Early draft of PD4045 step by step

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Early draft of PD4045 step by step

Postby springdew » Sat Apr 23, 2016 12:21 am

Here's a starting draft of a guide to installing a PD4045, built from gleanings from the forums. There are gaps - I am writing this so that I have instructions to use, so I haven't done these steps yet. I also haven't finished going through all the entries yet, but I think this thing is past the 80% complete point, so possibly worth looking at, maybe.

Please do point out any corrections, refinements, etc. I do have a couple of notes in places where I'm confused. Thanks!

PD4045 Step by Step

Disclaimer: I am not an electrician, and the sources of this information may not be electricians either. Use at your own risk - I’m using at my own risk.

Why this guide: The installation manual provided by Progressive Dynamics may not have been intended for layperson use. Regular people have not found it particularly enlightening, and thus forums and blogs are full of Q-and-A style advice on this topic. I need something a bit more systematic and orderly than Q-and-A, so I’m compiling this guide for myself.

This guide does not include:
  • Solar power generation
  • Inversion from DC to AC
  • Charging a battery from a tow vehicle
  • Integrating a generator

This guide does include:
  • 120v AC circuits
  • 12v DC circuits
  • Charging a battery from AC

Supplies:
  • PD4045
  • Shore power inlet
  • Circuit breakers - single or tandem

Image
Fig. 1 - Compatible types of breakers.

  • Fuses
  • Devices, appliances, fixtures, etc.
  • Wires
    • Larger (lower gauge) wires to battery and shore power, typically 8 or 10 AWG
    • Smaller (higher gauge) wires to fixtures, typically 12 or 14 gauge for AC, smaller for DC
  • Battery (optional)

Image
Fig. 2 - The wiring diagram provided with the installation guide.

Image
Fig. 3 - Zac’s much clearer diagram with an addendum.

Steps

  1. Hopefully you planned the AC and DC circuits before this point, evaluating the load needs and power sources. This would have been how you decided on the PD4045 in the first place.
  2. Obtain a PD4045 distribution panel. Be careful, there are dangerous counterfeits on the market. Ask around for a reputable source. I got mine from Vintage Trailer Supply.
  3. Connect the shore power inlet to the PD4045.
    1. The shore power inlet is a topic for another guide. You’ll be running appropriately gauged hot, neutral, and ground wires from it to the PD4045.
    2. Shore power hot (black) goes into the bottom of the main breaker. When this breaker is clipped in, the clip in the back of the breaker makes contact with a metal bar; it’s a different sort of bus bar than the ones for neutral and ground. This is how power is distributed to the other breakers.
    3. Connect the white and green wires to their appropriate buses as shown in the illustration.
  4. Connect the wires from the breakers to the fixtures.
    1. Single breakers serve one circuit per gang (breaker location). Tandem breakers serve two - and each breaker in a two-breaker tandem unit can have same or different amp ratings.

      Image
      Fig. 4 - Two tandem breakers vs. a single.
    2. One of the breakers needs to send current to the converter. You can also run fixtures and such off this same breaker, if you like. This is what’s going on in the Fig. 3 above, where hot from the 15 amp breaker goes to a bus bar before going to the converter. Other fixtures can then be attached to that bus bar. The black (hot) wire that goes to the converter is already installed by default, along with the white (neutral) and green (ground) wires. White and green are already attached to their respective buses, while the black is loose due to waiting for me to install the breaker for it.
    3. Connect the other breakers in the same way. Run hot wires from the bottoms of these breakers to their various circuits. Run neutral and ground wires from the fixtures to the appropriate buses.
  5. Connect the breakers. Clip them into that aforementioned bus bar in the back.
  6. Connect the fuses. Hold onto the edge of the board while pushing each fuse in. These clips are pretty tight.
  7. Connect the wires from the fuses to the fixtures. One wire is already provided for each fuse to make its corresponding circuit. (Some people use a bus bar to combine fixtures into the same circuit. It is important to consider the draw of all of these together, along with the capacity of the wire and the fuse.) The other wire from each fixture should come back to a bus bar. This is your DC negative bus bar. More on that in just a moment.
  8. If no battery, run a wire from the negative bus bar you set up in Step 7 to ( … where? I haven't found this answer yet.)
  9. Connect the battery, if any.
    1. Connect the black battery wire from the negative pole of the battery to the negative bus bar you set up in Step 7. Connect another wire from the negative bus bar to the lug marked in Fig. 2 as BATTERY NEG. -.
    2. Connect the red battery wire from the positive pole of the battery to the positive lug marked in Fig. 2 as BATTERY POS. +.
  10. Test with multimeter. I have no idea yet how to do this.
  11. Test with live power. Plug in shore power and test all fixtures. Look for smoke and/or funny smells.

Cutoff Switch / Breaker / Fuse to Battery

If you are connecting a battery to the converter side to charge it, then you need at the very least a fuse close to the battery, between the battery and converter. Some people (8ball_99) use an external breaker, so that the breaker can be reset, and also because a breaker can be used as a cutoff switch. Some (MtnDon) use a type T fuse that blows quickly in case of overload, for greater safety.

It is important to be able to cut power to the battery when not in use, in case of a short. Whether to do this with with a fuse or a breaker or a switch is a matter of convenience and personal preference.

The PD4045 provides a way to wire the battery cutoff into the unit. There’s an L-shaped jumper that connects the positive lug to an additional lug. If you are using a cutoff switch, you remove that jumper and put the switch in place of the jumper to connect those lugs together. You’ve just added a way to shut off the connection between the lugs.

I don’t see the benefit of putting the switch in this way, though, as opposed to putting it in the line coming off the battery, which should work just as well and which some people prefer.

Grounding the Frame

There needs to be a path from the frame to AC ground, in case a hot wire contacts the frame. Without such a path, a person entering or leaving the trailer could become the path to ground and be electrocuted. Run a green wire from the ground bus to the frame.

Grounding DC

This is controversial. Because all the DC goes through the converter, which is grounded via the AC ground wire, some say there is no need to ground the various appliances and fixtures to the frame. Others say that it is a must, but I’m not clear on why.

(Some discussions refer to running DC negative back to the converter as “grounding” or use "negative" and "ground" interchangeably. I find this very confusing. See item #7 above. I would love to straighten this part out.)

Warnings
  • Make sure the unit has adequate ventilation.
  • There is a right side up. Don’t mount the unit sideways or upside down.
  • Don’t mount the unit in the same compartment as gas or a battery.
  • Mount the unit in an interior and dry location, not in a wet or damp location.
  • When connecting to shore power, first test the pedestal or outlet you are connecting to. It’s important that the outlet be wired properly, and sometimes they’re not.
  • Common faults are reversed polarity and open neutral. There are testers for this purpose.
  • When connecting to shore power, it’s also good to use a voltage regulator and surge protector. AC power supply can be dangerously unstable, so it helps to have a buffer.
  • If you want to be cool like me, you can get one unit that does all that testing and protection in one go. I chose this one.
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Re: Early draft of PD4045 step by step

Postby CaptD » Sat Apr 23, 2016 10:32 am

Yes I want to be cool like you :applause: Thank you so much for your time and research into the PD4045. I ordered mine earlier this week from best converter where Randy the owner is available for tech support. Many have complained about the poor instructions for installation of this unit. Your info will make my install less painful. Thanks again. YOU ROCK!! :thumbsup:
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Re: Early draft of PD4045 step by step

Postby springdew » Sat Apr 23, 2016 8:32 pm

Thanks. I just hope I've got it right. Or mostly right. I hope others will add any corrections.

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Re: Early draft of PD4045 step by step

Postby noseoil » Sun Apr 24, 2016 7:53 am

Good job on this explanation. I would change the sequence a bit on the DC side of things. I wired the DC circuits to the panel & then inserted fuses to each one & checked to make sure it was good.

My test procedure relies on a small 12 volt AGM battery (alarm panel battery from a house or business, 1.5 amp hour) with alligator clips attached, to test each circuit as it is completed, first. Once the circuit is run & tested in the camper, it is then soldered at the panel wire & re-tested with a fuse. This way, once the wires are run, the panel hook-up is just part of the routine.

Here's a shot of the battery attached to a switched charging port, to make sure it's working before installing it in the camper. I just use a cigarette lighter type plug to re-charge the battery in the car while running errands. Takes very little time & just use a multi-meter or volt gauge to make sure it comes back up to 12.7 volts (fully charged). Don't let it discharge much below 11.8 volts & you're good. This battery is really too small to run anything, but it lets you test LED lighting & basic circuits as you go. Better to find a problem as you run the wires to each circuit than find out later something is wrong!

Image

I used a home-center type of ground buss attached in the panel area to make all my ground connections. This is then fastened to the trailer frame, underneath the panel with a heavy wire (I think a #8), a nut, washer & bolt.

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Re: Early draft of PD4045 step by step

Postby H.A. » Sun Apr 24, 2016 7:57 pm

iii
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Re: Early draft of PD4045 step by step

Postby springdew » Mon Apr 25, 2016 12:19 pm

Thanks a bunch and please keep 'em coming. This is exactly the kind of info I was hoping for when I posted.

H.A. especially thanks about the "ground" question. You put your finger precisely on why I've been so confused about it. I've also had a truly enlightening discussion with my handsome groom about it. I'll do a separate piece about "grounding" with DC and link to it in the next version, when I pare out all the confusing bits from this one.

noseoil, I love your testing method and will definitely adopt and include it, along with the sequence change.
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Re: Early draft of PD4045 step by step

Postby springdew » Mon Apr 25, 2016 2:22 pm

noseoil wrote:
I used a home-center type of ground buss attached in the panel area to make all my ground connections. This is then fastened to the trailer frame, underneath the panel with a heavy wire (I think a #8), a nut, washer & bolt.

Image


Thanks. So I can follow the current from the DC side of the PD4045 through the circuit to switches and fixtures, etc then on to that big buss, and from there to the frame. How does the current make it back to the PD4045 to complete the circuit?
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Re: Early draft of PD4045 step by step

Postby GuitarPhotog » Mon Apr 25, 2016 7:10 pm

Thanks. So I can follow the current from the DC side of the PD4045 through the circuit to switches and fixtures, etc then on to that big buss, and from there to the frame. How does the current make it back to the PD4045 to complete the circuit?


You connect that big ground buss to the negative side of your battery, and all the return or ground leads to the ground buss.

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Re: Early draft of PD4045 step by step

Postby noseoil » Mon Apr 25, 2016 7:23 pm

The PD4045 has the two sides for 110 volts & 12 volts. Both are for the distribution of power, out to the various branch circuits.

The 110 volt side has the hot (black), return (white) & ground (green or bare copper) on that part of the panel, so it's like a regular house panel in that respect.

The 12 volt side is a bit different, just a distribution of the 12 volt circuits & it includes the converter portion. The battery is connected to the big lugs (+ & -). Once this is done, the 12 volt circuits are live if the fuses are plugged in and a battery is providing current. The actual "return" circuit for the 12 volt system is provided by the grounding lug (like the picture of my back of the PD4045), which is connected to the battery (-) side.

The PD4045 has a positive & negative attachment for the battery, because it's also the battery charger (& converter) if it's plugged into shore power. That's why there are the big lugs at the top. You could also attach grounds at this point on the (-) lug, but it's easier & to have a remote location, since there's such a small space for all of the wires to attach.

So basically, for the 12 volt side of things the PD4045 does all of the 12 volt distribution (fuses, converter & charger), but you need a grounding point (the return or minus (-) for the circuits to work. On a car, the metal is used for different things & grounds, because the entire vehicle serves as a ground point & it saves on wire runs to just run a hot connection from the fuse block. Since a lot of what we use in some of our teardrops is wood, a ground can't function like it does on a car. A single wire light fixture that relies on a ground from the vehicle won't work if it's screwed onto a wooden wall. That's why we are wiring things more like a house much of the time with 2 wires to each thing.

The circuit is from the PD4045 on the hot side (the fuse), then it returns to the grounding buss, which is attached to the battery with a cable or heavy enough wire to carry all loads at the same time if necessary. For me it was just easier to have the grounding points near the back of the panel, since I was running all the wires there anyway. Hope this helps. Best, tim
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Re: Early draft of PD4045 step by step

Postby TigerHawk » Thu May 12, 2016 10:32 am

springdew - I want to say Thank You very much for this. I ordered my 4045 last night and will start this work this coming weekend. While this forum is helpful, sometimes I find the information dated to the extent that images and links are no longer functional. So it's very nice to see an updated thread on the use of this and it will help me tremendously.


Question - Can I have my battery and my PD4045 in the same tongue box? I am planning to build a tongue box to house my shore to camper inlet, 4045, and battery. I'll run wiring from the front to the back - only thing in galley and rear bulkhead will be 2 - 110v outlets.

Again THANKS :applause:
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Re: Early draft of PD4045 step by step

Postby lrrowe » Thu May 12, 2016 4:23 pm

Unless I had a sealed battery, I personally would not do it. Only because of my paranoia that should the DP4045 ever, for whatever reason, produce a spark and should there be hydrogen gas there from the battery, well you can maybe visualize the result. But maybe the experts here can speak to where I am wrong.
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Re: Early draft of PD4045 step by step

Postby hartk1213 » Thu May 12, 2016 5:09 pm

I dunno if this has been answered already but is it safe to run the main battery cables in the ceiling if the PD4045 is in the back of the trailer and the battery on the tongue or should I run it under the trailer I am going to be putting a marine breaker up front in the tongue box with the battery so if anything should happen it should trip that I just don't know if it's OK to run the wiring up there

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Re: Early draft of PD4045 step by step

Postby H.A. » Sat May 14, 2016 12:52 am

Zzzzziio
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Re: Early draft of PD4045 step by step

Postby hartk1213 » Sat May 14, 2016 1:13 am

H.A. wrote:Provided they are reasonably protected from damage, you can run your cables in whatever fashion suits you.
However should not occupy the same raceway as mainspower.
But, main battery cables should be as short as practical and suitable size to minimise voltage drop.
Minor voltage drop is usually insignifigant to appliances & lighting, But minor voltage drop on battery charging can signifigantly increase charging time.

By mainspower do you mean shore power? Because that is coming in on the side of the trailer and is a really short run to the converter maybe 2' at the most so that would be in a different area of the battery cables.. But there will be some power wires for the roof fan as well as a cabin light in the roof as well should I sperate those from the battery cables as well?

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Re: Early draft of PD4045 step by step

Postby H.A. » Sat May 14, 2016 7:49 am

Zzzz
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