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Old 10-05-2006, 06:08 PM   #1
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1963 22' Safari
Aurora , Colorado
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City/Battery Power Switch Broken? '63 Safari

As I'm trying to restore my '63 electrical system, I keep running into the same thing within my electrical system: a previous owner has disconnected all 12VDC connections, making my job tougher and tougher as I trace all wires, switches, and converters that once were connected, but have long since been removed.

Here is my latest issue. My 3-position switch for the city/off/battery power was rewired to bypass the switch at one point in time. I reconnected it, but nothing (that I can tell) has changed? How is this switch suppose to work?

There are 4 orange wires and 4 green wires that lead into this switch in the back. 2 orange wires are connected to the "battery" portion on the bottom, and the other 2 orange wires, that I can only assume were once connected to the "city" side of the switch, were disconnected from the switch and rewired to each other (in order to bypass?)

So I reconnected the 2 orange wires to the switch -- and nothing happened! I would have figured that it killed the city power somehow?? Not that this logic works in my brain since the city power is running through the breaker box?? Can anyone tell me how the heck these orange wires are connected to my electrical system -- and the city / battery power system in particular? And why would someone have disconnected the 2 orange wires from the city side of the switch and wired them together??

Your help is GREATLY appreciated!!

From what I can tell, one orange wire was once connected to something below the sink. There is another orange wire that reveals itself outside of the battery compartment in the front. Then another orange wire leaves the battery compartment and is connected to a blue wire in my 7-pin connector, which may or may not be for the electric brake.
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Old 10-05-2006, 08:25 PM   #2
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1993 21' Sovereign
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Aaron, the only thing that switch controls on our 63 is the vent fan for the stove. It is a double pole, double throw switch, and you can get one from Radio Shack, or any other decent electronics store (or even a hobby shop), or auto parts store. The center connectors are for the load, the outer connectors are for the supply.
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Old 10-05-2006, 08:53 PM   #3
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That same switch controls the furnace blower on my 60 trdwnd ,thats it
but it should work ,Im not sure what its for on your 63 though .


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Old 10-05-2006, 09:03 PM   #4
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Well, the switch it IS right above the fan? And there is an orange wire that leads down to under the sink (disconnected), which is near the heater? I think I need to bring in an A/S electrical expert! I want to hook up my 12VDC, but I don't want to do it with the current state of the electrical system, as it has been worked on too much over time....who knows what'll get fried? Or even worse, maybe the 12VDC system was disconnected becuase of a short somewhere that caused quick battery drainage??? I had a '91 Jeep that had that exact problem!
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Old 10-05-2006, 09:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DenverAaron
Well, the switch it IS right above the fan? And there is an orange wire that leads down to under the sink (disconnected), which is near the heater? I think I need to bring in an A/S electrical expert! I want to hook up my 12VDC, but I don't want to do it with the current state of the electrical system, as it has been worked on too much over time....who knows what'll get fried? Or even worse, maybe the 12VDC system was disconnected becuase of a short somewhere that caused quick battery drainage??? I had a '91 Jeep that had that exact problem!
Too bad you don't live nearer to me. We could check your wiring easily and in short order. If you get a "better" volt/ohm meter, it will measure amp draws as well. You can check before you hook up more than a nominal 12v source, and virtually eliminate any chance of damaging your electrical system.
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Old 10-05-2006, 11:17 PM   #6
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Okay -- all of you "Vintage Owners" out there, let us know what YOUR switch controls?!! Originally, I thought it was some fancy "master" switch that toggled the trailer power between 110V and 12V, but now it appears that it's some sort of power diverter switch to toggle only the exhaust fan and furnace blower. Anyone else out there have an operational switch in their camper that can testify all of this??

Everyone's imput is very much appreciated!
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Old 10-06-2006, 12:09 AM   #7
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Theory only, no hard advice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DenverAaron
Okay -- all of you "Vintage Owners" out there, let us know what YOUR switch controls?!! Originally, I thought it was some fancy "master" switch that toggled the trailer power between 110V and 12V, but now it appears that it's some sort of power diverter switch to toggle only the exhaust fan and furnace blower. Anyone else out there have an operational switch in their camper that can testify all of this?? Everyone's imput is very much appreciated!
Hi Aaron:

The orange wires do not look original to me, so I imagine a former owner rewired the trailer to suit his needs. Only the Lord knows where they might go. So, you likely will have to trace them to diagram your circuits.

Airstream electrical circuit wiring changed a lot in 1964, the year of my trailer, so I can't help you with specific wires. Instead, I'll deal in generalities.

Your 1963 trailer lamp fixtures should all be dual circuit and dual voltage, with one bulb running on a 12 volt circuit and the other bulb on a separate 120 volt circuit. Both bulbs were likely the same size, so read their labels carefully before deciding which socket each screws into. Dual circuit/dual voltage lamp fixtures did not need to be wired thru the city/battery power switch. Instead, they could be hard wired to separate 12 v.d.c and 120 v.a.c. circuits, so forget about them with respect to the city/battery switch.

The only electrical items that needed to be switched from 12 v.d.c. battery power to 120 v.a.c. city power would be fan and maybe ?? older pump motors. Some old motors could run on either 18.5 v.a.c. or 12 v.d.c., but you would have to throw the switch to change the motor power from city power (120 v.a.c.) to battery power (12 v.d.c.). So, the battery or city power switch likely went only to motors like a fan motor above the stove and maybe a furnace fan motor.

I don't know whether your water system air compressor motor would run on 120 v.a.c. stepped down to 18.5 v.a.c by a transformer somewhere in your trailer, or if it was 12 v.d.c. only, so can't offer any advice on that. If you have a modern demand water pump, it likely can be run only on 12 v.d.c and never on 120 v.a.c., so it should not be wired through the city/battery power switch.

Hopefully this brief discussion will help you figure a few things out. Good luck with your wiring!
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Old 10-06-2006, 05:59 AM   #8
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Lightbulb

What Fred says about the lights is right. To verify which socket is 12 volts, install a 120 volt bulb in the socket first. If it doesn't light, then install the 12 volt bulb there. I mistakenly installed a 12 volt bulb in one of the 120 volt sockets, and turned it on--it got REALLY bright for about a second. I thought I was witnessing a nuclear blast for a moment . When I could see again, I threw away that bulb, and went with the 120 volt first testing.
But you are a ways away from wanting to check the lights.
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Old 10-06-2006, 10:32 AM   #9
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Fred and Terry --

Thank you much for your help! Ironically enough, I found out by accident that my trailer had the dual wiring system. I was chaning the "burnt" out light bulbs and kept finding these "25W / 12V" bulbs in there. Fortunately the previous owner had left them in their sockets (all five of them) so now all I need to do is hook up my battery to let them glow!

And the more I research, them more I'm convinced that the city / battery power switch is ONLY for the exhaust fan and furnace blower. I'm going to disassemble the fan, next -- see if it's wired with these "mysterious" orange wires.

My plan for now is to leave most of these wires alone. I wanted to map out the electrical system and know exactly where each wire was fed from and how they connected to each component in the system. I'm about 80% complete with my understanding. I decided to leave most of the existing wiring alone and as-is, and when I replace the furnace next season I can let the "professionals" work out the rewiring issues and get it all hooked up correctly, cleanly, AND safely!
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