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Old 12-16-2008, 09:50 AM   #1
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Several electrical questions

Hi all,

Thanks for the responses to my earlier post!!

I have just purchased a 1958 Avion. I'm hoping to learn while doing and have a steep learning curve. I am wanting to use all electric at least temporarily while I learn about the propane systems (original stove and heater). I eventually want to install solar. First though I need to do some more basic things, like replacing gaskets, adding some insulation under the beds...

My nephew kindly had his electrician come over to look at it yesterday, and he made some suggestions which may raise some questions. I'd appreciate being directed to the proper forum or books and other resources.

I have the original power cord with three flat prongs on the trailer end and an old non-grounded plug on the other. The power works with this, the lights go on, and I've plugged in a small heater with no trouble. There are 2 20 amp fuses. One of my questions is: Is this a 20 amp or 30 amp system? How are the 2 fuses connected (lights and plugs/ front and back/other)? I've tried to search on this site and others but am not coming up with even that information. I've seen a replacement part at vintage trailer parts that is a 15 amp cord receptacle for replacing the 'obsolete 30 amp' one. Does this mean my system might be 30 amps? I've read something about 'neutral & ground not to be bonded together' and that wiring in a trailer being somewhat different than in a home. I'm wondering if this means a regular electrician expertise may not always apply to trailers. I don't think this person, as smart as he seems, has worked with travel trailers before (though I may be mistaken).

The electrician suggested:
1. Changing out the cord to a grounded end. (Can I buy a replacement cord? Can a 3 prong grounded end, just be added to the original cord... I'm not thinking that vintage cord has a ground wire in it though)
2. Leaving the original system as it is, but running an additional power source/cord into the closet with 2 30 amp grounded outlets (I'm assuming with breakers) in the kitchen area, so that I would use those to run a 2 burner hot plate type stove top, a toaster oven or convection oven of some sort, a heater, and charge my laptop. (He also will run another line for outlets on the side of the garage to use for the trailer.

I may not even have enough knowledge to know how to ask these questions. Also with this first part of my huge project which books are the first to get? RV Electrical Systems, Woodall's RV Maintenance Guide or others?

Also if you live in NH do you have suggestions of people who might be good to use for repairs. I know of the vintage parts place in Vermont which is great.

Thanks so much for any advise you can offer,

Patti
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Old 12-16-2008, 02:54 PM   #2
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I had a 60 and it was 15 or 20 amps. I believe the 58s had 3 separate electrical systems:
1. 110 2. 12v 3. 12v running lights. Unless you are an ultra purist consider at least modernizing to at least a 30 amp system and add a 3 stage 110>12v converter to charge your battery as well as handle your 12v and 110 needs and avoid the hassles. This will only raise and not lower the value of your Avion.
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Old 12-16-2008, 05:08 PM   #3
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Avions are wired slightly different than Airstreams but the application and theories are the same. If you do not know very much about electricity, I would use the knowledgeable friend you have to do the work. I would convert to the standard 3 prong 30 Amp RV connector and make sure you read the amps on the individual appliances to make sure you do not overload the circuit. I would have him install a dedicated RV type 30 amp box with a separate breaker on the side of your garage. I would also install a converter in the trailer. Avions do not have that many things run on 12 volts so you may be able to get away with a lower rated unit that is normally installed in an Airstream. He should make sure you check that the neutral is properly grounded (bonded) at your main power box and I would also make sure some element from the aluminum skin or frame is in direct contact with moist earth, so if there is a mistake, you do not end up with a hot skin.
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Old 12-16-2008, 05:18 PM   #4
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Check the female/cord end of the original cord, if it is removable you can take it off and install it on the end of a new 30a cord. If the original female end is molded on you might need to replace the power inlet. I think you will find the original is removable, mine was.

Disregard the posting above about properly grounding the neutral in the trailer. That's the wrong way to do it. The neutral is not grounded, except at the main panel in your garage, through the power cord.

If your electrian is licensed he should understand if you tell him the neutral and ground are not bonded.
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Old 12-16-2008, 07:32 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwightdi View Post
Avions are wired slightly different than Airstreams but the application and theories are the same. If you do not know very much about electricity, I would use the knowledgeable friend you have to do the work. I would convert to the standard 3 prong 30 Amp RV connector and make sure you read the amps on the individual appliances to make sure you do not overload the circuit. I would have him install a dedicated RV type 30 amp box with a separate breaker on the side of your garage. I would also install a converter in the trailer. Avions do not have that many things run on 12 volts so you may be able to get away with a lower rated unit that is normally installed in an Airstream. He should make sure you check that the neutral is properly grounded (bonded) at your main power box and I would also make sure some element from the aluminum skin or frame is in direct contact with moist earth, so if there is a mistake, you do not end up with a hot skin.
Quote:
Originally Posted by markdoane View Post
Check the female/cord end of the original cord, if it is removable you can take it off and install it on the end of a new 30a cord. If the original female end is molded on you might need to replace the power inlet. I think you will find the original is removable, mine was.

Disregard the posting above about properly grounding the neutral in the trailer. That's the wrong way to do it. The neutral is not grounded, except at the main panel in your garage, through the power cord.

If your electrian is licensed he should understand if you tell him the neutral and ground are not bonded.
Well Hell, Now I bet she is really confused. I know I am.

So we have Illinois with 1008 posts vs. Minnesota with 4488 posts telling us and her different things relating to electricity.
Does the most post win or lose?
If win I guess we should wait for California to chime in.

Why don't we get this right . Before someone gets hurt...!...?
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Old 12-16-2008, 07:47 PM   #6
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The ground and neutral in my trailer are not tied together.
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Old 12-16-2008, 08:44 PM   #7
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Well I am very confused now. I have a dedicated one ten circuit that I have used for a kiln. Would it be better to run a cord to that rather than just to my house outside outlet. It seems like I have plenty of power for the lights but if I try to run my buffer or ceramic heater, the circuit from the house outlet cuts off. We want to go all electric for now.
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Old 12-16-2008, 09:55 PM   #8
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If your kiln is powered by a 120v/30a circuit, it should be as simple as hanging a fused disconnect and a plug on the wall. Be absolutely sure it's 120v, not 240v.

You can buy the stuff for about $50 at your home center.
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Old 12-22-2008, 06:49 AM   #9
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if the use of your kiln at the same time the Airstream is drawing power causes the breaker to blow, it is obvious the the kiln circuit is on the same breaker as the Airstream. You need to get an electrician over there and put in a new dedicated circuit for the Airstream.
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Old 12-22-2008, 08:22 PM   #10
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Thanks, I have moved my kiln to another building. It is a 120v dedicated circuit, currently not being used. After the holidays I am going to have our electrician come by and see what needs to be done. I think we need a dedicated circuit one way or the other.
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