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Teardrop electrical wiring

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  • Teardrop electrical wiring

    Hi all,
    I’m building a teardrop camper and am wondering if there is a basic schematic and parts list for both 12volt dc and 120 volt AC systems.
    Mark Beiley

  • #2
    What are you planning to need? Teardrop electrical can be as simple as alkaline battery powered puck lights or as complex as RV power centers with multiple battery charging methods and power inverters for 120v from the battery. Or even no-battery setups using shore power only with 12v power supply for 12v lighting and fan, ect.


    • #3
      I’m thinking 12v AGM battery, a couple of interior lights, light over galley and porch light and a couple of outlets for a tablet and phone. Also a battery charger that I would hook to shore power when needed. Pretty basic I know, but I don’t want to go to far in the build without planning for the electrical set up.
      Thanks for getting back to me Andrew.
      Thanks for your help.


      • #4
        I certainly won't fault you for keeping a basic setup.. I have a bit of distain for complexity myself. The least wiring (especially permanently in walls) typically lends itself to easy repairs/upgrades.

        So shore power for charging the battery only? In that case, for 120v, You could just tuck an inverter in or under a cabinet to plug directly into without needing to actually wire in 120v outlets. This also makes it more convenient to turn on/off when needed because inverters will use some base level of power from the battery when powered on even when not powering a device.

        If just using 12v otherwise for a few LED lights you could probably get away with a single fused pair of 14 or 16ga wires daisy chaining (in parallel) from one light to the next (if each light has integrated switch). You could put a fuse on the inverter wiring too near the battery for extra safety in case there is a short in the wiring before it makes it to the inverter. Inverters typically have their own fuse to protect the unit itself.

        Often you will see a main battery cutoff switch to isolate the battery from all other connections for emergencies or to prevent any potential for electrical fires while on the road.


        • #5
          Thanks Andrew. All sounds good.
          Is there an inverter brand that you recommend? I have looked on Amazon, but not exactly sure what I’m looking for. I did read that the inverter converts 12vdc to 120vac.


          • #6
            I dont have experience with them. I know the "pure sine wave" type tend to be more friendly to more sensitive devices since the output is a closer approximation to real AC waveform rather than coarse voltage jumps.


            • #7
              Mark - I'm probably on the other end of the spectrum as far as complexity goes so I'll mention a few things that I have or have added to my teardrop. Mine came with a WFCO WF-8712 Power center which shore power connects to and provides 120VAC distribution through breakers for convenience outlets and other 120V loads. On the 12V side it has a fused distribution center and the ability to maintain/charge your battery(s).

              Here's a list of other items we have installed with our personal rating of importance. ( 0-10 with 10 = Very Important)
              • Dimmer on cabin lights = 10 (Our LED cabin lights are too bright at night and I replaced the On/Off switch with a dimmer switch)
              • TV/DVR Combo = 2 (we have only used once for weather in 25+ camping trips)
              • Combo 12V Meter/12V socket and USB ports w/ On/Off Switch (Click Here) = 8 We have the meter switched so that the display is off at night but like the dual USB ports for topping off headlamps and phones.
              • Solar Charger / Solar panels = 6 We have two 35AH batteries which will last us multiple nights. This said, we have only been in a few places without electricity that required use of the solar panels. If you plan to do mostly boondock type camping then this would obviously be a higher priority for you. Side note: I'm not a big fan of permanently installed flexible panels as they can be problematic and typically you would want your trailer in the shade. I have a folding panel set with 50Ft. of cord to allow me to park in the shade and chase the sun with the panel. If the panels fail or get damaged - they are easily replaces.
              • Led strip lighting on the interior perimeter of the galley hatch = 8 We can dim a change colors for accent lighting but when set to bright white light it creates a even light distribution for food prep and cooking. Much better than the lights installed on the vertical galley wall.
              • Exterior lights on each side = 7 Although we rarely use, it is a nice feature for identifying your camper at night and provides area lighting when entering and exiting the trailer. I replace the bulbs in mine with yellow LED light bulbs.
              • Exhaust fan = 10 Simply a must.
              • Back to the batteries - Dual batteries = 9 My trailer came with one battery but when we went on a two week trip with some locations not having power, I wanted the comfort of having redundancy for a battery failure and/or longer time unplugged. So for this install I also added an battery isolation switch.
              • Ability to charge RV batteries from car = 4 I added the charging capability to our Subaru but have seldom used it. I think it does buy me some comfort to have the option though.
              Note: Thinking about it - having two batteries has reduced the priority for Solar and car charging capabilities. So if you are thinking of a single battery you may want to increase the need for other charging options.

              This really doesn't answer your question about schematics but it may give you some insights as to what you may or may not want. I certainly can help with some specific questions about wiring.


              • #8
                Great inyfo Rick.
                Thanks, you and Andrew have given me some good insights.


                • #9
                  I guess I went super simple. I bought a solar generator, a Bluetti EB240 because it fit in the space. I added a 12V socket splitter for the water pump, Maxxair fan and another 12V accessory block with usb ports and 2 more 12V sockets. For the A/C outlet I just ran a power strip with more usb ports to a more convenient location inside. With that set-up I put up a rope light all the way around the interior and 2 small 12V reading lights all wired with with usb plugs. All the wiring for the fan and reading lights is run around the corners behind the rope light. Since the body of my homemade teardrop was already made, surface mounting the wiring was my only option. I know the Bluetti is an investment up front, but the convenience of all in one is great for me. No batteries, plus charger, inverter, fuse block, breakers etc. All the safety features are built into the power pack and if I sell it I can simply unplug and take to my next adventure. The only trade-off with the EB240 is more watt hours for less power (1000 watt inverter) and the 12V socket is only rated for 9 amps. With that said, the few times I have taken it out I have not had any power issues running the fan on max, charging devices and turning on lights. Most 12V accessories seem to be pretty efficient and I have had zero need for the A/C yet. For shore power I just ran an A/C port plug with dual outlets, one for charging the Bluetti and the other for running the anything else I need if shore power is available.