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Old 09-25-2009, 05:35 PM   #1
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1964 24' Tradewind
Orlando , Florida
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 30
electrical tutorial

Are there full tutorials for wiring your unit. I am leaving most of the wiring in my trailer but there is no fuse box, converter etc etc. I know what is 12v and what is 120v but Im just not sure how to connect the whole thing together. Can someone point me to a website or thread that would help me understand this process. I would just try to find an electrician but I am trying to do everything myself (mostly for monetary reasons). thanks
photocodo
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Old 09-25-2009, 05:46 PM   #2
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Dewey , Arizona
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You might want to get this:
Managing 12 Volts

You can also get everything you need for your trailer at the same website.
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Old 09-25-2009, 08:01 PM   #3
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battle ground, , Washington
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I'd recommend going over to home depot on a week night when they aint real busy and ask their electrical guy to show you the basics from ac breaker box to electrical outlet and to hard wired unit (like air conditioner). They will show you the basic how-to. There is not a whole lot of sophisticated AC wiring in an airstream-Until you get into 240VAC-50 amp service with solar photo voltaic cells, and generator transfer switches, inverters etc. The basics will get you outlets and 120VAC hard wired appliances. Individual research into what fancy stuff you are going to add should be a pleasure for you to do.

The AC side has but one source-the 30 amp shore line-either plugged into a RV campsite, or your house/shop or a generator.

The 12VDC side has two sources: 1) a converter/charger and 2) batteries. The converter/charger does just that: Converts 120VAC into 12VDC, and charges the batteries. The converter/charger should just plug into a 120VAC outlet for input. The two sources should tie together at a common point upstream (output) from the 12v distribution (either fuses like most cars or circuit breakers-both bi-metallic type and switching type-which are generally referred to as "molded case circuit breakers rated for DC"). from the distribution, wires flow to the various things that use 12VDC in your unit. You will decide what "Thing" will work on 120VAC or 12VDC. So, YOU should decide where you are going to mount the various "things" and draw yourself a simple, two dimensional map of all the "things" you are putting in (lights, refer, tv, radio, tape deck, water heater, furnace-on and on). You should make two maps one for 120VAC and one for 12VDC-draw one on clear plastic to overlay the other-make the same scale so you can compare. Then, draw your lines that will represent your wiring. Remember to use correctly rated wiring. Obviously, use two color minimum wiring for your hook up. The AS's I have seen use "Romex" for the AC wiring, and simple 2 color wiring for the 12VDC. I would route dedicated wiring for each "thing" More circuits are easy to add, and the cost is not prohibitive. Then future trouble shooting and/or changes are simplified.

Think ahead. Are you going to add solar power in the future? I bet you do...it is one of the waves of the future. So, run some wiring for it now. It is cheap and easy. Also, sizing the wire up (bigger) one gauge costs little and adds peace of mind. run a 3w with ground up to the air conditioner-you may go to a 50 amp 240VAC service someday-it is cheap to do now.-wire in a washer/dryer/dishwasher now and save yourself headaches later on.

I am sure someone will have a complete schematic for their rig, but it probably wont match what you are doing...be creative.

One last thing: wire the DC side as carefully as you would the AC side. Use separate wires for the battery (+) and the battery return (-) and please notice I did not call the battery return a "ground". This is just words to most folks but very important as we go into a newer world. The battery return on an AS is not a grounding conductor. The 12VDC system will connect to Earth ground when you connect to a correctly grounded RV park system or your house, etc. Your AS will not have a ground when using batteries or a portable generator, unless you drive a grounding rod into the earth and connect it (bond it) to the point on your AS where the AC equipment ground and 12VDC battery return connect common (usually the trailer chassis). Don't depend on the chassis or aluminum skin for a battery return lead. Everything we add today is microprocessor controlled and needs a very clean DC voltage signal to operate correctly so don't mess up by using the metallic structure as a battery return conductor-run separate wires.
Keep a record of what you do-look at your original AS service manual and see what they did and do at least that much-if you are anything like most others on this forum, you'll do a much better job than AS did-they wanted to make $-you want to ensure you get your $ worth-today and tomorrow.
good luck, use the k.i.s.s. pricipal and be aware of Murphy's Law.
ol' Bill the newbie
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Old 09-27-2009, 10:59 PM   #4
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1965 22' Safari
Fort Collins , Colorado
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Photocodo,
Did you have any success finding something that would guide you through all this electrical set up...I have a 1965 safari gutted and now ready to get it back together but stuck with electrical. Any recommendations without dropping it off at an RV place...Airjoey
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Old 09-28-2009, 06:58 AM   #5
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1964 24' Tradewind
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AirJoey View Post
Photocodo,
Did you have any success finding something that would guide you through all this electrical set up...I have a 1965 safari gutted and now ready to get it back together but stuck with electrical. Any recommendations without dropping it off at an RV place...Airjoey
Hello Airjoey
Well, Im not sure how much you know about electrical but I am quite the newbie at it. I have been doing alot of reading online and on this forum and I think I am starting to understand how everything works. I think that my best bet is going to be to find someone who is an electrician who I can call when I have questions, but I dont want to have to just drop it off and have them do it all. It seems that there is a tutorial out there for everything, however I have not found one that walks you step by step through the whole process. I think that Im just going to have to find tutorials on the individual areas that I have trouble with and put them all together, like a puzzle. It is kind of frustrating right now but I think I can figure it all out with the help of this forum and the internet. At least the consequences are not very high with the electrical system, Im worried about the LP lines, dont want to blow me and my wife up. Well, I hope this helped you, I know it was a little ambiguous but if you have any more questions please feel free to ask me (not that I know that much but it seems like were in the same place). Good luck and Ill see you around the forum
Photocodo
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Old 09-28-2009, 07:55 AM   #6
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Lexington , Minnesota
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Hi Photocodo and AirJoey,

There are lots of very experienced people here at the forums that are more than happy to answer your questions and help you. Like lots of things, wiring can seem extremely complex, but if break it down in smaller steps or chunks, and tackle each step from start to finish before going on to the next step, then its all a bit easier to deal with. For example, one step would be to bring 110 VAC wiring into the trailer and to t the main breaker box. Next step, run wire to the converter. Then run wire to the A/C. Then run wire to the 110 outlets. The main breaker would be a 30 Amp breaker, and then the others could be 15 or 20 AMP. Use 20 AMP for the A/C. And I would use a separate 20 Amp circuit for the microwave. Might be overkill, but I tend to do stuff like that. Also, I would use 12 gauge wire for all the a/c circuits. It’s required for the 20 Amp circuits, and since you need to buy it anyway, you might as well use it for any 15 amp circuits you install for the outlets. You could use 20 Amp breakers for the outlets as well if you want. The plug-in cord will be a complete item you can buy at many RV stores, typically 25 or 30 feet long with the special 30 amp plug already installed on the end.

Anyway, as you run into things you don’t know, start a new thread and ask away! Picture often help, especially if you’re asking how to wire something. A picture of the “something” will go a long way to helping others understand what you need help with.

Good luck!

Chris
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Old 10-06-2009, 12:22 PM   #7
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1968 24' Tradewind
Largo , Florida
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Hello, I'm going to be in Orlando next week end 10/17 & 10/18. I would sure like to come by and see what you have been doing. Very interested in your electrial set-up that you'r working on. Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning are the best times for me.
Judy
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Old 10-07-2009, 07:55 AM   #8
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1964 24' Tradewind
Orlando , Florida
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Originally Posted by airstreamjudy View Post
Hello, I'm going to be in Orlando next week end 10/17 & 10/18. I would sure like to come by and see what you have been doing. Very interested in your electrial set-up that you'r working on. Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning are the best times for me.
Judy
Hello Judy
That would be great. I will be busy most of Saturday (17th) but Sunday should be mostly free. The mornings are usually better for me anyway. I would love for someone who is more experienced with airstreams to come take a look at it. My e-mail address is cody@codymcclung.com If you want to just send me an e-mail I can send you my address and figure out what time would work best for you. Hope to talk to you soon.
Cody
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