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Old 04-02-2011, 10:14 AM   #1
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1960 Electrical 110V & 12V question

My understanding is the wiring is 110 and the 12 volt comes from individual transformers on each 12 volt switch. To make it all work you install a converter and run your 12volt circuits. Will I have to remove the 12 volt transformers? Can I run 12 volt off the AC wire. since I am hooking up to a converter?


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Old 04-02-2011, 10:24 AM   #2
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Your question is confusing. Running 12V off 110 wire is a bad idea because it looks different and may be mis-identified by someone else.
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Old 04-02-2011, 12:47 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Lothlorian View Post
My understanding is the wiring is 110 and the 12 volt comes from individual transformers on each 12 volt switch. To make it all work you install a converter and run your 12volt circuits. Will I have to remove the 12 volt transformers? Can I run 12 volt off the AC wire. since I am hooking up to a converter?


Brian
On my '61 Overlander, the 12 volt and the 110 are completely separate electrical systems. The three original fan motors (stove vent, roof vent, and furance fan) would work off either 12v or 110. Each motor had a battery power(12v)/city power(110) switch and each switch was wired to a separate transformer (total of 3 separate transformers).

On my '61 was the roof vent was replaced by the PO with a Fan-Tastic vent, I replaced the old furnace with a new Suburban Furance, and I replaced the stove vent fan motor with a new 12v fan motor and then I added a new converter. All three new fan motors only work on 12v through the battery. The converter keeps the battery charged while connected to 110 shore power. The old transformers are not used at all any more. I think the old transformers converted the 110 to 12v, but I am not sure. I hope this helps.

You may have to check to see if your transformers are bad and/or if your fan motors are bad.
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Old 04-02-2011, 03:46 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Lothlorian View Post
My understanding is the wiring is 110 and the 12 volt comes from individual transformers on each 12 volt switch. To make it all work you install a converter and run your 12volt circuits. Will I have to remove the 12 volt transformers? Can I run 12 volt off the AC wire. since I am hooking up to a converter?


Brian
Brian, I'm quite certain that our original wiring is identical in that we both have Ohio built Overlander International Land Yacht models from '59 and '60 respectively. Assuming our wiring is the same, your assumptions above are incorrect. Only the overhead vent fans, furnance and stove vent fan are fed by transformers. Which means, 110v power is routed to the transformer and then power coming out of the transformer is stepped down to (i believe) actually something like 18v before going to the fan motors. If the transformers are bad, you will need to replace them, but I do not know if you can find the correct transformers anymore. You cannot simply remove the transformers, because the only power lines going to those are 110v and you must step that power down before attaching it to the fans.

All of the 12v lights are powered directly (with a fuse) by the battery.

To make it all work, if it has not been hacked up by a previous owner, all you should have to do is plug into shore power (for your vent fans, furnace and stove vent) or attach a battery for your lights. All my vent fans worked when plugged into shore power (even without a battery) as long as the switch on the "city power/battery power" was on "city power."

From the pics in your main thread it appears someone removed the 12v fuse block. Those wires coming out of the wall in the front curbside corner are the starting point for your 12v lines for your lights. It sould also be the entrance point for power from your battery. One of those lines should be hot (12v) when you have a battery connected. That hot lead should be connected to a fuse block and the lines running to the lights should be on the other side of the fuse block.

DO NOT, mix the 12v and 110v systems. 12v should be stranded wire. All the 110v will be solid copper wire. I personally do not fully understand the reasons for the difference, but I understand it is important. Maybe someone with more knowledge of DC versus AC power systems can chime in on that point.

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Old 04-02-2011, 03:57 PM   #5
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On our 63 there are transformers for the fans, and all switches for fans have "City - Off - Battery" on them. When you are plugged into the grid you switch to the city side of the switch, 110 goes through the transformer next to the fan motor, and it produces 12 volts to power the fan and save your battery. When on battery only the city side of course is dead, so you switch to the battery side and it drives off the seperate 12 volt system.

If you are installing power inverter/charger like a modern RV, you simply wouldn't have a use for those transformers in the fans anymore. You could still leave them and use them if they function for the novelty of it, or disconnect them in the junction box next to the fan motor and use your endless 12 volt when plugged into the grid.

Our lights by the way have 12 volt and 110 in each fixture (two seperate sockets).

Maybe that's just a 63 thing though, I have no idea.
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Old 04-02-2011, 05:04 PM   #6
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I am starting to understand, but where and what do the transformers look like?

I am starting to assume the fan for the vent by the bathroom has a transformer. I guess I have to run a 12 volt line to the fantastic fan I will install.

Brian
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Old 04-02-2011, 05:27 PM   #7
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Brian some pictures might help, I'm not sure if 1960 had the same setup, lots of changes from year to year.
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Old 04-02-2011, 06:10 PM   #8
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I am starting to understand, but where and what do the transformers look like?

I am starting to assume the fan for the vent by the bathroom has a transformer. I guess I have to run a 12 volt line to the fantastic fan I will install.

Brian
The transformers look almost identical to a door bell transformer. Here are a couple pics of my rear vent fan with the transformer and the "battery/city" power select switch. I need to correct something from my earlier post. There are 12v wires going to the fans. I forgot that when you have the switch to "battery" the power for the fan is coming from the battery and does not use the transformer. You should not need to run any new 12v wires, but you will need to figure out how it is all routed through the "battery/city power" switch, transformer and to the fans. When I took mine apart it was a mess of wires and the color coding was nearly impossible to decipher. Do your fans currently work when you are plugged into shore power?

@Scott - you are correct. The '59-'63 Internationals (and Land Yachts I think) all had lights like yours with two bulbs - one 12v and one 110v. So each light fixture has a run of 12v wire and 110v wire.

Norm
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Old 04-02-2011, 07:07 PM   #9
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Guys you have been very helpful. I am going to put this on hold for a bit. My other Airstream is calling me saying camping, camping. My wife and I are heading out tomorrow for a week of camping. I am going to try to figure all this out when I get back.

I do not have a transformer like that. So I will have to do some investigating.

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Old 04-02-2011, 08:13 PM   #10
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Guys you have been very helpful. I am going to put this on hold for a bit. My other Airstream is calling me saying camping, camping. My wife and I are heading out tomorrow for a week of camping. I am going to try to figure all this out when I get back.

I do not have a transformer like that. So I will have to do some investigating.

Brian
That is a much better way to spend your time. Have fun. Hopefully we'll be doing more camping soon too.
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Old 04-11-2011, 02:23 PM   #11
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The '59-'63 Internationals (and Land Yachts I think) all had lights like yours with two bulbs - one 12v and one 110v. So each light fixture has a run of 12v wire and 110v wire.

Norm
Norm,
My '58 is dual voltage also, each light fixture has two sets of bulbs, 12v and 110v. I believe '58 was the first year Airstream did this.

I wish my kitchen fan had a transformer of some kind. The only way I can use it now is if I'm plugged in or on a genny. I'm still thinking about an inverter but that seems like overkill just to run a fan.

Brian,
I installed a Fan-tastic Vent in my '58. All I had to do was tap into the 12v line in the adjacent dome light. Very easy to do.
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Old 04-12-2011, 08:53 AM   #12
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Mike do you have a pic? Which light did you tap into?

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Old 04-12-2011, 08:57 AM   #13
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Excuse my lack of electrical knowledge when it comes to the dual wiring for the 1960. Here is what I am understanding and correct me where I am wrong. Each 12volt light has a transformer, which makes the 110 12volt, or is it each 12 volt light is seperately wired from the 110. I have no transformers in my rig.

I have not looked at this for a week and will look again this weekend.

Is there anybody in Metro Atlanta who is willing to check out my wiring?

Brian
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Old 04-12-2011, 11:28 AM   #14
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Here is what I am understanding and correct me where I am wrong. Each 12volt light has a transformer, which makes the 110 12volt.
No. The lights do not use transformers. Each light fixture has a separate run of 110v wire and 12v wire. If you look at one of your bed lights, you should be able to see two sets of wires coming out of the wall and each socket is fed by one of the two sets (it is more difficult to see this on the other fixtures because the wires come from behind the fixtures instead of from the side). All of the light fixtures are wired this way. Each fixture has two light sockets, with one hooked up to a 12v line, and one hooked up to a 110v line.

Only the fans and furnace are powerwed by a transformer. I'm not actually sure how many transformers were originally installed. When I got my trailer, it only had one transformer at the rear vent fan. It seemed to provide 12v power to both the front and rear vent fans and might have origianally been use for the furance also. When I was plugged into 110v power, both my overhead vent fans worked. I never tested the 12v system before starting my restoration.
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