(Very long post here. Sorry, but I'm venting. And you guys know ME.)
It's the day after the beginning of my electric installation, and I'm actually alive to tell about. So thanks go to Madjack, Jim and others.
What a day.
I go to HD in the wee hours of the morning for my boxes and switches and some other stuff, and I see the 30AMP female connector I need for my inlet box for $35. I did the math and realized this was CHEAPER than $56 from West Marine--which the guy there said he would have for me at 9AM. So I buy the $35 one and say, "Screw the guy at West Marine."
But I get over to the TD, and my "bargain" doesn't fit. It won't twist-lock. The pins are the same, but it won't lock.
It seems that Marinco's inlet box is specially "depthed" to only accept THEIR adaptors. (Smart guys there, huh?) So off I go to West Marine at 9AM--and that guy there who is now my very best friend.
Back to the TD again, and it locks fine, so I install the cord to it. (I bastardized an old cheap one for now, but I wanna get a thicker gauge later.) So we're off and running.
I intelligently DO NOT connect it to power while wiring the source lines to the panel, because I really learned a lot on this site!!! I pull out Madjack's diagram, take a few sips of beer since it's past 9:30AM, and I begin.
I took bad advice way back when and installed 14 gauge SOLID copper wire throughout my system. I'm really not concerned about breakage, because all wires are installed inside the walls anyway, but working with the solid was a B****. (And it was a real B••• B••••• too!)
I didn't have enough excess in my 3 feeder wires from the inlet to the panel to comfortably work on the panel--it would be dangling, so I had to sit it on a cardboard box. I could have easily fixed this by putting longer wires from the inlet box to the panel, but then I would have too much wire to squeeze back into the panel "area" when I was all done. Know what I mean? I haven't permanently mounted the panel yet, because I have to wire it first.
This was bad planning on my part on where to put the box. It's a cool looking thing with lights, so I wanted it up front in the cabin. If I had it do over again, I would have mounted it in the galley, or at least in an easier spot to work on it. Too late--my bad.
I eventually install the source lines to the panel (not easy with solid wire), I turn the Main panel switch on, and I go outside to connect the cord to power and wait for a loud explosion. It's eerily silent, so I tiptoe to the door and peak my head inside to see, lo and behold, the little Main led gloriously shining.
A few more sips of beer, I unplug, hit my 3 line switches on, and outside to connect to power again.
Again, no explosion, and 3 additional led lights reflecting magically in my pupils. HOORAY! I triumphantly unplug, install the metal box for my air conditioning outlet, and I ATTEMPT to wire this line to the receptacle. (The line isn't connected to the panel yet.) But again, this damn solid wire makes the simplest of tasks a real pain in the a**. I finally get it done, go to the panel side, and say to myself:
How the hell am I going to ever make this work using this solid stuff? It was now getting near time to pick up my wife and younger son from the Cub Scouts, I had a friend visiting from out of town later in the day, but I had every intention of immediately returning to the TD before our evening plans to get more work done.
But I made the decision NOT to visit the TD again unless I had at least 10 feet each of stranded wire in 3 colors to make this job easier--shortening off the solid wire and attaching stranded (tape and caps).
So the day was basically shot, I gotta do things today to prepare for Disney next week, so please add another 2 weeks to my build schedule.
BUT DO YOU WANNA HEAR ABOUT THE GREAT FIGHT I HAD WITH THE ELECTRIC GUY AT HD???
I go to return that adaptor that didn't fit, and I ask "Mike" to cut me 10 feet of black, green and red wire. He asks me why red, and I tell him that when I originally bought the 3 solid wires that I had already run, that HD was out of white, so I didn't care.
The truth is, I didn't know what the hell I was doing when I bought that solid wire months ago. And as many of you remember, I didn't even know to run GROUND wires, which I had to do later. (Woody saved my life here.)
So Mike keeps telling me, "You HAVE to buy white for your neutral line, because if you ever sell it, the next guy won't know what to do!"
I tell him, "I'm already using red, so if you'll please cut me my wire, I promise to put a big poster next to my panel telling the world that in the world of Ira, red means neutral."
Mike yells and condescendingly grimaces at me, "I was a profesional electrician! You don't know what you're doing!"
I calmly respond, "Yes, I KNOW I don't know what I'm doing, but I get help from people that DO." But I really wanted to say, "You're just pissed because you're retired and you got bored and now you're working at HD, so don't take it out on me!"
You would have been proud of me. I kept my cool, got my wire, and even wished him a nice weekend.
I can't wait to see him again and ask him for something REALLY ridiculous.
Here we go again!