Still some what confused on the best choice. I don't want to get carried away but don't want to have to change out latter because of a mistake. Thank you.
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Steve Canzellarini
Berlin, CT
1989 Prevost XL
TomC
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« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2012, 07:57:45 AM »

I used three SquareD panels bought at HD. They are-a 4-50 amp circuit breakers-two for land line and two for generator. I built a sheet metal slider that only allows one or the other to be used. The main circuit breaker box is a 16 breaker for all none inverter stuff like the three roof tops, one of the water heaters, refer, freezer, and a 30amp breaker going to the inverter powering my third breaker box with 8 circuits for inverter powered items like various plugs, microwave, TV and stereo, the other water heater (for hot water going down the road), etc. The three boxes and all circuit breakers were about $300.00 (compared to Blue Sea around $2,000!).
For 12vdc I have a knife switch to turn all off. I do not have a master 100amp fuse-probably should.  Then I have two fuse blocks that have 10 fuses each bought at NAPA-about $60.00. I replaced the blade fuses with pop out circuit breakers.
Has been a very reliable electrical system. Only had to replace one 50amp breaker-but mainly because of loose wire clamping screw causing too much heat.  All of us should tighten the circuit breaker clamping screws once a year because of vibration of going down the road. I also added a computer cooling fan since the inverter is in the same cabinet.  Good Luck, TomC
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Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
Cary and Don
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« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2012, 08:53:26 AM »

For the AC panel we have a standard house type panel.  We have had automatic transfer switches for shore/generator power switching,  but our current inverter had this built into it.  The AC panel can handle both the inverted and non inverted loads.

We made our own 12 volt panels using resetting short stop breakers. Everything is mounted inside a cabinet.  For monitoring the DC we have the link panel that works off a shunt.  Monitors volts, amps using and charging,  expected reserve in batteries,  etc.

Don and Cary
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Tikvah
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« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2012, 01:55:54 PM »

I've been assuming that I would put my AC electrical panel in the lower bay Huh
I see often they are in a cabinet in the living space.

Preferences???
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« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2012, 04:48:19 PM »

Put the distribution panel upstairs.  You'll thank me when you trip a breaker at 0-dark-30 and its raining outside.
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R.J.(Bob) Evans
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Kitt
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« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2012, 07:04:54 PM »

My bus has the panel in a bay and I really wish it was inside the living quarters. I second the "reset a breaker at oh-dark-thirty in the rain" bit and add "having to empty the boxes and bins from the bay to access the electrical panel" to reasons why I'd rather have it inside.

If I ever redo the interior, the panel is getting moved!
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Len Silva
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« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2012, 07:57:21 AM »

There are some code rules about location of the panel, clearances, wet locations etc. Most are common sense and I wouldn't worry too much about them.  One important rule that is often broken in bus conversions is to NOT locate the panel in a clothes closet.

An overheated breaker and having to move stuff out of the way in an emergency could be dangerous.
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Mike in GA
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« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2012, 09:30:16 AM »

I have a large Blue Sea panel for 12 vdc with a digital meter. Has about 12 breakers for lights, radio, pumps, accessories, fans, etc. We also have a small three breaker Blue Sea panel for some 24 vdc leveling valves.
     Manual rotary transfer switch, Shore-Off-Inverter, located down in the bay where a.c. comes into the bus.
     For the 120 vac we have a household box with an assortment of 15 & 20 amp breakers and one 30 amp breaker. The latter powers the Trace 4024 inverter, which feeds back through a small sub-panel of a.c. breakers that the inverter runs, e.g. microwave, selected wall outlets, fridge, etc.
     All of the boxes are in an upstairs utility closet for easy, dry, safe access.
     Also in this upstairs closet is the remote start panel and gauges for the generator. Many folks prefer this to be up by the driver.
     Not to highjack the thread, but another VERY important component of this closet is the Electrical Management System that monitors all a.c. coming into the bus, to prevent under/over current, switched neutrals, open grounds. (The device itself in down in the electrical bay, but its digital meter is in the upstairs closet.) It has paid for itself a couple of times!
     HTH
Mike in GA
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Past President, Southeast Bus Nuts. Busin' for more than 14 years in a 1985 MC 96a3 with DD 8v92 and a 5 speed Allison c/r.
Scott Bennett
Scott & Heather MCI-9
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« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2012, 10:12:35 AM »

We used a Square D house panel as well. Works excellent for us. Definitely locate it indoors...we've reset breakers more than once in nasty weather and were thankful they were inside.
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Scott & Heather
1984 MCI9 6V92-turbo with 9 inch roof raise & conversion in progress.
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« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2012, 05:19:18 PM »

I initially used a DC converter with an AC and DC distribution system built in together for my electrical.  I kind of ditched the DC converter but retained the whole DC distribution system, which uses mini fuses and is code-compliant.  I used the AC system for a few things but added a dedicated pony panel for inverter loads, and two transfer switches.   It is all safe, compliant, but it could be simpler.  Using home style panels is good, make sure to deal with the neutral bonding issue.
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TomC
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« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2012, 07:25:33 AM »

How many of you using Blue Sea panels bought them in the first place? I love the way they look, but are blasted expensive. I bet most that have the bus with the Blue Sea already installed.  Good Luck, TomC
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Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
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« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2012, 11:44:06 AM »

How many of you using Blue Sea panels bought them in the first place? I love the way they look, but are blasted expensive. I bet most that have the bus with the Blue Sea already installed.  Good Luck, TomC

This summer I bought a bunch of stuff from a 40' power boat that was home made being disassembled.  I paid $1k for 2007 vintage but unused: Xantrex Freedom Marine 2000 watt inverter, 200' of 00 battery cable, Blue Sea AC/DC panel, Thetford toilet with pumps, and a 12 gallon Raritan 1250watt hot water heater with the coolant heat exchanger.  The boat made one trip, then it was winterized, then the owner/builder died several months later.... At 94!   Amazing guy so they say. 

I want an additional Blue Sea AC panel but the prices are very expensive.
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OneLapper
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« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2012, 12:44:01 PM »

I only have two panels.  Both are located in the bay, as the best way for me to run most of the wiring was on the underside of the floor in smurf conduit.  I didn't want any wiring in the roof or exterior walls if I could avoid it.  I may regret putting the panels in the bay, but I have few outlets on each circuit, and am also using GFCI outlets on the first(sometimes only) outlet in the circuit, which should reduce the number of breakers that blow, and these are reset inside.  The air conditioner(s) wiring makes a very short run in the ceiling(armorflex). 

The 120 VAC is a Square D 100Amp panel w/like 20 spaces.  The 12VDC is a Paneltronics standard breaker panel(alot cheaper than Blue Sea) mounted in a generic 120VAC panel w/all the guts removed.  The door swings open to access the panel which is mounted to the front face.

My advise is go bigger than you need, because there is always something you miss, or new technology that comes out in the future that you will want to incorporate.

Steve Toomey
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Steve Toomey
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dave
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« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2012, 07:41:49 PM »

SqureD for AC and BlueSea for DC
Like the clean look and labeling for the BlueSea
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« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2012, 11:51:52 AM »

I agree with the SquareD but you want to use the QO type panels, not the Homeline.  Just my opinion, they are a much better panel and breaker.
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