Tag Archives: electrical

Sigh, the wiring.

I learned a few things at this stage too, surprise surprise.  Converters and Inverters are different things (inverters change power down from 110V to 12v, converters convert power up from 12 to 110).  Batteries are finicky.

We have a 155W solar panel, and a 12V, 4amp fridge, the kind for truckers and tailgate parties that run off a lighter socket.  We’ve got a charge controller that I got with the panel, and then the converter that came with the camper, that also has a shore line.  Two deep cycle batteries of dubious condition.  Then a generator.  And a 2amp battery maintainer.  And a standalone converter unit, also for running off a vehicle lighter.

Figuring out how to put it all together involved a great deal of mental anguish, time on the internet learning about electricity (I was all good for Ohm’s Law, but when it came to the PEIR wheel I hit overwhelm), and looking for people who knew more than me that could explain stuff.

I think I hit an electrical turning point this time though.  By the end of it, it just all seemed so simple.  It just all follows back to what’s hot and what’s ground.  For years, that has not seemed simple at all, but it’s not so bad.

So without all the many hours involved in the learning curve and emotions, here’s what I did.  The solar panel is wired through its charge controller to the battery.  The charge controller is awesome, because it reads out the panel output or the battery charge.  The converter is suspect, so that is not wired to the batteries.  It’s a glorified extension cord.  It’s wired to the battery maintainer, though, so any time the camper is plugged into the genny or shore power, the batteries will be getting a little bit.

Continue reading Sigh, the wiring.


We are energized!   I finished all the wiring, did all the plugs and light boxes and fixtures, wired all the circuits into the pony panel, and powered it up.  It all worked!  This was a major feat for me, considering how I objected to the prospect of having to do the wiring myself.

There were two 3way lights, and they worked(!) and all the plugs worked, and there were no awful popping sounds or smoke.  Just one light fixture in a series wouldn’t turn off with its mate at the switch, but when I studied the diagram more deeply I saw that it was drawn for one light on a switch and one with continuous power (who would want that?), which is exactly what I got. I managed to fix it, anyways so both are switched

I’m very pleased with myself.  I just worked through it all slowly and methodically with the code book in my hand, assiduously following the wiring diagrams.  Electrical still makes my brain wobble, but I got ‘er done!  Yay!  It’s like a real barn now.

Working proceeds on the barn

I think I might have overcome my wiring block.  I kind of understand it, at least enough to be confident I’ve got 14-2 and 14-3 pulled in the right places, and everything roughed in properly, if not professionally, and that’s a big breakthrough.

A couple weeks ago:  I ask my electrician friend to come and wire the barn for me.  I tell him that wiring is the one thing I just can’t get my head around.  As soon as I get past series and single switch circuits I’m lost; when well-meaning guys try to explain a 3-way (branch circuit, that is) my vision starts to flicker, and all the words just sound like wanh wanh wanh.  I’d like to understand it, really, but if the comprehension hasn’t set up shop in my head by this time, I’m never gonna get it.

My buddy takes me to his place in his truck, and starts gathering up boxes and octagons and staples and switches and plate covers, and piling them on me.  The truth starts dawning on me and I say Hey!  Aren’t you gonna do this for me?  No, he says, slapping the red basic electrical code book in my lap.  You are.  Continue reading Working proceeds on the barn