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Old 02-17-2014, 09:02 PM   #131
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Originally Posted by thoer View Post
Isn't it standard procedure for RV trailers to use the frame this way?
It's common, but not universal. Neither my 1979 Boler nor my 2003 fifth-wheel stickie uses the frame as the negative conductor, but my Ford F53-chassis motorhome does. My guess is that there is a Ford-approved termination method for the motorhome.

It's particularly common for trailer lighting, although not in fiberglass-bodied travel trailers; also, the pre-wired light kits which are now widely available for trailers are usually completely wired, with no dependence on the frame, presumably for reliability. Myron's inverter - even used moderately - uses far greater current than travel trailer exterior lights, and is more sensitive to voltage drop.
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Old 02-17-2014, 09:10 PM   #132
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So, perhaps if you had ordered the factory-installed inverter, it would have dedicated ground wire?
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Old 02-17-2014, 09:13 PM   #133
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Summing up, one may ask, was it all worth it?
Only you can answer this Myron, but methinks you enjoyed playing with it as much as the resultant.

I am that way with some things, just not this whole inverter thing.

Though I understand how it all works, for now I see no need do add a big inverter like this myself, and am more than happy sticking with the 12V system from the factory which has done me fine for 5 years. I will save my efforts for other mods. 'cause we just gotsta do them.
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Old 02-17-2014, 09:20 PM   #134
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Myron, priceless is just that... priceless. Doesn't matter if the rest of us go... hummm. If you like it COOL BEANS FOR YOU!
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Old 02-17-2014, 10:39 PM   #135
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My factory installed cables ran from the batteries to the converter, as does my new, self installed larger cables. The converter and inverter are both connected to the frame, per NEC.
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Old 02-17-2014, 11:43 PM   #136
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My factory installed cables ran from the batteries to the converter, as does my new, self installed larger cables. The converter and inverter are both connected to the frame, per NEC.
Good info, Jon... but does the factory installation use the frame connection for the negative side of the converter circuit (like Myron's), or only for the chassis ground (that is, in addition to wire from battery negative to the power centre)?
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Old 02-18-2014, 04:43 AM   #137
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The print on the Xantrex Prowatt Sw inverter (as well as the one for the Morningstar SureSine) call for connecting the + and - to the battery and the chassis lug to ground. The Morningstar being more descriptive says use earth ground for the chassis and mentions making the ground wire larger then the battery cables. This supports Jons hookup but doesn't address using the frame as a conductor for the -.
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Old 02-18-2014, 12:17 PM   #138
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There's quite a difference between using the frame as the return line solely for the negative circuit and bonding the inverter chassis to the frame as well.

If only the frame is used as the conductor then the bad effects of multiple connections subject to corrosion will sooner of later show up. This leads to a hunt for the reason some device is not working correctly or not working at all.

A good example is electric brakes. I've seen the ground wire attached with a lug to the backing plate. It's an area subject to a lot of moisture. If that ground connection fails then so do the brakes. When I install items like that I run the negative wire right back to a negative returning to the battery.

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Old 02-18-2014, 02:38 PM   #139
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So if this negative battery screwed to the frame business could become a real poke in the eye, how come they do it? My dismay also extends to the hundreds of Escape owners who have not yet checked in with a history report on their battery connection. May one legitimately wonder if this is no more than a problem of excess anality?
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Old 02-18-2014, 02:53 PM   #140
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Ok, I'll wade in and probably by flayed alive by the experts, but to my (frequently flawed ) thinking Myron, you have easy access to the connection point where the negative wire connects to the frame. As long as no corrosion exists between the wire connector and the frame, a steel frame like the Escapes ought to be able to carry a lot of current. IMO, an easy maintenance check would be to check for resistance between the battery's negative terminal and the Escape's frame. If there is resistance I would take the cable loose, clean everything and use some of the anti-oxidant compound on it.

Let the flaying begin.....
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