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Old 02-24-2010, 09:38 PM   #1
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1964 22' Safari
Dayton , Ohio
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Starting from Scratch

I'm a newbie needing help with the electrical system in our 64' Safari. I have been researching electrical systems on the internet and read through hundreds of threads trying to figure out how to put this thing together. I have a decent understanding of household electrical systems, but am struggling with the duel power system. My wife and I have a gutted airstream - a blank canvas to work with.

Most of the time we plan on having electrical service available but I want to do this right and design it for dry camping as well.

Should I design it for 30 or 50 amp? Does the convertor determine this or the fuse box you install?

Based on what I've seen, two 6V batteries are better than one 12V. Is this accurate?

What wire should I use for the 120V? What about the 12V?

Am I understanding this right? ... the power comes in to a breaker box. 120V Circuits are controlled via the breakers. A 120V feed also goes to the converter, which is conected to the batteries. The neg. feed from the battery is connected to a negative terminal bar. The positive feed from the battery is connected to a fuse panel. The 12v circuits have two wires - one positve and one negative. One of the wires goes to the negative terminal bar, the other to the fuse pannel.

Is there a book that explains this steb by step?

Thanks for any help.
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Old 02-24-2010, 09:49 PM   #2
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1956 22' Flying Cloud
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this is a beginning

Airstream Converter Change-over
The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1)
Samlex Solar Energy Products

Romex 12 3 for the 110
12 guage black and white wire. Black hot, white for ground
highest amp/hour batteries you can get...AGM types

110 romex come in and then to the breaker panel. At that point run a romex wire to the outlets and appliance locations you want power to. You can loop that line to several separate outlets. Don't overload any circuit...just run another line to split up the loads. Put in plenty of outlets...don't forget outside too. The power wire is black, the ground is green (or copper), and the neutral is white. self explanatory at the switches and the breaker panel.
The converter is powered by a line from the breaker panel...to an outlet...not directly...see the explanation above.
The Converter "converts that 110 power to 12 v. from the converter that 12v goes to the fuse pane where a fuse protects each of the circuit line to each 12 appliance/lite/outlet. Abus bar, I find, is the best way to connect all the white 12v ground wires at a common point. I use that same bus to ground the converter and the battery.
There is a 50 amp circuit breaker, Busman type, between the battery and converter.
You will also have a black wire in the 7 wire tow vehicle connect. It is the charge wire. It goes to the battery pos terminal and should have a 35 amp busman fuse before the connect to the battery.

written in a hurry...
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Old 02-24-2010, 09:55 PM   #3
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It helps to break the system down into its component parts.

Consider the 120 separate from the 12 volt as 2 separate systems.

For the 120 you will have to add up all the loads as you would when wiring a house. Do you have air conditioning? That is the big one. How many amps does it draw? How many plug outlets, and don't forget a separate one for the kitchen with ground fault interrupter. How about lights?

Unless you plan on installing every electric toy known to man, 30 amps should be plenty for a trailer of your size.

Now for the 12 volt do the same thing. How many lights etc? You have the basic idea of the fuse panel and wiring.

There is no connection between the 12 and 120 except for the converter. It needs to be wired according to the maker's instructions.

You should be able to get a book on house wiring from your local builder's supply or public library. Wire the trailer as if it was a house. But remember, your aluminum trailer can easily short out the wiring, or become "hot" itself if you make a mistake. So be careful that all wiring is installed properly and anywhere a wire goes thru a hole, it is properly protected from chafing.

I don't know why the 12 volt cannot be wired with the + to the loads and the - grounded thru the trailer body.
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Old 02-24-2010, 10:04 PM   #4
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1955 22' Flying Cloud
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Hi Mike&Ali, and welcome to the forum. Funny I should happen upon your questions. I'm putting the same trailer back together now.
I have a factory wiring diagram also, but it's at another location. I can post it tomorrow though, if you still need it then.
Have you seen the wiring in your trailer yet? I ask because I was contemplating the same thing last year that you are now.
After opening my walls up I found my wiring to be extremely well done from the factory and in fantastic condition. There was one place where a drill had hit a wire when they were installing the panel above the toilet. The rivet that went in that hole was maybe 1/8" from the bare wire, but never shorted in the 45 years it was like that.
I just added a few things, and changed the use of a couple of circuits, and I ran a 4 wire+ ground around the perimeter of the trailer, just above the windows and over the door. This is purely for future possible needs but it may come in VERY handy some day. I also added speaker wires, but other than those things it's original. I will be putting new outlets and switches in for safety and reliability.
I also added a new charger/ convertor/ fuse panel, and dumped the old blue transformer and fuse box. I highly recommend this and especially so if you want to get the most out of your new batteries.

I recommend reading through the threads on batteries, as the argument over 6v vs 12v is already written there, and we could probably save some PIXELS.

Great to have you with us,

Rich the Viking
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Old 02-24-2010, 10:16 PM   #5
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Great Explanation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Melody Ranch View Post
Airstream Converter Change-over
The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1)
Samlex Solar Energy Products

Romex 12 3 for the 110
12 guage black and white wire. Black hot, white for ground
highest amp/hour batteries you can get...AGM types

110 romex come in and then to the breaker panel. At that point run a romex wire to the outlets and appliance locations you want power to. You can loop that line to several separate outlets. Don't overload any circuit...just run another line to split up the loads. Put in plenty of outlets...don't forget outside too. The power wire is black, the ground is green (or copper), and the neutral is white. self explanatory at the switches and the breaker panel.
The converter is powered by a line from the breaker panel...to an outlet...not directly...see the explanation above.
The Converter "converts that 110 power to 12 v. from the converter that 12v goes to the fuse pane where a fuse protects each of the circuit line to each 12 appliance/lite/outlet. Abus bar, I find, is the best way to connect all the white 12v ground wires at a common point. I use that same bus to ground the converter and the battery.
There is a 50 amp circuit breaker, Busman type, between the battery and converter.
You will also have a black wire in the 7 wire tow vehicle connect. It is the charge wire. It goes to the battery pos terminal and should have a 35 amp busman fuse before the connect to the battery.

written in a hurry...
Robin,
This is the simplest, most understandable explanation of an AS electrical system yet!Thanks.
PS Thanks for the info on T&T Trailers and the guy who does your chrome plating.
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Old 02-24-2010, 10:54 PM   #6
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Seems that it's possible for some of the aluminum panels could become isolated with the vulcum and what not. Probably not probable but I've seen people write about strange grounding problems. Be sure to go with 10 gauge at least where you want 30 amp DC.
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Old 02-25-2010, 09:45 AM   #7
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All the wiring is out of the trailer. The interior panels have been removed as well as the insulation. When I say I'm working with a blank canvas, I mean very blank. The good thing about this is I can put it back the way I want. I just want to do it right.

Your responses have been very helpful. thank you so much.

What kind of convertor would you recommend?
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Old 02-25-2010, 10:02 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melody Ranch View Post
Airstream Converter Change-over
The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1)
Samlex Solar Energy Products

Romex 12 3 for the 110
12 guage black and white wire. Black hot, white for ground
highest amp/hour batteries you can get...AGM types

110 romex come in and then to the breaker panel. At that point run a romex wire to the outlets and appliance locations you want power to. You can loop that line to several separate outlets. Don't overload any circuit...just run another line to split up the loads. Put in plenty of outlets...don't forget outside too. The power wire is black, the ground is green (or copper), and the neutral is white. self explanatory at the switches and the breaker panel.
The converter is powered by a line from the breaker panel...to an outlet...not directly...see the explanation above.
The Converter "converts that 110 power to 12 v. from the converter that 12v goes to the fuse pane where a fuse protects each of the circuit line to each 12 appliance/lite/outlet. Abus bar, I find, is the best way to connect all the white 12v ground wires at a common point. I use that same bus to ground the converter and the battery.
There is a 50 amp circuit breaker, Busman type, between the battery and converter.
You will also have a black wire in the 7 wire tow vehicle connect. It is the charge wire. It goes to the battery pos terminal and should have a 35 amp busman fuse before the connect to the battery.

written in a hurry...
Thanks this helped us out too. Susan
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Old 02-25-2010, 12:08 PM   #9
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I'm doing the very same thing except with a 1967 overlander international and this helps a lot! Also I got a couple electrical diagrams from some of the guys in the forums and that has given me a very basic overall view of where the wires connect to. Also I think Airstream sells vintage owner's manuals for older airstreams might want to check that out... I think they're about $30. Also if you tube 'classic renovation, airstream' the DIY network has a video tutorial on how to install fuse box, converters and how to connect them to a battery source - very helpful. Just find the one about electrical. Good luck!
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Old 02-25-2010, 01:07 PM   #10
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I recommend getting a book on marine electrical systems. I have the one by Don Casey and found it useful.
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Old 02-25-2010, 02:05 PM   #11
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'64 Safari wiring diagram, enjoy.

Rich the Viking
Attached Files
File Type: pdf 07-09-2009(2).pdf (1.61 MB, 110 views)
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Old 02-25-2010, 07:16 PM   #12
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bestconverters

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike&Ali View Post
All the wiring is out of the trailer. The interior panels have been removed as well as the insulation. When I say I'm working with a blank canvas, I mean very blank. The good thing about this is I can put it back the way I want. I just want to do it right.

Your responses have been very helpful. thank you so much.

What kind of convertor would you recommend?
I will be adding a battery and converter with a rewire soon.In my research I spoke with Randy @ bestconverters.com.(many on the forums are familiar with him)He was most helpful in giving me options for my application and budget.BTW Welcome to the Forum, it is definitely your lifeline for your resto.Broadway Steve
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Old 02-26-2010, 11:42 PM   #13
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i stumbled across this page that is for basic rv electrical wiring, not specifically for airstreams, but is great! Hope it helps! RV Electrical Systems (scroll down until you find colorful diagram).
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