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The Norfolk Broads Forum / Broads Boat Owners Q & A / 240V wires alongside 12V wires.
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Posted By Discussion Topic: 240V wires alongside 12V wires.

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plesbit
Feb-05-2007 @ 4:23 PM                           Permalink
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As should be fairly obvious from my past posts I know absolutely nothing about engines / boats / electrics / hydro-dynamics and so on....

The plan here is to fit a small inverter inside a compartment on my boat and run a length of standard mains cable along the ducting to the saloon where it will be fitted into a standard three pin 240V socket.

The question is whether it is safe to bundle 240V cable with 12V cable?  I have a few cables at home which have a different max recommended capacity depending on whether they are fully unravelled or still partially wound up - plus some which warn you not to use them at all unless fully unravelled.  I don't know why that is but assume it is something to do with electrical fields.

Will any similar precautions be necessary when bundling 240V AC cable with 12V DC cable (both sets will be fully straight, just running together).

Simon

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Jonny
Feb-05-2007 @ 4:26 PM                           Permalink
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it must be safe what you are planing todo on SD is the same on are boat if its not safe then why do people do it IE my boat and if works very well indeed

WATCH THE KIDNEYS THEY ONLY ISHEW TWO

Bounty
Feb-05-2007 @ 4:35 PM                           Permalink
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Coiled AC cable will create an induction coil, which, in theory can create a lot of heat and possible fire. So don't do it. This does not appply to DC cabling.

I can't see a problem with what you are trying to do other than making sure all the cables are capable of carrying the current you need. remember 240v, either from an inverter or the mains is still dangerous. I understand (house) building regulations would prevent you trying this at home.

Are you sure you know what you are doing?

swan_ranger
Feb-05-2007 @ 4:46 PM                           Permalink
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It is perfectly safe to run low voltage cables with mains cables, but it is not recommended. The only reason for this is that, if you think you are working on a low voltage cable and it turns out to be a mains cable you could get a nasty shock.
You should always remove all cables from a drum before use because a coiled cable is basically a solenoid with no iron core and could overheat and cause a fire. In practise I have seen many extension cables used mostly coiled up with no effect.
You should not run mains cables with any sensor cables as the induced voltage will effect the readings.

Charlie

Jonny
Feb-05-2007 @ 4:52 PM                           Permalink
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in are bss report says on the failed report that there needs to be an anti heat reflector around the wireing witch the previes owner of curlew had done does this make any sence to anybody just looked at are bss

WATCH THE KIDNEYS THEY ONLY ISHEW TWO

steve
Feb-05-2007 @ 5:04 PM                           Permalink
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hi jonny ,
jonny it maybe better for you to ask your question regarding BSS ,on the BSS thread , you'll find links and allsorts there to help you ,heres the link you need jonny  http://www.the-norfolk-broads.co.uk/viewmessages.cfm?Forum=38&Topic=7632&srow=41&erow=60
cheers

steve and vicky

This message was edited by steve on Feb-5-07 @ 4:06 PM

PizzaLover
Feb-05-2007 @ 5:04 PM                           Permalink
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Coiled AC wire (e.g. an extension cable) melts in practice as well as in theory. I've seen it done.

I believe that carrying DC voltage across coiled wire is, while safe, not a good thing - because the voltage will drop off over distance.

If anyone suggests that positive wires should go down the port side and negative wires down the starboard, they are telling fibs.

Antares_9
Feb-05-2007 @ 5:12 PM                           Permalink
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If as you say Simon, you are in effect not having mains power, rather 240v AC at very low wattage (150 I imagine) supplied from an inverter then there will be no problems with heat and provided the installation is protected (which it will be via any decent inverter) I see no issues.

Cat philosophy:
Life is sweet for a broads ships cat

plesbit
Feb-05-2007 @ 5:18 PM                           Permalink
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quote:"......Are you sure you know what you are doing?......."

Pretty much, but there's no harm in convassing opinions, which is the point of this thread.

The inverter is a small 150W jobby which connects to a cigarette lighter socket on the console.  Unfortunately this is a very impractical place for it to be.  There are 12V sockets in the saloon but at full draw the inverter could pull a current of 15A and I would not trust the wiring on the 12V ring to be up to that standard.

The proposed solution is to cut off the cigarette lighter connection and wire it to a spare (fused) switch on the distribution panel using wire purchased especially for the job.  The inverter will then be mounted in a well ventilated locker.  Since the three pin mains plug is built into the unit a standard off the shelf extension lead will be plugged into it (fuse reduced to 3A rating), the cable then run through the ducting for the 12V ring wires to the saloon where the socket end of the extension will be replaced with a more standard looking switchable wall socket and will be suitably mounted and labelled for low power use only.

The setup will enable the inverter to be turned on and off from the distribution panel and it will be fused at that point and again in the extension plug.  The wiring will all be designed for purpose so we know it is up to the required standard.  The cable run to the saloon will be thick, white and shielded so easily distinguished from the 12V wiring it will run with.

It's a bit of a Heath Robinson solution but it serves our needs, is neat, easy to accomplish and I cannot see any reason why it should not be perfectly safe.  If you think differently then I am listening....

Simon

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{Edit to reduce confusion:  I should add, NO wiring will be coiled at any point, I merely used the example of the coiled wire to illustrate why I was asking the question}

This message was edited by plesbit on Feb-5-07 @ 4:23 PM

Bounty
Feb-05-2007 @ 5:25 PM                           Permalink
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a 150w inverter will draw about 14A max. At this rating, you would be advised to use a relay and a lower current switch. If you are to use a switch, make sure it can carry the current, and make sure the 12v side of the circuitry is kept to a minimum to reduce volt-drop.

I've been tempted to do this myself with a larger inverter but have, for years, put up with a trailing (and heavy) inverter. Might get round to it one day.

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