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Old 01-16-2021, 12:53 PM   #1
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Wire routing method

I am getting ready to install an inverter/charger in my Outdoors RV 24KRS. This will require running 10/2 Romex from the shore power plug at the rear of the trailer to the inverter at the front of the trailer, and then back again to the fuse box in the middle of the trailer.

Is it reasonable to simply fish the wire above the Coroplast sheathing under the trailer, and let it lie there? I suspect I can fish the wire, although i may need to cut and patch some hand holes to do that. Will the wire be durable and safe just laying there?

The Coroplast is attached to the trailer frame with powder-actuated fasteners, so dropping even part of the Coroplast is not really an option.

An alternative is to strap some pvc conduit to an exposed propane line that runs from one end of the trailer to the other.

Thanks for any thoughts or recommendations!
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Old 01-16-2021, 01:08 PM   #2
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I wouldn’t be comfortable having unsecured wire above the coroplast. No telling what it could be rubbing against. Electrical Conduit is a better option, IMHO.
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Old 01-16-2021, 01:12 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by JHinman View Post
This will require running 10/2 Romex from the shore power plug at the rear of the trailer to the inverter at the front of the trailer...!
Just curious why this is necessary? Are you planning on powering something back there?
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Old 01-16-2021, 01:48 PM   #4
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Why run from the shore cord outlet to the front ?

You should be running the romex from the breaker panel to the inverter and back. Your shore power already runs to the main breaker panel.
Maybe you can then run it under your cabinets.

Factory inverter installs use sub panels to power limited circuits thru the inverter. They leave out the high amp things like AC, water heater, and gas/electric fridges.

If your running everything thru it, make sure it's internal transfer switch can handle 30 amps.
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Old 01-16-2021, 02:24 PM   #5
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I did exactly that. The coroplast is basically plastic and the romex will lay on it, so shouldn't make much if any contact with the metal crossmembers and such above. I did remove a small 3" vent in the coroplast and stuck a camera up there to get the lay of the land. I didn't see anything to be concerned about.

My electrical panel is at the rear and my batteries and inverter are at the front, so my situation is a bit different from yours. I needed one run from the back to the front. You will likely have to cut into the coroplast under the midship panel.

I didn't want to cut into the coroplast, so I pushed a 27' long piece of half inch pvc schedule 40 forward from the rear where there was a factory access hole in the coroplast (crude as it was!). I put a nose on the pvc. As I worked it forward, I had to shake it and rotate it to get over a couple of wood cross ribs that hold the coroplast up. I made it to the metal bulkhead at the rear of my front compartment which is my "battery room." I did have to drop the coroplast there enough to get the pvc out under the battery room where I could tape on the romex end.

I very easily could have left the PVC in place and fished wire through it (purchased or stripped from the romex ...... you don't want both the romex jacket and the pvc for thermal reasons). But, I didn't see the need for that.

I realize that even the NEC code pertaining to RVs requires romex to be anchored every few feet. But, conduit does as well. So, yes, it's not code, but seems safe enough.
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Old 01-16-2021, 03:04 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by hclarkx View Post

I very easily could have left the PVC in place and fished wire through it (purchased or stripped from the romex ...... you don't want both the romex jacket and the pvc for thermal reasons). But, I didn't see the need for that.

I realize that even the NEC code pertaining to RVs requires romex to be anchored every few feet. But, conduit does as well. So, yes, it's not code, but seems safe enough.
I saw some 1/2” flexible plastic conduit at Home Depot. It comes in 3/4” and 1” diameter too. I thought about fishing that under the Coroplast to contain and protect the wire, but did not think about heat. I did not think the Romex generated much heat. How much of an issue is that?

NEC for residences requires wire to be secured too, but that is waived for “old work”, which this is.
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Old 01-16-2021, 04:35 PM   #7
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I ran 5 conductor 6 AWG SOOW cable from the 120 volt circuit breaker location to my front pass through storage area where I mounted my inverter.

I used splice blocks to connect the hot and neutral conductors from the input power pigtail to the SOOW cable and connected the ground cable on the SOOW cable to the ground bus bar at the circuit breaker. I ran all three cables to the inverter transfer switch input and used the last 2 conductors from the output of the inverter transfer switch to run back to the original circuit breaker.

I used watertight flex conduit from the edge of the cabinet near the breaker box to the pass through storage wall. The flex is on the edge of the floor at the wall so it isn't in the way.

There is a little more complexity in my circuit because I have a 30 amp relay installed before the transfer switch and a another circuit breaker box in my pass through storage between the output of the transfer switch and the original circuit breaker. The 5 conductor cable meets 3 conductor SOOW cable on each side of the transfer switch at the 2nd breaker box.

I used 6 AWG stranded wire in the SOOW cable because I didn't want to add a bunch off additional voltage drop for the run from the breaker panel to the transfer switch and back.

My original 12 volt power converter was removed from the circuit. My VE Multiplus 3000 can power anything in the trailer, just not all at once.
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Old 01-17-2021, 02:20 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by JHinman View Post
I saw some 1/2” flexible plastic conduit at Home Depot. It comes in 3/4” and 1” diameter too. I thought about fishing that under the Coroplast to contain and protect the wire, but did not think about heat. I did not think the Romex generated much heat. How much of an issue is that?

NEC for residences requires wire to be secured too, but that is waived for “old work”, which this is.
Romex does generate heat if you load it up to its rating (30 amps for #10). Given some time it will get quite warm. It's designed to be stapled to wood in a hit attic. Presumably the 60 or 75C rated individual wires inside are the limitation.

If you pull romex inside of PVC, you have three layers of thermal insulation, the romex jacket, the air around it, and the pvc pipe or the flexible plastic conduit. That's going to cause the copper wires to get a lot hotter ... again, when loaded up around 30 amps for some time (10's of minutes).

In PVC conduit and probably the plastic flexible conduit, 60C (THHN or THWN) insulated copper wire is good for 30 Amp. Using romex would probably require derating to around 20 amps. There's no table for this since it is not common practice.

Getting 60C wire and pulling it into PVC or flexible conduit would be a simple matter.

Using appropriately rated SO cable as astrocamper suggests also seems like a good idea. Though it's heavy and costly. I'm not sure my coroplast would support more than just the romex ... I've already had sag problems. I think with the problematic fasteners you mentioned, you don't want any more weight in there than necessary.
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Old 01-17-2021, 09:14 AM   #9
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Just curious why this is necessary? Are you planning on powering something back there?
I have a surge protector to install, and I have room for it under the cabinets there. I can also put the display for the surge protector in a place that is accessible but still out of the way.

When I take out the existing charger, which is built in to the fuse box, perhaps I will have room for the surge protector there.

I am still trying to figure out the best way to do this.
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Old 01-17-2021, 11:59 AM   #10
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I would put the wires or conduit somewhere I could secure them every few feet. I think I would use conduit and run it parallel to the Propane line. Maybe you can butterfly clamps and share the fasteners used by the propane line.
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Old 01-17-2021, 04:37 PM   #11
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I pulled my fuse box this afternoon to see how much room I have to make connections, and to see if I can put my surge protector there. Unfortunately that space is very small and packed with a tangle of wires. I had a really hard time getting the fuse box back in its hole.

OK, now I am back to routing back to the rear of the trailer. I crawled under the trailer and ... oh, oh, what is this? A loose strut, supported only by the Coroplast! I am not sure what it is for, but suspect it is support for the fresh water tank.

My project is on hold until the dealership fixes this.

Maybe I can talk them into stringing a pull cord while they have things opened up.
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Old 01-18-2021, 02:18 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by JHinman View Post
I pulled my fuse box this afternoon to see how much room I have to make connections, and to see if I can put my surge protector there. Unfortunately that space is very small and packed with a tangle of wires. I had a really hard time getting the fuse box back in its hole.

OK, now I am back to routing back to the rear of the trailer. I crawled under the trailer and ... oh, oh, what is this? A loose strut, supported only by the Coroplast! I am not sure what it is for, but suspect it is support for the fresh water tank.

My project is on hold until the dealership fixes this.

Maybe I can talk them into stringing a pull cord while they have things opened up.
Wow. Bad news ..... but good news that you discovered this. Part of the reason I've had a snake camera up above my coroplast is because I've seen photos of my RV (a year earlier but same model) with a waste tank dragging on the ground under it.

As an avid boondocker, my solution to the electrical system was to rip out the 30 amp power connector and associated wiring and pull the "converter" out of my electrical panel (all at the rear). I depend on solar, a battery and an inverter for power. I have a 60 amp battery charger that could be plugged into a 120V outlet or generator but have never used it.

So, no surge protector, no throw-over switch/relay, no 30 amp power cord. Not for everybody, of course, but works for us 5 months out of every year.
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Old 01-21-2021, 11:54 AM   #13
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I asked the service advisor about routing wires - running romex front to back on the Coroplast. He thought that would be OK, although he suggested using zip ties to support the wire at two or three places along the route. That is the approach I will probably take.

The service advisor did say his techs will sometimes route wires up a wall and lengthwise through the roof framing. That seems like a lot of work.

I am still waiting to hear back from him about the loose steel framing that I discovered.
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