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Old 09-20-2017, 05:15 PM   #1
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1968 24' Tradewind
Stilwell , Kansas
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electrical troubleshooting

I have a ’68 Tradewind 24 footer that is my first trailer. As hiccups occur, I am learning how the various systems work. (I am trying to see the bright side of opportunities to learn…..) I just finished a successful week of boondocking at a music festival with no problems. The interior lights, roof exhaust fan, water pump and control panel gauges all worked great on battery power the entire week. The drive home was a 4 hour trip which should have recharged my battery as the 7 way was plugged into my TV and all of the exterior lights on the trailer worked fine on the drive.
The next morning as I began the clean up in the trailer, I realized the interior lights were not working. I checked the battery with my multi meter and it registered 00.0. I currently (no pun intended) have the battery connected to the charger in my garage to see if it will take and hold a charge or if it needs to be replaced. Time will answer that question.
Since the battery was out, I connected to shore power only to discover that the interior lights, the roof vent fan, the gauges in the central control panel, the water pump and the single two-outlet AC box dedicated to the Power Max charger/converter in the rear of the trailer were not working. All of the rest of the AC outlets throughout the trailer and the single exterior covered AC outlet all work with shore power.
I thought it could be a fuse problem. I pulled all of the fuses and gave a visual inspection, cleaned the contacts and re-installed them as they appeared to be OK….2 in the central control panel, 2 in the back of the converter/charger, 2 in the double fuse holder to the right of the circuit breaker box in the rear of the trailer and 1 screw in fuse in the receptacle to the left of the breaker box. I double-checked the converter/charger by plugging it into an extension cord connected from my garage. The unit appears to be working and it is the single 2 outlet box referenced earlier that has no power to it.
The circuit breaker box holds two 20A breakers. The left-hand breaker successfully turns the working AC outlets on and off. I cannot determine what the right-hand circuit breaker controls since nothing happens when I turn it off and on again. Soooooo is the breaker on the right the control for the interior lights, exhaust fan, control panel gauges, water pump and dedicated 2 outlet box? I can’t find any reference that explains what all is hooked to that circuit breaker. Does anyone know the answer to that and could it be that it needs to be replaced or is there something else I need to check?
Thanks for any helpif you have an idea what my next step needs to be in resolving my electrical dilemma.
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Old 09-20-2017, 05:32 PM   #2
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4 hours of driving will not charge your battery very much inless your TV has been modified. I have read that most TVs will only source about 7 amps to the trailer. Since a single group 24 is around 75 Amp hours. You wil get less than a 50% recharge with 4 hours of driving.

IF you have no lights while plugged into shore power, either the breaker feeding your converter has failed or the converter has.

Al
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Old 09-20-2017, 05:40 PM   #3
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1974 31' Sovereign
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Can't speak to the exact wiring in a '68, but can help with general info.

"Soooooo is the breaker on the right the control for the interior lights, exhaust fan, control panel gauges, water pump and dedicated 2 outlet box?"

The interior lights, exhaust fan, control panel gauges, water pump are all 12 volt loads.

The dedicated 2 outlet box isn't getting 120v to the charger/converter , with no converter or battery to provide 12v none of those items will work.

Your problem seems to be between the breaker and outlet box. Kill the power and check for loose wires inside the breaker panel and outlet box.

Al is spot on about charging batteries. Batteries discharge much faster than charge.

Good reference someone posted recently.
http://www.rv-dreams.com/rv-electrical.html
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Old 09-20-2017, 07:00 PM   #4
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Hello from Colorado, a neighbor of Kansas. I have done extensive work on a 66 Trade Wind. Here is the wiring diagram from the 66. The 68 is somewhat different, but the ideas are the same.

Okay, we know there is a main breaker for the 30 amp supply. It must work as you have one AC circuit working. The other AC circuit is not working. There is a third circuit breaker if your trailer has an AC.

I suspect your circuit breaker is malfunctioning. You can "lock out, tag out" kill the power, and switch the two 20 amp breakers. This may prove a faulty breaker.

While you are in the breaker box, as mentioned, make sure all wire connections are tight.

If the problem follows the breaker, bingo. A new one is available at your hardware store.

Remember the mid sixties trailers were wired with aluminum wire. Connections can loosen or corrode due to aluminum to brass connections. Always be aware of "poor" connections due to corrosion or looseness and keep them tight. Look for evidence of heat.

If and when your converter is working, you should see something like 14 volts across the battery. Running your battery to zero probably shortened the life of the thing. It might recover, but not hold a charge as long as normal. The "trickle charge" from your tow vehicle is designed to run the exterior lights and brakes without discharging the trailer battery.

David.
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Old 09-22-2017, 10:57 AM   #5
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1968 24' Tradewind
Stilwell , Kansas
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Thanks for all of the suggestions. I was able to determine the breakers were both functioning by switching them and plugging back into shore power. I rechecked all of the fuses using a multimeter in case a visual inspection was not accurate. Fuses all were good. The battery recharged and appears to be holding a charge (for now at least). Once the battery was reinstalled, all the lights and control panel were operational again. ( New learning for me since I thought shore power would supply everything without the battery being installed.) The converter/charger is operational which I verified by plugging it into an extension cord running from my garage. The dedicated 2-plug outlet is the culprit. Plugged back into shore power there is no voltage in either plug and no voltage running through the wires connected to the plug as verified with the multimeter. Soooooo I have now identified the plug that is not working but now am embarking on the task of tracing down the source of the identified problem. I guess I will learn more about the wiring inside the breaker box as I explore. It would help to know which circuit breaker that plug is wired to without having to remove the wall covering to trace the actual path of the wiring between the plug and the breaker box. I am going to recheck each and every connection retightening as I go through the breaker box terminals. If tightening all the leads does not resolve my problem, are there any expert suggestions to solve this one the easiest way?
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Old 09-22-2017, 01:03 PM   #6
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You were correct in your original assumption. Assuming the converter was working, the lights and everything 12V would work. There was no power to your converter, so it was not putting out 12V.

I had this problem on my Safari 25. I doubt my problem was the same as yours, but it's worth a shot. Airstream used one-piece 120V outlets, i.e. the box, outlet, and cover plate were all one piece, unlike your home outlets that have three separate parts. The connections were made with pieces of spring brass and one of them had broken. There was power to the back of the outlet, but not the front.

In your case it sounds like the failure is in a previous outlet. Airstream "daisy-chains" power from one outlet to the next just like the electricians do in your home. All you have to do is find the broken connection . Using your multimeter, check from the hot side of the bad outlet to the neutral side of a working outlet and vice-versa. That will tell you which side of the connection is broken. Work from the non-working outlet back to the AC fuse panel, opening up and inspecting the next outlet in line.

Al
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Old 09-22-2017, 07:15 PM   #7
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1974 31' Sovereign
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Do you have picture of the outlet?
Is your wiring aluminum?
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Old 09-23-2017, 06:40 PM   #8
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1968 24' Tradewind
Stilwell , Kansas
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Success....finally. I discovered the break in the circuit was in the outlet assigned to the bathroom sink/vanity. Once I corrected the faulty wiring connections there, the other outlet in the daisy chain (that was previously dead) is reading 120v. The converter/charger is now functioning since it actually has power (go figure) and the battery is holding a full charge. Thanks for the tips in helping me track down this problem. The newbie is becoming more knowledgeable about how these aluminum cans are put together.

Onward!!!
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Old 09-23-2017, 07:14 PM   #9
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You're lucky!
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Old 09-24-2017, 06:56 AM   #10
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Good job in tracking it down and solving the problem. It is rare when an outlet connection comes disconnected for some reason. And yes, risky for shorts or fire.

David
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Old 09-24-2017, 07:28 AM   #11
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aluminum wiring

I once had a 67 with aluminum wiring and would suggest checking all plugs, lights and misc connections to retighten them after applying some dielectric grease. the alum and copper expand at different rates and will eventually loosen and possibly arc.
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