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Old 04-08-2008, 12:38 AM   #1
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1968 22' Safari
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Going to 110v only

I know this is not everyone's cup of tea, but I will only have my AS connected to shore power on my 1968 Safari. It is mostly gutted (except for the walls) and I won't be using any of the few reamining 12 volt items (mostly lights). Is there any problem clipping that rat's nest next to the control box and shoving the remaining wire behind the walls? I plan on just running surface mount 110 for the electricity I need. Any comments on the best way to approach this? Anyone need my old control box?
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Old 04-08-2008, 08:26 AM   #2
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In your situation it might be a good idea for your trailer. However when you decide it no longer needs to be 'your' trailer, potential new owners will probably not see it the same way.

Surface mount wiring really needs some sort of protection - i.e. conduit to keep abrasion and rats from causing problems.

Good luck!
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Old 04-09-2008, 09:09 PM   #3
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hi hiho, what does the old control panel look like? i agree on covering the wires, if you can go to an electrical supply house you can find slim line wire molding for just this sortta thing and i beleive you can get it in different colors also. i may be enterested in the control panel.
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Old 04-09-2008, 09:50 PM   #4
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My 56 was built way, and I am considering putting in 12 volt.
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Old 04-09-2008, 10:50 PM   #5
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Do you not need 12V battery to power you electric brakes brake away switch?Or does a trailer that age have that system?
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Old 04-09-2008, 10:53 PM   #6
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doing the same, getting rid of the 12 battery, the brake line, when connected to the truck, will supply the 12v (i'm told), we just have to disconnect when we park or it'll drain the truck battery, we're going all solar, a $3000 investment which i figure we'll recoup in the first year alone, yippee!
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Old 04-09-2008, 10:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmini
Do you not need 12V battery to power you electric brakes brake away switch?Or does a trailer that age have that system?
Self contained did not come on board until 1957,prior to that the electric brakes were powered from the tow vehicle only. The early ones did not have breakaway switches or 12v batteries, and in most states they do not need them under 5,000 lbs. I am putting in a 12v battery and a break away switch for break away emergencies for now, but I intend to change over soem of the 110 wiring to 12v (the wire does not care what voltage is flowing throught it).
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Old 04-10-2008, 06:43 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by erikjware
doing the same, getting rid of the 12 battery, the brake line, when connected to the truck, will supply the 12v (i'm told), we just have to disconnect when we park or it'll drain the truck battery, we're going all solar, a $3000 investment which i figure we'll recoup in the first year alone, yippee!
Most, if not all states require brakes on trailers over a certain specified weight. When brakes are required, you are also required to maintain a breakaway switch on the trailer and a separate 12VDC battery conected to it that will power the trailer brakes in the event that you lose the trailer from your TV. This will provide power to the trailer's brakes to stop it after separation.

Better check your state's regs!
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Old 09-01-2008, 01:54 AM   #9
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1975 31' Sovereign
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110v only-- plug-in Sovereign

A really interesting idea, to go 110 volt only. We just gutted our newly purchased '75 Sovereign 31' and are probably going to do the same.
Seems safer, Especially for permanent living.

We rent a "Landed Yacht" (a '71 of same model and length) and have lived almost two years happily on 110 volt. No 12v mysteries or inverters.
Also not mobile...
...unless...
The plan for our new "Rita" is a separate solar "station," maybe a very small trailer (small enough to be pulled by an ATV or a bunch of friends) housing the panels, batteries, and inverter that could be parked in the sun (while we rest in the shade). This power station would power the Airstream or other projects.

I like the safety of new wires. Call me crazy, but I've survived two trailer fires, one due to bad wiring. Rita is 33, relatively young for an Airstream, but a nice new central nervous system will help me be less nervous.

Also, we're going all-electric. We're disconnecting the propane. Too many spiders crawling into the pilot and plugging the works, too much stink.
The woodstove will keep us warm and an electric water heater, fridge, lights, etc. should be easy to power with a couple of panels.

Granted, I have no experience with any of this (except the fires) and would love to hear of others' experiences....
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Old 09-02-2008, 12:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saul Harper View Post
A really interesting idea, to go 110 volt only. We just gutted our newly purchased '75 Sovereign 31' and are probably going to do the same.
Seems safer, Especially for permanent living.

We rent a "Landed Yacht" (a '71 of same model and length) and have lived almost two years happily on 110 volt. No 12v mysteries or inverters.
Also not mobile...
...unless...
The plan for our new "Rita" is a separate solar "station," maybe a very small trailer (small enough to be pulled by an ATV or a bunch of friends) housing the panels, batteries, and inverter that could be parked in the sun (while we rest in the shade). This power station would power the Airstream or other projects.

I like the safety of new wires. Call me crazy, but I've survived two trailer fires, one due to bad wiring. Rita is 33, relatively young for an Airstream, but a nice new central nervous system will help me be less nervous.

Also, we're going all-electric. We're disconnecting the propane. Too many spiders crawling into the pilot and plugging the works, too much stink.
The woodstove will keep us warm and an electric water heater, fridge, lights, etc. should be easy to power with a couple of panels.

Granted, I have no experience with any of this (except the fires) and would love to hear of others' experiences....
SH,

I suggest that you do a little math and a lot more research before you buy any solar or battery equipment and find out that you are grossly under powered. An electric water heater, even the smallest ones, use a 1500 watt element. That alone is 12.5 amps. when you start adding up all of your electrical requirements like the fridge, lights, stove, you will probaby be surprised at how much power reserve you will need.

Lets say that you have a 20 amp draw (I think that it will be higher in reality) going every hour. Let's also say that you have a 400 watt (4-panel) solar array and a high quality MPPT solar charge controller that is powering 4 6VDC golf cart batteries with a total capacity of 440 amp-hours.

At a 20 amp draw (which will actually be higher since I am not counting the ambient power draw from the inverter), your batteries would last a MAXIMUM of 11 hours without being re-charged by the solar array. On the best of conditions (which you won't get in OR as the sun is never directly overhead), you could expect a charging rate between 16-18 amps going into your battery bank. It falls off rapidly to either end of the day from the peak hours. You probably won't get more than 100 amp/hours of capacity replaced to your batteries.

I would venture a guess this point that you would need DOUBLE the system I described. You're taking about a major dollar expenditure in panels, batteries, charge controller and inverter.

Check out the AM Solar web site (Welcome to AM Solar - Your RV Solar Specialists since 1987). They are in Sprinfield, OR and Greg is as knowledgeable as anyone in the business about solar charging systems. Hope this helps a little.
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Old 09-03-2008, 01:42 AM   #11
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good info

Thank you for the solar numbers. The scale and mechanics of the systems are really interesting.

Are there ways that I could measure how much power is being used by the "plugged-in" Airstream that I live in now? I'm hooked up to a house and we share the power bill, so our overall power usage is mixed together. Is there something that I could hook up to my breaker box that would measure how much the AS uses? Then it would be easier to get an idea of what kind of solar system would be appropriate.

How much more efficient (and expensive) is an "on-demand" electric water heater? Do they need to be wired to 220v?

I like how living in an Airstream really brings the scale of things into focus. With a 10 gallon propane water heater for the last couple of years I really listen for that burner to kick on when I'm 3 minutes into a shower.

It died over a week ago and we've been heating water on the propane stove for sponge baths and dishes while we wait for a replacement part. This has planted the "electric water heater" idea.

I'm also considering a woodstove-mounted water heater. I spent some time in South America and was amazed at the ingenious small water heating systems people would rig into their woodstoves... copper pipes (which we have a plenty after last week) snaking through the fire box or around back of the stove... real Gilligan's Island stuff...

It's fun to imagine stuff, and I'm also very grateful for real numbers and real experience. Thanks, again, for the info.
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Old 09-03-2008, 10:24 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saul Harper View Post
Thank you for the solar numbers. The scale and mechanics of the systems are really interesting.

Are there ways that I could measure how much power is being used by the "plugged-in" Airstream that I live in now? I'm hooked up to a house and we share the power bill, so our overall power usage is mixed together. Is there something that I could hook up to my breaker box that would measure how much the AS uses? Then it would be easier to get an idea of what kind of solar system would be appropriate.

How much more efficient (and expensive) is an "on-demand" electric water heater? Do they need to be wired to 220v?

I like how living in an Airstream really brings the scale of things into focus. With a 10 gallon propane water heater for the last couple of years I really listen for that burner to kick on when I'm 3 minutes into a shower.

It died over a week ago and we've been heating water on the propane stove for sponge baths and dishes while we wait for a replacement part. This has planted the "electric water heater" idea.

I'm also considering a woodstove-mounted water heater. I spent some time in South America and was amazed at the ingenious small water heating systems people would rig into their woodstoves... copper pipes (which we have a plenty after last week) snaking through the fire box or around back of the stove... real Gilligan's Island stuff...

It's fun to imagine stuff, and I'm also very grateful for real numbers and real experience. Thanks, again, for the info.
There are meters and digital devices available that will measure your electric usage. I don't recall the name, but one plugs in to the outlet and gives you the wattage of the appliance plugged in...OH.....it's called 'Kill-a-Watt'. (brain just woke up)

I use a small (smaller than a telephone book) electric water heater in my studio in FL, but it draws A LOT of juice when working (something like 5000 watts) and requires 8 gauge cable and it's own 50 amp breaker in the panel. The up-side is that it is only 'ON' when you open a hot water faucet, so it actually saves a huge amount of total energy. I also have a similar 'tankless' LP water heater in my CCD that operates in the same way. I rarely use a 30# bottle during the course of the 4-5 summer months that I'm on the road.

All-electric is fine if you will be permanently located and have access to sufficient current. When on the road, the most effective 'all electric' RVs require big battery banks, large generators, or loads of solar.

Many of the new, large diesel-pusher type motor homes are coming thru as all-electric now. They have a 6-800 watt solar array, 6-8 heavy-duty golf cart batteries, and usually a minimum of a 12,500 watt diesel generator......things that are totally out of the question in an Airstream.
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