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Old 03-08-2005, 03:20 PM   #1
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Electrical Systems 101

Hi

I realize this is totally remedial:

I'm getting my '64 Globetrotter ready for the road, and am trying to figure out how everything works. The electrical system is kind of a mystery... it appears to be intact, univolt, circuit breakers are in place. I don't have a battery in the thing yet, but I do have the great big extension cord with the huge round plug on it. I shut off the circuit breakers, grabbed a fire extinguisher, plugged the trailer in to the 120v, and switched on the breakers. The interior lights didn't work, but there was a humming from the area where the univolt etc. lives. Neither the ceiling fan or the range hood worked. Does the battery have to be there for the system to be complete and work? Is there something else I needed to do? What is a deep cycle battery, and do I need one of those?

thanks
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Old 03-08-2005, 03:46 PM   #2
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Electrical Systems 101

Greetings Globie64!

Welcome to the world of '64 Airstream ownership!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Globie64
Hi

I realize this is totally remedial:

I'm getting my '64 Globetrotter ready for the road, and am trying to figure out how everything works. The electrical system is kind of a mystery... it appears to be intact, univolt, circuit breakers are in place. I don't have a battery in the thing yet, but I do have the great big extension cord with the huge round plug on it. I shut off the circuit breakers, grabbed a fire extinguisher, plugged the trailer in to the 120v, and switched on the breakers. The interior lights didn't work, but there was a humming from the area where the univolt etc. lives. Neither the ceiling fan or the range hood worked. Does the battery have to be there for the system to be complete and work? Is there something else I needed to do? What is a deep cycle battery, and do I need one of those?

thanks
The Univolt was a new standard feature found in the '64 Airstreams. Assuming that your coach hasn't experienced some rewiring, there should be a panel with a polarity indicator light and a switch located in the near vicinity of your Univolt - - this switch is used to select shore power or battery power and its position could explain some of your problems. Also, for the fans located in your roof vents, they are likely also on a wall mounted switch (in my Overlander, the switch is located over the kitchen sink near the streetside window) - - the switch looks like a regular 120-volt AC device, but it controls the circuit for the fans.

Unless the Globetrotter varies from the larger coaches, I would expect to find that all of the light fixtures are 12-volt. While the Univolt should provide power without a battery, it is much preferrable to have a battery installed (especially if the coach has any added modern devices with electronic circuit boards). If none of the lights are illuminating, you might want to check the 12-volt circuit fuses as well as the "house fuses" found on the main 12-volt power cables - - it is also possible that the bulbs are blown (but highly unlikely that all of them would be blown) - - the circuit fuses are found behind a "trap-door" on the Univolt - - if it is like the original that was on my Overlander the trap-door is secured with a small set screw. The 12-Volt Deep Cycle RV/Marine batteries are typically readily available from the same source as automotive batteries - - to be on the safe side, go prepared with the measurements for your mounting location as the clearances can be tight on the Vintage coaches - - my Overlander used a Group 27 while it is a tight squeeze for a Group 24 in my Minuet. Quite possibly, even if the Univolt is humming, it may not be operating at optimum efficiency - - it seems like the Univolt is often one of the first repair issues on a recently acquired coach (I know that both of mine needed immediate attention to their original Univolts).

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
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Old 03-08-2005, 04:00 PM   #3
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unravelling the wiring

Hi Overlander

thanks for the help and the welcome. Your set up sounds like mine, and explains the mystery switches! I didn't know there were additional fuses, but I'll hunt those down. It doesn't look like much of anything was ever done to my rig, and what was done was done carefully. One question: does the univolt need to work for the exterior running lights to work? All the lamps ARE 12v, and I didn't try the 120v outlets to see if they worked.

thanks!
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Old 03-08-2005, 04:36 PM   #4
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Electrical Systems 101

Greetings Globie64!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Globie64
Hi Overlander

thanks for the help and the welcome. Your set up sounds like mine, and explains the mystery switches! I didn't know there were additional fuses, but I'll hunt those down. It doesn't look like much of anything was ever done to my rig, and what was done was done carefully. One question: does the univolt need to work for the exterior running lights to work? All the lamps ARE 12v, and I didn't try the 120v outlets to see if they worked.

thanks!
The Univolt won't have any impact on the running lights, brake lights, turn signals, backup lights (if so equipped) or tail lights - - but it can have an impact on the operation of the "scare light" beside the entrance door (if so equipped). You do need a house battery to have a functional breakaway system (the small metal cannister on the hitch with the wire that is attached to a secure location on the tow vehicle).

If you are having difficulties with the running lights, it is probably the result of the non-standard wiring schematic utilized by Airstream at the time that our coaches were produced. It is usually necessary to rewire the trailer's umbilical cord end to match the modern tow vehicle's standard wiring schmatic. You can find the data regarding the '64 Airstream wiring schematic at:

http://www.airstream.com/airstream/p...lug1964-65.pdf

You can find the typical standard Bargman Connector wiring standard at:

http://www.marksrv.com/wiring.htm

The method that I utilized was to identify the function that Airstream assigned to each wire and then matched that function to the "poles" on the connector (the colors will not necessarily match) - - all worked well after briefly testing each circuit with a 12-volt battery to verify that my coach actually matched the facory diagram which it did match.

Good luck with your Globetrotter!

Kevin
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Old 03-08-2005, 08:41 PM   #5
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just unraveling

Hey Overlander!

The rig is actually at Barstad and Donicht in San Leandro, and they're supposed to make the lights, and the brakes and wheels safe for the road. The umbilical cord dragged on the ground at some point, and the aluminum plug is now about half its original length and angled. That gets replaced too.

So, if the one interior switch is for the fans, and one must be for the scare light, then any guess what the third one, over the banquette, is for?

Fingers crossed,

Peter
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Old 03-09-2005, 01:26 AM   #6
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Electrical Systems 101

Greetings Peter!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Globie64
Hey Overlander!

The rig is actually at Barstad and Donicht in San Leandro, and they're supposed to make the lights, and the brakes and wheels safe for the road. The umbilical cord dragged on the ground at some point, and the aluminum plug is now about half its original length and angled. That gets replaced too.

So, if the one interior switch is for the fans, and one must be for the scare light, then any guess what the third one, over the banquette, is for?

Fingers crossed,

Peter
Your Globetrotter has a slightly different switch arrangement than mine - - I have only two of the "household-style" switches -- one controlls the ceiling vent fans, and the other controlls the optional exterior porch light. I have the more traditional 12-volt toggle switches for the "scare light" (mounted next to door frame near the jalousie window -- hidden by the drapes), and one for the water pump mounted on the cabinet nearest the locker that contains the water pump. It is also possible that your coach may have an added switch for the Univolt (these were not typically factory, but were often added by owners along the way).

There is one other possibility for an extra 120-volt AC household type switch - - an optional porch light. This was an option that was nearing the end of its run, but I have run across several '64 coaches with that option, including mine. You can see the optional porch light (it screws into a weatherproof outlet on the curbside of the coach) in the photo attached below.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
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Old 03-09-2005, 01:00 PM   #7
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Hi, Globie. My 67 GT has 12V fuses on a strip mounted in the battery "compartment" under the street side gaucho. That other mystery switch may be for the water pump if it's over by the galley.
Had a surprise during the last trip out last year. One of the 110V outlets started arcing. When you get her home make sure to check for aluminum wiring and repair it if necessary. Don't want any fires.
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Old 03-15-2005, 11:10 AM   #8
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Electrical mystery tour

I get the Globie back on Friday, when I'm towing it home up CA 1, over the Jenner grade for the first time. I can hardly wait to investigate all of your suggestions.

I'm really curious to look further for the other fuses, and to check out the switches to see what they run. The three switches are all standard 120v single pole, and look like an original installation. Did AS use standard switches for 12v circuits? Is the outlet outside and above the door meant to be for the porch light? Maybe that is switched. I don't have any electrical fuses etc anywhere besides the back, above the hot water heater. I'll let you know what I find.

Thanks!

Peter
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Old 03-15-2005, 12:19 PM   #9
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Electrical Systems 101

Greetings Peter!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Globie64
I get the Globie back on Friday, when I'm towing it home up CA 1, over the Jenner grade for the first time. I can hardly wait to investigate all of your suggestions.

I'm really curious to look further for the other fuses, and to check out the switches to see what they run. The three switches are all standard 120v single pole, and look like an original installation. Did AS use standard switches for 12v circuits? Is the outlet outside and above the door meant to be for the porch light? Maybe that is switched. I don't have any electrical fuses etc anywhere besides the back, above the hot water heater. I'll let you know what I find.

Thanks!

Peter
The 120-Volt fuses/circuit breakers can be located in what appears to be a smaller version of the typical household circuit box. If your coach has the original Univolt (or a variant thereof), the 12-volt fuses are hidden behind a panel secured to the side of the Univolt with a set-screw (the 12-volt fuses are typically the long, cylindrical glass fuses similar to those found in comparable vintage automobiles) - - it has been a few years since my original Univolt was replaced, but it was a rectangular metal box with ventilation fins with electrical cables exiting from several locations (I believe that the box was either a light brown/tan or olive green). There also may be fuses on the 12-volt battery cables (my Overlander has been rewired to include solar panels and a more modern Inverter/Charger arrangement, and I am not absolutely certain what the original arrangement contained) - - I know that my Minuet has fuses in each of the on-board battery cables.

Since '64 was the first year for the adoption of the Univolt 12-volt DC electrical system, it is my theory that they utilized the standard household switch because that was what the factory had available - - both of the standard household switches (factory installed) control 12-volt circuits. The only flaw (that I am aware of ) with that theory is that a 12-volt toggle switch controls my "scare light", and there is also a 12-volt toggle switch for the water pump (I believe that this may be a later addidition as it wasn't mentioned in the owners' manual and the coach didn't have its original water pump when I purchased it in 1995).

Good luck with your investigations!

Kevin
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Old 03-16-2005, 02:38 PM   #10
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and now, the battery

Hey, thanks,

The switch thing is interesting, that they used 120v because that is what they had. I still have the original pump, and I went through the circuit breakers and they seem okay.

So, today's question is what kind of battery to get. Since we're moving, my copy of the owner's manual is neatly packed away in a box somewhere out of reach. I would imagine the manual contains a battery specification. I had heard that a deep cycle marine-type (I can kind of guess what that means) is what is needed, but how big?

And, will it be possible to use the use the lights and things just running off the battery? Does the battery charge when hooked to a land line, 120v?

Really really curious, and I apprciate all the patient answers.

Peter
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Old 03-16-2005, 07:57 PM   #11
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Greetings Peter!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Globie64
Hey, thanks,

The switch thing is interesting, that they used 120v because that is what they had. I still have the original pump, and I went through the circuit breakers and they seem okay.

So, today's question is what kind of battery to get. Since we're moving, my copy of the owner's manual is neatly packed away in a box somewhere out of reach. I would imagine the manual contains a battery specification. I had heard that a deep cycle marine-type (I can kind of guess what that means) is what is needed, but how big?

And, will it be possible to use the use the lights and things just running off the battery? Does the battery charge when hooked to a land line, 120v?

Really really curious, and I apprciate all the patient answers.

Peter
Our coaches are from the first year for the owners' manual, and while it was a big step forward, it isn't as comprehensive as we have come to expect with newer products. I checked my Overlander's owners' manual, and while it shows that battery it does not make mention of any particular specifications as to size. I do know that prior to installing solar power, it took a Group 27 Deep-Cycle RV and Marine battery. It has been my experience that most post-1964 Airstream products seem to take either the Group 24 or Group 27 Deep-Cycle RV and Marine battery - - the easiest approach is to measure your battery compartment then take those measurements to the battery retailer to find a battery that will fit.

Once a battery is installed, all of the 12-volt accessories should be functional - - you may have to adjust the shore/on-board power switch located near the polarity light (at least it was in my Overlander). The battery in a standard installation is chargred in either of two ways - - by the Univolt power converter/charger when connected to shore power (assuming the Univolt is performing as designed) - - or by the tow vehicle when underway (assuming that the necessary charge line is present in the tow vehicle's Bargman connector.

Good luck with your coach!

Kevin
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Old 03-16-2005, 09:31 PM   #12
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New battery

Thanks. This should be interesting. Either the 24 or the 27 is a big help. We're getting a new connector, and if the Ford cooperates, maybe it'll be charging. Both our Fords have been bedeviled by electrical problems almost since new, so we'll see what happens with this. I'm also really curious to look more closely at the univolt. I'm sure it is still the original, with the little ceramic holder and the light to signal polarity. Mine has Dymo label instructions all over it, and those CAN'T be original factory... or can they?

take it easy

Peter
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Old 03-21-2005, 03:39 PM   #13
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Quiz answers

So, my electrical system questions have been cleared up and I know what controls what:

The switches over the sink control the fan and the outside light. The switch over the banquette controls the pump. The battery that D and B installed is a size 27. All the lights work, interior and exterior, the pump whirrs, the ceiling and range hood fans all work, hurray!

Now we'll try it on a 120v line, and then it's on to the gas system.

Thanks for the great help

Peter
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