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Old 05-08-2010, 05:39 AM   #1
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1979 Argosy 27
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1979 27' Argosy and Solid State Control Panel

3rd week with the trailer, and just discovered a solid state control panel tucked away above the range, disconnected.

To the right of that, just right of the range fan lever, in that same cupboard, are a multitude of wires. coming out of a hole near the back. A red one, capped off (I assume power), 3 thick grey wires, labelled grey, black, and fresh water. In the rear bumper, those 2 thick grey cables have been snaked through...but at the tank end, they're disconnected/never connected.

Asked the previous owner (of 30 years), and said thats the way it came from the original owner, and they did nothing to try and get it up and running.

Given that information, and the fact that the place where the control panel should be, is an OEM looking panel (and actually when that's removed, the control panel screw holes don't line up with the holes on the panel opening), I am guessing the first owner had the ambitious plan to add this option himself after the fact.

More curious then anything else...would models be prewired for this option if the option wasn't on from the factory? Or did this guy get the panel part and the wiring harnesses (which looks like, if original, would tuck in behind the panel right at the back of the cupboard, not stick out in the right side of the cupboard) and then have it snaked through the trailer to come out at the bumper? Would the tanks then have any sort of connections for the end of this wiring to run to, if it wasn't prewired? I didn't pay attention to the fresh water cable, as to if it came out somewhere at the front or not.

Nevermind figuring out where the wiring for the battery level, AC power or pump switch (the Argosy's water pump switch is right below it on the sidewall in front of the kitchen sink) is. I assume it is part of the wiring also found in the cupboard. The univolt has been swapped from something much newer too, although I assume all the connections back there have been retained.

Again, just curious more than anything, as having those guages isn't crucial by any means (and many times they're inaccurate anyways, from what I've read here).

Not being an electrican, not something I'd even know where to start with, and even if I had an electrican buddy take a look (along with wiring diagrams I found through searching the forums) and start soldering wires onto the panel, I have no idea if the tanks would have a connection to connect the wires to anyways or the power connections were available/accurate.

Anyone have any insight to this? Do other owners (Argosy only I guess, all Airstreams had the control panel?) have those big grey wires coming out of the back to the right of the range vent? And, as mentioned above, are the tank sensors/connections likely to even exsist if the trailer didn't have the control panel to start?
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Old 05-10-2010, 08:40 PM   #2
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Here is a picture of the original control panel in a 1979 31' AS. It also is mounted over the oven in the overhead, just left (and below) of the stove vent control arm:



Another shot (maybe better to see the shape and position):


All of the wires going into the control unit (and there are alot of wires) are coming directly through the aluminum wall right behind the panel where you see the shroud. Hope that helps some...

Not sure whether your AS would be pre-wired for controls if none were installed originally.
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Old 05-11-2010, 02:24 AM   #3
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Thanks.
On the '79 Argosy, the panel that is in there is the exact same panel.

However, OEM there is a peice of decorative plastic (same material as on the innter walls) covering the place where the panel is in your picture. To the right of it (in the same cupobard) are the grey wires labelled for the 3 tanks.

The more I read, and you confirm it, the more I assume that the original owner went through the trouble of getting the panel peice, and then, having it wired after the fact for this panel to work. Thus, the wire leads in the back bumper, not currently hooked up to the tanks, and the other mess of wires coming out of the wall.

Just trying to determine if the tanks have any sensors to be even hooked up...although I can't imagine the original owner going through all the trouble to run these wires without the tanks having the sensors, he obviosuly abandoned the project before he sold it to the next (and owners I bought it off of) owners 32 years ago.
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Old 05-11-2010, 04:48 AM   #4
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If you're not an electronics nut case, this thread on replacing the control panel might not be of much interest to you, but at least you'll be able to follow the development of a "plug and play" replacement.

I'm pretty sure your panel is original equipment and the wires were there all along. When you look at your tank(s), the "sensors" will look like machine screws in plastic male inserts that screw into female fittings in the side of the tank. It's possible that the reason your system is disconnected is that the one or all of your tanks were replaced and they didn't have the fittings for the sensors (seems unlikely).

BOWMANS, thanks for the photo. I hadn't ever seen the version with the LEDs before! As you may know, there was an interim version that used analog mechanical meters (my 75 Sovereign and 77 Safari), and before that small light bulbs (my 70 Caravel and 72 Overlander). The "meter-like" arrangement of the LEDs was probably influenced by existing tooling for the interim meter model, but the panel could have been made much more compact with the LEDs. My final pc board is looking like it will be 4.8" X 3.1", for three tanks and a "pump on" slow flasher.

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Old 05-11-2010, 06:52 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lbrownah View Post

Just trying to determine if the tanks have any sensors to be even hooked up...although I can't imagine the original owner going through all the trouble to run these wires without the tanks having the sensors, he obviosuly abandoned the project before he sold it to the next (and owners I bought it off of) owners 32 years ago.
The tanks on the Argosy trailers didn't normally come from the factory with sensors in the tanks. That may be the point at which the PPO got stymied.
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Old 05-11-2010, 08:28 AM   #6
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ibrownah, We have a 79 Argosy and it has the same layout control panel and is hooked to all tanks and battery. One easy way to tell if it is wired to your tanks is take the cushion off the couch and look at your fresh water tank, mine is on the right side or the curb side about 12 inches from the end of the tank.

Terry, I think ours is original, the wire from the fresh water tank goes into the side of the trailer skin and up and over the top to the control panel, I can't imagine someone taking the interior out to run a wire to the panel, I would have went through the floor if I was going to do something like that. Not sure about the other tanks.

I met a man that worked for Airstream when the Argosy's were made and wish I would have gotten his phone #. He said that it isn't true about using aluminum that was damaged or had imperfections in them to build the Argosy's he said they didn't have that much aluminum laying around like that, they were built with the same material as Airstream's.


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Old 05-12-2010, 01:06 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeppelinium View Post
I'm pretty sure your panel is original equipment and the wires were there all along. When you look at your tank(s), the "sensors" will look like machine screws in plastic male inserts that screw into female fittings in the side of the tank. It's possible that the reason your system is disconnected is that the one or all of your tanks were replaced and they didn't have the fittings for the sensors (seems unlikely).

BOWMANS, thanks for the photo. I hadn't ever seen the version with the LEDs before! As you may know, there was an interim version that used analog mechanical meters (my 75 Sovereign and 77 Safari), and before that small light bulbs (my 70 Caravel and 72 Overlander). .

Zep
Thanks for an idea of what I should be looking for if I ever venture to look for the tank connections.

However, I disagree about the panel being original. The slot that the panel fits in, is currently covered by a peice of material that's similar plastic to another part of the trailer. The panel itself (which is exactly the same as the picture shown) and its screw holes do not match with the screw holes holding this peice of plastic on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander63 View Post
The tanks on the Argosy trailers didn't normally come from the factory with sensors in the tanks. That may be the point at which the PPO got stymied.
Possibly...are those that have the control panel and tank sensors, are the electrical wires snaked through the bumper from the curbside on the rear bath models?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Happycampers View Post
ibrownah, We have a 79 Argosy and it has the same layout control panel and is hooked to all tanks and battery. One easy way to tell if it is wired to your tanks is take the cushion off the couch and look at your fresh water tank, mine is on the right side or the curb side about 12 inches from the end of the tank.

Terry, I think ours is original, the wire from the fresh water tank goes into the side of the trailer skin and up and over the top to the control panel, I can't imagine someone taking the interior out to run a wire to the panel, I would have went through the floor if I was going to do something like that. Not sure about the other tanks.


Marvin
I haven't looked at the fresh water tank for the other end of the cable, as mentioned above, the black and grey tank connections are loose in the bumper. Looking at the owners manual, it appears the panel was a option of the argosy, looks like the only option the original owner didn't have.


Thanks for all the responses...again, its more a curiousity, and will take some pictures next time we're at the trailer to show better what I am talking about.
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Old 05-16-2010, 12:05 AM   #8
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Pictures added...the first in what I consider the original peice that was on the trailer originally...the screw holes match up....they don't on the control panel.

2nd picture is the panel, loose, never looked like it was hooked up.

3rd and 4th pics are the wire setup coming out of the back of the cabinet. There's a hole at the back to have them feed from the hole you see here, to the back of the panel (over the range vent).

5th is a blurry one holding a grey wire...that one was labelled "black tank"; as mentioned, the other two large grey wires are labelled fresh and grey. That said, the connections, although blurry, certainly don't look (to me anyways) unused.

Anyways, just an FYI and pictures to go better show what I was getting at in the longer posts above.
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Old 05-16-2010, 07:26 AM   #9
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That's interesting. In the Airstreams all those wires from the tanks are individual, not cables.

You said earlier that the wires in the back bumper weren't hooked up to the black tank. Is that true for the other tanks, too? It's amazingly easy to spin-weld fittings onto a tank if you ever have the tank out. I'd spin on 1/2" pipe thread fittings, then make my own sensors using 1/2" plastic threaded plugs with a stainless screw through them. The issue, of course, is whether taking the tank out is an option. A screw right through the side of the tank would work fine, but I'd worry that if you ever buggered up the hole, you'd be in a fix.

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Old 05-16-2010, 08:34 AM   #10
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Everybody remember that Argosy was a test bed for Airstream, and some things that were done in Argosy trailers didn't make it into Airstreams for one reason or another. The wire harness for the monitor may be one of them.
And while Zep, Marvin and I may have the technical wherewithal to run the wires for the tanks where they would need to go, Joe Airstream Owner usually doesn't. My initial thought continues that the OP's trailer didn't originally come with the monitor, and the PPO decided to add them.
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Old 05-16-2010, 10:27 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeppelinium View Post
You said earlier that the wires in the back bumper weren't hooked up to the black tank. Is that true for the other tanks, too? It's amazingly easy to spin-weld fittings onto a tank if you ever have the tank out. I'd spin on 1/2" pipe thread fittings, then make my own sensors using 1/2" plastic threaded plugs with a stainless screw through them. The issue, of course, is whether taking the tank out is an option. A screw right through the side of the tank would work fine, but I'd worry that if you ever buggered up the hole, you'd be in a fix.

Zep
Yeah, the grey tank cable snakes through to the bumper too, and is unconnected.

Since I discovered this, I've not taken a look up front at the fresh water tank area, but previous recollection from when I have looked there, there was no loose ended cable just hanging around, so not sure what's going on up there...maybe its connected up there?

If cables aren't standard, further evidence that this was an after purchase thing..much easier to snake a cable containing all the wires, then fidgeting with individual wiring from the panel to tanks.

Again, the battery/shorepower/water pump switches are on the panel too, not sure if that wiring at the back there would have everything for hooking those up either.

Regardless, not a project for his year, if ever (which would mean I have a never used control panel for sale!)...just found it interesting.

Thanks for the insight...
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