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Old 12-24-2009, 12:59 PM   #1
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1965 Caravel Electrical System upgrade...need help please.

Hi All,
I'm upgrading the electrical system in my '65 Caravel and would like your suggestions and tips for this. The trailer doesn't have converter/charger, only a step-down AC transformer and there's no fuse panel that I know of, only two battery fuses.
Here's an electrical diagram in the trailer's manual:






I'm installing PROGRESSIVE DYNAMICS 9245: 45 AMP CONVERTER and a DC Fuse Box
Here's what I'm planing to do:



I'm bypassing the original manual transfer switches between shore power and battery since I think I don't need it anymore. I'm using 6 AWG wires for all converter, battery and ground wires.
Questions:
1. Where is a good chassis ground area on the trailer, running from a converter and battery? My trailer is not gutted so the inside wall is still intact.
2. On the original manual transfer switches, there's a green polarity light. Do I still need this? If so how can I install it in the new system?
3. How does exterior running lights connect to the trailer's DC system?

Thank you very much for your helps!
Suti
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Old 12-24-2009, 01:07 PM   #2
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#3 is easy, it doesn't. All power to the external running lights as well as the brake and turn lights comes from your truck.
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Old 12-24-2009, 01:15 PM   #3
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Suti

Remove the complete panel that has the 2 switches, and discard it. Discard, or sell the transformer.

All the hot wires, from the switches, will now go to whatever fuse panel arrangement you come up with.

Ground to the frame with at least a # 10 wire.

Disregard the green light, or keep it of you wisn.

The converter system, has nothing to do with any exterior lights. All the exterior lights should be connected to a 7 way cable, that terminates with the aircraft type round connector pins and sockets.

That cable, then is hooked to the tow vehicle, that provides "ALL" the power for the clearance lights, brake/turn signal lights and back up lights. The tow vehicle, should also provide charging current, for the trailer battery.

You may want to consdier changing all the exterior lights to LED's.

Also, make sure the "breakaway" switch is installed correctly and wired properly.

Andy
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Old 12-24-2009, 01:21 PM   #4
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I believe the new convertor may have it's own polarity indicator. Check in the literature for info on that. I also bypassed the shore power switch without a problem.
Remember to not ground the 110v to the chassis, only the 12v. 110v ac runs back to ground through the shore power ground wire.
Rich the Viking
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Old 12-24-2009, 01:34 PM   #5
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Thanks all for your quick replies.
Andy, when you said "Ground to the frame with at least a # 10 wire", do you mean the trailer's frame under the floor or the body/wall?
How do I wire the breakaway switch?
Thanks.
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Old 12-24-2009, 01:41 PM   #6
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The 9245 does not have a polarity indicator, at least mine does not. You can get a small one that plugs into an outlet or continue to use the one you have. I have both.

The breakaway switch is wired with one lead to the trailer battery and the other to hot side of the brakes. It is normally connected to the back of the seven pin connector in your trailer. When the pin is removed, it applies 12 volts to the brake magnets.
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Old 12-24-2009, 02:05 PM   #7
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Thanks, Richard. My converter doesn't have the polarity light either so I may reuse the one I have.
Happy Holidays to you all!
Suti
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Old 12-24-2009, 04:39 PM   #8
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Viking,

I'm getting ready to re-wire my '65 Overlander and am trying to follow everyones direction here on the forums as I know nothing about wiring trailers. My question is; if the 110 volt panel is NOT grounded to the frame of the trailer and a black wire touches the body or frame of the trailer, will the trailer body and frame not be live with 110 volts? If the black 110 volt wire touched onto the frame or the body of the trailer (and the frame was not grounded) wouldn't that put 110 volts onto the ground side of the battery if the battery IS grounded to the frame? Also, if the 110 volt and the 12 volt were both grounded to the frame and or body of the trailer, wouldn't the 12 volts go through the ground conductor to shore power back to where it originates

Ron
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Old 12-24-2009, 05:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronald D View Post
Viking,

I'm getting ready to re-wire my '65 Overlander and am trying to follow everyones direction here on the forums as I know nothing about wiring trailers. My question is; if the 110 volt panel is NOT grounded to the frame of the trailer and a black wire touches the body or frame of the trailer, will the trailer body and frame not be live with 110 volts? If the black 110 volt wire touched onto the frame or the body of the trailer (and the frame was not grounded) wouldn't that put 110 volts onto the ground side of the battery if the battery IS grounded to the frame? Also, if the 110 volt and the 12 volt were both grounded to the frame and or body of the trailer, wouldn't the 12 volts go through the ground conductor to shore power back to where it originates

Ron
Ron.

I would suggest for your safety, that your hire an electrician, pronto.

You cannot talk about the color of wires, since they have no knowledge of what voltage or current you may be running thru them.

I have been involved with electricity and electronics for over 65 years, and you have just confused me. Sorry.

The AC and DC circuits in an Airstream, have nothing to do with each other.

How you treat one, has nothing to do with the other.

Not trying to be harsh, just concerned about your safety, at least when it involves electricity.

Andy
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Old 12-24-2009, 07:40 PM   #10
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Our ground wire

Suti-

If you look at the right side of the window in this picture of the rear of our Caravel, when gutted, you will see a solid copper wire. Follow it down and you can see where it was bonded to the frame. I can't guarantee it was original, but bonding well to the steel frame -- obviously to bare metal somewhere -- is the way to go.

Congrats on getting a Caravel!

John
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Old 12-24-2009, 07:41 PM   #11
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Andy,

I've been a master electrician since 1971, I didn't mean or try to confuse anyone. I am the one confused as I have never wired a trailer with 12 volt and 110 volt power. Rich the Viking stated NOT to ground the 110 volt to the chassis but DO ground the 12 volt to the chassis. If the chassis is not grounded to the shore power and there is a fault, that is; hot wire in contact with the chassis, wouldn't the chassis be live? I believe that in a three wire 110 volt cord there is a black wire (hot) white wire (neutral) and green wire (ground). Unless the chassis was grounded (to the shore power) the fault would have no place to go until someone or something on the ground touched the trailer. Or am I wrong? My other question is IF the shore power cord was grounded to the chassis AND the battery negative was also grounded to the chassis AND there was a fault, wouldn't that put 110 volts on the negative side of the battery, just for and instant? Could that mess up the 12 volt electronics? I'm confused, I just want to do it right.

Thanks,

Ron
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Old 12-24-2009, 08:10 PM   #12
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Nec

Ron-

If you're a Master Electrician, check out Article 551, especially 551.20 of the National Electrical Code. Should answer all of your questions.

John
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Old 12-24-2009, 10:49 PM   #13
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Thanks John for the picture. I'll find a bare metal somewhere in the trailer (possibly the frame under the floor) to make ground connection.
Suti
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Old 12-26-2009, 06:03 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronald D View Post
Andy,

I've been a master electrician since 1971, I didn't mean or try to confuse anyone. I am the one confused as I have never wired a trailer with 12 volt and 110 volt power. Rich the Viking stated NOT to ground the 110 volt to the chassis but DO ground the 12 volt to the chassis. If the chassis is not grounded to the shore power and there is a fault, that is; hot wire in contact with the chassis, wouldn't the chassis be live? I believe that in a three wire 110 volt cord there is a black wire (hot) white wire (neutral) and green wire (ground). Unless the chassis was grounded (to the shore power) the fault would have no place to go until someone or something on the ground touched the trailer. Or am I wrong? My other question is IF the shore power cord was grounded to the chassis AND the battery negative was also grounded to the chassis AND there was a fault, wouldn't that put 110 volts on the negative side of the battery, just for and instant? Could that mess up the 12 volt electronics? I'm confused, I just want to do it right.

Thanks,

Ron
I am no electrician, just to be clear.
My understanding is that the 110v system is isolated from the chassis, unless you have a short, or a mis-wired system. The ground for 110v follows the wires, rather than the chassis. The 12v system grounds to the chassis.
Again, I'm no electrician. This is based on what I've read here and seen in my own Airstream. I welcome comments from those with professional experience, as there is no substitute for it, and I would also like to know more about how this works for my own safety.
Best wishes for the hloidays,
Rich the Viking
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