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Old 02-15-2005, 12:00 PM   #1
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I have stripped the interior of a 55 26' overlander including the lower panals for a floor repair. This trailer had just the basic wiring, separate 110 & 12v. No converter, no inverter, 4 glass fuses, no ground 2 wire. Seems like a good time to design a more modern wiring layaout. So, if you had an unwired trailer what and how would you rewire it? What are your "must-haves" and "might-wants"? Thanks.

Will
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Old 02-15-2005, 12:53 PM   #2
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From working on Vintage Thunder AND having my Caravel refurb'd at the same time, I can tell you a few things I found to be very nice:

(1) tank monitoring system
(2) 12v & 110 lines to run a modern refrigerator
(3) Intellipower (instead of Univolt)
(4) better lighting (more flexible, dimmers, halogens)
(5) Fantastic Vents
(6) tell-tale lights for porch & scare light
(7) new speaker wire for surround sound or 4-speaker stereo

I didn't run computer network wiring because wireless would work just as well and provide more flexibility.
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Old 02-15-2005, 01:11 PM   #3
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Will,

Here are a couple of ideas to go with those above:

I ran three conduits under the floor, one for brakes and taillights, one for 120 Vac and one for 12Vdc. I don't know what will run in the 120V and 12V yet, but it will probably be a main lines for getting power from the front of the trailer to the back without having to go through the walls. Example: I could run #8 cable from batteries in the front to a distribution subpanel in the rear, or the other way around, I could put the intellipower in the rear where the 50A feed comes in, and run a large charging line to the batteries in the front.

I plan to use MC-LITE cable for all the 120Vac wiring. It is THHN solid cable in aluminum armor, and it has two conductors PLUS a separate ground. It also will fit through a 1/2" hole, and because it's armoured I won't need grommets.

You might want to take down the rest of the wall panels if you plan to put in wire for an A/C unit. When I took down the upper panels I was suprised at how poorly done the original wiring was.

Here's a picture of the smurf-pipe if ran under the floor, and a picture of the original 120V wiring I found inside the walls.
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Old 02-15-2005, 01:28 PM   #4
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I would also think of any modern electronics that you might want, tv coax, telephone, audio, fire and CO alarms, etc. And when you are done planning pull some spare wires, they can always be used later for repairs if nothing else.

John
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Old 02-15-2005, 02:49 PM   #5
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2 'Sense' Worth

I see that markdoane stated using thin solid cable in aluminum armor. Could be the right stuff. My personal experience has shown failure in solid wires when exposed to excessive vibration over time.

I realize that our Airstreams are not designed to float, although one may want to review a basic marine type application. A simple reference could be found at: http://www.boatus.com/boattech/cable.htm

I point your attention to "Multi-stranded conductors, which use what is known as Type 3 stranding"

Just my 2 'Sense' Worth.
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Old 02-15-2005, 02:56 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by driftwood
I see that markdoane stated using thin solid cable in aluminum armor. Could be the right stuff. My personal experience has shown failure in solid wires when exposed to excessive vibration over time.

Just my 2 'Sense' Worth.
Driftwood makes a good point. My feeling is that solid conductor inside a stiff armored conduit isn't going to vibrate as much as the original solid conductor inside a braided cover.

I do plan to use stranded for all the 12v DC.
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Old 02-15-2005, 03:11 PM   #7
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Don,

Do you have a pointer to specifics about the type of armored cable you are talking about? I would like to know more about it and may have a use for it too. Where did you buy it?

Thanks,

Malcolm
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Old 02-15-2005, 03:22 PM   #8
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Malcolm,

I don't have a pointer, but i know it's available in several different sizes. You can buy 14-2 or 12-2 w/gnd at any Home Depot. MC stands for metal clad. It's UL listed for lots of indoor uses.
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Old 02-18-2005, 08:06 PM   #9
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Don,

Is the armor that you are talking about spiral wound around the inner wires or is it more like a solid aluminum tubing with wire in the middle?

Thanks,

Malcolm
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Old 02-18-2005, 08:49 PM   #10
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And here I was going to use aircraft rated wiring for my trailer along with using the standards for wiring an aircraft.

I think I may stick with it anyway just for piece of mind.

I like the list of circuits that is here, though I might add a few more circuits on the inside to split up the load for lighting and the appliances.
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Old 02-18-2005, 09:31 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by till
And here I was going to use aircraft rated wiring for my trailer along with using the standards for wiring an aircraft.

I think I may stick with it anyway just for piece of mind.

.
yes...in the old days we called it comshaw.....
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Old 02-18-2005, 09:34 PM   #12
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Malcolm,

The MC is spiral wound aluminum. There is some kind of sheath (poly, I think) that separates the THHN from the armoring.
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Old 02-19-2005, 05:40 PM   #13
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for sure you want

If it was me I'd make sure there was large enought tubing to the rear for pulling thru a video cable for a rear camera or anything else I thought I might need later. I'd also install a wireless antenna.
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Old 02-20-2005, 10:28 AM   #14
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Having an older coach and doing a frame off I am at the same point. I have the goal of looking just like it did in 1959 so all the add ons except lighting will have to be hidden. While I like gadgets I'm not so sure I am worried about things like tank monitors and the latest tech as a result.


You need to plan the location of various items first. Heater type and location, Reefer location, Water tanks and style of water system (tank location may conflict with battery locations), 120 and 12v panel locations, switch locations, battery location, charger and inverter locations and the needs of each, TV if your so inclined and a antenna .

The first challenge is battery(ies) location. My coach use a narrow battery mounted in a box on the front wall. Somebody later modified it to accept a larger battery of the style we use today. It looks like CRAP! Because of the short narrow A-frame I cannot see where it will be possible to put convectional battery on the A-Frame, like the current units have and still have room for the propane tanks. This means I will need to relocate my battery. I think you are going to have the same issue.

So I think your first decision is where to put the battery or Batteries and Right off the bat let me tell you behind the axle is a bad idea. These coaches respond badly to excessive weight at the rear. Keep it as light as possible back there. Your battery location would be best near center side to side or at least on or between the frame rails. Having a battery in the forward corners out on the outriggers is probably not a good place.

In my coach, as much as I hate to loose any storage space since there will be two adults and two children, I think the only logical location for a battery is under the center of the gaucho loosing the center drawer. Its not quite tall enough for the battery and I want it in a box to seal it from the interior and vent it to the exterior. I will find or build a box and sink it into the floor large enough for two conventional deep cycles. This is what I am considering for a battery box. http://www.galleria-e.com/cgi-bin/Co...ct/View/133301 It is already sealed and with a couple cross braces on the bottom it should work.

If I need to access the batteries I will have to remove the cushions and deck under them. Its best to have the charger and inverter close to the batteries to limit how much heavy gage cable is needed to joint them so my 12v system including the Intelecharger and inverter will be located there and Circuit breakers will be accessible by popping out the panel that the old drawer front will become. I will probably use a boat 12v panel Something like this. http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs...118&storeNum=9

The 110 Distribution box is not as critical because you are not dealing with where to put 100lb of batteries the charger and inverter. My stock location was on the rear wall and about 20 inches from the shore power connection. It will stay there.

You coach is probably like mine if it had a 12 system. There was various transformers spread around the coach and City and 12v switches. With a central unit like a Intelecharger those will need to be removed and something installed to cover the holes. I may just leave the switches for visual.

Now I am not so sure I agree with the choice Don has made for wiring. I have seen a piece of 20 cage sheet cut a slot into a piece of 12gage before. I think the grommets are still the best choice since it should remove any movement where it passes through a hole. Between the insulation and the stiffness of the wire there should e minimal movement in the walls. It worked for 40 years in my coach already. I have not found a single place where there has been a problem its a proven system.

I'm going with conventional Romex on my 110 as a result and taping my 12v runs to it when possible. For grommets I am using a plastic Ferrel style because I can get more wires though it with a minimal hole through the rib. If any space is left in the hole I will pack it with something to prevent movement within the hole. No movement means no wear
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