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Old 06-02-2014, 03:55 PM   #1
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30 amp service in Camper


I have a neighbor that has a small pop-up camper and he's trying to wire it for basic electricity. He bought a 30amp RV cord w/ male plug so that he can plug into service at a campground outlet. The other end is going into a very small 4 circuit 2 pole breaker box. Since his power isn't 220, the thought is to pigtail off the Hot line and feed both sides of the box. Both sides seem to be independent of each other and there aren't any 220 breakers installed. Is this a problem?

Then there is only a single bus bar, so the neutral is going to that. This bus bar appears to be isolated from the metal box and there is a bonding screw included if needed.

I'm assuming to complete the installation, there needs to be a 2nd buss bar added directly to the enclosure and that all grounds need to go to that and that the bonding screw shouldn't be used. Am I correct in this logic?

I feel I have a very strong grasp of electrical basics, but this is getting out of my realm, but I want to help him create a safe setup.

The current wiring has the neutral and the ground wire both going to the single buss bar, but it trips the GFCI that he is plugging into. I'm guessing it's due to the ground/neutral being bonded.

I am curious though why that might happen as I know it is sometimes done in sup-panels, though I realize it's not very safe.

Thanks for any help!

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Old 06-02-2014, 04:07 PM   #2
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30 amp service in Camper


Mine in RED.
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Both sides seem to be independent of each other and there aren't any 220 breakers installed. Is this a problem?
No, but you need to jump the two line side lugs.


I'm assuming to complete the installation, there needs to be a 2nd buss bar added directly to the enclosure and that all grounds need to go to that and that the bonding screw shouldn't be used. Am I correct in this logic?
Yes, exactly.


The current wiring has the neutral and the ground wire both going to the single buss bar, but it trips the GFCI that he is plugging into. I'm guessing it's due to the ground/neutral being bonded.
Again, yes, exactly. This is why you need the separate ground bar and isolated neutral.


I am curious though why that might happen as I know it is sometimes done in sup-panels, though I realize it's not very safe.
No, it's not done in sub-panels. The requirement to separate neutrals and grounds in all sub-panels is quite old now.

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Old 06-02-2014, 04:10 PM   #3
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30 amp service in Camper


Why not just install a "power converter"? That way he can have 12v accessories as well. If he's interested, I have one I'll give away for the cost of shipping. Feel free to PM me and I can provide more info.
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Old 06-02-2014, 04:13 PM   #4
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30 amp service in Camper


I agree with Speedy Petey, however, be careful how you jump the buss bars. Many lugs aren't rated for 2 conductors. A Polaris connector would be the best option or just using every other space in a larger box. Since this is a 30amp and at least a #10 gauge wire you could get away with wire nuts rated for 3 #10s.
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Old 06-02-2014, 04:32 PM   #5
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30 amp service in Camper


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I agree with Speedy Petey, however, be careful how you jump the buss bars. Many lugs aren't rated for 2 conductors. A Polaris connector would be the best option or just using every other space in a larger box. Since this is a 30amp and at least a #10 gauge wire you could get away with wire nuts rated for 3 #10s.
As most know here I am pretty strict as far as code goes, but in a case like this I'd have no problem putting two #10's under the line lug. Especially if it was stranded.
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Old 06-02-2014, 04:47 PM   #6
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30 amp service in Camper


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As most know here I am pretty strict as far as code goes, but in a case like this I'd have no problem putting two #10's under the line lug. Especially if it was stranded.
But still, if its not listed as such why open the door to liability?
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Old 06-02-2014, 05:07 PM   #7
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30 amp service in Camper


I told him to maybe think of a wire nut to create the "jumped" connection to hot, but right now it is #10 stranded, from cord, and a short length of #10 solid strand wire under the lug. Basically, it was a 'this should work, but lets test' type of scenario.

As for the ground and neutral being isolated in a sub panel, I realize that's the way it's 'supposed' to be done and that it's been code for some time, but in his very old garage that isn't the way it was done. Myself and someone else have told him to get it fixed, but he says it's been that way for years.....maybe some day we'll get it changed. But that's another discussion for another day!

I had a minute and actually ran down there a few minutes ago and unhooked the ground wires from the neutral buss and of course it worked. Now he just needs to grab another one for the ground!

I'll ask him about a power converter, not sure what his intentions are on that. He's talked about adding a battery or two for 12v power.
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Old 06-02-2014, 05:19 PM   #8
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I told him to maybe think of a wire nut to create the "jumped" connection to hot, but right now it is #10 stranded, from cord, and a short length of #10 solid strand wire under the lug. Basically, it was a 'this should work, but lets test' type of scenario.

As for the ground and neutral being isolated in a sub panel, I realize that's the way it's 'supposed' to be done and that it's been code for some time, but in his very old garage that isn't the way it was done. Myself and someone else have told him to get it fixed, but he says it's been that way for years.....maybe some day we'll get it changed. But that's another discussion for another day!

I had a minute and actually ran down there a few minutes ago and unhooked the ground wires from the neutral buss and of course it worked. Now he just needs to grab another one for the ground!

I'll ask him about a power converter, not sure what his intentions are on that. He's talked about adding a battery or two for 12v power.
You will need a ground bar. Theses are sold separately at home centers and come in various sizes. Just find one that will fit in the sub panel and have all ground connected to this and your set. Leave the bonding screw out of the neutral bar.

Jumping the lug will work, but its not the best since it is something that may or may not fail down the road. The panel cover should have a label that will tell you how many wires under a lug in question.
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Old 06-02-2014, 07:43 PM   #9
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But still, if its not listed as such why open the door to liability?
With stranded wire tell me what bad will come of it?

It's like the "#14 on a 20A breaker will burn your house down" mantra. We all know it's not remotely true, but we have to play that game.
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Old 06-02-2014, 08:12 PM   #10
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30 amp service in Camper


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With stranded wire tell me what bad will come of it?

It's like the "#14 on a 20A breaker will burn your house down" mantra. We all know it's not remotely true, but we have to play that game.
Manufacturers list their lugs for a reason. When they design any piece of equipment its engineered around an intended purpose in mind. If the label lists only 1 conductor its easy to just do so then to gamble what might happen down the road.


And #14 will not spontaneously combust on a 20 amp breaker, but does that mean we can ignore the NEC rules and wire all 20 amp circuits with #14? Would I like to from a cost standpoint? You bet! Everyday. But to knowingly violate the NEC making up what rules are convenient for you is not a good idea.

Yes its stranded, but if I had to guess one is 2 set of strands side by side the other a larger gauge wire but still only 1 set in a cylindrical. The lug could grab one set of strands more than the other. But it doesn't matter, the engineers have done the thinking on that one already.

Im not trying to give you a hard time but I know usage and listing comes up on some double taps.
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Old 06-03-2014, 05:44 AM   #11
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30 amp service in Camper


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jump-start View Post
Manufacturers list their lugs for a reason. When they design any piece of equipment its engineered around an intended purpose in mind. If the label lists only 1 conductor its easy to just do so then to gamble what might happen down the road.


And #14 will not spontaneously combust on a 20 amp breaker, but does that mean we can ignore the NEC rules and wire all 20 amp circuits with #14? Would I like to from a cost standpoint? You bet! Everyday. But to knowingly violate the NEC making up what rules are convenient for you is not a good idea.

Yes its stranded, but if I had to guess one is 2 set of strands side by side the other a larger gauge wire but still only 1 set in a cylindrical. The lug could grab one set of strands more than the other. But it doesn't matter, the engineers have done the thinking on that one already.

Im not trying to give you a hard time but I know usage and listing comes up on some double taps.
I am FULLY aware of all this. I was not looking for an explanation of what is required or why.
And I never said I make up my own rules. I was merely stating an opinion. I had a feeling this was not a good idea from the start.
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Old 06-03-2014, 07:57 AM   #12
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30 amp service in Camper


Quote:
Originally Posted by Master Brian View Post
...The current wiring has the neutral and the ground wire both going to the single buss bar, but it trips the GFCI that he is plugging into. I'm guessing it's due to the ground/neutral being bonded.

I am curious though why that might happen as I know it is sometimes done in sup-panels, though I realize it's not very safe.

Thanks for any help!
Is this GFCI in the garage panel that the trailer is plugged into? I would think it's more of a case where the trailer neutral and ground is bonded together. If it isn't, I don't see how this GFCI could be tripping. When you removed the panel ground, you also took away the trailer ground path and all of the current returned on the neutral like it should.
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Old 06-03-2014, 08:03 AM   #13
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30 amp service in Camper


If it will fit in the lug, you could use a sleeve on the stranded #10's.

Last edited by zappa; 06-03-2014 at 08:25 AM.
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Old 06-04-2014, 01:31 PM   #14
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Is this GFCI in the garage panel that the trailer is plugged into? I would think it's more of a case where the trailer neutral and ground is bonded together. If it isn't, I don't see how this GFCI could be tripping. When you removed the panel ground, you also took away the trailer ground path and all of the current returned on the neutral like it should.
Yes, it was plugged into a GFCI wired to the garage panel. That panel has the neutral and ground on the same buss bar.

He told me he picked up a buss bar this morning to isolate the neutral and ground wires in the trailer panel.

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