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Old 04-12-2015, 06:46 PM   #1
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1972 29' Ambassador
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'72 Ambassador - sequence 120v receptacles are connected?

I'm going to be replacing the old receptacles in my '72 Ambassador, as well as put a few GFCI ones in where needed (near the sinks).

This is part of the clean up, as well as the fact that I'd also like to go through one-by-one in the correct order during the install. The main circuit is popping and I'm hoping that it's just a bad receptacle and not a short inside the walls.

Does anyone happen to have a wiring schematic for that model / year that they could share?

I've got a service manual on order, but it's a few weeks away before it shows up.

It's got the following receptacles:
  1. bathroom above sink
  2. door side access panel beneath bed (next to battery access)
  3. wall above right hallway bed
  4. wall above left hallway bed
  5. access panel behind fridge
  6. wall beside fridge
  7. wall above stove
  8. Driver's side wall behind front couch/bed
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Old 04-12-2015, 09:19 PM   #2
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Oh yah, and there's technically a #9 receptacle. I put one on the wires that originally went directly into the Univolt since I put a new converter in that plugs in instead. That appears to have had its own dedicated line?
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Old 04-14-2015, 01:20 AM   #3
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OK, definitely need some help with this. Started replacing all the receptacles in sequence and I've hit a snag.

The circuit foes bathroom, pass side access panel, converter & driver side bedroom wall, passenger side bedroom wall.... And then the circuit pops.

So the converter proved that Airstream splits the line somewhere out sight, and that's disconcerting. That means that potentially from the passenger side bedroom wall, it splits at some unseen point and that could be what's causing the pop.

I'd really appreciate some input on this if anyone has any ideas.
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Old 04-14-2015, 09:21 AM   #4
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flaagan:

I'm sure some of the more-knowledgeable electricians will pipe in here soon for you. I currently have my 25' 1976 Caravanner totally stripped, with the interior skins off. All wiring is exposed. I have three circuits. One goes to the air conditioner. The other two service the rest of the outlets. I see no "splits" that would have been hidden inside the walls (nowing that code requires a box for access for any such split). One of these two circuits also feeds the exterior outlet, which I don't see on your list. Both of these circuits end at the two outlets on the walls on either side of the front windows.

I am planning on replacing all of my outlets. What I currently have are the so-called "self-contained" outlets, where the the unstripped wiring is pushed into depressions on the back side of each outlet, like the one pictured here:
White Receptacle - RVWholesalers.com RV Parts and Accessories

These are used in shallow walls, as in an Airstream. I understand that probably all Airstreams have these, but I don't like them. In effect it is just like Christmas tree light wiring, and I don't like push-in wire connections. I'm looking for a solution that will allow me to pigtail all my outlets. This will entail a very shallow box, but large enough to accept the added volume of wire that pigtails will require.

I understand that this may not be of much use to you. But I would start by what you are doing, and checking the wire connections on (assuming you have the self-contained outlets) the rear of each receptacle.

Good luck. I will follow your thread to see what turns up.
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Old 04-14-2015, 01:27 PM   #5
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Just a thought...if the hot wire is grounded inside the wall, could you not check that with a volt meter between the chassis and the white neutral. ( of course if it pops immediately on plugging in then this won't tell you anything ...you could pull out receptacles one at a time to see if anything changes which is I guess what you are already trying
Re the push-in wiring devices; they are (or should be) UL approved for the use. I never use the stripped wire push in connectors for home use on heavy circuits like the kitchen or my shop, but again...they are UL approved for a 15 amp circuit with no restrictions
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Old 04-14-2015, 05:00 PM   #6
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1972 25' Tradewind
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I've found the wiring diagrams from Airstream pretty low on information.
For example, my book shows a completly different main breaker box than I have installed. It is an origninal.
Here's a diagram from my '72 manual for your Ambassador. A lot of daisy chaining going on with the 120ac.

Hope it helps,
Tom
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Old 04-14-2015, 05:14 PM   #7
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Much appreciated, Tom, that's actually a huge help!

It looks like my problem's potentially between the passenger bedroom wall and the kitchen. So, next step is to take a length of the wire we're using for our household remodeling and bypass what's running through the walls. Only real question at this point would be what path does the wiring in the walls take.

Something I noticed which I'm going to have to revisit is that your schematic shows it going from the bathroom to the converter, with it split at the start to also go to what they're calling the "Patio Outlet". What I experienced was different from that, so I will have to backtrack at some point to make sure I got it right.
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Old 04-14-2015, 08:35 PM   #8
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Are the breakers original? If you want GFCI protection it would be easier and better if you replaced the old breaker with a GFCI unit. Plus, all the outlets on the 120v circuit will be protected.
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Old 04-14-2015, 08:59 PM   #9
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Nope, put new ones in as part of cleaning things up. Did direct replacement so no GFCI ones. I have yet to put the GFCI receptacles in as I'm going through finding these issues before I do.
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Old 04-14-2015, 09:52 PM   #10
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Now that I'm home I've got some time to compare the diagram to what I've seen in my and other '70s trailers. Think of the diagram as a guide, not gospel.
The manual shows 2 feeds from the breaker box. My Tradewind, and two others I know, have 3 lines out on a 4 breaker box. One AC and the other 2 roughly divided between the street and curb sides. 30 amp main breaker, others 20.
I had the roof center panel out on the TW. There are wire bundles running in the ceiling with loops down to the outlets. The 12 VDC and 120 AC were all taped together The AC line was installed but no air was originally installed. The wire was in the box when I added air. Just had to add a breaker.
From the galley forward the wire runs in the walls on the street side to feed 2 original outlets, and, I ran an extension to a third when I built a dinette.
I believe, but have no proof, that there were a few standard wire looms. I've found extra thermostat, power and tank sensor wires that may have been used for the 23 foot trailers.
I've had some interior skins off and seen the wires were held to the walls with a adhesive plastic pad with a hook or cable tie holding the wires. I don't believe the ran wire thru ribs like my '67.
Hope some of this is applicable to your rig. That's about all I can think of for now.

Good Luck,
Tom
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Old 04-14-2015, 10:38 PM   #11
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Once again, thank you Tom!

Amusingly, the service manual I ordered showed up in the mail today. Took me by surprise, I thought it was going to be another week and a half before it showed up. So now I've got that and your input to go off of.
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Old 04-15-2015, 01:36 AM   #12
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OK, status update~

Bypassed the in-wall wiring between the passenger side bedroom wall and the kitchen with a length of Romex, got that length of the circuit to not pop the breaker. Continuing forward had to bypass the section between the fridge receptacle and the "tv stand" receptacle, as that was popping the breaker. After that was resolved, the last one between the "tv stand" and the front of the trailer worked just fine, and was end of line.

Now I've got two lengths of in-wall wiring to replace. The fridge-tv one shouldn't be too much of a hassle, but I'm not quite sure what the heck I'm going to do about the bedroom-kitchen one. That appears to go up and over to clear the kitchen window, and tugging on it didn't produce any noticeable results. I may have to make a few small "access holes" beneath the kitchen counter and try to string a new length of wire that way, unless someone has some trick up their sleeve for this kind of thing?

I was not able to locate the "primary warning light" labeled as #2 in Tom's diagram, so that's left me a bit mystified.

Next up will be to sort out replacing those wires, and then on to looking into some other items, which I will be addressing on my main thread in case anyone can give input.
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