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Thread: Neutral/ground at sub breaker panel

  1. #31
    DIY Member Cubey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Dog
    Just do us a small favor...Google "fires started with extension cords."
    There are 994,000 examples for you to learn from!(YOU WILL BE AMAZED HOW MANY ARE STARTED WITH PORTABLE HEATERS!!!!)
    I am doing the search right now. They are all fires caused by overloading the extension cord.

    http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/102044/
    http://www.ofm.gov.on.ca/ENGLISH/Pub.../Jun_28_05.asp
    http://www.wacotrib.com/news/content...svc=7&cxcat=11
    http://www.ul.com/regulators/educati...DormSafety.pdf

    They all say the same thing, the cords were overloaded. They used a cord smaller than the gauge of the appliance.

    I appreciate the warning but seriously, in the matter of an extension cord in itself, do you really believe that a 25' 12 gauge extension cord would become overloaded by a 1500W heater with a 14 gauge power cord? I'm looking a real answer here, not just something that agrees with me.

    To jwelectric:

    I greatly resent the statement about "champagne taste". I'll have you know many people do it because they can't afford the insane rent for an apartment in this country. You can buy a used travel trailer like mine for under $1000, park it at an RV park for under $300 in most cases. Its a cheap way to live. Not everyone can afford the luxuries in this world of the rich. We have to use our brains to get by because we don't have the money to do it for us. Thats why I bought the travel trailer and am working on it myself. I don't have the money to guide me through life with ease. I have to actually learn how to fix things and do it myself. And like I said before, if I didn't care, would I even be posting in this thread at all? And when folks like myself actually try to educate themselves, they just get told "don't do it" with no explanation why.

    According to your newest post, the is NO legal/safe solution at all no matter what. It's against NEC code to run in a cord and about "listed piece of equipment". So according to that, the system is what it is and can never be changed. That seems wrong to me. The same would have to go for a mobile home then too since they are pre-manufactured to exact specifications. Changing its electrical system at all would then be illegal according to that statement which somehow doesn't seem right.

    Also I wonder if UL listings ever expire with age of a product. A 40 year old RV probably has several things that violate an updated NEC code. Building something in that fashion now would violate the NEC code but do codes work retroactively? Does that mean is dangerous? Probably not. I'm sure many old houses still safe and livable and have things that would not be allowed to be done today as far as wiring. One thing I found interesting is that the NEC code stated that previously multiple electrical systems on an RV was fine but now only a single one is.

    In any case I guess I'll return this crap to Lowes & Home depot and just try to make due with the gas heater I have. It lacks low oxygen cutoff so I'll just have to be careful and not leave it on at night.

    Of course, I could safely run a small electric heater off of the trailer's electrical system IF i keep it at a low settings (ie: 600W) so it only pulls about 5 amps.

    Seems to me, its all about having common sense in what you do. If you overload an extension cord, expect a fire. If you keep a heater too close to stuff, don't be surprised when it ignites. That applies to houses too, not just RVs.

    That spliced wiring on the full time RV hookup is just plain bad. I had absolutely no plan to anything remotely like that. Looks to me like they didn't even have the ground wire connected. And that huge knot in the UF(?) wire? Sheesh. I have more common sense than that!
    Last edited by Cubey; 08-18-2007 at 11:05 AM.

  2. #32
    DIY Member Cubey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob NH
    If I had to do this on an RV I would mount the subpanel to the RV, inside or outside the RV. Then you could connect one circuit from the subpanel to your existing circuit in some legal and safe manner, and the other circuit from the subanel to a duplex receptacle inside the RV. The second circuit could be mounted right off the subpanel enclosure if it is inside the RV.

    The input to the subpanel would come from a 30 Amp male connector mounted on the outside of the RV. I'm sure those are available from RV supply houses. http://www.pplmotorhomes.com/parts/r...FQ8cHgodaV_8PQ

    You can work out the details that fit the RV but the logical place to put the equipment is where the power now comes into the RV.

    You then have a legal connection both outside and inside. You have increased your capacity inside the RV by adding the second 15 amp circuit with the duplex outlet and you have maintained your existing circuitry inside the RV.

    You will have safely increased the total capacity of the RV circuits to 30 Amps with minimal cost.
    Yes, I have considered this but I would either have to have someone professionally cut a hole for the 30A inlet, or mount a box externally on the side of the trailer for the 30A inlet and just drill a hole to run the wire into the wire through.

    If not for the newer NEC code saying not to have multiple electrical systems on an RV I could easily add a second system to the back of the trailer and have the inlet sticking out from the trailer. Doing so on the side is probably a bad idea, having something sticking out like that on the street side of the trailer a good several inches. I could mount the inlet on the back and run a very long UF cable to the cabinet with the existing breaker is, and simply add in a second breaker, though that would be a lot of UF cable to have to run. If I knew anyone to do the hole cutting I'd just have them do it. I'd do better to put a new breaker near the back of the trailer and run a long, lesser gauge wire to the existing hookup inlet since the wire would cost less.

    Seems to me, I just need to watch **** for a catalytic heater with an oxygen cutoff censor for a low price. Sadly I just missed one for under $150 shipped that normally sells for $230+shipping for the newer version of it.

    The catalytic heater I have now is an Colemen one that only has gas cuttoff so if the combustion process stops, it cuts off the gas. No low oxygen cut off sensor. I will simply have to be careful and use common sense with it by leaving a window open while running it and not run it while asleep. A 600W heater run at night should do fine on the trailer's electrical system without overloading it. May not keep me toasty warm but it would certainly keep a complete chill from setting in. A small table top one kept on the dinette table would be safe. No walls would be around it for several feet and it would be off the floor so it can't be tripped on.

  3. #33
    DIY Member Cubey's Avatar
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    I have decided to forget about adding any extra electrical stuff to the trailer. Seems to be too much trouble. Even though the coleman catalytic heater I have lacks an oxygen sensor, I do have a battery operated CO detector. If for some reason while I'm in in there and i don't notice the drowsiness and headache (I tend to get that way some days in general) then the CO monitor would go off. Of course that isn't a replacement for common sense in using the heater. It will require at least one window to be open. Also I will only run it while I'm awake and inside the trailer. A small electric heater will be perfetcly safe if kept away far from flammables. Just as safe as in a house. It's all about common sense about safety. If I follow the safety instructions on the heater I should be perfectly fine.

    Also, I can safely run an electric heater on the trailer's system at 600 or even 900W in addition to a light (about 0.5A for a 60W bulb) and the RV fridge which uses about 1.5 amps. I could even run it at 1500W (12-13A) if I switch the fridge over to propane and use the battery for lights. If I need to use the microwave or something else large, I will just have to turn the heater off until I'm done using the other appliance. I might end up throwing the breaker at the hookup outside the first few times but after a few times of doing that I'm sure I will get used to it. *lol* I will not enjoy having to go out in the cold to reset the breaker and i will definately remember the next time not to run too much at once, heh.

    So I guess that is what I will do. Make due with the 15A system I have as best as possible like I had originally planned to do from the start.

    I just figured it would be safe and easy to add in an extra hookup but I see I was greatly mistaken.
    Last edited by Cubey; 08-18-2007 at 03:21 PM.

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