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Old 08-28-2006, 08:45 AM   #15
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ok, i had a brain fart this weekend while camping in this electrical anomoly...

first, another test... i jumped the fantastic fan off a bulb socket, thinking that would be 12V, and the fan didn't turn. i jumped the fan off a car battery, and it ran fine. that got me thinking about this ground issue.

am i understanding this right, in that the 120V system does not ground to the trailer? not even the bare copper wire? if that's grounded, would it cause the crazy voltage issues i'm having with the 12V lines? if that's the case, i'll need to take out all the outlets and test it then. i've also replaced all the outlet and switch covers with pollished stainless covers. they screw through the metal ground on the outlets and switches as well.

is this the next thing i should test, or should i say sod it and test the original transformer. that a whole nuther can of beans! ha!

jordan
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Old 08-28-2006, 09:42 AM   #16
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Jordan,

If I recall, we had a very similar problem while installing a Fantastic in the same location in our '64 Tradewind and finally figured out we had 2 issues at work:

1. The existing wiring was 110V, and we had to run a new 12V line.
2. We still have the original Uni-volt (for now, anyway) and have to flip the switch to battery power from city power in the back under the toilet in order to use the Fantastic or any of the other 12V features. That stinks, because we can't use the Fantastic while we're plugged into shore power.

We have an Intellipower in our Sovereign and had always taken for granted how easy it is. I learned the hard way during a trip that I needed to unplug the Tradewind from the tow vehicle and flip the battery switch in the back of the trailer before turning on the Fantastic and reverse the process before towing again. I forgot to unplug the truck and ended up blowing a fuse in it and a turn signal bulb on the trailer!
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Old 08-28-2006, 09:43 AM   #17
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1964 Univolt electrical system

Hi Jordan:

1964 was the very first year for the Univolt system, where the light bulbs, fan motor and pump motor all run off low voltage electricity whether switched to the "Battery" setting in the rear service center, when they all are powered by the battery, or switched to the "City" setting, when the trailer is plugged into 120 volts ac at the campground. This Univolt system allowed Airstream to use single voltage light fixtures, where both sockets in a light fixture are wired for the same voltage, instead of dual voltage light fixtures as in 1963 and earlier years, where one bulb is wired solely for 12 volts dc and the other bulb is wired solely for 120 volts ac. Conceptually, 1964 Airstreams provide twice as much light on any one setting.

Being the first year for Univolt, 1964 trailers are wired differently than 1963 and earlier trailers and differently than 1965 and later trailers, which may be why other's advice and experiences are not particularly helpful unless they also own a 1964 Airstream. The discussion below assumes your trailer wiring is original and hasn't been altered or changed by any previous owner.

For 1964 ONLY, when switched to "City" power in the rear service center, the Univolt system uses a AC transformer to drop the 120 volts ac coming in from the campground to 12 volts AC for the light bulbs on one circuit and to ~18.5 volts AC for the fan and water pump motor on a different circuit. The light bulbs don't care whether the 12 volts they get is AC current or DC current, they glow just as brightly on either.

The motors used in 1964 were designed to operate on both 18.5 volts ac and 12 volts dc. But today's dc motors, lkke the one in your Fantastic Fan, won't operate on 18.5 volts ac but will spin happily on 12 volts dc. That's why it runs fine when hooked to a battery but not when wired at your roof.
There is no rectifier (that changes ac to dc current) in this 1964 system, so when switched to "City" power in the rear service center, the wires for light bulbs should read 12 volts AC and the wires for motors should read 18-19 volts AC. If the Univolt - which for 1964 only is just an AC transformer that reduces AC voltage to 12 volts AC for the light circuit and to 18.5 volts AC for the motor circuit - is defective, you may get a reading of 120 volts AC on those wires instead of 12 or 18.5 volts ac.

When switched to "Battery" in the service center, those light bulb and motor wires should both read 12 volts dc on your VOM (Volt Ohm Meter). So with wholly original wiring, your Fantastic Fan installed in the roof vent should work when the trailer is switched to "Battery" power but should not work when the trailer is switched to "City" power.

To run a Fantastic Fan in your roof when on "City" power, you should rewire your trailer so it always has 12 volt DC at the roof vent. To run a modern water pump, you also need to re-wire it to provide 12 volt DC to the water pump instead of 18.5 volts AC. The 12 volts ac now at your light bulb sockets won't run the Fantastic Fan because its ac current instead of dc current, which the Fantastic Fan requires.

An original 1964 Unoivolt transformer - which weight pehaps 20 pounds - will not do this. So you should replace it with a modern combination rectifier and smart 3 stage battery charger, like the Intellipower 9100 or 9200 series or other brands mentioned in the Forums.

If the roof vent wires that read 18.5 volts ac when on "City" power do not read 12 volts dc when switched to "Battery" power, then the 12 volt electrical system in your trailer is not working properly.

I'll stop here for now and let you determine how your trailer is presently wired and tell us what those readings are on both the "Battery" and "City" settings. Once you know that, then you can proceed to rewire it. I hope this helps you sort things out.
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Old 08-28-2006, 09:46 AM   #18
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jordan

yes the bare copper wire should be grounded. the white wire in the 120v system will not be grounded in the trailer. the black wire is the hot wire.

however, once you plug the trailer into an outlet the neutral (white) will become grounded at the utility entrance of the circuit you are plugged into.

make sense?

and i don't think anything in the 120v system would give you trouble on the 12v side. they are two distinct and seperate systems.

what you need to do is trouble shoot the system one componet at a time assuming nothing works.

start at the source and work your way to the load, check every connection positive and negative.

check that transformer!

john
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Old 08-28-2006, 10:23 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 47WeeWind
1964 was the very first year for the Univolt system...
wow! thanks for all the info. that makes perfect sense now. i kept getting fluctuating readings on all the 12V outlets when trying to get an accurate reading. i tell ya, this thing had me about ready to pull my hair out! ha! replacing the univolt seems like the best idea. i have a new shurflow pump installed but not wired yet, so i'd rather set her straight from the start.

thanks a million! rewiring this trailer is NOT in my masterplan at the moment! i think i'm going to re-name her "Patches" as i keep patching her together from one trip to the next.

so if i get this intellipower unit from VTC:

http://www.vintagetrailersupply.com/...Code=VTS%2D320

will i still need the switch from city to battery, or is all that handled in the unit?

thanks again!

jp
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Old 08-28-2006, 10:34 AM   #20
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Jordan,

My understanding is the city/battery switch is removed altogether and the Intellipower handles it. The best description I've seen on making the switch in a 1964 is on Arlen and Shirley Manning's site at the following link:

http://globetrotter64.home.att.net/univolt.htm

It's very helpful and is what we'll follow when we get the Intellipower we ordered off the shelf in the garage and into the trailer!

Molly
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Old 08-28-2006, 11:43 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Midamrail
It's very helpful and is what we'll follow when we get the Intellipower we ordered off the shelf in the garage and into the trailer!
i hear ya! i have a whole room in the basement filled with cabinets, stripped end panels, stoves, etc, etc, etc out of my '59!

nice selection of trailers you got there, btw! i'd love a liner one day!

... or a whale tail.... but that's another argument...

jp
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Old 08-28-2006, 11:51 AM   #22
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Intellpower in 1964 Globe Trotter

Quote:
Originally Posted by A-Merry-Can
wow! thanks for all the info. ... so if i get this intellipower unit from VTC:
http://www.vintagetrailersupply.com/...Code=VTS%2D320
will i still need the switch from city to battery, or is all that handled in the unit? thanks again! jp
Hi Jordan:

No, once the Intellipower is installed your lights and fans will work all the time without any switching. In fact, I removed the "City" and "Battery" switches alltogether to avoid confusion. Here is an overview to my approach:

1. Learn what all the wires are for and label them all (such a lights, fan motor, water pump motor, etc.). Double check you trailer is not plugged into 120 volts ac and disconnect both 12 volt dc battery terminals.

2. Disconnect and remove the existing Univolt transformer, labeling its wires if not previously done.

3. Take the 120 vac input wire to the old Univolt transformer and wire it into a new 2 socket wall outlet that I mounted on the curved wall to the rear of the water heater, where I could reach it through the bathroom closet door that has the 3 drawers behind it (of course I removed the drawers to work in that area).

4. Mount the Intellipower on the curved wall just to the rear of the new wall socket. This gets it up off the floor and out of the way of danger from a possible water leak.

5. Remove the "Battery" and "City" switch box and remove from it the circuit breakers and their wiring. Mount the circuit breakers on the curved wall between the Intellipower and the rear service center door.

6. Run a thick stranded wire from the battery to the common battery side of the circuit breakers so they now carry 12 volts dc.

7. Attach the old Univolt output wires for the light circuit and the fan/water pump circuits to the opposite side of the circuit breakers, so these wires now carry 12 volts dc all the time.

8. Attach the 12 volt dc charging output wire from the Intellipower to the battery side of the circuit breakers so the battery can be charged.

9. Ground the Intellipower to the chassis per its instructions. Plug the Intellipower into one of the two new 120 vac wall sockets, so that whenever I'm plugged into 120 volts ac the Intellipower is working to charge the battery and provide 12 volts dc to the lights and motors.

10. If you buy an Intellipower 9100 series, mount the Charge Wizard on top of the 120 volt ac circuit breaker box behind the small door in the streetside bathroom wall. I built a small wood holder for the Intellipower instructions and mounted in inside the circuit breaker door so I can periodically read the Instructons and re-remember what the blinking lights are telling me.

11. Double check all your wiring. When you are satisfied it is correct, reconnect both battery terminals and plug the trailer into 120 volts ac.

I used the other 120 vac wall socket to plug in a small microwave oven I installed in the bottom of the bathroom closet that is above the water heater. This location is convenient for the small amount of microwave cooking I do and saves valuable kitchen countertop real estate. Being only a foot high, the small microwave oven takes up a neglible amount of closet spacer.

I keep my trailer plugged into 120 volts ac all the time it is parked in my backyard. This keeps the battery charged and automatically desulfates it once a day.

When the trailer is not plugged in to 120 volts ac, all the lights and motors work on 12 volts dc from directly the battery without any switching because all switches have been removed.

The hardest part was drilling holes in the curved wall to mount the Intellipower as I have short arms and had to really stretch to reach some of the holes. I really like this set up!

Molly -- Thanks for posting the link to Arlen and Shirley's web site. I followed their instructions and their photos shows how it all comes together.
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Old 08-28-2006, 11:54 AM   #23
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I've learned to ride the wave of Airstream mania that always sets in for me after attending a rally (in this case, the most recent Rocky Mountain VAC Rally) and exploit it for all it's worth in terms of getting work on the trailers done. My husband watches and waits patiently until I wind down, only to watch me wind back up before and after the next rally.

That's why the Tradewind normally gets the brunt of the attention - the Sovereign's pretty much good to go, the Liner's a basketcase requiring buckets of time AND money, and the Tradewind becomes the victim of, "Well, we need to work on (fill in the blank) next..." Hence the Intellipower (a post-rally purchase) sitting on the shelf. It has gotten better, though - I used to come home from rallies wanting to buy a different trailer (that's how we got the Liner, but a whaletail looked good then, too!). Now I come home wanting to rip things out of the trailers we have and work on them.
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