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Old 08-13-2011, 08:07 PM   #1
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1974 31' Sovereign
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Hi my name is Matthew I'm new here as well as a new airstream owner. I just bought a 1974 airstream 31' Sovereign. It has a few issues that I could sure use help with I'll try to post my questions in the right place, one quick one though. Where do you plug the trailer in while its at home is it 110, 220, or a battery charger?
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Old 08-13-2011, 08:16 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forums!

As far as the trailer electrical connection, the trailer should have a heavy power cord with a 120 Volt, 30 Amp plug on the end. You can plug this into an ordinary 120 V outlet with an adapter you can buy at any RV place or, most likely, Wal Mart. There is a battery charger built into the trailer.

Of course, if the trailer is missing this cord, the built-in battery charger, or whatever, these are things that will need to be fixed.
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Old 08-13-2011, 08:57 PM   #3
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welcome aboard!

this thread came up on the google search and should help you get started:
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f37/...use-21517.html

just remember that this is a 120v connection and NOT THE SAME AS THE OUTLET FOR A STOVE AT YOUR HOUSE. sorry for the shouting but even electricians can mix this up.

for air conditioner ose you'll need wiring rated for 30 amps for the distance required.
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Old 08-13-2011, 08:57 PM   #4
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Welcome to the Airforums, Matthew... Always nice to welcome another Arizonan. And Congrats on your new Airstream! As Nuvite says, you can plug it in to an houselhold outlet with an adapter (the trailer has a 30-amp system)... You will most likely not be able to run any high-draw appliances with that connection, though...AC. microwave, etc...

Good luck...you're in the right place for all things Airstream!
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Old 08-13-2011, 09:20 PM   #5
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To add to the above comments, most household outlets are rated at 15 amps. Therefore, you can run most household appliances, while using a little common sense. You can use a hair dryer, OR a microwave, OR a toaster/toaster oven, etc. -- but not at the same time. Just as you wouldn't plug all of these into the same outlet and turn them all on at once.

To be able to use the air conditioner and most of the other appliances (again, within reason, i.e., not all at the same time) you will need to add a 30 amp outlet to the side of your house, with appropriate conduit, wiring and circuit breaker in your breaker box. Since this could potentially be drawing quite a bit of current, you should probably have an electrician do this, unless you are very experienced installing electrical wiring that meets code and safety requirements. This is not something that you should just patch together, if you don't know what you are doing due to the chance of fire and electrocution.

We had this done by a neighbor that is an electrician; and it cost about $50-60 in parts (the connector box, some conduit and joints, wire and a 30 amp circuit breaker) and a couple of beers (after the job was finished). If we had paid for labor, it probably would have taken about an hour at $100 per hour, minimum charge; or perhaps a little more, with additional charge for the house call.

For us, this was well worth the expense; because it's great running the air conditioner in the summer when we are loading up, instead of trying to put everything away in a hot trailer when it's 110 degrees outside.

As an aside, I know people have complained about how poorly Airstreams are insulated. However, we have driven down from Flagstaff, which takes a couple of hours, and gotten into our Bambi when it's 110+ outside; and it is still 75 degrees inside and smells of pine trees. The drive back home is getting harder and harder to make, and I can't wait until we retire...
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Old 08-13-2011, 09:39 PM   #6
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Your Airstream can from the factory with an on-board battery charging system. When you plug into shore power it charges the batteries automatically. Rather than leaving your trailer plugged in all the time you might want to look at a battery tender trickle charger to maintain your batteries. The built-in charger is notorious for over charging batteries and damaging them.
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Old 08-14-2011, 12:17 AM   #7
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hmmmmm so would you say shore power if you have the ac and systems running? A trickle charger when your getting it ready fora trip?
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Old 08-14-2011, 07:08 AM   #8
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Using the 30 to 15 amp adapter on the end of your power cord does not mean you can run the air conditioner if the house circuits are just 15 amp. Turn everything else off and then try to turn on the air conditioner. If the motor sounds like it is laboring too hard or the circuit breaker in the house pops, turn off the air and only use smaller appliances when plugged in. A professional electrician can install a dedicated 30 amp line at your house for about $200, if there is room in your existing main box.
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Old 08-14-2011, 08:40 AM   #9
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When I park my Airstream at my residence I use a trickel charger to maintain the batteries. The trickel charger will not over charge the batteries. I found that when the trailer is parked and not in use, leaving it hooked up to shore power for extended periods causes the on-board charger to over charge the batteries and boil them dry.

I do not run my air conditioner at home as I only have a 15 amp circuit to hook into.
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Old 08-14-2011, 09:29 AM   #10
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We avoid overcharging by using a Perko marine battery isolator switch (OFF/BatteryA/BatteryB/BOTH). We leave our Bambi connected to the 30 amp box 24/7, but leave the battery switch in the OFF position. Then, every month or so, I turn the battery switch to BatteryA, overnight. The next night, I switch it to BatteryB. Then, the third night, I switch it back to OFF. This keeps the batteries charged for our next roadtrip. We have two Optima Blue Tops, which are supposed to hold a charge for a year, so I could probably go longer between charges; but this has worked for years. (See additional discussion on this thread: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f449...tml#post662384)

The converter supplies power to all other appliances even with the batteries turned to OFF, so we can use the air conditioner, FantasticFans, etc. without overcharging them. The battery switch is always turned OFF when connected to shore power, unless we have been using them while boondocking or while not hooked up on the road.

When boondocking, the battery we are using is charged by the generator every day or two. We only use one battery at a time to stretch out how long we can run without generator or shore power. Then, when we get home or stop where there are hookups, I let them charge for a day or so to top them off.

The battery isolator switch is also an inexpensive modification that keeps the batteries from going dead due to parasitic drains when an RV or boat is in storage. We installed the same battery switch that came standard in our boat.
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