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Old 04-11-2005, 02:14 PM   #1
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Rewiring - starting from scratch

Hi all,

I'm getting ready to rewire my 59 18footer. Originally, it did not have a converter or inverter or 12v battery.

It doesn't have a furnace blower (DC) yet and only used DC to run a dome light which I assume is powered from the vehicle hookup?

Anyway, I've pretty much got it gutted (except for the wiring in the walls). Now I'm not sure how to design what I'll need for wiring the appliances, lighting, etc.

I'm assuming that I'll need to convert the 110 to 12v to run a new furnace blower. I'm not sure if I'll need an inverter to run the AC fridge from a battery or ?

Any suggestions are appreciated...
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Old 04-11-2005, 04:21 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Traveller
Anyway, I've pretty much got it gutted (except for the wiring in the walls). Now I'm not sure how to design what I'll need for wiring the appliances, lighting, etc.

I'm assuming that I'll need to convert the 110 to 12v to run a new furnace blower. I'm not sure if I'll need an inverter to run the AC fridge from a battery or ?

Any suggestions are appreciated...
I would say you will be able to get away with a 12v light in the bathroom, a 12v light at the rear of the main living area, a 12v light in the galley, and another 12v light at the front of the living area. If you want a powered vent, you will need to run a power lead for it as well. You could wire the bathroom light feed wire, and the galley light feed wire as a single circuit, the two main living area lights together as a circuit, and the roof vent as a separate circuit. I replaced the incandescent bulbs in our coach with flourescents, they are brighter, give off less residual heat, and seem to have a lower power draw.
An inverter to run the fridge would not be worth the effort, as the fridge would most likely drain your battery in about 15 minutes.
If you are going to use an electric water pump, instead of the air-pressure pump most trailers of that vintage had, I would suggest having a separate circuit for that as well. A single feed wire to all loads, with grounding through the metal skin of the trailer, seems to be much preferred, as well as half as much wiring.
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Old 04-11-2005, 05:23 PM   #3
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Sorry to butt in on this post; however, I can't seem to start one of my own. I am trying to get a new exhaust fan installed in my bathroom. (1978 Argosy) I bought one from Inland RV and the RV man here says it is 2 inches bigger than the old one and he doesn't feel comfortable cutting into the roof of the trailer. I don't know if I can return this fan; however, I will need some sort of replacement because the old fan has crumbled and leaks badly. Can anyone tell me if it is safe to cut the hole in the bathroom ceiling bigger, what should I use to cut it with and what sealant should I use if I get that far? I don't think this fan is located in the steel end cap, so it seems I should be able to enlarage the hole. Any suggestions?
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Old 04-11-2005, 06:07 PM   #4
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Juel, I'd use some good quality tin snps, like these
http://www.copperguttershop.com/Prod...p?ProductID=96
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Old 04-11-2005, 07:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by juel
...Can anyone tell me if it is safe to cut the hole in the bathroom ceiling bigger, ...and what sealant should I use if I get that far? ... Any suggestions?
I'm with you in that I would prefer to not cut the hole any bigger. But if ya can't find an exact replacement fan, ya gotta work with what you can get.

Another poster already recommended good quality snips. It is safe to cut into the ceiling as long as you plan your cut before making it to avoid any ribs. The ribs' location can be verified by looking at the roofs' rivets' lines.

While I believe the factory is now using Sikaflex (sp?) as a sealant, I like working with the Vulkem sealant available at AirstreamDreams.com.

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Old 04-11-2005, 08:04 PM   #6
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Exclamation Hi Juel,

My reccomendation after 25+ years of metal work Would be these or something very similar. Midwest brand is okay as well as Wiss, both should be available at your local hardware, lumber yard or home improvement store. I prefer the offset to keep my fingers out of the cut edges. As far as cutting the hole larger...ya does what ya gotta...

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Old 04-11-2005, 09:01 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by juel
I am trying to get a new exhaust fan installed in my bathroom. (1978 Argosy) I bought one from Inland RV and the RV man here says it is 2 inches bigger than the old one and he doesn't feel comfortable cutting into the roof of the trailer. Can anyone tell me if it is safe to cut the hole in the bathroom ceiling bigger, what should I use to cut it with and what sealant should I use if I get that far?

Juel,

The opening is only half the battle

You can cut the hole larger. If you are installing a ventline round fan I can offer some insight. The old fan was installed before the inner skin was installed. Once the inner and outer precise are removed you will find an aluminum flange that is fitted between the skin. This MUST come out. I had to cut the one in Vintage Thunder into 2 pieces to get it out of the space between the skins. I used a dremel with a cut off wheel to do this. If you try to cut the hole larger to get the insert out, it will be too big for the new fan

In Vintage Thunder the fan was in the steel section of the cap, it was not a big deal to cut the hole larger once I had that silly insert out.
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Old 04-12-2005, 11:04 AM   #8
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Thanks Terry,


I hadn't remembered the water pump. I am planning on using a newer electric one.

Is anyone using an inverter to run the frig while traveling? I'd heard that there were inverters (or maybe converters?) that would continuously recharge using the tow vehicles alt.? or something like that...
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Old 04-12-2005, 12:33 PM   #9
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It COULD be done, but....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Traveller
....Is anyone using an inverter to run the frig while traveling? I'd heard that there were inverters (or maybe converters?) that would continuously recharge using the tow vehicles alt.? or something like that...
As per this chart….

http://www.donrowe.com/inverters/usage_chart.html

a refrigerator draws 600 watts. (Note that the amperage requirement will be about three times that amount while starting – a good storage battery could supply a very short term starting amperage providing the rest of the electricals are properly sized).

600 watts at 12 volts requires a 50 amp source – assuming your Tow Vehicles alternator has this much capacity to spare (very unlikely), and further assuming a 30 foot hookup is necessary between your TV and the inverter, see this chart….

http://www.landandseasolar.com/info.html

and observe that according to the voltage drop - cable size - circuit length chart (table) a #2/0 (#00) cable would give satisfactory performance up to only 29’ of cable length - the ground circuit would require a like size cable. (Consider the difficulties of installing this on your Tow Vehicle and the TV/Trailer interconnect.)

Anything less, and the voltage drop would be intolerable and the battery(ies) would be quickly discharged and severely damaged.
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Old 04-12-2005, 04:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Traveller
Hi all,

I'm assuming that I'll need to convert the 110 to 12v to run a new furnace blower. I'm not sure if I'll need an inverter to run the AC fridge from a battery or ?

Any suggestions are appreciated...
It's true that you don't want to run a regular 'home style' refrigerator off an inverter, but would consider buying a Dometic 2-way refrigerator?

They're more expensive, but they will run off LP, and on 120V they draw less than 3 amps.

They draw less current because they operate by absorption cycle (resistance heater), rather than a compressor. And they don't need a larger inverter to cover starting current.
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Old 04-12-2005, 10:00 PM   #11
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If I was going to "update" a 1959-18 footer, I would think about getting from the Airstream factory a 12V harness kit for wiring the inside, then wire it to modern specs.
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Old 04-13-2005, 08:16 AM   #12
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What do you guys do about powering the frig while on the road (i.e. in tow)?
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Old 04-13-2005, 08:27 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Traveller
What do you guys do about powering the frig while on the road (i.e. in tow)?
I do not have a way to run power to the fridge. If I need the fridge cold, I use the propane. It will stay cold for a good long time with no power.
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Old 04-13-2005, 09:54 AM   #14
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This all kind of brings me back to my original reason for asking...

What types of things should I plan on using 12v and what things would be suited for 110?

So far, I can imagine using 12v for: water pump, furnace blower, 'dome' light, etc,

while I would imagine I'd use 110 for all other lights, A/C, a/c outlets, small appliances, etc....

How do modern campers allow for switching between 12v (on-board) battery power to 12v converted from 110?

or am I completely off base here?

Thanks.
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