Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 10-11-2004, 03:07 PM   #1
2 Rivet Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 21
Electrical System Basics

I have no clue about the electrical system of my newly acquired 66 Tradewind. I would greatly appreciate some help. Please enlighten me and donít assume I know anything, because I donít. I have a (1) breaker box, and a (2) fuse panel rear of the AS. On the curbside behind the refrigerator wires come out of the wall, what are they for? All of the 120 outlets work except for the one most forward curbside. The 12-volt lights arn't working yet. The PO had an exposed romex wire going from the AC to the rear. Do you think there was a wire inside the skin going to the AC originally?


  • White romex and black romex. Does color mean anything?
  • Does the Univolt convert 120 volt into 12 volt?
  • Does the Univolt charge the battery when plugged into a 120-volt system? If so, can it overcharge the battery?
  • How do I know if the Univolt works?
  • Do you recommend some type of trickle charger to keep the battery charged?
  • Are there fuses within the Univolt metal case?
  • Should the 12-volt lights work with out a battery if I am plugged into 120?
  • Advise me on what battery system to purchase. I have read two 6 volts combined are best. Is this correct? Two 6 volts, or one 12 volt, is this enough power to run my 12 volt lights. How do I know I have enough juice?


I will also appreciate other unsolicited advice that you may think will be helpful. Thanks for your help.



Bill
__________________

__________________
66 Tradewind is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2004, 11:52 PM   #2
Moderator Emeritus
 
overlander64's Avatar
 
1964 26' Overlander
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
Anna , Illinois
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 5,396
Images: 183
Send a message via Yahoo to overlander64
Electrical System Basics

Greetings Bill!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Vintage Airstream ownership!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 66 Tradewind
I have no clue about the electrical system of my newly acquired 66 Tradewind. I would greatly appreciate some help. Please enlighten me and donít assume I know anything, because I donít. I have a (1) breaker box, and a (2) fuse panel rear of the AS. On the curbside behind the refrigerator wires come out of the wall, what are they for? All of the 120 outlets work except for the one most forward curbside. The 12-volt lights arn't working yet. The PO had an exposed romex wire going from the AC to the rear. Do you think there was a wire inside the skin going to the AC originally?


  • White romex and black romex. Does color mean anything?
  • Does the Univolt convert 120 volt into 12 volt?
  • Does the Univolt charge the battery when plugged into a 120-volt system? If so, can it overcharge the battery?
  • How do I know if the Univolt works?
  • Do you recommend some type of trickle charger to keep the battery charged?
  • Are there fuses within the Univolt metal case?
  • Should the 12-volt lights work with out a battery if I am plugged into 120?
  • Advise me on what battery system to purchase. I have read two 6 volts combined are best. Is this correct? Two 6 volts, or one 12 volt, is this enough power to run my 12 volt lights. How do I know I have enough juice?


I will also appreciate other unsolicited advice that you may think will be helpful. Thanks for your help.



Bill
Regarding the wires exiting the wall near your refrigerator. I suspect that they were originally connected to a monitor panel system, and/or stereo entertainment system. Both of these features were typically part of the International packages but could be added optionally to most coaches.

It sounds as if your coach may have an aftermarket air conditioner that was added by someone not familiar with Airstreams. By 1966, Airstreams were pre-wired and braced for Air Conditioning at the factory - - the trick was that you had to have information from a dealer or the factory in order to know where to cut the hole in the roof and cieling when installing the air conditioner (Airstream did not use an existing vent opening for air conditioner installation as did most Brand X coaches) - - when the correct location is found, the wiring is usually coiled in close vicinity as is the condesate drain (I am not certain whether the prep package included the drain in 1966 - - I know that it didn't in 1964). The air conditioner wire was routed to the circuit breaker box area waiting for its breaker to be installed with the air conditioning system.

There are any number of potential issues that could be causing your problems with the 12-volt lighting. A missing or malfunctioning Univolt would be a first potential source, followed by fuses - - you will likely find fuses on a panel behind a panel secured with a set-screw on the Univolt as well as the possibility of either fuses or fusible links on the 12-volt cables going to the battery - - one or more bad fuses could be a culprit. Burned out light bulbs, corossion in the sockets could also prove troublesome.

Since I am not a do-it-yourselfer, I won't try to comment on your question regarding Romex colors.

Regarding the Univolt, it was a "proprietary" design for Airstream in its early years and was a dual function device it converted 120-volt-AC to 12-vot-DC, and charged the battery (often is cited as a culprit in overcharging and boiling away the electrolyte). The 12-Volt fuse panel is typically located behind a panel on the Univolt that is secured with a screw. On the 1960s era coaches, the Univolt was often located on the streetside in the rear one-stop service compartment - - it is a rather large steel box with ventilation holes that (if operational) hums when the coach is plugged into 120-volt AC.

If the Univolt is the original issue unit, you will be able to tell if it is operable by the audible hum that it makes whenever it is connected to shore power. Ideally, a battery should always be in the circuit with the Univolt according to what the technicians who work on my coach have told me.

Neither one of my coaches have their original Univolts. A part of the upgrade on the Overlander to a Solar Electric system included a hard-wired Inverter/Charger system that replaced the Magnatec converter that was a replacement for the original Univolt. The original Univolt in my Minuet died shortly after I purchased the coach, and my Airstream dealer installed a new "Univolt" that duplicates those utilized in the new Airstreams.

Regarding batteries, your limitation may be the space available where your battery box is located. Often you will find that a Group 27 is the largest battery that will fit in the stock box. In fact, a Group 24 is the largest battery that will fit in my Minuet. AGM or Gel Cell batteries can be mounted a little more flexibly since they do not require the degree of ventilation that is necessary for lead acid batteries - - my Overlander has three of these batteries that were a part of its solar system (they were significantly more expensive, but have been far less trouble than the lead-acid battery in my Minuet). A single Group 24 or 27 battery should produce enough power for the limited 12-volt use that most encounter; if however, you are planning on boondocking for extended lengths of time you may find yourself looking for more reserve capacity (two or more Group 24 or 27 batteries).

If your coach didn't come with a copy of the owner's manual, you may find one useful. They were still in their infancy as the first manuals weren't published until 1964. While not as comprehensive as current manuals, they do have a wealth of information tailored to a particular model year coach. You can obtain copies of the original manual from:

Quote:
Manuals

Q: I need an owners and service manual for my Airstream. Where can I get one?
A: The first owners manuals were published in 1964. Prior to that, the owner received a brown envelope containing parts lists and other helpful information on the accessories in his trailer. The VAC has started making these available in the Members Archive section. A service manual with instructions for performing service operations did not exist until 1972.
You can get photocopies of owners manual (1964+) and service manuals (1972-1986) from:

Helen Davis Secretarial Services
PO Box 484 Sidney, OH 45365
(937)492-8885

Prices are about $33 and $70 respectively. After 1986 the Owners Manuals included available service information.
*The above is quoted from the Vintage Airstream Club website

Another book that has often been cited as being very helpful for generic information on RV maintenanc and repair is RV Repair and Maintenance Manual by Bob Livingston - - 4th Edition.

Good luck with your coach!

Kevin
__________________

__________________
Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
overlander64 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-12-2004, 07:48 AM   #3
2 Rivet Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 21
Thumbs up Thanks

Kevin,
I appreciate your response and your time. I am learning as I go. This forum is an unbelievable resource because of people like you.



Sincerely,
Bill
__________________
66 Tradewind is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2004, 10:30 PM   #4
Rivet Master
 
eljay's Avatar
 
1968 24' Tradewind
Rural, blink and you'll miss it , Missouri
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 692
Images: 19
Bill, you and I are in the same boat (or Airstream) it seems. I, too, have a 66 Tradewind. I have a 1966 manual and would be glad to copy and share the diagrams. PM or email me. Laura
__________________
eljay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2004, 11:49 PM   #5
4 Rivet Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by 66 Tradewind
Kevin,
I appreciate your response and your time. I am learning as I go. This forum is an unbelievable resource because of people like you.
Bill,

Yes the Univolt does charge the batteries. But be careful, leaving it plugged in ALL the time can boil the water out of the batteries over a month or more.

Two 6 volts would be better for Total amps provided - remember to wire them pos to neg to add up to 12 volts. Two 12 volts would work fine also, but you don't want to drain them past 50% before recharging.

Livingston's book is HIGHLY recommended. Covers all systems. May be in your public library.

Regarding use w/o a battery: The battery acts as a filter, so best to leave it in.

And the 120 Black wire is hot and the White is neutral.

Steve
__________________
Sav'h Steve is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-19-2004, 07:24 AM   #6
Rivet Master
 
TomW's Avatar
 
1967 26' Overlander
Huntsville , Alabama
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 2,918
Images: 2
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sav'h Steve
...Regarding use w/o a battery: The battery acts as a filter, so best to leave it in...
Or you can put a filter in that will not boil.

Tom
__________________

__________________
TomW is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


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
help with electrical system on '66 tradewind jgouras 1959-69 Tradewind 5 05-29-2004 03:18 PM
electrical system diagram duckrunner Electrical - Systems, Generators, Batteries & Solar 3 10-22-2003 08:53 PM
electrical system 67 tradewind boardsander Electrical - Systems, Generators, Batteries & Solar 3 10-14-2002 05:32 PM
Electrical System Question ViewRVs Mechanics Corner - Engines, Transmission & More... 2 03-16-2002 08:39 PM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:51 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.