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Badgerfan20

Wiring ice house

8 posts in this topic

I am completely re wiring my ice house. Bought it a couple years ago and barely any thing works anymore. It's an 8x16 ice castle copy. It has 4 outlets, 3 lights, and 2 switches. Also has a speaker system with 4 speakers. I will be running a generator most of the time but would like to be able to run everything off batteries too. What exactly do you need as in an like an inverter or battery board?? Or how that stuff works. Don't really know much about this stuff. Have a friend that's an electrican that's going to wire it but he doesn't know anything about the battery system. Any help would be great, thanks 

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35 minutes ago, Badgerfan20 said:

I am completely re wiring my ice house. Bought it a couple years ago and barely any thing works anymore. It's an 8x16 ice castle copy. It has 4 outlets, 3 lights, and 2 switches. Also has a speaker system with 4 speakers. I will be running a generator most of the time but would like to be able to run everything off batteries too. What exactly do you need as in an like an inverter or battery board?? Or how that stuff works. Don't really know much about this stuff. Have a friend that's an electrican that's going to wire it but he doesn't know anything about the battery system. Any help would be great, thanks 

Sit down with your friend and look up the installation instructions for a Convertor.  Sky is really the limit in a fish house but you will basically have a 110 system in the convertor and a 12v system.  From there get a list of all the fixtures you want/have i.e lights, stereo, hole lights, microwave, tv, dishwasher, laundry machines etc.  Then its just a matter of guessing how much wire you need then doubling it.  In all honesty... They are pretty straight forward but if your buddy is an electrician it should just be a matter of showing him the convertor, what you want where and he should be able to help get a shopping list together in pretty short order.  Alternatively there are a ton of really detailed builds in this forum that go through their wiring diagrams with pretty good details.

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Definitely multiple ways to skin this cat but here is what I installed in my Yetti last year.  Essentially the same setup you will find in most campers now days.  I can run off batteries only or generator and battery (you will need at least one battery).  The power center will charge and maintain the battery whenever it is connected to shore power (generator, extension cord from house, ect.). 

 

-PD4045 Power Center - LINK   Just google "PD4045" and the owners manual will pop up.  I've attached a diagram at the end of my post to help with the wiring.  The only difference will be with the "to batt pos".  You will need to remove that copper jumper to connect the switch, there is instructions on how to do that in the manual though.  If you get stuck I can take pictures of mine for you. 

 

-Battery Switch - LINK

 

-Automotive Fuses - various sizes for whatever circuit

 

-AC Breakers - Literally the same kind of breakers you would install in your home.  You will need a 30 amp breaker that acts as the main breaker to protect the system (like the 100/200 amp breaker at the top of your electrical panel at home).  There are 3 remaining slots available for 3 more breakers but if you are smart you can get 6 circuits if you get tandem breakers (2 circuits for 1 breaker unit). 

 

-Battery - I recommend going with an AGM battery.  Totally sealed, no vent needed, virtually no maintenance, and lifetime is much longer than deep cell batteries.  I went with one 12V 125 AH battery but some people go with 2 6V batteries and wire them in series.  Here is the one I used, not cheap but well worth the upgrade LINK

 

-Power Inlet - The next three items are where you can cut some costs versus what I used.  I used all 30 amp components for a few different reasons.  First, I can take advantage of the full potential of the PD4045.  Second, I use my shack camping so I can literally pull into basically any campground and plug into their 30 amp outlets so I can run an AC, Fridge, TV, pizza maker, ect. all at once.  I also used some pretty expensive components (Furrion) but they are awesome quality and are built for marine use so the connections are really solid.  They also have built in light indicators to verify that they are connected to power.  LINK

 

-Power Cord - Another Furrion product.  I got a 50' just so I can put my generator far away and not even hear it.  Honda generators are really quiet but not silent.  LINK

 

-Power Adaptor - This lets me plug the 30 amp cord into a normal 15 amp receptacle. LINK

 

- Wiring - I used regular 14 gauge romex for all the AC circuits.  For the DC circuits I used 14/2 direct burial cable just to be safe (LINK).  You can also use the same 14/2 wire for your speakers (16/2 would work for the speakers too).  If you have a forced air furnace you will need some larger wire. 10-12 gauge should be just fine depending on the size of your furnace and the circuit distance.  You will also need a short amount of wire to run between your power inlet and the power center.  I believe I used either 6 or 8 gauge for this. 

 

-Lighting - Don't know if you're going to replace these or not but I would definitely go with LED lights.  LED is far superior to other lighting sources and you might as well replace them if you are rewiring.  I used 3 of the light listed here (LINK).  They keep my 8x16' as bright as I want.  Best part of these is that they are dimmable so if you get a dimmer switch you can control the light level.  I also put a cheap $8 light inside my closet in the V of my shack and that works for the small space. 

 

 

 

PD4045-more-smaller.jpg

 

 

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Does it currently have a converter that has shoreline power coming in at 120 VAC and power going out at 12 VDC? If not, that is your starting point. I have a WFCO 30 amp unit that works pretty well. It works as a hub for both your AC and DC circuits.... So when you are hooked up to a generator, it charges your batteries and powers both your AC (wall plug ins) and DC (lights, radio, fans) circuits.

 

The main thing that you need to keep track of if you want to be able to run solely off of DC(battery) is power consumption and segregation. For exampled, toss out the incandescent that more than likely came with your house, and replace it with an LED option. The LED's will draw 80-90% less amps than the incandescent. The other thing that we did is allow for segregation. We have 3 dual pancake LED lights in the wheel house, which allows us to select how much ( or little) light we need versus having an "all or none" issue. This helps consumption greatly.

 

Once you a list of everything that you need, you should be able to figure out your amp requirements and size your batteries appropriate. If you figure that you are going to run a radio (2 amp) for 12 hrs out of the day, lights (2 amp) for 8 hrs a day, and your furnace(4 amps) will be running 20 min our of every hour, that will give you your average amperage usage for the day (68.8 amps/24 =2.8).

KEEP IN MIND though, that the Amp Hours listed on batteries is not USABLE amp hours. Depending on your battery type, it becomes unusable between 30-50% discharage. Here is a good link.

 

https://www.batterystuff.com/kb/tools/calculator-sizing-a-battery-to-a-load.html

 

......Took me too long to write - Looks like Yetti beat me to the punch!

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I'm getting ready to wire in my converter either this weekend or next.  I've got the Progressive Dynamics 4045 and the instructions aren't real clear, but I'm figuring most of it out.  One thing I can't find is where to wire my ground block to.  Does that just go straight to the battery ground, or does that connect into the convertor somehow.  I can't think of a reason it would need to, I just thought I'd check with you guys who have done it before.

 

Thanks for your help!

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56 minutes ago, Adam NWI said:

I'm getting ready to wire in my converter either this weekend or next.  I've got the Progressive Dynamics 4045 and the instructions aren't real clear, but I'm figuring most of it out.  One thing I can't find is where to wire my ground block to.  Does that just go straight to the battery ground, or does that connect into the convertor somehow.  I can't think of a reason it would need to, I just thought I'd check with you guys who have done it before.

 

Thanks for your help!

just pick up a grounding bus bar from the store.  Ground from converter to the bar and from the bar to the battery.  Then all your other grounds can feed out from there.  your 12v grounds should be separate from your 110 grounds from what I was told.

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Thanks MLR, that clears it up for me!

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I went simple with my 8x16 Firebrand. I have a complete DC system and a complete AC system. The entire house functions off of DC, except for the 110v outlets. The TV, lights, radio, forced air furnace and ten 12v outlets all run off of batteries. I have two 6v golf cart batteries wired together for 12v, I can drop my house on Friday and lift it up on Sunday evening with the electric jacks and never have to worry about a generator, and if my wife is with the radio doesn't shut off all day and we run a fan all night for noise. I am on year 3 of the batteries and haven't run out of juice yet on a weekend trip. Literally the only thing I would need a generator for is if I wanted 110V outlets to run something, but I have yet to have a need for that. When I get home I plug the house in and an onboard charger recharges the batteries. I never really understood the need for a converter, but I like things simple. If we ever were going to go for more than 3 days I have another Interstate battery I could use, but have never had to use it yet as our trips have all been 3 day trips. It helps that I built my own house as I researched and found a forced air furnace with the least amount of amp draw, a 26" TV/DVD combo that is 12V, a car stereo and all LED lights. My new addition is a Raspberry Pi that has every Nintendo game known to man on it and a free video streaming service like Netflix, for when the fish aren't biting. 

 

Basically my setup is two 6V batteries from Fleet Farm ($100 each) and a $100  ProMar onboard charger. I have a 12 slot fuse block and my electric jacks have a separate breaker for each.  It sure is nice not having to haul around a generator, but if I had to I could run one and plug in, the batteries would automatically recharge with the onboard charger and the AC system would be up and running. Someday I might get solar panels, as I think I could extend my ice time significantly. If I got two more 6V batteries I would be looking at 6+ days on the ice without a generator! 

Edited by brian6715
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