Running wires from Tongue box to cabin(AC & DC together)

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Running wires from Tongue box to cabin(AC & DC together)

Postby Newman39Fan » Sun Mar 28, 2010 8:01 pm

So I plan on placing my battery in a tongue box. Therefore I would have to drill a hole in the back of the box and run the wires under the TD to the galley. Like most I would use a small conduit or PVC pipe placed in a hole drilled in the floor to run the wires up to my electrical area. Well I was thinking today, usually not a good thing, that if I am going to have a pipe in the galley and a pipe in the tongue box, why not just connect everything and run a pipe down the length of the trailer to hold the wires? My AC side of life will be very simple, a circuit breaker and CGFI protected power strip which will be attached to an extension cord that will run back up under the TD to the tongue box. From there it will be pulled out and plugged into a generator or shore power. So I could use the same pipe with the DC wires running one way and the extension cord running the other way. I was thinking of just using some good zip ties to hold it to the cross members it passes under

Is there anything wrong with this idea? I think it would protect the wires more and eliminate the open hole of the pipe on the floor of the galley helping prevent an opening that critters might use to get in

Your thoughts?
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Postby toypusher » Mon Mar 29, 2010 5:09 am

If you are going to use zipties, I would recommend you check them before or after every trip due to the possiblility of them breaking from rubbing/vibration, etc.
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Re: Running wires from Tongue box to cabin

Postby Miriam C. » Mon Mar 29, 2010 9:27 am

Newman39Fan wrote:So I plan on placing my battery in a tongue box. Therefore I would have to drill a hole in the back of the box and run the wires under the TD to the galley. Like most I would use a small conduit or PVC pipe placed in a hole drilled in the floor to run the wires up to my electrical area. Well I was thinking today, usually not a good thing, that if I am going to have a pipe in the galley and a pipe in the tongue box, why not just connect everything and run a pipe down the length of the trailer to hold the wires?

My AC side of life will be very simple, a circuit breaker and CGFI protected power strip which will be attached to an extension cord that will run back up under the TD to the tongue box. From there it will be pulled out and plugged into a generator or shore power. So I could use the same pipe with the DC wires running one way and the extension cord running the other way. I was thinking of just using some good zip ties to hold it to the cross members it passes under

Is there anything wrong with this idea? I think it would protect the wires more and eliminate the open hole of the pipe on the floor of the galley helping prevent an opening that critters might use to get in

Your thoughts?


My first question is why run the AC through the tongue box if you are using a power strip? Will the power strip be in the galley or in the cabin?

If you are using the power strip in the galley, why run it to the tongue box?

You can keep critters out by using caulking or some screen. I would not run my AC and DC together and be sure to mark anything that can't be readily identified.
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Postby SmilinJack » Mon Mar 29, 2010 6:59 pm

Don't use wire ties. They will eventually break. I did that on a small utility trailer and was constantly having to get under it and replace the wire ties. The box stores sell metal "C" type clamps (can't think of the name of it) that has a hole in it that you screw to wood to hold conduit. I'd use those...
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Postby Miriam C. » Mon Mar 29, 2010 7:17 pm

SmilinJack wrote:Don't use wire ties. They will eventually break. I did that on a small utility trailer and was constantly having to get under it and replace the wire ties. The box stores sell metal "C" type clamps (can't think of the name of it) that has a hole in it that you screw to wood to hold conduit. I'd use those...


:thinking: Well the metal gives me the willies but there are wire holders that screw into the frame and hold wire that are plastic. Mine is done that way.

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They also have metal with a rubber inside. Box stores have them as well as hardware stores and maybe auto parts stores.
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Postby Newman39Fan » Mon Mar 29, 2010 8:54 pm

The power strip will be in the galley. My main use is at race tracks, so I will be on generator only for AC, and the only AC I will have is a TV. So I want the generator as far in front of the TD as possible tp avoid the noise. To avoid a tripping hazzard I will run the extension cord to the tongue box. This acts as storage area and like I said avoids the tripping hazzard walking around or getting into the TD.

Why would you not run the AC and DC together? Basically one entension cord and one battery cord running in different directions. Would be hard to confuse them since one will obviously be an extension cord and the other will not.

I like the idea of metal C-clamps over the zip ties, wear would be a problem in the zip ties
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Reliable Wiring Alternatives

Postby Engineer Guy » Mon Mar 29, 2010 8:57 pm

Here's a few lessons learned via Ham Radio; building pro Sound Systems; wiring Trailers to haul Sound Systems in; and then fixing my own work over the years! Faulty wiring or Brake connections don't cut it when hauling around a Trailer full of expensive Sound gear.

1. The first thing I did was rewire my Utility Trailer DC with exterior Contractor Grade stranded extension cord. The outer sheath protects ample gauge wiring under harsh conditions.

2. Separate wires run inside Plastic Conduit will be well protected. Auntie M's idea is also a good one. This is how Avionics [Airplane electronics] wiring is secured.

3. AC and DC wires should not be run together. They can interact in all sorts of annoying, unforeseen ways. Someone using a power tool or blender on the same Shore power circuit as you can induce 'hash' into your DC Electronics [Radio, TV, etc.]. Inverters, including your own - should you ever use one - can do the same as DC and AC wiring interacts in close proximity.

4. My $0.02 worth is always run a separate, adequate wire ground back to the Battery. Skip using the Chassis. The ultimate, and only ground is either the (-) lug of a Battery, or the 3rd prong ground on AC Shore power. Multiple grounding points can raise havoc. Chassis connections corrode, and it takes only a fraction of an Ohm in additional resistance to affect some circuits. This is one reason Electric Brake Manufacturers suggest using a separate ground wire and/or connector pin for the Brake ground. This technique also prevents Brake and other Trailer, high current flows [like remote Battery charging] from interacting. We 'overkill' types run all wiring back to a weatherproof junction box, or a Breaker box. This allows [re]connecting ground wires in different ways to eliminate ground loops, etc.. However, this is done usually in complex Audio systems. A Trailer with plenty of Entertainment or Solar equipment would be a candidate for such 'flexible' grounding connections, not hidden in walls. For a simple TD, such steps are typically unnecessary. Alternately, 'pro' diagrams from RV Solar Installers reproduced in these Forums are tried-and-true.

5. Despite how widespread they are, I've given up on Cig Lighter-style +12 VDC plugs. The small center surface area is OK for low current draw Accessories. With high current draw items [like Trouble Lights], the connections overheat, corrode and fail. Consider converting +12 VDC connections over to right angle Blade plugs, as used on Honda Generators. Then, make yourself one or two Blade -> Cig Light connector convertor plugs to be used only in a pinch. Having more contact surface area, Blade plugs can safely carry much more current [Wattage].

An old trick is to run parallel, more easily manipulated wires, to achieve the performance of larger gauge wiring. For example, 2 - #16 wires connected in parallel roughly equals 1 - #12 gauge wire in Trailer length wiring runs. See a wiring chart to confirm the Ohms/1,000' of a given wire gauge. This trick is especially handy when wrestling with very large gauge wiring.

http://www.powerstream.com/Wire_Size.htm

I twist, solder and put Heat Shrink Tubing over any exposed connections. Leave a loop of wire at the end of a run, when possible, so that connections can be re-made if a Tail light has to be replaced, etc.. With a clip on heatsink [to avoid melting Insulation]; clean initial connections; a plumbing Torch; good Flux and Solder, even large Battery spade lug cable can be soldered for greater lifetime reliability. In my experience, you either do it right in your Garage or Driveway, or redo wiring in lousy weather at the roadside.
~Reality proceeds with or without your consensus~
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Postby Newman39Fan » Tue Mar 30, 2010 7:41 pm

This now makes no sense to me. With the small space of a TD, I can not imagine not running AC and DC wires next to each other. In the Gen Ben plans, and I have seen a lot of people use this, there is a raceway for all of the wires - AC and DC all mixed. So if this has not caused a problem for all of the TD's on the road, how will running an extension cord in the same tube as the Battery wires cause this big of an issue?
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Postby Looneytoons » Tue Mar 30, 2010 9:43 pm

I knew I had read a thread on this subject. I finally found it. Click here to read it.
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Postby Miriam C. » Tue Mar 30, 2010 11:29 pm

Newman39Fan wrote:This now makes no sense to me. With the small space of a TD, I can not imagine not running AC and DC wires next to each other. In the Gen Ben plans, and I have seen a lot of people use this, there is a raceway for all of the wires - AC and DC all mixed. So if this has not caused a problem for all of the TD's on the road, how will running an extension cord in the same tube as the Battery wires cause this big of an issue?


8) It is the nature of the Electrical forum to give opinions and we all got them. You are free to choose your own way! ;)
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Postby bobhenry » Wed Mar 31, 2010 3:26 am

Looneytoons wrote:I knew I had read a thread on this subject. I finally found it. Click here to read it.


Man was that really a year ago. It is still a fun read. (all 4 pages worth.)
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Postby Newman39Fan » Thu Apr 01, 2010 8:21 pm

OK, so I guess I will run them away from each other. Thanks for the link Looney, that helped

So a new can of worms. what about the Cable cord? Should this not be run with anything else? I need a bigger TD if I have to run everything spread out from each other. I plan on a Cable jack for a TV in the galley. Any interference I should worry about with the AC or DC wires?
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Postby Miriam C. » Thu Apr 01, 2010 8:47 pm

:thinking: Cable cord? 8) I sent mine out the floor under the TV. They make through the wall connectors so your cord can be connected at the site if needed.

http://www.rvpartscenter.com/prodselect ... 136&CID=45
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Postby Woodbutcher » Fri Apr 02, 2010 8:34 pm

I ran mine through the floor. That way I could run up the walls for my fan and interior lights etc. Plus nothing is exposed to the weather.

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Here you can see the blue boxes in the walls. I can pull out all my wiring through this system.

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Postby Juneaudave » Fri Apr 02, 2010 8:43 pm

Very nice WoodButcher!!! :thumbsup:
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