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Old 03-21-2023, 07:08 AM   #1
Stangfire
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Positive and Negative cable colors?

Hi, I'm new to the travel trailer world.

I'm curious why the battery cable connections are not standard RED POSITIVE and BLACK NEGATIVE like all automotive 12 volt systems.

Thankfully there is a tag that tells me which way to hook them up and I can see that the white wire goes to ground.

Is there a reason for this? If I know the reason maybe it will be easier to remember.

Thanks.
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Old 03-21-2023, 07:29 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stangfire View Post
Hi, I'm new to the travel trailer world.

I'm curious why the battery cable connections are not standard RED POSITIVE and BLACK NEGATIVE like all automotive 12 volt systems.

Thankfully there is a tag that tells me which way to hook them up and I can see that the white wire goes to ground.

Is there a reason for this? If I know the reason maybe it will be easier to remember.

Thanks.
In the rv industry there's no ryhme or reason for most anything, it depends on which person is doing what today, their mood & what day of the week!
In your case they used household wiring colors where black is hot & white is neutral/ground, some do however use red + / black -.
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Old 03-21-2023, 07:38 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by travelin texans View Post
In the rv industry there's no ryhme or reason for most anything, it depends on which person is doing what today, their mood & what day of the week!
In your case they used household wiring colors where black is hot & white is neutral/ground, some do however use red + / black -.
Thanks. The black and white like household wiring kind of makes sense.

I'll mark it with some red and black tape to make it idiot proof.
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Old 03-21-2023, 08:08 AM   #4
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As Danny said, a lot of things in the RV industry don't make much sense "when compared to the automobile industry"... That is changing, or more likely, "morphing" with time...

RV's, especially travel trailers, got their origins as a part of the "manufactured housing industry".... Housing electrical standards which are primarily 120/240 VAC, are different from the automobile industry which is/was 6/12/24 volt DC, depending on the size of the vehicle starting and operating systems.

Those two industries "adopted different color standards". Housing: black hot and white neutral and Automotive: red hot and black neutral/ground.

The confusion comes from the federal government applying "Manufactured Home standards to the RV industry"... RV manufacturers have long "fought that "lumped together ruling" and in recent years, with the rise in motorhomes and class B/C RV's, have made some headway to break away from the "government mandated manufactured home industry"....

One of those changes was, around 2018, to re-identify electrical battery connections from "house wiring colors" to "automobile wiring colors" where the 12 volt system attaches to the battery... That, IMO, only makes sense...

And yes, I can't begin to count the number of blown reverse polarity fuses that have been a result of the "housing standard confusion with a car battery on the tongue of a travel trailer which is also charged by a plug from the tow vehicle"......

But, it is what it is and now, until decades from today, all the old "black/white battery cables" are in a salvage yard, a "double standard"...

Remember, however, that there are TWO electrical systems in your RV and both need to comply with some type of "standard"... In the 12 volt DC system it's red/black and in the 120 volt AC system it's still black/white while in 50 amp inputs to the power center, it's black/white/red (2 hot leads)... So, somewhere in YOUR RV, there's still going to be a "black ground connected to a white neutral/ground (typically on the chassis rail), so the "ground wire color is still "black and white/bare copper" depending on which electrical system you're connected to the chassis ground.....

As for the battery, take your pick, red and black or black and white... But remember, black is hot in one pair and ground in the other !!!!! Marking them so you can easily identify YOUR cable connections only makes sense...
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Old 03-21-2023, 08:43 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stangfire View Post
Hi, I'm new to the travel trailer world.

I'm curious why the battery cable connections are not standard RED POSITIVE and BLACK NEGATIVE like all automotive 12 volt systems.

Thankfully there is a tag that tells me which way to hook them up and I can see that the white wire goes to ground.

Is there a reason for this? If I know the reason maybe it will be easier to remember.

Thanks.
For all the theories that some can come up with, I believe someone at Keystone had a bunch of those black positive, white ground stickers made up and they rolls of the correct gauge wire in those colors. Hence a new sorta-standard.
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Old 03-21-2023, 10:27 AM   #6
Stangfire
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRTJH View Post
As Danny said, a lot of things in the RV industry don't make much sense "when compared to the automobile industry"... That is changing, or more likely, "morphing" with time...

RV's, especially travel trailers, got their origins as a part of the "manufactured housing industry".... Housing electrical standards which are primarily 120/240 VAC, are different from the automobile industry which is/was 6/12/24 volt DC, depending on the size of the vehicle starting and operating systems.

Those two industries "adopted different color standards". Housing: black hot and white neutral and Automotive: red hot and black neutral/ground.

The confusion comes from the federal government applying "Manufactured Home standards to the RV industry"... RV manufacturers have long "fought that "lumped together ruling" and in recent years, with the rise in motorhomes and class B/C RV's, have made some headway to break away from the "government mandated manufactured home industry"....

One of those changes was, around 2018, to re-identify electrical battery connections from "house wiring colors" to "automobile wiring colors" where the 12 volt system attaches to the battery... That, IMO, only makes sense...

And yes, I can't begin to count the number of blown reverse polarity fuses that have been a result of the "housing standard confusion with a car battery on the tongue of a travel trailer which is also charged by a plug from the tow vehicle"......

But, it is what it is and now, until decades from today, all the old "black/white battery cables" are in a salvage yard, a "double standard"...

Remember, however, that there are TWO electrical systems in your RV and both need to comply with some type of "standard"... In the 12 volt DC system it's red/black and in the 120 volt AC system it's still black/white while in 50 amp inputs to the power center, it's black/white/red (2 hot leads)... So, somewhere in YOUR RV, there's still going to be a "black ground connected to a white neutral/ground (typically on the chassis rail), so the "ground wire color is still "black and white/bare copper" depending on which electrical system you're connected to the chassis ground.....

As for the battery, take your pick, red and black or black and white... But remember, black is hot in one pair and ground in the other !!!!! Marking them so you can easily identify YOUR cable connections only makes sense...
Thanks. That all makes sense now. House hold wiring blended with automotive wiring creates some confusion.

I'll be sure to mark the cables black and red. Mostly so it's clear to my wife if she ever needs to hook up a charger or jumper cables or something when I'm not around. I'm also hooking up (2)6V golf cart batteries in series so that would make it extra confusing for her.
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