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Old 11-03-2008, 12:36 PM   #1
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Replacing all wiring

After the discoveries I made this weekend in my 66 Safari I have decided to replace the wiring. 120 and 12 volt. I have a new fuse panel on the way and have picked up a circuit breaker box from a local "Big Box". The main question I have is why the original wiring is solid wire and not stranded. In all of my years of working on cars I was always taught to use stranded wire. The idea was that anything that flexes needs stranded wire as solid wire will work harden and break if flexed too much. I am planning to use Romex for the 120 but what do I use for the 12 volt? Any idea as to how many circuits for the 120 should I have. Right now I have 1 30a for the A/C and two 20a for the convenience outlets. I would welcome any help on this as I have never done this before. You can see why I am doing this on my BLOG listed below. Thanks.
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Old 11-03-2008, 12:50 PM   #2
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Good idea to replace the wiring in a '66. Do you know if you have Aluminum wire in the 120V circuit? ...you may very well.

Be careful with the 120V distribution box. It is likely a residential set-up and has the neutral and the ground bars bonded together... in an RV box, these are wired separately.
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Old 11-03-2008, 12:52 PM   #3
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Older AS had only two circuits (this may be based on an AS that didn't have an air conditioner as original equip).

Newer (later 70s) models had three circuits, plus a fourth GFI breaker that was used as the main.

The Service Manual shows that the A/C is one circuit by itself and that the general wiring logic was one circuit for the rear recepticals and one for the forward recepticals.

Be aware that the polarity warning light, which was not installed on Canadian units, turned out to be a hazard rather than a feature. If the RV park polarity was wired backwards AND the ground was defective, then the polarity warning light would make the shell hot without blowing any breakers. As soon as you (or your significant other) was standing in the proverbial "shallow pool of water" and grabbed the door, ZAP.

So remove the polarity warning light and don't replace.

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Old 11-03-2008, 01:04 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by byamcaravanner View Post
Good idea to replace the wiring in a '66. Do you know if you have Aluminum wire in the 120V circuit? ...you may very well.

Be careful with the 120V distribution box. It is likely a residential set-up and has the neutral and the ground bars bonded together... in an RV box, these are wired separately.
Steve, thanks for the quick reply. I think I remember Colin on the VAP talking about that. I will have to go through the broadcasts to find that one. The box I have is for residential. What kind of box should I be looking for? I am heading out to the trailer to remove some more interior skins to investigate. When I see severed wires joined together with wire nuts and hidden behind the interior panels, Any thing is possible. How do you feel about the romex idea for the 120 volt?

NUTZ
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Old 11-03-2008, 04:44 PM   #5
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Romex is fine, just make sure you grommet it where it passes through ribs or other sheet metal.

I think you can use a residential box, just make sure you remove the bond between neutral and ground. I've found that sometimes that's a solid tie bar, but other times it's just a piece of bare #12. I don't think you'll find it'a a big deal to remove (if it's there in the first place).

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Old 11-04-2008, 06:37 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alumanutz View Post
The box I have is for residential. What kind of box should I be looking for?
As Zep said, you should be able to convert you box for RV use. Just make sure that the ground wires (green or uninsulated) and the neutral wires (white) do not terminate at the same bar in the box. If your box has only one bar, you can buy a second one for the ground wires.
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Old 11-14-2008, 04:29 PM   #7
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Electrical Diagram

Do you have a diagram drawn up for the wiring? I just received my converter as well as a distribution panel. I am looking for a very detailed diagram that includes the likes of battery isolators, fuses, battery on/off switches, etc. What I have is attached.
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Old 11-15-2008, 10:13 AM   #8
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Take a look at the maintenance manual diagrams from 1975 here:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f37/1975-electrical-diagrams-38170.html

These are on the edge of readability, but I can post a better file if you need it.

Regarding your diagram:

1. Per the diagrams in the post above, you don't need a lot of separate 12 VDC circuits, maybe 5-6.

2. Be careful about how you wire the 110 V inverter. I would not connect it in parallel with the shore 110V, which means you need separate sockets for its output. You also need to provide a switch for turning it on--you can't leave it connected to 12V--even without a load it draws some power and you'd soon find yourself with a dead battery.

3. In general, I think it is a bad idea to use an inverter in an Airstream. Maybe it's OK to power a shaver or charge up a cell phone, or maybe even run a laptop for 30 minutes, but you need to consider how many Watt-hours you have in your batteries. For example, a 75W laptop would draw about 9 amps through the inverter, considering conversion efficiencies. I see you have two 6 V batteries, so I'm thinking you have about 200 amp-hours at full charge. You never want to discharge your batteries below 20% charge, so you've got 160 am-hours available. One hour of laptop draw is 6% of your total. How many days will you be out? You've got to also figure all your lighting, which takes most of your amp-hours, believe it or not, even with pumps and fans (the ceiling fan will be on a lot, and during the day, so this is a major power user) and whatnot. If you're thinking you need 110V for 4-5 hours each day, you need to think about a quiet generator if you're out for 5 days or more. I'd be interested in what you find once you're actually camping.

4. I see a gray to black pump. What a great idea--gets rid of a second thetford valve. Can you give me more details on your plan? I've seen one other Airstream where gray water is used to flush the toilet, which would require a second pressure-switched pump, also not a bad idea.

5. IMHO, I don't think you want to drive the heating elements in the WH and Fridge with 12V. If those circuits are just for auto-igniters, fine. I and many others drive with the fridge operating on propane. I know there are 3-voltage fridges, but you can only use the fridge on 12V while the tow vehicle is on--you'll find the propane saved just while towing is minor and not worth the dead battery you'll give yourself when you forget to change the fridge to propane.

6. The Blue Sea is expensive, I think recall seeing. You can do fine using a small fuze block for automotive fuzes ($15 or so). You only need 12V circuit breakers in two places--the tongue jack and the tow vehicle power line (longer explanation available, if needed). The rest of the circuits can rely on fuzes of the blown type. These fuzes are there to prevent fire and damage due to a failure in the circuit, which rarely happens. Emphasize "rarely." I mean like never. They usually blow when you're fiddling around with the wiring or installing something new, so in normal operation you won't ever (a slight exageration, of course) need to get at them. I use an 8-circuit fuze block--two 40 amps for the batteries (which provide for a nifty battery switch at not cost--just remove the fuze), a couple of 20 amp and 15 amp circuits, and a low current 5 amp circuit for the battery monitor.

Zep
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