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Old 03-20-2008
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Icon4 Wiring my truck for AC Power...

ok, Im in the process of customizing my E350 for work, and I came up with an idea. Instead of doing the inverter route, I was thinking of putting in a 6 outlet plug, and then running a line to the back door, and into a outlet box... On one side of the box, have two GFCI outlets, and then on the other side, instead of 2 more outlets, run a 10awg cord out with a male end on it. So when I get to a job, if I need power at the truck, I can just plug the truck in via the cord. and that would power the outlet on the back, and the 6 outlets on the side of my work bench, plus, maybe a couple of interior lights... I figure a 6 outlet strip because if im working on something in the truck, I have an outlet right there, and no need to get out another extension cord. I figured id run everything off the GFCI right on the back. this outlet will be inside the van, but right next to the backdoor, so i figured id use an exterior box for it, with a little weath resistant door... run everything via conduit, and make it 'professional'

what do you think?

Oh should I put a breaker in there somewhere? and what about a ground? I dont want to ground it to the truck though...
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Old 03-20-2008
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heres a ruff idea as to what im talkin about. the green is conduit, the big pink box is the outlet strip, and the pink box by the back door is the gfci, and the cord...
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Old 03-21-2008
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Seems like that would be alot easier than trying to
A) find an inverter with enough wattage for what you need and
B) wire up the inverter in the same or similar fashion.

I say go the external input route, it'd be cheaper and easier.

If you go that route definitely install GFCI's and Definitely install breakers, don't want nothing overheating and burning up all your hard work, and possibly even a master switch for the whole shebang

You could even mount some fluorescent lights in there somewhere to give you light when its dark or overcast even. Oh you said that already must've missed that part.
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Old 03-21-2008
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You don't need circuit breakers because when you plug the van into the building's electrical outlet, you are protected by that breaker. Just make sure you only use 12/2 or larger wiring for everything.

The GFCI is a good idea, make sure it is a 20 amp model, not a cheapo little 15 amp. It probably wouldn't be a bad idea to bond the 110 ground to the van's chassis ground somewhere too.
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Old 03-21-2008
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I'm putting in just an 800 watt inverter, which I already have, in the back under the cap with my second batter box. I have 4 gauge run up to the engine compartment to provide the shared current between the two systems.

I want it to run my electric impact wrench when I'm offroading if I have problems. I'll put weather-proof outlets on the outside of the truck up on the cap (to keep them out of the deep water when I offroad).

Since the biggest load I need to run is fairly small, that will suit my needs.
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Old 03-21-2008
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I like your idea. Just a couple of thoughts.
1. Install a breaker. Hate to see your truck burn up cause someone didn't wire a system out of your control correctly.
2. Maybe where your power line comes in split right there and an outlet there. So you have a box large enough for power in, circuit breaker and power out.
3. Good question about grounding the truck. I have seen trucks with grounding straps that just hang down under the chassis. Maybe a company that builds gasoline transports would have something that would work? Then again your line in should be grounded at power but that would mean your ground has to return there to work not a good idea in my book.

Let us know how it works out.
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Old 03-21-2008
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The straps aren't good for anything but static bleed off. He needs a solid connection to a good power system ground. Nothing else will provide good protection. That should be provided by the "umbilical" you use to tap power wherever you hook up. Inside the truck, connecting the "green wire" ground to the chassis is a sound idea.

A breaker doesn't hurt. If the circuit you're tapping is properly set up for the wiring you have, then you're good to go. But adding one certainly wouldn't hurt and might have it's own uses as an emergency shutoff in case some power device gets out of control somehow.
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Old 03-21-2008
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So your saying I wont hurt the trucks existing electrical system by grounding it to the frame?

I was worried it might back feed and fry something since its 110 and not 12v.

I figured id do this for 2 reasons:

1) im poor and have NO extra money be spending on inverters and such. Besides, I need to be able to run atleast 1 light, and a circular saw or maybe a mixer off it.. So its gotta have *****.

2) I have everything I need to actually do this. Including all breakers, wiring, everything. I was thinking, of putting in a master switch at the box on the back, but I like the breaker idea better.

edit:

One more thing, Dad put in a 1 ton hoist on the back of the truck for lifting his power chair onto the back of the truck. It runs on 12volt. Using a 1500lb winch. with a custome made plate for it. I am not taking the little hoist/crane off because I am sure I can find other uses for it in the future. The problem is, it iis 12volt, and you cant use it unless the truck is running. Is there a way, that I could some how tie this into the 11v feed so I can use it while the truck is off?

Also, because I am rarely at any place where there is no power, this will work. I was also thinking of putting an air compressor on the truck, but I think, I might just put a small electric one on there, and then maybe, a bigger gasoline version. I dunno, theres alot of possibilities. Today, I gotta get the plank rack off the old truck and put it in this one.. but I'll be doing the extrical with in the next 3 weeks or so...

Oh, and I was also thinking about putting a 'status' light on the box too... so that when u plug in the extension cord to the truck, the light will come on if there is power...

Ill be sure to include pictures when I am done, since no one, i know, has ever done anything like this before.

Last edited by FMD; 03-21-2008 at 10:56 AM.
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Old 03-21-2008
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Our contractor on our house had his box truck rigged up like that, ran a air compressor inside and a chop saw with outlets strips and everything. He had it so he can plug it in to the house or run it off of a generator, it was a pretty sweet set-up.
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