Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 10-17-2010, 06:35 PM   #1
4 Rivet Member
 
lucymcdog's Avatar
 
1965 24' Tradewind
Saguache , Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 309
Images: 7
Blog Entries: 3
Electrical & 12V system

My 1960 18' Traveler apparently had a 12V battery at one time and now doesn't. I would like to put in a 12V system for the water pump and a couple of 12V lights. Is this something I can realistically do or should I take it to an RV shop? At the front of the trailer there are two blue wires that come out but I can't tell where they go within the skin. There is also an old fuse box that had yellow wires attached with one going to the water pump but the box wasn't connected to anything else. See pictures.

In addition, the PO "improved" the 110 electrical system. The original box where it plugs in to 110 now has a box above it with wires that go to two new plugs. There are four 110 lights throughout the trailer - bathroom, over bed, one in front where dinette used to be, over sink - that work and are wired with the old cloth covered wires. The wires appear to be in good condition and are copper with a black and white wire - no ground. Is this safe or should I have it checked out and/or rewired? See picture.

There is no converter nor is there a breaker box. Short of selling the trailer, is there anything I can do to make the 12V work and have everything be safe?
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	blue wires.jpg
Views:	234
Size:	38.7 KB
ID:	113271   Click image for larger version

Name:	fuses.jpg
Views:	230
Size:	49.6 KB
ID:	113272  

Click image for larger version

Name:	electrical box.jpg
Views:	264
Size:	37.0 KB
ID:	113273  
__________________

__________________
lucymcdog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-17-2010, 07:17 PM   #2
x
 
XXXX , XXXX
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 2,601
lucy You don't mentionif you have a 110VAC box with circuit breakers in it. If you do not you have no protection against electrocution if a short circuit should develop. That is a distinct possibility because I can see that the green wire that shares a hole with the original wiring has no grommet in the hole to protect the wiring. I am not an electician but I think you can't clamp down the yellow wire the way it is either. It could cut through the wire like that.
Do you intend to install a power converter to supply 12VDC? A power converter changes 110VAC into 12VDC to give you power when plugged into shore power.
If you use a battery only for 12VDC how do you intend to recharge it?
__________________

__________________
wasagachris is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-17-2010, 08:16 PM   #3
Rivet Master
 
Minno's Avatar

 
1972 31' Sovereign
Lexington , Minnesota
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 3,323
Hi Lucy,

Short of opening up the walls to see where the wires go, I'm not sure how you would track them down. Since they're blue, they may be a battery connection for the break away switch and the electric brakes. Does your trailer have electric brakes? I think the early 60's airstreams did. Anyway, do you have a volt meter? I would check the wires for 12 Volts DC with the trailer hooked up to your TV. If neither of them show 12 volts, then have someone push on the brake pedal and check for 12 volts again. If they show 12 volts with the brake pedal applied, then they are part of the electric brake circuit.

Early 60's airstreams did not have a converter or a 12 volt system if I understand them correctly. I don't own one that vintage, but that's what I've picked up on the forums. Adding a 12 volt system would require the addition of a converter and battery, plus wiring. New converters can be bought that have a 12 volt fuse panel built in as well as space for 110 VAC circuit breakers. Most do not come with the circuit breakers Ė you need to buy them separately. If you install a converter, also install a battery. The battery will provide power for the breakaway switch as well as an output for the converter. Plus let you run your 12 volt items without being pluged into shore power.

The biggest challenge I see for you is running wires. Both 110 VAC wiring and 12 VDC wiring. Personally, I would not use the existing wiring for a couple of reasons. You really donít know the condition of them, and as you pointed out, the old fabric wrapped 110 wires do not have a ground. Without a ground, you have the potential of getting a shock from various things in the trailer as well as the trailer itself. And you can not install any GFCI (Ground fault interrupter) circuits or outlets, which is a safety issue for any wet area like the kitchen and bathroom.

You could run all surface wires, and enclosed them in wire chases. That would be easier than trying to run them inside the walls, but then you have the wire chases to mount and see. If that wouldnít bother you, then that would be my recommendation.

Wasaga Chris mentioned the clamp on the box in your 3rd photo. That clamp is just fine. Itís what should be in the hole to clamp the 110 VAC wire in place and prevent it from rubbing on the raw edge of the hole. The bottom hole needs the same type of clamp on that wire. One other tidbit Ė one hole, one clamp, one wire for those metal boxes. If you switch over to surface mounted wiring chases, then youíll have different boxes that youíll be using, and of course, different clamps if the system requires it.

Hereís a link to the Home Depot web page. Electrical - Electrical Boxes, Conduit & Fittings - Raceways at The Home Depot Installations-_-raceways

The wiremold products towards the bottom of the page are the surface mount wiring chases Iím talking about. Also on this web page, you can find some other wire chases (or wire raceways as they call them) that could be used for 12 VDC wiring.

One last thing. You mention that you do not have a circuit breaker panel. That is something you do need to fix as no circuit breakers is a safety issue. Without them, youíre relying on the 30 amp breaker feeding the outlet you plug into. The yellow 110 VAC wire in your 3rd photo is 12 gauge, which is rated for 20 amps. If something goes wrong and 30 amps flows through 12 gauge wire for any length of time, it will overheat, melt the insulation, and potentially start a fire. Iím not trying to alarm you much, but itís a very real situation.

Should you take it on yourself? That really depends on how comfortable you are with your electrical skills. There are lots of people here that can answer questions. Posting lots of pictures and asking for help and opinions can help you a ton. Your can certainly save a bunch of money doing it yourself. There are several web sites that can also help you learn about RV electrical systems, including both 110 VAC and 12 VDC. Do a web search and see what you can find.

Best of luck! Feel free to PM me with additional questions if you want.

Chris
__________________
Minno is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-17-2010, 10:15 PM   #4
4 Rivet Member
 
lucymcdog's Avatar
 
1965 24' Tradewind
Saguache , Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 309
Images: 7
Blog Entries: 3
Thanks so much for the good information. Fortunately, the trailer has been unplugged so at least I haven't burned it down. Now my dilemma is what to do. I will follow-up on the Home Depot web page and read lots more on the forum.

The trailer does NOT have any circuit breakers which I thought a little odd. I was hoping to put in a converter and battery and have the battery recharged through the tow vehicle. Right now I have temporary tow lights so it is a 4-prong plug. There is wiring in the front for 7-prong but no plug on it so I can't really check it out. I plan to take the trailer to get the tow lights worked on soon so maybe they can see what the blue wires are for. I don't know if I have electric brakes but figured if I do they aren't working with just the 4-prong temp tow wire.

The so-called "improved" wiring that the PO installed does include a little fuse in the plug (which I have never seen) and a GFCI for the plug they put near the kitchen. I'm thinking that I could probably run all new wiring in the chases and pretty much hide them so they wouldn't be seen too much. Better to see a little bit of wiring than to electrocute myself!

There were several places throughout the trailer where a ground wire was screwed into the trailer itself. A wire from the water pump (one of those little yellow wires) went to the fuse box and another yellow wire was wrapped around a screw in the trailer wall. Under the sink another unwrapped copper wire was screwed into the trailer wall. Maybe the PO did that to feel more comfortable. Dumb, but comfortable!

Can you recommend a brand of converter that might be appropriate for me to use? I like the idea of having one with a built-in circuit breaker.

BTW, the cord that is plugged between the shore and the trailer is just 110. It is not one of those heavy 30 amp cords. Is that going to be a problem?

Thanks again for all your help. I'm sure I will be back in touch.

And, FYI, my dog's name is Lucy - I'm Lindy.
__________________
lucymcdog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-17-2010, 10:17 PM   #5
Wise Elder
 
Jammer's Avatar
 
2010 30' Classic
Vintage Kin Owner
South of the river , Minnesota
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 4,119
Quote:
Originally Posted by lucymcdog View Post
My 1960 18' Traveler apparently had a 12V battery at one time and now doesn't. I would like to put in a 12V system for the water pump and a couple of 12V lights. Is this something I can realistically do or should I take it to an RV shop? At the front of the trailer there are two blue wires that come out but I can't tell where they go within the skin. There is also an old fuse box that had yellow wires attached with one going to the water pump but the box wasn't connected to anything else. See pictures.

There is no converter nor is there a breaker box. Short of selling the trailer, is there anything I can do to make the 12V work and have everything be safe?
After a couple of near misses when people on the forum tried to work beyond their skill, I give less advice.

In general I don't believe it's safe to undertake this sort of work unless you're qualified or working closely with someone who is.

Yes, you can make the 12 volt work. It will require the addition of a battery box and battery, proper fuses or circuit breakers, a converter, and wiring. Not difficult, but you should get someone who knows this stuff to help.

Quote:

In addition, the PO "improved" the 110 electrical system. The original box where it plugs in to 110 now has a box above it with wires that go to two new plugs. There are four 110 lights throughout the trailer - bathroom, over bed, one in front where dinette used to be, over sink - that work and are wired with the old cloth covered wires. The wires appear to be in good condition and are copper with a black and white wire - no ground. Is this safe or should I have it checked out and/or rewired? See picture.
Nothing you describe sounds really scary to me. The photo looks OK presuming that you removed a cover to take it. If not, it should have one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wasagachris View Post
lucy You don't mentionif you have a 110VAC box with circuit breakers in it. If you do not you have no protection against electrocution if a short circuit should develop. That is a distinct possibility because I can see that the green wire that shares a hole with the original wiring has no grommet in the hole to protect the wiring. I am not an electician but I think you can't clamp down the yellow wire the way it is either. It could cut through the wire like that.
This is not sound advice, on many counts; circuit breakers (other than GFCI types) do not provide protection against electrocution; the green wire is a ground wire and in the situation shown poses no hazard if the insulation is compromised, the yellow cable is indeed properly clamped.

If the shore power cord is 20A then a breaker box may not strictly be necessary.
__________________
Jammer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2010, 07:56 AM   #6
Rivet Master
 
TG Twinkie's Avatar
 
1974 Argosy 26
Morrill , Nebraska
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 5,140
Images: 2
Blog Entries: 5
The yellow wire going into the metal box looks like romex and the clamp that holds it in the box is the proper way to protect the wire from chafing on the sharp edge of the box. The green wire looks like the ground. If you know how to use an continuity tester or an ohm meter, you can trace out the wiring. Is there a male plug on the outside of the trailer or a power cord wired into the trailer anywhere?
On the 12 volt side of the system it is proper to attach the negative polarity wire to the skin and or frame of the trailer. With this method you only run the positive polarity wire to each of the devices. There is a difference between earth ground (the green wire) and DC ground or COMMON in the circuitry. The AC green ground is for safety. The DC ground or Common is for convenience and economy, it saves on wire.
The lights on the outside of the trailer (ie: brake, tail, and marker as well as the brakes are totally separate from the interior 12v lighting except for the "charge' line coming from the tow vehicle.
In the second picture there apears to be a low voltage fuse block, which uses the glass fuses like the ones in the older cars and trucks. Can you tell where the yellow wires go? One should go to a switch to control the water pump and maybe the others go to light fixtures.
Try this web site. There is a lot of info. http://home.hiwaay.net/~tomorkim/Electrical.htm
__________________
TG Twinkie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2010, 08:18 AM   #7
Site Team
 
, Minnesota
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 6,940
Images: 59
The green wire isn't a ground. It's green romex that was used many years ago. If you look in the box you'll see there are three black and three whites at each of the connections. The green romex and yellow romex are just a split of the original 120V.

Check to make sure the green and yellow romex are grounded through the power inlet, not just attached to the chassis using the screw in the added box.
__________________
markdoane is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2010, 11:32 AM   #8
4 Rivet Member
 
kennethowens's Avatar
 
1975 Argosy 24
Malakoff , Texas
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 490
If it is a mess - as suggested re-start point.

They sell small breaker boxes at "lowes" - 4 to 6 breakers should do fine.

A new "shore power" cord 6/3 w/ground (or 8/3 w/ground) would also be good.

Good stuff coming in to a breaker box is not too expensive - or to complicated.

Having these two things in place and in good order will go a long way toward
getting you where you want to be.

Just trying to assist :-)
__________________
kennethowens is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2010, 11:33 AM   #9
4 Rivet Member
 
lucymcdog's Avatar
 
1965 24' Tradewind
Saguache , Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 309
Images: 7
Blog Entries: 3
additional pictures

I've attached some more pictures of the current wiring.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	wiring connectors.jpg
Views:	169
Size:	54.3 KB
ID:	113336   Click image for larger version

Name:	elec box.jpg
Views:	183
Size:	45.8 KB
ID:	113337  

Click image for larger version

Name:	new boxes.jpg
Views:	191
Size:	50.7 KB
ID:	113338   Click image for larger version

Name:	outside plug.jpg
Views:	171
Size:	46.1 KB
ID:	113339  

__________________
lucymcdog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2010, 11:37 AM   #10
4 Rivet Member
 
lucymcdog's Avatar
 
1965 24' Tradewind
Saguache , Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 309
Images: 7
Blog Entries: 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by kennethowens View Post
If it is a mess - as suggested re-start point.

They sell small breaker boxes at "lowes" - 4 to 6 breakers should do fine.

A new "shore power" cord 6/3 w/ground (or 8/3 w/ground) would also be good.

Good stuff coming in to a breaker box is not too expensive - or to complicated.

Having these two things in place and in good order will go a long way toward
getting you where you want to be.

Just trying to assist :-)
Thanks! Would this be just a regular house breaker box that I would put in the little closet above where the wiring comes into the trailer? Sounds easy enough.
__________________
lucymcdog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2010, 11:38 AM   #11
4 Rivet Member
 
kennethowens's Avatar
 
1975 Argosy 24
Malakoff , Texas
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 490
You'll know it when you see it...keep it simple
__________________
kennethowens is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2010, 12:10 PM   #12
Site Team
 
, Minnesota
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 6,940
Images: 59
I stand corrected. The green wire is a ground, and the other romex comes out of the wall. I couldn't see that in the original picture.

Interestingly, there was a green colored romex many years ago, but this doesn't look like the case here. Nowdays its just orange or yellow.

When you buy the new box at Home Depot, get an extra ground bar because you need to keep the neutral and ground wires separate.
__________________
markdoane is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2010, 02:53 PM   #13
Wise Elder
 
Jammer's Avatar
 
2010 30' Classic
Vintage Kin Owner
South of the river , Minnesota
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 4,119
OK the pics help

You still need someone qualified to be there when you do the work.

The inlet's shot and you should wire a new breaker box.

If you are not going to have air conditioning then you can wire for 20a shore power and save some money.

Power Inlet - Hubbell HBL61CM64 - iboats.com

Otherwise with air conditioning you'll need a 30a setup

30A Nonmetallic Boat Inlet

For breaker panels you can use the residential ones as suggested, or use a marine style one which would be smaller

120V AC A-Series Main + Branch Toggle Circuit Breaker Panels - Blue Sea Systems

None of this solves your original problem with 12 volt, though, for that you still need a converter and batteries.
__________________
Jammer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2010, 05:36 PM   #14
Rivet Master
 
Minno's Avatar

 
1972 31' Sovereign
Lexington , Minnesota
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 3,323
Hi Lindy,

Sorry for calling you Lucy before. I suppose your puppy wasn’t too sure what to think with all the attention she was getting on the first couple of replies.

This is what I'm looking at buying: http://www.bestconverter.com/4300-Series_c_139.html I'll probably get the 60 amp model. It combines the 110 VAC distribution and a 12 VDC converter with an intelligent charger all in one unit. Randy at Best Converter has an excellent reputation here on the forums. You’ll need to supply circuit breakers and fuses though. I’m not sure if they sell circuit breakers or not – I haven’t checked that part out yet.

Chris
__________________

__________________
Minno is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
12v


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
12v Electrical Issues Clyde-2 Batteries, Univolts, Converters & Inverters 5 10-25-2009 09:12 AM
Univolt or 12v System Gone Wrong AustinAir Batteries, Univolts, Converters & Inverters 4 04-10-2009 12:10 AM
63 Overlander 12V system rvnpikes Electrical - Systems, Generators, Batteries & Solar 2 10-09-2008 10:53 AM
12V Electrical Questions Airstream 65 Batteries, Univolts, Converters & Inverters 4 06-07-2007 04:24 PM
12V System....Sudden Death! Help, please Alan and Mardel Electrical - Systems, Generators, Batteries & Solar 6 12-13-2003 12:04 PM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:56 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.