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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Importance Of A Catastrophe Fuse For Your RV Battery Systems

Completed Install
    Without batteries to run your RV "house" systems, even the simplest things would be much more difficult. Think about it, no lights, no electric water pump, no TV(!) and no cell phone charging. Think about all the different uses of battery power in your RV and then stop and think what would happen if your batteries failed catastrophically. I'm not talking about a simple dead battery here, I'm thinking more about a dead short that could send hundreds of Amps surging through your RV's 12 volt wiring and appliances. Repair, if possible, would be very costly.It doesn't happen very often (Especially if you maintain your batteries properly!) but if COULD happen. Take some steps to make sure it doesn't happen to you!
Install a catastrophe fuse.

What's a catastrophe fuse you may ask. Simple, it's a high amp value fuse that sit's between your battery and all of the wiring and electrically run doodads you have inside the coach. If something goes horribly wrong, it blows, likely saving you a huge headache and possibly your RV. You see, overloaded wires get HOT, they could burn. Fire and RV's do not mix! So, what's the easiest way to decide on which one to use and get it installed? Keep reading to find out!

Step one....buy a catastrophe fuse. Step two, install it.  Yes, I know...I just couldn't help myself!

Ignore The Red Tape. It Holds The Cover On.
Seriously, almost all Catastrophe fuses fall into a couple of categories,Class T and ANL fuses. After you decide which one fits your use, you'll need a holder and at least one heavy duty battery cable to connect it to the battery. On my system, two batteries are wired in parallel (to increase capacity) so I have one cable going to my positive loads and one cable going to ground. To install a catastrophe fuse in a holder, you'll have to remove the positive battery cable from the battery. At this point you can attach the end of the cable you just removed to the fuse block (you MAY have to swap ends or buy an adapter if it doesn't fit.) Here's were you either need another short length of cable or a fuse block that attaches directly to the battery. I used a short length of thick welding cable (it's more flexible than standard battery cable) to attach the fuse block to the battery terminal. Since I have so little height available in the battery bay, this was the only way I could get it mounted remotely.

Once mounted and secure, reconnect the positive terminal to the battery. BE CAREFUL, if you have left something turned on, it may spark. That's it. You are now protected. A few notes; Make sure you get a fuse that will cover all your loads and draws from the battery. For example, if you have a large inverter that will pull 300 amps from the batteries, make sure you get a fuse that will allow more than 300 Amps of draw, The Class T fuses can be expensive, so it pays to get the right size!

As I have said before, treat your batteries right and they will last a long time. That being said....you never can be too careful with your RV electrical system. Strange things can and do happen! Better safe than on fire.

Be Seeing You...Down The Road,

Rich "The Wanderman"
www.thewanderman.com