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Discussion Starter #1
Due to several factors I'm back to having separate DC and AC distribution panels for my electrical system. I'm happy with the DC side, but I'm stumped on the AC side. I have two outlets on the opposite side of the van from my power center that I need to (safely) wire up for AC. I can't seem to find a 2-fuse option that is reasonable for our small needs (so no huge outdoor AC breaker boxes). Does any one have any recommendations?
I've considered a circuit breaker/fuse in line with the AC runs. Is that possible? Is that even safe? I'm kind of stumped:(
 

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2014, 138WB, High Roof, Gas, SW MT
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Hi,
I decided on the combined panel you were going to use for this same reason -- I could not really find a suitable small AC panel.

You might look at the BlueSea panels -- they have a lot of them and something might work -- pretty pricey.
https://www.bluesea.com/products/category/24/AC_Panels

One thing I considered is a gadget the hardware stores sell: Its a small metal junction box that has a conventional 120 VAC fuse socket and a switch. So, you could wire the incoming shore power to this J box, then run a wire over to your two AC outlets -- they would be protected by the fuse in the junction box.
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Cooper-...n-Fuse-Box-Cover-with-Switch-BP-SSU/100192465
You need to get all 3 parts they list (box, cover, fuse).
The metal box thing in the picture hinges open to expose the fuse.
A bit of a kludge, but seems like it would work?

Gary
 

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I see no need for a separate AC fuse box. The power coming in from the grid should be fused and if it isn’t you shouldn’t be plugging into it. I simply use a gfi receptical at the first AC receptical from the grid and the inverter has a gfi on its AC output side. I know, I know, a gfi isn’t a fuse but I don’t see as one is really necessary. If you are connected to the grid your vans AC is basically just another fixture from wherever you are connected to (just a big extension cord in reality). I have separate AC recepticals side by side from the inverter and the grid - they are not connected in any way. Simple and cost effective. If I’m off the grid I plug into a receptical connected to the inverter and if on the grip to the one connected to the grid. Of course, I have no large AC loads other than my microwave and hardly ever connect to the grid even if it’s available. The only exception is in winter when I might run an electric space heater.

I have a Blue Seas 12 VDc fuse panel with 10 or 12 fuses for the DC side.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'd rather not use extension cord in place of our 14 AWG wire because I don't feel it's truly up to safety standards.
We do not have a shore power hook up, so all power from inverter is coming from solar panel via our battery bank (and our alternator when vehicle is running).
That Blue Seas panel looks great - but wow, not paying that amount for sure!
We'll not be on the grid at all, so no power from there. I'll have two outlets from the back of the inverter, but one will already be in use to another (very nearby) AC outlet. I need to wire up 2 more outlets and only have 1 plug left. So a box would allow me to run the multiple circuits.
 

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I got one of these

https://www.homedepot.com/p/PowerMa...H=REC-_-rv_search_plp_rr-_-NA-_-202978667-_-N and a few breakers. I have not installed it yet as I am thinking about doing it to code for insurance purpose's and I have not figured that out yet. If it's worth doing it's worth at least trying to do right, but it's been a hassle trying to find out what right is in an RV. Reading codes makes me realize that I don't think I've seen anything DIY done right yet but they say new from the factory will always be right.
Wish me luck if you will.
 

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I'd rather not use extension cord in place of our 14 AWG wire because I don't feel it's truly up to safety standards.
We do not have a shore power hook up, so all power from inverter is coming from solar panel via our battery bank (and our alternator when vehicle is running).
That Blue Seas panel looks great - but wow, not paying that amount for sure!
We'll not be on the grid at all, so no power from there. I'll have two outlets from the back of the inverter, but one will already be in use to another (very nearby) AC outlet. I need to wire up 2 more outlets and only have 1 plug left. So a box would allow me to run the multiple circuits.
Actually if you were to use a quality extension cord for your AC wiring it would be just as good and perhaps better than anything else you could use, BUT,
If you’re not connecting to the grid but only to the inverter why even put a breaker on it at all?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Skaggydog - that looks very interesting and I think that could work. Best of luck!
keeponvaning - because you always need a breaker? Honestly, I just assumed you needed one. Also, how to split the one circuit that i'll have left coming out of the inverter into two.
 

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.. Also, how to split the one circuit that i'll have left coming out of the inverter into two.
Same way you do it in a house, use a 1 to 3 splitter. Like an 18" extension cord with a triple tap at the other end.

Extension cords get a bad name, but a #14 extension cord is the same as a #14 piece of wire... it just has convenient connectors on the ends.

As an aside, I taught House Wiring and Electricity in a local high school for a number of years (shop teacher). My van AC is wired using #14 extension cords... short distances, plenty of capacity for required loads. Longest distance from AC source to load... probably about 15'. Using cords makes my whole installation modular... I can remove my couches (outlet on ends), kitchen cabinet (outlet on top), etc., by just unplugging an extension cord!

------------------------

KWB, Wow, I haven't seen a screw-in fuse in a very long time! (got any pennies?)
 

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Pennies? You just wet the tip of your finger and stick it in if you get a little tingle your "live" for a while so to speak;)

Back to Sara now -

All you have to do is get a good 14/3 ext cord. The male end goes into the inverter then cut the other end off (not while it’s pluged in) and run it to your first electrical box (outlet) then feed it to the next one, and on and on. I’m assuming you only need 3 or 4 receptacles. The inverted only provides one circuit so connecting a fuse box to it for separate circuits is doing nothing at all for you. Your only limit is the output of the inverter.
 

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Hi,
You don't need to wire each outlet to its own plug or breaker. its very common in home wiring to have several outlets wired on the same breaker. The regular duplex outlets are made to be wired in a string with other outlets -- thats why they have terminals on both sides. Just wire from the inverter plug to the first outlet, then use the 2nd set of terminals on the outlet to wire onto the 2nd outlet.

Agree with KOV that inverter probably already provides protection for the plugs it provides -- I guess you could check with the inverter maker to make sure. Also think that a HIGH QUALITY at least 14 gage extension cord is probably fine -- just use the plug end to go into the inverter, and cut it to the right length to reach your first outlet. Mount the outlet in a metal box, and use the screw clamp type strain relief fittings where the wire comes into and goes out of the metal box.

I'm more skeptical than KOV of counting on shore power to provide protection, but you are not using it anyway.


https://www.homedepot.com/p/Halex-3...Cable-Clamp-Connectors-5-Pack-20511/100133208

https://www.homedepot.com/p/4-in-x-2-in-Drawn-Handy-Electrical-Box-Raised-Ground-8660/100560024

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Leviton...lim-GFCI-Outlet-White-R02-GFNT1-0KW/206001533



Gary
 

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No reason to use metal boxes, pvc boxes are a direct replacement, even in home wiring.

More important, wiring that is well supported as it runs thru the van, and that is clamped where it enters a box.

IMHO
 

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I’d argue that a quality extension cord is safer than other wiring, as it’s going to be UL, CA or CSA tested and approved. Since most inverters have NEMA 5-15R receptacles (your common wall outlet) you’d end up having to wire your own plugs if you use something else. It’s not trivial to do this in a mechanically and electrically secure manner. A overmolded plug will be much better than anything you wire by hand.

Rather than attempt to wire a plug, I’d either cut off an extension cord or use a standard 5-15P to C13 socket “line cord” that you see connecting monitors and computer power supplies and adapters. As I can attest from racking up servers, dealing with and dressing excess cable lengths from line cords is a PITA, so I’d be more inclined to use an extension cord chopped off on the receptacle side or not. Any in-line circuit breaker on an extension cord will likely be on the plug side which is good because that’s the end you want to keep.
 

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No reason to use metal boxes, pvc boxes are a direct replacement, even in home wiring.

More important, wiring that is well supported as it runs thru the van, and that is clamped where it enters a box.

IMHO
Hi,
I like the metal mostly because of the easy to use screw down strain relief clamps you can get for where the wire enters the box. It seems like the plastic ones mostly have the built in plastic tab type strain relief and it seems a bit less secure to me. The metal surface mount "handy boxes" also look a little better if mounted on the surface where they are visible.




Gary
 
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