First time wiring a converter--dummy questions....

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First time wiring a converter--dummy questions....

Postby kayakrguy » Wed Dec 27, 2006 6:06 pm

Hello Folks,

First, a Merry Christmas to all and good wishes for a prosperous and peaceful New Year!

Back to building after a RRV and family holiday hiatus. I need to get my wiring in now. I have the WFCO converter and this is my first time ever trying to wire with a converter or, for that matter DC. I have done lots of AC wiring with romex cable on our old houses but never have wired a fuse or breaker panel, DC or AC.

There are some things about the WFCO Converter set up that I am not clear about. Thanks to Steve--Sonetpro--I have a good idea of the wiring to the shore power inlet. It is the rest of the picture that is unclear. Here is what I am unclear about and would appreciate advice/help with:

1) a whatzit? question. Here is the picture. The black wire is an extra AC circuit. What I don't get is the metallic thing in the middle of the wire. Looks like an uninsulated wire nut/ connector ???!!!

Image

2) The next question has to do with the AC side of the converter that is shown in the next picture:

Image

The open space with the two prongs is the space for the circuit breakers. There are two prongs there, nothing else. I don't have circuit breakers yet, but my question is: how do they mount in that space?

3) For the trailer AC loads--I assume that they are wired directly to the breakers. I will have two AC circuits. One will be a hardwired Air Conditioner and the second will be two AC receptacles wired in parallel--the first receptacle will be GFCI

I assume a two pole AC breaker has a hot and neutral pole and that the ground wire for the load circuit would go on the ground wire bar at the top of the picture of the converter. Is that correct?

4) My next question is about the DC side of the converter--a picture follows.

Image

The converter has only DC power wires coming out of the back, with no visible means to connect the white return wires from the load to anything on the converter--so, where do the DC return wires from the loads return to? Eg. To what are they attached?

One of my DC circuits from the converter will be to the following subpanel:

Image

The wiring diagram is as follows:

Image

I assume the DC power cable from the converter will attach to the top terminal on the subpanel--which is the common negative pole. But the mystery is that there is no positive cable from the DC side of the converter--so where would the positive come from--the battery???

I would appreciate any help advice anyone can offer. If I can get the wiring done, I have a fighting chance to be road ready by the end of January…which is when we are scheduled to leave for FL!

Thank you all !!

Jim
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Postby Sonetpro » Wed Dec 27, 2006 7:39 pm

Jim,
I'll try to answer

1) a whatzit? question. Here is the picture. The black wire is an extra AC circuit. What I don't get is the metallic thing in the middle of the wire. Looks like an uninsulated wire nut/ connector ???!!!



2) The next question has to do with the AC side of the converter that is shown in the next picture:



The open space with the two prongs is the space for the circuit breakers. There are two prongs there, nothing else. I don't have circuit breakers yet, but my question is: how do they mount in that space?


1. Yes the wire is for a AC circuit. The pin goes in the end of the breaker this will power both that circuit plus it is the ac feed to the converter.

2. The breaker does not have a hot and neutral.
To mount th breaker the lip on the back slides into the raised lip on the panel. and the prong goes into the slot at the top of the breaker.

Image

3) For the trailer AC loads--I assume that they are wired directly to the breakers. I will have two AC circuits. One will be a hardwired Air Conditioner and the second will be two AC receptacles wired in parallel--the first receptacle will be GFCI

I assume a two pole AC breaker has a hot and neutral pole and that the ground wire for the load circuit would go on the ground wire bar at the top of the picture of the converter. Is that correct?


The hot goes to the screw at the bottom of the breaker. The ground goes to the top ground bar. The neutral goes to the neutral bar on the right.

4) My next question is about the DC side of the converter--a picture follows.

The converter has only DC power wires coming out of the back, with no visible means to connect the white return wires from the load to anything on the converter--so, where do the DC return wires from the loads return to? Eg. To what are they attached?


The DC wires go to the DC loads. The white return bar is not for the DC it is the AC neutral.
All DC returns go to the battery and not the panel.


I assume the DC power cable from the converter will attach to the top terminal on the subpanel--which is the common negative pole. But the mystery is that there is no positive cable from the DC side of the converter--so where would the positive come from--the battery???

The DC power cable is hot. It goes to the bottom where the fuses are.
The battery ground goes to the top.


Image
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Postby Dale M. » Wed Dec 27, 2006 9:12 pm

Best to do is keep in mind that DC electrics are pretty much the same as AC.... Both have current carrying hot lead and both have ground (neutral)...

Best way to stay out of trouble in DC wiring is establish a color code... Most after market DC wiring accessories use Black as negative ( ground) and Red as positive( hot lead).... BUT it really does not matter what color scheme you use as long as you are consistent through out ....

In my automotive projects I always use RED as UNFUSED 12VOLT supply and no matter where in system, BLACK is always ground... Control or controlled circuits can be any color.... But for trailer wiring It may be easier to stay with just red/black color scheme...

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Postby dhazard » Wed Dec 27, 2006 10:44 pm

Hi Jim,
I have the same WFCO converter that you have. Steve T advice is very good “but” please let me add a little more…
The big White wire out of the back of the converter is the DC ground. This has to be connected to the NEG of the battery.
The red wire is for charging the battery. It is connected to the POS of the battery. Please note that the WFCO converter mist have Automotive type blade fuses installed in it, just like the DC panel that you have. (The fuses plug in next to the red LED”s)
The Red, Green, and Yellow wires are extra circuits. DC positive feeds leaving the converter. The big White wire is the common return ( Neg ) for all of them.

I hope that this helps, Dan
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Postby Sonetpro » Thu Dec 28, 2006 5:13 am

Jim
This is how mine is wired.

Image
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Many thanks...

Postby kayakrguy » Fri Dec 29, 2006 10:00 am

Hi folks,

I have skimmed the notes....great help, the 'never dunnit fog' beginning to lift--I will try to finish stuff like finish our cabin shelves today and hit the wiring tomorrow--will read stuff carefully and eyeball the converter and subpanel and see if fog lifts completely.

I have one additional question--How do you mount the converter? I don't see any obvious mounting holes etc., only knockouts for wiring...????

Agan, mamy, many thanks!

Jim
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Postby dhazard » Fri Dec 29, 2006 5:39 pm

Just cut a big square hole and screw it in. (The mounting points are under the cover)
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Getting it now....need to clarify some points.

Postby kayakrguy » Fri Dec 29, 2006 10:15 pm

Steve, Dan and Dale,

Your pics and advice really are clearing up the fog....let me clarify my earlier post....mistakes I was making.

My first mistake was believing that the battery negative would run through the converter to the loads....hence my confusion about where the negative load wires would run....looking at things as they were in the user's manual and Steve's earlier diagram of the AC wiring, I guessed that the load negatives would connect to the battery negative...Steve's diagram on this thread clarifed that one for me, thank goodness.

But that raises a question in terms of equipment. The white ground wire from the converter goes to the battery negative. in addition, there could be two loads running off the converter DC circuits that need to be connected to the battery negative and finally there is a connection to the fuse subpanel from the battery negative. Is there a harness that lets you hook up that many leads to the negative pole?

Dan's point about the white wire being the common DC ground for all the converter DC circuits got me half-way home <g>

I am going to get some breakers tomorrow and play with them (not hooked to power <g> and see if I can get things to 'look and feel' right.

Finally, Dale's point about consistent color scheme--my DC wires to the loads are all 14 ga black and white. I have been using black on the positive pole and white on the negative pole when testing the loads.
That will be the I finally wire it up, too.

One thing that I want to clarify. DC runs from the negative to the positive pole as I understand it. In other words that is the direction of the flow....tell me if I am wrong!!!

Thank you, fellas--you helped chase a panic attack! <g> :applause: :applause: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :shake hands:

Jim
A disposition to preserve, and an ability to improve, taken together, would be my standard of a statesman...

But what is liberty without wisdom, and without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice, and madness, without tuition or restraint.

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Postby reiltear » Sat Dec 30, 2006 12:27 pm

In the DC world the electrons flow from the negative pole of the battery through the load and into the positive pole, the direction of current, however, is opposite of the electrons.
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Postby kayakrguy » Sun Dec 31, 2006 2:17 pm

Reil,

Ok, we agree on the electrons....the 'holes' (flow to the positive pole (at least that is what the physicists tell us) but since current describes the rate at which electrons pass a given point, I don't see that it has 'direction'--and not one opposite the flow of electrons?--I'm confused here...!1 again!! :lol:

Thanks,

Jim
A disposition to preserve, and an ability to improve, taken together, would be my standard of a statesman...

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Postby kayakrguy » Sun Dec 31, 2006 2:19 pm

Hi guys,

The WFCO talks about Breaker Filler Plates--FP-0 or FP 02 (just different colors) What the heck is a 'breaker filler plate? (besides, I suspect, something you buy from WFCO?)

Getting breakers this afternoon....

Jim
A disposition to preserve, and an ability to improve, taken together, would be my standard of a statesman...

But what is liberty without wisdom, and without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice, and madness, without tuition or restraint.

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Postby Sonetpro » Sun Dec 31, 2006 5:45 pm

kayakrguy wrote:Hi guys,

The WFCO talks about Breaker Filler Plates--FP-0 or FP 02 (just different colors) What the heck is a 'breaker filler plate? (besides, I suspect, something you buy from WFCO?)

Getting breakers this afternoon....

Jim

Jim if you get 2 breakers you won't need filler plates.
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Is this safe, is this right?

Postby kayakrguy » Sun Dec 31, 2006 7:02 pm

Went to Home Despot, got breakers--Squared D's, 20 amp, single pole (with my luck and two breakers, I'd put two two poles in and have the T wired for 220--boy, would that be interesting!!!) :lol: :o

Anyhow, back to my Square D's (sounds like a damn cattle ranch?) Ahem....

In an earlier note on this thread Steve showed how the breaker would be wired and mounted into the converter. So, with that in mind, I brought the Square D's home.

What I expected, based on what Steve had written, is that on the bottom of the breker I would find a recessed hole with a spring clamp inside to accept the pin on the converter's second AC wire What I got instead was a screw down clamp--see pic below....I have inserted the pin….

[img]
http://tnttt.com/album_ ... c_id=16705[/img]

Now, my problem with this is that an awful lot of the pin simply sticks out of the breaker--see the side view below….

Image

Is that really the way this is supposed to go? Is this safe? Everything I have ever learned about electricity (admittedly lacking in the practical side) tells me that an exposed hot pin is simply crazy, hence my questions.

Steve, thanks for the breaker panel explanation, I am putting two breakers in so that solves that <g>


Thanks everyone,

Jim
A disposition to preserve, and an ability to improve, taken together, would be my standard of a statesman...

But what is liberty without wisdom, and without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice, and madness, without tuition or restraint.

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Wiring to loads from converter....

Postby kayakrguy » Sun Dec 31, 2006 8:47 pm

Friends,

The wiring diagram (see below) Steve placed here shows the positive wires (blue yellow and green going to the trailer loads, including the green to the positive bus bar on the subpanel fuse box. Now, if I do wire, say, the blue and green directly to loads can I bring the negatives from those loads back to the fuse panel? I ask that because the converter seems to have only a common negative return wire to the battery, no separate bus for DC loads returning from loads

Thanks,

Jim

Sonetpro wrote:Jim
This is how mine is wired.

Image
A disposition to preserve, and an ability to improve, taken together, would be my standard of a statesman...

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WFCO fuse blowing problem...

Postby kayakrguy » Thu Jan 18, 2007 9:58 pm

Hi folks,

I fired upmy WFCO converter for the first time tonight. The only thing I hooked up was the battery--wanted to re-charge it.

I know the power plug was wired right--green ground, white neutral, black hot--ditto in the converter.

All DC circuits fused. hooked red DC converter wire to the positive terminal. White converter wire to the negative terminal. Plugged the converter in, fan starts up, it runs fine. I leave. I go back out about 20 minutes later and the 15 amp fuse on the red (battery positive wire) has blown and the red light is on. With the I unplug the converter, change the fuse...plug in the converter and fuse blows again. Simply stated nothing I do will stop the fuse from blowing.

The reverse battery fuse is fine and so is the AC circuit breaker. Only the fuse to the positive battery terminal keeps blowing....any clues to why?

Everything worked fine when I started it up--really puzzled...

Thanks, Jim
A disposition to preserve, and an ability to improve, taken together, would be my standard of a statesman...

But what is liberty without wisdom, and without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice, and madness, without tuition or restraint.

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